Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Starting with the Children, from Where We Are Now

The Roches - Where We Are Now

Jeff and I are in a mild state of shock! We can't believe we've reached a point in our health where friends and family actually seek our advice. It was only two years ago when we regularly feasted on hot dogs and processed American cheese slices wrapped in tubed crescent rolls! Now, it's spinach salad and spaghetti squash on the menu. We are astounded by our transformation and so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to help others with the wisdom of our experience. (Service rocks...and so does a fresh green smoothie!)

However, a big chunk of us feels like we've failed. While we would gladly publish all we eat in a week, we're not similarly confident about what we're feeding our children. We've lovingly detoxed our own bodies, and  yet we feed our kids food containing all kinds of additives and preservatives. There remains a sense of shame and embarrassment in terms of what the kids eat, which lets us know its the perfect time to make changes.

As for changes, we've already made a ton of them as a family. Jeff and I ditched soda over a decade ago and began the slow switch to organic starting with milk. Once we became parents, we made the shift from regular restaurant-goers to mainly home cooks. Two years ago, we set our path for a real food diet, gradually implementing more changes along the way. We never had a sudden epiphany about eating, but all the changes were baby steps towards health.

To really demonstrate how much we've grown as a family, here is a sample day from two years ago:

Breakfast: Eggo Waffle and Apple Juice 
Snack: Fruit Roll Up and Apple Juice
Lunch: PB&J (Jiff PB and Smuckers Jelly) on Honey Wheat Bread, Cheese Stick, and Apple Juice
Snack: Cheez-its and Apple Juice
Dinner: Hot Dog on a Potato Roll and Kraft Mac and Cheese with Organic Milk
Dessert: Two-Bite Brownies

Here is a current sample day:

Breakfast: Vitatop and Organic OJ
Snack: Organic Apple and Organic Mara Natha Peanut Butter with Water
Lunch: PB&J (Organic Mara Natha PB and Bonne Maman Jelly) on Organic Whole Wheat, Pirate Booty, and Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk
Snack: Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies with Water
Dinner: Organic Chicken Wrap with Seaside Cheddar on a Whole Wheat Tortilla, Organic Applesauce, and Local Organic Milk
Dessert: Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie

About where we are now, there's been progress, but there is still room to grow!

The Pros: As a family we eat largely organic including fruit, meats, and dairy. We've even started to flow away from big organic towards local, small organic. We make a lot of things at home rather than opting for store bought, like my chocolate chip cookies and Jeff's marinara. We're definitely on our way to an unprocessed lifestyle - an amazing feeling that resonates in our souls. The boys never drink soda and candy is a rare treat in our household.

The Cons: We still feed the children frozen prepackaged breakfasts that are loaded with sugar. With their PB&J lunches the kids get processed organic snack mixes. Throw in a side of organic chocolate milk box containing carrageenan, too! Noticeably absent from their diets are fruit (for Brice) and vegetables (for both). And, we mean NO vegetables. They don't even really like the sauce on pizza! As for fruit, while Finn is a regular fruitarian from before birth, my recent successes include getting Brice to eat apple slices (minus the peel) and applesauce. That's it! We have a loooong way to go in the fruit and veggie department. 

So, that's where we're starting now. Check back shortly as we reveal our plan for implementing some amazing changes in the boys' eating habits. We're ready to take our next baby steps!

PS: We welcome your feedback and guidance! How have you transformed your picky eaters into veggie lovers? What healthy and nutritious foods do your your children gobble without complaint? Where do you still struggle? Let us know what's worked and what hasn't in your house. We'd love to hear your stories!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grab Yourself a Heaping (Looney)Spoonful!

Jeff and I picked up the Looneyspoons Collection recently and haven't put it down. It's...simply...that good. It's funny, easy to read, accessible in cooking techniques, loaded with nutrition fun facts, and brimming with recipes. Yes, there are 325 recipes - almost all of which we actually want to make!

So far, in the month we've had the book we've poured through more than a dozen - all with rave reviews. Aunt Chilada's Stuffed Tortillas were a great weeknight treat as was the Bye Bye Burgie portabella burger and the Rice is Right fried rice dish. The Eggplanet Hollywood was so delish we sent a batch to a friend caring for a sick child. The Piled High Veggie Pot Pie was warmly comforting on a cold winter Sunday. The Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice muffins were a hit with the kids. And, the Batter-Be-Good-To-Me Pancakes are my favorite pancakes...ever! (And, yes, all the recipes have corny titles like these. Hands down to the women creative enough to concoct 325 unique, corny recipe names!)

If you are new to the kitchen, expanding your go-to recipes, or interested in learning more about healthy eating, this collection is fantastic. We wholeheartedly recommend it! In the nutritional nuggets, recipe tips, trivial tidbits, and other fun facts you'll learn about everything from the health benefits of ingredients and cooking tips to the evils of diet soda and factory farming. It's all here in the nearly 400 pages of yummy goodness!

With a caveat, this book is a great resource for real foodies, too. Consumers of unprocessed foods will have to make some substitutions because some of the ingredients in this "healthy" cookbook are anything but clean. For example: light dairy products, Knorr soup mix, white flour, white sugar, ranch-flavored cream cheese, and (my personal anti-favorite) reduced-fat canned crescent rolls. Use your favorite substitutions (spelt flour for white flour, honey for sugar, coconut derivatives for you paleo folks), and you'll be great!

Overall, this book is a great addition to our library and yours! In fact, with the dozens of cookbooks in our home, this is the book we've got out as we prepare for a weekend visit from my mother-in-law. Is there any better endorsement than that? Enough said!

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice Mini Muffins
LOVED these!

Batter-Be-Good-To-Me Pancakes
St. Paddy's Day Edition

Piled High Veggie Pot Pie
The picture doesn't do the deliciousness justice!

Note: Hay House gave us a copy of this book to review. We're grateful for The Looneyspoons Collection and Hay House! And, no, getting the book for free didn't sway the opinions expressed herein. (Pardon the legalese, it's my native tongue.)