What Does Healthy Mean?

I have received quite a few emails and comments over the last few months on the subject of healthy eating. Some have expressed that they wished they could cook like I do. They feel bad because they are not cooking everything from scratch.

Other emails and comments that I have received express the fact that they cannot believe what I am feeding my family. They do not think I am using the right ingredients or making healthy choices. So, I thought today would be a good time to share some of my thoughts on healthy eating.

Is There A Gray Area?

So often in the food and blogging world, I see black and white. Someone will have a view on what is healthy, and they think that is the only way to eat. I don’t look at it this way.

For me, healthy eating is a journey, just like most things in life. I don’t think most people wake up one day and realize that the majority of what they eat or cook is bad. For me, it is more about baby steps. It is a learning process. The more I cook, the more I read and learn, the more I change.

However, it is slow change. I think slow change will last longer and stick with you longer than a drastic switch in diet. Most drastic changes in diet or life , for whatever reason they are made, don’t last long. Slow changes tend to stick.

Healthy Changes Over Time

So, my views on healthy eating change as I change. What I ate five years ago, may not be the same thing I eat today, and what I think is healthy to eat today, may not be what I think is healthy in a few more years.

You may not think what I eat is healthy. In fact, you may not serve your family anything like I would, but I may not agree with all the choices that you make. What fits my family, may not fit yours, and the other way around.

We don’t drink hardly any sugary type drinks, including real 100% juices, sugary drinks, and pop. We just don’t buy them. You won’t find them in my house. We don’t think they are good for our kids, but we do occasionally eat some corn syrup. You may think apple juice is great, but stay far away from any corn syrup. But do you know what, I think that is okay because we are both doing what we think is best for our families with the current knowledge that we each have.

Eating Out vs Eating At Home

For those that are used to eating out all the time, anything you cook at home will probably be healthier. For those of you that are used to buying a lot of boxed food and mixes, making even a few things from scratch will be healthier.

If you are familiar with my site, you know that I am always looking for an at home version of foods we love. My at home versions may not be the healthiest of choices, or the choices that you would make, but they are healthier than what we had been eating.

It’s All Relative

So for those of you that have felt bad because you don’t cook like I do, that is okay. Is your cooking style improving? Are you cooking healthier than you were last year. If so, that is great! Remember it is about small steps towards a healthier life.

And for those of you that think I eat unhealthy, you should have seen what I ate a few years ago. Maybe as I learn and change, I will agree with you, but for now I am taking small steps and learning as I go, because that is what works for me.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I am surprised every day about how rude people can be. I agree with you 100% we are all at different levels when it comes to eating healthy. Your blog has been a great blessing to me. My family has enjoyed many of your recipes and look forward to enjoying many more.

  2. Great thoughts! It’s absolutely a journey. We would all do well just to keep doing our best, to learn from one another when we can, and to agree to disagree at other times. :-) I feel good about what I feed my family, because I know we’ve made some great improvements over the last few years, but I look forward to continuing to improve. And it’s true, we do best to take baby steps, so that the changes we make will last.
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..Flowers in the Garden =-.

  3. Excellent post, Lynn!

  4. I have been following your blog for the last couple of months and have even referred others to it for gluten free recipes! I LOVE reading your posts and gathering new recipes for my collection. Eating and cooking healthy is a journey, you’re right! :-)

  5. this is such a good post!! baby steps are key, I believe :o)

  6. Thanks for sharing your journey, Lynn! I agree with you — this whole food thing is a journey!
    .-= SnoWhite´s last blog ..Deep Dish Pizza =-.

  7. Thanks for reminding us that this IS a journey! I have (by experience) found out that it is impossible to one day decide to be 100% healthy. It is a process that you have to gradually work into. You can’t go cold turkey, it just doesn’t work! You need the know-how, the foundation.

    Plus, I personally can’t give up bacon or chocolate chip cookies–and they are certainly not “healthy.”
    .-= alexis´s last blog ..There can be only one =-.

  8. I’m exactly like you. I try to cook only healthy foods for my family, and make almost every thing from scratch, but it is a learning experience for me, one I am far from finished with. It makes it especially hard when you have a husband who is as stubborn as a mule when it comes to giving up some of his favorite comfort foods, which are far from healthy. I think I strike a healthy balance though, and am working on slowly changing things to a healthier way of eating. Your blog is great Lynn, keep up the great work.
    .-= April´s last blog ..Bacon and Egg Casserole =-.

  9. Well said! I find myself bouncing on the waves of convenience, nutrition and frugality. I love getting cheap deals, but have had to forego some of them because they’re not that good for us. I love convenience items and sometimes I have to choose between good and just okay.

    You said it well that it is a journey. If we are improving, then this is good.

