For the next four weeks I will be partnering with SPUD.ca to share with you how we DO food and to start I thought it would be helpful to give you a little context. So here is my food journey – where I’ve come from, why I eat the way I do, and why it is important to me to help my kids develop a healthy relationship with food.
Food has always been a very integral part of my memories. You see, my dad was a cook by profession. From the time that I was very little he worked at various summer camps and churches ministering to people through food. As young as six years old I was in the kitchen with him cracking eggs, flipping pancakes and washing dishes. I saw first hand the way food can bring people together. That being said, we ate a lot of camp food.
When I wasn’t with my dad in the kitchen I was at home with my mom (my parents were divorced). My mom worked hard to provide for us and everyone had to chip in to make our home run smoothly. This meant that I needed to make my own lunches and prepare some meals. Yes, as young as seven or eight years old I learned how to cook rice, bake salmon and boil veg. Meals at home were consistently of the prairie influence – meat, starch, veg. Lunches however, were a different story. I didn’t like sandwiches so I often packed myself some variety of Chef Boyardee or mac and cheese in a thermos. From there things only got worse. As I entered junior high, I gained more freedom and fell victim to peer pressure. Our highschool, like many, had vending machines and I took full advantage. I am pretty sure I drank a can of Pepsi every day. Then, afterschool a group of us would walk to our local 7-11 and get a Slurpee. Some days that was accompanied by a bag of Lays potato chips while other days it was an Areo bar. Every. Single. Day. From 7-11 we went to my friend’s house where we would drink coke and play video games. How I am not 500 pounds is beyond me.
Something else that changed in Junior high was that I was able to go to my aunt’s house for lunch. She lived just across the street from my school and while this was truly a blessing, it also allowed me to eat instant noodles every single day.
By the time I was about thirteen, I was getting a stomachache every single day without the slightest inclination that it might be because of what I was eating.
As I entered Senior High, things turned around a bit. Not because of any grandiose revelation but more because of circumstance. I started taking my dancing more seriously and spent less time playing video games and more time at the dance studio or doing leisure activities with friends like rollerblading or running. I also got my driver’s license and was able to drive to get something more nutritious than canned pasta or Mr. Noodles for lunch, such as sushi.
My circle of friends changed a bit as well and I became closer with one particular friend whose mom was an AMAZING cook. She introduced me to the finer foods of life and opened my mind to new culinary horizons. By the time I graduated, while I did still enjoy instant noodles from time to time, I was much more health conscious and aware of what was going into my body.
During my college years however, it was hard to maintain the healthy lifestyle I had created. I lived in dorm for my first year and ate in the cafeteria. Queue the freshman fifteen. Because of this drastic change in eating habits, as well as the stress of adapting to college life, I developed latent food sensitivities that I had not experienced since I was a toddler. I was glad to get out of dorm for my sophomore year and through to graduation.
After college, I got married and, outside of financial restraints, could finally have 100% control over what I ate. I have always liked good, healthy food so it wasn’t hard to re-establish good eating habits. If I could eat one meal every day it has always been rice, salmon and veggies. I have always preferred to eat hamburgers without the bun and I love vegetables, especially when they are straight out of the garden. Living in British Columbia, I have been blessed with the accessibility of good food but it wasn’t until the birth of my son Jakob that I started thinking about the quality of the good food I was putting into my body and his. I also became friends with Stacey – who was a vegan (keep in mind this was over a decade ago when vegan was still a four-letter word). I began reading books like Ecoholic
and the The Better World Handbook and thinking through they way I consume and the impact I have on the planet. I was also reminded that as a Christian, I am called to take care of the environment. God is pretty clear, in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, that our role as humans is to care for His creation. It was at that time that I started ordering from SPUD.
My environmental stewardship responsibilities were not the only reason I loved SPUD, however. I also just hated grocery shopping – something which takes on a whole new meaning when you have a baby. I LOVED that I could order online and have it delivered to my door.
That being said, my husband and my eating habits did not change overnight. It has been gradual and consistent process as I have become more educated about food and how our bodies work. Keep in mind that when I met my husband his specialties were microwaved hotdogs and microwaved popcorn. Now, 13 years later, he enjoys the same diet that I do (for the most part, anyway). He enjoys a good smoothie or protein shake and recognizes the change in the way he feels as a result of not eating nutritionally void, overly greasy food and maintaining healthy supplement and detoxification habits
We feel good.
Part of my food journey however, has not just been how food has affected me but how it has affected those around me – for better or worse. Each one of our parents has had a different food journey and I would say that each one has a huge impact on the way I view diet. All of them, at some point or another have been inhibited in some way because of their relationship with food. It’s just the way it is – they are part of a generation that was uneducated about food. They didn’t know how horrible aspartame is for you. They came into years of plenty out of years of little. Everything became instant and food became easy.
Recently, I have been trying to articulate in my own mind why I am so concerned with eating healthy and forming healthy habits in our family. Is it because I hope to live a long life? Possibly, but truth be told I have always thought I would die young. The reason for this is purely academic. Historically, the likelihood of living to be 80, 90 or even 100 is very low. This is because of natural disasters, war and disease. We live in a rare time, in a rare place where these things do not threaten our longevity but I do know that in the years that I do have left on this earth, I want to live a full life. Until my dying day I want to be able to go for a walk, climb stairs and have the energy to fully embrace life and those I love. Healthy habits make taking care of my body and consequently my soul and mind, easy because they are just that – habits. Things I do on a regular basis without thinking about it.
As you journey with me, I recognize that food can be a very sensitive topic. Until one is ready to face it head-on it’s hard to admit where we fall short. I just confessed to you how horribly I ate as an adolescent. Me, miss organic, tree-hugging, Instagram-my-perfectly-healthy-life-girl. But those years were part of my journey and they speak into the life I live today and why I am so determined to do whatever I can to help my kids form healthy habits. What about you? What does your journey look like.
I recently asked on Facebook, “If you could wave your magic wand and reform two areas of your life what would they be?” Many people said eating habits. I say eating habits. That’s right. As much as I eat somewhat healthy, I definitely made chocolate chip cookies yesterday and ate at least 4…maybe 5 of them. So why don’t we journey together. I want to help you because in helping you I help myself. In the following three weeks I am going to talk about how to create healthy habits to support growing families.
If you haven’t already done so sign up for my newsletter and I’ll be sending out recipes and tips on top of my Foodie Friday posts.
Maybe you have some tips to share. Head over to my Facebook page and post them there (oh, and feel free to go ahead and click that “like” button). I would love to hear what other families do.
Wishing you all a very healthy and happy weekend.