Nowadays it is very hard to escape the talk about food allergies, gluten-free eating, buying local, eating grass-fed beef, and the Paleo diet. It can all be so overwhelming!
What is the deal??
Can’t we just go to the store, fill our carts, and go home?! I mean, after all, that’s how most of us saw our parents do it and we turned out “just fine.”
Well, if “just fine” means that we have skin issues, regular headaches, we are overweight, we take meds regularly for something like high cholesterol or thyroid issues……yeh, we turned out “just fine”.
It is very hard to find a day when someone doesn’t mention that they themselves or someone they know either has a food allergy, “can’t eat gluten”, has been ‘finally’ diagnosed with something that has a list of symptoms that have been bothering them for years, OR is desperate to “get some answers”.
There is a reason.
This is my story:
I had been raised by a farm girl. My mom knew how to make things from scratch like no one else. She didn’t appreciate preservatives and additives in our food, so she made sure she knew exactly what was in the meals she prepared. Despite my desire to have those colorful foil and plastic wrapped snacks in my lunch box like all of the other kids, my mother diligently packed me a homemade lunch.
Over the years, I learned tips and tricks from her that proved to be very helpful and I cherish the memories I have of being in the kitchen with her.
As I grew up and started a family of my own, some of those time-taking skills took the back row. It was much more convenient to go to the grocery store and fill my cart. It was also very rewarding to hear the children cheer when Mommy came home with ‘fun foods’. But deep down inside, I knew that my lack of time/planning was causing me to feed my family ‘less-than nutritious’ food. I was exhausted, I was dealing with some auto-immune issues, and I was on a tight budget; so I didn’t think I could fit in ‘making things from scratch’.
When my mother would come to visit, we would cook together (still do) things that I had not made in years! I only seemed to do it when she was visiting because I had more help with children and my mother always came with a plan! (She still does.) I felt good feeding my family the wonderful meals my mother and I created. I knew the food was nutritious, it really didn’t take that much more time than I was already spending in the kitchen, and we actually saved money!
I longed for time to be able to be in the kitchen and cook things that I could feel good about giving my family on a regular basis.
After we had our fourth child, I began ‘meal planning’. I had read how some women were doing it and I knew that if I was going to keep my sanity, I needed to try it. Meal planning was the best thing that happened to me since sliced bread!
I had a plan for my week, I had a plan for the store, and I had a happy, well-fed family.
Then, things changed.
Five years ago, our third son was diagnosed with leukemia. I found myself in a very desperate place. We were in the hospital all of the time, and the nights seemed to last forever. I would sit there and stare at my son while he slept, praying that God would spare his life. I prayed and prayed and tried to wrap my mind around the whole situation.
How did a totally healthy (appearing) child get so tragically ill overnight? How could I help his body heal itself? How could I prevent this from happening to our other 7 children?
The questions kept me up and my laptop became my evening project since sleeping wasn’t going to happen.
Despite modern technology, I kept finding myself at websites that talked about eating ‘whole’, ‘real’, ‘unprocessed’ food, just like the good ol’ days. That’s right, making things from scratch! But how could I do that if I was in the hospital and not at home??
I cooked in massive quantities when I was at home, so that when I wasn’t there, the rest of my family could still eat nutritiously and not have to resort to ‘convenience foods’.
By the grace of God, our son had a great recovery from leukemia and I firmly believe that feeding him nutritiously dense foods helped. He is now a healthy, thriving young man.
How does one mother manage her own auto-immune issues, feed a child through cancer, feed 3 people with gluten intolerances, feed a teenage boy who struggled with IBS, truly nourish all of them, including one very hungry hubby?!?!
No matter how many people are in your home, meal planning can make life so rewarding!
It will help you feed your family delicious and nutritious meals, especially if you are on a tight budget!
There are so many great websites, just like this one, that offer great tips and recipes to nourish your family. I encourage you to forego the grocery-store aisles in the middle of the store, say no to the colorful foil and plastic packaging, and take charge of your family’s well-being.
Here’s are some great resources for healthy meal plans: