Real Food: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

We are still eating real food. I have been getting just a ton of questions about how it is going, so I thought I would update.

The short of it is: We have committed to this. No turning back.

THE GOOD

Oh, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel pretty fantastic. GONE are the sugar cravings. For the girl who would easily drive an hour to eat a Krispy Kreme, I tell you the cravings are gone. Last year, I went thirteen weeks without desserts. They weren’t gone then. You know why? I was still eating a TON of sugar in bread, salad dressings, rotisserie chicken, cheerios, and more. They are gone now because I am not eating sugar. Did you know that there are at least 50 other names that sugar will be identified as? Yeah, bummer huh? Overall, I just feel better. More energy, not full and yucky, and I definitely don’t feel like if I don’t consume some brownie dough, I just might eat my arm off.  If you want to know more about sugar, check out this video.

All my family members report feeling better, childhood constipation is gone, husband’s almost daily heartburn is gone, people in my house “feel clearer” and focus better. There have been SIGNIFICANT behavioral changes in one of my children. Sound to good to be true? I tell you I have heard people say things like this all my life, but I didn’t really take it to heart. Now that I have experienced it myself, I can tell you that letting sugar go becomes a whole lot easier because I don’t want how good I feel to go away. SO, will I eat sugar again? Maybe occasionally. Maybe not. Tastebuds change and I tell you that fruit is pretty spectacular when your tastebuds are not confused with donuts and candy and such.

THE BAD

We spent quite a bit on groceries last month. We have a $600 a month food budget for our family of six. I nailed that budget monthly for the last couple of years. Last month it all changed, which is to be expected. There will be a learning curve and we are willing to invest in it. This month, I am shopping weekly to try and stop the bleeding of overspending. $150 a week. We will see. I still have some small changes to add in, but they will come later. I hope to be able to go 100% organic or close to it. We are almost there, but not quite.

I can not believe how difficult it is to maneuver the presents, the parties, the awards for Awana, the sucker for the hair cut, the Sunday School prizes and treats, the birthday parties and on and on….It is sticky because the last thing I ever want to do is to come across as snobby or make a scene anywhere. We are moving our way through this one day at a time. Our current rule has been choose your absolute favorite treat when faced with a buffet of options. The term treat now includes rainbow goldfish crackers. It is a strange new world.

After just a week, I can see that this plan isn’t really going to work, as sometimes my kids are in these situations multiple times daily. SO, this part is still not settled in my mind. However, that is in large part due to the fact that I overanalyze everything and need a plan. It’ll work itself out. I need to relax. I continue to educate my children on what is actually in the food they are eating so that they can take ownership of their own choices. I also continue to talk to them about how everyone makes different choices and that is o.k. If they choose to turn down sugar, that does not make them weird! REALLY IT DOESN’T :)

My final thought in this here bad category is— I miss eating out. Long gone are the drive thru for a quick meal days, but I just would like to go out to a nice sit down meal. I know there are ways to do this and healthy-ish options out there. I just need to find them. The all or nothing in me doesn’t do well in situations like this. I need to find my balance and be o.k. with it.

THE UGLY

The ugly comes when it doesn’t occur to you to pack snacks for the Awana Grand Prix that lasts for four hours. Eating at the snack bar provided will give you options of pizza, nachos, donuts, cookies, soda, candy, and more. However, with the kids already “winning” a pack of sour skittles, it was hard to think that I would buy them more. They did have apples. That was the only option that was really real food. They were $1.00 a piece.

The ugly comes when I haven’t grocery shopped and the house is EMPTY and the kids need lunch NOW because they have been at church all morning and are starving. Ordering Mountain Mikes just may mean a day of stomach pain and feeling like a huge blob with no energy. I am guessing when you maintain a steady stream of highly processed foods that involve sugar and other additives, you become used to it. When you are truly eating clean and you put some of those processed foods back in your body. Watch out. I am sure everyone responds differently, but it’s not a fun thing. Trust me.

