Have you ever asked yourself how you actually got here? This place where you’re at?
The last year we’ve been working hard towards some incredible goals together with our marriage, learning how to work side by side from home, elements like healing from our pasts and working towards just being better human beings. We both believe it’s healthy to be honest about where you came from so that you stay humble when you get to where you’re going. Let’s take you on a bit of a blast from the past.
Just over five years ago we were both working full time jobs and living in an upstairs suite of a house beside our crazy, lazy and less than ideal landlord. We had just moved in together and we had what we had. Life was less than glamorous, but it was our life. With two weeks off together over the holidays, we had decided to spend that cold winter break cuddled up in the living room watching movies. One single movie was the twist of fate that changed the direction of the rest of our lives. We watched a documentary based on the food industry in the western world which turned into two solid weeks of watching every single documentary known to man at that time… about food.
I wish we’d written down the names, especially the one that I had to ask Colin to pause before I walked into the kitchen, sat down at the table and cried. I felt defeated, betrayed; I couldn’t wrap my head around the quality of food I’d been putting on the table everyday for us. I thought we were eating so well and it turned out we were not even close. We threw the baby out with the bathwater and completely started over. Everything we had that was processed basically went in the trash and the first thing we substituted was sugar. Ironically, I had just purchased a new 1kg bag of white, bleached, refined sugar a few days prior to this documentary marathon. I couldn’t even find it in my heart to donate the sugar because I didn’t want anyone to use it at all. (In fact, we carried that same bag of sugar around from house to house with us when we moved until finally we threw it away years later! No joke.)
We replaced items like refined sugars, with raw, unpasteurized honey, apple sauce (and I hate cooked apples, so this wasn’t an easy transition, but a healthier one!), organic sugar cane molasses for rare baking occasions and that sparked many other changes in our home as well.
We spent days, weeks and months afterwards making lists of nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies required every single day in order to function properly. Then, we took each of these and made lists of the super foods that contained these ever important ingredients and started revamping what we would now know as our shopping list. Foods we’d never considered before became a part of our usual diet. Spices we’d never even heard of were now in the pantry in bulk. We bought large glass cylinder shaped containers and filled them with dried beans, legumes and peas.
The more we continued to learn about GMO’s as well as the long lists of pesticides and herbicides used in the farming and agriculture industry, the more determined we both were to continue cleaning up our food practices.
Two things started happening:
All of this just from eating better quality food. Which meant that all of the food we’d been eating for our entire lives up until then was crap. What does Maya Angelou say? When you know better, do better?
We dove off the deep end with our food. We were angry. Generally speaking there are two emotions that inspire all of us to take fierce action: Love and Hate. When something makes you so mad that you blow up your life because of it, obviously in this case a good “blow up your life”, you know you’re in it for the long haul. We have learned to appreciate our food on such incredible levels and don’t take the knowledge we’ve accumulated for granted. However, this was painfully tricky for us for so long. I hated cooking but the alternative was hire a chef (ha!) or eat processed foods. Since neither were happening, I had to learn not only how to cook but also from scratch.
It’s become something we both enjoy doing together. It was hard, very hard. Sometimes it would take hours to just prep food for soups or pasta dishes. Sometimes making food from scratch took more out of me than the grocery shopping to purchase everything we needed. Eventually though, after a lot of heavy lifting on the back end, it became so easy that it is now second nature to us. We can make pizza dough from scratch in minutes without thinking about it. Completely clean (and also vegan!), simple, minimal ingredients and perfect every single time.
The lessons that Christmas staycation taught us are endless. We learn new things even still, five years later. We make adjustments and move forward always doing the best we can. The most important lesson is that you are never done and you can always do better. Start with one thing, one step and then check it off the list.