Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thoughts on Thursday {Why I eat "healthy"}

I always cringe a little bit when people claim that I eat "healthy." I love ice cream, diet coke, and cookie dough. I don't buy exclusively organic and have never eliminated carbs. However, I do eat a relatively healthy diet most of the time. It's about time that I share with you why.

Unlike my healthy-eating friends, I did not grow up like this. I grew up with a mom who didn't cook. Her mom didn't cook. I imagine her mom before her didn't cook either. My mom bought canned potatoes to serve with meatloaf. She didn't make anything from scratch except mashed potatoes and fettuccine Alfredo. As children, my sister and I ate spaghetti with ground beef and jarred tomato sauce, shake 'n bake, and cheese. Courtney and I ate cheese melted on a plate - melted cheese - as a snack. We had lots of frozen fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and McDonald's. We even ate frozen meals - Kid Cuisine, Swanson, etc. on a very regular basis.

I say this with no judgment. That was life. We had lots of boxed, canned, or pre-made meals full of preservatives. As a pre-teen I started having stomach trouble. After many tests and doctors visits, I was on medication. I decided to take control and started to alter my eating habits. In the past I'd toyed with vegetarianism because of humanitarianism and as an early teen I gave up red meat. I stopped eating McDonald's. I started reading what was in the food I was eating.

S-L-O-W-L-Y I developed a love for cooking. I taught myself how to make things from scratch. I started making pasta sauce with canned tomatoes. I got a pasta maker and experimented with homemade pasta. I cut out bleached flour and ate more whole grains. I felt a lot better! Of course I struggled through college because I wasn't making my own foods. I put on about 20 pounds (and yo-yoed all through college) over 4 years because of unhealthy choices.



After college it took me a few years of exercising and eating right to get to some sort of healthy weight. Eventually I started making a little bit of money and was able to experiment with vegetables, making things from scratch, and using less processed ingredients. Overtime I've been able to almost completely eliminate canned goods, boxed meals, and frozen prepared foods. We don't buy Minute Rice, prepackaged meat, or prepared meals. We do this mostly because it's more expensive, but also because I want to limit what I'm feeding my family. If I know what's in it, I'm much more likely to make it. 

Rather than buying canned, frozen and prepared, or processed, I make:
Beans
Pumpkin puree
Roux and sauces in place of canned soup in recipes
Gravy
Chicken/turkey stock
Roasted chicken
Yogurt
Bread


Because of Jarrod's gluten intolerance, I don't make desserts from scratch. We buy boxed brownies and doctor them up. This is a growth edge that I hope we can work on in the future. Gluten-free baking is an expensive science that I'm still somewhat fearful of.

I'm not perfect. We don't make our own ice cream or wine and those are two things we consume on a somewhat regular basis. :-) We don't have chickens for their eggs, don't purchase half a cow, and don't grow our own food. These are all things I hope to do in the future as we get even better at living a clean life.

How do you life a healthy life? What are ways you can eat healthier? In what ways are you rockin' it?
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1 comment:

  1. My mom cooked, but a lot of things still came from cans and boxes (Velveeta mac 'n cheese!). I've been able to eliminate a lot of those too--broth and cream soups being the major ones. I also buy peanuts-and-salt peanut butter and use a lot more beans in general than she did. I've also found ways to cook veggies where I like them better, so we eat more of those (sauteed with onions and garlic you can't go wrong!).

    Like you, I'm not bashing mom's food choices at all, but there definitely are some ways I feel like my choices are a bit easier on our bodies. But I did make broth with the turkey bones at mom's house and she loved it!

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