Here’s the Pinterest-worthy, Gwyneth Paltrow-inspired description of how my family eats: We’re plant-based, meaning that we consume fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains. We avoid meat (I don’t eat it at all; Sam and Trent consume in moderation). We avoid processed foods. We try to purchase organic items whenever they’re available and affordable.
The reality? Let’s take a look.
Here’s our little RV refrigerator after a recent trip to the grocery store:
Take note of all the greens! And the non-dairy milk! And the carrots peeking out from the bottom shelf! Mmmmm, hummus! Also note the beer. There’s a positive correlation between the number of miles I run in a week and my love of beer.
More almond milk! Flaxseed! And… Box wine. Bagged eggs. Non-organic sugary drink and some non-organic sugary yogurt. Why? Because I also like wine, and because my nine year old told me that he needs some animal protein. Eggs and yogurt it is.
He also selected deli meat (cringe, cringe, cringe but OKAY I WILL DEAL) and cheese (I’m ridiculously proud that pepper jack is his cheese of choice).
Moving on to the countertop…
HEYYYYYY, fruit! You’re looking so tasty and healthy! Especially you, bananas.
Let’s avoid the pantry altogether, shall we?
…No? Fine. Gwyneth isn’t going to approve of this, but I’m going to let it all hang out.
Pay no attention to the bag of chocolate (dark chocolate!). Or the crackers made with palm oil and high fructose corn syrup. Or the tortilla chips. Instead, focus on that organic coffee and the gluten free pasta!
That about covers it, except for the freezer: it’s a land of frozen smoothie fruits, veggie burgers made with Franken-soy isolates, and a jumbo bag of flaxseed.
I’ve noticed that people (me included sometimes) are often judgmental of how and what others eat. Moreover, we tend to think we’re eating a healthier diet than we actually are. As you can see from our fridge and pantry, we’re healthy eaters, but we eat plenty of not-so-healthy things, too, and that’s something I don’t feel inclined to publicize when I post pretty Instagram pictures of my lunch salad. Granted, the contents of my pantry aren’t necessarily indicative of ratios: I eat far more greens and fruits than I do corn chips, but still, who am I to tell someone else that they’re not eating well enough?
The other thing is this: kids. KIDS. I know I’m not the only one whose grandiose vision of family food consumption goes out the window when her child is hangry and unhappy with the available choices. If I could get my kid to subsist on fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and non-dairy milk, I would. But I tried that and he accused me of starving him. I’d much rather let him eat cheese and turkey than have him feel hungry. I’ll take the fact that he eats a greater diversity of produce now than in the past as a major win.
Bottom line: We’re just doing our best, and our adoption of a plant-based lifestyle is very a work in progress.
What about you? What are your family’s gustatory guilty pleasures? What changes have you successfully made, and what would you still like to see change? What can’t/won’t you give up, even in the name of good health? (Me: wine, beer, and corn chips. Sorry, Gwyneth.)