Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mama was Right! (weight loss, processed health foods, real foods)

Like many of us, my weight has fluctuated a bit during my adult life. I was both thinnest and biggest all during my twenties. I feel healthiest now.

My husband and I started rethinking our eating when we were pregnant 12 years ago with our first. The changes came slowly with lots of research. Then I got mad that I could not find the foods I wanted locally so we started an organic grocery delivery business. I had a mission to have a real food store, a real "whole foods." but I acquiesced under customer requests and started to offer more packaged things and the latest and greatest super foods.

Sometimes things didn't sell in time at the store. Sometimes we received short-dated product but didn't catch it in time. Whenever something was short-dated, it found it's way to the local food banks (we donated twice a week imperfect produce and products) and of course some made it into our home since I had lots of guilt from buying it but it not selling in time. It was organic, and I had taken it a step further and researched the products and ingredients, so it was the best packaged stuff we could get; I figured it was ok once in a while. But once in a while became pretty regularly without me even noticing. I continued to prepare most meals from scratch.

Then we lost it all. Our business collapsed. No more access to foods. We lost our house, our savings built up over our entire working careers, we lost everything. The most depressing part for me was opening my empty refrigerator wondering how I would feed my children. Literally, I'd cry. I was beside myself. I figured I could never afford organic foods again and was almost resigned to buying the cheap packaged stuff. I had even pictured in my mind my children's quizzical reactions at their first cheap non-food meal that I'd prepare with love. While I was losing some weight from the stress of it all, I wasn't feeling well.

Then one day I really watched my youngest play and realized all he really needed in life was me. We had lost our money, our home, and our business, the economy was bleak and jobs were tight, but, we had one another. And we still had our health. I have always been so thankful that I was able to have children in the first place when so many of my friends had trouble. To top that off, I have such wonderful and healthy children; we had a lot! None of us are on any medications, no aches and pains, no problems pooping and all those other things we see commercials for on television. No over the counter meds or prescriptions. We were healthy because overall, we had been eating well and nourishing our bodies.

I realized we needed fresh organic fruits and vegetables!

Around this time we were reading In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff, and Real Food: What to Eat and Why. We were convinced to eat it real. And so we have.

Since our store closed we have all lost weight and feel healthier. The kids have not been able to open a box when I was too busy to get up to make them something. Now when I don't have something ready to eat, they open the refrigerator and grab a fruit or piece of cheese. We have no packaged processed "health" foods in the house. We eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, grass-fed meats, grass-fed butter and whole milk, wild fish, cheese, organic eggs from free-range hens.

We eat a lot of eggs; they are an inexpensive source of protein and very versatile. Pastured eggs (eggs from hens allowed to pasture naturally) are best. I remember when we were first getting into organics I looked at the price of organic versus conventional eggs and told Jack "we eat so many eggs, look at the price difference, we can't afford to eat organic eggs." And he said a very wise thing that I will never forget, "since we eat so many eggs, we cannot afford to get conventional ones."

Our egg consumption has gone up considerably since that time, up to a dozen a day (and no, we do not have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, we are quite healthy) to feed our family of four kids and two adults. I know the difference (conventional hen houses are disgusting to say the least) and my body does too.

There is also new research to indicate that organic foods and foods with less pesticides and chemicals allow our body to more easily maintain a healthful weight and actually help our body lose weight. It has to do with our liver having time to use the excess fat instead of working overtime cleansing our body of the unnatural additives we ingest.

Sure it can take more time and requires some planning, but to me, that is what life is all about. Planning a meal, preparing the food with care, nourishing your loved ones with delicious healthful real foods that they enjoy, and sneaking vegetables into every dish as well as offering plenty on the side for color, flavor and variety. Being a healthy weight, avoiding the doctor, saving money, enjoying one of life's pure pleasures: food - to me that is all part of a real life and thankfully, a big part of ours.

This is part of two carnivals
and the carnival on Weight Loss/Gain, Share strategies for losing weight (naturally, of course) or gaining weight, if that is what your goal is sponsored by:

and Works for Me Wednesdays


  1. You said: "The most depressing part for me was opening my empty refrigerator wondering how I would feed my children. Literally, I'd cry. I was beside myself."

    This breaks my heart for those out there right now in that situation and I pray God will show us who needs help in our neighborhood.

    I hope you had good friends or family to help you through - if you were my neighbor I'd have made sure you had enough food! How neat that you had such a great outlook through it all. :)

  2. Thanks, Kelly, well, we were actually in a new town and it kind of hit us all of a sudden so I didn't leave much around that time and I sunk for a while not knowing what to do. Then I realized I had four gorgeous lives to show by example that when life doesn't go according to plan, you change plans. That's when I really started the buying club - it was because we needed the food. We live in the Keys and it's hard to find any organics and to say that I dislike grocery stores is an understatement - I just find them so strange. Now we hardly have to go to the store and we have plenty of colorful goodies in our fridge. It lifts my spirits and keeps me grounded. I am very thankful.

  3. very touching story. and it is shocking to see the price tags on those processed "health foods"!! I love to listen to my litle girl BEG for an apple or an orange- that's candy to her!!! Will the real WHOLE FOODS please stand up!!!

  4. What a wonderful post about priorities! I really believe that you've made the right decision - health and good habits are the greatest gifts we can give our children!

  5. Great post! Very inspiring! I stumbled.

  6. thanks for sharing this emotional and amazing story. Go fruits and veggies!! we do a lot of raw food and superfood, its amazing what it does to the spirit :)


  7. Your story hit home so much i had to read this to my wife. This is our story as well so we feel your pain to joy. God bless you and your family.Take the Organic Food Challenge with us.

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thanks for your comments! If you submitted a question or position on one of the points, I'll do my best to research that and respond promptly. Thank you for your part in creating a healthier world for us all.