Embracing Change

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I look back at the diet of my youth and cringe. I was the epitome of a junk food junkie. Memories of pudding that never saw a refrigerator make me shudder. I’m pretty sure I ate enough chocolate, cream filled snack cakes to feed a small country. In high school I bought the same lunch every day – chips, lemonade, and a brownie (packaged, definitely not homemade). Meals were highly processed as well. My mother was a good cook as long as most of the meal (aside from some chicken or beef) came out of cans, jars, boxes, or pouches. Before bed my mother and I would share a soda and I would have more chips or something sweet. Apparently I was genetically blessed as weight was never an issue, in spite of the overabundance of junk.

When I moved out of my parent’s house it was to live with my husband. Early in our marriage my husband worked weekends and nights so I spent a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen. Over time I found that I really enjoyed cooking. The more cooking I did the less I wanted to use processed food. In particular I enjoyed baking which meant the end of boxed brownies and cakes. I found myself continually amazed at all the things you could make “from scratch” with ease, and how much better it all tasted.

By the time my husband and I started a family I was pretty comfortable in the kitchen and had managed to create better eating habits. Unfortunately, I was no match for a picky toddler. When my first daughter, now sixteen, hit her toddler years she had a very specific diet: frozen mac & cheese, hot dogs, frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, and grilled cheese. I slipped in fruits and vegetables when I could, and while I knew this way of eating wasn’t healthy long-term it was quick, easy, and made her happy. Soon after the birth of my second child I took on the task of weaning my older daughter off of her “toddler diet”. It took a little time, but with less distress than I had imagined (and more patience) she was eating the same food we were in a matter of months. (Thankfully she has a great diet now and is thoroughly disgusted that I actually fed her those things!)

I never really spent a lot of time thinking about food. I bought what I liked, cooked what I liked, and ate what I liked. While my diet didn’t include as much processed food (and junk) as it did when I was younger it still included a fair amount. I really didn’t worry about it or the potential long-term effects that processed food might have on me or my family. From time to time I would hear about GMO’s or organic food and think I should learn more about them and see what all the fuss was about, but then something would come up and that task would be pushed to the back burner. That all changed with my Mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, which I wrote about here. That was the “aha” moment when it finally hit me that maybe the decisions I made in the grocery store did have long-term implications, both for me and my family.

My diet has changed quite a bit over the years and continues to change today. With four children ranging in age from five to sixteen I don’t have a lot of time to study the shelves in the grocery store searching for “organic” or “non-GMO” alternatives. When I first heard about greenestbeans.com I was excited at how I might be able to use it to shop smarter for my family. When I was asked to join the team I was thrilled at the opportunity to bring greenestbeans.com to consumers everywhere and show them how easy it can be to find better food options. I will be the first to admit I still have a lot to learn and some bad habits to break, but with the search feature at greenestbeans.com ,it’s getting easier!


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