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We are in the midst of a major crisis.
In fact I think it is safe to say I have unwillingly entered midlife crisis. Due to no fault of my own, specially since I am barely in my thirties. I planned well and knew this would happen once I have a teen living in my house but seeing how I had my son in my twenties ( last month of my twenties, but it counts) it was all going to align perfectly. Stop calculating my age and pay attention please.
This all started innocently enough. A few months ago Little J drew a big, fancy X and stuck that paper onto his door. Apparently we were to enter his bedroom by invitation only. A bit strange for a five year old, but I can live with it. Then he started questioning the meaning of life. He kept saying he wished he was never born because we will all die anyway so why bother. Rather odd kind of suffering for someone at such tender age, but I am sure he is not the first. Then he decided he can do absolutely everything all on his own. Which is all very well except we are always running late and this pushed us from fashionably to extremely late. After that he proclaimed he is becoming a vegetarian. Next followed more darkness and gloom that is his life. If you ask him what is wrong he says nothing. Except he knows for a fact that there is no happiness in his future…
Few weeks ago he told me all he wants to do is stay in bed and do nothing all day. Now if that is not a teen thing to do nothing is. I panicked. Then my husband and I sat down and pondered. We decided we will give him a day off where he can stay in his pajamas and do absolutely nothing at all. We were convinced that he will see how utterly boring this is and never ask for it again. Unfortunately ‘day off’ was a huge success. For the record my son does nothing on most days, only difference he does it wearing clothes and outdoors. So really I am still stumped by this overwhelming need to rest from doing mostly nothing in his life anyway.
But then it happened. He woke up one Tuesday and said MOM. Then again. And again. Then he called daddy DAD. And ever since we have been addressed as MOM and DAD. No more mommy or daddy. Nothing. Just Mom. With a big sharp cut off. No cuteness in his voice, not even when he is negotiating his next day off. I am now officially known as Mom.
I am in shambles. At any given moment you will spot me in the corner eating Nutella out of the jar with a large spoon. Or looking at old photographs wondering where it all went so wrong. Or ignoring my teenage son calling me mom. Seriously I cannot be a mom yet. I am not ready!!!
As a last resort I have decided not to teach Little J how to tie his shoelaces. So he can either get a job like all other teenagers and buy himself slip on shoes or he will forever depend on me. Who’s your mommy now?!
I have been wracking my brain in the past year, trying to figure out what went wrong.
We moved from England three years ago. Both my husband and I were of a healthy weight and without any medical conditions. We never changed our eating habits as such and we live a very similar lifestyle we did in Europe. I spend most of my days outdoors, I go to the gym and I took up running last year. Yet I have put on 40 pounds! I have terrible insomnia and I was asked by an older lady on Monday if Little J was my grandson! For the record: I am turning 35 this month.
We eat at least our 5 vegetables and fruits a day. My husband cooks dinner from scratch every evening and during the day I make healthy choices for Little J and I. We even cook for our dog every single day! If you open our fridge and pantry most products are labeled healthy, natural, low fat. We don’t buy any frozen food and we always choose fancy chocolates and desserts. I really thought we were doing well.
Initially I blamed my weight gain on my business and blogging. On most evenings when I put Little J to bed I edit photo sessions and catch up on blog reading and I might be snacking somewhere along the way. So I forced myself to walk away from the computer by 9PM every day. And no food after dinner.
I thought maybe I didn’t exercise enough. So I started going to the gym 5 times a week and got a personal trainer. That is in edition to riding, running and hiking with the boys. No weight loss.
Honestly I felt like such a looser. I always suspected food in US supermarkets is different then what we used to eat before. It looks and tastes similar, but the shelf life is 5 times longer. The packaging has a lot of misleading labels such as fat free, natural, sugar free. And most of the ingredients are unpronounceable. No matter how hard I might look for something that looks right and reminds me of the food I grew up eating, there is not much in the supermarket.
When I was Little J’s age milk went bad in 3 days. We brought bread at the bakery daily, because it was rock hard in a day or two. Yogurts lasted a few days, meat was cut for us at the butchers and grandma prepared it the same day. Cherries were in stores in May, strawberries in June, other berries in the summer and apples in autumn. We got oranges for Christmas because eating fruit in winter was a special treat. There were no salads in store in winter so we ate canned beetroot and pickles until our lips turned white from all the vinegar. All food was a treat, not just dessert. I looked forward to different seasons that brought variety to the table.
My son eats raspberries every day. We have a farm on the island where we pick them in the summer. The other day we drove by and he asked me how come the supermarket still has that many left if raspberry farm closed in autumn. Honestly, I don’t know. I have no idea where our food comes from. No idea who makes it and what on earth they put in it.
The truth is I am not one for diets and label reading and researching if the cows that made my milk are pumped with drugs and fed corn. My husband joked not long ago that we drive by a pasture full of sheep, but there is never any lamb at our supermarket. That made me think. I know that farmers in our area treat the animals humanely. I know they all graze and live outdoors. I see them with my own eyes. So why am I buying a generic brand at the supermarket??!
So starting today we decided to eat only what we can see around us. What farmers have grown on our island, what small family owned business have produced in our state. It took me only an hour of googling to find:
- someone to deliver fresh milk and bread to my door every week
- someone to prepare a box of locally grown vegetables for weekly pick up
- someone who makes fresh gourmet cheeses on the island from happy, free roaming goats
- farm that raises and sells beef, pork and lamb. All fed exclusively on their own grown feed.
- fresh, free range eggs minutes away from my home
- a local beekeeper that makes amazing honey
- locally sourced and milled flour
- a place to buy daily catch from the ocean
I know we are lucky to live on an island where we have all these available. But before I took the time to find them, I thought farmers market in the summer is the only way to eat local food. I am not saying this is the key to our health, but I strongly feel it is a step in the right direction. If you have the time, look for what is available in your area. Support the local growers and producers. Frequent only restaurants that are supplied by local farmers. I can assure you that everything we will be buying from now on is not significantly more expensive then similar items in the supermarket. We cut out the middleman, transportation and packaging and I am happy to pay that difference to the farmer herself.
I will keep you posted on our journey to eating real food again. If you live close to me and want to know who I am buying these from, leave a comment. I will happily send you the information.
Here are the wonderful farmers in my neighborhood:
If you have an hour to spare, this documentary (Hungry for Change) is worth your time. Here is a trailer: