Saturday, August 7, 2010

Can you believe we ate that?

That was what Spark said when he found a picture today that had been taken at a motel with a free breakfast.  Back to the room came filled donuts, glasses of apple juice and the only saving grace, a hard boiled egg.  This picture was from probably about five years ago.   He didn't notice how cute they were or that they were at motel or that everyone was smiling, just the food that was sitting on the plates.

Dancer's food coloring allergy has changed a lot about how we eat.  We always, well better that the average family, ate what would be considered healthy meals.  I don't particularity care for prepackaged meals, having been served a boat load of them when I was young, and we like to cook.  The problem was, good meals to us meant sauces, cheeses, rich baked goods, homemade bread out of the oven with lots of drippy butter.  And to be honest we ate our share of junk food.  More importantly than cooking we like to eat so we had now, looking back, bigger portions than necessary.  We also did a lot of grazing during the day, where you aren't really eating but having a bite here and there that obviously added up. 

When we realized that food was the culprit to Dancer's eczema we started making changes.  First we switched to about a 30 - 40 percent organic food diet thinking perhaps it was the pesticides and fertilizers in food.  I saw 30 - 40 percent here because we eat a lot of our own food and we are not organic.  We grow organically but are not "organic" nor are our animals.  There was no change in her skin but the organic food, and I know people will argue this, tastes better than non organic.  However, organic doesn't mean healthy.  You can eat just as much fat, calories and sugar in organic food as you can in regular food.  Organic ice cream is still ice cream and an organic potato chip is still a potato chip.  Plus the organic ice cream is so much tastier than regular that it just slides right down.

When we realized that it was food coloring that was causing her problems we tighten up our diet except that we went with what we thought had food coloring in it by looking at it.  If it looked orange or red, it was bad, not orange or red, go ahead an eat it.  When she still didn't have much change, except her stomach problems went away for the most part, we though we were still doing sort of okay.  Then she started to get really bad and we really started to read food labels and realized how much we were still eating.  I have written in other posts where food coloring is lurking everywhere.

Along the way we looked into grains that have been genetically modified and decided that they are too much of an allergy risk, even though as of now we don't think Dancer, or any of us, have a problem with them.

Dancer's new diet restrictions have made us look at what we were really eating and we have cut a lot more foods off our diet radar.  None of us are thin or super healthy by any means, so over the past couple of years we have been making small changes by cutting out bad fats, a good amount of high  fructose corn syrup and in the last few weeks the majority of sugar.  We limit to one treat a week for the most part and have cut down on our snacking and portion sizes.  

While we are not militant in our eating by any means we have seen some changes.  We have all lost a few inches and I think we look and feel better than we did before.  But by far I think our biggest and most encouraging change was that Spark would be surprised and disgusted at what we were eating before.  I take that as a good sign that we are on the right path.

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