Monday, June 15, 2009

Country Girl Goes Healthy

I posted an all new and exciting (please stop rolling your eyes, I can see that!) Ask CG on Friday and had planned on answering all your burning questions today. But it was hard to overlook all your q's on the new diet we have adopted. You see, Middle Twerp was beginning to have some "hyperactive" issues at school - and we noticed them as well at home. So we thought BEFORE we look at medical options (which I am NOT opposed to) we would search out some other things first. It is summertime and really no harm would be done. So for about 5 weeks now we have changed our diet -- DRAMATICALLY. And it has not been hard -- honestly. It has been more expensive. And my colon is cleaner than it has ever been. (sorry -- tmi?) And we CANNOT have any other alternatives in our house...or we will eat them. And can I just say? WE ARE ALL LOVING IT! Really. We started off just kind of "teaching" about protein and healthy foods. We focused on how it makes you STRONG like super heroes...and you will be able to take your momma down in arm wrestling too. It is the small things in life.

Anyhoo -- this is where it all begins. Now IF you do not have a Whole Foods in your town, all this is still possible -- you just gotta LOOK in your own grocery. Harder and more time consuming, but not impossible.

Here are the 3 main changes:

1. No sugar (or high fructose corn syrup). And by "no" - I do allow some in cereal -- but we SERIOUSLY reduced our intake. Like by a lot.

2. Nothing WHITE. If it is white, we threw it out. Now only whole wheat -- brown is best. Whole wheat pasta, wheat bread, whole wheat flour, brown rice, grains are ALWAYS whole wheat. And honestly, we really limit ourselves on this is general.

3. Snacks are fruit and nuts. (or seeds) Period.

Welcome to my weekly shopping adventure at Whole Foods. I have to go weekly. Why? First, I do not freeze anything. Second, I only buy what I NEED (and I save). When I buy monthly or for multiple weeks, i always buy too much and end up throwing stuff out or it sits in my pantry for months. Lastly, I believe in FRESH! And it is hard for things to go bad in a week.

I start my shopping in the fresh produce. This is where I spend the majority of my money -- peaches, nectarines, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, watermelon, kiwi, grapes, strawberries..... We eat fruit as dessert. Fruit is now a "TREAT". They also have 100% fruit Popsicles. And the Caribbean Mix makes my toes curl and my eyes roll back in my head. Amen. But only 4 come in a box so the Twerps have yet to taste them.

Anyhoo -- so sorry. Fruit. You can buy it whole or already cut up. Obviously, if you buy it whole and cut it yourself it is cheaper -- but not always. Keep an eye out! This watermelon we buy about 4 of those a week -- they are usually dessert (NO SALT ON THEM). They cost between $2 and $2.22 each. I am just is less than those Hostess Ho Ho's. but not as good. but my thighs appreciate my efforts. Anyhoo, we use nectarines and peaches to cut up in non fat plain yogurt. We add organic granola sweetened with honey and they LOVE it.

Dairy is an area in which we changed. In our house the only two options to drink are water and milk. And we limit the milk. It is UNGODLY how much sugar is in fruit juice. My twerps use to have about 24 oz of fruit juice a DAY - each. Now they have MAYBE 4 oz a week. CRAZY!

Anhoo, IJ is on this goat's milk kick. he swears it is going to make us live longer. So, we get it and I put it in the kids' cereal. they really cannot tell a difference so it is kind of whatever I grab out of the fridge first.
So this is our drinks for the week -- I buy bottled water at Wal Mart. Cause it is cheaper. Amen.Now on to the snacks...Nuts and dried fruit. This is what we buy for snacks. the Trail mix really is good. It is $6 a bag and we go thru a bag a week. They watch TV and snack away. This is the "snack section" of our house. You can see the walnuts, almonds (unsalted) and trail mix. The last jar has breakfast bars. We call them candy bars at our house. They are treats or "breakfast on the go". The are NOT organic. They have SUGAR. I need to cut them out, but I haven't yet. I am where I am.The next section is meat. I buy 2 to 3 dinners. The chicken kabobs are DIVINE. They are $5.99 a pound. It cost me $20 to buy for family. this is the "most expensive night". I have enough left over for lunch for the kids the next day. It has veggies on the skewer so this is all we do. You could add a side of steamed veggies and a salad and it would be perfect. But I ain't that kinda woman. The meat is already season/marinated/ just cook it. we usually grill. I get 5 hamburgers seasoned and ready for $7....then we have a salad with them and fruit. Peanut butter and jelly is a staple at our home. We start off with 9 grain bread. It had a lot of seed and nuts in it -- any whole wheat will do. (Side note: At this point in the shopping experience the manager came and told me I could not take pics of prices in the store. I told him my name was Marchelle and I had a site called Chronicles of a Working Mom and he could check me out. Then I promised him I would only take pics of my kids.....and then I died of embarrassment.) Now peanut butter -- you would not BELIEVE the amount of SUGAR in peanut butter -- and the additives -- YUCK! So we grind out own peanuts.
It is about $1.98 for a container. And it is kinda bland....but they are use to it now. On top we have just plain unsalted peanuts. On the bottom we tried something new -- honey roasted. I will let you know. Now on to Jelly -- Lawsie Mercy -- SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!!! Make sure you get the kind that is just FRUIT and sweetened with FRUIT JUICE. No added sugar. AND FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AN HOLY IN THIS WORLD DO NOT NOT NOT NOT use artificial sweeteners of any kind. Unless you wanna. But please don't tell me. You can see the ingredients here: strawberries, concentrated grape juice, fruit pectin, and lemon juice. Nuttin else. Amen.
The seafood section of the store is WONDERFUL! But we just look cause it is too expensive.
Now on to my favorite part of the store: pre-made supper. For one night -- we have homemade pizza -- all organic.....$8.99. And we do a salad and fruit for dessert. Pre-made meals -- $14.99 and they include a family salad. this one is pork, peas and rice, and cabbage. I kid you not is is delish.
These are the salads that come with them.
This one is rotisserie chicken, rice, and steamed squash. They were out of family salads so I got this salmon one instead and since it was $1 cheaper they took it off my final bill. I just love generosity. They have baked ziti, chicken florentine, and all kinds of yummy meals -- it feed my entire family (5) and we have fruit as dessert.
Now I am home -- let's see the damage, shall we? Here it all is....

