I consider myself to be a bit of a health and wellness nut. I am not sure I’d say I’m obsessed but one thing I know for certain…… I love food, I love to cook, I love to read about nutrition and fitness and I do my best to stay healthy and fit. If we don’t have our health we have nothing.
That said, there is most certainly a balance. You can easily get caught up in the craziness of it all. What to eat, what not to eat, this is bad for you, wait, no, it IS good for you? There is so much conflicting information out there and sometimes when the choices are hard we fall back to “easy” which cannot always be good.
So I have a baseline or motto for which I stick to…. At the core of every decision I know that if it’s not from the earth or from a humanely raised animal it is not generally not a good option. Does that mean I never eat a Dorito? Hell no. But it drives my decisions which over time led me to being Vegetarian.
About 8 months ago I told Joe I was going to give it a try. I have always wanted to do it and had recently watched a documentary which validated the big question everyone always asks – how do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat? Reality check: You don’t need to eat an animal to get protein. It can be found in countless other foods. So I jumped in head first and Joe signed up and we started our own movement inside our home.
Let’s level set…. I occasionally eat fish, I eat cheese because, well, I LOVE CHEESE. I also allow myself organic eggs a couple times a week. Breads and carbs? I sure do… but I make smart choices on the grains and mostly do organic. I have cheated twice since I started – both cheats – BACON! Damn that bacon. (I did make sure it was organic and uncured. LOL) I don’t feel guilty if I cheat. I don’t choose to pass on animals because of a philosophical reason. I was just looking for a better diet that was easy to manage and that I ENJOYED. I have always loved fruits and veggies in abundance so it seemed liked a relatively easy adjustment.
The verdict is in!
I was pleasantly surprised when I realized it worked for me but also that I LOVED IT. I am getting creative with cooking yet it feels simper. I love simpler, "simplify" is another new motto for me. Grocery bills were shrinking as an added bonus and I signed up to receive a box of fresh local produce delivered to me each week which forces us to try new things and keep it interesting.
Besides, WHY? The first question I am always asked is, “what about your kids?” Answer: I do not ask them to eat Vegetarian and I cook them meat if they want it. My daughter loves fruits and veggies so she is easy. My son has a very (frustrating) and limited diet due to his "picky eater" status. Yes – that means I short order cook most nights. Guess what? Who cares? As a parent I always felt lectured by my own parents, other parents, and my pediatrician NOT to short order cook. I actually subscribed to that thinking for a long time. NOT ANY MORE!
If we sit down 5 plus nights a week WITH our children and eat dinner together with no electronics.…. is that not what is MORE important here? Who cares what each one of us has on our plate as long as I feel I have made good choices for all of us and we enjoy the time spent together. I do my best to leverage and share what Joe and I are eating and supplement with things I know they will eat. Label me a short order cook all day…. I do it with pleasure!! Everybody wins.
I share this because I think many parents struggle with “diets,” staying healthy, and picking the right things to feed your kids and themselves because there is so much information and external pressure out there about WHAT are the right choices and what are the BAD choices.
I encourage you to do WHAT WORKS FOR YOU and set YOUR own baseline for your food decisions. Stick with it and don’t ever apologize for it.
I will add that I do not deprive my children of things just because they “make” the bad list too. I let my kids have an occasional soda and eat candy and ice cream. Yep – I said it. THE HORROR!!
Connecting the Dots in the kitchen was a major win for me. I’m not saying vegetarian is the best choice. It is the BEST choice for ME and it helped me simplify meals and grocery shopping in a way I did not expect. It took the weeknight stress out of dinner time and what to cook, everyone is happy with their choices, and I feel great physically.
Who cares where the beef is?