As we begin our Big Family Food series, I thought it would be wise if I shared what might seem to be “The Great Compromise.” Why? Because as I share our current Big Family Food journey, you will see items in my grocery cart that might shock you. I shall now take a moment to explain myself.
I could sum up my food journey right now with this:
- I used to care deeply about the free-range chicken. (2004)
- I began to question if I should care so much about the free-range chicken. (2010)
- I started to care quite a bit less about the free-range chicken. (2018)
- I couldn’t care less about the free-range chicken. (2021)
- I have completely run out of chicken. (Real-time update)
We now have ten kids. We eat a lot and the needs are many. Food needs? Well, sure. But beyond that, the emotional needs. The spiritual needs. And I guess it’s even worth mentioning the laundry needs. Goodness, the diapers. Also the dishes.
So at this point, I’ve completely revamped my priorities, mostly because I have no choice. We have four kids under the age of three so I do almost everything one-handed. If I even think about rolling out and cooking all of our tortillas right now, I will have a melt-down (man, they were delicious though). Also, did I use to make our own mozzarella? What in the actual world?
Do I even care about healthy food anymore?
I don’t know. I guess. But in some ways, I almost feel like I should apologize for ever talking about it and making it a big deal. Hear me out.
Is it important to try and stay healthy? Absolutely. Is what we put in our mouths important to our health? So very important. Is it good to be informed and educated and to do our best when it comes to healthy eating? Sure.
I’m really glad that I know what I know. Like – I’m glad I know that hydrogenated oils are bad. I know that butter and coconut oil is good. I know that high fructose corn syrup and msg are bad. I know that vegetables and fruits are good. So I have a good framework in my kitchen for ingredients that are of the real food, nourishing variety.
But I no longer overthink our food and I no longer worry over every ingredient, nor do I make everything from scratch like I used to. I don’t have time or energy and I actually don’t really care anymore. I mean, I do. Like, sort of – as in I’ll never buy margarine or fruit loops. While I think it’s important to teach my kids about healthy eating habits and good food choices, we have very little space for that right now.
- Our kids need to know how much God loves them. How much we love them.
- Our kids need security and safety.
- Our kids need to be held and kissed and rocked.
- Sometimes, our kids really need a bath and sometimes I have to actually get out my broom and sweep my floor. With one hand. So.
My Big Family Food life is very different from my Regular-Sized Family Food life of 2009.
From 2004-2014 I was very focused on all things healthy. Healthy food, healthy supplements, healthy cleaners. ALL GOOD THINGS. Praise God for all these good things and for people who know about them and teach us about them! I have friends who are my go-to people for all these good things.
But I used to spend more time learning “how to soak my grains” than I did learning “what it means to live through the Holy Spirit.” Soaking my grains (and making my mozzarella) made me anxious and fearful (was I doing it all right? What if I gave my family cancer because I wasn’t doing it right?!). Learning to live through the Holy Spirit is making me free.
I’m choosing now to live in freedom, and I hope you are too. This means that you might be a free, joy-filled, Holy Spirit living, grain soaking, mozzarella cheese maker!!! I think this is fantastic!
As for me and my house, we will not soak the grains and we will buy the cheese at the store. I will even buy it pre-shredded – in bulk – and I will not feel bad about this.
What is Our Great Compromise?
We buy a lot of food that is different from what I ever used to buy, but I don’t actually consider it to be a compromise. It’s simply a new way of life for us because our entire life is different now. Many days we are simply trying to survive and get the children fed (frozen pizza and beef hotdogs). Other days I have a little more time and make full meals (but just this kind because “more time” doesn’t mean “lots of time”).
As I begin to share my grocery hauls with you, you’ll see:
- Frozen pizza
- White flour buns
- Bags of French fries (that we cook in an air fryer, which is SO YUM)
- Bags of chicken nuggets
- Boxes of mac and cheese
- Other frozen prepared food
- Boxes of crackers
- Who knows what else
You’ll also see:
- Lots of fresh veggies and fruit
- Lots of frozen veggies and fruit
- Lots of canned fruit, fruit cups, and applesauce pouches in 100% juice
- Whole grains like brown rice, oats, and wheat
- REAL BUTTER (do you even know me at all?!)
- Coconut oil, honey, real maple syrup, and other real food baking ingredients
- Whole milk products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and well, whole milk (we also still get raw farm milk but not enough for our family’s needs right now)
- Grass-fed beef and wait for it…
- The occasional free-range chicken
What?! Well, sometimes. I mean, if I have the funds and the grocery source, I’ll grab that good meat. And if I can’t? If there’s only “regular beef” and “whats-it chicken?” Well, it’s still meat and I refuse to overthink or even underthink it. I don’t even actually think about it at all. We simply need to eat and I need to get out of the meat section to get home to my family. I buy the meat. We cook the meat. We eat the meat.
Thank God for freedom! Thank God for you, this community here! And thank God for these mixed-green smoothies that I drink every single day because they give me more nourishment on the fly than I could ever get any other way, woot!
Stay tuned for more Big Family Food posts, where I share all about how I make food for our big family!