What is really important to me? That is the question I am asking myself as I look at this upcoming year. I want my actions to follow my true values in all that I do. And that is really important for my writing here at The Nourishing Gourmet too.
So, as I have considered the type of recipes I share here, the challenges I present, and the message I bring, I have decided to re-work a couple of things.
1st Resolution: Eat lots of really good food
My first personal resolution for 2013 is not going on a diet, not about getting more exercise, not about going on a cleanse, not about becoming a sugar Nazi. My first priority this new year is to feed my family really good, really nourishing, really nutrient-dense foods in abundance. While I think many of us aim to do just that, we often fall far short of a really nutrient dense diet. I have been thinking about that, and it has caused me to make “big plans” for my blog in regard to that issue.
I am cancelling the Sugar Cleanse/Detox Challenge
I am actually “canceling” my usual sugar detox/challenge that I’ve done every year in January! In this challenge, I encouraged you to give up sugar to varying degrees. A lot of you participated, and I got good feedback on the challenge. On the other hand, a lot of you failed at it….sometimes miserably. While I still believe that sugar addictions are a real problem (the failures proved that, in fact), and while I still plan on doing a sort of sugar-free life this next month personally, I felt like giving up sugar was not the message I wanted to bring to you. It really isn’t the most important message I have for you.
I think I have a better message. And I think I have a better challenge for you all too.
Being well nourished is not about what you take out
You see, the sugar cleanse challenge is all about taking something out of your diet. And yes, there is a lot of garbage in most of our diets, and that’s not good. But having a good, healing, nourishing diet is emphatically not about what you take out of your diet, but what you put into your diet. Many cleanses can be very helpful, including ones that help cure addictions to sweets, however they only go so far. Someone who is constantly cleansing an undernourished body is not going to be healthy.
What I want for my family, and the message I want to share with you is all about adding in delicious, nutrient dense foods into your diet. In fact, if you have some sort of addiction (like a sugar addiction) eating a really good diet full of nutrient dense foods may be the most important thing for you to do. And guess what? I think that you can have a robust, healthy diet without removing every possible starch and sweet from your diet.
Why I haven’t always talked a lot about food philosophy
I have been somewhat reluctant to talk a lot about my food philosophy because I want all of those who have varying degrees of differences with me in how I feed myself and family to feel welcomed here. I think that it is sad that food choices can be so divisive. The lovely picture of people rejoicing and making merry around a table laden heavy with food is my ideal picture of what food should do – it should draw us together. In the blogosphere though, there is a lot of bickering and arguing. Although discussing the merits of different eating habits is important, I wasn’t sure I wanted to step into the fray a lot. I am so glad that paleo foodies and vegans alike find recipes that they can use and enjoy here at The Nourishing Gourmet. And it is important to my values that it stays that way.
Why I am excited
But when considering my core values, and what I want this blog to be, I decided that I can venture out again into sharing more about why I cook the way I do, important information on nutrient dense foods, and resources to help you make changes in your diet to be more nutrient dense. I am actually way more excited about this then simply my message of taking something out of your diet. I am excited because I think that this message is far more important.
Plus, it really jives with what I am concentrating on with my own family. I have growing children and it is vital for me to be giving them lots of really great, nourishing foods.
Is this really that life-changing?
You know, “nutrient dense” foods is a term used a lot, and that over use can actually deceive us in thinking that we are eating a “nutrient dense” diet when we aren’t. “Hey, I had chocolate and kale today! So nutrient dense! I must be healthy!” This isn’t the type of nutrient dense diet I am talking about. It is also possible to eat many nutrient dense foods, but to not have in your diet certain important foods that leave a big hole in nutrient levels. I wrote a book about soups this year, and boy did we eat a lot of soups! Homemade broths are really important to me for a nutrient dense diet, but even while we had that base covered, other bases weren’t covered so well. I realized that there were gaps in what I was eating and feeding my family.
But it doesn’t have to be hard. Simplifying eating really well is part of what I want to bring to you with new resources.
My second personal resolution is to work at getting better sleep. My two-year old’s nap/night time sleeping is really wacky right now. If she takes a nap, she goes to sleep way too late, and we don’t get to bed early enough. If she doesn’t take a nap, she can be overtired and then not sleep soundly. We are in that awkward transition time with her and trying to figure it out. Hopefully we can soon, so that we can all be sleeping better!
If I can successfully do both of these things, get good sleep and eat a lot of nutrient dense foods, we are going to have a healthier, happier new year! I have some side plans for how to do both of those things, like making more freezer meals, etc. I will keep you posted on that.
