So, I’m feeling the need to get real with you, and myself. My last post was as much for me as anyone else.
Throughout the month of December, our family ate more refined, processed and sugar-filled foods; we slept less; we moved less; and a glass or 2 of wine a night was not uncommon. I thought I was simply relaxing – relaxing my ideas of what is good for us (and I mean good for us in every way). Turns out that throughout the month of December, we were all crankier, we had less energy, we were quick to get frustrated with each other . . . which made us crankier, took more energy, and lead to more frustration. So . . . where exactly was the relaxation?????
As we approach the end of January, a month where refined foods, and especially sugar have all but been eliminated from our diets, where we have focused on getting proper exercise and proper sleep . . .well, we’re all much more energetic, calmer, kinder to each other . . .
In life, I think we ALL want to feel good. When we wake up in the mornings, we want to have energy, to move easily, to be pain free and disease free. And yet what do we do to make that happen?
Do we, as a population really no longer believe that how we feed ourselves has no effect on our physical well being, on our mental well being? Do we really expect that after years of feeding ourselves, and our kids processed, chemical laden food, while no longer prioritizing physical fitness that we’re all going to live long healthy lives????
Because of my tumour, I have become involved with Toronto General Hospital, and am working on a few projects to make services and programs for tumour/cancer patients more readily available. Yesterday, I had a meeting at the MOST AMAZING cancer support centre, Wellspring, with not only representatives of Wellspring, but representatives from the hospital, including a Radiation Oncologist. The services that places like Wellspring and hospitals like Toronto General and Princess Margaret are truly wonderful. Tumours/Cancer are conditions that have profound effects and consequences for those that develop them, never mind their friends and family that care about them. And when you look at the lifetime risk of developing cancer (1 in 2 for American men and 1 in 3 for American women, with a 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 risk of dying from cancer respectively – see Cancer.org for more statistics), more people than EVER are going to need these services.
And while millions of dollars are spent on these wonderful programs, and on research to cure these diseases, imagine if none of this was necessary?
Put differently, what are we doing to minimize the risk that we, or members of our family aren’t unnecessarily at higher risk for these diseases? (While I fully realize that there are a lot of reasons why a person might develop a disease, we are, by now, all well aware of the fact that poor diet and lack of exercise play a significant role in the development of disease).
Which brings me back to the idea of “getting real”. I get that we’re all busy – juggling work, kids, commitments and budgets. And so the idea of quick, easy, cheap food is really appealing. But what is all that quick, easy, cheap food getting us?
I’m right there with you. I have the Husband that works long hours. Two kids that have school and extracurricular activities. And I have my work as well.
But here’s the thing . . . by focusing on good quality, unprocessed “real” food, I end up saving time, energy, and even money, and our family is happier and healthier. And I know that I’m doing my BEST to avoid exposing us all to any increased risk of disease. (and by best, I mean that I do like to have a treat – and I will have a piece of cake, or a special meal out – I do like alcohol, and I will have a drink from time to time – and I will let the kids have treats too, Fridays, for example are treat snack day where they can have ONE processed snack in their lunch – but on the whole, I am committed to eating real, unprocessed foods)
And if I can get “real” for a minute . . . I can make 60 of my gluten-free, sugar-free cookies in 20 minutes. The kids LOVE them. They ASK to eat them. You can find 20 minutes in a day to make a batch of snacks that can last a week or longer (depending on how many kids you have).
I made my almond flour chicken fingers in 10 minutes this week – and even better, the kids made them with me, then trimmed the beans and chopped the broccoli – we had family time and a tasty dinner. Oh . . . and there are enough leftovers that I can feed the kids this meal again next week.
Do organic and natural ingredients cost more? Individually, sure. But when I can make 60 cookies (which translates into 20 – 30 snack servings) for about $7, and a box of 6 packs of star wars cookies (the popular snack in my kids classes these days) costs just about $3, which is the cheaper option? I won’t lie and say almond flour is cheap – but the chicken finger recipe can come together in under $20 – how much would you spend if you bought fast food for your family’s dinner?
I’ve talked about choice before . . . what choice are you going to make to ensure the health and happiness of your family . . . today, tomorrow, in the days that follow? Because I know that I am going to continue to choose the “real” option.