Monday, September 28, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Alas,  we had plans to visit my sister and her family in Maryland, but my car is not working well enough to make the trip. Originally I had posted 'away' on Thursday and Friday.  I was going to be fed by a wonderful Italian grandmother who knows how to feed a family, and somehow you even taste the love!  But, that is not to be, so i posted some meals for us to eat at home instead. I decided to try one Italian recipe at least. :) 

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Monday:  Fish Cakes
Wednesday: Sloppy Joes
Thursday:  Spaghetti and Meatballs

Friday: Fish Tacos and onion salsa
Saturday: Albondigas Soup
Sunday: Roast and Veggies in Crock Pot

Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite Links Friday

1.  This is a great snippet from a book called 'Enzyme Nutrition'.  It definitely makes me want to go out and find the book.  I think I'll check the library for it.  The more I can understand the role of enzymes in our bodies, the better I can help lead my family to long-term health.  It's pretty exciting! :) 

2. Here is a great interview with Dave Wetzel from Green Pastures. He talks about the different types of cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oils he manufactures and sells. I'm reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and greatly desiring to feed us the teaspoon a day of cod liver oil/high vitamin butter.  The clinical studies he did with the combination were amazing!  One-half of a teaspoon of each-hardly enough to make it down the throat it seems.  And yet it was almost miraculous. Of course, quality is important and impossible to gauge.  So it's nice having groups like the Weston A Price Foundation, who does a lot of the research.  You just have to basically trust them I guess, to find the best.  I really want to  try this from Green Pastures.  He said adults prefer the cinnamon and kids preferred the fruit, which is sweetened with stevia.  Although the fruit flavor is only with the CLO, not the butter.  It would be about $100 to buy a month's supply for the 4 of us. Ouch!  Although I do believe it's worth every penny if it can be managed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

I put my breakfast and supper options in a seperate post and will link back to it every Monday, rather posting the same things every week.  I will also add to it as I find easy, nourishing meals whose ingredients I generally keep on hand. 

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Monday: Pepperoni Pizza
Tuesday: Fish Cakes
Wednesday: Pasta and Bolognese Sauce (I'm going to try to hide some buffalo liver in there also)
Thursday:  Roast Chicken and Veggies

Friday, September 18, 2009

Favorite Links Friday

I forgot to do links last Friday.  I was a bit busy getting ready for my new Sunday School class and our first week of homeschooling.  The Sunday School moving-up was awesome. Although it's always so sad to see the old class leave. But the new ones coming in are so precious, you quickly forget how sad you were!  :)  God is good.

1. I can not believe what the government and big business has the nerve to call 'healthy'. It's absurd!  Jenny at 'The Nourished Kitchen' posted this about the 'Smart Choices Program'.  Do you know they have the 'smart choices' sticker on Fruit Loops! Now we know even Kellogg's corn flakes are lethal (scroll down a bit to 'Rat Experiment if you don't know this already), but no one thinks Fruit Loops are healthy.  That's beyond absurd.  Apparently the FDA is doing some research on public opinion to the Smart Choices Program, so she encourages you to share your opinion on the subject.

2.  I very much desire to get more seafood into our diet.  I am reading Weston Price's Book 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration' and I'm surprised at what lengths natives who lived in-land went, to get seafood/fish. But, between the mercury, sustainability, farming issues, price and taste, I've not been very successful.  Other then fish cakes, we don't care for any food that comes from the sea unfortunately.  I'm convinced it's an acquired taste, and so am working hard at helping us 'acquire' it.  But my cooking is not the greatest, and does not naturally lend itself to fish.  I can do fresh fish ok, but the canned stuff, which tends to be the cheapest and healthiest, is just too fishy for us.  I really, really want us to eat more canned Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies.  But, we can't stand any of them, unless highly masked and hardly tasted.  Kristen at Food Renegade wrote a fabulous piece on that very subject.  And it had a link to an on-line guide from Monterey Bay Aquarium about which fish/seafoods are safest to consume. You click on your state for the guide to your area. It's pretty nifty.  And I am encouraged yet again, to try eating more seafood.  Maybe I'll try it on my cousins' shrimp scampi recipe

3.  This was a very encouraging post on how a family overcame some of their allergies through an NT diet.  It's interesting esp, because she said they ate mostly 'real food' before, but it wasn't until it was traditionally prepared that the changes in health really came about.  

