Launching a Healthier Lifestyle for My Family

Recently, I came up with an eating plan for my family that I've termed Dietitian's Husband Unrefined. It's an idea that has been brewing in our house for a few years.

The Dietitian's Husband Unrefined plan was founded on the basis of making my own family healthy. It is a lifestyle plan that has evolved from years of being married, raising children and practicing as a registered dietitian in the community. Through the years, various diets — including vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten-free, Atkins, weight loss, cleanses, pescetarian and flexitarian — were extensively explored (though rarely appreciated) by the male in my household.

I often chose these various diets in hopes of living the healthiest lifestyle possible. But as the years passed and we had children, we had to work together to come up with a team approach to feeding our kids, who are really picky eaters. Ultimately, not only what I fed them as a stay-at-home mom, but also what my husband ate, really influenced our kids. The focus of how we ate now hinged on dad’s health and became the priority in the household.

I don't believe in excluding any food groups or promoting a single food that will cure all or promote weight loss. Healthy living is about having a balance in life and in the kitchen. Learning about where food comes from and how it affects our bodies is the most important piece of education that I can provide to my family and my community. 

So what does it mean to eat unrefined? The dictionary defines unrefined and processed as below:

Unrefined means: Not processed or refined.

Processed means: Having been altered from the natural state for safety reasons and for convenience. The methods that may be used for processing foods include: canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and managing hazardous bugs that infiltrate a product. 

Processed food is usually thought of as bad, but in reality we need to process some foods in order for them to make it from farm to table. Here is where the fuzzy line between good and bad is drawn when it comes to unrefined and processed: We do need to process food to kill bacteria and provide a product that is formidable to eat, but we do not need to add chemicals, colors, excessive salt and sugar and strip a food of its normal nutritive value, only to add it back in. 

Therefore, I've established a list of five rules for foods that we will consider refined and place on the Dietitian's Husband Unrefined NOT TO EAT list. 

1. If the food can only be made in a factory by a machine or was invented by a food scientist.

2. There are more than five ingredients on the label and most of the ingredients contain unpronounceable chemical and color names. 

3. The food item has been on the shelf for many years and has yet to expire. 
4. It is a recipe that cannot be made in your kitchen. 
5. It comes from a place that has a drive-thru or takes fewer than five minutes to make at a restaurant. 

In upcoming posts, I will continue to define the foods that should be included in a way that teaches our audience what our food really contains. I will include recipes and feedback from other dietitians in the community and photos of the unrefined lifestyle. Finally, I will work on the male of the house and explore the relationship between his health and the rest of the family's health based upon the changes that are made. I hope that you follow our journey as we live in reality, but without refined foods. 

Brandi Thompson on Facebook
Brandi Thompson
Brandi Thompson, RD, LDN, is a registered and licensed dietitian and a mom of two young children. She is also the ambassador of Boca Raton's Food Revolution Day and a consultant for Broward County's TOUCH grant for preschools. Read her blog, ABCD Eat Right, and follow her Dietitian's Husband Unrefined journey on Facebook.