Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Practical Guide for Families that Want to Eat Good Food

A disclaimer: I am not a parent and my experience around children is quite limited. I therefore apologize if this work-in-progress guide does not reflect all of the realities that face today's parents, as they seek to feed their families good food, whilst staying solvent and sane.  That being said,  I want to help parents and caretakers in any way I can!  I truly believe what today's children (and tomorrow's) eat will determine, to a large extent, whether our species has the capacity to flourish in the future. I know that sounds kind of dramatic, but realizing that the vast majority of chronic diseases are directly related to our dietary choices, and recognizing the importance of nutrition to early childhood development (of both the body and the brain), has convinced me that each of us, regardless of our non-parent or parent status, need to find a way to bring real food back onto the plates of children (and adults too!)!

A second disclaimer: I am currently a student of holistic nutrition. I am sharing my knowledge and experience, some of which comes from my personal life/studies and some from the program I am enrolled in.  I encourage you to consult a qualified professional for any specific advice.

A Short Introduction

I am at that age where many of my friends are having babies or at least contemplating doing so. I also happen to be Auntie to a 3.5 year-old and a 1 year-old.  The 'aha' inspiration for writing this guide came from a high-school friend who updated her Facebook status with a note that she is trying to figure out what to feed her young (and adorable) twin girls. Having recently watched Food Inc. and Vegecated, this new mom began researching the world of food and came to the conclusion that she doesn't want to feed her children processed food and that there are going to be some changes in the kitchen!  But where to begin?!

It's not as easy as just saying 'OK, that's it, I'm done shopping at the Superstore. From now on we're only getting food at the Farmer's Market. And I'm going to plant a huge garden this spring, and make all the baby food from scratch, and we're never eating out at a restaurant again, and we're going to have to find a daycare where the food fits our criteria, and we're never letting our kids go to a birthday party because there's sure to be candy and if they ever taste candy, they'll never want to eat another green bean.'

Nope, it ain't easy eating green.  But it's not really all that hard either (and it's actually quite delicious)!  It's just the transition that is a bit scary  - that point where you know enough that you can't go back to the processed food-like products you used to eat, but you're not sure how you're going to manage introducing good food into your home. 

I can't say I can totally relate to plight of parents that are at this point, since I'm not a parent. On the other hand, I have been making these changes as a single (and then not-so-single) woman over the past three years or so. And over the past year and half, I've been devouring nutrition books in my quest to complete my degree in Natural Nutrition and become a registered holistic nutritionist.  I yearn to help people who are unsure of where to start on the journey to nutrition or how to continue when faced with challenges.

This blog post (and many more that follow), will serve as excerpts that, when compiled together, make 'A Practical Guide for Families that Want to Eat Good Food.'   My intent with this guide is to provide parents and caretakers with some guidance in their efforts to feed themselves and their children better.  I get the impression from watching and speaking with my sister that being a parent leaves precious little time to do so much as have a shower, let along spends hours upon hours researching the ins and outs of providing your family with good food.  I want to make it easier for parents, grandparents, and other caretakers to make the transition!

I would appreciate any feedback you might have regarding the contents - What am I missing?, What have I got wrong?  What have I got right?  What other questions are you looking for the answers to?

Without Further Adieu, here we go!
This Is A Journey,  Enjoy It

Before we begin, I want you to take a breath, relax and get comfortable with the idea that real change takes time to happen. All change is really a journey and, as such, you shouldn't expect to go from 'here' (the world of processed, unhealthy food) to 'there' (the world of good, nutritious food), overnight.

Just like a good meal takes time to prepare and cook, so too does shifting from one way of eating to another. 

There are going to be challenges along the way, no doubt. Times when Kraft Dinner wins the day or the Big M appears like a beacon in the dark night.  But there will also be triumphs. Like when you three-year old spots you picking up carrots from the local market and starts singing 'I love carrots, I love carrots!' or you find a bargain on duck eggs, pick up half a dozen even though you've never eaten them before, and proceed to discover duck eggs are the most delicious thing you've ever eaten (including chocolate).

So savour every part of the journey and, if you can,  try to bring some friends and family on board.

Many Quick Ways To Get Your Family Eating Good Food (and avoiding the bad stuff!)

Use the following list as your 'crib notes' and follow the hyperlinks (coming soon!) for further elaboration on each of these suggestions.

1. Locate Your Nearest Farmer's Market, Farm Stand or CSA Farmer (and stop there before going to the grocery store)

2. Use that Crockpot You Stored Away in the Basement

3. Invest in a Food Processor 

4. Buy Foods When They Are In-Season Where You Live

5. Don't Buy 'Foods' With More Than Five Ingredients

6. Plan, Plan, Plan (Your Food Budget and Weekly Menu)

7. Make Good Food Fun for Everyone!

8. Find Like-Minded People, Share and Learn From Each Other

9. Encourage Your Friends and Family to Get on the Good Food Bandwagon

10. Avoid the Biggest 'Bad' Guys in Food Town - GMOS, Hydgrogenated Fats, Sugars, and Food Additives/Colourings

End of Excerpt 1

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