Practicing Insanity ~ One Mom’s Perspective

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Quest for a Better Life

There are so many things that kids (and adults) like that are not exactly good for you. So, if you didn’t start out using healthy cooking habits, and then something happens that makes you realize that you have to change your eating habits, how do you do it? Food is such a fundamental part of life that any big changes are really hard to stick with, especially if your kids (or husband) are picky eaters!

The problem is that we have been so inundated with information from the media and what I call the ‘pop heath’ culture of America that it can be very confusing to try to eat healthy. For example, why is it that when you cut all of the salt and fat, and follow that elaborately crafted food pyramid, that all you want to do is go find something that is chock full of fat? The next thing you know, you find yourself coming out of the drive through with a super-sized double bacon cheeseburger and a giant chocolate malt with a huge pile of greasy fries, or sitting in the middle of a pile of chocolate wrappers, holding an empty giant-sized bag from Costco, thinking “Did I really eat all of those?” So the next day, you go on a rampage to get rid of all the junk food in your cupboards, and you replace them with all of those ‘healthy’ no fat, no sugar junk foods that you can find at your local heath food store. And then you find that you still manage to eat a whole bag all at once, and you feel all bloated and after a week you have gained at least 5 pounds. So you decide that you are really going to start being ‘good’ and you apply the stringent self discipline of a monk. After forgoing fat for a while, you may find that you itch all the time, and you start finding more of your hair in the brush, shower drain, laundry;  and your energy levels drop and you can’t seem to get enough sleep. You are yelling at your husband, your kids, your dog, AND inanimate objects, you’re having fits of road rage, and pulling even more of your hair out.

So then you try the no/low carb diet, and replace your ‘artery hardening’ butter with a margarine spread, start drinking low-fat skim milk instead of diet soda, and you lose the weight you gained eating diet snacks, but you find that you are having insatiable cravings for sugar.

The next step is to go to the doctor, because there really must be something seriously wrong with you. . . after all, the healthy diet just isn’t working and you are pretty sure they work for everyone else, because you saw the before and after pictures in Woman’s Day. He takes one look at your lab results and says, “You’re fine. Just get more exercise and lose some weight,” in a very condescending tone, (how hard can it really be?) and he looks at you like you are some kind of deranged hypochondriac wasting the time he could be spending with ‘real’ patients. You look at him and you are pretty sure he has never had a weight problem, or any other kind of real health problem in his life, so how can he possibly understand yours? And geez, they guy just gave you a breast exam, so you go home and ball your eyes out, and when your husband asks what the doctor said, you wail, “He said I was fine!”

Eventually you figure out that all of these popular health fads that you read about in Prevention or Woman’s Health don’t ever offer any real lasting diets that can offer you permanent solutions and that your doctor can’t and/or won’t do a single thing for you. They rarely know anything about nutrition other than what is in the food pyramid, and you already know everything about that because you learned about it every year throughout your entire public school career, starting with preschool, and then again in college health class.

So, do you give up? Or do you practice insanity by trying to do the same thing over and over and expect different results? Of course we all practice insanity . . . what else can we do?

There comes a point where we either accept that there is nothing we can do about it, and we endure our poor health (even though the doctor says we are perfectly fine) and we live life dragging our bodies from one day to the next, and we start taking medications for this that and the other because the doctor advised it, OR we do something different.

So, if there is nothing else that can be done, what can you do? WHAT IF THEY ARE ALL WRONG?

This is the question that you ask right before you experience paradigm shift.

You suddenly realize that all those diets you have read about that have nifty menus like 1 scrambled egg white, a half a piece of toast with a quarter teaspoon of buttery flavored canola spread, and 1/2 of a grapefruit for breakfast, with all of these new unfamiliar recipes, DO NOT WORK! (at least not for most people.) And they especially don’t work if you have a husband and kids. Unless you want to fix six meals a day instead of three.

Almost EVERYTHING that I thought I knew about healthy lifestyle was wrong, and I’ll tell you why. It is because all of the pop health propaganda is influenced either by big pharmaceutical companies or the food industry. These corporations only care about one thing, and that is NOT your health.

“So, what are you? Some kind of anti-capitalist conspiracy theorist now?” you may ask.

My answer to that is no, but that’s a whole other blog entry. Just think about this for a minute — and use some common sense. Big Pharma does not make any money if you are healthy, they only make money if you are sick. Food companies do not make money on natural, healthy foods, because they can’t sell them fast enough to prevent spoilage from cutting into their profits.

So, what can you do? Do you have to make drastic changes like becoming a raw vegan? My answer to that is also NO. In fact I don’t recommend that at all.

