Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And so it begins....

It is official!  I am now sharing my recipes, tips and insight with the virtual world.  Before I begin posting the things I really want to post, I thought I would give you a little more background on why I decided to start theis blog and my "philosophy".  My passion really is in health and healthy living.  While I may not be employed in that arena right now, I am using my knowledge how I can to help others find their successful health journey through this blog. 

From working with a state-wide initiative in Michigan, Great Start, my knowledge of what children need from the time they are born to succeed in life has increased ten fold.  When you have a child nobody hands you a manual and a cookbook to prepare you for all the things you will need in the next 18 years.  So through trial and error, research and dedication I have tried to give my boys the tools they need to succeed.  Not all parents have this opportunity, but as a child's first teacher it is our job to teach them the best that we can.  My parents did not have the internet or the same tools I have now, but they did the best that they could and that is what all parents should strive to do.  We should do the best we can for ourselves as well.  Adults sometimes need guidance or helpful tips to grow and become healthy, happy and feel good about what they are doing, for themselves and their families.  We have become so busy in our day to day lives we sometimes forget that nutrition, exercise and other healthy habits play an important role in our personal and professional lives.

Moving to Fremont, which is an hour north of Grand Rapids, was a huge adjustment for me.  Starting a new job and a new life is an adjustment for everyone, but when you throw into the mix not knowing what is available at the store.  Heck, even the store hours was a challenge!  I was used to Meijer being open 24 hours a day and now the local grocery store was not open past 11 and reduced hours on Sunday, even the WalMart closed at 11pm.  I was lucky that my  husband and in laws were familiar with things and I could ask them, but what a shock.  I quickly learned that living in a small town puts you at a bigger disadvantage than a larger town because you don't have the options and selection for healthy foods.  Over the past 12 years things have changed a bit, with me and the community.  I am also fortunate that Fremont and Newaygo County has such a great history and future in responsible agriculture! I can purchase fresh fruits and veggies from roadside stands (when my family does not have them in their garden), local farms and the farmers markets, meat from the agriculture fair's 4-H auction and local farmers, and other artisan goods from local businesses.  The best part is I have learned to do it on a budget!

I love the European way of going to the grocery store every few days and only purchasing what I need when I need it and mainly fresh items.  Especially because I like to use fresh fruits, vegetables and other items in my cooking and baking.  I know that if I shop this way I am less likely to buy this I do not need or buy too much.  I also do this because of how busy my life is, if I had to plan a trip to the store that was going to last hours...I would lose my mind and a child or two in the process.

I don't clip coupons, period end of story.  I would LOVE to be able to save another 25 cents on something.  But lets face it, I don't have the time to sit and clip coupons and I would forget them when I needed them anyways.  Instead I focus on buying quality, healthy items  for what I need (generic or name brand) if it is on sale then bonus.  For those who do clip coupons, great!  Then you may find my recipes and tips even more beneficial when you combine them with coupons. 

I have a strong dislike for our schools lunch program.  I refuse to believe that what our children are being served is the best we can do for them.  I know that there are healthy, fun, good tasting options out there, trust me my boys eat them on almost a daily basis!  I know that schools are having to make difficult cuts and revenue is needed, but not at the expense of our childrens' health.  There has to be a better way to bring in revenue for food service and teach our children better food habits that will stay with them for life!  If they would just realize that healthy foods reduces absenteeism and increases test scores, not to mention that if parents saw the changes more (like me) would probably encourage their children to eat school lunch, thus increasing revenue.  I will post some of my lunch tips in upcoming blog posts, for other families who would like better options than school lunch.

I have recently added another layer in my family's healthy living quest.  My oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD within the last year.  Due to my own struggle with ADD, I know that certain dyes, chemicals and ingredients can react differently and increase those hyperactive symptoms.  So I have decided to remove as many of these from our diets as possible.  This can make buying items such as cereal, crackers, cookies, ice cream, and even jell-o difficult, but it is a choice I have made.  Due to this we have begun to purchase more organic items, which can be difficult in a small town, especially when I refuse to shop at WalMart.

I think I have babbled more than enough for one post, so I will sign off for now.

Thank you for following me!!