Guidelines for the Joy Free diet

Sorry, this didn't post when I wanted it to.  If you have been waiting, I apologize for the wait.  If you don't care, glad to know I didn't disappoint you.

So if you would like to look at where our story started, and why we changed our diet, scroll down this page and look under the heading, "Life with food issues." There are lots of posts taking you more in depth, but  I won't rehash them here.

I will tell you up front that by changing our very normal American eating habits, we have kept one child, potentially two off medicine for ADHD, sensory issues and possibly emotional unbalance.  The other positive side effect is my mood swings, seasonal depression, lethargic behavior, frequent headaches and sporadic stomach aches have all gone away.  Also gone are the dark circles under my eyes, and the small red bumps on all of our arms.  In place of all that is missing is my constant enjoyment of my life, my kids, and my husband.  I have the energy to invest in my children's education, the organization of my home, my book and future speaking career.  With my new found energy, I have the will and commitment to getting up early, doing a light workout and spending amble time in prayer or reading the Bible.  This is most likely my greatest bonus.  For all the times I have longed, willed myself to get up, set my alarm and went back to bed, I now have the energy and focus to get up, and invest in my life this way.  I can't even find the words to express to you what this has meant to my sanity, my influence on my children, my relationship with the Lord, my husband.  It is deeply creeping into all of my dark places and replacing it with light.  All because I have the energy to get up and claim that gift every morning.

If we look at our life like a circle, I think a lot of us divide the circle up into a pie.  We cut a piece out and work on it.  We know and understand that our life has lost of different areas and we play lots of different roles (the pieces of the pie) so we approach our betterment like compartments.  In the new year we pick the piece of pie we want to work on and focus on it.  I want to craft more.  I want to serve more.  I want to eat healthier, or exercise more.  I want to go to church, or be in the word more.  I want to spend more time with my kids, or my friends.  I want to find a new job.  The list goes on.  But if we look at it as a wheel, then you can enter the circle at any point. But wherever you enter this cycle, you move forward and you touch each and every piece because you move fluidly through it.  It is a rhythm that is never ending, it is always moving, and it is whole.  Some would call it a holistic approach.  When you change one aspect of the cycle, that change effects all other aspects of your life.

This is what changing our diet has done for me.  It was entering the cycle at one point, but watching how it infected and changed all areas of my life.  Wow, let's get down to business now, and the whole point of this blog, to share with you our family guidelines.

So what exactly don't we eat in our house?  OK, here goes the list:
White Potatoes
Shell fish

So when most people look at this list, they first wonder why.  Why can't you eat so many of these things?  Tomorrow I hope to provide you with some research into the big triggers.  The small items are personal to some of my children's body.

So what do we eat?  Easy;

Any vegetable
Any fruit
All nuts (but no peanuts) and seeds
Fish (with the exception of shellfish)

This may not sound like a lot to you, but you really can do so much with these items, including baking.  With these restrictions, here is generally what our week looks like, food wise.

Breakfast:  Eggs in any form, scrambled, omelets, fried over spinach, baked with veggies.  During the week we limit ourselves to either eggs or oatmeal with a smoothie.  We eat GF oats, even though Oats are naturally GF, they are highly contaminated, so we just eliminate the  possibility and eat GF.  This makes mornings simple during the week and then the kids and I bake something yummy for the weekend mornings.  We either have coffee cake or muffin mush or scones and fruit or pancakes or french toast.  It makes those weekend items more special and we do it together.

Lunch: We have a variety of whatever is easiest that day.  Green Salad, egg salad, pasta salad, muffins with nut butter and Jelly, rice cakes with nut butter and jelly, soup, left overs, buttered noodles, veggies and hummus, a huge bowl of fruit salad with chips, rice chips with guacamole.  See there are lots of options.

Snacks: my kids take either a piece of fruit, a homemade larabar, or veggies for snacks.  When I am really tired and we have them on hand, they get a little bag of chips, but those are expensive so that is a treat.  Sometimes, they just opt out of a snack and wait till they get home.  Sometimes they take two honey sticks with them as a fun little treat.

Dinner: Again, here we have a wide range of ways to cook chicken, rice and veggies, we have sweet potato burgers, we have Stir Fry's, soups, salads, baked potatoes, hamburgers, risotto's in all flavors, homemade gnocchi, BBQ chicken, fried rice, Mexican rice, Lasagna.  I don't know, we just eat whatever we have in the house.

Desserts: Baked fruit, cake, pies, fudge, cookies.  All just like you, expect I make them all, without sugar, so my kids don't go crazy, we don't grave sugar, and they don't need treats all the time.

Our general rule is that we get one treat a day if mom or the kids remember.  But they have to remember at lunch time, because we don't have treats after dinner.  I figure your body has less time to burn it off before bed time, so its lunch time or no time. We have a treat maybe three times a week.

Another general rule for us to make breakfast and lunch vegetarian.  We allow 3-4 dinners a week to have meat.  I can talk about meat in another blog, but one I know to be sure, our bodies weren't created to take in the amount of meat we do.  We get lots of protein in our nuts, smoothies, veggies, and beans, so don't worry about us.

We also try very hard to include vegetables at every meal, yes even breakfast.  Find me one medically trained person who says we don't need to eat more vegetables.  The health benefits of this are incredible.  So even though they don't like it all the time, my kids know they have to eat them.  They don't have a choice.

We try to meal plan, but I'm not perfect at it.  We eat better when I do.  When I am too tired to cook, we have a bowl of GF pasta with garlic butter sauce.  That's our go to meal.  When Paul cooks, its chili or hot dogs.  Hot dogs without port or sugar or corn or nitrates cost about $6.99 for 7, so we buy them when they are on sale and stick them in the freezer.   They are our in a tight pinch, we really need something treat.  A lot of food that are convenience for others are very expensive for us, so those are extra special treat items here.

What I like about this, is my kids eat incredibly well because they don't know another way.  They also aren't offered a ton of options all the time that allows them to be picky.  They don't get special things to eat all the time, so they remain special and unexpected.

So that is where we are at.  And yes, I do make my own Ranch dressing, soy sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, caramel, hot chocolate, milk and nut butters.  If we didn't add sugar and corn syrup to everything, I wouldn't have to.   I will get you those recipes though, I promise.

Anyway, those are our guidelines by which we live.  Trying to find a balance between what all the experts say is the right way to eat, we are finding a good happy middle.

Good luck finding your happy place and way of eating that supports and takes care of your health.