So what do I recommend? Well, take a seat because this is where it starts sounding really crazy. If you have just gotten off the merry go round, this is really going to twist your Twinkie. Stop eating margarine and  ‘heart healthy’ processed vegetable oils. Replace those with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, butter, lard, and beef fat from healthy animals. Replace your white sandwich bread with organic stone ground whole wheat bread (watch for the fake brown bread with caramel coloring.)  Cut out processed foods, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, pasteurized milk products, and refined sugars. Stop buying cold breakfast cereal and start reading labels.

Now before you say “I thought that there weren’t going to be any drastic changes,” take a deep breath and read on.

One universal truth that our parents have taught us is that we are what we eat, and if you are going to be healthy, we need to eat healthy foods. Your grocery list will still look about the same as it did before, but you will change out your ingredients for higher quality ones. You MUST read labels. You have to switch from processed flour to whole grain flour. Buy another brand of peanut butter that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. Switch to whole grain pasta, buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned ones. Buy fresh organic food whenever possible. Find out where your local farmers markets are – these are the best places to buy organic produce. Find a local dairy that sells fresh unprocessed raw milk.

“RAW MILK?! are you CRAZY?” You might say this, but remember that we have been lied to by the food industry. We have been taught to be afraid of wholesome natural foods. Be smart about it, sure. I mean don’t buy from a farm you have not visited in person and seen for yourself the condition and state of health that the cows are in. Ask the farmer what he feeds his animals. And, if you can’t handle the idea of raw dairy products, forgo dairy altogether. (Look for a future post to explain the benefits of raw milk and how to choose a good raw dairy.)

The best part about this is that for the most part, you can use your old recipes! You can have your comfort food, and maybe you won’t get skinny like Angelina Jolie, but you will start feeling better. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Upcoming Posts: Why Would Anyone Drink Raw Milk? and 5 Easy Changes for a Healthier Life

Series NavigationWhy Would Anyone Drink Raw Milk?


  1. Southern Girl
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Great POST!!! A few other things I’d love to add, Since Raw Milk can be hard to find for most, Almond milk is great and is super easy to make at home (the store versions have too much sugar and other products added like soy lecithin)…due to the fats and protein from the almonds, it cooks just as well as milk, there is also, hemp milk and oat milk, rice milk is ok too…Soy milk would not be an option for me, “Silk” in particular is now owned by a dairy corp and is made with imported GMO chinese soy beans…plus if you eat soy it is supposed to be fermented soy, which soy milk and tofu are not.

    Also for grains you should eat SPROUTED whole grains NOT un-sprouted whole grains.

    It amazes me though that people will say they can’t afford to eat “healthy” Organic foods…yet they can afford Soda, potato chips and Coach Purses, and $60 blue jeans, but not and extra $1 for that Organic Bell Pepper, or Beans….also I am finding Organic Beans and Lentils very yummy and easy to use and you also do not get the effects that you do with traditional canned/non organic beans (alot of this is due to the salt and citric acid added as well, I believe.) But the differences in ORGANICALLY grown (even more, LOCALLY grown) produce is that it is almost always VINE ripened, so you get ALL the vital nutrients at their peak, where as conventional produce is ripened by Ethylene Gas, and is also many times put through flash steam sterilizers or irradiated, yes radiation! Same with your herbs and spices…take just ONE of your most used/favorite spices or herbs and go get a jar of an organic one such as Simply Organic brand (my favorite!) and dare to compare…it is like apples to oranges…you will NEVER want to use conventional spices or herbs again!

    Also look online for great deals on bulk products, I posted one above for sprouted flours, but Bob’s Red Mill sells organic products on their site for cooking and baking, Amazon etc…

    My next goal is to start making my own Bread and Yogurt which I have found is quite easy too.

    All the best on your Journey!

  2. Posted January 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Very good point about the nut milks and sprouted grain flour. I have found that with the whole grains you eat less, and that offsets the cost of buying good food, plus the better health = fewer doctor visits. (We shop thrift & consignment shops, so there is no way I would ever pay $60 for jeans! $10 max, but usually we spend about $5 for a pair of jeans for teens and adults and $2 to $3 for the little kids) I grow all my own spices in my garden, and am working on building up my medicinal herb garden. It makes a huge difference in flavor. I canned about 100 quarts of spaghetti sauce a while back and when we ran out, the kids complained. A lot! I do a lot of my grocery shopping on local classified ads for honey, potatoes, and fruit. I LOVE Bob’s Red Mill. Every time I drive up to Oregon, I stop at their outlet store and load up my van with all kinds of stuff. I love the whole wheat pastry flour, because the texture is perfect for gravies and sauces, and you can bake phenomenal quick breads with it. Bread is actually very easy to make, but you need a good flour with high gluten content. Do not add all the flour at first, but mix to sponge state and then beat the batter with your mixer until it gets really stringy. Then add the rest of your flour and knead it until it’s smooth. Leave the dough fairly sticky and butter your hands to handle it. yogurt you can make in a cooler with milk, plain yogurt, hot water, and a quart jar. Kefir is also easy and low maintenance. Thanks for sharing!