Friday, February 20, 2015

Choices: Eating Whole Foods

I figured it was about time to get back to my choices series. I have a few more posts I wanted to write on that. Since I'm doing my Whole 30 challenge right now and eating mostly whole foods right now, I figured I should write this one next.

My view of foods and health has changed so much the last few years. This is what my journey toward healthier eating has looked like.

For years, I naively ate the standard American diet, lots of packaged and processed foods, while trying to make what I thought were healthy choices. Then I got pregnant. I tried to make a lot more healthy changes for my growing baby and felt pretty good about it. I still remember the reaction of the midwife when I described my diet to her. After all my 'healthy' changes, I was still far from eating her version of a healthy diet. I was discouraged by her strong negative reaction to some of my so-called 'healthy' choices, like WIC-approved cereals. So why am I not just eating Reese's Puffs then?!

I had no clue about what healthy eating really looked like.

Some of my friends are passionate about eating organic whole foods and over the last few years I have benefited enormously from reading many of the articles they have shared. Over time, I began reading more and more about our food system: the additives, the use of antibiotics, the use of synthetic ingredients, the use of pesticides, and GMO crops and how they're making their way into everything. I also watched documentaries on Netflix like Food, Inc.

As I have learned more, my shopping patterns have changed. I've switched to buying organic whenever possible, and I use the EWG's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to help prioritize my organic purchases. I try to avoid products that likely contain GMOs and I've tried to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diets.

This Whole 30 challenge has helped me to put into practice all that I have been learning and to develop some new and much healthier habits.

I had read so much about how nutrition affects our health and now I have experienced the difference while doing the Whole 30! I haven't had an energy slump in the middle of the afternoon and I've been waking up before my alarm clock. I've been feeling really good health-wise, for which I am especially grateful after a really rough fall! I was continually ill due to my broken sleep schedule, because of my paper route, plus poor food choices. These last few weeks with proper sleep and great nutrition, I have felt fabulous! I've even felt more emotionally balanced, and the last week or so as I've loosened my rules, I've noticed a difference in my emotional fluctuations when I have more sugar. I was surprised at how obvious a difference it's been.

These changes have been hard, but worth it. There is so much healing to be found in eating food that truly nourishes your body! Any healthy change, big or small, is a step in the right direction. Start today. :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Whole 30: Day 9

I am continually amazed at God's timing. When I planned this Whole 30 plus Facebook break, I had no idea all that He would lead me to through it. I feel like one thing after another keeps falling into place. Like finally reading the Dave Ramsey books, right before tax return time, so our financial outlook is completely changed. And now I found this 'Choose Love' 21-day challenge today, when I have 21 days left! Yes! I'm accepting that challenge and adding it on to what I'm already doing!

That means my challenge now is to eat whole, healthy foods, invest my time away from Facebook, be thrifty in every way possible, and above all, choose love!

Speaking of choosing to love, any mamas need a doula? This praying mama loves to love on expecting mamas! I've been working on finishing my doula certification this past week. Papers written, forms filled out, and everything printed and ready to send. I only need to fulfill one last requirement, then I can send everything in and be an officially certified doula!

Anyway, this diet change has been challenging me. I've considered quitting it more than once and continuing on a modified version, but I really want to complete the full 30 days. My determination to reach the goal has won out each time so far, and now that I'm nearly 1/3 done, that helps! Larabars have also helped. ;) Thank God for whoever it was that mentioned those to me!

I also want to say that finding the 'Choose Love' challenge right now is perfect timing, not just in that the 21 days coincides with the last 21 days of my Whole 30, but also because the last few days I have been a rushing, harried, impatient mess. I've gotten so excited and motivated to move on so many different things (all good things!), but I've been trying to do them all at once in my own strength. As I read today's entry in Jesus Calling this morning, God was reminding me to sloooow down. This challenge is another God reminder to slow down and choose love. So I will choose love. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Whole 30: Day 4

Four days in. My meals are a routine, just using up the items that I bought. I plan to try some new things next time I go shopping and use some new recipes. It's good to try new things, right? Send me suggestions if you have any!

The good:

I don't feel guilty about anything that I am eating in terms of nutrition or toxic ingredients. My boys are also eating more prepared meals and less things out of a box, although they still reject most of what I'm eating. At least they're getting some of it!

I've had more time to invest in various things have have been going undone. Yesterday, I worked on completing my doula certification by revising my resource list and writing the first draft of the essay required on the topic of "The Purpose and Value of Labor Support." Feels good to have that done! I also was drawn to the Dave Ramsey materials we borrowed from my parents ages ago. I skimmed through Financial Peace Revisited as a refresher, and then I sat and read through The Total Money Makeover yesterday and today. A few years back, we got started on the "baby steps" and at some point lost steam and got off track. I'm feeling really motivated on that now, and so I've been talking with my husband about going hard after paying off our debt and following the rest of those baby steps! I've caught the vision again and I'm feeling inspired by all the success stories!

The hard:

Cravings.... Bread. Sugar. More sugar... The first day or two, I was craving salty things like chips. Now I'm mostly craving sugary treats. I read recently that cravings only last for three to five minutes, and it seems fairly accurate. If I just ignore it and lock into what I'm doing, I tend to forget, because I'm not actually hungry.

I've also noticed my sugar cravings are strongly tied to my emotions. Yes, my name is Shelly and I am an emotional eater. Feeling sad or upset? I would like some chocolate with that or maybe ice cream! Hopefully, that particular bad habit will be gone after these thirty days.

Overall, this is hard, but worth it. I'm learning meal planning and how to incorporate more whole foods into my diet and hopefully into my family's diets as well. For the sake of our long term health, this is a necessary change. I'm resetting my time-spending and turning it into time-investments. I'm also dealing more directly with my emotions and going to my true Comforter, instead of covering by finding comfort in sugary treats.

Twenty six days to go!