You know how we find something that interests us and become obsessed? We live and breathe it, no doubt annoying everyone with the constant monologuing and social media posts. We have become those people when it comes to what foods go into our daily diet. My Instagram feed is full of photos of our meals, and conveniently, Facebook duplicates them for that feed. Then there’s the commenting on every post that involves food, detailing why they aren’t good for you—making you ponder on whether or not to unfriend us. It’s a risk we take given our fascination with just how many people have it wrong about what’s healthy and how to knock off those extra pounds.
"I’ve tried everything! I can’t lose the weight!”
Honesty, have you really?
"Dieting is too hard. I don’t want to be restricted.”
What about self-restraint on portion sizes?
"I don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals."
Conservatively, you're awake 16 hours in a day, are you sure?
"Healthy foods are too expensive."
Are your medical fees and supplements cheaper?
There are so many more “reasons” people use for not eating better and I have a response to all of them. If you avoid pretty much everything in the middle of the grocery store, you’d really be better off. All you have to do is control your ingredients…or, at least make better choices on those prepared foods.
We rejoice in the fact we feel better and that we’ve lost most of the inches grown over the past few years from all those bad food decisions. All it took was dishing out only the recommended serving sizes when we eat and cutting out as many added sugars as possible. There is a tendency to fill plates with even the healthiest of foods rather than thinking about quality over quantity.
Eating salads and snacking on granola bars isn’t exactly healthy if the salad is laden with dressing and the granola bar has added sugars. Here are two examples of salad dressing and a granola bar. Aside from the sugar added, there is a slew of ingredients most can’t pronounce.
Ranch Dressing: Vegetable Oil, Water, Egg Yolks, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavors, Spices, Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate. Gluten free.
Oats ’n Honey Granola Bar: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Rice Flour, Honey, Salt, Brown Sugar Syrup, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.
Let’s say you love ranch dressing and want to make it yourself. I’m pretty sure you can pronounce all of these: mayonnaise, sour cream, dried chives, dried parsley, dried dill weed, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper. Try this recipe for ranch dressing.
Need a snack, here’s what’s in the oats ’n honey granola bar you love so much: dates, honey, natural peanut or almond butter, almonds, rolled oats, and dried fruit. It may take a minute, but try using this recipe.
Although honey is considered a sugar, it’s a natural one that offers nutrients and antioxidants. Pure Maple Syrup also falls into that category. Peanut butter containing ONLY peanuts is a good thing. Simply Jiff Peanut Butter has roasted peanuts, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, mono and diglycerides, molasses, sugar, salt. Again, this is about trying to limit the intake of added sugars that your body doesn’t really know what to do with—and then eventually turns it into fat.
I have no doubt all this is annoying to think about, but you should. And, this isn’t a “look at me and how great I’m doing” thing. It’s about wanting to share what we know to those we care about. The most common food-related things people post about are:
I know our daughter is hating the changes we’ve made as we not only point out all the sugar and unhealthy ingredients in the foods she likes, but we don’t buy most of them anymore. We do get her a few of her favorites things, like Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup to make chocolate milk. However, she has to measure out only a serving size, which is one tablespoon. Her macaroni and cheese is now Annie’s, which has better ingredients than Kraft’s version. We understand she wants the quick and easy meals, not ingredients to make them. However, she also wants a better complexion and more energy to get through her day. The key is involving her in the menu and letting her go through the cookbooks to pick out what she wants to eat. Her school choices are awful and she sent us photos of the healthy foods to show why she won’t bother choosing them. It’s really no wonder kids select pizza, French fries, and hamburgers. And, it’s also no wonder that kids are developing Type II Diabetes and becoming obese. I’ll no doubt have to blog about that, too. In the mean time, I want to make sure she has good choices at home.
I will conclude by saying sorry, not sorry, should you still be reading this post. If just one person gets something from it and attempts to better their diet just a little, I’ve succeeded. Meanwhile, I will relish in the fact I have lost twenty pounds since we started eating actual portion sizes and limiting added sugars. I will embrace having more energy and the feeling better throughout my day. I will be continue to be assertive with our daughter, not giving up on changing her view of healthier foods. I will persevere in my search for new ways to appreciate asparagus.
