You read that right. My family of 6, 4 kids ages 5 – 12, no longer finish a package of Oreos. This was not an immediate cold-turkey kind of process but a journey we’ve been on for the past few years. The more I read. The more documentaries I watched. The more I realized I was poisoning my family with food. I swore I’d never be “that mom” who’s all crunchy granola and particular about her kids diets. And I hope I’ve successfully avoided being that annoying freaky mom by letting the kids indulge for special occasions, birthdays, holidays, etc. And I have taught them to make the choice on their own. So when they do indulge now, its not even a full piece of cake or multiple servings. They self regulate because they’ve grown accustomed to the diet and don’t enjoy that much sweetness.
This may sound impossible and it did to us way back in the beginning. And yes, my husband came along kicking and screaming but is now on board and agrees. Although he is surrounded by healthy eaters at his fire house and likes to do so for himself, he felt a little bit like I was taking away some of their childhood fun. Then we spent a few cheap date nights at home watching Netflix documentaries (Food, Inc, Forks Over Knives, etc) and he was convinced.
Here are the steps we took on our journey:
1. Eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Simply read the labels. Change your bread, your ketchup, if you must have soda or juice look for it with natural sugar not the HFCS. Not convinced? Read this post for more info. And google it for more. The corn farmers will try to convince you otherwise of course but I’ll let you judge for yourself.
2. Stop buying Little Debbies and yes, Oreos.
(They can still be sometimes-very occasional-treats but honestly, we have an open box of Oreos we got before Christmas going bad in our pantry. The kids have adapted). Baking your own baked goods with natural sugars and real butter and free-range eggs is really the best approach. And you can sneak healthy fruits into those as well.
3. Your primary drinks should be milk and water.
An occasional all natural fruit juice is ok as a treat but even those are full of sugar. We also switched to organic milk (and eggs and meat). Yes its twice as much as the cost of gasoline per gallon but watch Food, Inc. and decide for yourself.
4. Go caffeine free.
I did an intense 22 day detox to break me away from caffeine. When I did so, my heart stopped racing. About 3 months ago, we even cut out the Decaf coffee and my heart palpitations stopped completely. For energy, change your diet. Read on. These next two items are what I believe give me the energy without caffeine.
5. Gluten Free eating.
This isn’t for everyone but we had to make the switch due to some medical challenges with 2 of our children. I went Gluten Free with them voluntarily and was shocked at how much better I feel. I have zero gastro pains / aches. My energy levels are higher and sustain for the whole day. And I have dramatically reduced PMS symptoms since I’ve gone GF. It’s been over a year now and there’s no looking back. That’s all so worth it.
6. Take a daily supplement.
If you get all crazy with this you might end up taking 5 or 6 different nutrients, minerals and vitamins. I did this for a bit and my stomach and liver felt like a hole was being burnt into them. Ick! So test out which ones work for you. For the past few months, our whole family has been taking Juice Plus as our only supplement. In fact, Juice Plus is not truly a vitamin but a whole food nutritional support. i.e. it’s not just raw minerals and vitamins but actual food. (Look for that on labels when you shop for supplements – “whole food supplement”) I love that I can just take one thing and not a pharmacopia of pills. Plus they come in chewable gummies that are quite tasty. (And by the way, our Juice Plus distributor is a retired firefighter and I consult with him on his website and social media as part of my web development business. He’s a good guy 🙂 )
I’m not saying you need to follow my path exactly. It’s just an example. I struggle a bit with hyperthyroid and my family history includes heart issues. But what I am saying is that everyone can feel better by eliminating the chemicals and junk in their bodies.
Key question to think about: How do you help your husband do this while he’s at the firehouse?
We sometimes struggle with this but have found that in general, my husband’s crew wants to see each other stay healthy and strong and will support each other in their nutritional needs. Can you believe they even supported my husband kicking his caffeine addiction?? One sweet guy on his crew always makes him his own pot of decaf every morning.
I’m sure its not the same at every fire house so drop your comments below and we’ll discuss.
Have you done this for your family? What struggles do you have that are preventing you from getting to a healthier diet for your family?
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