by Ashley Logsdon

Those Crazy Crunchy Families

Our home is a random combination of omnivores and herbivores. Clara vacillates from being pescatarian to vegan (with the exception of sushi and sweets). We typically do vegan at home, although Ellie, Juliet and Nathan do enjoy the occasional piece of bacon. Our girls are typically pretty rockstar veggie eaters (our go-to isn't mac and cheese, but Madras lentils and rice!)

However, with five sets of taste preferences, it can be a battle to please everyone.  We typically have the 2 out of 3 "win", yet we have succeeded in having more dinner "wins" with everyone eating well most of the time. I sneak veggies instead of meatballs into my spaghetti. Or, actually, our gluten-free spaghetti. We love beans and nuts.  

Yes, my children eat well, although there may be time where they don't eat a thing. You see, I know how 2 out of 3 love salads and chow on greens. I am thrilled that they get excited about seaweed or raw nuts as a snack. And sometimes they flat out don't like anything on the table. And ya know what? First world issue. They have plenty of healthy food at their fingertips at any given time, and they will all eventually eat. When you are dealing with real deal starvation, a child is not going to turn up their nose because their broccoli touched the tomato sauce.

I love my girls, and I work to accommodate their preferences, but I do not make a separate meal for every finicky issue.

Scrumptious salad, sexy husband...and homemade margaritas...heaven!

We require a "no thank you" bite for every food we serve. One bite to simply try it out. We enforce this when they are young, and it has allowed them to explore a vast variety of food. If they take that one bite and don't want any more, that's their choice. We aren't going to force it down their throats or drop everything to make something they DO like.

My goal is to expose them to a variety of foods multiple times and work with them as they (and their tastebuds) mature. And when they choose to forgo a meal, I know they will make it up when they are hungry enough. As long as they are healthy and happy, the requirement to eat a full meal at 8am, 12pm and 5pm isn't necessary. When did we decide that there are specific times to eat vs. simply eating when you're hungry? We do sit-down family meals because we love the togetherness. And, if a stomach isn't hungry at that moment, it's okay to simply visit!

My favorite meal ever. Grilled teriyaki portobella mushrooms, grilled pineapple (also great as a burger with these two), with mint arugula quinoa salad (and a tiny bit of goat cheese, because YUM).

My most picky girl still loves frozen peas straight from the freezer, or basil picked right off the plant. International food is usually a huge plus - Mexican and Thai foods are the favorites.

Yes, we are those weirdos with the crazy eating habits and non-toxic everything in our home.  I didn't realize the extent of my stereotype until I noticed all of my friends describe me as the "crunchy mama", "granola friend", or just "the hippie".   We try to eat - and live - healthy.  And by healthy, I mean:

  • Opting for a vegan 80/20 diet (80% of the time, we eat vegan, with a few exceptions of dairy, eggs and fish on occasion) due to an oldie but goodie book "Diet for a New America", and documentaries like Cowspiracy, What The Health (if there is only ONE food documentary you watch, this is the one), Forks Over Knives and Vegucated. (if you really want to learn the top 11 Environmental Benefits of Veganism, check out this article. And, if you have some macho person in your world saying vegans are weak, watch Game Changers for quite the eye-opener).
  • Started juicing after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and checking out The Healthy Juicer's Bible. We definitely enjoyed learning more about juicing...and also recognize that you can go through a TON of food and it can be a good amount of work. We're not huge juicers, always, but have a whole new respect for it!
  • Quit drinking bottled water after watching Tapped. (Now, we're water snobs with our beloved Berkey water).
  • Started drinking Kombucha and learned it all from awesome friends and the Kombucha Mama.  Sign up for the free eBook tutorial - plus, she's super helpful with any questions!
  • Went for a more holistic, whole-body approach after reading the incredible book, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom - rocked my world and I wish it were required reading for every female (and man that interacts with a female).  I could write a whole blog just on this one book and how it's helped me take back my femininity and embrace it. Another goodie is Moon Daughters for all mamas of daughters!
  • Cut out refined sugars after watching Hungry For Change.
  • Started hitting up the Farmer's Market and Trader Joe's for non-GMO and local foods after documentaries like Food, Inc, seeing all the hidden ingredients in food, and having a major reaction to toxins in my makeup.
  • Went predominantly gluten-free after we saw the difference it made both in digestion and attitude with half of our family.
  • Switched to essential oils and Norwex for all my cleaning & healing needs.
  • Exchanged my go-to resource of the Kitchenaid for a Vitamix and an Instantpot.  Started pinning vegan Instantpot recipes because this thing is truly a game-changer!
  • Basically, I became a clean-eating, toxin-avoiding hippie.

So...yes, we're weird. I DO read labels. I DO opt for no refined sugars, if at all possible. I DO buy local and non-GMO if we can. I push for my kids to eat as many colors from the (natural) rainbow that they can...and that may mean sneaking in a few here and there.

Grilled veggie pizza on Naan bread (okay, not GF but oh so yummy) - covered with basil, cashew "cream cheese" and balsamic reduction, with a side of baked peaches with cinnamon/honey!

But, we also aren't sticklers. I am so, so thankful that we are choosing this lifestyle because we want it and not because we have allergies. I know many who are forced into strict diets with no exceptions because of serious allergies, and my heart goes out to those families - because it's hard to navigate it all.

I hate that we live in a nation that has become so distanced from our food source that many times what we are ingesting is so far removed from real food that we can end up with an allergy from lord knows where.

Holy cow. Best vegan comfort food ever. Swap out beef with portabella mushrooms and you have a beautiful meal. With the InstantPot, it's ready in less than 30 minutes start-to-finish, and it's super hearty and delicious!

