Week 2: Saturday Slip-ups

Overall we continue to do well.  I have to remember that any improvement is improvement and I can’t expect to be 100% perfect from the start.  Things I’m proud of in Week 2:

  • Buying all organic dairy, meat, and produce.  The only non-organic things in my entire shopping this week were mustard (whole grain, stone ground) and coffee.
  • Making my own BBQ sauce that was actually tasty.  My 2 year old daughter even helped.  She is so proud when we use it.
  • Doing most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s to save $.  My total bill was still around $170 but we’re getting there.
  • Overall planning.  I have this carousel of plans spinning in my head and I’ve been able to keep up on everything.

We had a couple slip-ups on Saturday:

  • I hadn’t been hungry all week and had skipped dinner for about three days and by Saturday night, I was dying for food.  We went out for pizza.  Only I ate some and hubby had some fries.
  • During the same time when grandma was babysitting, she didn’t know about the changes we’d made and gave the kids pixie sticks.  Now that she knows what we are doing, she’ll be totally supportive.

Food items we’re still using up:

  • Salad dressings
  • Non-organic cheese sticks.  Only I eat them.  Kids were switched immediately but I can’t stand to throw away that much food and I don’t have a place to donate perishables.

Things to do better for next week:

  • Keep some meals that I love to eat at home for junk food cravings.  I probably would have been just as happy with whole wheat spaghetti and homemade sauce as I was with the pizza.  Plus the spaghetti doesn’t come with the same guilt.
  • Get better water bottles for the kids.  We often go to the gym after daycare so they need snacks and water on the way.  Every day I struggle to find clean cups to put water in.

All of the same things to work on for the future:

  • Work with the daycare to figure out the most efficient way to bring snacks.  I’d prefer to only pack breakfast and lunch daily and maybe bring snacks weekly.
  • Work on meat and milk product sources.  We visited one farm but it would be inconvenient for weekly pickup.  Keep researching.
  • Find at least one restaurant where we can eat out.  We need one option for burned dinners, very sick kids, or when I’m out of town for work.

Health updates have been hard to gauge.  My husband and daughter got the stomach virus and have been sick all week.  If my daughter continues to be sick tomorrow I’ve got to take her to the doc.  I’m really hoping it is a virus and not a food intolerance brought to light by our different eating habits.  I feel like I may be coming down with the same virus.  It will be hard to keep up the same level of attention to cooking if I have a knock-down virus.  My husband is a terrible cook despite 7+ years of lessons from me.  We won’t know how things are going with my son’s asthma until his next cold virus.  I’m hoping it won’t be for a while but I will be interested to see how it goes.

Have a great week!


Week 1: Change is Hard

We started on Sunday and we’ve made it until Saturday.  In using up foods in my house, we’ve eaten things that we won’t be eating in the future.  On that list:

  • Conventionally-raised meat including ground turkey and bacon
  • Non-organic dairy for the adults (I switched the kids right away) including sour cream and cheese
  • Salad dressing and other sauces containing sugar
  • Highly processed corn tortillas
  • 100% Apple Juice Boxes

Overall we’ve done really well.  Things I’m proud of:

  • Making all meals except Saturday lunch at home
  • Packing much better snacks for the kids when they’re eating away from home including raw trail mix and organic cheese and whole wheat (no processed sugar) crackers
  • Finding a whole wheat bread machine recipe I actually like
  • Having far fewer sugar cravings than I anticipated

Things to do better for next week:

  • Making sauces at home.  I am attempting this BBQ sauce tomorrow
  • Prepping and freezing more small portions for my lunches or for kid snacks
  • Figuring out how to do less of my shopping at Whole Foods

Things to work on for the future:

  • Work with the daycare to figure out the most efficient way to bring snacks.  I’d prefer to only pack breakfast and lunch daily and maybe bring snacks weekly.
  • Work on meat and milk product sources.  We visited one farm but it would be inconvenient for weekly pickup.  Keep researching.
  • Find at least one restaurant where we can eat out.  We need one option for burned dinners, very sick kids, or when I’m out of town for work.

