Thursday, March 14, 2013

What I'm learning through the Six Ingredient Challenge

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonWe're nearing the end of the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!

We've been on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.

This week we're answering the question: What are you learning about your body through this challenge? Your family's rhythms and routines? Your feelings about food?

You can see all the responses to this question today at this link-up post at Hobo Mama and Anktangle.  
If you're a blogger who's published a response, please post the URL in the linky below so we can visit to read. If you don't have a blog or haven't published a response, feel free to provide your answer in the comments on this post on either Hobo Mama or Anktangle.

Next week's FINAL writing prompt is at the end of this post along with posting instructions. There will be one more regular post about the Six Ingredient Challenge, and then next week's wrap-up will allow our participants to express any further thoughts they have on the struggles and joys of switching to more whole foods.

To read all the posts and recipes in the Six Ingredient Challenge, visit the main page for a list of reading resources!

My answer:


Daniel tasting his first food: avocado!
I feel like whenever I play around with changing the food I eat, I always end up learning similar lessons about what works best for my body. I'm finding that again with this challenge: the things I have learned about myself through practicing intuitive eating are still valid...but that doesn't mean I've completely learned the lessons yet!

For instance, every once in a while, I (gasp!) indulge a craving and eat a bunch of sugar. Afterward, I always end up feeling awful. Sometimes I get headaches, and other times I experience a "crash" from the sugar leaving my bloodstream. Early on in this challenge, I went out to dinner with some friends, and we decided to treat ourselves to ice cream for dessert afterward. Since we were at my (possibly most) favorite ice cream place, I ordered the thing I love there the most: an ice cream sandwich on gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with caramel and salted dark chocolate ice cream. Yum! It was really good.

However, I found myself not wanting to eat any more (feeling full, even) after about a third of the sandwich, so I simply stopped eating and brought it home for Jaymz and Daniel to share. It turned out great! I got to have a little bit of a treat without making myself feel crappy, and bonus: Jaymz and Daniel were able to share in the joy of having an ice cream treat that night, too (without any one of us totally overloading on sugar). I'm definitely going to remember this the next time I'm splurging on sugar: a little bit can be enough!

Another lesson I can't quite get through my head have been relearning lately is (and I almost can't believe I'm about to admit this because it's so terribly basic): I need to eat regularly. When I don't have enough to eat at regular intervals throughout the day, I simply don't have enough energy to be effective (at parenting, communicating, getting things done, etc.). So I can't skip meals, and I can't just have a snack when I really need a whole meal. It just doesn't work. (Is the tendency to skip meals a consequence of becoming a parent? I don't remember having such trouble meeting this basic need before I became a mother.)

Along the same lines, I'm noticing more and more how much (not) eating affects Daniel's mood and coping skills. He's not a particularly picky eater, but he doesn't have much patience for sitting at the table long enough to eat as much as he really needs to keep him going. (Hi, Mom! Sound familiar?) To help that, I've been being more intentional about a few things:
  • I sit down with him at the table for the duration of my meal (and sometimes much longer if he's at all interested in being at the table). Sometimes I get caught up in a task in the kitchen after I've set Daniel up with his food and I end up eating standing up while I unload the dishwasher. It's not the kind of intention around meals I want to model for Daniel, so I'm doing my best to show up at the table and enjoy eating together.
  • I keep protein-rich snacks (for both of us) in my purse. Stuff happens and I can't always get home at the usual time for a snack or meal, and it's important for us both to have something available to help bridge that gap. I usually carry around a KIND Bar, homemade granola bar, or some homemade trail mix, and a string cheese or crackers with peanut butter for Daniel. (He often eats my snacks, of course.)
  • I trust that Daniel knows his body best. This can be difficult sometimes, I'm not going to lie. I do put limits on the quantities of snacks and sweets available to Daniel when I know it's mealtime and he's hungry. But I'm trying my best not to ever force Daniel to eat anything he doesn't want to eat, and we don't do the happy plate club thing: he's supported to stop eating when he's full. We talk a lot around here about what our bodies need, and Daniel is encouraged to assess his body's needs in the moment when we're having a meal. He lets us know when his body is hungry/thirsty/full, and we do our best to respect and respond to those needs.

Those are just a few things I've been learning (again) about my body and how I can best support Daniel to honor his body's needs. I'm excited to read today about what the rest of the Challenge participants have learned about themselves and their families so far!

We hope you'll join us by blogging or journaling about the final writing prompt.


Start formulating your answers to Writing Prompt #7

What are your final thoughts and reflections as we wrap up this challenge? Do you have any newfound wisdom to share?


Writing prompt #7 guidelines:

  • You have till next week to think of a response to the prompt. Post your response on your blog anytime by next Thursday.
  • Next week's post (3/21) will have a writing prompt linky where you can link up your response.
  • If you don't have a blog, you can leave your response in the comments on next week's post (3/21).
  • Copy and paste the header below into your post to tag it as part of the challenge.
  • Responding to the writing prompts is optional and just a fun extra way to play along! We encourage you to at least think out a response.


Header code for your writing prompt #7:

Simply copy the code in the box and paste it into the html box of your blogging software to appear at the top of your response post.


Link up your answers to prompt #6!

What are you learning about your body through this challenge? Your family's rhythms and routines? Your feelings about food?


Thanks for your comment! I love hearing from you.


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