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Just Eat It

13 Oct

I have reasons to make a change:

**I feel nauseous after I eat. 

**My mom had cancer when she was 37 and I am turning 34 next month.

**I’m struggling with low energy & dramatic mood swings.

**My kids need to eat more vegetables.

**I’d like to lose weight.

I have history: I grew up eating healthy.  

**Whole Wheat:  My dad made me eat cracked wheat mush nearly every day for breakfast whether I wanted to or not (on Saturdays mom made whole wheat pancakes.)   Any kind of baked goods, my mom made with 100% whole wheat flour that she ground in her electric wheat mill.  Bread, rolls, pasta, cookies- all 100% whole wheat. 

**No Sugar:  Mom only used honey for sweetening things like cookies.  When she made pancakes, she would make a little syrup on the stove boiling honey & water together.

**Lots of vegetables:  Most of what we ate either came from the garden or it was a kind of dried legume.  When we had meat, it was  a small part of the meal–a little hamburger in gravy to go over mashed potatoes.  The only time I ever saw a chunk of meat on the table was Thanksgiving Day and Christmas day.  Those days we had roast turkey, although one year, I remember going to Grandma Bennion’s house and she had made some kind of a baked brisket.  It was so good. On the menu for dinner at the Hansen house depended on the season.

Early spring: Asparagus soup or Broccoli soup; lettuce
Late spring: boiled potatoes with cream sauce & peas; steamed green beans; milk; cantaloupe

Summer: tomato & cucumber salad; mashed potatoes; corn on the cob; milk;  or garlic & parmesan cheese coleslaw; watermelon

Fall: split pea soup; bread & butter; milk;

Winter: home-canned tomatoes poured over rice & homemade cheese; milk

The eating healthy train is derailed:

Then I left home to go to college.  I ate the cafeteria and reveled in the glorious bounty of meat and gravy, white flour pasta, cookies, pudding, and cake. 

I gained 10 pounds.

Then I went to basic training for the army.  I ate in the Dining Facility. Everything they gave me, I ate.  I was so worried about having enough fuel to work with.  I didn’t eat syrup on my pancakes though–I couldn’t stomach that much sugar in the morning.  I would pour the strawberry yogurt we got on my pancakes in place of syrup.  Saved me time anyway.

I gained 10 more pounds.  But to be fair, a lot of it was probably muscle since I went from not being able to do a single pushup to being able to pump out 42 in 2 minutes. 

Back on track for a little while:

When I got back to college, I suddenly couldn’t stomach the cafeteria food anymore.  I still had to eat at the cafeteria (since I was living in the dorms) but I switched to omelets for breakfast and bagels & salad for lunch and dinner.  I just could not bring myself to eat all those meaty, gravy, fatty foods.  I lost 15 pounds, but I’ve felt guilty about it for a long time–that I “starved” myself skinny. 

Then about 3 weeks ago, I realized:  I didn’t starve myself at all.  I just went back to eating like I did at home as a girl, or as close to it as I could at the cafeteria.  I chose to eat what didn’t make me feel sick: vegetables.  The salads I ate were not just a bit of wimpy lettuce–the glorious thing about a cafeteria salad bar is all the chopped vegetables you want, and you don’t have to be the one who chopped them.  My salads were a plateful of lettuce and broccoli and cauliflower and cucumbers and mushrooms and green peppers with chopped boiled egg and sunflower seeds and cherry tomatoes and baby carrots drenched in ranch dressing and cheddar cheese.  There is nothing starving about that!

Marriage (in other words, keeping the Man happy):

About 2 weeks after our marriage, the Man of the House asked me, “When are we going to have meat for dinner?”

I was confused.  “What are you talking about?  I made chicken soup this week, pizza, hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes. All those things have meat.”

He said, “No I mean a chunk of meat.” 

I did not know how to cook a chunk of meat.  But I had The Joy of Cooking and 2 Relief Society cookbooks full of cream of mushroom soup casserole recipes. I learned how to cook pot roast, country fried steak, pork chops, and 5 kinds of chicken.  After 2 weeks of eating a chunk of meat every day, I decided our budget couldn’t handle that much meat.  Surely people didn’t eat like this all the time?

