Friday, November 5, 2010

Step 3 to eating clean. Absolutes and consistency keep me on track.

There's no such thing as willpower.  At least there isn't for me.  What works for me is a no-fail environment.  In order to create that no-fail environment, I had to decide a few things in my head.  Goals, resolves, absolutes, rules, aspirations, or whatever you want to call them, I had to decide them.  I like to call them absolutes.  Since I'm a bit of a freak it was easy for me to do this.  (Remember I'm the person who sorts their laundry according to color, meaning one pile for purple, one pile for red, one pile for pink, one pile for orange, one pile for blue, one pile of brown, one pile for cold whites, one pile for hot whites, you get the idea).  Anxiety was on my side in this instance.  So here are my absolutes.  You will notice there is always an exception to an absolute, lol.
Absolute number one.  Absolutely no fast food. 
Exceptions--when it is somebody's birthday and that's what they want.  (See previous post for explanation).  Also, if we are out of town, which is rare, and can't find a grocery store.  Also if we are completely starving and going to die then it is okay.  (You'd be surprised how many times you are actually not going to die, but will make it home alive and in one piece).  So far every person knows where he or she want to eat out on their birthday and they're looking forward to it. 
About this absolute--You will be tempted.  Especially if you are anything like I was and stopped for fast food because it was calling you and it was so convenient and sometimes you are so hungry or thirsty.  But I will guarantee you something, it will get easier.  There were a few times I wanted to stop so badly.  I was so hungry or so thirsty or so craving it, but because I had made it an absolute, I didn't.  And you know what, I survived.  And the next time I was tempted it was so much easier to just keep driving because I'd done it before.  Now those temptations aren't as strong and my desire to eat there is less and less and my ability to overcome the temptation is greater.  We really can adapt better than we think we can.  And if I ever mess up, that's okay; I start again the next day.  But I don't ever quit my absolutes.
Number 2.  Absolutely no bad stuff in the grocery cart
The exception--when it's someone's birthday, of course, and when John requests something that he will eat some place other than home.  I'm not his boss or his mother so if he needs me to buy him some groceries for work or a tailgate party, I will.  However, I'm to the point now where I refuse to buy him any diet cokes for work.  They certainly aren't allowed in the house.  No willpower, remember, and I'm a recovering DC addict.   Not only that, but I’m learning how absolutely toxic that stuff is for you and I can't with good conscience knowingly let my husband drink that stuff.  So he does it behind my back and that's fine.  One day he'll die from it and I'll tell him I told you so.
About this absolute--Thanks to the reading I'd done, (see earlier post on education) Jillian and Tosca have taught me how to decipher between the good stuff and the bad stuff.   It can be tricky at times.  Usually I'm only buying products they recommend, like real, whole foods.  If there's a question on something I do look for ingredients and if I see something in it that sounds like an "anti-food" I put it back.  I don't bother with the calories and all that crap.  It's what is in the food that counts the most.  Otherwise you might be buying something that's not really food, just a bunch of chemicals that add up to empty calories and bad nutrition.  Or you might be buying a "protein bar" that has high fructose corn syrup in it.  (Don't even get me started).  I have to laugh at the manufacturers sometimes. They will make an organic product that is completely not good for you. So don't be fooled.  If organic sugar is one of the top ingredients than it's not good for you. Lately, I don't even bother with labels because I don't need to anymore. Everything I was curious about I've checked into so I know what to buy and what not to buy. It's very fun and exciting to look in my cart and only see good stuff and know that what I'm buying is perfectly good for my family and me. It's quite a thrill actually.
Number 3.  Absolutely no popcorn and soda at the movies Exception--birthday.  Or birthday week in Bella's case.  That's it.
About this absolute--This one was really hard the first time, especially at Overland Park Cinemas where everyone, and I'm not kidding you, every person there had a popcorn and soda in their lap. Just the smell of popcorn, the rustling of fingers going into bags, and our memories of previous times with their delicious, caramel popcorn was enough to drive us crazy.  It definitely makes me not want to go there again.  Some rich entrepreneur needs to start a movie theatre chain that sells only water and healthy snacks without the popcorn smell.......Eric?????
 About this absolute.  Chemical-laden popcorn is bad for you.  So is soda pop. You can survive the movie with a cup of water in your lap. 
Number 4.  Absolutely must eat a breakfast that includes lean protein and complex carbs. 
Exception--it's only okay to skip breakfast if I am fasting, which I'm trying to do once a month, and when I need extra help from the Lord, or when I am praying for someone who needs help.
About this absolute--Before I made this an absolute I used to dawdle around in the mornings.  I never insisted my kids eat breakfast.  I fed them breakfast most of the time (a disastrous breakfast consisting of frozen mini pancakes or frozen French toast sticks with sugar-free, aka, aspartame-poison syrup) but if someone missed it I really didn't care or notice.  I figured they'd let me know when they were hungry.  How bad is that? Terrible!  Now I absolutely insist that every child and myself eat a hearty breakfast.  It's more work for me, especially since the boxes of cereal that used to be in the lazy susan are long gone, but that's what my husband is for.  He's in charge of making breakfast for everybody every morning.  Hey, it's says "feminist" on this blog, doesn't it? 
Number 5.  Absolutely must drink lots and lots and lots and lots of water.
Exception--no exceptions for the kids and the only exception for me is when I'm trying to fast.  The key word for me and fasting is "trying."
About this absolute--Tosca recommends drinking 16 oz as soon as you wake up.  I had never paid attention to how much water I was drinking or how much my kids were drinking.  Now I not only pay attention to how much they're drinking, I teach them the vital importance of it.  I have felt a big difference in my health when I get plenty of water.  Honestly, most days I don't, but when I do, I feel it, and it feels fantastic.  Of course I have to pee all the time so that's not fun, but feeling good is.  Now my kids are tired of hearing me say, "Everybody go get a drink of water.  It's important to drink lots of water everyday."  
Number 6.  Absolutely must eat at least 3 meals a day consisting of protein and complex carbs and healthy fats.
More on that later.....