There aren’t really any health updates at this time.  I’ve felt extremely tired at night but I’ve also been working out almost daily and had an extremely busy work week.  It is difficult to track the kids stomach issues this week because they both have a stomach virus that circulated the daycare.  My husband had a little less random pain this week but did have a very bad bout of chest pain yesterday (Friday).  The only positive is that I’ve lost a couple pounds.  In addition to the diet changes, I’ve also been tracking calories.  I do find it easier to stay in my calories when eating this way though.

See you next week!

Enough is Enough

This week my three-year old son had to take another dose of oral steroids to prevent a trip to the ER for reactive airway (asthma-like) problems. Each time he gets a cold, his breathing becomes so labored that he needs serious medications to get enough oxygen. This started in December 2013 just after his 3rd birthday. His doctors have tried a variety of medications. He’s seen specialists. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Each time he gets sick the inflammation in his bronchial tubes is so severe that only a heavy dose of oral steroids reduces the swelling enough for him to breathe. We’ve received tips from his school and other well-intentioned friends that he just needs to find the right doctor, the right medication. After several doctors, many medications, and my own research, I think there must be another way. I am not discounting the value of medication when it is appropriate and works. The problem for us is that the medications are not working as they should.

Our family is starting on a journey towards healthier eating. We aren’t following any particular plan but drawing from multiple sources such as Nourishing Traditions and 100 Days of Real Food.  I’m sure I’ll find more along the way and will document them here.  My goal is to reduce inflammation in our bodies and hopefully lessen the severity of my son’s asthma.  We may never be medication-free but I would hope that the medication will, at the very least, work when he needs it.

I’m not hoping to get rich off this blog or change the way anyone thinks.  I want to document our journey so that when I am sick of meal planning and making sacrifices to buy higher quality food, I remember why I am doing this and see any progress we may have made.

I don’t expect to be perfect immediately.  This is absolutely a journey.  The key rules I want to start out with are:

  1. Organic dairy products – as close to raw milk products as are available in a grocery store.  I hope to eventually switched to raw milk but due to local laws it is much more difficult to get raw milk products.  Moving to organic is a step I can take now.
  2. Higher quality meat with the highest Animal Welfare Rating I can afford.  Like with milk products, I hope to eventually move to getting meat through a local farm where I can observe the conditions.
  3. No refined sugar.  Raw local honey is something we’ve been using for a while because of wide availability in my area.  Most of my cooking and baking uses honey.  I don’t think I’ve used sugar since my Christmas cookies but I have to be better about looking for hidden sugars in food.  I’ll be making more of my own sauces and my kids won’t get as many (someday ANY) prepackaged snacks.

Our family has been eating out much less than we have in the past.  Based on a strong family history of the Celiac’s gene and the long list of ongoing health problems he had, my husband stopped eating gluten in January 2014.  It resolved about 80% of his health issues within one month.  We’re not sure if he has Celiac’s because his doctor would require him to eat gluten for 1-3 weeks before she will do a Celiac’s test.  Based on his personal reaction to gluten, he chooses to never knowingly ingest it again.  Maybe we’ll reevaluate his decision at some point but for now, he’ll just avoid gluten without a diagnosis.  At this point, only my husband is gluten-free and my son, my daughter (2), and I will continue to eat whole wheat.

I’ll begin to lay out a plan for making changes in our lives.  First, I’ll start with the meals I make at home.  Currently my kids eat breakfast, snacks, and lunch at daycare.  After I have those under control, I will begin packing lunches for my children to take to daycare.  When I feel like I have the entire food issue under control, we’ll switch to other parts of our home including storage materials, cleaning products, and hygiene products.  This is a long term process and I will not sabotage my progress or budget by requiring quick results.

Starting today, September 14, 2014, we begin to transition to a more traditional, less processed way of eating.  We’ll start slow as we use up items in our pantry.  I’m sure I’ll make mistakes as I continue to learn.  And when I am frustrated and tired, I’ll look here and remember that I will make this work because I want my son to breathe freely and my whole family to live a long and healthy life.