I am at a season in my life where I think alot about food. Better said, I am in a season of life where I think alot about my health as it relates to food and other life habits. Sometimes when I trek down memory lane with my food habits, I cringe at some of the choices I made, and how I wound up here (wherever “here” is) and, for the most part, in excellent health. But, my current health situation could probably be narrowed down to three factors, listed in chronological order: marrying my husband, raising my son, and transitioning my hair.
It takes my MIL to tell the stories of my husband’s picky nature with food: his choice to eat hot dogs rather than the traditional holiday fare, his fights with older relatives about his food choices, and–my personal favorite–how he picked out each piece of ground chicken from his spaghetti sauce before he would eat it. In the earliest years of our marriage, it occurred to me that some of what was described as “picky-ness” was probably moreso a choice to eat healthy long before most in the mainstream were talking or writing about it. Unfortunately, as the primary cook of our household, I probably brought him more to “the dark side of the force” than he led me to the light. Yet, his refusal to eat certain foods turned me away from my very worst eating habits, as it is no fun to be decadent alone. As I look around me at older relatives who suffer a myriad of health issues related to obesity, it is no understatement to say that he probably saved my life in that way.
We have three children, so in speaking of our son, I am certainly not attempting to leave any one of them out or lift any one of them above the other. But our son’s decision to go vegetarian–one he made as an 8-year-old in 2006–changed my thinking about food completely. His thinking, which started as a sheer disdain for chicken nuggets, was not the first time I had flirted with vegetarianism; an earlier health scare compelled me to consider out meats altogether. But, action without information can be a dangerous place, and I found that replacing meat with pastas and cheeses actually caused me to gain weight and feel lousy. So, fast-forwarding a bit, rounding out his diet, and learning how to cook vegetarian and vegan meals without adding in fats, was an education in itself. That education included learning how to add in proteins from foods like tofu and beans to effectively create appetizing meals that were both tasty and filling.
My transition to my natural hair began just shy of 5 years ago. Having spent 30+ years with chemical relaxers, and as much as another 6-8 years getting my hair straightened with a hot comb, I had no idea what would pop out of my head. After all, feeling that new growth, up until December of 2010, was just a sign that I needed to set a hair appointment.
Having already embraced meals without meat, growing a new head of hair propelled my eating habits by incorporating raw foods. The more I learned about what different, alleged “superfoods” did for hair growth, the more kale I chopped, the more avocado I sliced, and the more nuts I devoured. A desire to get away from certain ingredients in commercial hair products also led me to food items like almond milk, coconut water, and flax seeds. Now I run toward vegetables that once turned my stomach to even think about eating, and I deliberately find ways to eat them raw.
So, where am I after all this change in my life?
Well, I am no longer as avid a coupon hunter after realizing that most of what I need to eat is not marked down–at least, not so much that I can enter the store with an ongoing discount. Besides, the grocery stores in our area “caught wind” of the extreme couponer, so I have yet to see anyone hit the checkout line with 2 baskets of would-be free or very low cost groceries. It was a fun run while it lasted, though.
I spend more time and money learning food and how to make wise choices, even in selecting foods that heal different age-related ailments.
I invest in our gardens so that we eat more savory foods that, to the best of our abilities, come into our home pesticide-free.
I receive grace and I press on, getting wiser and better each day.