I question how many of our "gluten-intolerant" people are reacting from the chemicals, toxins, by-products and other foreign things in our grains. I see legit allergies and I see people who are reacting and it's difficult to trace why. A soybean is not a simple soybean. Corn is not just corn. Sugar has taken on the semblance of cocaine instead of a yummy product from the ground. It's frustrating and annoying and insanely difficult to get away from it.

At home, we fight the good fight.

Like schooling, cleaning products, TV, technology and what we wear, we have the power to decide what comes into our home. We regulate. We sometimes make exceptions and we sometimes fall off the wagon. But as a whole, we've chosen a life where we stay involved in the process of food coming to our table.

It's gotta be delicious with a name like "Rad Rainbow Pad Thai"! (Parent tip - making stuff look pretty and/or putting a cool name to it definitely ups the acceptance factor with kids)!

The kids shop with us, garden with us, and cook with us. And hopefully, by being open about the good, the bad and the ugly, we'll help them to, if not make healthy, at least make very educated choices on what they choose to put in their mouths.

We have chosen our path for our family. I share these links and ideas not to make anyone else choose the path we have, or become die-hard that one way is the only way. There are many controversial topics I have an opinion on, and my goal is never to force my opinion on another. Like so much on my blog, it's simply about awareness. Educate yourself on whatever choices you make for your family.  Remember,

You can choose any path you want - but don't defer this responsibility. Learn about the source - of your food, your cleaning products, your toiletries.

Pay attention to what comes into your home and simply be aware. We become victims of reactivity when we simply rely on the assumption that everyone else - the medical industry, government, food industry, etc - always has our personal best interests in mind. 

Fresh produce from the garden. When kids come in whining about "I'm hungry" in the summertime, I simply unleash them in the garden and let them have at it!

There are wonderful people in every industry...and there is a lot of shadiness and greed that can happen.  Know what you are bringing into your home, and educate your whole family so they can make informed decisions.

P.S. This whole crazy topic came about because my mind went on a non-related bunny trail from this incredible blog post that has absolutely nothing to do with broccoli in the mac and cheese.  It's just right in so many ways.

About the author, Ashley Logsdon


Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.

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  1. Thanks Mama – glad you liked it and read it. So many great things to read and learn about, and it’s not simply living in fear; it’s being educated so you don’t have to!

  2. Completely pinned me – I’m such a Netflix documentary junkie. I’m loving the Netflix originals as well! I so feel you with finding out the hard way – I started down this path after my eyes swelled almost completely shut TWICE before I figured out it was my so called “natural” Aveda face lotion that was doing it! So many toxins that we put in and around us – it can be so overwhelming! You are so right that health is hard to get back once it’s squandered. Like I responded to Tricia, we do the best we can and give ourselves grace. It’s hard to navigate when there is so little of the non-toxic food and products available to us, and it’s easier to get in some places. We have to get out of the “convenience” factor and into what is really the best option for our bodies. It may mean more work, but its so, so worth it.
    And yes, “no thank-you bites” were something I dreaded as a kid, yet, it is exactly why I’m willing to try new things of all sorts now. At 20, I hated seafood, avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, peppers, sweet potatoes….the list could go on and on. My family always teased me about becoming a vegetarian who hated vegetables. But that “no thank you bite” kept sticking with me and I kept trying new things – at 21, my tastebuds did an insane flip-flop and now everything I listed are now on my favorite foods list!! Don’t give up hope with the kiddos- they may end up LOVING something they hated!

  3. So glad it was great timing! This was actually from my archives from ages ago, so I updated and added to it with my newest revelations as well. 😉 It can definitely be a little overwhelming sometimes, and that’s when you cut yourself some slack, chill out, order pizza and drink some wine. 🙂 Like everything, sometimes when we go to extreme black and white it can be super difficult. We are such die-hard extremists here in the US culture, and we punish ourselves as failures if we make any exceptions to our diet. It’s okay to let go sometimes – our goal is to outweigh the bad with the good. It’s super beneficial, and our bodies will thank us for it (and…not spontaneously combust when french fries and cookies happen to fall in our mouths). 🙂

  4. Ashley, Well written and not judgemental. And you are so right….we all need to take more control of our lives instead of relying on someone else to tell us what to do with our health and well-being we need to educate ourselves. There is no excuse not to. We have every resource available at our fingertips. Good job!

  5. YES!

    You are clearly one of those crazies who doesn’t have cable TV and only watches documentaries on Netflix. 😉 We are too!

    The products on the shelves of our stores in this country simply are not safe. I learned this long before Netflix when conventional deodorant literally burned my underarms. While we do eat animal products, we are very careful that we are only buying locally and humanely raised products. I tend to use them more as a “seasoning” than the base of the meal. The base of our diet is fresh produce, as local as possible for Minnesota. And I recently BANNED GMOs after watching GMO OMG. Breast tumors from GMO corn and round up? No thank you!

    I agree that it’s our responsibility to do our own research and make the best choices for our families. We make health a priority because it’s not something you can get back once squandered. And nutrition is the foundation for healthy living. It’s not crazy crunchy. It’s being responsible. IMHO.

    I also love your attitude about feeding your children. 🙂 A friend of mine used to make 3 different meals for her 3 children and was frustrated that she didn’t have time to sit down and eat herself. So this made me smile – “When you are dealing with real deal starvation, a child is not going to turn up their nose because their broccoli touched the tomato sauce.”

    Great stuff once again, Ashley!

  6. Ashley! This couldn’t have been more timely! I’ve been feeling a little bogged down by our primarily whole-food, plant based diet and maintaining a nontoxic home as much as we can. Then I remind myself that we’re choosing what’s best for our family and truly seeing the benefits of it. Thanks for reminding me to keep fighting the good fight. Hugs from KY!

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