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How I feed my family and How I Got My Kid to LOVE Whole Foods!

You may gather by now that we are very passionate about healthy living, especially when it comes to food! It’s amazing the effect our daily food intake has on our bodies!

 I would love to share with you some things I have learned and the wonderful benefits my family and I have been experiencing as a result of changing the way we eat.

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I’m about to introduce to you a way of eating that at its core is anciently old fashioned but is backed with the best science and research studies of today. You’ll also find some newly discovered super-foods among this eating lifestyle that my family and I have adapted.

You will also probably think that I am a little crazy…and a crunchy granola mom and you may really disagree with a lot of this but I will never go back to eating like I used to on a daily basis EVER again. I feel SO good!! My doctor has given me a clean bill of health over and over again! My children are thriving and my husband doesn’t feel lacking for lots of delicious and flavorful food. It’s been awesome.

I continued eating this way through my second pregnancy and I cannot tell you how easy and smooth my pregnancy and my postpartum recovery have been and what a huge supply of milk I have! I had zero morning sickness in the first trimester and zero postpartum pain. I even had to get surgery done a week or two after delivering and I had MINIMUM pain from that! I gained a healthy 20 lbs with my second baby and after delivering I was down to my wedding weight just three days postpartum. I truly believe this eating lifestyle is healing to our bodies, our organs, our bones, everything. I rarely ever get a head ache. I don’t think I have had one in a year and I used to get them ALL of the time. I have never felt like I had more energy and right now while my husband is overseas I am single parenting a two year old and nursing a 4 month old! I say all of this NOT to boast or bring attention to myself. I can ONLY thank the Lord for allowing me to understand His plan behind food and that is why I am sharing all of this with you!!

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20 weeks pregnant holding our firstborn, Ayelee Sarah                                   Our Mighty Song Family Photography

I’m not a health expert and I do not hold any sort of certification or a degree in nutrition but I have something that I think most all of us women have and that’s a mother’s instinct. We have a lot of instinct to do what is the best for our families and our kiddos but I think we have a BIG misunderstanding of what actually is the best for them because of so many DIFFERENT messages we hear on health. We can read just about anything on just about everything and learn it is “bad” for us…but did you know? To be healthy is actually VERY SIMPLE!!!!

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I did not start with an agenda to be super healthy. It has been a bit of a learning curve! I even grew up in a home where we ate healthy meals made from scratch and we made our own peanut butter in a grinder at Earth Fare. However, I have learned only recently that there is more to health than just adding in “right foods.” In a nutshell, it’s about cutting out processed foods and stabilizing your blood sugar. You do this by anchoring each meal with protein and include plants, natural carbs and healthy fats!

I became really interested in a healthy eating lifestyle a year after I had our first child and I stumbled upon Trim Healthy Mama and was also inspired by the documentary In Defense of Food. I have learned a lot. Did you know that the Bible records God eating butter with Abraham? In Genesis 18:8 it says “And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” In Deuteronomy 32:14 is says “He fed them yogurt from the herd and milk from the flock, together with the fat of lambs. He gave them choice rams from Bashan, and goats, together with the choicest wheat. You drank the finest wine, made from the juice of grapes.” IMG_9957

We read more from the Bible that God gives us “everything that lives and moves about for food just as he gave us the green plants for food.” In Psalms you find: “Wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.” 

Nothing God has ordained should be rejected. We find that when it is (unless there is a severe allergy or addiction), it has serious long term consequences on our bodies. Science always backs up scripture. It’s amazing, huh?

The Authors of Trim Healthy Mama Pearl and Serene Barrett went through so many fad diets including raw, vegetarian, vegan, low carb, high carb and through each one they suffered severe consequences such as depleted bone density, adrenal fatigue, constant issue of blood, high cholesterol and a lot more things. Serene was a vegan raw foodist for 7 years. Yet many health promoting properties such as lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) found in certain plants can’t be released UNTIL they are cooked first. These two women discovered that all of these fads had one thing in common. An elimination of an entire food group. They became so concerned about their health that they were willing to try anything to feel like a normal person again.

They tossed all of their science journals and diet books and went to the Bible. They studied to find that God actually meant for us to eat foods such as dairy, grains, fruit, meat and much more (as much as can be tolerated of course there are some with allergies or sensitivities). They began to slowly add these things back into their diet and their health problems began to disappear. They had energy again, the bleeding stopped and the high cholesterol normalized. Their hormones got back to normal. They wrote about it and their self-published book went viral without any paid publicity.

