"What does your family eat?"
When my husband and I meet people we almost always get asked two questions:
“Is Beacon really as wild as he is on Instagram?” (YES).
What is your diet like?
Since I answered the first question, this post will help to navigate the second.
Aside from the sport of wrestling, and our children, what and where we eat are the most frequent topics of conversation in the Burroughs home (or a hotel room). But it wasn’t always that way.
CHANGE IS GOOD
In 2013 when I was pregnant with our first child, we started to think very seriously about what we were putting on and in our bodies. I was growing a human, and everything I ate, like it or not, was most likely getting to the baby. That’s a pretty scary realization for some people, as it should be. So we made the decision to do an overhaul of food and products (I’ll leave the self-care products post for another blog) within our home. If it didn’t contain organic, non-GMO ingredients, to the trash it went. Instead of looking at calories, I starting reading ingredients. If I couldn’t understand them, I didn’t buy it. Keep your food simple. I’m sure we may have an exception or two somewhere in the house but I honestly can’t even think of one right now. I am serious about leading a naturally-minded and focused household, and so is Jordan.
Jordan’s diet was most radically changed by the overhaul. He enjoyed his way-more-than-fair share of fast food as a college student and leading up to the London Olympics. His fridge was full of “stuff” that I don’t even consider food anymore. Nothing was organic. When we were packing up his apartment preparing to move into our house, I found a bag of potatoes in his cabinet that were so old they were growing more potatoes out of them. That should tell you how much he cooked for himself. Nothing he made was fresh and he had never cooked a meal from scratch.
I’ll keep it real with you. Do you need to eat clean to win gold medals? No. Jordan won the Olympics in 2012 and that same night dragged us to McDonald’s to get a quarter-pounder cheeseburger (which he accidentally dropped on the street corner -- Thank you Jesus!) But can you insure you’re getting the ABSOLUTE BEST out of your body, and still feel good during recovery by fueling yourself with fast food and microwavable dinners? I’m happy to say we aren’t willing to find out.
Our day-to-day food choices vary depending on training and competition schedules, but they are almost always organic and free of GMOs. We don’t eat much dairy, unless it’s a special event or just a good ice cream night! We love seafood, but have recently eliminated red meat altogether. Aside from some occasional grilled chicken, I don’t eat much meat at all anymore, and don’t plan on introducing it to my 1-year-old daughter. There are plenty of other ways to get your protein in. Our friend, Olympic Weightlifter Kendrick Farris, gives us serious hope that vegans can in fact grow big muscles! Maybe some day...
For now, Jordan eats organic, free-range chicken and wild caught salmon a few times a week. If you know our family, you’ve probably been annoyed with how much we say these two words -- WHOLE FOODS. We are extremely grateful that we have a Whole Foods here in Lincoln. We know just about everyone you see there on a first name basis. It’s our favorite spot in town by far. We are there just about every other day to stock up on essentials and fresh juices. Juicing has become an integral part of EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for us. It is so important that I’ve asked K2Roots Cold-Pressed Juice founder Kendra Taylor, who is also the wife of wrestling star David Taylor, to answer a few questions on juicing in another blog post. Check it out!
During the last four years I have either been pregnant and/or breastfeeding so what I eat differs slightly from Jordan. While my diet includes a lot of sprouted grains and a bit more natural sugars, he eats limited grains and almost no bread at all. It takes a lot of trial and error to see what clean diet is best for you and your family. After weeks of not eating bread, Jordan will often celebrate with some sort of heavy-carbohydrate meal. His fingers swell within minutes and his stomach gets upset soon after. Your body tells you what you need to know. Listen to it.
Jordan typically starts the day with a couple fried eggs and a smoothie (see below) that he takes with him on his way to lift. The kids and I usually have steel cut oats or fried eggs and Food for Life Sprouted Grain Bread (Cinnamon Raisin) with a little bit of vegan butter and some cold-pressed juice. If we’re in a hurry, it becomes a cereal morning -- and we’re talking Kashi, not Captain Crunch. Save the kid cereal for your occasional treat.
Jordan’s smoothie ingredients: Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk, vanilla flavored plant protein (vanilla flavor) and green superfoods, coconut butter, avocado, spinach, blueberries, banana, chia seeds and turmeric.
Lunchtime is always a toss-up. If you have kids, you know that the middle of the day is usually hijacked by naps, so food choices are limited to what you have in your fridge. Luckily, we stay stocked and I usually use the free time to make my own smoothie (which isn’t much different than Jordan’s).
Lauren’s smoothie ingredients: Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk, Amazing Grass Protein Superfood (Pure Vanilla flavor), The Beauty Chef Inner Beauty Powder blend (superfoods, prebiotics and probiotics), avocado, coconut butter, spinach, blueberries, banana, chia seeds, turmeric, ginger.
A smoothie doesn’t sound very filling, but that smoothie fills my Vitamix to the top, and I usually finish the whole thing. It’s more like a meal than a drink!
I’ll keep this easy and just give you our go-to dinner these days. It’s what we call a hash bowl. It’s simple, easy, and so good for everyone in your family.
Grain -- quinoa, barley or brown rice. I’ve also done a barley and lentil mix. We usually opt for quinoa since it has more protein and a little more fat (we aren’t scared of the healthy fats around here!) Plus Jordan isn’t big on rice.
Cooked veggies -- put anything you want in here. Our favorite is broccoli because both of our kids love it and when you find a veggie your kids love you basically run it into the ground because #kidshateveggies. We also use sautéed peppers or roasted brussel sprouts. Be creative!
Sweet potatoes -- I throw a little coconut oil, salt and pepper on these and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Jordan is a sweet potato addict.
Avocado -- Mix a few slices of avocado to give it a nice little kick, or add a squeeze of lemon/lime if you need a dressing to moisten it up.
Optional: MEAT/FISH -- I put this last because I usually just eat mine with the above ingredients, but my boys love their meat. We use chicken, wild salmon, or shrimp.
We make fancier dinners usually once a week, but Jordan asks for some variation of this meal every other day so hey, feed the man, right?
In between we snack on lots of fruit, nuts (I walk around the house picking up Jordan’s cashew crumbs just about every day), veggie chips, and popcorn.
To some of you this blog probably sounds like I’m crazy. Know this -- The way we eat now is the result of years of transformation with lots of baby steps along the way. We have learned a lot about diet along the way from friends and sometimes strangers. We read, research and pay attention to our bodies and how they react to what we eat. Does every single day of our lives look exactly like the above menu? No. On some days we wake up and feel like french toast and waffles. When that happens, which is pretty often when we travel, we get on Yelp and look up local farm-to-table spots. You know what tastes a lot better than pancakes from IHOP? Pancakes made with locally-sourced ingredients and topped with REAL maple syrup and fresh fruit. You might pay an extra $3 for them, but it’s money well spent.
And then there are the days when you just throw all your rules out the window, go get a dozen donuts and shove them down the hatch before you find out what’s in them. Take a lesson from my little guy...
Just don't let your string of celebration days become a habit. Make what you put in your body a priority. It’s not always convenient to eat healthy. It’s not always cheaper, especially if you’re eating out. I’m pretty sure a lot of our friends have turned down eating with us because they know how strict we are about food, and truth be told… we’re OK with that. We still love them!
But you only get one body to carry you through this life. What you put in it may not be affecting you today (that you know of), but ask yourself what it will do to your body five, ten, and 20 years from now? Sometimes my son Beacon picks up food at the store and asks me, "Mommy, is this food medicine?" I hope he sees food that way forever. How will you choose to see it?