Changing the way that you and your family eat and live can be incredibly daunting and massively challenging. When I think back to the food I was raised on, it certainly wasn’t ‘bad’ food. We rarely had take-out, my mother cooked almost all our meals at home, and lollies were only for special occasions. But I was raised at a time when supermarket convenience foods targeted at busy working mothers were in abundance. So instead of dicing fresh tomatoes for the spaghetti bolognaise, my mum used canned tomato soup. We ate boxed cereal almost every morning. And we had packet muesli bars and juice boxes in our school lunches.
My late teens and early twenties were spent well entrenched in the ‘low-fat era’ and then of course there were several years of travelling the world, living and working in London and all of the drinking, smoking and junk-food eating that came with it. Fast forward several years and I discover that I have all sorts of health issues. Good old adrenal fatigue and leaky gut are probably the main ones …that I am aware of. And now I have two small children and I want to make sure that I do absolutely everything in my power to ensure that they have a much healthier upbringing than I did.
And so a few years ago I started researching. And reading …a lot. And my eyes were opened. Sometimes I wish I could close them again. But there ain’t no going back. Once you’ve swallowed that white pill there is no backing out of the rabbit hole (and yes, I know that’s combining two different stories, but that’s how big this is).
I’ve made some huge changes to the way that my family eats and lives. And I am much more aware of what constitutes a ‘healthy’ diet these days. But I still have a long way to go. And so, so much to learn. Which is kind of what Confetti is all about really. Discovering. Learning. Sharing.
I meet so many people who are on the same journey. They are frustrated, confused, overwhelmed. It’s a tough process, and many of us seem to go through very similar stages. Which is what made me jot down this little ‘Evolution of a Conscious Lifer’ satire late one night. It’s all just for laughs of course, is only meant to be taken lightly, and is not at all based on my own personal experiences (cough).
I’d love to know what you think. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Are you in or have you been through any of these phases? And can anyone tell me what Phase 4 looks like?
Stage 1: The Discovery Phase:
You find yourself in a constant state of horror. You have just discovered that the Government/Supermarkets/Regulators cannot in fact be trusted AT ALL. Where previously you thought that if it was on a supermarket shelf then it must be safe, you’ve now realised that this is absolutely not the case.
Your Facebook feed is quickly filled with posts from newly found wholefood, Paleo, raw diet, no sugar, health and wellbeing pages and you click on articles with titles like “How Sugar is Killing Us All”, “Why Wheat is Ruining Your Life” and “16 Things That Are Destroying Your Gut Bacteria”.
You’re overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt that you have been practically poisoning your children with the food you have been feeding them. Your friends start avoiding you as you won’t shut up about it all. Some stop talking to you altogether. You’re convinced there is a conspiracy by the Government and ‘Big Business’ to poison us all so that we have to rely on medications that they sell to us so they can get richer.
You’ve had at least one episode in which you walked into the grocery store and had no idea what to buy because all you saw was a giant death trap full of processed foods, pesticides, hormones, refined sugar and GMOs. You may have sat in your car in the parking lot and cried about it a bit.
And it’s not just the food. You freak out when you realise that you had a root canal 5 years ago and have three fillings which articles tell you have probably filled your body with mercury, which is probably killing you. It seems that pretty much everything is killing you. You’re convinced you have cancer ….somewhere. Your leg was sore last week so it’s probably bone cancer.
Stage 2: The Extreme Phase
You start following a strict diet of gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, organic only food. You go out and buy a Thermomix so as to be able to make everything from scratch. Next thing you know you’re churning butter, activating nuts, brewing kombucha, boiling bone broth and making your own organic almond milk.
Your family is not particularly enjoying this new phase of your cooking and turn their nose up at most of the things you make. You find a Hungry Jacks packet in your husbands work van and completely wig out about it, telling him that if he wants to kill himself then that’s just fine by you.
You start avoiding eating out as you fret about everything that is being cooked at your previously favourite haunts. What sort of oil did they use to make these chips? Is this nitrate free bacon? I bet these strawberries aren’t organic and are covered in pesticides and chemicals. They probably didn’t even soak them in a mixture of water and vinegar, the barbarics!
You start to obsess about growing all of your own food and fantasise about moving to a small farm in the country where you live off the grid, grow everything you eat and raise chickens and a few cows, maybe a pig or two. You start making your own body scrub from spent organic coffee grains, throw out all of the make-up you’ve been using for years and replace it with natural alternatives, and start using only organic coconut oil as a moisturiser.
Stage 3: The Relaxed Phase
After discovering that your stress levels are now dangerously high (and being told by your Doctor that she wants to monitor your blood pressure), you realise you need to relax or perish. Or your husband might leave you. Or you’ll go bankrupt. You start to take a more gentle approach and compromise in some areas.
