Aug 31, 2014

Mom to Mom // Rachel & Eating Healthy

So, we love us some food around here.  And we like all different kinds of food.  We also love to cook and enjoy a nice meal at home together.  For us, food is more than just something to eat. It is an experience. It is about learning and exploring. Food brings people to the table. Family meals foster conversation. Food also has the power to add vitality to your life or to leave you feeling icky and stuffed and sluggish and sick.
We choose the former. I view each meal as an opportunity to nourish my body and my family, which is why I try to be mindful of every morsel. We need healthy fuel that will help us keep up with life (and a toddler) and provide the best nutrients…while instilling healthy habits.

For the past few years, our family has been gravitating toward a plant-based lifestyle.  We have always been “healthy” eaters but wellness is kind of a lifelong journey.  You pick up new things as you go.  You try things out.  You see what works.  And that becomes your lifestyle.  For us, eating primarily plants just works.  We eat lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, raw food, real food, local food.  Food with high ORAC value.  Foods that have a stellar ANDI score.  Bulking up our menu with nutrient-rich ingredients, power-packed foods, foods with high vitamin/mineral density, foods with more goodness. We feel our best that way.
It isn’t about not eating things.  It is about eating more things.  More variety.  More color.  Plus, it is a fun challenge to come up with inventive recipes for our weekly meals.  It keeps our tastebuds on their toes which is great for Elinor to experience at an early age. We may not always LOVE everything about every meal, but we give it a go. And we talk about the flavors and textures and temperatures.  We learn. And I love to learn new things and try stuff so this is a fun way to live.  I mix it up so we don’t get bored. And heaven forbid we feel deprived.  No way! It is about abundance.  Lots of the good stuff.  Feeling satisfied at a cellular level. Making choices that will keep us healthier, longer.  Choices that will enable our bodies to work better and stay clean.  Choices that will fight disease.
I guess you can say that we are Pollan-ites. Michael Pollan’s proposal that we should “eat food. not too much. mostly plants.” does the trick for us.  It is a time-honored (yet sadly, novel) response to the question of what we should eat.  That phrase has a simplicity and balance to it that is so appealing.  Liberating, really.  It is simple.  Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.  Makes sense to me.     
And that’s how it’s done around here.  It is just how we are so Elinor doesn’t really know anything else. I guess she’ll be one of “those kids” when she’s older…
When it comes to feeding my family and more specifically, my toddler daughter, here are a few guidelines that work for us:
They eat what you eat food
My kid-food philosophy is simply an extension of my own lifestyle. Because really, that is the only thing that works. I want continuity in our kitchen. And who has the time or money to prepare a separate meal for each person? There is no special toddler menu around here. We are in this together. I want to model proper nutrition and a healthy relationship with food. And I can't do that if I am eating one thing and telling my daughter to eat something else.
Slow food
There seems to be a movement afoot toward more natural living. More folks are buying local food. Urban farms are popping up everywhere. Mamas are making their own baby food. Families are installing chicken coops in their backyards.
At the heart of it, I think people just want to slow things down. To push back against a world that is increasingly instant-everything. To take time to prepare meals using real food — monosyllabic ingredients from your own backyard or farmer's market instead of unpronounceable things cooked up in a lab. You know, a little bit like our grandparents grew up. A charming notion, isn't it? And our home embraces this. Two green thumbs up!
Stock the Staples
The key to keeping nutrition easy is to stock your pantry and fridge with the good stuff.  It seems like a simple thing but it really is the secret sauce. Whatever is in the house will be consumed so make sure that stuff is the very best.  There are enough opportunities to eat junk out in the real world, don’t bring it into your home.  Keep that as clean as you can. Plan ahead. Be prepared.
+ A rainbow of raw fruits— avocados, bananas, berries, tomatoes…these are all easy snacks for on-the-go. Fruit is nature’s candy.  And it is definitely okay to eat that stuff up.
+ Veggies, veggies, veggies! We like to juice our veggies because you get WAY more nutrients that way. No one around here would eat a whole bunch of kale and spinach and seven carrots and six stalks of celery plus a beet or two in one sitting…but you can easily do that with juice. And you can add in some fruit to sweeten things up for the kiddos until their palates adjust.
+ Beverages: WATER, coconut water, and plant/nut milks
+ A variety of sprouted ancient grains
+ Spices & such: spirulina, wheatgrass, celtic sea salt, bee pollen, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon
+ Organic, cultured, and pasture-raised eggs, butter, ghee, kefir, raw goat/sheep yogurt, raw cheese
+ Fats & proteins: salmon, krill, olive, grapeseed, coconut, chia, hemp, linseed, beans
+ Fermented / Cultured / Sprouted / Activated / Raw: these foods contain more active cultures and available nutrients which help aid in digestion, promote healthy gut flora, and support the immune system.
I am a proponent of the family meal. Life is full and days are busy. It might take some effort, but preparing a meal to enjoy together is so good. The whole process is an education for littles. They see ingredients in their natural state — carrots come from the ground, not a jar. They learn how to help in the kitchen. They begin to understand manners and family dynamics. They can pick and play, cultivating an appreciation for food.
Instead of limiting yourself, explore nature's vibrant bounty! Let the ingredients AND the experience nourish.
Santé and Bon Appétit!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...