It was clear and at the top of my mind how I was going to write a family contract for our cross country trip. I actually commissioned our 11 year old daughter to write this original contract. We were going to be food warriors on a mission to prove fast food companies don’t rule our roost. We were going to hit local farmers markets, local food co-ops, pack, plan and eat as we do in our own home.
The challenge was (and still is) going to be to eat as clean as possible across the country and teach our children that we want to fuel our bodies with food not clog (literally) them up with crap.
Our journey across our beautiful country starts 30 days from now. I am so happy that I have had the past 30 days to think, rethink and check my original ideas. As I started to test out and think about my family's motivation regarding our trip, new thoughts came to mind about what this “challenge” will do to my family's thoughts around food. This is a very sensitive subject with one teenager, one pre-teen and a little, and I want to acknowledge this and hold realistic expectations with my family.
First, I declared there would be no meat on our cross-country tour. Kris and I have been living the life that suits us while removing meat from our diets for the past two years. Our motivation to eat this way did not come at the same time, nor did it come from the same beginning principles. We have removed meat from our weekly grocery purchases for our family over the course of the past 3.5 years. Our children are encouraged to freely make their own decisions when they feel they “need” meat outside of our home.
Often, our takeout meals with the kids are burgers & fries, chicken entrees or sushi. All of our children get stomach aches from takeout pizza, so this isn’t a thought for our trip. We do make our own pizza (homemade dough, sauce, toppings) with no digestive issues. Even the 7 year old will say no to pizza at events because he knows he will get a stomach ache (his words, not mine).
Over the past 30 days, I have continued to observe our eating choices outside our home cooking. I have practiced my business conversation skills, observed our families food choices, and checked in on how this compared to the way I thought we would all eat on this trip.
What I didn’t expect was some serious contradictions.
I need to repeat this.
My personal thoughts were not aligning with my health coaching philosophy. I am becoming incredibly aware that I need to take time and process what I want this trip to look like in terms of secondary foods.
Let me state my intention.
I want to eat fresh, yummy, nutrient dense foods with my family across the United States (PA to CA and back to PA). I want to try our best at eating local, less traveled and less processed foods. I want to find local eateries with farm fresh foods and be amazed at how easy this can be.
Now for the reality to kick in:
New business brand identity tour, 3 kids, 8 weeks traveling in our average size Honda Pilot, budget, marriage, oh and don’t forget about the 5 month old puppy!
Whew, no wonder people have said words to me like,
“you are something...”
“are you crazy?”
“you're gonna need meds...”
This is all a lot. This is taking family quarantine during the COVID pandemic in a decent size house and shrinking it to a smaller more challenging space. This is huge. There will be even more family time than we had last year, because there will be no time away from each other. Our children are of age to stay at our home alone, but I am not comfortable with the idea of leaving them alone anywhere as we travel…(well, this may also be a thought now vs. a reality later).
I am so excited and so terrified. This is going to be a trip we will all remember for a long time and I hope this road trip brings more happy memories than bad. I am very well prepared for the good, bad, ugly and the disappointing. I am aware of all of these. I didn’t say I’m prepared, I said I am aware these situations will present themselves at different times within all the different people, including the dog!
Back to my first intentions with food for my family. First thought was no meat, we can prove you don't need to eat animal products and feel just fine. Hmmm, right? As a health coach even writing these words makes my hands tremble. This isn’t right. This does not feel true to me or my kids.
Yes, I have decided that meat doesn’t work for my bio-individuality. Yes, my husband at his own time decided that being semi-vegan works for him. How am I to live this life for the past two years and then demand this of my children? That’s when the thought bubble exploded out of what I wanted this trip to look like what it may actually look like. I am grateful that I allowed this to simmer in my mind and feel how uncomfortable this feels and sounds.
As a Health Coach, I believe deeply that food is fueling, powerful and individual. What works for me, may not work for my husband (clearly: I eat fish, he does not) or what my oldest needs compared to my middle or youngest or vice versa. This thought explosion needed to happen organically without anyone telling me.
I needed to come to this on my own.
On my own terms and in my own timing.
Again, I am grateful I had the time prior to our departure to process and practice these experiments within our family.
I want this trip to be fun, investigative and curious. Yes, I want to eat foods that give us energy and good moods. Yes, I want to eat local and fresh. Yes, I want to poop everyday. (I have no problem speaking in terms of poop, it is important. ) Yes, I am excited to plan and prepare foods along the way. Yes, we will eat well. Yes, we will have a tight budget.
Yes, we will do the best we can.
No, we will not do this 100% perfectly.
Progress is what’s important, not perfection.