Thursday, September 26, 2013

eating well

Let's talk about food.
The internet drives me crazy 9 days out of 10. One day is it praising the health benefits of "_____", the next day it's telling you how that very same "_____" will make you die a slow and painful death.
And then we panic because "_____" was our new favorite health food.

You want to know what I think? I think people worry too much. We have so much information and knowledge at our fingertips, but somethings I think it's tooooo much. 
You can find something bad about everything you eat these days.

So what do WE do about it, here in our house? 
Let me tell you our secret.....we just eat food. A little of this, a little of that. 
All of it in moderation--well balanced.

Whole, real, foods, MOST of the time.....with a little wiggle room (for things like baking of course.)
I don't buy processed meals and snacks, we don't eat fast food. 
We are lucky enough to get our beef and milk from right down the road.
We had the worst gardening year ever in the history of gardening, but we strive to someday have a garden large enough, and a small greenhouse, so we can live more sustainably (this will take a while.....but the goal is there, so that counts, right?)
We love fruits and vegetables in all shapes and forms.
I have been teaching my kids about nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Our rule? If you can't pronounce one of the ingredients, we don't buy it.
We don't follow special diets, or programs, or plans......we just eat food.

I could write pages and pages on this.
But what it comes down to for me, is eat what YOU want, and then ignore everyone else.

Because we are exposed to so many (too many) dietary options on the internet, we start to feel guilty that WE don't eat the way THEY eat.

She's off dairy. 
He doesn't do wheat.
He's Paleo every day except on the weekends. 
She only eats raw foods every day except Monday.
They are vegan.
She juices 27x a day. 
He doesn't eat carbs. 
No one ever eats a cookie. 

It leaves my head I just eat.
Moderate means "balance", so for ME, that means a little of everything.
Maybe for YOU it means something different. 
(we also try to LIVE in moderation. our spending, our activities, our overall lifestyle.....but that's another post)

It is also important to me that my kids grow up having a good relationship with food. They know that sugar isn't good for our bodies--but they know it's ok to have from time to time. It's ok to ENJOY food. They know that even though a big salad full of every kind of  organic homegrown vegetable is GOOD for our bodies--it still wouldn't be good to eat that same salad every day. We need variety in life.

I asked on Instagram what moderation means to YOU, and loved the answers I got. So many of you said that you find it important to "listen to your body". YES! Your body knows what it wants and needs. It also knows when it has had too much of something it doesn't need.
When I am running lots of miles, I crave protein--usually fish and beef, and complex carbs. I actually crave less sugar when I am running more. I make sure to always listen, and fuel my body with what it wants, instead of eating what the internet wants me to eat.

Let's talk a little more about sugar.
Sugar isn't good for you, for me, for anyone. We all know that. But guess what? I could spend all day every day eating a perfectly clean diet--it would be hard, but I could do it. But when I'm on my deathbed at 114 (I think I could live that long on a perfectly clean diet) I guarantee I would wish I'd enjoyed my food a little more. Ate a piece of cake with friends. Had cookies waiting when my kids came home from school. Dunked a piece of crusty sourdough into my soup.
For me, so much about eating is about the EXPERIENCE of food. I love to bake--and I love to share those baked goods with people around me. A few weeks ago we went out to dinner with our good friends. We passed our plates around the table to share, and the conversation lasted for hours. We took the kids to ice cream last weekend--there's just something wonderful about eating an icecream cone with your favorite little people.
I love the experience of food.

So could I eat a little better? Yes. But.....I am fully enjoying my life by trying to keep a balance, and trying to keep my nose out of everyone else's business.
We eat well, we are blessed and happy.

