Saturday, June 28, 2008

Seeking health and happiness

I've had food on my mind a lot lately. Many of the blogs I read have been talking about food, eating healthy, cleansing diets, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and a host of other yummy and delicious topics lately. It really got me thinking.

As a loyal Dooce addict, I was following her recent cleanse. It was interesting to see the effects it had on her, and how many toxins she must have eliminated from her body. And how much better she felt (well, mentally . . . she didn't feel so great physically if you've read it) and how her anxiety decreased tenfold. Now, clearly I'm not able to do a cleanse of any type because I'm nursing a five month old baby right now. But I can certainly cut back on a lot of the crap in my diet.

I wouldn't say I eat horribly. I make many healthy choices throughout the day, and I eat three well-rounded meals on a regular basis. But I certainly crave sugar and feel pretty ripped off if I don't get my jolt of something sweet each evening. It's hard for me to go to bed without a cookie, bowl of ice cream, or other yumilicious goody these days. I've always been a sugar-lover, but I never really took the time to contemplate what a lot of sugar was doing to my body, and my health.

(I realize some of you must be rolling your eyes and saying, "duh", how could she not know sugar wasn't good for you . . . of course I knew, but I hadn't felt the need to do anything about it until now).

I had a long chat with a friend this week who recently eliminated sugar and processed foods from her diet. She spoke to me about a list of symptoms she had that were leading her to investigate her diet - weight gain, moodiness, anxiety, lethargy, etc. I felt like maybe she'd just let me in on some spectacular secret or something . . . I mean, I have certainly fallen victim to some of those nasty symptoms! I often just chalk my moodiness up to "I'm tired", or "I have a new baby", or "the world is out to get me". I listened to her eagerly while she told me some of the steps she had taken.

She mentioned that her son (Thing 1's age) was also following a sugar and processed food-free diet, and that it really drastically affected him if he ever ate a lot of sugar. It changed his mood completely and he was very hyper and out of control. Kind of like . . . my children . . . every . . . single . . . day!!! OK, I'm just kidding but you see my point, right?

Thing 1 has been a poor eater since birth. He is picky beyond belief and has a list of about 10 foods he will eat. We have tried everything with him. He is a tad underweight, so we are always conscious of making sure he gets enough calories, whether they are all completely healthy or not. So I've decided over the past little while that the food he *does* eat is going to be nutritious and good. We're taking baby steps, but each day I'm cutting out more and more processed foods and snacks that the children used to eat. I'm making more and more things from scratch at home, and using healthy and organic ingredients.

Speaking of which . . .

My sister-in-law in Vancouver (the land of all things green, organic, and crunchy) has fresh organic produce delivered to her home each week. For the longest time I really thought that was very cool, and eventually learned that we now have a similar service here. So, yes, I signed up for a basket of organic fruits and veggies to be delivered to my door. The company, Life Organic, arrived yesterday with my first order!!! I'm really pleased with it. I got quite a good assortment of goodies, for $35. Some may believe it seems a bit extravagent to have food delivered to your door, but getting out shopping for decent food (especially organic) with three small children is a monumental endeavour. This may be exactly what we need in the short term. The food selection is very reasonable so it's very easy to adjust/plan my weekly meals around what I get. I also have the ability to change my order and substitute out things the family doesn't eat.

Just over the past week I have started to cut way back on sugar, particularly on processed snacks or cookies that I used to, well, inhale. I truly am seeing and feeling a major difference. I still crave sugar but the biggest difference seems to be that for the first time in my life I am consciously thinking about my choices before I reach for something and stick it in my mouth.

I know, I know, not rocket science.

You'd think I was born yesterday, yet this is all just sort of playing out for me right now. Maybe for a reason? We'll see how it goes. I'm thinking it will be an interesting path to take and am thoroughly enjoying my travels as I seek out a healthier life for my family.

13 comments:

dougnlarry said...

Good for you!

Hmmm, maybe I need to look into this too. I have a major sweet tooth and also have to get my daily 'fix' before bed every night.