MOVING FORWARD

The bad and ugly in no way outweighs the good. Not by a long shot. Really making changes like we have made is hard. I am thankful that everyone in my family is on board. I am incredibly blessed in that way because it would be very difficult to change this much without everyone buying into it.

I am confident that as with anything new, in a matter of time, it will feel completely normal. I have read that a good goal is to shoot for no more than one “treat” a week. We are not quite there with the kids, but definitely working towards it. They probably eat 20% of the junk that they used to eat and at home they are 100% fine.

I never in a million years, thought that I would be so invested in label reading, but let me tell you once you start it is hard to imagine what they are trying to sell us and what we are buying. It is worth reading. It is worth digging. It is unsettling, but it is worth it. I think we all know that Spam is gross, but I never paid attention to the 80 ingredients in a Costco cake. I am SO new at all this and SO not an expert at any of it. I am learning though.

We are eating like kings and queens, I tell you, absolutely delicious food. Spaghetti and meatballs, stir fry, salads, veggies, fruits, homemade banana bread, crepes, crackers, cheeses, and snow cones….just to name a few. It is possible to make these things with real food ingredients. It actually tastes better too.

The number one thing I have been asked is “What is this diet…a.k.a. what is allowed?” The answer is pretty simple, but yet also crazy difficult. The answer is real food. Little to no processing, readable ingredients, no sweeteners, etc. That’s it. The tough part is not eating it, but rather finding it.

Above all, yet again I marvel at the Lord and His creation. The more that I become informed about food and what it provides for our body, the more I realize His love and care for us. When we enter in all the man made stuff is when we start having huge problems. He knows what He is doing.

Do I sound a little bit crazy? To some yes. Even to myself, I find it odd to read the sentences that I am typing. I never saw this one coming. This is where we are at and we are staying here. It’s a learning curve. I am sure it will continue to be. It’s a beautiful one and it works for us.

*For all kinds of crazy good information, check out the 100 Days of Real Food blog. She hooks you up with all you need to know!

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8 Responses to Real Food: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.
  1. Shawn
    April 15, 2012 | 11:10 pm

    this is pretty much how B and I have been eating the past two years. I can share my eating out experience with you if you’d like. Which places work and which don’t (one place actually has sugar in their steak and their CHICKEN….crazy, huh?) This makes me want to clean up my kids diet a little more. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jamie Laughlin
    April 16, 2012 | 7:56 am

    Very awesome…and I agree with the concept 100%. Hopefully more options will come available and we can all succeed in the adventure to provide healthy yet family friendly meals.

  3. Cara Yeh
    April 16, 2012 | 8:21 am

    HUGE props to you!!! Keep it up!!!

  4. Rikki
    April 17, 2012 | 5:54 am

    I’ve been thinking about this post ever since I read it yesterday. Here’s a question I have, which may be a bad one. Do you all drink water all the time? I’m not even talking soda here–just wondering if your kids are on the water train? I have a pop addiction myself but my kids act like water will kill them. :)

  5. cindy
    April 17, 2012 | 5:56 am

    You had Matt at, “Shawn’s hearburn has all but disappeared”!! :))
    Can I call you and pick your brain???

  6. Amy G
    April 17, 2012 | 6:50 am

    You don’t sound crazy at all- I am so in aw of you and so inspired! I seriously can’t imagine not craving sugar! My hubbie would love it if we ate this way. Can you just come live with me for a while and help me???? Love you friend!

  7. Ann
    May 13, 2012 | 2:22 pm

    Congrats on continuing the healthy eating! I’ve been trying, but hitting resistance…our biggest problems are:
    1) Breakfast and
    2) Snacks.

    Any advice, especially for the snacks? I love Lisa’s blog, but her kids are younger. My almost 10 year old will have an apple, a bowl of oatmeal and still be hungry, and I”m lacking in the “healthy fast snack that won’t kill my budget that the kids can get themselves” category…

  8. Miscellany Monday. | Just A Night Owl
    June 4, 2012 | 9:38 am

    [...] I have stopped using coupons. I tried it, but now that we changed our eating so dramatically, there really isn’t a whole lot of coupons that work anymore. Why are there [...]

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