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” 
 ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

So because I believe in moderation, I believe in cookies in the fall, and here is my favorite cookie recipe for you to eat and share with friends.
My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, at room temp 
1/2 c white sugar 
1 3/4 c brown sugar 
1/8 cup molasses
2 eggs 
2 tsp pure vanilla 
3 c all purpose flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream the butter, sugars, and molasses until light. Scrape down the side of the bowl.  Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Beat for a few minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt in another bowl. With a whisk, stir to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour mixture and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. Drop by spoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Give a little sprinkle of sea salt before you pop them in the oven if you like.
 Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes. 
They should be lightly golden on the outside but still soft in the middle. 

and don't eat all of them......since we just talked about moderation.
or do ....and don't tell anyone. 

What does moderation mean to you?
Happy Weekend!


Rania said...

This is such a healthy view on food, and in my opinion the right one. I've had moments where I tried to stop eating bread, pasta and all kinds of things. But I missed them sometimes, and I wanted them. So now I eat them, but in moderation. I take a little bit less pasta with my meal, than I did before.

Besides the fact that I don't believe in all these things they write about food everywhere, it must be sooo stressful living your life keeping track of this and that, not eating that at all, and only this once a week - my mind and body would be tired of that, instead of healthy!

Thanks for sharing, I hope a lot of people read this and listen to your wise words. I'm going to bake banana and blueberry muffins today! and good luck with your garden :)

Robyn said...

Treats on the weekend- avoid during the week. If I bake. I give everything immediately away to friends bar one cookie/ its the process I enjoy.

Krystal Celeste said...

This is such a healthy and beautiful way to look at food and life in general. I feel so inspired! Thanks for sharing! :)

Kelly Jo said...

Couldn't agree more! Moderation is definately the key. There are so many ways you can eat and enjoy the foods you love and still live a healthy lifestyle. Example: homemade instead of store-bought. So these cookies are getting made this weekend for sure :)

janelle said...

I've loved your blog because of your view on food. In this world of crazy, extreme diets it is hard to find blogs that match up with my viewpoints. This was our first year to have a real garden & it did well, everything was just really late. It is sure is rewarding to have though.

summer said...

Well said, Sheena!!
I love the mindset of eating well, enjoying food, using your OWN discernment (not someone else's) for your own body, and not trying to "fix" other people's diets. You never know what other 1,000 factors they have going on in their lives and what their needs are. It's been amazing for me to see how real food has been a healing tool in our family, and there was a time when our bodies simply couldn't tolerate certain foods. They were doing more harm than bringing nourishment/enjoyment. Moderation wasn't an option during that time in our lives, but we knew that it was a temporary healing season.
Anyway- I know that ultimately the decisions we make about food have to be just for US. Hooray for freedom to enjoy the experience of food however you can and however you see fit!

I, too, fell in love with your blog because of your view on food (of course, your insane photos and simple, delicious recipes really helped too)! It's so fun to find someone who can inspire others with their passion for real food! And I love to hear you talk about how it works in YOUR home.

Romney Family said...

I am so with you on this whole post!!! moderation is the only way to eat!!! That is why heavenly Father blessed us with the wise council called the word of wisdom. I for one love baking as well and we eat many a baked good in this house but we try to eat all things in moderation no cutting this or that food completely out. Such a great post for all of us!!!

Brittany said...

AMEN!! AMEN! I wish I could post this everywhere and make everyone read it! I am all about listening to my body and eating food for the experience. My husband's side of the family is all about the overly healthy-judge others-eat only lettuce-diet and I feel like they aren't happy and make me feel bad for the way I eat. I'm healthy and happy and not starving and I think that's all that matters. :)
Thanks for posting this!

ellie be said...

I love this view on eating. Thank you for being honest... and for posting this recipe. Because it looks delicious. ;)

Hannah said...

Sheena! You stole the words right out of my mouth. My very first blog post was similar to this. I believe guilt is the most unhealthy thing we can put into our bodies :)

Unknown said...

i pretty much feel like we are the same person, you just have bigger hair and can run faster :) hahahah

but in all reality-amen. I love that my kids love to pick out new fruit or vegetable at the store. I love that we prefer tasting something new and packed with amazing ingredients instead of eating fast food filled with tasteless crap. i could go on and on but i love this. im so glad we eat for what works for our family. im grateful for moderation. and for the pure enjoyment of food!