4.   Here is a chocolate chip recipe I MUST try next week. We like chocolate chips too much, so I want to find a healthier option.  The ones in NT melt, but she said these don't, so I have to try them!

5.  I know I've mentioned it before, but it's always worth mentioning again when someone else says it so much better then I can.  Every Kitchen Table blog posted this interesting piece about that what a mess the American food system really is.  She posted a link to a great article on I may have linked to the article before, I know I have read it.  But it's worth re-reading, in my personal opinion. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Body Ecology Book by Donna Gates

**Please make sure and read the comments following this post-there are some great ones!**

I just finished reading 'The Body Ecology Book' by Donna Gates (here is her website).

I was under the impression it was similar to the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.  And in some ways, they are similar, but I was surprised at the differences as well.

I had seen the video series here with both authors talking about the affect of their diets on autism and other auto-immune diseases. And they really didn't appear to disagree on much. 

I am still waiting for the GAPS book from my library, but  from what I have read from their website, it's definitely different. And I think I agree with GAPS more then with BED.

But, I did learn some from it and it was an interesting, and quick read.

Gates had some major health problems growing up and studied a lot of the diets out there, trying to get well.  She paid special attention to the eastern religions and their forms of holistic healing. It was kind of funny how much I was reminded of 'Sugar Blues' by William Dufty.

She based the BED diet on a combination of principles that she had studied.  Mostly they had to do with balance in what and how we eat.  Her principles were:
1.  The Principle of Expansion and Contraction (yin/yang)
2.  The Principle of Acid and Alkaline
3.  The Principle of Uniqueness (eating for blood type)
4.  The Principle of Cleansing
5.  The Principle of Food Combining
6.  The Principles of 80/20
7.  The Principles of Step by Step 

She had a short and helpful comparison of the following diets:
Raw foods Diet, the Macrobiotic Diet and the Vegetarian Diet.  And she incorporated elements of all of them into her diet.  

The main principle of the book is that our guts are messed up (she calls them our body ecology, as they are basically an ecosystem in themselves) and need help. The vast majority of Americans show signs of Candida overgrowth, to the point that they are often systemic and affect the whole body, including our organs.  This comes about from improper food from the womb and into adulthood.  Our guts are full of life, good or bad.  We need it for proper digestion and assimiliation of nutrients into our bodies.  We are all born with candida yeast in our bodies, but as long as our diets are nourishing, they do not flourish.  The good bacteria is able to keep them under control.

Unfortunately, our diets today contain food that do not feed the good bacteria, but rather the bad.  So not only is our good bacteria no longer as useful as necessary, but the bad bacteria (Candida) is growing stronger and spreading through the blood and organs to cause many of the diseases that are fast becoming epidemics in America today.

Foods like denatured flour, sugars, anything processed, chemicals in and on our foods, rancid oils, drugs, alcohol and other non-food substances that we now consume regularly, feed the Candida, making it stronger, while also blocking your body from assimilating what few nutrients are in them.

She says the time it takes for a body's ecology to right itself is anywhere from 3 months to 3 years.  And she has you eating a diet of some meats, poultry, fish, eggs, lots of cultured and raw veggies, soaked and sprouted almonds, certain oils and fats, kefir, some veggie juices and sea salt, ocean veggies (seaweed), squash, young coconut kefir and a few grains (quinoa, buckwheat, millet and amaranth-and only if they are soaked and/or sprouted).
After your gut is back in order, then she tells you to slowly add in healthy foods to see how your body reacts.  At the end she has some recipes that you can eat on the diet.