Phat Mama said...

Ugh, I SO need to do that! I mean really- that's why I started my blog to begin with. Why is it so flippin' difficult to do though?
I'm going to try really hard to do a better job at the grocery store this week. Unfortunately, funds are low and healthy food is EXPENSIVE! That organic produce delivery thing sounds awesome!
Thank you for your thoughts, sometimes hearing things from someone else just helps to put it all in perspective.
Happy eating! Let me know how it goes. :)

Rach (Mommy Learns to Blog) said...

Good luck with all of it! I am in love with VitaTops (from the company VitaMuffins). The double chocolate is DIVINE and keeps me filled for a long time. Completely organic - just thought I'd pass that along! They're frozen, and when you defrost in the microwave and let the chocolate chips get a little melty, they're the best!

Valley Mom said...

Good for you!! Getting off the sugar is one of the most difficult things I think, on the road to eating better. I've recently tried going gluten-free (wheat free) and dairy-free, and I was amazed at how much more energy I had after cutting out wheat and gluten grains. We mostly eat Spelt and Kamut now, but I know there's many other choices out there too we haven't tried yet. We use rice milk and goat cheese instead of regular dairy. Also, how old is your little guy? Mine can be picky too, but I've been working really hard to figure my way around it and I've come up with some great ideas and lots of good healthy snacks too. Email me if you're interested in some. :) I will post some on my blog soon.

Some kind of Wondermom said...

Thanks for coming by my blog! You should enter our Canada Day contest - the deadline is tonight at midnight! Check it out on our blog, shopapples-n-oranges.blogspot.com

I will add your blog to my list as well, it IS great to find more bloggers in Ottawa. :)

Phyllis said...

That's awesome that you're trying this! I've been slowly trying to cut a lot of the processed foods out of our diets too, but hadn't given too much thought to the sugar. (Besides altering my diet after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes) I just may need to think that part over too...

Amanda said...

Wow Shannon - you are so great! I know all those things, too, but just don't do anything about it. You are right - it's not rocket science. So why is it so hard to REALLY do? I know I can't go completely sugar-free, but maybe we can cut back. It would be good for all of us. Thanks for the inspiration!

Cin said...

The best I ever felt in my life was three summers ago when my glucose level was high and my doctor directed toward the South Beach Diet as a way to eat. Not only did I lose weight, but I was not hungry. It cuts out sugars and gave me energy to increase my exercise. An injury helped me fall off the bandwagon, and I am trying to get back on. Process sugars are not good. We all know it, but we all eat them.....you are not alone.....

Kristen said...

I think I need to investigate this as well.

I can't seem to break the "sugar" habit. I don't let the kids have it, but when they nap or are in bed for the night, it is treats for mom.

Thinking this was just the post I needed to read. Thanks!!

Stephanie said...

yum yum ...let me know if you want any quinoa recipes! (so good for you and Pierson LOVES it) ...we're ga-ga over quinoa here in crunchy, green, lala land!

love steph

Beth said...

That's great, I tried a cleanse too, after all the drugs in my body from being a surrogate, I felt this huge need, then I got pregnant, then I was BFIng, so I didn't try it until 2 months ago. I only last for 2 days because I started getting dizzy, all. the. time.

Anyway, I'm up to trying the cleanse again, since I'm not sure it was to blame. I'm looking forward to hearing about yours.

I read Dooce occassionally, so it interesting to hear her doctor say 'get off the diet'.

Mamasphere said...

We get a CSA box, too! I've tried so many things I never would've bought, like chard and kale. And whole turnips. Learning to incorporate everything into our diet was a lot of fun, too.

Processed foods are just so horribly bad for our bodies. I'm looking forward to reading more about how changing your diet goes for you!

Carol said...

That was really inspiring.

I wish sugar weren't so appealing.

My eldest is ultra picky also and his diet consists of about 10 things too.

I am holding him responsible for my three grey hairs.

 
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