936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
One year ago I stepped into the kitchens of a few daring whole food mamas who were brave enough to share with me their triumphs, failures, discoveries, and stories of fostering a whole food lifestyle in their homes.
And a week ago we began stepping back into those same kitchens to see just how a year can change a kitchen–and a family!
Last week we revisited the Marshall family, and learned from whole food mama Becky how she adjusted her whole food kitchen to meet new dietary restrictions, and saw in her a very real struggle many of us face: the mental battle involved in running a whole food kitchen! Read her One Year Later update here!
This week we will be revisiting Amy Gruetzmacher’s whole food kitchen. Last year when I first interviewed Amy, her son had been recently diagnosed on the autism spectrum, which sent them on a journey to revisit their diet and see what changes they could make. I’ll let Amy take it away with her own words…
When Eryn asked me to write an update about how our family is doing with our new eating plan, it was a great opportunity for me to reflect on the changes on our family in the last year.
At this point last year, my oldest son had just been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum (formerly Aspergers) as well as having ADD. We pursued some more holistic therapy options for him, and one of the things that we discovered was that food played a huge role in his behavior and focusing ability.
We also had him tested for food sensitivities (IgG) and discovered that he would be best to avoid dairy, gluten, eggs, and peanuts. THAT rocked my world a little bit. As a mom who was responsible for his meal prep, I had to find suitable options that were transportable (for lunch) as well as things that our entire family would eat for dinner (because I’m happy to cook dinner but I’m not going to be a short order cook in my own home, we will all eat the same things for the big meal of the day!).
We started with basic meals that consisted of things that he could have – and over time, as I experimented with substituting, I’ve gotten a bit better at branching out a bit. We started with lots of stir-fry meals with fresh veggies and meat over quinoa or rice, homemade soups (using rice milk in place of cows milk), and found some great treats (energy bites and oatmeal “cookies”) that packed a great nutritional punch while leaving out the things he couldn’t have.
For awhile, things were going fairly well, although the holidays made it tough to be consistent. In February, I finally decided I needed to get serious about restoring my health and getting my weight back to a good place, something that had been an issue for me since a broken foot nearly 5 years earlier.
So I found a good exercise program, made sure we had fresh foods in the house, and really monitored what I was eating, opting for fruits, veggies and lean protein over the grains and other carbs that had snuck their way back into my pantry.Not surprisingly, it worked! I lost 45 pounds and felt better and stronger and more energetic than I had in years.
And then at the end of June, we found out that I was pregnant – and to be honest, the wheels fell off again. During my first trimester, I could only stomach very plain and high-carb foods like pasta and bread, and so I ate what I could and my poor family survived on foods out of a box and take-out for a month or two. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m cooking dinner again, and we are back on track.
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last year is that this way of eating, for us, is truly a journey. And like any journey, there are times when you’re right on plan and other times when things don’t quite happen the way you’ve planned and you have to improvise.
I have realized that much of it depends on me, as the stay at home mom who is primarily responsible for feeding my crew. My choices affect my entire family, and that’s a huge responsibility that I don’t want to take lightly. Overall, my kids are eating much better foods than they were before I started being more intentional about our diet. They still have their favorite processed foods (Levi can’t wait for Sundays and goldfish for snack at church!) but I don’t buy or offer those foods any more, or I’ve found healthy substitutes. For example: since Isaac can’t have ice cream, we freeze bananas and put them in the blender along with frozen berries (or other fruit) to make his own version of ice cream. He loves it!
Of all of my children, David (20 months old) eats the best variety of foods – and I can’t help but wonder if that’s because he was exposed to whole foods basically from the time he started eating. My big boys will turn their noses up at avocados, zucchini and tomatoes, but David eats it all (and then some).
There is no way to undo past choices, but I am thankful that we didn’t go any longer before making the change, for all of our sakes.
The longer we eat good food, the more we are all willing to try new things. The other night, I made roasted ratatouille for dinner, and my husband commented that that’s the first time in his life he has ever eaten eggplant. We have had lots of firsts this year: new types of seafood, new vegetables, new grains – just lots of amazing, delicious, and beautiful food! I’m certain that we will continue this way of eating for the health benefits it provides our entire family!
The recipe below, adapted from the Beachbody 21 Day-Fix eating plan guide, is a great morning breakfast treat for Isaac on his way out the door to school. He’s not a big fan of breakfast, but these muffin-like cookies give him a great start to the day and he loves them!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!