    And, I’m reading In Defense of Food right now and it is an eye opener. Not only will you be eating different in five years, but the definition of “healthy” will also have changed. It’s historically been a moving target. I’m hoping by the end of the book, the target is in one spot!
    .-= FishMama´s last blog ..Frugal Friday: Budget-Friendly Vacation Tips, Part One =-.

  10. So tactfully done! Amen to all said! Thank you for all the hard work you put into this blog for all to enjoy – much appreciated by this gal from GA!

  11. The debate over healthy eating sounds a lot like the debates Christians sometimes have. Sure, there’s a lot of black and white in the Bible — a LOT of it — but so many people forget that Paul wrote specifically about the gray areas, about Christian liberty.

    I think the same principle applies to food in a lot of ways. “All things are lawful, but not everything is expedient.” It’s not that a particular food in and of itself is ‘bad’, but it’s the big picture, and how we practice moderation and balance.

    You aren’t suddenly eating unhealthy if you eat a fat-laden brownie or a serving of potato chips. It’s not the particular food that makes your diet suddenly unhealthy, but the balance of those foods with each other.

    Judging a person’s ‘healthy eating’ based on a single meal is not logical. It’s like taking one sentence out of an entire book and making an assessment of the morality and quality of the entire book. Not only is it not possible, but it’s completely unfair to the book. :)
    .-= Joy @ Five J’s´s last blog ..Free Geography Curriculum from National Council for Geographic Education =-.

  12. I so agree! So many things can factor in too- for example, in Northern California (where I grew up) it is possible to eat all your meals out and support sustainable agriculture, small businesses, and eat very healthily. Here in Montana notsomuch.

    I find people get offended not as much with what we eat, as they do that I don’t allow leeway for my kids (I don’t allow them to have food dye, corn syrup) because honestly at this point I think they’d get sick if they had regular candy/pop. So they attack something else (usually how much fat we eat) to make themselves feel better about allowing their kids junk.
    .-= Cara @ Health Home and Happiness´s last blog ..Strawberry Almond Bars =-.

  13. Lynn,

    Thank you for your blog and this post. I just found your blog recently and LOVE it! When I was younger, I was raised eating only whole foods. At the time, I regretted it b/c my friends would be eating snack cakes for their lunch dessert, and I was eating a small handful of carob chips. After moving to a new state (with a higher cost of living), my parents weren’t able to afford all the whole foods; but they always did their best.

    Now that I am a mom with two young boys, I see and understand why they worked so hard to feed us whole foods. I am now on my journey to integrate more whole foods. I actually started with my youngest… making all our baby food from scratch (for health and cost reasons). Now that he’s almost 3, he is now a HUGE veggie eater.

    Normally, I’m the person to jump 100% into something, so I really appreciate your blog and tips. Interestingly, my husband is LOVING the new way of cooking and eating. I think it is because it is more fresh and flavorful. It is a huge blessing that he is supporting me in this. Plus, I am really enjoying my time in the kitchen. It gives me more opportunities to involve my boys.

    I think I’m done with my HUGE comment. Thanks again for all your recipes, research, and advice!

  14. I love your blog and all the hard work you put into it. I think it is great that you share all the different recipes you make for your family. I hope other people’s comments don’t discourage you because you are one of my favorite blogs to visit every day.

    • @Colleen, Thank you for your nice comment. I am not discouraged at all. I have just had the whole subject on my mind and thought it was a good time to share what I had been thinking. I plan to keep blogging just like I always have. My site, is exactly who I am and what my family eats. I plan to keep it that way. Thanks again!

  15. Thank you for such a thoughtful and completely non-defensive post. I am always amazed that some folks are so ready and willing to criticize others about the choices they are making. I often think of the Aesop’s Fable about the donkey, the father, and the son on the way to sell the donkey. Everybody they pass has an opinion about who should or should not be riding on the donkey. Finally, in an attempt to please everybody, they drop the donkey in a river by accident. You can’t please everyone so you might as well make the choice that you think are best for you family.

    Your blog is one of my favorites and there is a wonderful mix of recipes. Thank you for taking the time to share them with us!


  16. This is a really great post. I love your blog!
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Chicken Marsala =-.

  17. You are right Lynn. “Healthy” eating means different things to different people. There are a lot of people who think ‘healthy’ means as little fat as possible with a Diet Coke and baked goods made with Splenda. Then there are folks who believe fat is very good as long as it is unprocessed, natural, organic (like coconut oil, avocado, quality butter etc.) as well as natural sweetners like honey and nutrient rich high cal foods like granolas.

    I think I used to be like the first type and now I am like the second type. I think wholesome, real, God created foods are healthy.
    .-= Catherine R.´s last blog ..DVD suggestions? =-.