Meanwhile, please stay tuned for more information on my new challenge! I hope that you join us, because it is going to be way more fun then taking out every grain of sugar from your diet!
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I like the way you think! Looking forward to hearing about your new challenge. Sounds like fun.
Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet
Thanks, Carolyn! I think it will be fun!
I love that you’re sharing your new philosophy of adding, not subtracting. I think the more nutrient dense foods I add and the more I learn about cooking well and tastefully, my taste for sugar and other things has diminished naturally.
Bring on the abundance!
So true! Often we are craving “bad” foods because we aren’t properly nourishing ourselves. That is exactly why I wanted to have a different challenge this year! 🙂
Danielle @ Analytical Mom
I’m excited to hear about your challenge too! Your post reminds me of the story about the school (I think?) in the early 20th century where they fed the kids a fantastically nutrient-dense lunch, and that one meal made such a difference in the children’s lives, even though they still ate normal junk the rest of the time. We also find that we crave sugar less when we are giving our bodies what they need. Good luck on the sleep schedules, too. 🙂
Yes! I love that story! In fact, I will be sharing it in a later (but soon) post I will be doing on nutrient dense foods.
So Sensible!!!! And also sensitive to others. I have found that when you focus on adding in the good stuff, it becomes more natural to eliminate the bad stuff. There is only so much room for everything. And when you start the day with a delicious whole food breakfast, your sugar cravings tend to disappear anyway, becasue your blood sgar levels are more stable. The knock on effect over time is better health, better skin, better mood and an ability to sleep better!
I’m really looking forward to all this new information. While I like to think we eat a healthy diet, I know we get stuck in a few easy fixes (easy to fall into when you have to cook gluten/dairy free most of the time) and neglect keeping variety in our diet. And now I’m finding that my hormones are out of whack and I’d love to balance them with nourishing food instead of relying on whatever meds the doctors want to throw at me.
Been there, done that! 🙂 Easy fixes have been where we have been at recently as I have been recovering from really low iron levels. I am really looking forward to doing better! Yah for good food!
Like (very much). 🙂
I like the change of focus. It makes eating nutrient dense easier when you aren’t constantly thinking of sugar because you can’t eat it. I also can’t wait for your freezer meal ideas…happy new year!
Thanks, Meagan. It is amazing how as soon as a food is “forbidden” it becomes more desirable. How about eating so much good food, you just don’t crave overeating sweets anymore? Seems like a better idea to me. 😉
This is a great post. Sharing what you stand FOR instead of what you are “AGAINST.” It’s a great way to live. You do a great job at it!
This is absolutely fabulous. I love your philosophy.
Thank you so much!!! I have been feeling the same thing recently too, but have been a little scared to take the leap. Over the last couple of years, I have had some health issues (mainly digestive) and I always go to taking or omitting things from my diet and I really did not focus enough on nourishing myself with really good nutrient dense foods.
I love this post! Last year when we started moving to a more traditional diet, I became consumed with what kinds of unrefined sugars we should use, only to realize we weren’t eating very many vegetables and weren’t eating meat from good sources. So I decided to work on those areas instead, and then once I had done that then worry about the sugar! I really love this post, and I look forward to reading more!
Fantastic! Will share with my community and our family is with yours in adding in more good!
Appreciate hearing your ideas for 2013! I can say that I am enjoying your Soups. So far I have made the White Fish with Fennel, Green Beans and Tomatoes – very yummy and then the Italian Zucchini and Sausage Soup also very good! Thank you for all your efforts/work and what you are conveying to us all in a very down to earth manner. BTW, your stock instructions are really valuable. Even though I have been making them, you have given me new insights and information that I did not know. Thank you!
So glad you enjoyed those soups!
i wish there were more “healthy” bloggers like you.
too many…TOO many bloggers claim to be about healthy living and eating…but what they really promote is weight-loss and semi-starvation.
from the bottom of my heart – thank you. thank you, because i have an eating disorder and need to be reading and taking advice from MORE posts like this if i want to recover.
Thanks for sharing that. That helps confirm that I am on the right track here. 🙂 And I share your concern! I am amazed at times at others writing, when it is clear that being healthy only means being a certain weight. That’s weight and appearance control, not health control. 🙂
Amen, sister 😉
This sounds great! I am so glad to focus on the positive!! Well said!
