I can feel it in my spirit…spring is coming!! And with spring comes life and newness and growth. AND ordering heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com)!! Oh what fun! You should see their annual catalog. It is amazing! Filled with pictures and hundreds of varieties of seeds to choose from. I feel like a 5-year-old on Christmas morning! I have to give myself a monetary limit on how much I can spend. Otherwise, it could get ugly!
A friend of mine, Dr. Jennifer Greenfield (www.carolinachirowellness.com), introduced me to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds several years ago. It can be difficult to find heirloom, non-hybrid, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) seeds. Baker Creek sources all of the above and they are my favorite seed company. I encourage you to give them a try and let me know what you think.
So what is with all this seed talk? It is more about real food, slow food, and nourishing food. I have been following and adhering to the real food movement for about 4 years. It all started when we discovered that my daughter (who was 18 months old at the time) has a strong sensitivity to food dyes. We started eliminating all products in our home that contained synthetic food dyes. When we finished, our cupboards were nearly empty.
As I learned more and more about the food we eat, we eliminated any food or product with MSG and other nasty chemicals. And then we got another curve ball. I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity in December of 2008, you can imagine what I did next. Yes, another elimination round and a whole new level of education was required. I learned to use and I am still learning to use ingredients that I had never purchased, like arrowroot powder. Almond flour became my best friend. I have had many teachers along the way, like Dr. Jennifer Greenfield, and have tried many recipes…most of which were fabulous and then there are a few that went from oven to garbage can…hey, the best teacher is experience, right??
So, it is probably easier to tell you what we do eat instead of what we don’t eat. My husband and I strictly adhere to a gluten free lifestyle. My kids eat mostly gluten free, probably 80% of the time. We eat 90% of our meals at home, and cook from scratch. My pantry is full of quart and half-gallon mason jars instead of boxes of shelf stable non-food items that used to be in my pantry. We grow some of our food, are members of 2 coops, and shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes (where you have to read labels as well…MSG has many pseudonyms). We usually buy our meat in bulk and bake most of our own bread. That brings me to another question I am often asked…how much is your grocery budget each month? Great question! And before you drop your jaw, you might be surprised to know that it is about the same as it was before we started changing our habits and eating real food. Since we don’t eat out very often, our combined eating out and grocery budget is almost the same as it was before. Our grocery bill went up, but our eating out tab went down. Surprised? I was, too!
Whew! I just stopped typing and read the last paragraph and had to stop and take a deep breath!! It is a bit daunting…it was VERY daunting in the beginning for me, especially when I was thrown the gluten curve ball. As a runner, I ate tons of gluten for fuel. I felt angry and overwhelmed. I had to learn so many new things all at the same time. I read thousands of pages of research and many books. As a result, I ping-ponged from clueless to neurotic to somewhere in the middle…I like being in the middle! But, it took about 2 years to get here. In the end, I had to make choices that worked not only for me, but for my family. I made my choice…
I chose health and wholeness. And health and wholeness for me looks a little different than it does for most people. Instead of being bitter, I count it a joy to be able to cook and try new recipes and have enjoyed learning so many new things. Do I get tired of washing dishes and wish I could go through a drive through? Of course, but when I think about where I was a little over two years ago, I fire up the oven! To me, the benefits of health and wholeness far outweigh the costs of washing dishes and spending time in the kitchen. I have learned that planning our meals ahead of time and cooking in bulk eases the burden tremendously.
It works for me, for my family. It may not work for you. That’s okay. I leave you with a coach’s challenge. What does work for you? What is one small change you could make today or tomorrow that would lead you to health and wholeness…whatever that looks like for you?
”You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: if you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.” ~ Author Unknown