Instead of insisting on organic everything, you occasionally buy spray free or locally grown fruit and vegetables from the farmers markets, and at times grass fed beef from the local butcher. You use spelt flour in some baking instead of only gluten free options. You buy your kombucha from the lovely lady at the markets who seems much more chilled out than you.
You realise you cannot possibly do it all… at least not all at once, and so you allow yourself to make small changes often. You continue to read and educate yourself on living a healthful life, but you get rid of the alarmist pages from your Facebook feed and choose carefully the information that you read. You start to enjoy this new way of life, you’re feeling better for it, and best of all, your family is happily eating most of what you make for them (winning!).
Stage 4: The Happy, Confident Phase
Yup, not there yet. To be continued….
Honey had told us she didn’t want a baby shower – the words “I don’t like those games” met with a funny up face when I mentioned “baby shower” made me laugh, but I understood.
Well, I understood as much as I could without having had a baby/baby shower myself. I’ve been to my fair share of baby showers with nappy changing, burping and eating like a baby! It’s festive and gets the laughs but it’s not really my style – so I knew where Honey was coming from.
The kind of baby celebrations I like best aren’t with games or about presents, they’re about sharing fears and excitements, having good conversations and sitting and slowly enjoying food. In fact… give me a wedding/engagement/birthday like that I’d be one happy gal!
But I couldn’t bare the thought that Honey was about to welcome her first baby into the world, and didn’t want to celebrate. Any excuse for a party I say!
So I wasn’t letting her get away with it… I was already thinking about what great, thoughtful gift I could give her and her partner Stew when their baby was born.
Then I thought – wouldn’t a celebration be a great gift? I mean, we do share a business where our motto is ‘celebrating life’s moments’. So here’s my chance to really plan a celebration ….Confetti style!
Prompted also by Mary (Honey’s mother-in-law) asking if we were planning anything, the next night I felt like such a secret squirrel messaging her partner Stew.
“I was thinking of planning a surprise baby shower for you and Honey. And I know what Honey will say as she doesn’t like the idea of baby shower’s ….but this one will be special and involve lots of food! What do you think!?”
“Sounds good!!!” he said.
…and with that we were mission baby shower!
I knew I had a crew of awesome people to back me, so I messaged some of Honey’s good friends and family for help, and sent out a Facebook invitation to friends and family. Before I knew it we had a collection of style, food, help and fun to warrant a Confetti photoshoot!
Now for location… well… we knew Honey and Stew were going to name their baby girl Ocean, so it was inevitable we were going to have the party down at a perfect setting under a beautiful tree at our local beach.
All was going to plan, until poor Honey and Stew were up the night before with pre labour pains (Ocean arrived 2 days later!) so they were a little delayed but that didn’t stop the party!
The food was ready and waiting and guests had begun to tuck in. It included some of Honey’s favourites… antipasto platters with a collection of cold meats, cheeses, dips (which the mum to be could enjoy) fresh Bruschetta, yummy sandwiches, the most awesome meringues, donuts, slices, quiches and more! Plus a mint and berry punch to wash it all down. It was a beach feast to be admired.
While the kids played in the trees and adults caught up and laughed, the water was calm and the sun was shining – I stepped back and thought – this is so special, Honey will love it!
Karen styled the scene simply with some driftwood staked into the sand to form a private little area for our gathering, and a collection of beachy blankets, cushions and throws to relax and chat on.
Megan was snapping away her camera capturing everyone enjoying the moment.
Ash also made Honey and Stew’s favourite cake – a traditional cream sponge!
Go team!! It was perfect.
When Honey and Stew arrived, they caught us by surprise! Coming from a different direction, Honey was brimming with smiles and curiosity. When she finally realised what was happening I think she was so grateful to see all her loved ones together to catch up before the big arrival and enjoy some lovely food. There were lots of happy tears, laughter and excitement…
Reflections from Honey – I am always one for a party, I love any excuse… but for some reason I’ve always avoided any of the traditional ‘milestone’ parties (expect my birthday) because I’m really put off by all the ‘things’ you are supposed to do at baby showers, weddings, etc. Having Teegan arrange a secret baby shower wasn’t something I was expecting nor was it something I thought I wanted… but once I walked onto the beach and saw all the people I loved smiling back at me in a beautiful setting I felt very grateful.
Since having Ocean I’ve realised even more how important it is to capture these precious moments and milestones. I’ve always loved looking back at photos of events, but now having a new little person in my life I value these ‘moments’ ten times more. I look back at these photos from my ‘non’ baby shower with grateful eyes. I am so lucky to have beautiful friends and family who understand me and celebrate this. A massive THANK YOU to Teegan for adding another wonderful celebration to my memory bank.