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3.18.2010

Nourishing my family to better health


My apologies for yet another big gap between posts. At first I was busy growing things, and cooking, and basically completely restructuring the how and the what of what we eat. In regards to that, my kids are improving slowly. If you buy into the whole gut healing thing (which I do) that's how it's supposed to go, though- slow and steady improvement.

And then we found out we're moving. More on that in another post though. I'll begin with the major changes in our kitchen.

In further response to my children's food allergies and my desire to shave my budget and improve our diets by eating only whole foods, I have been employing the idealogy and methods found in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is total accident how I stumbled upon this... revolution. I was browsing the Mothering.com message boards (which I don't frequent), looking for a simple home remedy for inflammation. Three hours later I hadn't found what I was looking for and had read a good deal of the stickied posts on the allergy board (and a good deal about iodine, but that is neither here nor there). I can't even remember what info exactly "turned" me, but it all just seems to make sense to me. None of the info in the book seems that strange or foreign to me. I've always known in my heart that cholesterol and healthy fats are good (especially for very small children). We all know that processed foods are bad. Probiotics are good (great even). I've always been suspicious of vegetable oils (other than Olive).

Still, a few things were hard for me to wrap my head around. While the diet doesn't require raw meat, they encourage it, and it doesn't sound appetizing to me (other than sushi...yum). And generally retraining my brain to NOT count calories and fat grams was rough (but not unpleasant!). I'm also not a big fan of dairy (other than cheese, and it's near impossible to find raw cheese around here), which they are big proponents of in the raw, full fat version. I do have to say that raw milk tastes better than pasteurized, but I still would rather not drink it.

But I love to cook, had already began to cook more from scratch, and culturing things fascinates me. Now I can proudly say that the only thing in my pantry that is not a whole food is a bag of tortilla chips (what can I say, we all have a weakness, and this particular one is Oliver approved, so we don't want to give it up). And I've gotten into my routine. Each evening, after I've finished the dishes, I soak whatever we're having for breakfast, be it oatmeal, 5 grain porridge, biscuits, pancakes, or scones. Then I change the kefir milk and check the kombucha. In the morning, after breakfast, I do anything needed for lunch or dinner. On one or two days each week I spend part of the morning making things we can snack on (whole grain crackers, crispy almonds or pecans, cookies, yogurt, etc). Every meal is planned each week instead of just dinner because each meal takes a little more prep. I got a fancy new board for this (pictured above).

But I've been doing this for about two months now. At first it seemed like a lot more work. Now it's all been streamlined and is a part of our routine. I've actually stopped making kefir for now (I've been working on this post for a few weeks) because my kids react just as strongly to it as they do to any other dairy and because I didn't want to dry my kefir grains for the move. And my kombucha mother is currently in holding while I figure out how I'm going to move it... I think I have enough kombucha made for the next few weeks, so I have none going right now and don't plan to make any more.

But, as I said above, it has helped. Their illnesses are becoming less frequent and less severe. And now that they're healthy sometimes I can see what causes them to react. This way of eatting may seem extreme and fanatical to some, but it has helped and I am willing to do just about anything to help my kids feel better. Plus, when we're really sticking to it (when I'm really sticking to it) I feel better. And all the food tastes GOOD. Plus, I love gravy and sauce, and they are important to this diet- so I couldn't be happier:)

This has also, believe it or not, helped our budget. Because I buy meat, a few whole grains, and produce at the store. And that's it. I haven't spent over $80 at the groccery store in two months, and most weeks it's closer to $60.

If you're interested in this way of eatting or have children suffering from food allergies (or if you are pregnant or have children at all!) it can be overwhelming. So where to start? Baby steps, right? Here is where I would start:

  1. Soak your grains- start with breakfast. