Monday, April 15, 2013

Unprocessed: Week one reflections

We made it through week one! Here are some reflections, challenges and positives:

  • Illness: A stomach virus hit our house last Monday (the second day of our unprocessed challenge)...of course that throws a wrench in everything. Meal plans had to get adjusted, the little guy wasn't eating anything, everyone was exhausted. But we still stuck to it, rearranging our meal plan, but not falling back on any processed foods.
  • Snacks: This was an expected challenge: lunches for school when we ran out of leftovers, lunches for the weekends, after-school snacks, dinners when I had parent-teacher conferences late at school. I've come to rely on egg salad on homemade bread with fruit and veggies. The hubby's lunch on Friday was pretty scant: homemade wheat thins with cheese and fruit. We've been doing well with skipping our after school snacks, and when we were desperate, I've made kettle corn. We definitely need to continue to work on this area.
  • Related to my egg salad sandwiches...I used my homemade mayo, but wasn't a huge fan, so by the end of the week, I did use a tiny bit of store-bought mayo and mustard. I need to try another mayo recipe this week.
  • Canned foods: Wow, I really had not realized all of the crap they put into canned foods. I think of our meals as healthy when they use canned beans. Checking out the can this weekend, I saw corn syrup (why?!), salt, chemical preservatives, and other stuff. Ew. Luckily, my canned tomatoes, while including salt, don't include anything else except tomatoes.
  • Weekend events: We had some fun activities planned for this weekend, and weren't sure how we'd handle the whole unprocessed thing. On Friday night, the little guy's school hosted a family pizza/popcorn/movie night in the gym. We weren't sure what to do about dinner. In the end, the hubby decided to "cheat," and he and the kids ate the pizza; I brought some plain yogurt, fruit, and homemade granola. Worked pretty well. On Saturday, we went to a pow wow. We all ate a little lunch before we left so we wouldn't be starving when we got there. But we couldn't pass up the fry bread food truck, so hubby and I hoped/pretended that the fry bread was made with all unprocessed ingredients. ;-)
  • Snow! We timed this challenge with the spring so we would have more energy and also could rely on grilling. Instead, winter came back with a vengeance. So much for our meal plans of grilling chicken (Wednesday) and chef salad (Tuesday). These were replaced by pancakes and a spaghetti freezer meal. This upcoming week, too, is going to be too cold and snowy for grilling or spring-time food.
Happy news:
  • In many ways, this hasn't been nearly as challenging as I feared. I've realized that our dinners were already pretty unprocessed, so there haven't been that many adjustments. In our soup dinner, the only thing I had to make that I haven't always made was the noodles; in our spaghetti meal, it was the noodles and the salad dressing. But I'm in the habit of making so many other things from scratch, so it wasn't that bad.
  • I am so glad that I keep back-ups and make extras for the freezer. Some things have really caught me off-guard: on Sunday, I was making chili. I had already purchased dried beans to replace the canned, but had completely forgotten that the recipe calls for two cups of chicken broth. I always use the jarred stuff. Luckily I had a baggie with two cups of stock in the freezer!
  • I have been so impressed by my hubby's commitment. This has been my project from the beginning: my idea, my planning, my organization. But on Monday morning when the little guy was sick, and I was staying home, and no one was really up for making a meal, my hubby could have easily decided to cheat and grab a bowl of processed cereal; instead, I looked up, and there he was, pulling out the frying pan and making some scrambled eggs for himself.
  • So far, I've had two Sundays of being at home, which I think is completely necessary to working full-time and being successful at this challenge. Yesterday, after grocery shopping, I made a huge batch of noodles and whole wheat rolls for the week, in addition to our chili dinner and a birthday cake for my friend. I was in the kitchen for most of the day. Not sure I could do this otherwise.
  • My first several experiences making homemade pasta were not good, and I kind of regretted asking the hubby to buy me a pasta maker for Christmas several years ago; it felt like a waste of money. But happily, I have found a great egg noodle recipe, easily adapted to whole wheat flour, and it only took me 50 minutes to roll out, cut, and freeze a pound and a half of pasta for the week (not including the 5 minutes to mix up the dough and the 30 minute rest time).
  • Giving up candy has not been nearly as traumatic as I expected. I actually started a week early, so I wouldn't be trying to keep the family on track while battling my own food demon. But I haven't really had any cravings.
  • My hubby seems to have had an easy transition to giving up pop, too; he's been having a cup of coffee during his normal afternoon pop time, and he hasn't complained at all or been crabby.
  • I was worried about losing desserts because we're accustomed to having it almost every night, but we've just kind of naturally drifted out of the habit.
  • I'm glad that we're having conversations about food as a family: where food comes from, what companies do to it, what's healthy for our bodies, why companies use things that aren't good for us to make food taste "better." More about the kids in tomorrow's post.
  • Finally, I have found a lot of resources to give me ideas about adapting recipes and making things from scratch. In addition to Eating Rules, I have found 100 days of real food, and I've also found that just searching for a recipe plus "unprocessed October" gives me a lot of links to other people who have tried to do this same thing.
Well, there you have it: far more happy things than challenges. In general, week one went really well, and hubby and I are already talking about which changes we want to make permanent....On to week two!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like everyone is transitioning well and doing well with the changes. Hope the Wee Lad is doing okay now. Rock on, Abby.