Now THOUSANDS of women are a testament to healing health by eating a whole foods diet without sugar. The authors have also used science to help them with a weight loss plan that is easy, SUPER satisfying and does not require you to eliminate any foods (except processed.) If that is necessary for you, you can read more about their weight loss plan at www.trimhealthymama.com. My husband lost 30 lbs in two months while sticking to the plan. It is very similar to keto because it is basically letting your body burn one fuel source at a time but complex carbs are included!! I’ll probably always implement the plan in my life cause it is so easy and inclusive and I will just change it up for whatever needs I have at the moment. Right now I am focusing on nursing and maintaining. They also have great advice on how to implement this eating lifestyle for working moms. They have VERY easy and simple recipes. Definitely check out their plan book and read the crazy amount of testimonies of women AND men who’s lives have been changed for the better in MANY ways!!

Trends can be tricky. We’re always learning more and then “relearning” what we have learned. The ancient texts are our foundation. We cannot go wrong there. So can I just clear up some confusion that is so prevalent in food trends these days?

  1. Our bodies rely on nutrition from all food sources. This is probably the most controversial of all when it comes to food trends. There are so many trends out there these days and so much “evidence” of why we need to eat vegan or eat paleo! Of course it is understandable that some people are unable to tolerate certain foods and that is perfectly okay. You just keep doing you! 🙂
  2. Calories are so important for the body. We need them for proper brain and hormone function. Some negative side effects of a low calorie diet are muscle loss, headaches, fatigue, constipation and even gallstones. In the long run, a low calorie diet can cause our adrenals to suffer greatly and it can also greatly damage our metabolisms. A low calorie diet will always turn around and bite you in the rear. Our bodies go into starvation mode and start “storing away” fat. In the end, it usually always ends with extra weight gain.
  3.  Less is NOT more! Is is just me or does our culture continually spew this cruel little lie that gets tucked away in our minds that to be healthy and skinny we need NOT eat?? This couldn’t be further from the truth! Our bodies need AT LEAST three full meals a day. Now, constantly grazing isn’t good for your body either. It needs time to digest and 3 to 4 hours max is plenty of time to let your body digest its food. However, if you are skipping meals altogether then I just urge you to reconsider because skimping on nutrition will only cause your body harm in may ways. Think of your car. It needs fuel to run properly, right? Driving it continuously low on fuel will cause damage to your vehicle. It is the same with your body! You cannot keep running so low on fuel or eventually your body will start shutting down and it will start working against you. Unless we have a serious illness such as an eating disorder then we can’t keep up fasting forever on a daily basis. Fasting meals and then indulging later in the day is a pathway that leads straight to weight-gain.
  4. Fat is your friend!! It is so important to have adequate fat levels for our bodies to function properly and to protect our organs and our hormonal health. I am not thinking of consuming unhealthy hydrogenated and unhealthy trans fats found in a lot of processed foods. I am talking about consuming natural and healthy saturated fat such as the kind found in butter, coconut oil, avocados and meats.

Speaking of fat…I can’t wait to tell you about my favorite fat of all time!

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Milk fat! It helps your body absorb fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, and other fat soluble vitamins. If you take fat soluble vitamins without any fat, they won’t be absorbed by your body! You need fat in order to digest these kinds of vitamins.

Butter is abundant in DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, which is a primary structural component of the human brain. Also full of Arachidonic acid which is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain which helps to maintain hippocampal cell membrane fluidity, and protect the brain from oxidative stress. Butter is literally fuel for your brain.

When you’re eating butter, you’re eating something rich in beneficial bio-active compounds, and fatty acids. Butter is nutrient dense, and full of Vitamin A, E, D, K, antioxidants, minerals including selenium, manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, Cholesterol, Fatty acids like Conjugated linoleic acid, butyric acid, arachidonic acid (brain function and healthy cell membranes, Lauric acid, short and medium chain fatty acids in the perfect omega 3 to omega 6 balance, lecithin (metabolic health), Iodine in a highly absorbable form, glycosphingolipids (protects against gut infections).

Butter actually improves cholesterol and doesn’t clog your arteries!

In fact, butter is a necessary component to the healthy growth of children. People who’ve been deprived of proper amounts of vitamin A (fat soluble vitamin in butter) during gestation tend to have narrow faces and skeletal structure, small palates and crowded teeth. Extreme deficiencies result in blindness, skeletal problems and other birth defects. People who’ve gotten optimal vitamin A from the time of conception have broad faces, strong straight teeth, and excellent bone structure.

So I think it is safe to slather some butter on your toast!