I will not, however—under any circumstances—find value grapefruit or papaya. They are the fruits of the devil.
The countdown has reached launch! Two of three teenagers have taken off and landed safely into their grandparents hands. The third leaves next Wednesday for a week! Unfortunately, there seems to be a potential hurricane brewing in the Gulf. Not a great way to start their vacation away from home, but I know they’ll be safe in my parent’s house. I have no doubt it will become an adventure of some sort.
I wonder if they are relieved to not be here. Probably. In Houston, they will be spoiled, fed beyond all reason, and have a lot of activities. Here, we don’t go out much and stock our pantry with only ingredients to make food—no pizza rolls, pop tarts, or frozen chicken fingers. I will not worry in the least how much sugar and carbs they consume on their vacation. I will not worry if they brush their teeth for the entire three weeks. And, I will not worry if they stay up late and sleep all day. In the hands of my family, they are golden and I don’t have to witness any of it of the debauchery.
We still have no kid-free plans overall, but it’s nice to know we could fly to Rome at a moment’s notice. Our only venture planned so far is a Rolling Stones concert in Jacksonville—and that’s something! We also get to feed our book fetish while there at Chamblin’s Bookmine—which I can say is almost as exciting that the concert. Call me weird, but we like our books.
The summer days have been consistently rolling by as they always seem to do. Most of our time off is spent relaxing by the pool. That, combined with our healthier eating and my Yoga, we are looking tan and more slender. Overall, I’d call that a good summer.
Teenage Summer Expectations:
Summer at our house has no doubt been a huge let down for our daughter. There is a misconception all three of our teenagers have always had: everyone is on summer vacation. There is a blatant disregard for the notion parents have to work. The word they would use is inconceivable. And, it does mean what you think it means. They don’t seem to be able to comprehend all of this around them works because we do. During the summer, more food is consumed and more cleaning needs to be done. They have nothing but time, but it dwindles as they waste away the day.
Don’t get me wrong, now is when time can be wasted. Sleep a little more. Catch up on those tv shows you missed. Play all those video games you begged to play during the school week. Do nothing if that is what you want. Just don’t complain. Don’t wait for parents to make your day more entertaining. Also, try not to shoot down every idea we have while rolling your eyes and falling to the couch in an exasperated slump.
Before school ended, our daughter literally counted down the days until summer vacation. Now, counting would probably be considered school work. Fortunately, she's headed to Houston to spend time with her grandparents and cousins for three weeks!
This is the REAL countdown and we have thirteen days to go. Two of our three kids are going and we cannot wait! The oldest has a job and can only go for a week, but he's at work most of the time anyway. Oddly enough, three weeks was the kid's idea and the best one they have every summer. How will we fill our time, you ask? I’ll tell you.
We go on road trips, to theme parks, shopping, and entertain our every whim. Kidding. Mostly. We enjoy the quiet. We clean the house fewer times a week. We cook whatever we want without having to hear, “No thanks. I don’t like that.” We go to the grocery store far less—and, we don’t wonder who ate all of our favorite snacks. Stress levels are down, as well as our electric and water bill. Most importantly, we enjoy our time alone—no interruptions.
Will I miss them? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because I enjoy the banter and laughter in the house. No, because I know they are having fun, getting spoiled, and spending time with family they don’t get to see very often. The best part is they won’t complain of being bored. They will go outside despite the summer heat. They will be game for whatever suggestions are made. Unfortunately, they will not be reading. We pick our battles.
I am a woman-child at heart; continuously evolving to find my place in life. I am a mother, a daughter, and a sister. I am a lover and a dreamer--an explorer and a traveler. But it's my passion for writing that allows me to explore my ingenuity. This is something that undoubtedly carries over to the many roles that make up the ever evolving woman I am.