We have a ton of food allergies, sensitivities and pickiness in my crazy family of 8. Between us all, we have gluten, soy, egg, and dairy allergies. I have one ultra-picky eater and one who can’t eat raw vegetables; some with really high metabolisms and some with really low metabolisms. I have a few people who want to lose weight, a few who want to eat for athletic performance, and a few who can’t find time to eat at all. I have often teased (in all seriousness) that the biggest mistake that I ever made was to do a food cleanse and learn the two truths that I will never be able to unlearn:
- Just how good I COULD feel and
- Just how sick some of our food was making us
I’m telling you, ignorance, my friends, had been bliss!!
I used to LOVE to cook. I come from a family of homegrown cooks. I was a GOOD cook- people loved when I cooked for them or invited them to our home. So many of my happy life memories with friends and family are centered around the kitchen table- usually covered in anything with sugar, frosting, chocolate, or ice cream. But all that has changed over the past few years. Needless to say, how to feed my family is a MAJOR stressor in my life right now. In addition to the foods we can’t eat anymore, my time is more limited than it has ever been before. Between the busy-ness of my kids and some activities in my own life, the dinnertime hour is nothing less than a game of tag in our home. I have spent many nights in prayer, many hours in study, and many weeks planning and preparing menus and schedules so that we can eat meals with just the right mix of healthy, fast, affordable, and clean eating.
I had almost given up on finding a solution to our eating dilemma. In all honesty, I didn’t want to keep fretting about it because I don’t want to teach my kids that food and nutrition is an uphill battle. I want them to enjoy life, not yo-yo their way through it as they bounce from one well written fad diet to another. Even as I write this I am in a near anxiety attack and all I want is a stupid oreo from the kitchen!! So I tabled the problem for awhile- committed to do the best I could, and that would have to be good enough.
As I was pondering some life changes that I want to make, all I could think about was nutrition for my family. I was so frustrated, because I really just wanted to let it go of all of the food related thinking-
So I switched my personal study and went back to nutrition. I felt really strongly that I needed to think in classic “Treisha” terms and study, research, and dive head first into some basic counsel taught by my church. I knew instantly that I needed to look at how the counsel applies to me and my family specifically- not just as general guidance for a wide range of people.
For 10 days, I decided to change my perspective on everything from my sleeping and nutrition to the fast-paced and schedule packed days that we were living in. Instead of thinking there wasn’t enough time, money, or resources to help in the kitchen- I simply focused on the abundances that we DID enjoy! I was really careful to pray that our busy days would find us safely home together and looked for time on slower days to enjoy a little, much-needed, family time.
It doesn’t sound like much, but I’m here to tell you, the changes were amazing. I felt better, I wasn’t nearly as frustrated in the kitchen, and I was not nearly as stressed out about who could eat what, where, and when. I had been to a really cool activity a few weeks prior where one of the speakers said that whether you are focusing on a budget, a diet, or a new time management routine- the focus should always be on PLENTY rather than on LACK! I don’t know why that was so mind boggling to me, it is basic wisdom in the positive psychology literature- research I am well-versed in! Rather than focus on all the things we CAN’T eat or do or be… I wanted to focus more on my priorities- the SHOULD’s of this life!
With that approach, I made this list of priorities for my menu planning and meal preparation: I put a focus on fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, and protein to support our daily needs. I focused all of my personal intentions and planning for our nutritional needs on balance, moderation, prudence, and being grateful for not only what we were eating, but where we were eating and how we were eating- I wanted to not only savor the food, but I wanted to savor the moments that mealtime offers us to be together!
At the end of my ten days- I was asked to teach a lesson in church. I was a little worried because I didn’t feel like I had any tangible “miracle” idea that would revolutionize meal planning, dieting, or good health-
What I did have was simple advice for the fast pace lives that we live. It is so easy to get caught up in all the lack that a speedy life suggests we have- lack of time, lack of joy, lack of resources… but this is so far from how this daily journey should be. If any part of our life’s journey is taking away from our ability to focus on simple beauty and gratitude, than it might be time to re-evaluate and find a new focus.
I found this quote that I think can be applied to diet, exercise, work, and play…
Somewhere between eating as duty and eating as self-indulgence lies the Lord’s view of eating as a pleasant necessity and an occasion for joy and thanksgiving
I LOVE this… too frequently we take the joy and thanksgiving out of life and all of a sudden it becomes mundane and tedious-
Whether you need to gain weight, lose weight, work on building muscles, tend to illness, or you are simply putting an emphasis on health and wellness- consider a simple perspective change from lack, scarcity, and sacrifice and instead focus on plenty, abundance, and thanksgiving.