Growing up I didn’t appreciate my Mom’s ultra-healthy ways. I can seriously say that she was a part of the go-green movement long before it was the trendy thing to do or the way that some people now choose to live. Back then, I was too young to appreciate that she was trying to establish a strong foundation of health for my brothers and me.
She subscribed to the philosophy of “let food be thy medicine.”
A little bit about my Mom: She was born and raised in the stunningly beautiful country of Norway. She was also taught the importance of healthy eating. Of course living in Norway, she ate her fair share of seafood. (Yum!) So, she moved to the United States, upon an invitation from my Dad. They married months later. She was a young twenty year old who was completely enamored with American culture and loved many things about America, but what she quickly realized was that there were a lot of artificial foods that stocked the shelves of the grocery stores (this was very “foreign” to her –pun intended) – and these items were of no interest to her as she started to raise me and my two younger brothers.
Every morning before we could eat breakfast, we each had to take a heaping tablespoon full of cod-liver oil. Yuck! I never liked it, and certainly didn’t appreciate that she was trying to do her part to help us – it felt more like torture, really! Our breakfasts consisted of eggs and oatmeal, cream of wheat or one of these three cereals: Wheaties, Corn Flakes or Shredded Wheat (not the frosted kind). Nope, no sugary cereals for this little bunch. I begged and begged her to by Cookie Crisp cereal a time or two, only because one time I had a sleepover at my best friends’ house and that’s what we ate for breakfast. We also begged her to buy Wonder bread – we thought that stuff was dreamy. Nope, none of that….my mom said she wasn’t going to allow that kind of junk into her house. Ugh….I wasn’t happy about that! From time to time, my brothers and I would bug our mom to buy junk food like Cheetos, Twinkies and Ding-dongs and other (crappy) snack foods – you know where this is going……we were always met with a big emphatic NO! There was no waring her down. It wasn’t as though our Mom wouldn’t let us have an occasional treat, but it was always homemade and contained far less sugar than the processed junk food from the store. She always made sure we ate plenty of vegetables (I still remember stuffing my pockets with brussel sprouts and green beans because I thought they tasted so nasty! (Now I love both of those). Also, you could always find a heaping bowl of fruit on the counter but never junk food in our house.
As you can see, we ate super healthy. Norwegians are also known for being nature lovers. The weather doesn’t even seem to be a factor, ever. My Mom subscribed to the Norwegian philosophy that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” Rain, snow or shine she would tell us to go outside and play, or we would go on long walks and hikes with her when she had the time. This was our lives year round! Who knew that she would eventually fuel my passion for the great outdoors (and of course healthy eating)!!!
Looking back, I have an incredible amount of gratitude and appreciation that my Mom created a healthy foundation for us to build on. I of course had my seasons of unhealthy eating during my first two years of college. Maybe it was more about the freedom to choose to buy whatever food I wanted to. However, even then, I was keenly aware of how food made me FEEL. And I wanted to feel good, who doesn’t?!
When Dave and I got married, and as we started to have a family, that foundation of a healthy lifestyle continued, as it had long been established. We continued to build on that foundation as a family and incorporated other things, (which I will talk about in future blog posts), to that wellness foundation that we felt was important for us and our children. I have to come to realize more times than I can count, what a gift true health really is. There are so many facets to wellness, and I hope you will come back to visit our blog to read what we have learned along our journey.