Oh boy, oh boy.
Remember when we dove head first into real food? Or at least I shoved my family off a diving board and then dove in after them. 🙂 Well, my friends, we are still at it! Can we get a sticker or something over here!? We are 73 days in (I had to go back and count) and chugging right along.
Now, the official name of the game we set out to do was 100 Days of Real Food. But I have tampered with it some along the way, and we are settling nicely into a Lifestyle of 98% Real Food. And I kinda like the name better. Some of you have probably already stopped reading, I know. I promise you I will not turn into a food blogger, a food hater, or a food judger. But this is kind of a turning point in our family, and I’d like to have these little blogs along the way so that I can yell at myself in 5 years if we have somehow reverted, or if I can look back with pride and say, hey, that’s when we changed our lives.
When we started this, you’ll recall, it was mainly for this beach body competition we’re doing with family. But I also mentioned that I wanted it to stick around. I think everyone knows that some foods are just better than others, that’s not some hidden secret. Figuring out just what exactly is better is the tricky part, and the part we’re still learning. But I had some main goals I wanted to see if we could put a dent in. 73 days ago, I wanted Leah to stop gagging so much. I wanted my own diet to not consist of 79% sugar (or something). I wanted Quinn to only expand her already darling little tastebuds. I wanted to see Kyle get the amount of protein he constantly told me he wanted (he’s a carnivore for sure). I wanted to cook lots of new things. I wanted to cook only one dinner for all four of us. I wanted to go really hard for a while and just see what would happen.
And only good things have happened! I can’t brag on us enough as a family. We have been at this for 73 days and have been to a restaurant ONCE as a family. (Once the girls got a pizza with their cousins, and once Kyle and I went out). That means I have cooked 71 times in 73 days! Can I have the biggest sticker, PLEASE? We actually have had maybe 3 leftover nights, as well, but still… that’s eating food I cooked previously, so it totally counts as cooking. It is so bad that now Leah comes down in the mornings and says, “what’s in the oven for me?” There is almost always some sort of bread, muffins, or oatmeal dish that is stuffed with all kinds of hidden treasures to be absorbed by her little body. I think I have become a better cook in 73 days, Lord knows I have had enough practice.
So how are the rest of my goals? Well, I am the most proud of a certain three year old who is just blowing my mind. Remember when I was so happy that she ate a carrot – well the other day she told me she LIKED carrots. And usually, as Kyle is my witness, she will eat a carrot FIRST at dinner. And she is SO proud of herself. For a while, it was, “Leah, eat one bite of your carrot, please.” Then it was, “Leah, eat your carrot. Leah eat your carrot. Leah, eat your carrot.” Now, it’s, “Mommy, don’t see!” And she wants to eat her carrot and then surprise me that it’s all gone. And the gagging? Well, it’s pretty much non existent. I certainly haven’t seen it in a while. We had some rough patches along the way, but now, she can eat her meat like it’s no big deal. And I realize for a lot of you, eating a piece of chicken is no big deal, but it WAS a big deal for Leah. And now it’s not. We just talk and eat dinner, the same dinner- and it’s pretty amazing. She has said to me, “you know, mom, I like this chicken.” And I die.
Kyle has also shocked me with some of his quotes. “Why don’t you ever give me many peas and corn?” “Uhhh, cause I didn’t think you wanted many?” “I do, I like them.” You guys, he likes peas and corn! I took that quote and ran with it. Now, it’s not uncommon to find more than one vegetable side on a plate. He also frequently compliments my salmon and chicken nuggets.
Something NONE of us had eaten. But when you have to cook every single night rain or shine, you have to get creative. I didn’t even know how to buy it at first. I’m learning. And I’m learning that it tastes pretty good! That has been the most fun part for me. Finding new things, and learning how to cook with new ingredients. My shopping list has transitioned a little over the past three months. I’m now buying brown eggs that are from cage free, antibiotic free, happy chickens. Because, if you watch a documentary on chickens and eggs… it will terrify you. So I pay a little more for my happy eggs, and spend a little less by buying Folgers coffee instead of Starbucks. We have also learned to LOVE Friday nights around here… for that is PIZZA NIGHT. And goodness knows… Leah is ready and waiting at the table at 5 sharp. In the beginning Pizza night was a saving grace from a hard week of gagging through dinner. Now it is a celebration of a weeks worth of healthy eating… with more healthy eating. This is a tradition that will stick for as long as I can keep girls home on a Friday night. One of our (Quinn’s) favorite treats around here is popcorn! This was a fun experiment we had early on. They both thought it was the funniest thing to watch the popcorn jump out of the pan. Microwaved popcorn is one of the biggest sins as far as real food goes, but I’m pretty glad we tried the alternative, because it is always a fun night when it’s popcorn night. Homemade ice cream, popsicles, granola bars, and pop tarts have all been such delightful, fun little treats to keep us on the course. I’m still not buying all organic, but things are evolving in one way or another as we go. I have added pretzels (made with simple ingredients, but yes, white flour) back into my list, but have also started paying more for peanut butter that’s only made with peanuts. It’s been a lot of give and take, finding what works for the long haul.
We’re kind of at a crossroads of sorts right now. We went 100% to get us out of the gagging phase. We tried really hard to get vegetables onto the nightly routine. We fought through some serious battles, but I believe we’ve transitioned over to the bright side. Now we’re at a point where I have to keep us from going back, but also let us live a little. We went to a restaurant for the first time two nights ago… and then followed up with frozen yogurt because I REALLY wanted it. And it was a good decision, but the day after Leah was a MESS. And I’m not exaggerating, Kyle was speechless. And I do believe it has a direct correlation to the amount of sugar/crazy ingredients she enjoyed the night before. So yes, we will live a little… but not much. Cause no one cares to repeat the grand meltdown of 2015.
So from here we will keep chugging. We will keep making choices that we believe are good for our family. I will keep finding ways to shove a carrot in Leah’s mouth because I don’t want her to ever forget that she likes them. We will keep popping popcorn to make Quinn the happiest little goof on the planet. I will stand firm and unashamed of my no artificial colors stance, but I will let some white flour slip here and there. I will continue to cook… and cook and cook. Night after night after night. But I will enjoy the family dinner conversation that is evolving just like our taste buds. I have lost 13lbs and 6in and Kyle has lost 20(something)lbs and 5in, and we just feel good. We are working out, and have both gained abs! I don’t even know what to do with mine, but I certainly keep checking on them. 🙂
I am proud of us for sticking with it for 73 days, and I’m excited to keep chugging.
Kyle: “So, what are these, whole wheat eggs?”
It’s been a journey, guys.