Some of the things I disagreed with:

1.  She had a definite grudge against meat and dairy.  She believes it is hard on the environment and more expensive to feed people with those products then it is to feed them grains and veggies.  I disagree with that on many levels.

2.  She fermented her veggies with either nothing or a special BED culture you could buy.  Whereas GAPS and NT (and many others) use whey and sometimes just sea salt, as well as vinegar or lemon juice. Therefore, I do not think the veggies were lacto-fermented (**see comment below**), and even she mentioned that the lack of an acid medium at the beginning made it more likely to get some bad bacteria in there and spoil the batch.

3.  She was really big into the spiritual/new age part of the diet. I do agree that our bodies are connected, and internal stress will show itself externally.  But I also believe that there is a Creator God who is in charge and the only way to find true peace is through Him. That said, I also believe that Christians would do well with more inward meditation.  And I'm even all for yoga. I keep meaning to get a book and find some 'poses' that I could do to strength my upper body and core muscles. But, they do not bring me any closer to heaven literally, just closer to a comfortable life here on earth.  :)

4.  She greatly reduces the use of good quality sea salt, which I think is of utmost importance in a diet.

5. I did not think she put enough emphasis on quality.  She mentioned organic, but didn't make a big issue of it.  And the same with grass-fed animal products.  I think 'grass-fed' was in there once. But then since she looked down on animal foods in general, why make a big deal of it?  I've come to think of quality as extremely important and sadly lacking in most foods today, so I expect others to point that out in diet books I guess. :)

6.  There were a lot of their products advertised throughout the book.  Which they are allowed to do of course, and which is actually  nice if you are going to go on their diet.  But I just found it kind of annoying.

7.  One could not live sustainably or locally on her diet at all. And for short term healing, that is fine.  But I believe one must adjust one's over-all diet to their current local food production for long-term health and economy's sake.  And she did not take that into consideration at all.

8.  She discouraged fats in general, which I have come to believe are highly beneficial and necessary to a human body.  She esp discouraged animal meats and fat to be eaten together. But God obviously designed them to be eaten together, since that is how he gave them to us!

9. She thinks that a colon cleanse is necessary, and even a liver cleanse on occasion. Although I'm not positive about this, I do think God probably designed our bodies to release the toxins on it's own.  Of course, only if you are eating properly.  I'm not opposed to a fast of some sort.  Maybe broth, or juiced veggies/fruit, or even just water for a few days.  But having an enema seems really unnatural (and incredibly uncomfortable) to me. 

10.  She encourages vegetarianism.  Although she does advise against strict veganism.

11.  It was rather complicated, with her combining and balancing.  And it didn't seem to be based on any traditional people groups or historical evidence.   I prefer simple, logical diets based on history. 

The two things that it really encouraged me to do were:
1.  Drink more kefir   
2.  Consume more fermented vegetables every day

So, that was what I learned from reading the Body Ecology Diet.

Now back to Weston Price's book, that one takes a bit longer to read and digest!  :)

I posted this on 'Fight Back Friday'.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

James 4:17

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to
do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
 James 4:17

It seems the more I search for truth, the further from the 'norm' I deviate.  And frankly, it's a bit depressing.  I was out walking this morning and begging God to encourage me and guide me and show me truth.  
I came home and read James.  And the above verse stood out.  
I, and only I, am responsible for what truths the Holy Spirit has shown me.  And, on the flip side, I am ONLY responsible for what He has shown me, and not what He has shown others (or, for what He has yet to show me).  
I will continue to study the Word, pray and beg for the Holy Spirit to direct and guide me to glorify Him in whatever ways He sees fit. Even if it makes me stand out like a blue carnation in the midst of a daisy field. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

I am going to try making some sprouted flour this week, and if I get to it, I'm going to have to try this recipe for snickerdoodles.  

We start school today. I'm very excited, and a bit nervous, to see how it all goes. I'm confident we will fall into a pattern that works for us, I just know it will take some time and creativity.  Myia is excited as well.  So I tried to keep it so there was not a lot of complicated, time consuming recipes this week. 

