Can You Say, “NO?”

Can You Say, “NO?”

Do You Know How to Say, “NO?”

I have been eating only foods from my own hands for the past 64 days.  I still have 37 days to go – that should be a total of 101 days.  I did not pick the time frame and am hating my oldest daughter about right now for making this thing so blasted long.

50 days would have been enough of a challenge, achievement and life altering experience…. BUT leave it to us to go for 101 miserable days.

Yes.  I have been eating only what I’m raising, picking, harvesting, killing, or otherwise obtaining with my own hands.  It’s been quite an experience and I’m so glad to be having it.


  • I’ve lost weight & feel great
  • I’ve eaten more veggies in the past 63 days than in the last 3 years
  • I’ve made/invented/inhaled all sorts of new recipes & foods
  • I’ve learned some new culinary skills
  • I’ve refound my love of my kitchen and all things baked
  • I’ve met new people and new friends at all the local “U Pick” farms
  • I’ve more than doubled the size of my garden & am growing more food than ever before

Our family of 6 is “roughly” eating foods from our hands – they eat what I cook and are going new places and having new foodie adventures.  However, my oldest daughter (14 years old) is the only one who has gone hard-core with me on this thing.  She has been a trooper, my partner and my biggest cheerleader when the going gets tough.  When we think we won’t make it – we hold hands and go bake something we can eat.

peaches n cream

Peaches & Fresh Jersey cream

If I’ve learned nothing else during this self induced food fast it’s the importance of self denial.

Well, not that we always HAVE to deny ourselves…. but we need to have the ABILITY to deny ourselves…

The kicker that really brought this on the radar is my wimp of a 16 year old.  He’s a super kid and if you met him you’d want to take him home with you and keep him forever.  He’s a worker.  He’s funny. He loves chickens.  He likes his food.

He decided he wanted to try this “Homesteaders Food Challenge” with me the day we started.  He lasted exactly 4 hours.  Then I called him a weenie and told him to enjoy his preservatives.

Four weeks later, he told me in confidence he really wanted to do the challenge for a time.  He was considering 2-4 weeks.  A long enough time to detox a bit and (hopefully) reset his sugar cravings.  As any mom would, I welcomed him and told him I’d cook him wonderful foods.  I’d make sure he didn’t starve.  I’d encourage him, support him and slap his hand if he reached for any contraband.

He started on a Wednesday morning.

On Thursday night (the next day) he tried to bail.

He and his sister (my 2 oldest kids) had band practice at their friend’s house.  When we arrived, the mom was pulling fresh baked cookies out of the oven and there was a cream cake on the counter.

My son looked at the spread, then back at me and said, “Diets over – I’m not doing it.”


It’s been 24 hours?

You haven’t even started with the sugar withdrawals yet?

You’re caving over some cookies & cake?

You haven’t even given it a chance.

I haven’t had sugar in over 60 days and you can’t go 1 day?

YOUR SISTER HASN’T HAD SUGAR IN over 60 DAYS and she’s younger than you.

Are you kidding me?

I tried to be encouraging, but not controlling.  I tried to lead him to the light.  To show him the glory of self control.  I tried to tell him it’s just a cookie – it’s not that great – it’s not worth giving up.

Well, he decided not to eat the cookie or the cake – but he pouted and was mad at me the rest of the night.

food challenge veggie

A Harvest from the Garden & Peach Grove

That’s when it hit me.

Our children need to have the skill, the ability, the self control, the willpower, the character to say, “No.”

Not kidding.

Just think of all the things this life is going to throw at our children.  The temptations.  The desires.  The cravings.  The sin.

Saying “No” is not just a good quality to have.

It is something they NEED to be able to do.

It is something we all need to be able to do.

If my 16 year old son can’t say, “No” to a cookie – what’s going to happen when he’s faced with porn.  Or drugs.  Or whatever.

Being able to deny ourselves things that we want is important.  There are going to be things in life we will want that we know we should not indulge in.

There are plenty of people who are far into debt because they couldn’t say, “no” to shopping, a dress, a pair of shoes, etc.  So they got the credit card and went into debt.  Maybe it’s a cow.  Maybe it’s more land.  Maybe it’s a boat or a car.  Maybe it’s social media.  Maybe, perhaps, we need to exercise our ability to say, “no.”

I believe we need to have the character, the strength, and the willpower to say “no.”

We need to have the ability to deny ourselves, be strong, say “no” and not fall into temptation.


Another important lesson I feel our children need to have is the pleasure of saying, “no.”  I am here to tell you guys how GREAT it feels to say, “no.”

When I don’t eat the cake, cookie, burrito, processed food, packaged food, fast food, and all the other tempting, chemical-laden, nutrient-deficient, food-like substances- I am Iron Man.  I can do anything.  Not really, but I feel like I can.

I am stronger than that stupid cake.  Pass me a peach.

We are so busy feeding our flesh everything it wants, whenever it wants it, we can sometimes miss the joy.  To stand your ground.  To stick to our guns.  To do what’s right.  To meet the challenge.

It is very fulfilling to say, “no.”  There is satisfaction in being strong enough to deny my “flesh.”

There is a verse in the Bible that talks about this (if you are a believer you probably already know it and were wondering if I was going to bring it up).

It comes from Matthew 26: 41

“…The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

other translations say, “…the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Doesn’t that just say it all?  We want to do good.  We want to do right.  Our spirit is willing & wants to succeed…. But that dang flesh is sooooooo weak.  It wants the cookie, the restaurant food, the new shoes, the [whatever].

Stinkin’ flesh.

berries n cream

Blackberries & Fresh Jersey cream

In addition to getting the enormous realization that my 16 year old son needs to exercise these muscles and flex them and turn them into giant self-denying guns….. I am astounded at the amount of self-control and strength my 14 year old daughter has.

Most adults could not do what she has done.  She has not eaten any food we have not produced ourselves.  She has passed up countless opportunities to eat anything.  She hasn’t complained.  She hasn’t been weak.  She is a brick house.

It makes me smile and feel confident that when she is faced with temptations as she grows up that she will be able to be strong and make good choices.

Something else that’s come to me this week is that I can live in, around, and with other people doing things I’m not doing & it’s OK.

I’ve learned that I can be “In but not of.”  That’s another Bible-y verse.

I’ve learned I can go to the party but not drink the beer.

I’ve learned I can eat at a restaurant, but not eat at a restaurant.

I’ve learned that the world does not stop just because you aren’t eating/drinking/doing [what everyone else is doing].

I’ll be honest…  I miss eating at restaurants.  Well…. not really eating at restaurants.  I miss not cooking.  I would love a day off.  I also miss chocolate very, very much.  I’m not craving it or dying to have it.  I just miss it.  Like I miss my Aunt who lives in Cape Coral, Florida.  I am looking forward to the day when I will embrace my long-lost chocolate again.

5 weeks to go!  Whew!  I think I’ll make it.

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