Wednesday, October 20, 2010

food glorious food!

I embarked on this food journey after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and having a dear friend tell me that my eating habits weren’t helping.

Chapter One of my adult life: I was one of the masses – and proud of it. Quietly looking down my nose at those of you who “thought you were too good” to eat fast food or frozen dinners. I cited my busy schedule as a mother of two small children and fitness instructor when a friend encouraged me to *eye roll* make my own baby food from scratch. I clung to the idea that we were “easy” eaters – not picky or snotty and indulgent like those frivolous people who had money to throw away on organic ingredients and time to waste in the kitchen. A piece of meat on the grill, a box of parmesan noodles and a can of green beans – or better yet – a box of hamburger helper – was plenty good enough for our family. I didn’t need all those fancy ingredients. I was doing more important things with my time and money. I wasn’t like them – and I was proud of it.

Enter Chapter Two: The Catalyst. After several years of feeling sick I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I threw myself into research – trying desperately to find a magic answer – “do these three things and you will feel all better!” No such answer existed – but what I did discover was information challenging my ideas about “healthy eating.” As a fitness instructor I had dabbled with nutrition/dieting – but only of the counting calories/choke down protein bars to stay skinny/self-flagellation variety. I began experimenting – cutting out different foods from my diet and paying close attention to how I felt with or without them. I went two months without my favorite treat in the whole world – a large coke and two apple pies from McDonald’s. I marveled at how much better I felt the morning after I chose to forgo the extra large bowl of ice cream with caramel and chocolate on top. I ate simply, trying to cut out what I determined were my “problem” foods - all preservatives, wheat, caffeine and refined sugars. I ate lots of fruits and veggies, rice, potatoes, and chicken with no seasoning. I had more energy, but everything was so bland. Outside of a handful of recipes, I had no idea how to put together natural flavors and spices. I lasted for about 6 weeks before I was over it. I missed yummy food!

Chapter Three - Victim Mode. I lamented our financial situation, stating that if only we had more money – I could eat differently. I cried for my pre-fibro self – the girl who had lots of energy, was pain free and could eat whatever she wanted. I read blog after blog about organic, gluten-free cooking; finding myself overwhelmed by the fact that most of the ingredients I had never even heard of, much less had stocked in my kitchen. A personal chef was my ultimate dream – the answer to all my woes. I sullenly choked down my plain baked sweet potato while watching my family feast on my mom’s chicken tetrazini; feeling increasingly more sorry for myself while insisting through my martyr complex that I was fine.

Finally, Chapter Four. I decided to DO something! I am a smart girl. I can figure this out. I can learn how to cook yummy, truly healthy food for myself and my family. After struggling through cutting a single raw sweet potato – I realized my first step – I needed the right tools. Not only had my knives been in my kitchen for at least ten years, they had never even been sharpened. After all, why spend time sharpening knives when you might only have the opportunity to dice an onion once a year? (Doesn’t everyone use that bottle of dehydrated chopped onions?) Obviously the second step is buying the right ingredients. Learning how to prioritize, what are the most important foods to buy organic, and what are the things I can save money on. The third step is not shooting for the stars, get some simple recipes that I can put together in a short amount of time. My new favorite is Jennie’s Gluten Free Corn Muffins. Good ingredients, simple recipe and they take almost no time to make! Best of all, they are delicious! I think I might be able to handle this cooking thing after all!

1 comment:

  1. oh brooke! i didn't realize you were diagnosed with this... i'm sorry. yet i know God will use this, even this, to glorify Him! i've been following this lady's blog for about 6 mo...
    she's a homeschool mom of 4 boys who cooks ALL NATURAL foods for her family. nothing processed, nothing made with fake ingredients. just raw ingredients. she makes her own spices, condiments, bread, etc. and recently started going gluten-free to help with her son's extreme case of eczema. unfortunately for them, the GF diet didn't make any difference... but she has a whole list of her recipes, weekly menu-planning, etc & even menu list printables! most of the ingredients she uses you already have (except maybe the GF ones). anyway, my family loves them all. and i love how healthy we feel not having all that extra preservative/ addictive/ salt/ sugary stuff in our food that our bodies don't know what to do with anyway :) i hope you can find her site helpful!