Tuesday, April 08, 2014

what we eat and why

i'm going to visit my bff jamie soon. she lives in california with her husband and they just had their first baby! i can't wait to love on that precious baby! jamie and i have been besties for 20 something years so it's safe to say she knows me pretty much the most. she called this week to chat about our upcoming visit, what time will we arrive, how long can we stay, what do we want to do, and ohbytheway what do you eat? i laughed. she knows. she knows about the 7 years i was a strict vegetarian. she knows about my vegan tendencies. she knows there have been times when we're on the daniel fast. she knows my kids have never had poptarts. however finicky or unusual or peculiar our eating habits, the truth is this: WE LOVE TO EAT.

i eased jamie's concerns by letting her know it's totes NBD, we will eat whatever, we are easy going and adaptable, and yes, i will eat meat. did i mention jamie and her husband own a BBQ restaurant?! definitely having me some smoked BBQ! 

it got me thinking about what we eat and why. it comes up in conversations from time to time. to organize my thoughts and document it sort of officially, i made a list of what we eat and why, with some links to further research:

* i prefer a vegan diet. i just like the way my body feels when i eat a clean, plant-based diet. i am lactose intolerant, so no dairy anyway. (i miss cheese the most) my family, however, eats meat, mostly chicken or turkey. almost no red meat. very little pork. when i buy meat i don't mess around- i get the best quality, organic, all-natural, free range and all that jazz. it's worth it to me.

* no hfcs and no artificial sweeteners. it's just junk. i've done enough research to know that if i'm going to have sugar, good ole' cane sugar is best. but if possible, i like to avoid white sugar when i can. i like to sweeten with organic local honey or organic maple syrup.

* our son eats gluten-free. we learned almost three years ago that his body and brain reacts negatively to red dye, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and gluten. he's only 5 so it's not like it was very difficult to make the change to his little diet. we all made the switch Udi's GF bread for sandwiches, i bake with GF recipe adaptions, and i make sure his on-the-go snacks are GF. i'd say his diet is about 95% gluten-free and his body and brain are thankful. every now and then he'll have a flour tortilla or a cookie from the Target bakery and we just brace ourselves for the aftermath.

* the fewer the ingredients the better. i try my darndest to stay away from processed foods. every time i find myself reaching for a box or jar of something processed, i ask myself: can i make a healthier version of this? and almost always the answer is yes, Eryn, you can. but there are some exceptions. like my son's breakfast bars. they are gluten free, whole grain cereal bars with no artificial ingredients, no hydrogenated or GMO oils, and no hfcs. and when i look at the list of ingredients on the side of the box, nothing scares me. the list isn't that long and i know what each ingredient is. same with breakfast cereal. we only buy Chex, plain/honeynut Cheerios, and the occasional a box of Raisin Bran. i never buy food that i think i can make myself, or if the ingredient list isn't super simple. it's easy to buy the boxed stuff, i know. but in this case, the easy thing isn't the right thing. the key here is this: if i don't buy it, it won't be in the house, so they won't eat it. i'm training up taste buds!

* fast food. the smell of mcdonald's french fries used to be like heaven. now, i wouldn't touch that place with a 10 foot pole. the more i know about food, the more careful i am about which foods i eat. and let's just say i know too much about mcdonald's food to ever eat there or feed it to my kids. dimethylpolysiloxane is a type of silicone and also an ingredient in chicken mcnuggets. so there's that. when we have fast food, which is about once a month, we go to chik-fil-a and choose the healthiest options from the menu - based not on calories but on ingredients. we also really like zoe's kitchen and the made-to-order salad/sandwich counter at whole foods market. other than that, we steer clear of fast food as much as possible. (i did show my kids the time-lapse video of mcdonald's food not changing one bit. it was a lesson in preservatives. #homeschool)

* water, water, water. we don't drink juice or sodas. clarification: we only drink our own homemade juice, sparkling water (simply carbonated water with natural flavor), and the concessional (cane sugar) root beer for a special treat. my husband and i have coffee in the morning, and sometimes afternoon tea. my kids have a cup of organic low-fat milk a day. other than that, it's all water all the time. it's the good stuff and i don't take it's accessibility for granted. when my kids offered a juice box, they get so excited and say YES PLEASE! but after a sip or two, they're pushing the juice away and asking for water instead. that thing i said about training up taste buds? truth.

* so what do we eat? we eat totally normal, simple, clean foods. here's a complete run-down of what we ate today, with (NON affiliate) links to the actual brands/products (if available) - for breakfast, my son had his bar, a yogurt, and a banana. my daughter had a bowl of Chex and a banana. i had coffee. for lunch, my kids both had peanut butter and jelly wrapped in warmed flour tortillas. i had a smoothie made with whey protein powder, PB2, organic frozen berries, a handful of organic kale, a banana, and organic coconut milk. we had an orange and grapes for snack. for dinner we're having organic vegetable soup (canned) with organic veggie burgers that i'm praying my kids will eat. pass the (organic) ketchup! if we're in the mood for dessert, our choices are jelly beans (for the kids 1 per year old they are), vanilla ice cream, (coconut ice cream for moi) or GF kit-kat wannabes. there is currently no nutella in my house because it is so good in all the wrong ways.

* grocery list & menu planning has helped me keep track of our eating habits and stay consistent, so it really is a way of life and not just a passing trend. i plan dinner menus weekly and grocery shop accordingly. when i need a recipe or inspiration for a meal, my two go-tos are pinterest, musings of a housewife, and the pioneer woman. i modify recipes to be gluten-free, or i substitute healthier ingredients. here are my recipes, my Make Serve Eat Pin Board, and my menu planning posts.

....annnnnd that is a lot of information. more than you probably ever wanted to know about me. or maybe not? maybe you've always been curious.

what do you eat and why? do tell