We have not been eating well of late. I've had a huge attack of the can't be bothereds and convenience food is so, well, convenient. It is so easy to just pop down to the local stupidmarket and grab something that requires little to no preparation. Or even easier, drive to a little window, place an order and have dinner handed to you in a bag.
But is it really as easy as that?
Apart from take away being so expensive (we splurged on Thai food last week. It was healthy but dinner cost us $70!)it is not as easy in the long run. I know how my body feels when I eat well. It feels amazing. I'm happier, sleep well and am full of energy. When the kids eat well there are less arguments and illness.
Willow is particularly sensitive to preservatives, colours and heavily processed food. This includes white flour, sugar and pasturised milk. She has tantrums where she hurts herself that can last for hours, she twitches in her sleep and wets her pants more often.
But it's a fine line.
We live in a society where processed food is normal, where you are being mean if you exclude your child from eating chips that are radioactive orange in colour and addictive. So socially it's an issue. Also by making foods contraband they become more attractive. Putting "good" and "forbidden" labels on food is unhelpful and leads to eating this type of food in secret or feeling guilt. There is also looking at it from a "dieting" point of view. When dieters forbid themselves from certain foods they are prone to bingeing and then abstinence in cycles. And in my own experience by avoiding trigger foods 100% it makes flare ups huge when the foods are encountered because there is no immunity from exposure. In saying all this I don't believe that young children can self regulate foods that are designed to be addictive. Most adults can't. I'm totally OK with being in charge of the food that comes into our home.
So what do we normally do?
Our diet is pretty basic. Meat, poultry and eggs (all free range, grass fed and organic), fruit and vegetables, sourdough bread, spelt pasta and rice and mostly home made snacks. I use spelt flour and rapadura mainly to bake. We also eat corn chips (plain, organic) and hommus should be mentioned as a food group because we eat a ton of it. We eat raw cashews and peanut butter. We eat very little fish as overfishing concerns me. We do eat sustainably fished tuna and take cod liver oil though. We drink raw milk. That's what goes on at home. We can all eat as much or as little as we want (usually, depending on what's available) and there are certainly sweet snacks on offer-they are just home cooked. There is absolute self regulation on amount of food eaten and kind of food. The only rule I have is that I only cook one dinner. If you don't feel like that then you can eat something else, but it has to require no preparation. We are not free from the odd block of chocolate or bottle of soft drink either.
When we are out I subscribe to the anything goes theory. We eat whatever is on offer normally. I think it fills the "forbidden" food eating quota and gives the kids choice in what they are eating. It also makes my life easier as I'm not stressing about it. Does it sometimes backfire? Sure. Willow ate a whole heap of jelly beans when we were at a friends place the other week and I would rather never relive that 24 hours that followed again.
But lately more and more processed and "junk" type foods made it home. And not with a healthy alternative either. So we are all a bit less that our best. I'm planning to get back on track with what I've been buying for everyone's sake. It doesn't feel all that "convenient" now.