Unknown said...

a* new fruit i never re-read my posts-oops!

Rachelle said...

yes to all of this. we try super duper hard to eat real foods, avoid anything packaged, make treats from scratch, etc. i honestly try not to stress the occasional treat my kids eat from the store, friend, etc.

at home we eat lots of fruit and veggies for snacks and my kiddos have to at least try their dinner.

and you know my thoughts on cookies. love them. we make them and almost always share them.

we talk about how too much sugar makes our tummies hurt. it really does! took me 31 years to figure that out.

love this discussion. and you!

Hayley said...

Well done my friend! Well done!!

Emma Galloway said...

I can't tell you how much I love this post Sheena! The exact same thoughts have been on my mind for some time now. We do eat gluten-free because of intolerance's and I've been vegetarian my whole life, but I would never put our eating habits onto other people and try not to make a big deal about it. I think this whole 'healthy-eating' thing is getting way out of hand, and mostly it just leaves us all feeling guilty! I think people need to chill out and enjoy a healthy balanced life, even if that means eating chocolate every now and then :-)

Sini said...

Very well said, Sheena! Food is all about enjoyment and balance. Moderation is the keyword.

Rachael said...

I loved this whole post! You did a great job of explaining the simple fact of enjoying our good, and the way WE want to do it!
We don't have to be perfect and just eat what we think we have to all the time, and that it's good to indulge once and awhile.
This was good to read :)

Anonymous said...

LOVE this! I do try to eat as little processed food as possible but sometimes it can be so easy to get stuck in the whole "I can't eat that..." mindset. This is such a liberating post, and a great way of looking at things :). Favourite point is that it's ok to eat cake now & then, it's all about having fun & making memories with special people! Thank you :)

Mehrunnisa Yusuf said...

i was beginning to feel that this idea of moderation and eating a little bit of everything that is real is becoming extinct. your principles of eating and treating are the ones that i was bought up on and in this era of fad diets food has become so complicated that i sometimes wonder where the pleasure went. thank you for writing this post!
m xx

ashley sullivan said...

sheena, you echo exactly how i feel about food. moderation is key. whole, real foods. the experience of choosing them at the farmer's market, talking with the farmers who grew them. preparing a delicious meal to share with loved ones. baking! i love to bake, too. an apple cake with the honeycrisps we picked at the orchard that day. chocolate chip cookies on a blustery winter sunday. balancing out with fresh, light meals of lean protein and lots of veggies. this all makes so much sense to me, but it's hard for people to grasp the simplicity of moderation amongst the diets and advice that are thrown at them day in and day out. i love yoga and running, and i have no need for scales in my life. the way my clothes fit is the only measure i need.

as always, thank you for your words!

Dina said...

they look yummy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. I absolutely agree that it can drive us crazy if we try to follow everything "they" tell us to do/eat. It happens in so many areas. We're told that baby formula is best; later we find out that any mom who doesn't breastfeed is somehow harming her child. I'm not suggesting that people aren't well-meaning, it's just that it's very anxiety/guilt-producing to follow what some "expert" says only to find out later that you were doing something wrong when you thought you were doing it the right way.

There is so much shame/guilt/baggage associated with food that it's refreshing to read about someone who actually enjoys her food and isn't afraid of it. What a concept!

By the way, the cookies look delicious, so delicious, in fact, that if I bake a batch, I may have to follow Oscar Wilde's advice: "Moderation in everything, even moderation."

Name: Amanda said...

Hi Sheena,

Just popping in to let you know that your blog puts a smile on my face (almost every single time I read it). If I'm not in complete agreement, maybe you've inspired me, challenged my thinking or just made me laugh. I enjoy your blog and wanted to let you know.

Keep posting and I'll keep smiling!

Ang said...

Sheena, this is EXACTLY what I needed to read RIGHT NOW - thank you for that. Also, we made the cookies tonight...perfection!

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