I decided to make 2008 a year to really change our diet and try eating more foods the way God intended us to. I still have a lot to learn, but here are some things I am hoping to experiment with. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way! My husband is still holding his breath, hoping this is all a phase and will soon pass. *grins* I personally hope it's a lifestyle.
1. Sprouts. I have been reading all kinds of crazy stuff, books, blogs and other websites and brochures from various places. Apparently sprouting seeds, nuts, beans and grains makes them healthier and easier to digest. I've heard that if you grind grain and use it within 3 days, people who are allergic to wheat (not celiac disease-where the allergy is to gluten) can eat it no problem. Today's flours have all kinds of things done to them to give them a stable shelf life, even whole wheat! I found a recipe for sprouted multi-grain granola. I hope to get the grains tomorrow and try it. I'm really curious to see what it will taste/look like!
2. Kefir. I've been making my own yogurt with a yogurt maker for awhile now. But Kefir apparently has quite a few more strains of probiotics and they are stronger. And a little bit goes a long way. So I am hoping to find a culture to start and add it to our green smoothies every day.
3. Eating less processed foods. We've slowly been heading in that direction, and I hope to continue. I have found I can't change it all at once, I have to ease us into it. At some point last year I realized that rather then trying to stop eating junk, I should concentrate on eating healthier foods. And so far it's worked! No weight lost yet, but I hope that will come over time. :) I've tried to replace foods we eat often with healthier versions. As well as introduce foods that we should be eating and trying to make them regular parts of our diet.
4. Monthly Menu Plan (and actually sticking to it!). Our family eating habits are atrocious! I decided to start changing them finally and I had to start by being prepared and having real 'food' presented at every meal and snack. It's a lot of work, esp as I head towards less processed foods. But I'm really having fun with it, and I know it's the right thing, so all that helps immensely! Now I just have to put up with the intense battles at every meal over foods that my daughter was never forced to eat before! They say it gets easier over time...
5. Veggies, veggies, veggies. If there is one thing our diet is sadly lacking (true of most Americans I know), it's vegetables! We don't hate them, I just have no idea how to prepare them, so I never have! I knew I was not being fair to my kids with the amount of vegetables they were eating daily, but I was able to mostly ignore it until one day last year when I realized I was really proud of myself because my children had eaten veggies 2 days in a row! Wow! One day it was broccoli for supper and one day it was canned corn and green beans. I was pretty disgusted with myself after that and vowed to do better. We have an amazing produce store just 2 blocks away and that has been my lifeline. Their selection and prices are unbeatable and I can buy as little or as much of anything as I want! More then once I messed up a veggie, but was able to run to the store and buy more and still have it ready for lunch!
6. Raw Milk. None of us care for milk all that much, and I've always been secretly glad of that. Even when the kids were babies and refused to drink milk, part of me was relieved. I've heard a lot of bad stuff about milk, the way it's been processed through pasteurization, etc. And I've always believed it to be true. The Bible is the final authority for everything in my life (I don't study it nearly enough these days!), and I believe it has the answers for food as well. People drank milk in the Bible! So I believed that milk was for human consumption (not just breast milk), but I also believed all the horrible things I'd heard about it. I decided I wanted to get my own goat. Unfortunately, living the suburbs, that is just not an option. But, I did find out that certain states now certify dairy farmers who follow strict rules, to sell raw milk. You show up at milking time, pay them $4-$5 and they put it in your sterilized gallon jar. How cool is that!! Unfortunately, NJ does not allow the sale of raw liquid milk at all. They do allow for raw products, just not the milk itself. New York does allow it, and I'm trying to find the closest facility that offers it, or even if they have Farmer's Markets in the area where they sell it. The closest I've found is 2 hours away, and that is just too far to go once a week. I can make my own yogurt, cream cheese and goat cheese out of it even! And they say Kefir is best in raw milk. Someday...
7. Organic(and preferably sustainably grown as well). The more I read and see, the more I believe all the pesticides and chemicals are ruining our health. My husband found a book at the library and brought it home for me to read, it's called 'The Omnivore's Dilema' by Michael Pollan. He is a very strong evolutionist, but once I got past that, it was a really amazing, disturbing book. He followed 3 meals to their origin, McDonald's, food from a sustainable, organic farm in Virginia, and one he foraged himself in California. Besides dissecting the chemicals and synthetic foods we eat, he also talked about the horrible conditions that cows, pigs and chickens live in, in the large-scale confinement operations that are dotted across the Midwest. Now, I'm not willing to pay more for my food because an animal is treated poorly, but when I realized the adverse affect it has on mine and my family's bodies, then I decided I was willing to pay more for my meats and dairy. He also talked about the ramifications of buying local as opposed to something that was shipped from miles away (lack of nutrients, pollution, fossil fuels, etc.). I hope to find Farmer's Markets in the area of people who grow sustainably and local. I know there are a number in the area. I'm even willing to drive an hour to get fresh chicken and eggs and produce if necessary. We'll see...
That is what I'm working on now. It's really a journey and I have found no 'fast change' ever sticks. As I research and decide for myself what seems best, I find God opens the right doors for me to go through. It's really very exciting and I look forward to more ideas and changes in the future.
Friday, February 22, 2008
My New (Expensive) Kitchen Toy
I'm very excited! I got a Vita-Mix last week. I've been wanting it for a while. I've been buying frozen mixed berries and making slushies and ice cream. I can hide all sorts of stuff in them! But my blender did a lousy job of mixing it up and there were always the seeds to chew on and chunks of berries and ice. I read a number of blogs and other sites that talked about the Vita-Mix Blender so I checked it out. Every time I made something that I would have made in the Vita-Mix I told my husband how much easier and tastier it would be in the Vita-Mix. Nothing like a nag, right?
We were going to go to a Home Show not far from here, where they were demoing and selling it. But I found out they were selling them at a local Cosco even cheaper, so I got mine there instead.
It's really loud, but really fun! :) I've made soup, ice creams, slushies, smoothies, bread, salad dressing and pesto. I bought the dry container and I've started grinding my own grain for my breads (I still use half white/half wheat, I just grind my own wheat and add some vital wheat gluten).
I hope to buy some raw peanuts tomorrow, roast them and grind them into my own peanut butter.
I hope it will make it easier for me to make fresh, chemical-free food for the family. So far so good!