Now, back to that list…

5. Meat is a health food! Without adequate protein our bodies start to age at a faster rate. Our muscles, organs, bones, cartilage, skin and the antibodies that guard us from disease are all made of protein. Without sufficient protein, none of these can repair themselves and they decline into cellular breakdown. Chronic low protein diets even those consisting of beans and nuts, leads to a loss of face and body tone. Women notice everything begins to sag more and their posture stoop. Animal protein is the only reliable protein source that contains all the essential amino acids. If our body does not have complete availability at all times to these amino acids needed for cellular repair, it deteriorates. Carnitine, a potent antioxidant and cell rejuvenator as well as a taurine are only found in animal sources. These are critical for the brain and nervous system. Animal sources are our only dietary means for vitamin A and D (a protector against ravages of toxins). It actually contains 12 of the 13 essential vitamins needed for life, all the essential fats and as I mentioned before all of the amino acids. A vegan diet will give you a negative nitrogen balance which is very harmful and has been observed in almost every disease state. Eating animal protein can boost the metabolism as much as by 25 percent! Studies across cultures show that those who eat less meat are healthier than our American Standard Diet but the real culprit is processed foods. Most cultures do NOT include processed foods in their diets. A study by Korean researchers found that dieting adults who ate more protein lost about two more pounds of pure belly fat than those who ate less protein and more carbs. Our intestinal tract is much shorter than vegetarian animals but somewhat longer than purely carnivorous animals. Man is an omnivore with teeth, stomach, intestines and bowel all designed to handle both animal and plants food! Without meat in your life you increase your risk of heart disease, tooth decay, constant bloating, vitamin deficiency and a lack of powerful living enzymes.

6. Carbs are so important and we shouldn’t do away with them!! Fruit, sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa and cultured or sprouted whole grains are very important for our bodies to thrive and our metabolisms to work properly on a long term basis. If we eat keto we may lose a little weight at first as your body dips into it’s adipose tissue but if we eat it continuously we will find ourselves putting that weight back on and becoming very lethargic. Our bodies were NOT meant to say goodbye to carbs. Our bodies have all they need to properly digest complex carbs and in fact, it is these carbohydrates that keep our energy levels up and our metabolisms revved. Complex carbs provide your body with exactly what they need all the way down to your nervous system. They help your body produce a number of enzymatic reactions and bring balance in just about every way possible.

7. In order to eat a healthy lifestyle, we have to say goodbye to processed foods. Processed foods are slowing progress down of reaping the benefits of all the good and natural foods that God has given us! Our bodies were NOT meant to process, processed food on a daily basis. Sadly, the standard american diet is MOSTLY made up of processed foods.

How I Got My Kid to LOVE Whole Foods!

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Ayelee’s Birthday peanut butter cheese cake layered with chocolate devils food cake and whipped cream frosting. Sugar free, gluten free, low carb and all natural ingredients.

I noticed that things I would consider “healthy options” were indeed actually…”processed foods” and just fillers for my daughter to keep happy and full. Crackers, cereal, puffs, things with soy this and soy that and the like weren’t doing anything to bring nourishment to her body. They were actually hindering her taste buds from enjoying sour, dark, spicy and naturally sweet foods that God gave us to enjoy. Whole Foods that are naturally full of vitamins!! So I ditched all of the crackers and the puffs and the processed foods and anything with sugar in it including juice.

Believe me, I know each child is different when it comes to their taste buds but if you can start them early enough, you can do wonders to help them enjoy whole foods. At such a young age, it isn’t something to stress about if your child doesn’t like all of their veggies. It’s important they are getting nutrients and vitamins but it is all about getting them to enjoy the taste and helping them experience and develop a taste for a variety of natural and vitamin rich foods! Hopefully this can help our kids avoid the pitfalls of picky eating when they are older and provide them with a strong body and healthy mindset toward food. ALL whole foods are GOOD. We must be gracious toward our unique child and remember that children go through MANY stages and may not like something for the time being that they used to eat all of the time! You never know the reasons for these things but keep offering and NEVER force. Forcing food will only take the love and initiative out of it.

I started this journey when Ayelee was 1 years old. She had already been accustomed to crackers and sugary drinks. It is never too late to change their taste buds. The trick is to ease them into it, consistency and not letting starchy-filler-snacks rule their diet.

