From Experiment to Lifestyle

Welcome to the January 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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When I first read about October Unprocessed and the challenge to quit processed food for a whole month, I thought it would be a piece of homemade cake. I reasoned: We already eat mostly homemade food, I usually cook from scratch, and we already pretty much eat that way. It was the “mostly,” “usually,” and “pretty much” that caught me.

In the very beginning, it was tough to avoid all food that didn’t pass the “kitchen test,” meaning that it was something I couldn’t make in my own kitchen with regular ingredients. It was really hard to give up store bought bread, cereal, crackers, salad dressing, snacks, even boxes of “organic” mac and cheese. It was a lot harder than I realized it would be and I ended up eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, more than usual.

As the month went on, I got more and more used to skipping the processed food. I felt great and lost weight without even trying, getting five pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I was so thrilled with the change! But there were still some things I missed, and I confess to eating too much Halloween candy on November 1. It was also more time consuming to eliminate all of the convenience food. November and December are particularly busy times at work and at home, and after such a restrictive month I slipped too far in the other direction, eating too much junk food and feeling sick and miserable.

I made the decision to make unprocessed food a permanent lifestyle change. I feel like I’m currently in the metaphorical detox stage. I’m craving ice cream, peanut butter cups, and fried chicken. And I’m not even pregnant! I was the only family member participating in the month of October, but now I’m bringing in the rest of my family and changing our lifestyle for the long term.

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