These are also a GREAT snack food.... And cereal ... it has sugar.... My only rule is it has to be 10 g or less...Honey nut Cheerios has always been the best for us. You can add banana or strawberries if needed.
And this is the fridge....
It will be completely empty in one week. but I feel good about what is going in...AND I CAN TELL A HUGE BEHAVIOR CHANGE!!!!!So now the moment we are all waiting for....THE BILL!For one week we spent $173.40. I do no coupons. None. And this is not any cleaners or shampoo or deo or stuff like that. Only food. And we will have to stop in for some oatmeal or milk as they week goes on.
But it has been so worth it -- so stop on in for some oragnic breakfast or snack.... But don't worry -- I still have wine.
I didn't go ALL crazy!
The rest of the Q and A tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

So what about eating out? Do you still do that and how do you handle the new diet when doing it? Also could you be more specific on behavior changes? I have a couple of young ones and I found this post very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I have some thinking to do now about our diet. :-)

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

Anon -- We do still eat out -- we try to do healthy options. There are a lot of local places we try here -- also Jason;s deli. If we do fast food we do the grilled chicken breast and fruit cup and milk. we try to do "the best we can" choosing the healthiest option.

behavior changes -- calmer, able to concentrate longer (more than 3 seconds), able to sit still for periods of time, able to listen to directios and follow. Mainly able to sit still and concentrate. Stay on task for longer and not have the jitters.

does this help?

Scrappy Girl said...

How great! You should really be proud of yourself. I am not a cook...I hate it. So I am REALLY wishing we had a whole foods..wah! I just started a new diet and this would go great with it!

Stacey said...

Thank you SOOOO much for just spelling it out so plainly - I really need an example to follow starting out - we have 5 in our family - so your amounts will be a start for us to follow. I pray my kiddoes don't move in with the neighbors. They think I am a mean mom cause I don't buy pop and pop tarts. They love healthy food - they just love the other stuff right along side it. We'll see...I'm gonna do it. Again thank you.

Amber said...

How've changed your entire eating style! And its making a difference! I wish I could do that..I'm def not there are inspiring though! We are halfway there....

Brandy said...

This sounds great, although we do not have a Whole Foods within a 100 mile radius. Was there a website or book you used to guide you? or did you just say OK these are the healthy things that we are eating?

Jenn said...

CG - these are come fantastic ideas! Thank you so much for sharing. We have started snacking on fruit in our house - and since it's summer, it's working out sooo well because it's a cold, refreshing treat. I will be on the look-out for some "healthy" popsicles too.

Thanks for sharing!!

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

brandy -- i read no books or websites -- that would have made SENSE -- but i have none of that. i just knew a) sugar bad b) organic good c) nuts and fruit good


Kathleen said...

How did your convince your kids to start eating this way? My kids eat pretty healthy BUT I would like far less sugar in their diet.

Gimme some tips....

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

kathleen -- my kids are still pretty young so it was not hard -- they LOVE fruit anyway

I made it exciting -- you want to have muscles like spiderman? THIS is what he eats --

Did you get your protein today? Let me see if you can beat me arm wrestling..

After a HEALTHY meal "daddy do you see MT's muscles? Wow -- I think they are gettin bigger. Come let me feel!

