Walking into my pantry might startle you…I have stuff growing in there, intentionally! I wasn’t always this way. It is with certainty that I can say, becoming a mom has pushed me a bit over the edge. Big shock, I know.
While pregnant with Virginia 10 years ago, I began paying more attention to what I eat and drink. In my research and readings I learned a lot about the effects of hormones, antibiotics, endocrine disrupters, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified organisms, preservatives, carcinogens, BPAs, and the list goes on. Add this to the impending curse of guilt that mothers feel regardless of the presence of a logical reason….destined to rear its ugly head immediately following labor and delivery, and I was overwhelmed. Nevertheless, I made some lifestyle changes with this new knowledge. Some were immediate and others are still being implemented. I feel good about these decisions, anything I can do to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible should feel good, right?! Even if it is a little funky.
After Kimberly was born I was challenged to take this mindful living to a whole new level. As I have mentioned in a previous post, her reflux and excema led us to explore an Elimination Diet. Albeit difficult, this exercise in eliminating potential allergens/foods she was sensitive to due to her leaky gut, was effective and well worth the limitations it placed on me. Exclusively breast feeding, the diet was mine…she never went without. During the process I learned some things about my own dietary sensitivities. As a result, I regularly recommend some form of this process to friends who are experiencing physical/mental symptoms (skin problems, digestive issues, even psychological changes) that are new/unusual for them and may be because their “bucket is full”. Often it is less extreme than what I endured, more of a gluten and/or sugar elimination. Amazing how the body and mind can exhibit changes due to something (seemingly) unrelated.
In an effort to provide Kimberly with nutrients and calories (post elimination diet, pre g-tube) I experimented with a variety of foods including raw cow milk, raw goat milk, bone broths and homemade kefir. I made all of her food once she began solids, all organic, minimally processed. We have not maintained that level, at least not the processed part. The girl loves some crackers and veggie sticks! Due to sensory issues and reflux her diet became progressively more limited from the ages of 1 year to 3 years when she received her g tube. The rest of that story is here. We are currently trying to expand her oral feeding repertoire once again.
Meanwhile, the rest of our crew have benefited from this experimentation as well, learning about raw foods, probiotics, benefits of local and seasonal fare, as well as how much we enjoy fermented foods. I had both Virginia and Brad drinking the raw milk, as well as my kefir. I loved that they were on board with me basically souring raw milk on the counter for a few days while the kefir grains “did their thing”!! A delightful side effect of my experimentations is de-sensitizing my daughters and husband to my funky ways. I have to giggle when I think of how far Brad has come in this realm since we met!!
Fast forward to present day. I wish I could write, “we grow all our own vegetables, harvest our own meats from wild game, and source all others foods locally and seasonally“. But this would be a lie. I do the best I can to buy organic, non-gmo foods, typically whole food – minimally processed. We get our eggs from our neighbors and try to hit the farmers market whenever we can. Additionally, I like to cook, so this works out well. The grocery bill runs a little high, but it’s a good investment in my mind. One of the best there is.
My latest experiment is homemade kombucha….it’s awesome. I have been buying the stuff for years from the store as a treat. When it started to be a bottle a week (at $3.50 for 16 oz) I knew I had to get to work on some home brew. I sourced some starter cultures (mothers) from a woman in town and we were in business. I currently have two sets of jars about a week apart, have actually started a few friends up with their own “party in your pantry” and am super excited about that. My oldest girl loves it, as does Brad…still working on Kimberly though!
Many aspects of my journey as a mother have been educational and exciting. Becoming more knowledgeable about foods and our bodies has been a special highlight for me. I love taking care of those that I love, and feeding them well is a big part of that. No telling what my next experiment will be….