With the season of Lent only a week away, I have been thinking a lot about the changes we have made this last year. Last year for Lent, we challenged ourselves to not buy any food from the grocery store containing more than 6 ingredients in order to cut down on processed foods. We started making almost everything from scratch. I expected that we would learn to eat healthier, but I certainly never expected to still be going at this rate almost a year later. We do occasionally buy something processed, but it is pretty rare. I look back at how busy our lives were at the time and I really am amazed we stuck to it. I don’t say this to pat ourselves on the back, though I know that is what it sounds like! I only say it because it shows how much the decision to make a change is half the battle. Business of life can only be an excuse for so long. When we started, I had a 4, 2, and 1 year old at the time on top of watching a newborn 3 days a week/a 2 year old and newborn most of the other workdays and working at night doing transcriptions. Again, NOT a pat on my own back, just a statement of it CAN be done even with a busy life! However, I will give a pat on the back to my very supportive and kitchen-capable husband!
Other changes have come since then. We have expanded our awareness of where our food comes to include all meat (okay, except for pepperoni if you can call that a meat–for some reason, we just haven’t been able to give that up on our homemade pizzas!). We joined a CSA and shop farmer’s markets to try to get a a majority of our produce, at least in the summer and fall. I personally have weaned of of psychotropic that were not working well for me and have found some more natural methods that do seem to be working. We are more aware of how our overall health is affected by what we consume.
But all this has caused me more confusion in some ways. The more I learn, the more I just don’t know how far to go in our changes. I like to read “foodie” blogs, really for the ideas on homemade, healthier meals and snacks. But you come across a lot more than that. Vaccines, fluoride and other chemicals in the water, pharmaceutical drugs, politics, parenting, schooling and many other topics of debate are prevalent. Some things I agree with wholeheartedly, others I would say I have not researched enough, and others I just am not there. I am torn because I have come to realize that money is extremely powerful. I truly believe that money and big business have far more to do with all these areas than I ever wanted to believe, often at the expense of what is healthy, moral, or good. But at the same time, I am just not ready to say that it is ONLY about profit, that there aren’t companies (or health care professionals, or government agencies, etc) that really are trying to do what they feel is best for us. I don’t want to be a paranoid and cynical; I don’t want to be unquestioning and naive. Where do you draw the line? I don’t know! I’m certainly still learning.
I guess my point is that you don’t have to be a “crazy foodie” (I’m not even sure where we fall on that line!), and you don’t have to make all the changes at once. Some of the blogs (including this one to some, I’m sure!) can be quite overwhelming and honestly a huge turnoff. I find the foodie world at times can be a bit (or a lot!) judgmental. Don’t let it discourage you! Find the changes you would like to make and just start there. Maybe a Lenten challenge of some sort is in store for you? We’re still trying to figure out what to do this year. A friend suggested this challenge of drinking only water and using the money saved to help bring clean water to needy places. What a great concept! I would miss my morning coffee (and a semi-regular evening glass of wine), but hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge if I didn’t! We have also considered giving up all refined sugar. We have cut down on this drastically in our diet, but is is still there. Maybe something not related to food or drink! Other ideas?? Please share!