Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Food Revolution- Vive La Salade!

Here in the Grantham house we began our food revolution a year and a half ago. My husband welcomed it, which I'm grateful for and has traveled right along with me as we've gone on a healthier journey. We are not super strict by any means but we've cut a lot of things out of our diet and added some unique foods that aren't on the average persons daily meal plan. He never complains about what I put in front of him- he's an adventurous eater (far more than I am) and will try anything once. I'm a very lucky girl!

This is not only a blog about food but also kind of an ode to my Mother. I was raised on homemade, healthful, balanced meals. We had vegetables from our garden, lean meats and no fried foods. I didn't even know how to fry food until I was out of high school. When we got treats it was from the health food store- I even remember the package to the organic peanut butter cups I would get (a queen bee)- or we'd get Tiger's Milk bars (those bars still take me back to childhood, whenever I eat one I feel 6 years old!!) This is not to say we never had Oreo cookies, cuz we did- but we were limited on how many we could have and I honestly don't remember them being in the house all the time. My mother has always been a healthy eater and when I was young she was able to instill that in my sister and I. We were never allowed to have sugary cereals or twinkies and McDonald's was a rare "treat". Unfortunately when I was old enough to make my own food choices I went hog wild and the complete opposite of my childhood. I wanted to know how the other half lived and what I'd been "missing out" on all those years. I had all of the "forbidden" foods I could get. I bought those sugary cereals, had Taco Bell, ate cookie dough with abandon, and never met an ice cream flavor I didn't like. That started in Jr. High and slowly got worse as High School came around. My High School actually had a Taco Bell and Pizza Hut cart!! I had 2 bean burritos for lunch everyday- they were cheap and good. I never thought about what I put in my mouth. I bet my mom didn't even know that's what I had for lunch or that in Jr. High lunch consisted of a shared pack of mini donuts and a diet coke.

Fast forward many years and many pounds later (and a few successful diets followed by relapsing and weight gain), I began thinking about what I was eating. I had stopped eating whatever I wanted in whatever quantities and started thinking about calories etc.... That helped in curbing my free-for-all attitude but it really did nothing for my actual health. So I started thinking about processed foods, artificial sweeteners, going organic, going back to being vegetarian (which my whole family made the shift to when I was about 13) and trying to re-capture the good habits and foods of my childhood. I try to be really diligent about artificial sweeteners- I am a huge believer in getting rid of high fructose corn syrup and banishing it to the netherworld, and I also won't have aspartame or anything else that isn't from nature cuz that stuff has been proven to be cancer causing as well as mimic the symptoms of many auto-immune diseases. I know that I get some refined sugar in my diet, but I can say that it's a small amount compared to what I was having 2 years ago. Basically if I don't know what something is on the ingredients list I'll put it back. Anything that sounds like a science project or came from a petri dish is something I don't want and can stay on the shelf, thank you very much.

Since starting my clean eating habits I've definitely had days where I don't stick to it for every meal. I love a good ol' Subway sandwich (which I just found out has high fructose corn syrup in the bread!!!- gonna have to re-think that.....) and sometimes I'll have a cookie from the coffee shop next to my work (which contain Crisco, unfortunately!). Recently I began thinking about tightening the reins a bit more. I have a wonderful co-worker who has been vegan for over a year. She inspires me and while I'm not ready to go vegan, I want to start incorporating more vegan meals into my life. BUT I already wrote a blog on that whole part of this journey, no need to repeat so back to my mom......

As I was making dinner the other night (pictured above) I suddenly came to the realization that I'm turning into my mother!!! For some women this might their worst nightmare come true but for me it's great and not cringe worthy in the least! I was chopping and slicing the fruit for the delicious fruit salad and dumping them into a big ol' bowl and as I was tossing the fruit I had an epiphany!- this is my mother's fruit salad!!!!!!! I know it's just simple chopped fruit but subconsciously when I was shopping for my fruit I grabbed only the fruits my mother puts in hers- I passed the kiwis, ignored the oranges and didn't even notice the raspberries. My husband even made a comment about this as we were eating it!! See mom, everything you taught me is finally being put to good use, even if it took decades!!!

Sometimes when I'm making dinner I'll think to myself "hmm mom would probably like this", such as the salad in the above picture (which should have a whole blog to itself cuz it's a bowl of heaven!!!!) and I smile to myself. So it's okay if I'm turning into my mom, cuz she's one fantastic lady who taught me some valuable things (not just about food), set an awesome example and I love her fiercely!!


  1. OMG I STILL love tiger's milk bars. those were THE health food candy bar when I was a kid. I slip up all the time but I still eat way better than I used to a few years ago, testament to that is my slow but permanent 45 pound weight loss. now for those extra 2 or 3 hundred pounds... hmmm....

  2. p.s. what is in the salad with the nuts on top? it looks delectable.

  3. Brenna, I'm just finishing the blog that tells you everything in that salad and I even go on a little tangent about those delectable pine nuts!!!... I'll be posting it in about 2 minutes......

  4. Thank you!! Wow, that was very nice. I think you forgot about all the fish sticks,beans and franks,and sloppy joes we had when I was too tired or too poor to cook a real meal.But it's true that I did really try to feed you girls healthy foods. A sugary cereal never crossed our threshold :-) Although I do believe that both of the grandmas let you have it. I do like to cook and eat healthy ,but you are so much more adventuresome then I ever was ,although I did foist some experiments on you guys (and still do) Keep up the good work. It will be worth it. Love you lots!!!

  5. Grandma Marilyn always had cinnamon toast crunch- I'll always remember that!! oddly enough I don't remember having sugary cereal at Grandma Shirley's- I'm sure we did but it's not coming to mind. I remember we always had either raisin bran or grape nuts at our house!! grape nuts with a little sugar and banana slices will always make me think of being little. actually I am remembering some tater tots and fish sticks!! okay so maybe it wasn't always super health food, but you were pretty good about it as far as I remember and you laid the foundation!!!!!! LOVE YOU! xoxoxo