January 8, 2015

The Change

I think it's the coolest thing ever when God reveals a little bit more of the bigger picture to one of his children. The bigger picture that only he can see. It fills my heart with joy, hope and encouragement to press on because I'm reminded and shown that He really is working all things together for good. It's also such an expression of his intimate love for me.

January has been representative of big changes for me over the past 5 years. I love a new, clean, blank slate. This January came more like a breath of fresh air than a clean slate. I was beginning to feel suffocated by the final days of 2014. A myriad of health issues for everyone in the family had been wreaking havoc for several weeks. Tummy bugs, upper respiratory infection that wouldn't quit, an autoimmune flare up for my son, flu for my husband, what I think was flu for myself, several-day constipation episode with my daughter...It was a lot for this gal whose anxiety is triggered by health issues.

On New Years Eve I began thinking about what we could do as a family to improve our health. For several years I have basically been preparing a healthy meal for myself and then whatever the others want to appease them. I have tried a couple of times to feed everyone the same way but with even a small bit of resistance I have given up. With a stronger motivation this time around--wanting to heal some of the health issues--I decided to enlist the troops first. I presented the plan, along with the science behind it, to all adults in the house and after some everyone agreed to give it a go. I shared the meal plan with grandparents so they would understand what is going on as well. Everyone was supportive and willing to help out.

Establishing this support system and understanding is key. Everyone has to be on the same page. I was and am so grateful that this happened. Then the research, planning, prepping and shopping began. We are basically transitioning to a real food diet. My initial goals are to remove all gluten, sugar, and toxicity from the foods we eat. I am trying to keep a balance of introducing new foods, namely vegetables, but offering some old, comforting favorites but swapping to healthier ingredients. We may not be healthIEST yet but we are healthIER.

The food preparations and meal planning is not as difficult as it might seem. I have been learning to eat like this for the past year. That's part of God revealing his plan to me! Last February, I believe it was, I decided to do a 21 Day Sugar Detox just to see what the buzz was all about and to get a better grip on the Paleo way of eating. I didn't fully understand why I was doing it but I definitely felt a prompting and God gave me the strength to breeze through that 21 days. It was truly life changing for me. I now see that this is the direction that is in the best interest of my little family, and in-part at least, I see what God was up to in that. I also now see the extremely anxious weeks of December with all the sickness being the springboard I needed to be able to jump head-first into this change with no reservations and full confidence.

Making the changes been difficult on the kids and me emotionally. I won't lie. I'm working through feelings of guilt and shame for the way I have allowed their palates to develop from an early age--full of sugar, unhealthy grains and processed foods and most of all letting them--the CHILDREN--dictate what they would be eating most of the time. On the other hand I have to be gentle with myself and remember that I just began learning about real food and nutrition a few years ago.  I also feel that I have been in survival mode over the past 5 years trying to get my life back and under control. It's like the "put your own oxygen mask on before you put it on someone else" scenario. I now have the tools I need, the determination, the support and the motivation. Now is the time for change for my kids. God's timing is perfect.

Some of the fun of this so far has been trying to disguise vegetables into foods that my kids love. Macaroni and Cheese! Yesterday I cooked cauliflower and carrots in water, drained them. Thought that, small amount of cream cheese, butter and raw cheddar in the food processor. Cheese sauce that is loaded with nutrients my kids have never had before. Yes, there is the processed cheese and rice noodles but every step in the right direction is a BIG step. An important step and ones that I am choosing to celebrate big time! My kids, I'm sorry to say, have been raised on Easy Mac and they gobbled this up. That's some legit mac 'n cheese, right there.

I also added a sweet potato and spinach puree to some organic pasta sauce and no one knew. It tasted really good, the sweet potatoes gave it a nice sweetness and the spinach particles passed for Italian spices. Ha!

I think one of the greatest challenges is separating emotions from this process. I know that is has been for me in my personal journey with food and now I am trying to help my children to separate emotions from eating which means using my own knowledge and intuition to decided when they are truly hungry, when they are bored, when they are tired, when they are anxious, etc. It takes every ounce of motherhood that I have in me to do this...and it feels great. It feels like I am doing what a mother should be doing. I have to be so in tune with what is going on in their heads and hearts that I can help them make the right choices and when they can't, then I have to make it for them. This is what it is to be a parent. This is what it is to love. But so hard! I have to control myself at the same time.  To listen to a kid complain about the food I just made and not ignore him for the rest of the night because it hurt my feelings? Tough. But I have to separate my emotions from this too. I have to be strong enough to see past the tears that are begging for something that is horrible for a tiny body and realize that many times love is saying no. Tears never hurt anyone.

So, more of seeing that bigger picture. Learning to combat emotional eating and people pleasing over the past 5 years now has an even greater purpose that I could have imagined. So amazing.

And I must say something about this guy. My love.

He has supported me on this journey relentlessly and there is no one on earth I would rather have by my side than him. He is eating the hidden veggie meals like a trooper and giving me high fives and butt slaps for every victory in the kitchen. Lol! We are truly a team and that makes all the difference in the world.

I'm so thankful to God for these victories and "the change" that we have already seen in just one week. I'm thankful for the path that he has chosen for me and the people that he has chosen for me. May he be glorified in our lives and in our health! Soli Deo Gloria!

Blog post completed. Now, on to do some more hard things on this frigid January morning!