Thursday, April 25, 2013

Restrictions Lifted

Before we decided to try changing our eating habits, I was humming along quite well.  I really felt like things (home making) were going quite well and I was very happy.  I was learning and exploring new territories in my baking and cooking skills and excited about trying new things.  After watching a wonderful documentary we decided to change our cooking.  Yes, this seems quite simple.  We cut out meat, eggs, dairy, salt, sugar.  We previously only used whole grains as much as possible but really tried to eat only whole foods.  This entailed traveling extensively to another city to a health food market as our local food stores did not carry what we were seeking.  The cost was outrageous to purchase the products and after spending hours preparing meals I felt sad because I wasn't enjoying the flavor. Some recipes were quite good, but many just felt like they were missing something.  Do not get me wrong.  I have never felt in my life like we have eaten healthier than we did, but our whole family was not enjoying what I was spending long hours preparing.  After much debate I have decided to return to our traditional way of cooking, incorporating a few wonderful lessons learned.  It is possible to cook with much less butter and fat.  There are wonderful sweeteners that are healthy and sweet is appreciated when used sparingly.  Vegetables are delicious and there are many ways to prepare them without using butter in every dish.  All is not lost, in fact much has been gained.  I have learned some new skills, and learned what works for our family and what does  not.  Mostly, I am rejoicing in being able to resume exploring and learning new skills in the kitchen.  I feel like my restrictions have been lifted.  It has been such a set back that I even asked a co-moderator to step in for me, and she graciously accepted writing a segment to appear on the forum later that has to  do with baking.  It was a skill I had eagerly looked forward to writing about and learning more about before writing.  Now I look forward to learning from her writing as I start spreading my wings again and finding my way around the kitchen.

At the moment in all honestly I just feel sad.  Seriously?  Yes!  I absolutely love preparing delicious meals for my family and when you spend most of your day preparing food for your family that nobody enjoys that feels horrible.  They were very respectful and grateful to have these meals, but I could tell they were being polite and myself included did not enjoy them.  Today I plan on spending time menu planning, constructing a shopping list, and planning what I will make for dinner.  As I type even that last sentence I feel uplifted in my soul!  Food is such an important part of our lives and our home.  It's part of our culture and our memories, our time when spent gathering involves food and drink, our gardens are centered on providing delicious healthy foods for our home.  It is important and should be enjoyed.  So the restrictions are lifted, and I am looking forward to cooking again.  They key here is looking forward, that is something I have not felt like doing for a while in the kitchen.  I can feel the joy for cooking returning and it feels good.  Wishing everyone, no matter what your eating style joy in the kitchen :)


Sandra Megaw said...

Oh Amy, I felt both sad & happy for you reading this.

You gave it a try & discovered it didn't work for be it.

Now move on & remember what it was you didn't like about that style of food & incorporate what you did like.

My food philosophy is to keep it all non-processed. That is the most important issue in my kitchen. I make everything. No packets or tins as much as I can help it. And it can be done.

We eat a lot of whole grains, but I still incorporate white flour purely for the taste value, as my husband wouldn't like everything completely wholemeal etc.

Don't be hard on yourself.

And I so look forward to teaching you about sourdough!

Rose said...

Amy dear I didn't know this had become such a burden for you so I'm glad that you are looking forward. After nearly forty years of cooking for the household I have learned that restriction of certain food groups doesn't make me or others happy unless for allergic reasons. I put us all on Pritikin thinking food once and that was bad. Moderation never fails, something from each food groups, some sweet not too much. I operate on a principle of five veg a day, two fruit, two lean protein, two servings grain, a little whole dairy and moderate treats. Good luck.

Rita said...

I say everything in moderation. You need to enjoy your kitchen and cooking again. It is important that the family enjoy it too. Memories are made with the food we eat and share. So do some of what you are thinking would be best to eat and then also add the things that are what you have always enjoyed.

Sue xx said...

It's wonderful to come to such realisations, Amy. It's all part of our journey to make our lives the best we can...good for you for re-evaluating your needs and acting upon them.

Little Home In The Country said...

Amy - you would have never known until you tried! The desire to eat healthfully is a noble one. Balance is so important. Food should nourish us YES, but also, on occasion, it is lovely to TREAT our family to something special.

Since changing our overall diet, we have noticed that our tastes have changed... we find our previous "favourites" too sweet and too salty now so we have cut the sugar and salt significantly. That is a direct result of working to change our eating habits over a long time and I'm pleased about that.

We still eat occasional treats, but usually AFTER we have met our veg. and fruit quota for the day. We aren't militant about it - goodness no - just MINDFUL of it as we all feel better when when we eat that way.

I used to have a terrible sweet tooth, but when I eat something really sweet now (especially as a snack on an empty stomach), I feel just horrible. I can sometimes tolerate it after a meal, but just a small amount.

Like Rose, we talk in terms of food group servings (not calories). I want the kids to know how to choose their own foods by thinking about what they have eaten already and what they still need for daily fuel. We say "treats are fine if you have fuelled your body first". Usually, they are too full of good stuff to bother with a treat :)

Daphne Bryson said...

Good Afternoon Amy, It has been lovely catching up with you, but I was sorry to see you were feeling low.
Could I say, my mother, Phyllis is 83 years old in September. She does not take any form of medication, she walks everywhere and does her own gardening. She has always told me it is about eating 90% healthily in a week and to allow yourself treats, just not lots of them.
I think I should add, my grandad was about 97 or 98 years old when he died and he smoked a pipe all his adult life. Maybe it is good genes, but I feel it is about all things in moderation.
Enjoy cooking for your family again.
Best Wishes