Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Food Journeys and Family living

Before I share this post I just want to say that I absolutely love collaborating with other bloggers in the blogging community, I love sharing their stories and blogs and I love the opportunity to meet other bloggers especially when they share the same blogging interests or can offer a different take on a shared interest.

With that in mind we have this post, now the blogger involved, the lovely Taryn does give herself an introduction in the post below but I really encourage everyone who reads my page to go on over and give her page some love, I really love her writting style and think that her blog is great and I highly recommend a cuppa and a good read of her posts.

Keeping within the lines of woman's day, this post is written by a woman and gorgeous momma who not only shares an interest and love for the promotion of a healthy body and food/body image with me but her food journey has also shared many parallels with her own, together we thought we would post about how our journeys have come to be and how it has affected us our families and how we encourage our children's own journeys going forward.

What a privilege it is for me to sit here today and write to the lovely readers of the Crazy Momma of Three Blog. 

Chastin has so kindly asked me to write a guest post for her blog which I gladly accepted. Chastin and I have very similar interests which is what makes this post a pleasure to write. She asked me to write about healthy food and self-image, about my personal food journey and how it has effected the healthy food choices I make when it comes to feeding my family. She also asked me to touch on the subject of creating a positive self-image in our children.

Before I dive into these subjects, I thought it only right to introduce myself to you. My name is Taryn Gunn. I have always loved eating. Growing up, my mom would often ask “Don’t you ever stop eating?” Food is a language I am fluent in. My mom was also, and still is, a health fanatic. She has prided herself on raising her family on healthy food and as little junk as possible. I am ever so grateful to my mom for the health journey she took me on, teaching me about food and its health benefits from a very young age. When I left school, I struggled to find a “career path” that I fit into. I started and stopped many courses and could just never find my niche in life. Eventually I gave up on studying and took to life. I got married and 2 years later had my first child. A beautiful little girl, to whom Husby and I have code-named “LMS”, abbreviation for “Little Miss Sunshine”, because, honestly, that is exactly what she is in our lives. When Little Miss Sunshine was 2 years old I decided to start studying again, but this time through attending night school. I studied and completed my Patisserie Diploma. What? Someone who loves healthy food studied pastry? Yes, because I also love tea and cake! I have used my studies to form and develop recipes that I love. Some are healthy versions of the treats we enjoy, and some are just plain unhealthy. (Sorry!) I have also very recently taken to starting my own blog called tea.eats. This is a play on words. My name starts with “T” and I love tea! I love eating and I love writing! So I threw all these loves into one focused area I call my personal food journey. You can read all about my blog here. That’s enough babbling on about me.

How has my personal food journey influenced the way I feed my family? 

You see, I have always struggled with my weight. As a teenager, although never fat in these years, I was always slightly bigger than my friends and peers. I remember walking alongside a friend and feeling like such a giant (it doesn’t help that I am slightly taller than average and she is short). It got me feeling depressed. I had (and still have) a very poor self-image. I can truly identify with that image that has done its rounds on social media platforms of a thin and slender woman looking in the mirror and seeing a hugely overweight reflection. For me. overtime, the thin and slender woman grew and grew into the overweight reflection. That is where I am today. I wear a size of clothing that clothing designers seem to think that woman in that size don’t care about what clothes they wear and honestly, the shops only sell ghastly clothing in my size! If you are a fashion designer, perhaps this is a gap in the market you would like to take advantage of?

Because I have always struggled with my weight, I have been on so many diets. I have tried everything! The last 3 I tried all have something in common that I love and have implemented in my family. They all promote eating real food, cutting out processed food completely! This is something I totally agree with! As a spiritual person I believe we ought to eat the food God gave us. Not some highly manufactured amalgamation of chemicals! So if it is natural, I eat it! Sometimes though we, as a society, struggle with the taste of natural food because the big corporations out there have laden their foods so heavily with sugars and salts and flavourants that our taste buds have become accustomed to that. I believe this is what makes healthy eating difficult, and a healthy lifestyle seem impossible to achieve. But I tell you, do yourself a favour, go on a sugar fast, do a whole30 for example, you will struggle like crazy in the beginning, but when you finish, wow! The taste of just a speck of sugar will be so overwhelming! And you will realise that you actually don't need sugar in your life! This will help to reset your palette and set you up for starting to live a healthy lifestyle! Because your palette will have been cleansed, you will taste food the way it should be tasted and you will be truly satisfied by the fullness in the flavour of real food.