Breakfast: I have all the ingredients on hand, and so can choose when we wake up, depending on our schedule and desire.
Fried/scrambled eggs with bacon and yogurt
Egg sandwiches (toasted sourdough bread, mayo, eggs, sliced pickles, fried onions, cheese)
Eggs and hash browns,
Sourdough pancakes ,
french toast casserole,
sourdough waffles (2nd waffle recipe is my favorite),
breakfast cookies with raw egg yolk smoothies or kefir vanilla milkshake,
Granola .

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Tuesday: Hot Dogs and Sourdough buns
Thursday:  Buffalo Liver
Saturday: Huevos Rancheros
Sunday: Roasted Beef and Hoe Cakes

Supper: Generally leftovers, popcorn and smoothie, PB& honey sandwiches or veggies and PB, or any of the breakfast options.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Twister in My Kitchen has a Tuesday Twister Carnival, where people post pictures and descriptions of what is 'twisting' in their kitchen.  It's really fun to get a 'glimpse' into other 'real food kitchens'.

I had a busy weekend, so I thought it would be fun to get pictures of all the fun projects I started and post them, and link back to the carnival.

My dehydrator has been in constant use for about a week now.  Someday I'll get the metal 9 tray Excalibur, or something similar.  But for now, I'm grateful for my $60 Nesco one.

I bought some spinach and kale from the Farmer's Market on Saturday.  As per Mary Bell's instructions, I steamed them for 2 minutes and then dehydrated them.  I blended up half of them with a little water to make a 'leather' and the others I just put on the tray whole (the leathers dried faster).  After they were all dry, I put them in my processor and turned them into powder.  I hope to add them to our smoothies a couple of times a week to get our 'greens' in.  It's kind of like a homemade green powder, only it's just spinach and kale.  :)  It's a start anyway.  I have yet to actually put it in a smoothie.  That, of course, will be the ultimate test.  We used to drink them often, until I found out that spinach should be steamed before eating.  That confused and discouraged me, so I mostly gave up on it until recently.  Now I'm ready to try again!

This is some wintergreen, oregano and lemon basil that I harvested from our Square Foot Garden.  I dehydrated them and also ground them up for future use.  I am hoping to turn the wintergreen into toothpaste.  It grew like a weed and it has amazing medicinal uses.  And it smells heavenly!

This, I am most proud of, I must say.  Last year around this time, I tried making sauerkraut.  I had read how amazing it is in Nourishing Traditions and Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation.  It sounded easy, so I finally got up the pluck to do it.  Unfortunately, we hated the stuff. Who knows how much of it was taste preference and how much was my lousy cooking skills.  Either way, I got discouraged and didn't bother trying again until this weekend.  I bought some beets, carrots and cabbage at the Farmer's Market and decided to give it a try again.  It was a lot of fun to make.  I used the recipes from Nourishing Traditions for Pickled Beets, Ginger carrots and something similar to Cortido.  They will be ready to refrigerate in a few days, and I'll wait at least a week after that before trying them.  Everything I've read says it takes at least that much time to let the flavors meld together and mellow a bit.  It is my goal to ultimately serve a fermented drink and veggie with every meal.  One step closer...

This is my half gallon of buttermilk and one cup of kefir culturing.  I go through about a gallon of buttermilk a month.  It's all I use for baking and I use it for soaking and tenderizing meats also.  I used the tutorial from foodrenegade and it turned out beautifully!  I've had it going for about 6 months now and love it

This is my sourdough starter.  I used it for pancakes this morning and I'm going to make pizza dough and bread with it tomorrow.

This is a bunch of nuts that I am crisping to make granola.  Here they are soaking, and then I'll dehydrate them.  Yum!!  
I didn't get any pictures, but I also have my usual 2 gallons of kombucha brewing.  
I think that's all that is 'twisting' in my kitchen.  This was a lot of fun! :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Happy Labor Day!!

