food rules

(this post contains pics of actual kids my meals have eaten lately. don't be intimidated by all the fanciness & paper plates) 

Hollllllla ya'll. It's Wednesday night and I'm feeling a little spicy. Watch out. 
My husband/hero just escorted all three children out the door, into the pouring rain to run a few errands. I think he could tell by the look on my face that I needed a time-out. 
I will capitalize on the time to answer three formspring/email questions I get kind of often. 
PS - if you didn't know about the formspring button over there >>>>> check it out

and, a preface! Yay! I love a preface, remember?!
All three of these questions are about food. I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not all that smart about food, I don't know everything (I hardly know anything!), and I think everyone should do what's best for them. This, however, is the current version of what's best for us! 

fruit, yogurt, and a little cereal
1) Why 90% vegan? 
Since I'm answering three full questions, I'm going to super condense my answers to make sure everyone stays awake and lively. 
A. I'm allergic to dairy. Didn't find out till I was 26, makes perfect sense now. We're just not friends. I love cheese and yogurt and miss them daily, but my allergy made this part easy. 
B. I'm incredibly sketched out by the hormones in beef & chicken, and any other meats you could imagine. I don't want those hormones in me or my babes in abundance, or really at all. They are actually harmful, I don't believe it's a myth. 
C. I feel better when I eat a plant-based diet and I think the Lord made plants to really heal and help our body. I also think the Lord made meat and animals good to eat, I just think as humans - we've done a lot of damage to that system. 
D. Also, I've seen enough footage of animal-based-food production to know, it makes me feel guilty to consume animal products that have basically been made through forms of abuse. I'm not an animal lover, I've never had a pet, but there is something VERY wrong about the meat/animal-product system in our country. Please, please watch Food, Inc. if you disagree. 
E. Why ONLY 90%? Because community trumps food every time. If you serve me meat at your house, I'll eat it. Same with dairy. If Nick is dying to have gelato on a special special date, I'm not going to tell him no. And most of all, because I want being a believer to trump anything that I think I am. So if you meet me, I'd much rather you come away knowing that I love Christ and want you to as well, instead of knowing I'm a 90% vegan.

carrots, apples, spinach & hummus quesadilla
 2) What are your best tips for eating healthy/losing weight? Hm. Ya'll are sweet to ask. 
I told you last week, I have to be careful. I've got some disordered eating processes in my past and I have to be careful not to be too regimented. I don't follow a specific diet or have things that I WILL. NOT. EAT. I eat vegan mostly every normal day, and at this point in time, I track my calories on the Lose It app for the Iphone. I didn't track them the whole time I was half-marathon training, because my only concern was fueling my body enough to run, not necessarily losing tons of weight. Now that training is over and I'm just normal running/exercising, I'm watching my calories again just to be careful that I'm not crazy overeating without realizing it. I track maybe 3 or 4 days out of the week, and relax the other 2. I don't think that works for everyone, but it works for me. 

I also try little challenges every once in a while. Like for a whole week, I'll try and eat nothing but whole foods. Or for a week, I'll try and have a spinach smoothie for at least one meal of the day or maybe try to eat 75% raw for a day. This is really more to challenge myself in healthy eating, not necessarily boost weight loss. 

Most of all, the last thing I think about is what I CAN'T have. Instead, I wake up and try to eat as healthy and as deliciously as I possibly can, instead of staying away from certain things. I literally LOVE healthy food now, which I never saw happening in my life.

here are some typical things I eat and what I put in them (that ya'll occasionally ask about): 
oatmeal - .5 c oats, 1 c water, splash of soy milk, 1 tbs peanut butter, 1/2 banana, some granola, flax, lately I've been adding an egg white for added protein and I HIGHLY suggest that. Go nuts here, pile up that oatmeal with goodies. 
salad - about 4 cups of spinach, 1 roma tomato, 1 whole cucumber, 1 cup of black or kidney beans, a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast, some balsamic vinegar & honey. 
spinach smoothie - .5 banana, 1 cup of soy/almond milk, sometimes some soy yogurt, a few cups of spinach, half an apple, half an orange, flax seed, peanut butter.

Also, here is my REALLY good healthy eating/weight loss tip: read good food blogs! 
You'll learn more, you'll DESIRE healthy food over gross food, did I mention you'll learn more? Now, my top pick, you ask? PEAS AND THANK YOU. Mama Pea (Sarah) is beautiful, funny, loves Jesus, loves food, isn't pushy, is kind, and she posts every single night. I can't wait to get my hands on her cookbook, and her new Amazon store is my favorite store on earth. Hear that, family?! Any holiday from here till forever - go here, please
I also super like these food blogs: 

if your laundry pile is this big, please just make some mac n' cheese. 
3) What are your tips for feeding kids healthy? 
I hope I shock you a little with my answer. 
I hope you experience a little bit of freedom. 
A. You're doing a great job. If you're WORRIED about feeding your kids healthier, you're probably not doing a bad job. AND there is ALWAYS tomorrow. If I had time, I'd tell you my whole history of feeding my kids, but I promise you - it was a mess at first. There were a lot of fruit snacks. A lot. And a lot of grilled cheese and chicken nuggets. So first, give yourself a big dose of grace, ok, lady? And read this post on on mama's putting weight on each other about everything. And if you're guilty of it, please stop. (I'm going to take a second to repent)

B. My second tip is stop worrying so much about what they won't eat. I NEVER thought my kids would eat broccoli or salad or quinoa or tofu. But you know what? They go a few dinners without eating at all, and they don't care so much. And then, their little bodies start craving healthier things and before you know it you WANT your 4 year old to eat Chik-fil-A just once because you're in a hurry, and he insists on getting a $7 salad. Blerg. So, you make the decisions, they will eventually follow along, I promise. Benja is a little beefcake foodie and that cat can pound the vegan pizza like no other. But you know what? He's been eating cucumbers since he could chew, just because I kept putting them on his plate. 

C. Lastly, HAVE FUN! Get creative with your kids and make things. Check out Little Nummies and make some plate art or let your kids get messy making bread with you. This is the hardest thing for me, because I like to be in the kitchen ALONE. However, I've learned that Elias is 96.78% more likely to eat veggie chili if I let him open the black bean cans and I make a spider out of shredded cheese on top. 

D. Think real food. Fruits and veggies are just EASY. Carrots, grapes, celery, apples, bananas, potatoes, melons, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, spinach, beans, oats, and nuts are easy. They're easy to take places, they're cheaper than processed food, and you don't have to overthink it. 

pb& banana sammich, grapes, tortilla chips, carrots
And again, more to make you feel better than anything, here are a list of some things the kiddos consume on a daily basis: cereal, oatmeal, yogurt bowls, fresh fruit, granola, homemade cookies and treats, hummus & honey sandwiches, pb & honey sandwiches, veggie wraps, veggie chips, tortilla chips, hummus, soups, beans, FRIES, homemade pizza, pizza balls, quesadillas, veggies, and chik-fil-a. When I feel up to buying Elias the adult salad, that is. 

peppahs, grapes, bananas, carrots, graham cracker, cheddar. it's not random, it's eclectic!
Soooooooo. What are you eating?
And how is your Thursday going? 
Man, I'm so chatty tonight.