When my first daughter was diagnosed with Celiac and multiple food sensitivities, I immediately began educating myself in nutrition. My focus was on keeping the offending foods out of her body. Unfortunately, all I was told was to avoid gluten (and the other offenders, artificial colors & preservatives, strawberries, watermelon, & dairy). So that’s exactly what I did.
Our home became filled with gluten free processed food substitutes. For the kids that were not gluten free, I decided an organic approach to life was necessary (to avoid the artificial colorants, flavors, and preservatives). As such, our house also became filled with “organic” and “natural” processed foods.
Fast forward six years and four Celiac diagnoses later (Myself and all three of my daughters). . . today, there is almost NO processed food in our house. We do buy the occasional gluten free cereal, and gluten free non-gmo corn based pasta. The closest thing to a processed “snack” food we buy is Larabar (and the new Uberbar). Rarely, I buy dark chocolate or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.
Our produce is organic whenever possible (and the biggest staple of our diet). I ONLY buy organic apples, berries, potatoes, peaches, & salads/greens (and all the dirty dozen). If we buy corn, we only buy organic/non-GMO varieties.
I do buy conventional foods from the lesser pesticide list: bananas, avocados, melons, thick skinned squash, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage. . .
Bread is almost unheard of for our crew. Hubs won’t give it up, so I do keep the best quality bread I can get him to eat on hand for his lunch. We keep a bit of gluten free Udi’s or Kinnikinnick bread in the freezer in case there is a carb emergency for the kids (like a super busy sports/dance day).
We still get a lot of grain free treats. . . I make almond and/or coconut flour based breads, cakes, muffins, & cookies. We do this too often, but with kids packing school lunches every day and one boy who has a tendency to lose weight instead of gain, I need to sneak the healthy fats in wherever we can. If he had his way, he’d exist on bread, cereal, fruit, carrots, plain meat, string cheese, high sugar jam, & juice. If I sneak butter onto his veggies it’s a crisis! I’m trying to get inventive in the ways I get coconut oil, butter, and nuts into him (he won’t touch a nut for anything!).
We’ve been moving to a GAPs diet, although we aren’t fully there. We have had occasional days when a gluten free rice cereal shows up or the rare pasta dish. I’m struggling with a combination of getting people to eat and keeping our diets clean and healthy. I have two girls and myself who will gain weight easily with carbs (even healthy ones), two smallish but very healthy kids who can eat anything, and one that loses weight. . . toss in the Daddy who is a sugar addict and carb fiend (I’m working on it. . . ) and we have a lot of diets to cover. Plus, there is the daycare who I have to feed according to USDA guidelines (yuck). I feel like a short order cook, except I have a million other jobs to do as well!
What I know about nutrition today. . .
Real, unprocessed food should be the vast majority of our diet (90%+).
Sugar should only come from nature, be unrefined, and limited.
Grains are not our friends and are not necessary for optimal health. If we eat grains, we stick to simple grains like rice & buckwheat and soak or sourdough them first.
Corn is essentially a grain and often GMO.
Healthy fats are essential for health. We don’t cut corners on our fat. I buy Organic, unrefined coconut oil, grassfed/organic butter, good quality extra virgin olive oil (and store it in a dark cupboard). We haven’t evolved to lard yet because store lard is nasty and I haven’t found a good source for it.
Dairy is not great for anyone. We can have butter/ghee, heavy cream, raw and/or aged cheese, and occasionally raw (or low pasteurized) non homogenzied whole milk. Two of my kids cannot have any dairy except butter/ghee.
Olives, avocados, and nuts are excellent sources of healthy fats.
Meat should be grassfed/organic/free range whenever possible, conventional meat should be lean.
50%-75% of every meal should be veggies (and maybe fruit). The rest should be high quality fat and protein.
Home grown eggs really are awesome. The yolks of our hens are beautiful and orange. I love being a chicken mama (except the poop, but that’s another story).
Cereal is crack for me (and I think for my children as well). Seriously, if I allow myself to even have one serving of GF rice cereal, I want more and more and more. . . the spiral begins. Addictive foods are never a good thing.
The more “crap” I take out of my diet, the more I appreciate foods I never liked in the past. Avocados weirded me out, bacon was disgusting. . . now I crave both. I will finely chop onions and cook with them (and two of my kids will eat them raw) but in the past I wouldn’t bring them into my house. I’m seriously considering adding organ meats into our diet (in the past I would have gagged at the thought). Oh, and I LOVE sweet potatoes. In my past, sweet potatoes where in the “weird” category. . . even the sugary ones at Thanksgiving.