Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm a Little Fruity

I was so glad when our fruit order came in last week.  I feel healthier just knowing all that vitamin C is here, waiting to be consumed.  

Last month we ordered two full cases, one of oranges and one of grapefruit.  We ran out of grapefruit way too early in the month, so this time we added an additional ½ box.  This is $64.00 worth of fruit--about 2½ bushel.  This time of year we also eat about 25# of bananas, one or two pineapple, a couple of kiwis, and 5-10# of apples per month.  We only have grapes if they are really cheap.  

Way back in the old days, when I only had four children,  I used to think fruit snacks were a healthy snack for my kids because they said "fruit" on them.   Fruit juice, canned peaches (in delicious syrup), and bananas were the main sources of fruit in our diet.  I had done daycare and according to the National Lunch Standards, canned fruit (in syrup) counted as a fruit serving.  If the government says it's good for us, then it has to be, right?  

Seven years ago, when we started our adoption process, a pediatrician told me that once we got our child home, she would go through a huge growth spurt.  The doctor explained that in foreign countries, people are not exposed to hormones in foods like we are here in the U.S.  She said I'd be amazed at how fast our little girl would grow once we started feeding her our American diet.  For some reason, this did not sit well with me.  I dove in and did endless reading and research on food and health related topics.  One thing that really troubled me was that girls were starting puberty at younger ages.  Especially foreign adoptees.  Some experts attributed this to our poor diet.

I decided we would make some changes.  It made sense to me that if we would eat foods as close to the way God gave them to us, the better off we'd be.  I started to replace our processed and canned fruits with fresh.  That wasn't easy.  We had grown accustomed to ultra sweet syrup laden fruits.  The kids loved to drink the 'juice' from the can when the fruit was gone.  Eating fresh wasn't desirable.  I threw out lots of over ripe and rotting fruit that no one touched.  Over time, our taste buds adjusted and we were able to enjoy fresh fruit the way God had intended.

Then I started adding fresh, leafy greens into our diet.  We usually have a salad with our meals about 3 (or more) times per week.   People are amazed when the see my two year old shoveling lettuce greens into his mouth...and then asking for more 'num nums'.   If we don't have a fresh salad, we have some sort of cooked vegetable on the side with our meals. 

I tried to cut out a lot of processed foods and started cooking from scratch.  Years ago,  when we only had two children, we had a visit from a friend from Norway.  His main comment about our food was that our bread lacked substance.  He said, "Americans make such good sandwiches.  They'd be much better on good bread."  I had no idea what he was talking about.  I loved my sub sandwiches on soft white bread.   It wasn't until after I started baking whole wheat bread and purchasing whole grain breads that I understood what he had been talking about.

We also made changes in our meat to decrease some of the hormones in our diet.   We started to raise our own chickens and lamb.  We purchased organic, grass fed beef from a local farmer.  I can't afford organic milk, but I do buy hormone free.  I haven't been able to switch our cheeses and butter.  It's just not cost effective.  However, I do feel better about the changes we have made.  I do what I can do within the budget I've been given.

Don't get me wrong.  We are not total health food fanatics.  I still buy hot dogs, processed meats, boxed macaroni and cheese, chips, candy, and occasionally, pop.  I still buy white buns, and French bread.  It's just that these things are no longer the main staple in our lives.

Driving through McDonald's and Burger King for meals used to be a frequent event for our family.  It was convenient.  Once we started eating healthier, and increasing the variety of foods in our diet, those places no longer tasted as good as they had before.  Now, driving through fast food restaurants for a quick meal is a very rare occurrence, and barely tolerable.

What have I accomplished through all of this?  For one, we've seen a considerable decrease in doctor visits.  I can't even remember the last time we had to give one of the younger children an antibiotic.  In fact, some of our kids aren't even in our pharmacy's data base!  It's too bad eating healthier doesn't prevent stitches and broken bones. 

Secondly, I have kids who eat almost anything.  There are very few things they don't like.  One thing they can't stomach is white bread.  Our grocery store was giving away free loaves with a $25.00 purchase.  Always trying to be a good steward, I made sandwiches with it for lunch.  All seven children complained about how the bread turned pasty and stuck to the roofs of their mouths.  It made me smile.  We've definitely come a long way.


  1. I am way guilty of eating out way too much, purchasing fast foods and not paying enough attention to our diets! Maybe I should take some lessons from you!

  2. It sounds like your plan is working! It also sounds like you eat well rounded meals too. Right now I am enjoying the Clementines. The 4 H Clubs fresh fruit will be much appreciated in March, they sell it every year as a fundraiser:)

  3. Are you guys ordering this from the Organic Market? I am a fresh fruit freak, and I think that is a wonderful price!! Let me know!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging post! You made some great points that can a help a young mom out!
    Sarah P. :)

  5. lol, I have to save the free white bread for french toast and topping for the UB wild rice hotdish, lol :) I totally agree with what you are saying. Thats a BIG reason I want to get out in the country- so we can raise (most of)our own meat and eggs. We have now accepted the inconvienience of needing to go to a grocery store in stead of the gas station when we need milk so we can get hormone-free (and organic when I have good coupons - I even froze 30 organic half-gallons last fall when I got it for $4.50/gallon!) Thats so interesting on the doctor visit thing - Its so good to hear that first hand from someone I know how that fruit change has affected them. Keep up the good work! We really should hang out some time. :) --Jen

  6. The studies on early puberty in girls are scary - as are many of the more recent studies on hormone-laced milk and those receiving treatment for breast cancer.

    The one downside of eating healthy is that when you have an unhealthy meal your body pays for it later! Butter, salty dishes, diner meals cooked in lard, and most meats leave me feeling "off" for a few days. (I avoid meat simply because I have very high iron levels.) I was raised on whole grains, and the thought of a white-bread sandwich actually turns my stomach. I view this less as some kind of food snobbery and more as my body telling me what it dislikes :)

    And isn't is just so very satisfying to bake your own bread? I'm new to the kitchen, so perhaps the novelty hasn't worn off yet, but...baking my own bread is definitely a favorite time of week! My current favorite is a whole wheat loaf packed with green olives and flax seeds. It's chewy, nutty, and savory all at once!



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