The uproar

Here's what I did when my kids were freaking out about their favorite foods and snacks being completely gone from our house never to return.

You should have seen the uproar in the house after I gave away my kids' favorite foods and snacks. 
"I want some fishies.  I want some fishies," they would say.
"Nope.  They're not good for our bodies," I would reply.
"I want some chips, now," Roman would say.
"I want some french toast sticks.  What else am I going to eat for breakfast?" Bella would moan.
"We're going to figure something else out.  And you're going to love it." 

And on and on it went.  This is what got it to stop.  "When it's your birthday you can have whatever you want.  I will buy you a box of french toast sticks if that's what you want on your birthday."  This got them very excited and they stop hounding me about the foods like missed and got busy writing down what they wanted me to buy them for their birthday.  Bella came up with such a long list she started freaking out about having to choose only those things that would fit into one day.
"Can I have birthday week?" she asked.
"Okay, you may have birthday week."
Bella is always an exception to every rule.  So she will get birthday week and the rest of us will have birthday day.  Needless to say, all the kids are looking forward to their birthdays.  And whenever they complain about something I just say, "You can have it on your birthday" and that quiets them.  It really does work.  That way they don't feel deprived and it gives them something to look forward to.  Works like a charm.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2nd Step in Eating Clean -- go shopping

After giving away 3/4 of the kitchen, the cupboards felt oddly creepy so I got busy filling the kitchen with clean foods and cooking supplies. From the reading and research I'd done, I knew how to stock my kitchen.  So I went shopping.  On my list:  fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, spices, healthy oils.

The shopping wasn't as easy as it sounds.  A lot of these items I had never even heard of.  I had to google them just to know what I was looking for and where I might possibly find them.  I made notes that agave nectar was a liquid low-glycemic sweetener, that Sucanat was a non-refined brown sugar, that pepitas were sunflower seeds, that chickpeas were the same thing as garbonzo beans, that quinoa was a grain (actually it's a seed but everyone refers to it as a grain), that cardamom is a ten dollar spice, that coconut oil is the same as coconut butter because it's solid at room temperature, that bulgur is not a person trying to break into your house but a whole grain, etc, etc, etc.  I knew I probably wouldn't be able to find everything I needed in one place so I started with Winco and tried to get as much as I could. 

Here's what I found at Winco:
organic skim milk yes,
almond milk yes, it's by the cans of evaporated milk
organic eggs yes,
organic butter no,
non-fat Greek yogurt, yes, but not organic
kefir no,
agave nectar yes, it's by the the peanut butter and honey
coconut oil no, they need to do something about that
pumpkin seed oil no,
quinoa yes,
steel cut oats, yes in the bulk section
organic rolled oats, yes in the bulk section
organic salad mix, yes
organic spinach, yes
organic carrots, yes
buckwheat flour, yes
spelt flour, yes
aluminum-free baking soda, yes
Dave's Killer bread, yes
Ezekiel bread, no
unprocessed peanut butter, yes
unprocessed almond butter, yes
low-sodium black beans, yes
organic, low-sodium chicken broth, yes
organic, low-sodium vegetable broth, yes
nitrate and nitrite free bacon, no
organic meat, no
ground turkey breast, yes but not organic
ground chicken breast, yes but not organic
low-sodium tamari, yes
small BPA free plastic containers for freezing or storing food, yes
I buy bananas from Winco because they don't need to be organic

At Costco I found:
organic apples
organic spinach
organic carrots
organic milk, it's 1% there so I get the organic skim from Winco
organic eggs (they are a little less expensive than Winco's organic eggs)
organic butter
organic peanut butter
organic almond butter
organic quinoa
organic wild rice
organic short brown rice
organic boneless, skinless chicken breast
bison steaks
grass-fed ground beef
Dave's Killer Bread
multi-grain sandwich thins
nitrate and nitrite free turkey bacon
protein powder
Trio Bars
pure maple syrup, they need to get organic pure maple syrup

Who would have known Costco would have so many organics?  Yay for Costco.  Now they just need to change some of their items such as the butter, broths, canned tomatoes, and black beans to low-sodium. 

Next was the Boise Co-op for hard to find items such as:
organic yogurts
virgin coconut oil
all kinds of healthy oils
organic ground turkey
organic ground chicken
local, organic, fruits, vegetables, and herbs
spices and spice blends
whole grains
their bulk section is awesome
organic mango chunks (a favorite of mine)
organic frozen berries
frozen acai berry
dehydrated fruits (the dried mangoes are killer)
non-fluoride toothpaste
non-aluminum deodorant
safe housecleaning products
seeds for sprouting

The Captial City Market is also a wonderful place to buy food.  However, I will save the market for another day.  It deserves its own post. 

Now I had the knowledge and motivation, I had the cookbooks, and I had the ingredients.  It was time to start cooking!