Baby Steps

We have been trying for some time to eat a more nutritious diet and are taking baby steps to reach that end. With many of our meals eaten in the dining hall (yes, full of chemical drenched foods . .. .yeesh) and others eaten out due to our 30 minute commute to . . . nearly anything . . . .it makes sense to try to eat as healthy as possible around the house.

When I first read Nourishing Traditions, I was motivated, excited, encouraged and OVERWHELMED . . . . so much to do and so little time, not to mention the sporadic seasons of life where we hardly cook at home at all (read: now). Also, I don't have the luxury of farmers markets (although we do have fruitstands!) and I am rather reluctant to make twelve stops at twelve different places with three children to get in and out of carseats. We decided to take baby-steps (a little is better than nothing, right?) and slowly move towards more nourishing eating.

The thing I love about Nourishing Traditions is the underlying, unspoken message that God knew what he was doing in giving us food and that whole foods are best and frankly, you don't have to branch out super far to get adequate nutrition. (The Alaskans who live on meat alone, for example) Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE junk food --I wish I didn't, but I do. However, I'm trying to make better choices and give my kids a healthier, wiser palette than I have!

Here are some of our "baby steps":

1. Whole, organic milk, but in smaller quantities. My kids drink milk once a day, Owen twice. Sometimes we do coconut or almond, but Owen does not not take that.

2. Butter! We are not in a place where we eat "centrifuged butter from milked cows grazing on rapidly growing spring and fall grass", but we do eat the "real" stuff.

3. Good fats: Coconut, Peanut, Olive Oils . . . and real Lard. : ) Not all expeller pressed and perfect, but better than others, I suppose

4. Whole Wheat flour when we do bake (not as often)

5. Corn instead of flour tortillas

6. Local honey for our coffee and other applications.

7. Less white sugar in everything. I've been baking a lot with palm sugar.

8. White rice on "special occasions." (as a side note, Alton Brown's brown rice recipe is marvelous--especially if you've had unsatisfactory results before)

9. No more juice in the house. I realized that my kids only wanted juice and were
rejecting water. Even though it was diluted, it was a lot of sugar. When I stopped buying it an amazing thing happened: water consumption rose like all get out! Now they ask for water. : )

10. Oatmeal and Eggs are our breakfast staples. No cereals at all.

11. Better eggs--still not sure if the more expensive grocery eggs are truly better, but I'm buying into it. My goal is to find local eggs and I saw a possible source at the fruitstand the other day.

12. Home-cooked beans instead of canned.

13. We found a butcher in Crystal Springs who sells pork bellies, so we've made several batches of our very own bacon--free of nitrites (natural or otherwise). We're planning another round soon since our fridge is empty for camp.

14. A grass-fed beef cow--we bought a share with some friends (and a deep freeze-haha).

That's what we've done, and there is so much more I want to try! Over-all, we've reduced our wheat and carbohydrate consumption in general which has been so good for us. Our next goals are:

1. Aluminum free baking powder

2. Soaked, sourdough breads

3. Local eggs

4. Organic Chickens

5. A hog?

6. A modest garden, since organic produce is costly.

7. More organic produce.

8. Experimenting with grains like Quinoa, spelt and others and soaking.

9. Composting

10. Better eating out choices, both nutritionally and in the way companies are run (if this means more Five Guys and Chik-fil-A, I'll go for it)

11. Less candy in the house and in our mouths (I guess the fact that we are still eating Christmas parade candy should make me feel better?)

What are your goals?


Caroline said...

What about this butcher in Crystal Springs and making your own bacon? Tell me, Anne. I want to know.

DW said...

Paula, I love your ambitions. This sounds like a great idea but how can you afford it? I've thought about some of the stuff like organic milk, eggs and meat but it's so expensive.

Additionally, have you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle?

Paula said...

DW, not sure who you are, but since I'm not buying candy, juice, breakfast cereals, canned beans or overpriced lunchmeat, I guess the budget is balancing out.

allimonster said...

We are doing much of the same! We are blessed to have a Trader Joe's nearby, which keeps costs on organic dairy/produce down a bit. More than anything, I am trying hard to go LOCAL. This has environmental and ethical benefits, too, but nutritionally makes the most sense as the shorter it has to travel, the more nutrients are retained! I am lucky that there are multiple farmer's markets in the area so I can visit them often.

We have cut back on milk consumption, mostly because I buy much less cereal than before. I drink almond milk (LOVE this in my coffee), but I still buy some cow's milk for Mike (who won't touch the almond) and Jade (I'll get her on almond milk once she turns two). We do eat our fair share of plain yogurt, but I'm looking at how to make my own as a way to control what goes in.

I, too, have gone to using real butter for baking, as well as white whole wheat flour. It doesn't have as much "tooth" as regular whole wheat flour, but it is definitely not white! I don't bake nearly as often as I used to, particularly because I refuse to use a mix anymore.

Mike likes juice, but it's a treat for him instead of a staple. Jade gets it (diluted) sometimes, but she doesn't really go crazy for it like some kids.

As far as the costs of organic food, well, we don't eat nearly the same amount of food as we used to. I still don't buy organic meat, but I have cut back on the number of times a week that we eat meat, substituting a bean or tofu or vegetable dish.

allimonster said...

Also, we are using turbinado sugar, or more recently, honey. I found a great bargain on local honey at a health food store. And because it's made from local pollen, it's actually helping with our seasonal allergies.

Joey and Elizabeth said...

Wow... this is very encouraging! I haven't been online much since Joey returned, and I just saw this. I have lots of questions for you - but I may just email them :)