I'm excited to try my hand at fermenting veggies again.  I bought some carrots, cabbage and beets at the local Farmer's Market and I'm going to try 3 recipes from Nourishing Traditions.

Also, I bought some buffalo meat, liver and ground meat, at the Farmer's Market.  I'm excited to try that.  I usually buy buffalo ground meat at WFM. But I excited to try the local stuff. 

Drew and I went to the Union Square Farmer's Market on Wednesday and we stopped at the Hawthorne Valley Farms booth.  They had kim chi and beet kvass for taste testing.  Drew tried them and liked both, so we picked up one of each.  Hence the encouragement to try my hand at the fermenting thing again.  I was just reading some of the side notes in Nourishing Traditions about how incredibly good fermented foods are for the body.  So, yet, another enticement for trying.  Maybe it's all a good-luck charm and they'll turn out good this time.   

Breakfast: I have all the ingredients on hand, and so can choose when we wake up, depending on our schedule and desire.
Fried/scrambled eggs with bacon and yogurt
Egg sandwiches (toasted sourdough bread, mayo, eggs, sliced pickles, fried onions, cheese)
Eggs and hash browns,
Sourdough pancakes ,
french toast casserole,
sourdough waffles (2nd waffle recipe is my favorite),
breakfast cookies with raw egg yolk smoothies or kefir vanilla milkshake,
Granola .

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Monday: Fried Rice and Sausage
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken and veggie
Wednesday: Fish Tacos with mango salsa
Thursday:  Buffalo Liver with fried onions, mushrooms and and garlic
Friday: Pepperoni Pizza
Saturday: Nacho Spuds
Sunday: Buffalo Sloppy Joes with sourdough buns

Supper: Generally leftovers, popcorn and smoothie, PB& honey sandwiches or veggies and PB, or any of the breakfast options.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sugar Blues by William Dufty

I just finished reading Sugar Blues by William Dufty.  It was written in 1975, but is so very relevant to today! 

Nourishing Traditions quoted it often, as have a number of other books I've read.  I like to go to the source when possible, so I decided it was time to read this book.  While I can't verify his historical facts, they make sense with what little knowledge I have of the past.  I look forward to validating (or not) a lot of these facts as the kids and I study history together.

He  starts with his own story of healing from 'unknown causes', by taking himself off of sugar and white flour, and essentially following an 'eastern' diet of whole grain rice, fermented foods, squash, seaweed, and lots of veggies.  After his own healing, he did a lot of research on sugar specifially, although processed foods in general also.  He had found conventional doctors to be useless in diagnosing and healing him, and he wanted to offer a book for others in similar situations.

He explains how sugar is absorbed into the body and how it affects all bodily processes, esp digestion, and how it is the cause of many of our degenerative diseases today. He follows the history of the sugar cane from the Caribbean islands to the rest of the world, and the detrimental effects it had wherever it was introduced.  Did I mention how incredibly fascinating the book was?

He followed the history of natural healers (and the evolving of today's 'medical community'), and how they learned all they knew from older generations.  But as people became more refined and the governments enlarged and needed more control (and money), those healers became known as 'witches' and were burned, along with their knowledge of natural aides that God gave us and were passed on down the generations.   A lot of people today are trying to get that information back, as they realize all these man-made 'miracle drugs' are only making us sicker.

He quoted Weston Price quite a bit.  He found his work to be ground-breaking, while incredibly 'obvious' in it's nature (Price was a dentist in the 1930s who was concerned about his patient's declining health and decided to study primitive 'savages' in their natural environment to see why they were so healthy).

He also talked a lot about chemicals, and the government's place in encouraging them into our food supply.  As well as the issues caused by the refining of rice and grains (flour). 

He related most of today's health issues to sugar, and the refinement of our food supply in general.  Which I tend to agree with.  Now if only I could 'never eat sugar again'.  Someday....

