I’ve said here and there and everywhere before that I do NOT like eating plans/diets/whatever that prohibit certain items. No matter how much I actually like that item, I’ll instantly crave it non-stop if someone tells me I can’t have it. PERIOD. END OF STORY. Even if someone says, “I just gave up all fast food.” I’d be like, “I could go years without eating fast food, but the second you told me I had to stop? I’d want it for EVERY MEAL.”
There’s one nutritional concept I have been thinking about a lot lately. The “Whole Foods” trend. The idea that maybe putting things into our body that have been over processed is a bad thing – that seems logical to me. I get that. It has always freaked me out when there are words I can’t pronounce in the ingredients section of the foods I eat.
BUT – here’s the thing. I could never jump on the train of the movement that takes it to the SEVERE EXTREME. I couldn’t buy all organic veggies and free-range eggs/beef/fish/unicorn. I couldn’t give up dairy. I couldn’t avoid all packaged snack foods forever. Here’s why:
1. I am lazy.
I just don’t feel like putting together healthy snacks for myself and the kids all the time. When I think, “Hmm…would I rather package up some homemade trail mix, or give the kids a pack of crackers?” I think: CRACKERS! Every time because I don’t even have to move for that one. The kids know where the snack box is with the crackers and cereal bars. Also? I don’t feel like fighting with them about it.
2. I am busy/I don’t care enough
I know that most people believe that you’re never too busy for something that’s important to you. And I agree 100%. So, I prefer to say I’m too busy to constantly be making stuff from scratch when pre-made options are quicker. But I know that if I cared, I’d make the time. But, I prefer to say “I am too busy” because it makes me feel less shitty.
3. That shit is EXPENSIVE.
Yes. There are several articles out there that proclaim that you can eat healthy/whole on a limited budget. And I’m sure you can. But when you factor in 5 people and time limits associated with the schedules of those 5 people – it’s just impossible to shop around. And, it’s impossible prepare that much food all the time for all those people. But I’ll say this – even if I had all the time in the world, and all the desire, I still think there’s no way I could feed my family as affordably the “Whole Foods” way as I do the “Healthy But Sometimes Processed” way we do now.
4. I can’t get too worked up about how bad it is for us.
Yes. I’m sure it’s not great for us to have all these weird chemicals in our bodies all the time. But I’m also not going to make it a black and white issue where, unless you’ve eliminated all the chemicals all the time, you’re going to die of cancer. There are tons of people who still get cancer and there are tons of people who eat nothing but McDonald’s and live until they’re 92. My Dad was super fit and healthy and died from cancer at 62. I can’t get so worked up about it that I just create an environment where my kids have to bring their own snacks to the ball field because I don’t let them eat the goldfish that one Mom brought the team. I just don’t feel like – big picture – that it has to be one extreme or another. I don’t think the options are: ALL WHOLE/NATURAL FOODS or PAINFUL DISEASE-RIDDEN DEATH. I’ll probably always allow my kids the periodic fast food happy meal. And I probably won’t even lose any sleep over it.
I still support the “Whole Foods” movement.
In general, however, I do support the movement. And while I still buy meat from the store, I buy more of it from the meat department than I do the freezer section. I avoid ground meat unless it’s got some sort of fancy labeling on it that suggests maybe there’s no rat meat in there. I feed my kids obnoxious amounts of fruit. We buy organic milk. (Only because not everyone drinks it. If everyone in my family drank as much milk as Donnie does? We couldn’t afford organic all the time.) I cook a hell of a lot of fresh veggies, especially this time of year when they’re everywhere and more affordable.
But we also hit the McDonald’s drive-thru sometimes for chicken nuggets on an out-of-town trip. I buy pre-packaged crackers with tons of that yellow food coloring my kids love so much. We eat a lot of breads and cheese.
So…on the Cheeze Whiz to Whole Foods spectrum we’re closer to the Whole Foods side than the Cheeze Whiz side, but we’re not ever going to be poster children for any kind of Whole/Natural lifestyle.
But…BUT…this week I decided to just give it a try. I have several friends doing a 21 day detox/diet thing to jump start/reboot their weightloss. I can’t get on board with that for a number of reasons (see: Lazy/Busy/Not Care Enough) but I decided in some sort of solidarity, I’d at least try to do the Whole Foods thing this week.
Y’all…IT’S HARD. In some ways I’m being fairly strict: No dairy, bread, processed snacks. In other ways I’m not because I’m eating a ton of sliced sandwich meat. But, still, it’s a HUGE CHANGE for me. I didn’t realize how much I depended on the quick cereal bar/granola bar for snacks/fuel throughout the day. I also didn’t realize how much cereal I eat. Now that I’m trying to avoid those types of things I realize how big of a part they played in my diet.
I’m okay with almonds, as long as they’re blanched. I found out I have a limit to how much fruit my stomach can handle. And my stomach still can’t handle raw vegetables.
But all in all? Two days in and I’m totally doing okay! I could see me keeping a lot of these substitutions around for awhile. It’s not complicated feeding everyone else because I always cooked Whole Food dinners and we all eat separately the rest of the meals. Now, Sunday is family dinner and I have a whole hell of a lot of recipes I want to try that don’t fit into the Whole Foods model – but I think I can stick with this for 3 weeks while the rest of my friends finish their detox.
Do you eat Whole Foods? What type of snacks do you eat? That’s the toughest part for me. Finding good snack replacements because I eat all day long. This body needs nutrition constantly, and while the blanched almonds are okay – they’re getting really old, really fast.