Funny, everyone gets the exact same 24 hours in a day but some accomplish so much and some accomplish nothing. I am embarrassed to say that I have fallen into that second category on more than one (million) occasion.
When I first became a mom, I believed the hype that I could have it all. I had a job I loved and was extremely good at, I had just gotten married and became a mom to 3 great kids and we built our first home. Yeah, I was living the dream. So we ate out a lot. I mean how could I spend all day at work (usually at least 10 hours) and come home and cook something. It was just easier to go out. As time went on, we all gained weight and any time off from work was spent in front of the tv. At least we were all together, right?
Over the years, we added twins to the family and moved to Georgia. Prime farm country. Our kids were gonna spend all day outside taking care of the farm and being farm kids. Or maybe not. I was still working and we were still eating out a lot. Hubby and I had packed on more pounds than we cared to say. Still, nothing changed.
I am not sure what the catalyst for major change was but I started to think that I was letting my family down by not doing my job. Not the one I got paid for but the one that should have been more important, the one that should have taken priority. Hubby and I started looking at where we were and where we wanted to be and they were no where close to each other. We knew something had to change. God
Now my days were full again but I felt something was missing. It was about this time when I started to fell like I should be doing something more for my family. I took good care of them but there is ALWAYS room for improvement. I felt like God was telling me something and I just wasn't listening. I still can't remember if it was a single incident or a series of them that got me to look at our eating habits. I was disgusted by what I saw. I started to do some research on the subject of nutrition. If you want a study in contradictions, then study nutrition. One "expert" will say to eat this for health. Then another "expert" will say the opposite. This happened over and over and over. I was becoming frustrated that I couldn't find the information that I needed. However, certain things were made very clear to me. One was quit looking to the doctors for health. Now, before I get raked over the coals for that, let me state that I have the utmost respect for doctors, nurses and so forth. They have saved countless lives, including those of my twins. BUT medical schools teach our doctors to treat symptoms. Treating symptoms does not cure the problem. So I fault the medical schools for this. That being said, if you go to the doctor with a complaint, chances are you will walk away with a prescription for something but no real knowledge of the cause of your problem.
So if I am going to ignore the experts, what do I do now? Then it hit me. I have always said that the Bible was God's instruction manual for us. Maybe that is where I will find my answers. "Seek and ye shall find"! There is not one mention of artificial sweeteners, pasturized homogenized milk or high fructose corn syrup in the Bible. Hmmm, maybe if God didn't mention it, I shouldn't eat it? Yes, that is a simplistic view but think about it. God designed our bodies to work in a certain way with what he provided. What happens when you put diesel in a gas motor? Lots of problems! (and no I haven't done that!)I think the same thing happens when you put something unnatural in your body.
So all of this being said, it still took a bit of effort to pull me out of my processed food comfort zone. I can cook. I am a pretty good cook if I do say so myself. But I had gotten so lazy with meals from a box that I almost forgot HOW to cook a real meal from scratch. Cooking from scratch is going to look different to everyone. For me, there are no more "boxes" in my pantry. They have been replaced with spices, flour, home canned (and some store bought cans) of goods like tomatoes and tuna, a freezer full of pastured chicken, grass fed beef, venison from hubby's hunting and some wild hogs.
There are no boxes of Kraft anything in my pantry. No hamburger helper. If I want mac and cheese, I make it myself with noodles, cheese, milk and so on. It took a little surfing the web to find out how to make some of our favorites from scratch but now that I do, I no longer have to buy it at the store. And I no longer have to wonder what is in them!
Some of my homemade from now on things are:
Bread-sandwich, french, hot dog & hamburger buns, crescent and dinner rolls and the best buttermilk biscuits.
Laundry Detergent, fabric softener and non toxic bleach
All cleaning products-seriously they are so easy to make and so much better for your house!
Those are a few of my everyday kind of things that I make myself. Your list may look very different.
I still have so many things that I want to add to that list like homemade shampoo/conditioner, shaving cream, soap and toothpaste but all of this needs to be done in baby steps. If you jump in and try to do everything all at once, you will quickly burn out and miss the benefits of being more self reliant. Pick one thing and stick with it. Perfect it as much as possible and give it time to become part of your normal routine. Once it is second nature, pick something else to try. Before you know it, you will be bypassing many aisles at the grocery store. That is a GOOD thing!
I still have my days (sometimes weeks) of not doing a great job at keeping the pantry stocked. Right now I am out of bread and a wee bit lazy about making more but I will do it because I now cannot stand the taste of grocery store bread anymore. I have to make the commitment to my family to do my best at doing what it takes to keep us all as healthy as possible. I have embraced my calling as a mom and wife and God gives me such grace to hold my ground and push forward because I know my family is counting on me. I have come to the realization that minor discomfort for me is worth it if it is in the best interest of my family!