So Ayelee LOVED sweets and starchy carbs!! I began by no longer offering her the junk. I didn’t make a big deal about it and I just kept offering her sweets made with stevia or a little honey. She liked them pretty well! Especially if it had cream cheese frosting on it 🙂

She ate ZERO veggies. Hated anything green. Then I found recipes where veggies were actually hidden in these desserts sweetened with stevia. Smoothies that had okra and spinach in them and she enjoyed all of these.

I didn’t give up offering her veggies. She became used to seeing a couple bites of green beans on her plate and soon I caught her nibbling them a couple of times. So I continued to serve them and she continued to nibble and now she DOWNS them like they are candy.

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Can I humbly give you a little picture of my daughter’s diet now? This is how she eats 99% of the time. Of course she indulges in non-traditional foods and sugary things occasionally such as at friends’ homes, parties and the occasional outing for frozen custard!

My daughter loves fruit with all of the fiber and vitamins that are found in cherries, a peach or an orange, a banana or apple, even a whole lemon sometimes. She doesn’t require the MANY oranges found in an 8oz glass to make her happy and I know this will only cause a spike in her blood sugar and a major meltdown around the corner.

She loves double fermented kefir milk without any sweetener or flavoring. Do you know what that tastes like?? Like thick sour milk…I myself have to have it a little sweetened. Plain Greek yogurt is another favorite of hers. No stevia. Nothing. She LOVES it! I think it is important to develop a love for sour foods as cultured and fermented foods are SOOOO good for us!!!

She doesn’t love all veggies but she does like squash, LOVES peas and green beans, cauliflower, okra and zucchini. I still hide a lot of her veggies in other foods. I’ll pulse squash in the food processor and add it to her brown rice. She doesn’t mind a bit.

Ayelee used to ask for puffs and crackers. Now she asks for pumpkin seeds and kefir.

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How I feed my family

Here is a list of what is in our diet 🙂

  • First off, ALL THE SPICES!!!
  • For flour-coconut flour, golden flaxseed meal, oat fiber and occasionally in small amounts, almond flour.
  • For bread-sprouted whole grain or soured rye.
  • For fats-coconut oil, MCT oil, Ghee, butter (butter is actually a SUPERFOOD!! If you know me personally, you have probably heard these words come out of my mouth, haha), uncooked olive oil, and natural glycine rich fats derived from meat and bone broth, red palm oil/coconut oil blend.

Interrupting real quick to say this. I know I sound like a crunchy granola mom to the max but I promise you that I didn’t have some dream of becoming a crunchy granola mom. I just realized that health is worth it. It’s worth any effort but it actually can be VERY simple! I know to some it might seem like a headache itself but I promise you this is coming from someone who likes ease and does not like to make a mess. I have found that it can be done just as easily as running through the drive-though!

Such as this: I normally roast a whole chicken at some point during the week. When the kiddos are in bed for the night, I just rub it down with butter and salt, stick it in the oven on some parchment paper so I don’t have to scrub a pan hard core later, let it cook while I blog or watch a show and then I use the meat through the week for soups, sandwhiches and salads. BUT I make sure I save the bones. Once I have three carcasses saved in my freezer, I add them to a crockpot filled with water and added spices to make a bone broth and let it simmer for 24 hours. Easy peasy! Bone broth is a WONDERFUL thing for your health. I use it in my soups!

  • For drinks-organic whole milk, almond milk, coconut milk, kefir milk and “juice” consisting of filtered water, baobab powder and a squeeze of lemon juice and sometimes a drop of an ingestible essential oil.
  • Favorite desserts-refrigerated coconut oil mixed with cocoa to create chocolate bites, easy chocolate fudge bars, cottage cheese and whey based “milk” shakes, REAL cream and zero sugar homemade ice cream, zucchini muffins, salted caramel cupcakes, whey “tootsie” rolls, no bake peanut butter cheesecake, apple slices with cinnamon and avocado chocolate pudding.

 

A lot of times I like to sneak veggies and other superfood ingredients like baobab and gelatin in these desserts and I cannot describe how YUMMY they are. However dot dot dot…I am not going to pretend that you don’t have to develop a pallet for some things, especially when you are working with few-ingredient based desserts.

If you are used to sugary laden desserts you might be used to that high that comes from eating sugar. It is actually addicting. Studies suggest that every time we eat sugary sweets we are reinforcing certain neuropathways, causing the brain to become increasingly hardwired to crave sugar, building up a tolerance like any other drug.

