Because health is not an option for us
"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." —William Shakespeare
As I have been running ideas of blog posts through my mind all week, I realized I could not get the theme of health off my mind. Probably because it is a daily blessing and a curse.
To be a healthy, thriving wife and mother of 3 is a great blessing and one I do not take for granted, but it is not to say that I get to eat whatever I want, do whatever I want and feel great. Truth be told, my health habits are probably somewhere in the 90% category as far as being a "healthy" person.
So why the curse? I still wake up with something that ails me, and reminds me how I can still do better.
Because health is not an option for us, we chose to make it a way of life.
The point here is not to make anyone feel guilty, but to remind myself that there is always room for improvement and my husband and my kids deserve to see me at my best everyday, not just 90% of the time. All Moms, regardless of whether you work outside of the home, or homeschool, know that there is very little time for you to not feel your best. There are always mouths to feed, and kids that need to be read to and snuggled.
If you have followed me for long at all you have heard me talk about how crazy stubborn I can be. I am the worst when my husband starts in on a health kick of some kind. I immediately go into self-defense mode and throw out a list of excuses for why his methods do not work for me. Sound familiar?
This was exactly what happened two years ago when he started talking about Whole30. I resisted it with every part of my being. Then we went on vacation and I felt so terrible that I knew I needed to do something, but still insisted it would all be on my terms.
I think when you are in your twenties, you start to discover so much about yourself. The "invisibility" cloak starts to come off and you realize just how human you really are. The closer I got to 30, the more I began to feel all those hereditary ailments. I came to several realizations not only because I know my family is at stake, but also because I know what my future COULD possibly hold. Years ago, an employer would inform me on health and continually tell me that you can either pay for your health now, or you can pay for it later. As frugal as I am, that was such a hard pill to swallow. Just in my family line I have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, high blood pressure, IBS, dementia, Alzheimers and more going against me. That is a scary list, but a great motivator.
So where do you start when the odds are stacked against you?
Start with the fuel for your body; your food.
Be aware of how certain foods affect your body. Whole30 was exactly what I needed to become more self-aware in my journey to a greater knowledge of health. It broke me of my obsession with food and it trained me to look for ingredients and to know what ingredients are good for my body and which ones are not. My senior year of High School, my Family Physician told me I had something called IBS. I did not like the side effects of medicine, so I resolved to believing that abdominal pain and bloating (among other things) were the norm. When news started coming out about Celiac Disease and the "gluten-free" movement I had questioned if I should go gluten-free, but did not have the will to do so. I loved food especially pasta and bread. By doing Whole30 I discovered that I absolutely do have a gluten sensitivity, because when I steer clear of gluten and stick to the Paleo diet it changes everything for me. I can reassure you that constant abdominal pain and bloating are not a normal part of life. I realized 2 years ago that I could manage symptoms by the foods I ate, and that was a huge game changer. Not only for me, but for my family also.
Check the ingredient list. I will be at the grocery store with my kids and they will grab something and immediately go to the ingredient list and say, "Mom, this doesn't have a ton of ingredients right?" Haha. The fewer the ingredients the better, and then make sure you know the ingredients you see!
Challenge yourself to buy more fresh products and find ways for you and your kids to eat those treats throughout the day instead of reaching for a bag of chips or something else lurking in the snack cabinet. I will purposely buy only a couple organic "snacks" to grab for on the go and then fill the cart with fresh produce so that when my kids open up the pantry and say, "Mom, what can I have for a snack?" I will say, "Ooo you can grab an apple or some carrots, how about an orange?" Another helpful tip: if you have these things cut up before the week begins, you and your kids are more likely to eat them because they will be easily accessible. In our busy little worlds, this is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Even if you cut things up every couple of days to avoid throwing things out when they go bad.
A couple things to keep in mind:
1. Choosing healthier foods to put in your body does not mean you all the sudden become a food snob. You are simply learning what is best for your family and training your kids on what health could look like for them. Keep in mind, even for us there are days where we go out for ice cream, or grab a corn dog because the day did not allow for Mom to whip up a homemade organic lunch. There is grace in learning and changing lifestyle patterns, I mean, let's not forget about Grandma's house. ;)
2. Choosing to buy healthier food, will mean that your grocery bill will probably go up some. Whether it is more produce, gluten-free, organic, Paleo there is always a higher price for larger investments. Your body and those wonderful people you get the privilege of feeding at home are worth the investment. We pay way more for our grocery bill than we do our Health insurance or doctor bills.
I would also highly recommend you keep a balanced mind and not obsess over ingredients or stack on extreme guilt for any small act of indulgence. Make sure you balance your nutrition and still take a daily vitamin. (Do your research on those as well!)
The best part is that when we choose to put clean foods in our bodies, we can get rid of the heavy and sluggish feeling. If I have even a little bit of gluten or too much of the wrong kind of sweeteners, my face is puffy the next day, my stomach is out of sorts, I am foggy and just feel miserable. To me, it is simply not worth it. My family deserves my best.
Maybe for you, not drinking soda or not eating donuts every morning would be a baby step and a step in the right direction, that is ok! Keep in mind that the choices you make today will ultimately effect your future. You are loved and worthy of a great future full of health.
Bottom line: when you eat better, you feel better, you have more energy and you operate better for those you love.
Your body is a temple. Take care of yourself.
I would love to hear any tips or tricks any busy Moms have for eating healthy and clean with a on-the-go lifestyle. Chime in and let me know how changing your eating habits has changed your life! Also, if you are looking for a good time to do Whole30, NOW is the time! I promise once you get past the first 2 weeks, you will be so glad you did it. ;)
Have a great week everyone!