Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall in Love with Food: Book Review-- Real Moms Love to Eat

Fact:  I need to eat better.
Fact: I want to eat better.
Fact: I make way to many excuses for why I don't eat better.

There was a time when I really loved to cook. I think this was especially true during the first year I moved into my own house.  I did all of my shopping--my trick for avoiding bad snack choices was simple--I didn't buy them.  This doesn't mean I didn't eat them, especially when going to my parents' house--but I didn't have them tempting me in my house.  I ate good and I felt great--without working too hard, I dropped 3-4 sizes over about a year or two span.  This was incredible for me, because I'd always been the same size since seventh grade no matter how much I tried to diet.

But I wasn't dieting, and I wasn't working out,  I was just eating better.  I loved food and I loved to cook too. I could spend an hour in Williams-Sonoma dreaming about new gourmet tools, drooling over their glossy colored recipe books and scheming excuses to make something new.  I felt like I was destined for true culinary genius--and did I mention I felt great.  I was fitting in to a new dress size for each major formal dance--which meant a regular rewarding shopping trip.  I was finally able to have a selection of dresses that would fit to choose from--instead of settling for the lesser of two evils because it was all they had in my size.

I regret to report that whatever I was doing right faded away.  It's hard to define the exact moment when things definitively began to take a turn for the worse. I think it all started when I became involved with some poor influences.   I started dating a guy who insisted on eating out regand cooking decadent foods--hello pumpkin ice cream.  My job became super stressful--the return of the anxious eating habits. The school I worked for closed and the idiot dumped me--more self-loathing and pity eating.
I moved in to an uninspiring apartment with a galley kitchen.  To make it worse--it was an hour drive to the nearest Williams-Sonoma (oh the humanity).   I worked late nights and was too tired to cook when I came home. Then I became pregnant and nothing sounded good or tasted good except Popsicle.  Since the baby, I have felt so drained when I get home from work that we settle for the over processed boxed foods.... Oh how this downward spiral compounded with baby fat I never lost has brought me back to that dreaded size I was back in seventh grade and all through high school and college.

I did love to eat--but now food is just something to fill the empty.  I've been so uninspired.  I think that's why I'm pinning some hope on Beth Aldrich's new book Real Moms Love to Eat How to Conduct  Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous.  This isn't some fly-by-night diet fad.  It's really about returning that spark in your food romance by learning to fall in love with the right foods and lifestyle that will treat you like the person you know you want to be.

Divided in  three levels of intensity and organized by multiple week by week chapters--Real Moms doesn't expect you to change your evil ways and poor choices overnight. Each week Aldrich presents five simple changes--one of which is often drink more water--so realistically, 4 changes you have to accomplish in a week.  Four challenges aren't much--following her method seems so doable.  I love that she doesn't ask you to give up the things you love most, but instead to make better choices.  Some of her first weeks worth of activities ask you think about the foods you really love--again to reignite that love for good food.  The final section of the book is chocked full of 21 menu days worth of really great sounding, really healthy foods.  I'm starting to feel inspired.

I love that Aldrich really seems to speak my language.  Her book reads like one girlfriend talking to another--or like a series of mom blog entries. Aldrich is very approachable, in a "Honey, I've been there too," kind of style.  Don't get me wrong, she can be preachy enough to make her point--but not in a "holier-than though way," which I find extremely comforting. I love that she understands where busy moms are coming from--and offers advice on how to streamline the kitchen, so you get "from scratch" meals--without starting completely from scratch each night.  I think more than anything, her book reminds me of the way I have always wanted to live in my kitchen when I first bought my house and of that lifestyle I hope I can find a way to slowly return to. 
For me, it's going to have to be all about the small steps. We've been watching our budget so tightly for what feels like an eternity that the grocery store is a constant source of tension for me.  When you are surviving on very limited funds (we're talking 3 people on $40-75 weekly) every penny counts.  I feel seriously guilty about food because bills are constantly what they are and grocery is about the only part of the budget that has some "discretion" to it. --I seriously had a breakdown the last time we all went as a family.

However, this weekend I visited my sister and peanut and I made a shopping trip to Whole Foods--and it was a truly pleasurable experience.  The entire store is filled with great things that appeal to all of the sense--I could fall in love with food in a store like that.  I bought the fixings for green smoothies--one of the first week challenges.  I also bought several odds and ends (like unprocessed sea salt) that I've been meaning to try anyway.  I bought whole flaxseed and used my sister's grinder--now I think I need one of these too--(I'm excited about the kitchen again--that's the power of this book!)

I need to quit making economic excuses for why I don't eat well and just do it.  I already do it for peanut, it's time I do it for myself too.  This is especially true for peanut--He's ready for table food and he deserves better than hamburger helper and it's beyond belief sodium levels.  If we can throw money away on a week for two bags of snack chips, why am I depriving myself the ingredients for things that will make me feel better and look better in the long run?

So week one--I'm trying to make a green smoothie each morning.  I'll keep you posted on how that works out. 

To learn more about the Real Moms Love to Eat or Beth Aldrich's Food Affialiate  program, stop by her website. You can connect with Beth on Facebook and on Twitter @realmomsluv2eat

Real Moms Love to Eat won't be available until January 3, but you can pre-order your book today on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound and on Books-a-Million.  And if you preorder soon, you'll be eligible to enter a sweepstakes or other great prizes. Enter at

*Disclaimer: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Beth Aldrich - Real Moms Love to Eat blogging program, for a chance to get 3,000 My SocialMoms Rewards points. For more information on how you can participate, Click Here.” * StumbleUpon