Food & Self-Image 

Food & Self-Image

I have become so passionate about real, whole food. I have even started my own vegetable garden so that my food and self-image can improve. When you grow your own vegetables, you can grow them organically and not in a mass produced way. My children love our veggie garden, they help me water it on a daily basis, and when it comes time to fertilising them naturally (I use dried egg shells, banana peels and epsom salts) they get very excited. I believe this is the start for them to learn about food and self-image and how the two are so closely connected. They are learning now from a young age (5 years and 18 months respectively) where their food comes from, and that food is actually something we need to nurture and take care of. I want them to learn that we cannot take advantage of the fact that we have food. It doesn't just magically appear in our fridges every week, but somewhere somehow someone has taken the time to ensure that the food we eat has been properly taken care of. Our small vegetable garden doesn't feed us for a week, so i do have to buy other fruits and vegetables.

My children have however tasted sugar, and at the point that the first grain of sugar enters their mouths and makes its way past all their taste buds there is no return, or if there is, it is very difficult. They attend birthday parties where cake and sweets abound, their teachers reward them with sweets and this is a part of life I am not going to fret over. I don't want to be so strict on the healthy eating that later on in life they rebel in a huge way and start living a very unhealthy lifestyle. I want to teach them about balance, and everything can be enjoyed in a controlled manner. But because their brains acknowledge sugar as something they want more and more of, we need to cook our food in a way that their brains will acknowledge that they are receiving more of this sweetness. That is where I become sly. I try my utmost best to get them to eat the food I make them by adding coconut sugar or honey to their food (I only do this for sweet treats). It sounds terrible that I am tricking them, but they are too young to make responsible choices for themselves, if they could choose they would drown themselves in marshmallows, milkshakes and chocolate all day long and this is where food and self-image do not do each other justice!

When it comes to self-image, I do not want my children to be so focused on if they are fat or thin or round or square. I want them to be focused on abilities and skills. Accomplishments. I compliment them if I see that they are doing something that requires phenomenal strength. I let them know that I think that they are getting stronger. Or if they can run faster, I let them know that their speeds have increased. If they achieve excellence in their homework I let them know specifically like, "Wow! Your math skill there was a lot better than it has been before! Your persistence and practice is paying off". When they look in the mirror, I would like them to see beauty in who God created them to be and not what their lifestyle choices have left them looking like.  I have also developed a mantra for my daughter that she says on a daily basis and I have seen this work so positively in her life!  Her mantra is "I'm a Princess Worrier and I wont let the silly, little things hurt my heart because I have Jesus and I am strong.  I'm pretty. I'm loved and I'm adored from above."  When my son is old enough Husby and I will work on a mantra for him to say daily that encapsulates the values we want him most to mirror.

Another very vital part of instilling a good self-image into our children, is to not reflect our own poor self-image onto them. I have seen in the past where I have casually said to Husby "Argh! I look so fat! Why am I so ugly?" that this has had a negative effect on my children. Firstly their own image of their mother is distorted but more importantly is that they feel that they are probably fat or ugly - "If I come from mommy's tummy, and I am supposed to look like her, and she thinks she looks fat, does that mean I look fat" or worse "does that mean she thinks I look fat?" And maybe they don't think this in so many words, but the notion of this slowly starts to sink into their hearts and minds and will slowly start disintegrating their own self-image. So mommies (talking to myself here too!) please keep your thoughts about how you dislike the way you look to yourself, or express these concerns to your partner when your children are not around you at the time.
I would like to encourage you to teach your children to eat healthily, not so that they can be thin, but so that they can be fit and be able to do anything without the limitations that an unhealthy body sets. I would like to encourage you to uplift your children, not in the size of clothing they wear or the number the scale shows, but on their personal accomplishments and on their ability to persist and keep trying and to never ever give up. A friend once told me that if your dreams seem to big to handle, they must be from God, because only God can help you accomplish such big dreams, and He does. And because of this, please encourage your children to never stop dreaming and to dream big dreams!

Thank you Chastin for this awesome opportunity

And Thank you once again to Taryn, I loved doing this post I love how differently each of our posts turned out and the different perspectives and yet so much of our story and viewpoints are the same.

I hope everyone has a lovely womans day and that everyone is safe and has a wonderful day with their families.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the collaboration! I highly enjoyed it!