I had no idea when we had a baby how many decisions we'd have to make and how much judgement would come with certain decisions. It's been a learning process for me. And I've learned that I have to make decisions that I'm at peace with, are research based, and above all follow God's promptings. I've leaned on His guidance for help in making many decisions, but not enough. And I can tell that when I ask for His input, I'm so much more peaceful about the outcome of the decision, no matter what others have to say about it.
One thing that God has been working on me with is our lifestyle. As I have gotten older, and having quite a few [too many] family members with diabetes, I've researched ways to help keep our family healthy and disease free. Let me first say that I'm not into fear-driven "research". I read peer-reviewed actual research. I say peer-reviewed, because if it isn't peer-reviewed, then it isn't research- it's someone's opinion. I say actual, because there are a lot of articles out there that make claims that are not research based in the slightest. You can't believe everything on the internet, in fact, you probably can't believe most of it. I'm not into fear-mongering, because as a family, we do not make decisions out of fear. We make decisions in general based on knowledge and the guidance of Jesus. I believe that God wants to be involved in all areas of our lives, and how we treat our bodies is not out of that realm.
Ok, off of my soap box. ;)
We've made some changes to our lifestyle habits slowly over time. We've now gotten to a good place where we feel like we're doing a decent job. There is always room for improvement. I wanted to share what we do as of right now. We've developed a few rules for our home. This is what we feel comfortable with and what works for us. We are not health nuts, we're just leaning more towards eating whole foods. We still enjoy dessert, carbs, and fat on a pretty regular basis.
Everything in moderation, right?!
1. Processed, packaged foods can contain 5 or less ingredients. If there is something that we want that has more than 5 ingredients, we try to make it homemade (i.e. bread).
2. We do not eat lunch/deli meat. I make a whole chicken or turkey and we eat sandwiches with the meat from that each week.
3. We drink full-fat milk, eat full-fat cheese, and use real butter. Research is showing that full-fat dairy is more nutritious than low or no fat. Besides real butter is much more delicious.
4. We are careful about our meat consumption. After reading some about how chickens are raised, its made me weary of eating too much. We can't always afford organic chicken. But, turkey doesn't have hormones added to it, so we eat a lot of turkey. It tastes basically the same, without all the added hormones. You also get more meat pound for pound out of a turkey than you get from a chicken, so its a better buy. We also limit our intake of ground meat to once or twice a week, because of the fillers that are used in it.
5. We eat unbleached flour and unrefined sugar. This doesn't mean that we don't eat wheat or sugar, we just try to use the less-processed versions of them and we make a lot of things homemade.
6. Eat lots of whole vegetables and fruits. We buy conventional veggies and fruits from the Clean 15, and we try to buy organic or local (local isn't always organic, but its usually better than big-crops) from the dirty dozen. If we can't find it or afford it, I wash them in a vinegar bath. We try to eat a vegetable and/or a fruit with every meal.
7. Water, water, water. Water is really a cure-all for me. It's amazing how good I feel if I'm hydrated with plain water rather than tea, soda, coffee, etc.
8. Exercise. And what water doesn't cure... exercise will! I don't think that exercise can make up for a bad diet, but I do think that exercise can help undo a lot. Our diet isn't perfect by any means, but moving our bodies on a regular basis helps to condition our bodies. Like Newton's 1st Law... an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Above I mentioned these are our "home" rules. These are our rules for home, where we do the cooking. If we are out at another person's home or at a restaurant, we eat what is available. We eat out about once a week, so when we do get the treat, I plan to enjoy myself. And we would never allow these habits to get in the way of a friendship and fellowship.
As I talk to other people about their exercise and eating habits, I've found that everyone is at their own place in the journey. It's much like our Christian walk with Jesus. And that's okay. Everyone is different, everyone has different priorities, and everyone has different convictions. These are ours. This is just a step in the right direction for us to being better stewards of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and to help raise children that value eating well and nutritiously.
Do you have house rules? Do you have any habits for eating at home to be more healthy?