But a fundamental shift had occurred in my thinking.  I no longer thought, “What am I cooking for dinner?”  I thought “What meat am I cooking for dinner?”  If there wasn’t meat in it, the Man of the House insisted that it wasn’t a “hearty” meal. 

I did manage over time to shift some of his opinions.  I made homemade cinnamon & raisin swirled bread and gradually, week by week, increase the amount of whole wheat flour in it until he liked to eat whole wheat bread.  He insisted that there wasn’t a difference between margerine and butter.  I only used butter.   A month later at his mom’s house, he put margerine on his bread, took a bite and made an icky face.  “What’s this?”  he asked me.  “Oh, that’s margerine,” I said, probably a little too smugly.

I reduced the amount of meat I cooked as much as I could, using only 1/4lb of hamburger per quart of spaghetti sauce and making things like stir fry that had lots of veggies.  But my thinking was still, “What meat am I cooking for dinner?”  

I’ve blamed the weight I’ve put on in the last 13 years on 6 pregnancies, but I think it had a lot to do with all the meat and all the desserts my husband wanted me to cook and my inability to not eat just one serving of said dessert. 

Everybody is ready for a change:

The Man of the House has gradually come to his own realizations about eating healthy.  He knows that the less processed a food is, the better for us it is.  He likes to eat spinach, kale, and bok choy.  And now, he is wanting to feel healthier too.

The Change: 4 changes for 3 weeks: 

**Green Drinks The plan is for the adults to drink 1 quart of green drink and for the kids to drink 1 cup to a pint of green drink every day.  Here is my recipe for now:

2 1/2 cups water
6 cups kale or spinach or beet greens (I’m working up the courage to try comfrey)
1/2 tsp truvia
1/8 of a lemon (peel & all)
2-3 cups frozen fruit
1-2 small apples (sometimes)

Blended in my wimpy Walmart special blender.

I won’t go into all the reasons why this is good for you.  Suffice to say, we are getting more raw veggies than we were before by a long shot.  Kale & spinach are both packed with all kinds of nutrients. 

I bought The Green Smoothie Diet by Robyn Openshaw.  Much of what she said about how you should eat reminded me of what I grew up eating.  It was good to have facts to show the Man of the House and the more I read about the nutrients in raw food, the more I realized how much I had been worrying about cancer.   Now I know what to do about it.

**Less Cow milk.  Being the daughter of a dairy man, I grew up on the gospel of milk is the best food on the planet.  But after I read the research, I decided it might not be so.  I stopped drinking milk ( I was drinking a gallon a week- more than twice what the rest of the family put together drinks) and realized that nauseous feeling I had all the time was caused by the cow milk.  I’m considering getting a goat, to see if raw goat milk would sit better, but until then, no milk is better than processed milk.

**I have shifted my planning mindset back to “What vegetables and fruit are we having for dinner.”  We aren’t going vegetarian or anything, but my focus is on the vegetables.

**I’m cooking with olive oil and coconut oil and a little butter.  No more soybean based vegetable oil.

I also plan on  eating **Less Sugar, but I didn’t manage that one yet.  I’ve realized that  I’m addicted to sugar.


 After 3 weeks of green smoothies (although I didn’t make them every day- more like 3 times a week), only drinking 1-2 cups of milk per week, and using coconut oil instead of soybased oil:

I feel so much better!  I don’t feel nauseous all the time and my mood swings have dramatically evened out.  (I think the Man of the House is massively relieved.)  Also, by the way,

I LOST 4 POUNDS.  That might sound like a little thing, but I haven’t been able to lose more than 1/2 pound in a week for the last 12 years, and I had to carefully count my calories and exercise until I was red in the face and sweating buckets to do it.   

I lost this 4 pounds (more than 1 pound a week) without suffering; without exercising, without spending hours planning meals and counting calories, without feeling hungry, and I ate more sugar than I should have.  Like I’m talking about a whole bag of mellow cream pumpkins and 2 bags of Lindt chocolate truffles.  (sorry for not sharing, Dear Husband.)  Then there was Julia’s birthday cake and after school cookies and etc. etc. etc. Just think what might happen if I did not eat sugar and exercised a couple times a week!

Now I’m 38 pounds away from what I weighed when I was married and suddenly it doesn’t seem like a hard thing, but a possible thing that those pounds could go away.

Hurray for Green Drinks!!