  18. What I love about your site is the variety, things here are just as they should be and we can glean from your journey as we each travel our own journey. Traveling on…..
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Short =-.

  19. Great post!! I totally agree! We have been taking baby steps to eating healthier, but we still have a long way to go. So one day you might find me using coconut oil and whole wheat flour in baking and the next day I might be fixing a box of Kraft mac & cheese (I know it’s bad – we don’t have it often!) with organic milk – LOL!
    .-= Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates´s last blog ..Would You Like Chocolate With That? ~ Chocolate Wisdom =-.

  20. Well said! I also feel that I am on a journey to healthier eating for myself and my family. For example, I would love to bake homemade bread, but in this stage of life, I settle for store-bought whole wheat bread with no HFCS or preservatives. Each time I meal plan and shop, I try to make at least one “healthier” choice than I did last time. Even these small changes make me feel better about the food we are putting into our bodies.
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Book Review: The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan =-.

  21. Lynne I totally agree with you. Our journey of healthy eating is a progressive one too, and I feel we are at a good balance for our family. I don’t have a desire to be 100% vegetarian or Vegan, though I will cook those meals at least a few times a month. We have cut out pops, and we do occasionally have 100% fruit juice. I try to avoid HFCS as much as possible. I cannot afford to buy all my produce and meat organic. I do what I can, when I can.

    I too feel like the way I cook now is different than several years ago. I look for ways to make recipes healthier. I’m sure someone who considers themselves 100% healthy living wouldn’t think my contents in my fridge or cupboards are healthy. They’ll find sour cream, cheese, sugar, and other things they probably NEVER eat. THey’d probably fall over dead if I fed them my clam chowder!!

    I do try to avoid pre-packaged meals whenever possible, but we treat ourselves sometimes. Sweets are once in awhile treats. When we go out to eat we split meals. I feel that by making my meals from scratch and with as little processed things as possible, I’m helping my family eat better.

    I LOVE your site and the variety of recipes. on my blog you will find vegan crepes and clam chowder…veggie chili and 4 cheese fettucini…brownies made with sweet potatoes, and peanut butter pound cake. ALL IN MODERATION is my Motto…LOL

    So like you, I think it’s an individual taste.

  22. This is such a great post, Lynn! I haven’t gotten such comments yet, but I know people wonder about my recipes running the gamut. In my case, I share such a variety for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I am a long way from eating 100% healthy myself, even with being gluten free. Secondly, as a support group leader, I really feel for people who have other intolerances and/or other eating plans so I try to make a variety of recipes that appeal to all those needs. These are often recipes I actually shared with my support group to help meet their needs. In doing so, I learn in the process and find some great recipes that my family enjoys as well. Even if I go completely healthy, I’ll probably still share such recipes because I know my readers are at different stages and you can’t go from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds so to speak. As everyone has shared, it’s a process.

    I’m a huge fan of Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food that was already mentioned. It was such an eye opener to me. It convinced me to eat soy very, very rarely; avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible; and really much more. It’s so compelling I think I’m going to read it again. His new Food Rules I believe just excerpts all the rules from In Defense of Food … still great info. And, BTW, he even says you can eat all the junk food you want if you make it. I love to bake so that’s probably not a good rule to follow in my case, with cooking and baking from scratch you know exactly what you are getting. Being gluten free and eating on the go makes that a little bit harder … in those cases I let the rules on what I will eat slide a little bit just to make sure I can eat in some cases.

    You did a beautiful job on addressing this topic, Lynn.

    .-= gfe–gluten free easily´s last blog ..Surprise! Vinegar Pie … Oh, My! =-.

  23. Well said!!! I tend to fed my family a “whole food”/ “real food” diet,
    but you will still find some processed things like cereal and crackers and a few boxed mixes for quick and easy time. Baby steps and flexibility are the key!

  24. I really appreciate this! I get a lot of comments in real life about my diet. That it’s too extreme, it’s unhealthy, it’s impossible, etc. What people don’t realize is that it has been a long, slow process. I’ve been changing my diet bit by bit over the course of many years. And I don’t expect anyone else to follow it. It’s what is healthy for ME as a diabetic, and it is in line with my personal values. I share what I eat, because I love it. But I don’t preach it. No matter where on the specturm of ‘healthy’ you are, there are always critics. People take food so personally, as if just by doing something different, you are somehow judging them at the same time. And that’s just not true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  25. Eloquent and to the point. I think what each family chooses to eat is just that–their CHOICE. Your blog is delightful and full of good recipes and I don’t understand why folks would sent you rude emails.

    You are absolutely all correct in saying that eating and how we eat is a journey. I know it’s a journey in our house. We do what’s right for us, which may not be right for others.

    Keep up the good work!


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