After a tball game -- You know why you were the fastest runner ? All that milk and healthy food.....

And there is nothing else in the house -- so options are only healthy -- does this help?

Farmgirl Paints said...

I've heard that behavior is often controlled by diet. So that was really great post and very informative. I'm definitely inspired to try a little harder.

I love how clean and tidy your fridge is too by the way.

Heather said...

That sounds great! I keep saying we are going to do that but alas we don't have a whole foods store, and oh yeah I'm lazy!

Just remember you can save even more money by buying the meat and salad fixings and cooking it yourself! I know you're a working Mom so I understand the time saver aspect. I'm a sahm and I still eat out a LOT! So not judging! But actually $173 a week sounds decent to me that's about how much we spend and we're not doing the good diet stuff, but no ding dongs that's fo sure!

Dana and Daisy said...

I wanta eat at your house! =)

Bonnie said...

You know we started eating organic and trying to cut out extra sugar and salt when I was preggo with my last baby. He was a "late in life" baby for me and came 8 years after my youngest and I was 40 so we thought we should try to make it better for mom and baby.
The other 3 of my kids were sick all the time, colds and an ear infection at least 6 times a year but more often up to 1 X a month.
This little guy was raised on organic formula fruits and veggies for treats etc . His favorite food is Borccoli cooked ( he is 3 wierd) anyway ,He has Only been to the Dr. for checkups and has never had an ear infection or an antibiotic EVER. has never had more than the simple cold . He was very colicky when he was a baby but we treated him with organic herbs etc. IDK if it is the whole fresh/organic approach but that is the only thing that was different besides me being older.
Feel lucky though we live in the boondocks and our closest whole foods is 2.5 hours away.

Have you ever tried Green bags? I watched a consumer report on my news that they didnt really work that well but bought some anyway and forgot about them. My mom was complaining that she has her lettuce go bad in days and I remembered them. She used them and is a TRUE believer. She says they have kept her produce from going bad so fast, It is just her and my dad and they dont eat much so stuff they cant get in small portions tends to go bad before they can eat it all. She now has green bags for everything and they are reusable . She has 1 for bananas, lettuce , onions and so on.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

WOW, I admire your dedication!! Obviously you have spent some time at the whole foods store because you have really educated yourself!! I got a little chuckle out of the manager coming up to you :~) Good job!!

Jackie said...

We're also a family of 5 and $173 doesn't seem too steep. I can spend close to that at my small town grocers, where uttering the word organic will have them locking doors and shuttering the windows for fear of them hippie-types. ;)

No Whole Foods in this neighborhood, though. So sad. I like the organic prepared meals thing. I cook from scratch about 4 times per week, but for sanity's sake rely on easier meals for the others. Healthy, organic and precooked would be devine. And much healthier than Tombstone pizzas. Ahem.

Thanks for sharing. You have inspired me to do better. And spend more. Doing our part to help the economy. :)

Annette said...

So wish we have a Whole Foods close to us. however there is a local farmers market close to where i work that has just opened up for the season, so between that and we have a really nice local grocery store that has a lot of healthy options. We started slowly into the organic/Natural kick a while back, hubby is prone to Migrains and the Doc advised to cut out the Splenda first and then look at processed foods. My Oh My, have you looked at all the stuff you actually eat? we cut out all white bread, hot dogs, lunch meats, canned pasts's. pretty much everything he ate, was out. He is a very picky eater to start with, but he went from having 3 to 4 migrains a week to now about 1 every three weeks! And it is still a learning process, we are still finding things that will trigger them, and when we do it's out! We have a garden this year and I plan to can and preserve lots of homegrown goodies! i think its great, that your changes are helping the little ones! Am so jealous you live close to whole foods! lol Thanks for sharing! gave me some ideas!

Marchelle said...

But I didnt see Big Mac and DP on there anywhere...I'm confused. And what about Starbucks? WHAT ABOUT STARBUCKS???????????????

At the new sitter's my kids get only water or milk to drink, and she gives them healthy meals & snacks. At home, because I am a lazy pushover, they get chocolate milk & juicy juice (but we do water it down.)
Mr. Clean & I both would like to cut all that out completely, so I'm going to make him read this post and find out if there is a whole foods near us.

Of course my NAME is probably on their watch list and they will want to search my bag for a camera...

Shellgirl said...

Honestly, if there was a Whole Foods within an hour of where I live, I would go there to shop. But it is two hours away and I just can't justify the extra cost of fuel along with the groceries. The pre-prepared meals look delish. I'm jealous!

Jackie said...

Forgot one question. What do you do when not at home? Seems like we are constantly inundated with treats after games, with friends, at school, etc. Any suggestions? This is a killer for us....always seems like there's one activity or another where "all the kids" are stopping at the ice cream store, etc. Help! I want to be healthy and not the big meanie all the time.