It’s a Family Affair…with Sweet Tea


When it comes to healthier living, the one thing that has helped me the most is that my entire family is eating better with me.

 In full support.

When I announced that we would be eating whole foods, getting more exercise and living healthier, there were no negative comments in the house. Maybe it’s because my family has seen more than it’s share of  Mama being ill, sick or recovering from surgery. Maybe it is because the dreaded “C” word has been said in my home everyone realizes how precious life is and how important it is to keep our bodies in tune. But regardless of why we have arrived here together, we are on this journey as a family with excitement and genuine zeal to walk down the yellow brick road together.

I am so happy to see my dinner table come alive with color. I used to serve many “country comfort food” meals that were flanked by gravy, buttery biscuits and whole milk-basically a table awash in beige and white…that same table now has country cookin’ that excludes gravies but includes leaner meats, more vegetables, fruits, whole grain breads and a pitcher of ice water.

In short, I was in a rut. Albeit, a delicious rut.

I never had any complaints. I could slather a biscuit in butter with the best of ’em and go back for more. I could make gravy out of the drippings of any critter that met my iron skillet and I still do that on occasion, but less often and with less fat than I used to.

There is always a time and a place for gravy.

I love cooking.

I love it probably more than anyone I know. The idea of combining foods to make a meal that brings my family running to the table is a real satisfaction for me. I feel like I am doing what I know how to do. I feel like I am successful at the stove. It makes me feel like I am providing for my family in a way that nobody else can.

But these past few weeks, with regards to nutrition, I’ve put more emphasis on my accountability as a mother that wants to raise healthy people with a long life ahead of them. I don’t want them to get older and blame me for their maladies or see them suffer nutritionally because I didn’t take the time to plan what went into their mouths as well as my own when they were young. Any unhealthy habits they have learned have come from me. So I have to work hard to undo what I may have done.

It won’t be easy but I am working on it day by day.

I figure every day that I put fruit and veggies on the dinner table, every time that I park our car further out in the parking lot at the grocery and we walk, every time that I don’t put sugary desserts in my shopping cart and every time I don’t lose my temper like I used to because my blood pressure is lowered is all a good influence. 

I see that it  makes a difference in their world and their perspective on how food and exercise are good for the mind, body and soul.

I am learning that I can still keep to my Kentucky roots when I cook. You don’t have to serve everything up fried and frittered. Baked chickens are just as tasty and mashed potatoes don’t have to swim in butter. Fruits don’t have to be in a pie and veggies are better when they are crisp tender instead of cooked to pieces and there doesn’t have to be enough for an army when you’re done.

It’s okay to not have any leftovers. We will survive if there are only enough for five servings. That realization alone should save me about 1,000 dollars a year at the grocery store. Because I always buy too much and end up tossing out leftovers I forget about that end up stacked in the rear of the fridge, forgotten and holding my Tupperware hostage.

In short, I guess I’m just hoping that I can pass on my healthier living to my kids.  It’s taken me a few winding roads to get us here, my husband and myself on high blood pressure meds and a wider rear end, but in time my goal is a reduction in blood pressures as well as my Mom jeans waistband. 

I wake up now and food may be on my mind, but it’s not the way it used to be when I wanted food to “fill” something other than my stomach. My focus is on our health, my goal is just a healthier family.

 All of us.

In fact, I’m thinking of making homemade dog food for our 12 year old Basset/Dachsund mix, Sweet tea. Because she’s part of the family too.


About margie rigney

I'm a woman with too much to say to keep it to myself. Stop by for a virtual coffee break with me and refill your cup. Life is too short to worry too much and take it too seriously. Sometimes you just gotta laugh, even when it hurts.

2 responses

  1. Realizing that I was responsible for my family’s nutritional habits gave me inspiration to change…good job and good health!

  2. Thanks Sheri, I agree. In the past, I had dieted for “myself” and put myself on restrictions that excluded what my family was eating…I ate what I needed and then continued to cook for them as I always have and didn’t take into account exactly what I was cooking for them other than it tasted really good and they loved it.
    Over time, I’ve learned that those fad diets, those highly restrictive eating regimens didn’t work for me and my family needed to eat better too. I have always been a cook, a lover of the stove…I enjoy grocery shopping and I truly love cooking things that are reminiscent of my childhood. The only problem was that I cooked too much food and too rich food, too often.
    I think the fruit additions are the things that I love the most.
    I had put them on the “naughtly list” when i went low-carbing. It was hard to start eating them again. How ridiculous when they are one of the best “whole foods” out there!
    I sit down with a navel orange every evening after dinner and end up having to split it with one of my kids. Seeing them gobble it up and not reaching for the goldfish crackers or chex mix is wonderful.
    My blood pressure is lower, my joints don’t ache.
    After finding out that my “frame size” was small to medium I was shocked. I had always assumed I was large frame because I am tall. Not so. Now I am more determined than ever to get this weight off my bones to give my body a break.
    I am going to start making Sweet Teas food this week. I am sure she is diabetic or pre diabetic. I want her healthy too and her few years left with us, I want them to be the best she can be too. 🙂