(Edited to add: Don’t miss reading the comments. It’s so fascinating to hear everyone’s story.)

Meandering the dicey waters of healthy eating is often a struggle for me. I think back on my early days of mothering and so distinctly remember our second’s son first bite of solids.

Any guesses?  Lovely chunks of plain tofu graced his highchair. Then I think ahead to our fifth child and her first bite of solids…a spoon full of vanilla ice cream. Now many would say it’s just the difference as we add on more children, but I beg to differ. For me, it’s an evolution of our family’s eating habits…the good, bad and ugly.

That second son wasn’t given any candy until his second birthday. (With the fifth, I’m pretty sure she was fist pumpin’ licorice at 12 months). When our first children were young, it was a time in our lives when I was extremely “crunchy” and cooked primarily vegetarian during the week, so that I could splurge with a burger on the weekend. I leaned towards as much organic as possible with whole foods being served across the board. Processed stuff virtually didn’t enter the house.

This was also a time when my sister in law was battling breast cancer. She was the healthiest eater I know, and I’m sure not one little preservative lived in that body. She choose an alternative medicine route and our entire extended family rallied around, especially in the eating department. If there were any extreme measures to research nutritionally, we knew them. I am well versed in healthy eating, whole foods, real foods, organic, vegetarian living etc. etc. and yet when she died, I went through a re-evaluation of sorts. Not that I didn’t believe that caring for our bodies was of vital importance, I still understood the nutritional need. Not that my convictions died about the extra pesticides and preservatives that can cause cancer building agents, or the facts surrounding early menstrual cycles with girls caused by all the junk we have in processed foods. No, I still believe all that, but I guess I just realized that some times we can do everything in our power nutritionally to lead our family, feed our family and serve our family the best, and the end result is still out of our control.

So does that mean I throw caution to the wind and say, “To each his own…eat, drink and be merry…” – absolutely not, but I think it does come down to balance.

And balance is a tough one in the world of healthy eating, especially for me. For years, I was more anal about our eating choices. It caused me stress, and so I believe my evolution was a healthy one. Not necessarily literally, because we do eat much more junk, but definitely emotionally.

So how do we meander the roads of healthy choices?

How much should we add into our food budget to choose organic, or is that really important? (I will be sharing my list on what I do choose…stay tuned.) Should I avoid all processed foods? (Well, if you’ve seen my grocery guru posts, you know I don’t.)

How do I choose which foods to say “yes” to and which foods just never enter our bodies (if there is a line that you can draw in the sand for that one?)

At this moment in my fridge, the picture above shows beverages I stockpiled. I have rice milk, almond milk, organic milk (all with coupons or marked down, I might add), and right next to those ultra healthy items, I have soda and fruit punch.

Some may call me a horrible mother for allowing red dye into my childrens bodies, while others call me extreme for ordering half a cow from a local farmer to ensure higher quality grain fed beef, or grinding my own grain, only to eat an Oreo as the bread rises on the counter.

It’s those daily decisions that are never going to be perfect, yet we educate ourselves and do what is right for our family. Sometimes that means making difficult decisions. Often, it means a higher grocery budget, but every once in awhile, it just means we throw caution to the wind and enjoy.

Do you have an evolution of eating? I’d love to hear in the comments.

TastyTuesday200pix Can You Freeze Soda?

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