How we eat real food without letting it consume us.

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Spoiler alert: We do the best we can.

When I started learning about real food (and everything that goes along with it), it was without a doubt all-consuming.  What started as a change from conventional green peppers to organic, quickly spiraled into a revamp of not just the kitchen, but all areas of my life.

We changed what we would buy at the store, and how we would prepare the food at home.

We emptied out the medicine cabinet and gradually changed how we deal with sickness.

We ditched the bottles of lotions and shampoos and beauty products filled with chemicals we couldn’t pronounce.

And while I am FOREVER thankful for these things, I am the first to admit it can take over your life.

Here I am, five solid years later, and I feel I have a much healthier balance in my life.  I’m still just as passionate (possibly even more) about eating organic, avoiding genetically modified food, keeping toxins out of our home and embracing the outdoors (and sunshine) as much as possible.

I’ve heard a lot of people in the real food world talk about following an 80/20 rule, meaning that they eat right 80 percent of the time and allow for slip-ups and splurges the other 20.  I’d say we fall into that category, except somedays it’s 90/10 or 50/50 or something of that sort.  Anything we do in the home is healthy.  We buy as organic as possible, filter our water, rarely use chemicals for cleaning, etc.

I firmly believe that the additional money we spend on these things is an investment into our future health and wellness.  And in terms of organic food being more expensive… yes, yes it is.  No one is going to argue with that.  But if you take a look at your budget and see how much $ you spend going out to eat or driving through Starbucks (both of which we do on occasion), you’ll find there are some ways you can save to have a little extra to contribute to healthier foods.

But back to the point of this post… how do we live this “alternative” lifestyle without letting it consume our lives?

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We take advantage of convenient foods.  

All kids like hotdogs, and mine are no exception.  We buy organic ones from Applegate, and they are easy to throw in the toaster oven when we’re in a pinch.  I go through seasons of making kombucha and yogurt, but to keep it easy I generally buy these at the store.   My two year old and I have been known to suck down a small (who am I kidding?!) large bag of organic chips with salsa if no one is there to stop us.

We teach our kids about making healthy eating choices, but don’t let them stress about it. 

They eat cake at parties and french fries at restaurants.  My four year old is starting to ask questions about organic, and for a while was asking me if this or that was “gutten” free.  (Which is sort of funny, because our family has never followed a gluten-free diet.)  They eat a wide variety of vegetables (mainly raw), and on occasion they will choose those over something too sweet.  Sort of like below when my 2 year old choose lemon and kale salad over homemade sugar cookies.

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I have to keep myself in check. 

I was a bump on a log in the beginning of my health food journey.  My biggest beef was with meat (pun intended), and I couldn’t bear to eat at a resturarant that didn’t have an organic option to choose from.  It wasn’t fun for anyone, and I chose food over friends/family more than i’d like to admit.  My favorite restaurants are still the ones who offer those options, but I try my best to be flexible.  I also have to keep myself in check to not let my love for real food become an obsession.

I will never, ever turn back on my love for real food, but there are so many other wonderful things in this world to care about, too!

-Abby

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