However, I do make some pretty good treats that taste pretty sinful and my husband Gabe (who is not afraid to tell me if something isn’t good). thinks so too 🙂

  • Favorite snacks-hummus and pear slices, half a banana or orange or grapes with greek yogurt, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, gouda cheese slices, berry and okra smoothie, peanut butter and jelly, strawberries and “gentle sweet,” whole grain popcorn, blue corn tortilla chips with salsa, nuts and raisins.
  • For breakfast-homemade oatmeal on the stove or eggs with veggies and toast. I usually drink collagen in my tea and Ayelee drinks “juice” or kefir milk. Gabe likes a little bit of meat with his breakfast too.

We snack once mid morning and once after naptime a bit before dinner.

  • For lunch-leftovers or sandwich or salad.
  • For Dinner-glycine rich meats such as chicken thighs with the skin on, salmon, grass-fed ground beef and lots of beans and LOTS of veggies!! I usually make two or three sides of veggies and it takes up a greater portion of our plates. We also have cauliflower pizza once a week and sometimes pancakes! (Pancakes made from oats and cottage cheese or coconut flour and whey). I have always loved having breakfast for dinner. We normally always have a dessert after dinner too unless we are too full which usually is the case on pizza night. Gabe loves meatless casseroles so I’ve always made a mexican one and sometimes lasagna with zucchini. I like to add collagen to these for added protein.

We usually eat out at least once a week. I buy groceries once a week so I have the opportunity to use up all of of our fresh veggies and be able to buy more the next week. Gabe and I normally go together. We run errands before, stop somewhere to eat and then head to the grocery store before they close. It’s a fun ritual of ours. We like going at night on a weekday when it is less busy and crowded. Currently our ritual of grocery shopping is on hold until Gabe gets home. When it is just me and the kiddos, I like to go early in the day before anyone else and before their naptimes.

  • My go to restaurants for quick and healthy options are Zoe’s Kitchen, Chipotle, Jimmy Johns, Chickfila and McAlister’s Deli. Ayelee eats the hummus, cucumbers and ham from Zoe’s, the black beans, brown rice, guacamole and milk from Chipotle, meat, cheese and apple from jimmy johns, grilled nuggets, fruit and milk from chickfila and sweet potato or sandwich from McAlister’s Deli.

All of these restaurants offer amazingly tasty and healthy foods that I enjoy as well.

  • On the weekend, Gabe likes to stay close to home and we don’t end up eating out a lot on the weekend. Sometimes I put together a filling and comforting lunch in the crockpot or prepared for the instant pot such as creamy chicken soup so it is ready when we come home from church and other times we eat out after church. If we do eat out, we INDULGE in mexican, hibachi or a steakhouse. Usually all restaurants have healthy options and if we are traveling and eating out A LOT I try to pick the healthier option cause I know I’ll feel less sick if I do but if we eat out once or twice a week you bet I am going to eat chips and queso!
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Ayelee enjoying a bowl of Chana Dal

This is a list of “special” ingredients that I use to cook with. Some of these are staples and others are just for fun and an extra boost of nutrition.

Here is a list of my favorite cookbooks!!

    1. Trim Healthy Cookbook

    1. Trim Healthy Table

    1. Necessary Foods,

I hope you have enjoyed learning from my viewpoint on health and all about our eating lifestyle. I know I wrote a lot but you can see just how passionate I am about this subject  and I sure hope it inspires you! If you have any questions or would like any recipes please comment below!

Remember as Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” 😉

<3 Cate.

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4 thoughts on “How I feed my family and How I Got My Kid to LOVE Whole Foods!”

  1. wow really interesting read, great job adjusting not only your own lifestyle but that of your family’s into such a healthy way of eating. Out of curiosity, where do you see fruit sit in your diet? I’ve heard both sides of the argument when it comes to eating a no sugar diet when fruits have natural sugars in them

  2. Hi Nick! Thank you so much!! I see fruit as a very important part of our diet! I try to eat it every day but I limit the amount I eat so that it balances well with what I am eating. To keep from gaining weight, if I am eating a meal or a snack high in fats and want fruit I’ll stick to berries which are low in carbs (natural sugar) and fat or I’ll balance it with half an apple or half a banana. Cause our bodies will burn the glucose first and if it has a LOT to burn for fuel then it may not burn all the fat I just ate in that meal and the fat will instead stay on me!
    So I will eat just half an apple or half a banana per meal or snack usually 🙂 I don’t want to skip out on fruit because the nutrients are there but I don’t want to overdo it and spike my blood sugar either so I make sure I always have protein with fruit as well.
    If I am eating a low fat meal I’ll be a little more generous with my fruit but still try to keep to half a banana or half an orange because of the sugar spike.

    Thanks for asking and thanks for reading my post!! 🙂

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