Some quotes I enjoyed:

"In the 1500's, precious little sugar was to be had unless you were invited to court and somebody gave you a pinch-like someone turning you onto cocaine today."

"In Britain in the 1300s, sugar was a courtly luxury in a price class with the most expensive drugs on today's market.  At $25 a pound, it was the equivalent of a year's salary for a working man."  

'The Greek had no word for it.  Alexander the Great described it as 'a kind of honey' 'Indian salt' 'honey without the bees' and it was  imported in small quantities at enormous cost.  It was used like honey, as a medicine."

"'since the cells of the brain are those that depend wholly upon the moment-to-moment blood sugar level for nourishment, they are perhaps, the most susceptible to damage.'"  (maybe this explains why people think that national health care is the answer to America's health crisis today-they're consuming too much sugar and can't think straight)
"Appeals for self-regulation to control sugar diseases are drowned out by the clamor for more millions of federal funds to find a potion, a pill, a shot, perhaps a magical Medicare atomic pancreas pacemaker-which can one day magically conquer disease.  We want to have our health and eat our sugarcake too." 

"During the building of the great wall of China, coolies were fed salted cabbage with their rice to keep them strong and healthy.  Salting preserved the cabbage in season and out, and it was the only vegetable they had to supplement their complete, unrefined rice."

"Indians ate the adrenal glands, stomach, internal organs of animals, but often threw out the muscle meat and filet mignon.  Modern civilized man, eating for pleasure and not for survival, does the reverse." 

"During the flowering of the industrial age in Europe and America, millers in every land competed with one another in perfecting more complicated devices for torturing wheat berries into fine white flour. As the refinement of sugar reached the ultimate state where it was bare of anything save calories, extensive court litigation ensured patented milling and refining devices."

"For years, the guerrilla bands of the Viet Minh and Viet Cong sustained themselves with a food supply system as simple and primitive as that of the Roman legions of Julius Caesar.  Each man carried a little sack of whole rice and some salt. They added manioc leaves, from the jungle, and fish when possible.  For years, they stymied the elaborately equipped and lavishly rationed armies of the West."

"Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as empty or naked calories.  In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leeches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demands its digestion, detoxification, and elimination make upon one's entire system.  Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance.  Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin.  Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body."  

"The more scientists disappointed them (in finding some positive qualities of sugar), the more the sugar pushers had to rely on the ad men.  "It is a rule of thumb, wrote Paul Hawken, "the more you see a product advertised, the more of a ripoff it is."

"When proteins are digested they are broken down into amino acids, which are usable substances-nutriments. When proteins are taken with sugar, they putrefy, they are broken down into a variety of ptomaines and leucomaines, which are nonusable substances-poisons.  Enzymic digestion of foods prepares them for us by our body.  Bacterial decomposition unfits them for use by our body.  The first process gives us nutriments, the second give us poisons."

He has some great stories of people 'stumbling upon' the fact that sugar is harmful to the health.  Too many and long to type up.  But definitely worth reading. 

Some of the health issues he associates with sugar consumption are: alcoholism, schizophrenia, allergies, diabetes, crohn's disease, bubonic plague, scurvy, tuberculosis, IBS, death by accidents (reflexes are slowed by sugar), cancer of all sorts, adrenal fatigue, hypertension, low/high blood sugar, beriberi, asthma, obesity, infertility, birth defects/miscarriages, malaria, ulcers, stomach pains, indigestion, lupus, sunburns. I know I missed a lot that he mentioned. These are just what I remember or noted.  It's pretty long though. And imagine the money saved if doctors had just said to their patients 'change your diet' instead of telling scientists to find 'cures' for all those diseases!

Of course, I don't believe that our food is the 'be all to end all'.  God is in control, and sin, unfortunately, reigns in this present world.  And it does so in many guises, including our food supply, affected by laziness, greed and ignorance.

I did not agree with everything he said, of course. :)  He bought into the 'low fat' way of eating, and thought dairy and meats were not nourishing.  And he was rather 'new agey' and into the Eastern philophies of religion as well.

