This post is a result of several conversations I've had over the last few weeks. Conversations about soaking nuts, about following certain diets and cleanses, about how to help your children get on board with healthy eating, and about comparing ourselves to what other people are doing. I have heard many women say it is just too hard... that no one can do it all... and, is it even worth trying if I can't do as much as Supermom on the next blog?
I've been thinking about what our family does health-wise (for particulars, read this past post)... and why we do it the way we do. I'll step out on a limb here today and share my thoughts with you.
Health Matters. Life is such a gift. Each day is a wide-open opportunity to do something big. Being a good steward of our health, our life-ness, is very important. I mean, why not be fueled-up and strong for accomplishing great things... us as moms AND our husbands and children. Let's live big, bold lives!
But, realistically speaking, can we eat everything healthy all of the time? Maybe if you are superwoman. Or maybe if your family is still very young. Let me explain...
We used to eat 100% healthy all the time. It was hard work. Very hard work. I only had two children and was not yet homeschooling. I prepared everything from scratch, soaked all our grains and legumes, even our nuts, made lacto-fermented foods, and the list goes on. But I saw two things happening.
First, we were causing some minor divisions between ourselves and family and friends. You see,
some people just didn't feel like they could prepare food "good enough" to have us over. And some people felt belittled by our health-fanaticism, even though I don't think we ever pushed our thoughts on others. (We're actually very introverted people and avoid conflict like the Black Plague... or H1N1.)
Second, I was starting to really burn out. All that time in the kitchen. Always thinking days and weeks ahead in order to have everything prepared. And, I was about to deliver my third baby. Homeschooling was really picking up with Rainbow... and soon Spiderman would follow. There was less time in my day for food. Have you ever experienced burnout? Both with the thoughts of all that has to be done and with future thoughts of everything just getting busier?
Those two issues were big on my mind. But so was health. Wellness was still a major priority for our growing family. I wanted to give my children every bit of the gift of health as possible. I had to bring some reconciliation to the mental discord... how could I balance it all?
Fast forward... we now eat a very bold 95% perfect. And I still consider us very healthy. Everything we eat at home is on target with our health principles. (Eat what God made. Eat it as close to how God made it as possible. Everything in moderation.) But we do leave the house. And there are times I cannot take all the food we need with us.
There are times that we have to let our ideals go a bit. Like, for example, at a basketball banquet where the menu is pizza and cake. If we were fanatics we wouldn't go. But a basketball banquet is a monumental event for a young boy! Or, if we were extremely fanatical, we would go and take our own food! I can't imagine how that would make my children feel...
So, we attend and allow our children to eat two pieces of pizza and a piece of cake. (And serve a big Greek salad before we leave as an appetizer to fill a good portion of their tummies!) We teach moderation. That it is okay to have an occasional small-to-medium portion of otherwise unfavored foods. However, we do not use a basketball banquet as an excuse to load up a plate of desserts or drink massive quantities of soda pop.
Same thing with our weekly church pot luck. We simply do not make a big deal of the food. Our children know that they are only allowed one small dessert. And we have seen them make very wise choices about their food selections. (I get food for my younger girls.) In doing so, we are teaching some very valuable life lessons. As soon as you have liberty, you don't just let all your self-control and wisdom fly out the window. I seen my children exercise good personal decision making skills. That gives me hope for the future.
We have decided to not let our food choices create social divisions. Honestly, I don't think the small percentage of less-than-nutritious food is going to ruin our vitality. For the vast majority of the time, we eat nutrient dense foods. We also take high quality supplements. The occasional unhealthy compromise won't be our demise. However, inability to be temperate might. Children (and parents) need to have enough strength to exercise moderation.
And about the burnout... I realized somewhere around the time Witzy was a baby that I simply couldn't do everything. (I still try.) I needed to cut myself some slack. And it was much better to have a happy mommy than to have a mommy who stressed over every meal. So, we eat as best as we can with the time and money resources we have. And that is that. No fretting over what we can't do.
I would like to encourage you... whether you are new to the health game, whether you are a long time health nut (respectfully said), whether you are still searching through diet options... but especially you mom's with growing families... Do your best. But don't stress over the rest. (Have I told you how much damage stress can do?)
For your health, for the long-haul,