I realize that I haven’t written much about real food living in a long time. I am no less convinced about the benefits of real food than I was when I was writing about it regularly, but I guess I sort of feel like I said all there is to say. And to tell the truth, I am addicted to convenience and I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not living at McD’s or anything, but I’ve started taking advantage of a lot more convenience products to save time. I do try to choose wisely. I almost always buy the organic versions and try to avoid BPA and GMO and any other 3-letter acronyms that they can conjure up, but I know these processed foods aren’t nourishing our bodies like homemade stuff does.
You see, when I first went gluten free, I intended to do it in a “real foodie” way — by eating whole foods that are naturally gluten free, more of a Paleo style diet. (Except I am NOT giving up dairy… no sirree!) Then as time went by, I discovered some delicious gluten-free products (hello, Udi’s!) At first the gluten-free food products were occasional treats, but now they’ve become staples in my pantry.
Add to that, the sandwich bread and granola and after-school snacks for the kids that I was making regularly have slowly been replaced by pricey organic store-bought loaves, granola bars and *gasp* boxed cereals. I know, I wrote all about why I banned breakfast cereals from our home. My husband is actually the one who started buying them again. (When in doubt, blame the husband!!) At first it was a box here and there to supplement the nourishing hot breakfasts I was getting tired of making every day. Then when school started this year, and my kids were on different bus schedules, the family breakfasts fell by the wayside and the boxed cereals moved in. They’re just so easy, and the kids love them.
Same goes for snackfoods. My kids are 7, 10 and 13. They are ravenous ALL. THE. TIME. So I buy up the granola bars and crackers. I should seriously buy stock in Back to Nature. I buy their crackers and cookies in bulk whenever I go to Wegmans or Whole Foods. Between that and Cascadian Farm (they love their cereals and granola bars) my kitchen looks like the natural foods aisle at the grocery store.
I’m no fool. I know that organic junk is still junk, but at least we are avoiding GMOs and artificial ingredients… or so I keep telling myself. And we still eat WAY better that we ever did before my “Whole Foods Conversion.” I have to remind myself sometimes how far we’ve come.
Ideally I believe that all food should be nourishing. It is fuel for our bodies and minds, after all. But right now I’m okay with a certain percentage of foods that are “neutral” — meaning, I don’t think they are harming us but I doubt they’re doing us much good either. I’m not making excuses. We all make time for what is most important to us. I get that. But the fact is, I do not enjoy spending time in the kitchen. It’s not that I hate it, but there are SO many things I’d rather be doing, ya know?
Dinner is where I manage to do pretty well. The meal planning is paying off, and I make a good, wholesome dinner probably 5 nights out of 7. I’m looking forward to the summer when we start getting our CSA veggies again, and I really need to look into buying another side of beef and a big order of chicken. I’ve been spending way too much on organic meats from the grocery store. I know they are probably not raised on pasture, and they cost way more than buying in bulk from a local farmer. Fortunately I can get wonderful milk and eggs at a small local whole foods chain.
I’m sure our commitment to real food will wax and wane over the years, and I know I will continue to take advantage of some convenience foods, but I want to do better. Not so much for me — for the kids. So as I was working on this post early this morning, I decided to walk away and whip up a batch of whole wheat pancakes (which is why this post is going up so late in the day!)
See, aren’t they beautiful?
Unfortunately they didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped so I’m going to try again and tweak the recipe. I’ll post it when I get it perfected. Of course, anything is palatable if you drown it in real maple syrup. Ha!
As for me, I really need to reduce the carb load. I tried once before… Now it’s time to try again. I expect this will be a constant battle for me till the day I die. You see, I’ve never met a carb I don’t like. Unfortunately the feeling isn’t mutual.
I’m going to be using my friend Lydia’s new eBook, Divine Dinners: Gluten-Free, Nourishing, Family-Friendly Meals in an attempt to get some new meals into our rotation. It is only $14.95 and it includes over 80 recipes and 104 pages of healthy gluten-free dinners with suggested sides.
Now don’t get all waylaid by “gluten free” in the title. Yes, she eats gluten free, but her recipes are NATURALLY gluten free. In fact, she uses very few grains at all. She also has four kids so she knows how to make recipes that are yummy. I have posted a few of her recipes before. Her Sausage Kale Soup is one of our family’s favorites, and don’t even get me started on her Sauteed Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms in a Butter Sage Sauce. Yum….
Lydia is a single mom of 4 boys and recently became a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner. I love supporting my friends so I agreed to host a giveaway for her new eBook.
But first I want to share something Lydia said to me in an email. We were discussing this very topic, and this was her response:
If you are too stressed about food or have guilt it can be a problem. It’s a choice, not a ‘law’ with benefits! You have to find freedom in whatever you choose!
I think her point about stress and guilt is an important one. I don’t feel guilty about where I am right now. I’ve found a middle ground, I guess. I think we always need to be striving to be better, or we will never make any progress, but I also think we need to give ourselves a break sometimes. With the popularity of Facebook and Pinterest, it can be really overwhelming to see what everyone is eating and doing and making. No one can do it all. And no ones does, even though it may seem like it when you peruse that creative vortex that is Pinterest.
We all make choices, and my choices will be different from your choices, and my choices today will be different from my choices a year from now, and THAT IS OKAY. So do your research, decide what is important to you, and then let the chips fall where they may. If you’re interested in expanding your dinner repertoire with some new wholesome recipes, this is a great place to start!
Enter to win Lydia’s eBook, Divine Dinners, by leaving a comment on this post. That’s it. Your comment can be in response to my post or just tell me why you’d like to win. There are no restrictions for this one, so anyone anywhere in the world may enter. There will be one winner. If you can’t wait, feel free to buy a copy today. I’m sure she’d love that, and it’s a great way to support another mom!
fine print: I will use the And The Winner Is plugin for WordPress to randomly select a winner on or after March 5, 2013. When the comments are closed on this post, you will know the giveaway is over. I will announce the winner on Facebook and Twitter, and I will send a personal email, giving the winner three days to accept. If there is no reply, I will select another winner. See my Giveaway Policies for more details.