But, all in all, I read and thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Now if I could only say 'I will never eat another bit of sugar as long as I live'.  Baby steps Sarah, baby steps... I'll get there.  At least for the present, I eat sugar with my eyes wide open, fully aware of the results.  And definitely in smaller quantities then a year ago.

That's my take on Sugar Blues.  In case anyone wonders. :)

A Year of Raw Milk

It's actually been a year and a half since I read about raw milk from the Weston Price Foundation website and decided it was something we needed to incorporate into our diet. 
But it was a year ago this month that I started going to Freedom Hill Farms to pick up our milk.  I can't believe it's really been that long!  
Check out my first post about them.  I had been paying $8 a gallon to have the milk delivered locally.  But we loved it and I needed a cheaper source.  God was very gracious to send us to our current source, where we pay $4 a gallon.  I've heard of people in California paying $10-$15 for a gallon.  Let me tell you, I do NOT take my source of milk for granted at all!  I am so incredibly grateful to them for what they do for us, and others like us who believe in the value of raw milk from grass fed cows.   
We took our monthly trip up (it's 60 miles each way) yesterday, and I was reminded, yet again, of why I love Farmer Julie and Farmer Rick so much.  Their barn is across the street from their house.  We had never been to their actual yard before.  Myia really wanted to see the chickens, so we asked when we go there, if we could go into their backyard and see their chickens. Julie was more then obliging, and even sent us over with some empty egg cartons to pick up any eggs they had laid since she collected last.  The kids were thrilled.  It was an egg hunt of the highest order!  Myia collected 12 and Samuel 3.  They were so proud of their treasures, it was adorable.  Myia even tried to put her hand under one of the chickens that was laying in the coop, but she started to peck at her, so she gave up on that one.  But, as soon as she saw the chicken coming out, she went back in, and sure enough, there was an egg. 
So, I have a question for you.  How fresh are your eggs?  I made eggs this morning for breakfast, and we had the livliest conversation about the chickens that laid those very same eggs, and about how lucky we are to be eating such fresh, nourishing food.  I felt so blessed all over again! 
For a snack today, we enjoyed a delicious, refreshing smoothie with the raw eggs yolks, milk and maple syrup (we picked it up on the way to the farm yesterday).  Sometimes eating local and sustainable IS easy, fun and cheap!  Ok, to be fair, I had coconut oil and cocoa powder in there also, but it's MOSTLY local. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Favorite Links Friday

1.  Here is a neat story at Thrifty and Organic about how her husband lost weight over a period of time.  She mentions at first, how wives can help their husbands by providing nourishing food at home, and to take to work.  And then her husband wrote in his words how he lost the weight and how he felt.  It's a short, but great read.  I hope to be the same influence over my husband.

2. This is a great post about why it's not really more expensive to eat 'nourishing' food, when done properly.  It does, however, take more time - in finding and preparing the foods. She has some great tips and suggestions for how to make it more cost effective.  And the reality, as she points out, is that when we walk into grocery stores, we end up walking out with more junk then we need. And when we buy from the source or as close as possible, we are not bombarded by the 'extras' which add up in money and health. 

3.  I really enjoyed reading this article on the importance of salt.  Salt has taken a hard-rap in this day and age. And the processes table salt deserves every negative comment it gets.  But salt, the way God designed it, unprocessed and from it's original source, is invaluable to humans for good health.  After reading this article, you'll begin to see real, unrefined sea salt as the 'superfood' it really is.

4.  Drew and I are seriously talking about doing a modified GAPS diet.  I know, I know, why do it at all if it's modified.  But, I really do think I've learned enough about food and digestion and nutrition to be able to do just that.  Anyway, this article by FoodRenegade was another encouragement in that direction.  I also ordered the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book by Natasha Campbell-McBride from the library. Drew's brother-in-law is going on a low-carb diet also, so maybe we can do it in tandem. :)

5.  This is a reprint of an article that was published in Wise Traditions. It's about Cod Liver Oil, specifically Dave Wetzel's fermented oil, and his story of how he started making it in Nebraska.  It's long, but a great read.  And it makes the price of CLO seem downright reasonable! And that, in spite of the fact that it would/will cost us $45 a month to take the recommended dosage for the 4 of us!  That's 10% of our budget and it's not even food. But, it is worth every penny, I do believe that.

