Since we've moved from our house out in the jungle, we're not going to have immediate access to our garden and fruits like we did before. Whenever we'd get hungry for something delicious, we would just go outside and pick a tangerine, or a starfruit, or a guava, or a mountain apple, or a papaya, or an avocado, or whatever else was in season. It was one, wonderful perk of living out in Puna! Although we are much happier now living in the big town, I am thankful for the experiences of growth we had out there, one of them being a deeper desire to eat whole foods.
Six years ago when I got involved with La Leche League, I was learning about many new philosophies of parenting, and trying to match them with my own, personal ideals. I believe La Leche League is an inspired organization! Their main goal is to help mothers and babies (and families) lead happy and healthy lives! One of the ten LLL statements of philosophy is,
"Good nutrition means eating a well-balanced and varied diet of foods in as close to their natural state as possible."
I took this philosophy to heart when our first baby started solids, and have tried hard ever since to follow this example in my own life, and for my family now.
Basically, when we eat foods that are whole, or in their natural state, our minds and bodies benefit from all the nutrients they provide. A fresh bunch of spinach is going to be healthier than spinach-flavored puffs, a bowl of Rolling oats-oatmeal is going to be healthier for you than a bowl of Quaker oats-cereal, and a whole strawberry is better for you than a strawberry-flavored drink. When we eat REAL fruits and veggies, and REAL whole grains, our bodies are getting the maximum nutritional benefits they have to offer! We feel better, feel healthier, and can usually maintain our natural weight.
(Picking sweet potatoes in the garden)
(Mashed sweet potatoes, a beautiful purple hue)
I get really agitated by fad diets and marketing propaganda, to the point where shopping in grocery stores really confuses and annoys me. There are so many companies out there trending on catchy phrases like "natural", "whole grain", or "organic", but if you look at the labels you find most of them are still highly processed, and stripped of all their wholesome ingredients. So, we have tried to stay away from boxed foods, and have cut down considerably on things like cereal, fruit snacks, and crackers.
I won't lie, we still buy those quick-box foods on occasion, bit it's nice to have an ideal.
I think having an ideal keeps me focused on what I really want to do, and helps me pick back up and move forward after a hasty stop at McDonalds.
There's also been times past where I've bought something really junky for my kids like Captain Crunch cereal and I'd think,"We had this stuff all the time when I was little, and I turned out fine....." Then I'd seriously have to remind myself that I was chubby, and self-conscious up until about my sophomore year in high school!! It wasn't until I started running track and eating less sugar that I felt so much better about my life.
Living out in Puna reminded me of this ideal each day, and gave us the opportunity to live off of the bounty of our land. I haven't felt so healthy and strong in a long time, and attribute it to the rich nutrients in our diets. I want our kids to grow up with a logical understanding of where food comes from and how it affects our bodies. I don't want them to think that food comes from a box in a store. I want them to continue to love their whole foods, the ones that came right off the tree or out of the garden.
(Scraping Green papayas into a salad with shredded carrots and cabbage)
Here at our Hilo house we have one avocado tree and one Ulu tree, and a few wild guavas. Yet, we are close to the Farmers Market, where we can buy fresh, local produce whenever we need. We also have several friends here who are raw foodies, who remind me that people can live exclusively off of whole foods, and lead active, healthy lives, I think. I mean, they haven't crumbled into bits and died, yet, from eating mostly nuts and fruits.
The point is, it just feels good to eat this way. It's whole food goodness!
(Eggs come from chickens. Here's the Micah-made coop in our new backyard)
Here's a list of our favorite foods to snack on right now:
Boiled edamame (soy beans)
Apple slices dipped in peanut butter
Hard boiled eggs
Carrot sticks and hummus
Whole grain bread and butter (homemade, real butter)
Banana wheels, pear slices, cantaloupe cubes, pineapple chunks
Slices of cheese
Almonds and peanuts
Corn tortillas and cheese (quesadillas)
Blueberry and spinach smoothies (with yoghurt and honey)
Strawberry and banana smoothies (with tofu and flax seed)
Green pea soup
Zadok, Odin, and Jonah enjoying a Berry/spinach smoothie Popsicle