Friday, May 1, 2015

Large Family Eating: Are You ALL Paleo?

One of the hardest things I have had to combat on my path to being healthy is eating what everyone else doesn't.  Actually, it would be more correct to say, everyone else is eating what I cannot.

When Tony and I decided a few years ago to go Primal (think Paleo with cheese) we tried to get everyone else on board.  After all, we knew that grains weren't really as good for you as they all say.  When you consider that our diet was probably 90% grains you can imagine what kind of a challenge that was!

Needless to say, it didn't go over well.

For a family of any size, this kind of dietary change would be difficult, imagine doing this for a family 5 times the size of an average American household.  It wasn't pretty.  Meal planning became so essential that to stray from it even for one meal could prove disastrous.

Now that I am Paleo, and this time going it all alone, it has been an easier transition knowing that I don't have to take everyone with me.

So how do we do it? 

In our household we have a variety of food issues.  I am gluten intolerant, which appears to be getting worse as the years progress.  One of the kids is lactose intolerant and cannot stomach pork products (including bacon!!!), and another is gluten free.  So our meals together are.... guess what?  Paleo.

That is usually dinner.  With kid's ranging in age from 20 down to 6 months, all in the home, the one meal we generally eat together is dinner.  Breakfast and lunch, the older girls fend for themselves.  Since they are on different work and school schedules they usually cook their own breakfast and lunch. 

The younger kids, however, I feed.  Breakfast is usually really simple during the week and it often involve gluten free grains like oats and rice.  Lunch is usually a sandwich, we buy a special gluten free bread for our one younger child who is gluten free. Sometimes it will be a salad, leftovers, or perhaps potatoes.

Dinner and snacks are usually Paleo or Primal.  The kids love green smoothies (even dairy free ones), insist on gluten free pancakes, and throw a party when I give them hard boiled eggs for lunch. My gluten free little girl loves a nice leafy green salad!  And when we serve sweet potatoes... forget about it!  I have one kid who thinks broccoli is the pinnacle of all vegetables and would eat it everyday. 

Truth is the kids do better on a diet low in grains and we get raw milk from a local farm.  I try to make sure that the main source of food in this house isn't grains like it once was.  Our kids diets are probably more like 25% grains now, unlike before when it was the major staple in the house.

I never make the kids meals that would tempt those of us who have to go without certain things, too terribly.  Yes, pizza enters the house, so if you go through my garbage can you might actually find a few boxes from Little Caesars, but you will also find a ton of apple rinds, lettuce ends, and banana peels.  And no, I don't eat the pizza.  Just offer it up, as they say.

Avoiding huge temptations everyday are the key to success.  Don't get wrapped up in what you cannot have.  Even if you are watching someone eat a pb&j and thinking, man I haven't had one of those in years..., STOP.  Make something you really love.  We keep Costco frozen turkey burgers in the freezer.  They are gluten free and really quick.  Top it with a favorite sauteed veggie, bacon, and/ or real fermented sauerkraut, and that pb&j becomes pathetic.

Keep easy to make things stocked in your freezer and fridge.  Make sure you have your favorite fruit available.  And get one special thing different every time you go to the store.  This last time I got snap peas to snack on!

Soon I will share with you a typical week of meals in our house.  Until then, remember, making changes in your diet are never easy.  There will be days where you will question your sanity.  Make sure you have food you love and that makes you feel good in the house.  And that will make temptations easier to combat.

When you are trying to feed a family, it is important to feed them the best you can.  But don't beat yourself up if it isn't perfect.  Perfect is not for this world.  If you have to do grains, pick healthier options and eat them a lot less.  Don't beat yourself up that your kid's won't eat red peppers for snacks.  I know adults who won't.  Being healthy is not the same for everyone... not even for those living all under one roof!

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