Natural Cleaning and Body Care Choices

**I am reposting this for Passionate Homemaking's Natural Housecleaning Carnival**

It has been my desire and goal to not only use more earth-friendly products, but also to simplify. I realized the other day, I've come a long ways in that direction.

It's always fun to look back and be able to say that. Like my very wise father-in-law said, looking back (and he purposefully does so every 6 months-mine only happens when I notice a specific change), one should always see some change, or there are problems. If I can be as wise as he is when I'm 60, I'll be a very happy (and wise) lady! And hopefully healthy also.

I buy at WFM, a box of Seventh Generation's powdered laundry detergent. It's pricey-$18 for 48 loads. But, I found I could add equal amounts of baking soda (which costs about $2 total), and still only use half of what it calls for. So I end up getting about 200 loads of laundry for $20. For a fabric softener, I add about 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar, adds only pennies to the load, and it works fantastic as a softener. And it's all natural and biodegradable. Tide costs more then that!

Body Care:
We mostly only use Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile soap now. Peppermint simply because that is all Trader Joe's ever carries. It's $9 for a quart plastic bottle and it lasts us about 4 months. We use it for our hair (all 4 of us). No more shampoo and conditioner. It works great! And we also use it for body soap-although we do keep a bar of dove unscented around. And I have found it works fantastic for shaving. It foams up great and keeps my skin nice and smooth and hydrated. Drew doesn't use it for that-yet. :) I am thinking about putting it in our hand soap pump once it's gone and adding water.

Also, I mixed coconut oil and tea tree oil and put it in a container. And we have been using that for any owies the kids (or myself) get. Also, I have been putting it on my face when I think of it, as I have really bad acne. And it seems to help that. I also use it for lotion if my skin is dry. It takes some getting used to, but I do like it. It's cheaper and better for your skin then even any 'natural' lotions out there. It's about 1 cup of CO to 1 tsp tea tree oil. Someday I'll add vitamin E, bees wax and aloe vera for a really healing concoction. But for now, my simple one seems to be working fine.


My list is pretty small, and has not really changed much since I posted here. Although I mostly only use baking soda and vinegar. I do use lemon or hydrogen peroxide now and then, but my trusty baking soda and vinegar are my staples. I am almost out of vinegar and I feel myself start to tremble in fear. Granted I can get a huge container 2 blocks away... It's just the thought! But the stuff is amazing! I use it to clean my drains once a month. I use it to scrub pots with stuck on 'gunk'. I have also started to sprinkle some baking soda on stains on clothes and spray some vinegar over it. It does seem to help, although it's hard to tell. Also, I keep a spray bottle of vinegar in the shower, and I spray down after my shower. No need to scrub. If I find a really yucky spot, I'll sprinkle baking soda on it and spray it with vinegar and let it sit until my next shower. All natural, all inexpensive and all easy to find. It's the perfect solution to my household needs. Buying cleaning products would be so much more expensive!

Dish detergent is one thing I'm still not loving, but I think it's better then most. I bought 'Earth Friendly's Ultra Dishmate-the Natural Grapefruit. It was about $3.50 at WFM for 25 oz. Maybe $1 more then the usual store-bought brand. And the Earth Friendly company is pretty well-known for it's green products. It honestly does not cut grease as well as the JOY brand we were using. But the ingredients list is MUCH smaller and the company worthy of my patronage. Drew is not real happy with it. I might break down and buy a small bottle of the Joy and keep it under the sink, for the few times a week he does dishes. But, I will stick with this dish detergent until I find something better.