Good Monday morning! It’s time for a fresh start, friends, and a random Monday morning in March seems as good a time as any, don’t you think?
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions about your health or diet?
How’s that going for ya? No, don’t look at me like that. I’m not judging! I personally think New Year’s resolutions are kind of stupid—there’s an awful lot of pressure, and it’s a really crummy time of year for most people. So, it’s OK if you haven’t really thought about your New Year’s resolution in a couple of months. Because we’re about to start over.
A lot of things have come together to make me think it’s a good time for me to take a harder look at how I and my family are eating.
- At the end of 2011, right after Christmas, my five year old nephew was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma leukemia. He’s doing well, but has been fighting for his life ever since.
- A few days after this Christmas just passed, my dad was diagnosed with a different form of leukemia. Yup. That’s two leukemia diagnoses (on two different sides of the family) in two Christmases, for anyone keeping score. He has just finished his third round of intensive chemotherapy, and is doing amazingly well, but again, this has been, and will continue to be, the fight of his life. Cancer has now left a mark on all our lives that will never fade away completely.
- About a year ago, I started writing for OrganicAuthority.com, and I got immersed even more deeply in the science and politics of food. Just this weekend, I wrote a piece about a study that is the smoking gun scientists have been searching for naming added sugar as the cause for diabetes (as opposed to obesity or any other number of factors). “Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to its calories,” writes Dr. Robert Lustig, author of the new book, Fat Chance. ”The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit.” This, right after the New York Times Magazine published an exposé of sorts, explaining how the food industry systematically adds sugar to just about everything to entice us to buy more.
- I’ve also been immersing myself, since having my daughter, in the many interconnected issues surrounding kids and food. Our kids are being offered sweetened, processed snacks all the time, by all kinds of people—well meaning people who love and care about our kids—and it’s becoming harder and harder for parents to teach their own children the difference between a treat and something they get almost every day. At the age of not-quite-two, my daughter goes to a MOPs classroom twice a month and a drop-in daycare when I have a meeting once in a while, and I am already facing the choice of being “that” mom—the one who asks whether Goldfish crackers and graham crackers and animal crackers are really the “healthy” snacks that these places think they are (and whether these kids really need so many snacks)—or if I just keep my mouth shut and don’t rock the boat, because it’s “only once in a while.”
- I reached my goal weight with Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, and in another couple of weeks, I will reach “Lifetime” member status and be eligible to go to work for them. I’m extremely proud of this milestone, but as many have noted before me, it’s hard to go from having a concrete goal (governing your food intake) to just “maintaining.” I might need a little more direction.
- And, in about a week, I turn 32. It’s not a big, round number birthday, but it’s still marking another year passed, and that always tends to make one think.
All of this has been coming together to make me take a long, hard look at the way I’m eating and the foods I’m feeding my family. But first, a disclaimer:
This post is not about judging anyone else.
If you’re not ready to make any changes at all to the way you eat, that’s OK. This post isn’t to guilt you, or goad you, or cajole you, or anything else. Only you can make any sort of decision about what you and your family eat. And just because something is right for me, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
A couple of weeks ago, when that article about the science of junk food came out, I posted a quote on my Facebook page about the shelf life of Lunchables, which had surprised me. What surprised me more, were the reactions I got, ranging from defense of the choice to buy and serve Lunchables, to actually stating how guilty it made them feel as moms.
NOT my intention at all! So don’t read this and think you need to change—unless you want to! I don’t want to have one of those militant blogs that says: if you’re not eating the way I eat, you’re doing it wrong. Because I don’t believe it to be true.
But at the same time, please remember that we all make choices. And that’s what they are. Choices. Are there lots of factors that influence those choices and determine which choices we make? YOU BECHA. But they are still choices.
This post is about accountability for me.
Studies show that you’re more likely to stick to your goals when you tell someone about them, make them public. And, let’s face it, there’s really no more public forum for me than this blog! So here’s what I hope to accomplish in the next phase of my foodie evolution:
- I’m going to be researching more about clean eating, which basically reduces the amount of refined sugar, refined flour, and saturated fats one consumes. Those all seem like logical, healthy goals.
- I’m also going to be paying more attention to the processed foods we buy and making a bigger effort to find alternatives or make them at home. (We don’t eat a ton of processed foods, but there are still some—and many that would be SUPER easy for me to make, like salad dressing.)
- I’m also going to TRY to cut back on my beloved desserts, and serve more fruit-based desserts. I still gotta have something sweet! But it could be healthier. ;)
I’m still going to be eating out, because I’m still a restaurant reviewer. We’re still going to have ice cream and cookies at our house, but I’m going to try to make them treats instead of weekly occurrences. I’m not giving up sugar or white flour completely, but I’m going to look for places where I can swap in healthier alternatives without sacrificing taste.
These are my March resolutions: what are yours?
Take action now: Leave a comment below and let me know what your March resolution might be. What goal would you like to work on as a baby step toward a healthier diet and lifestyle?
Need some inspiration? Check out this list of 101 easy ways to eat healthier that I concocted in January.
Be my accountability partners! Let’s do this together.