The Way We Eat
My husband and I have been going back and forth a lot lately regarding what our diets should consist of (I mean diet in the sense of “what we’re eating”, not “we’re on a diet”). I thought New Year’s would be a good time to share with all of you how I plan to eat in the coming year and perhaps inspire you to think a little more about what you’re putting in your mouth.
I have been either pregnant or nursing for the last four years and that has given me the motivation to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. I try to prepare well-balanced meals for my family and snack responsibly. We completely avoid McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, and KFC, which I consider to be, amongst others, the most offensive and disgusting of the fast food chains. We also don’t drink soda (except for the occasional ginger ale or my husband’s moth-to-the-flame reaction to my parent’s soda fridge). Still, we eat out about once a week and have a true and lasting love for fried foods and all things cheese related.
We have been toying with the idea of going vegetarian or (gasp!) vegan. Here’s the strange thing though – we have no ethical convictions surrounding these lifestyle choices. I would happily eat an animal just so you would kill it. So how does one maintain a meat-restrictive diet without these convictions? I’m not sure I could. The reason we’re thinking of going in this direction is because we just feel better eating a meat-free diet. Also my husband comes from a family history of heart disease and I come from one of cancer, and I truly believe in the healing power of food (I found this article very interesting).
This is where the term ‘flexitarian’ comes into play. A flexitarian is someone who eats meat sometimes. So really, it means nothing at all. Maybe you are a flexitarian and didn’t even know it. Basically we prefer not to eat meat but are not opposed to eating it if no other option is available. You want to shove a bacon cheeseburger in my husband’s face? He’s not going to fight you. There’s chicken in that fettuccini alfredo? I’m eating it. The meat we do choose will most likely be organic and local. According to this article, maybe I’m just an ethical carnivore.
I believe in eating food that is as close to its original state as possible. I try to fill up my cart in the produce section. I try to avoid things that come in a box. Foods processed with preservatives and ingredients we can’t pronounce are destroying our health. I think that butter can be good for you, despite the saturated fats. I still have a sugar addiction, but this is something I’d like to work on in the coming year (or at least explore some of the ‘more nutritious’ sweeteners available). Nourishing Traditions is a book with some pretty wild ideas about the difference between what doctors are telling us we should eat and what might actually be healthiest for us.
So what’s the plan for the coming year? Try to cut out meat and replace it with other sources of protein such as beans, nuts, fish and yogurt. If we’re coming over to your house for dinner don’t lost your mind over what you’re going to make. If you want to make meat we’ll eat it or we won’t. We won’t complain or starve to death. This is especially true for our children, who I’m not trying to turn into vegetarians at all (I just refuse to make two separate meals at home).
While I know that a vegan diet can be safely implemented in kids and pregnant/nursing women, I don’t feel I have the mental capacity to stay on top of such a detailed regimen right now. I have three small children, for crying out loud, they’re lucky I take the time to buy ‘whole grain’ goldfish instead of letting them eat the neon colored ones. So while I see my husband and I leaning towards veganism in the future, its just not for us right now. Plus cheese and butter are the bomb.
I feel like I’m kind of running the middle ground as far as food for health goes. I’m not giving in to the frozen pizza/happy meal industry but I’m also not eating things that only came out of my garden or haven’t been sprayed with a questionable chemical. I still have a lot to learn and think through and this will probably be a lifelong process. I’d love to start a dialog here regarding your convictions on food. How do you and your family eat?