So, where does one begin?
Well, for me, it will include eliminating different items from my own diet and choosing healthier substitutes for us all to enjoy. I am aiming for more raw/local/in season/whole foods. I tried to do this last year, but became so discouraged with not being able to accomplish the instant change I was attempting, that I pretty much gave up on most of my efforts. With my lack of success, I decided to sit down and figure out what had gone wrong. I know that I, personally, do well with making changes gradually over a period of time. Trying to implement every aspect of eating healthier, all at one time, was daunting for little old me. So, I am in the process of developing a new system...
The New System
With this new system, I will begin by eliminating one new item per week. While I am eliminating these items, I will be implementing a healthy substitute and developing a plan for future meals and healthier recipes. My system begins with replacing junk foods with healthier snacks, will then focus on eliminating fast foods and eating at home more, and end with tackling the processed foods I have become so dependent upon. Because I will be cutting out a lot of the meats, sugars, and other processed foods we consume right now, my family will be healthier. Following the steps within this system is very important for me. Without achieving each goal along the way, the end result (which is for my family to develop an overall healthier pattern of eating) is impossible. I know that there will be areas that we will really struggle with (chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter fingers, and brownies come to mind as I type this). As I adapt to better habits of eating and choosing foods for my family, I will be evolving along the way, instead of changing everything all at once. I am unsure of how long it will actually take, but I am planning on around 2-3 months. This will be perfect, because that will be right around when the weather is getting warmer and the garden will be calling my name...if we haven't headed out on our adventure by then. ;) Either way, we will be eating healthier, whether here or abroad. Also, it will be the perfect time to begin our family's outside exercise program that I will be working on over the next few months. I am so stoked!
I have been working on coming up with a 28 day meal plan for a number of years now. I laughed, a while ago, when I found an older list of meals in my recipe cupboard. It was from around the time I gave birth over nine years ago (it had all of the baby names we were deciding between written on the back...that was fun to see!). I am so close to having my meal plan completed...just need to adjust a few things and then I will begin using this plan. The biggest issue I have, is the fear that we will grow tired of the same 28 menu items. To dispel that fear, I will have a couple of "new recipe" nights. I have also debated over creating more than 28 meals...maybe 35 or 42 meals instead. The other fear is that I will have to adjust for church, family, and community functions and that will throw my whole system off. Guess I am just gonna have to be more flexible when those times come around, huh? I am such a nerd. LOL.
Family Cook Book/Recipe Box
I'm also going to develop a cook book and a recipe box that will be chock-full of all of our family's favorite recipes. I am in the process of adjusting all of my own recipes to have less processed and more whole foods. I will give each of my kids one of these cook books when they leave to live out on their own, so that they can continue on with the love of healthy eating that I am hoping to instill within them. You should start up a recipe book for your own kids, like this, if you haven't already. What a great gift to be able to have all of the foods you remember mom and dad making, right at your fingertips!
As far as junk food goes, I don't want to have to be the Culinary Gestapo, so I have asked that the kids and my hubby keep any junk food that they may get at their school/work. This way, I can help the younger kids (and myself) to have healthier options, without having to constantly fight all of the garbage food coming into our home. I know that I can't control what the kids choose when they are away from home, and I am not going to restrict them at school/church functions. I am hoping to make the healthy foods that they enjoy while at home so appealing and educate them on good nutrition, that they won't even want the other garbage.
And the "easy way out" I usually take, with ordering a pizza or picking up some fast food, has got to come to an end. This will take place as of week 3. As a reward for not eating fast food anymore, we will be eating out as a family at a sit down restaurant once a month and the hubby and I will also eat out for our monthly datenight (the other datenights will be spent at home, getting to know each other better, through scrabble, nertz, and spending time learning our new business together...you wanted to know all that, didn't you?).
Eventually I will be adding family-friendly exercise into the plan. I have struggled with exercising for years, mostly because I want to exercise in the morning. It doesn't work well with the fact that I am a night owl, or that I have early birds who still require a lot of attention in the mornings. I look forward to finding creative ways to involve the entire family in my routine. I will begin developing the exercise part of our adventure soon.
I can't wait to share the entire process with others! If you have read any of my posts on here, you know how much I love experimenting with old and new ideas to figure out the best way of doing things....I am really excited to be able to create healthier habits that will effect my family for the rest of their lives!!
Week 1 Goal: No more carbonated/soft drinks
The first week's goal, for any of you who are up to the challenge, is to eliminate carbonated drinks/soda/soft drinks out of your diet. For those of you who are like me, this first week will be easy. I have given it up for years at a time and I didn't have an issue with this part. For those of you who are used to drinking caffeinated sodas everyday...all day long, this may be extremely difficult for you. It may take a few weeks of weaning off, before you are ready to finally let go of the bottle (and I am referring to the baby bottle, folks...Come on! You can do it!). I'm not going to lie to you, it will be difficult. You may suffer from severe stomachaches, diarrhea, headaches, irritability, etc. But I promise you, that you won't regret it! Once you are off these unhealthy drinks for 7 days, you can move on to the next week's goal. But until you get rid of that first item, you will be stuck on Week 1 Goal. Is that motivating or what?
Your replacement drink will be water. You heard me, W A T E R. You should be getting at least 8 tall glasses of the stuff every day. And it doesn't count if it is in juice, vitamin/herbal water, or soup, either. You need a good old stiff drink of pure water, at least eight of them a day. I'll be expecting to hear back from those of you who are up to the challenge of The Healthy Adventure over the next 10 days! I am going to give you all a week and 1/2 to get on board. I'll be back with Week 2 Goal on January 15th (this should give all of you soda lovers a chance to get rid of your addiction). Until then...
It's good to be back!
~.~the purple sprout
p.s. Friday I am going to a friend's home to learn how to grind our own wheat and make some super yummy whole wheat bread with Shooter and Strider....I'll share what we learn later. Have a great week! :)