The Evolution of a Food Revolution

The Evolution Of A Food Revolution

Mon 30 Dec 2013

Story by Lindsey Shifley

Oh my word... Has it been almost a year already!? The holidays are coming and I'm waxing poetic looking back on my 2013 Food Revolution New Year's resolutions. Here's an update on how my three real food goals have panned out as I approach my one year anniversary as a Food Ambassador.

1. Eat more vegetables! Specifically green, purple, red, yellow and orange ones... super colorful veggies please!

In my quest to bring more colorful veggies into my family's meals, this goal continues to be one of the most challenging from week to week. I feed four picky veggie eaters in my house: Tommy - 4 yrs., Abbie - 7 yrs., Mac – 8 yrs. and Chris – 40 yrs. Yes that's right; even my husband finds that veggies are quite difficult to get down the pipes. So, we're always in for an adventure at dinner time depending on the variety I cook up.

The fun and lovely part of dinner time now? The kids have actually started to eat more veggies than Daddio from time to time, an event we all get a kick out of at the table. "Daddy, I ate more than you!!!" We started out with a one bite rule and now we're up to a minimum of 3 bites (super bonus points for eating more!) of every colorful vegetable on the plate.

The kids are so proud to be able to identify each vegetable in their whole, raw form, which is something that we all were quite miserable at last November (yes, me too - I had no idea what a parsnip was). Moreover, a year ago, they would only willingly try and eat peas, corn and green beans. My favorite improvement is that instead of looking at me like I'm crazy, they cheer when I put a green smoothie in front of them (note: not Chris yet). Eating salad greens such as spinach, kale and chard is still very challenging and the smoothies are the best way I have found to get those power house vegetables into their bodies! This goal will continue into 2013 - I feel like we have made lots of progress and I still have a way to go to in getting them to fall in love with vegetables of all color, size and flavor!

2. Muster more cooking gumption.

Cooking has become so much easier for me and I have made huge strides in gathering cooking gumption. Today, I can cook several dinners without a cookbook out, and I love the freedom to be creative and alter recipes if I am feeling all fancy.

I make gluten-free homemade bread, sauces, pastas and desserts all from scratch so much more efficiently than a year ago. I get excited over how far I have come and what lies ahead of me - my education in the kitchen will never have a finish line. Do I smile and clap, "Yea, I get to cook dinner!" every night? Ummm, no. I am tired sometimes, super busy and not amped up to cook for my less than enthusiastic eaters every night. So, I cue some kitchen music, pour a glass of vino and the energy always comes back... now I'm really cookin’! In 2013, I will continue to spread my cooking wings.

3. Get my family and friends in on the fun.

This last goal has been, by far, my favorite from the start and it will continue to light my fire into 2013. Cooking with my family and friends has supercharged me. Without a doubt, cooking together has brought us closer as a family through the messes we make, the laughter & conversation we create and the epic dance parties that spontaneously ensue whenever we grab our microphone spoons (they improve your tone dramatically).

Instead of having family and friends over and preparing the food on my own, I now often times wait and invite everyone in the kitchen to cook with me. Hosting "cooking parties" has become one of my favorite ways to entertain, whether kids are invited or if the babysitters are deployed. It takes the pressure off, gets everyone involved and learning how to cook is FUN.

This goal has also cultivated new friendships and strengthened bonds along the way! For Food Revolution Day 2012, Food Revolution Mundelein expanded into Food Revolution Lake County when I recruited a local chef and business-owner-turned-girlfriend, Briana Cardone to help me get the word out about our first annual Food Revolution Day Community picnic. In addition, my longtime girlfriend and local High School Family and Consumer Studies teacher, Christina Erickson, joined us in September as a Food Ambassador. I have also recently connected with one of the Chicago Ambassadors, Sarvin Haghighi, and together we all worked to bring Food Day 2013 Big Apple Crunch into our local schools and communities. I am so very lucky to have family and friends, new and old, join me in the real food adventure blossoming here all around us.

I'll never forget that day a year ago when I pulled into a grocery store and envisioned bringing the "real food waterfall" here to my community as a new Food Ambassador. It gives me the tingles to be writing about its amazing progress today, a year later. Watch out, 2014, Lake County Food Revolution is all lit up and ready to rumble! Now where did I put my fork!?

About the Author: Lindsey Shifley is a wife, mom of 3, pitching coach, blogger and voluntary Food Ambassador for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution in Illinois. Lindsey’s Food Revolution started as a personal goal to cook cleaner foods for her daughter, Abbie, who was having social, attention and sensory processing issues in school. She launched her lifestyle blog called on day one of her food change to journal the seemingly overwhelming task of kicking the processed food out of her family's life. Having found huge success with her daughter, she is helping to grow the Lake County Food Revolution Team by inspiring others to persevere and cook more real food with their family and friends.


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