If you’ve followed me over to my other blog, Real.ForGood, you’ll know that I’m slowly eliminating processed, chemical, food-like products from our home and replacing them with real food. Part of that has meant a shift in my Food Pyramid Reality. You remember those little triangle charts from Canada’s Food Guide that dictated how many servings of protein, dairy, grains and produce we should eat every day? My family’s “pyramid” more closely resembles the Leaning Tower of Pizza. And yes, I do mean Pizza.
As I’ve analyzed what we eat regularly, I realized that wheat products have been the foundational component for most of our daily intake. I decided that it’s time to stop harping on my kids to squish a few extra vegetables onto their already-filled-with-wheat-and-meat plates. Time to stop reminding everyone that “actually, plant-based foods are supposed to make up at least half of our daily diet,” while I cooked up more pasta and baked more bread and counted the peppers on the pizza as a vegetable serving.
Over the past few weeks, I have been loading up the grocery cart – and then the fridge – with a wide variety of fresh produce. I had been afraid of this step because I didn’t want to blow my grocery budget to smithereens. But guess what! There hasn’t been much of a change in my weekly grocery costs. Now that I’m not spending half my cash on boxed, processed garbage, I have lots of room in the budget for more fresh stuff. Funny how that works!
Then something happened. I was grocery shopping today (you may recall that I don’t usually enjoy this chore) and I suddenly discovered that I was pleased as punch to be filling up my cart. I was grinning like a fool. Smiling at other people. Proud as all get-out of the beautiful bounty I was buying. It took me a few minutes to figure out why.
It was pretty!
My cart was full of bright, fresh colours and textures – not boxes. And it was so pretty. Beauty lifts your spirit, and I realized that my groceries were beautiful and my spirit was lifted. Ridiculous, right? I know it is. I can’t believe I’m writing this.
When I got home, I emptied all my grocery bags as I usually do and there was this incredible pile of beautiful, real food. I didn’t want to stash it out of sight. So I loaded all the apples into a big basket and set it on the counter. The other produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated went onto a pretty tray on another counter.
And it made me happy.
When my kids got home from school, they all remarked about the pretty food. Even my 14-year-old son said, “Hey, that stuff looks more better out here than it does in the fridge.” (To which I simply replied, “I know, right?” Picking my battles, folks. Picking my battles.)
But then I wanted it to look really nice, so I thought I should tidy up all the other junk that seems to multiply overnight on our countertops. And that led to picking up other random clutter from the dining room and living room and front hall. And that led to some extra vacuuming. And that leads me to my unexpected side effect.
Healthier eating has made me a better housekeeper. Whodathunkit?