Very excited to read what’s in store! Getting an idea of a what an overall nutrient dense diet looks like will be so helpful. And I hear you on the sleep issues. When my 2 yr old takes an afternoon nap, he’s up much later than my other children but if he skips his nap, it’s even more work to get him to sleep. I’m going to try lots of activity, earlier nap, and wake him up if he goes past 2 hrs. We’ll see…
This has been a growing weight on my heart, providing more nutrient dense food for my family. Despite a healthy diet, I’m well aware of the holes in our nutritional needs and am really struggling to pull it all together. I’m grateful for your timing on this path. I need people by my side doing this same thing. It gives me the traction I need. Thank you for being able to step back and observe the bigger picture.
I need people by my side too! It helps so much making a certain practice a “group activity”. I hope many of you all join the challenge once it is up. 🙂
Hannah Healy @ Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Love your philosophy on general nourishment instead of just taking one thing out. The part about food choices being divisive really speaks to me too. I’ve gotten some flack for being a vegetarian, but I really think it’s important to create community and to be supportive of fellow real foodies. Wonderful article!
This is exactly what I’ve been doing the last three months! Over the course of my life this far, I have failed SO many times at the “taking things out” approach to changing my food habits. So a few months ago I started just adding in bone broth, daily juicing, fermented foods, local raw honey, and more grain free recipes. I feel so amazing – the best I’ve felt in years! Love your idea!
Yay! I love it! Can’t wait to read your posts this new year!
Thank you for this! I’m looking foward to future posts.
Are you also going to share how you plan to get your two year old to sleep? I have one that still wakes every two hours, so I would love to hear your plan. I haven’t slept in two years!
What a great plan for the new year! I know alot of things that I shouldn’t be eating, I will really appreciate the guidance in what to add to make my family healthier! And I know that as we add really good foods to our diet we will (slowly!) stop eating so much junk!
And I am so tired of all the bickering about the foods that we eat. We all have to make our own choices in what is right for us and our families. And we need to respect each other’s choices.
I think this is great! I would much rather add good things and let the not so good fall away.
And as we all should know by now that “diet” is a bad word. Can’t wait to get started!
I like your thinking. It applies to more than food in our lives. If we concentrate on wholesome and healthy things first, the less important and nourishing elements don’t have room in our lives.
Sweet! No pun intended–I like this line of thinking very much. Looking forward to reading more here and browsing the archives, too.
I am with you all way. Thanks for a great post.
This is my philosophy as well. I have four growing boys that need extremely nutrient dense diets. They are active and athletic, and their needs are almost as huge as their appetites! I have found along the way that creating wholesome and nourishing recipes to feed them has been the key to great health. I try, as you do, to make every bite count! It is not about taking away, but adding in whole foods in a balanced way that creates happy healthy families! I am excited to follow your journey!
Lisa @ Real Food Kosher
This resonates so much with what I want to concentrate on this year as well. I don’t like getting stuck in a food philosophy either. But I do want to make a greater effort in increasing the nutrient density of my family’s meals – especially that they get part of their meals outside the home – it’s the best way to create a good balance in their diets without isolating them from their normal social life.
yay! thinking about what we could do proactively, instead of what not-to-do is a helpful way of increasing positive change. instead of saying, “i can’t have that sweet,” we might ask, “what can i have that adds nutrition right now?” and choose something different. the way we think about things is so important. looking forward to embarking on this year’s journey with you. ~ariyele.
Great job and looking forward to reading more. I kind of just got back on the nourishing train after some health issues made me realize I’m not as young as I used to be and my body can’t bounce back like it used to! Nutrient dense foods became a much bigger priority. 🙂
Not sure if it helps or not, but when my three kids hit that awkward stage of naps, we would alternate days that they napped or didn’t. It seemed to help, but all my kiddos seemed to be on more of a 2 or 3 day sleep cycle rather than daily, if that makes sense. Good luck!
I love your blog and am so thankful for all the hard work you put into it. Without blogs like yours, I never would have discovered traditional foods.
This post really resonated with me as I am on my own nourishing journey. I find myself getting too obsessed with what I shouldn’t be eating that I lose sight of what I should be eating. I am constantly berating myself over my inability to quit sugar alltogether, and I’ve lately been realizing that my fixation on “quitting sugar” has been more harmful than beneficial to me. I focus so much on not eating sugar for a few days that once I pick it up again I totally binge on it. It also clouds my vision of what I AM doing well…not eating grains, making bone broth, eating lots of healthy fats. It’s so important to be kind to ourselves, seek to improve, and not beat outselves up when we don’t get it right. Thanks again for the encouraging post 🙂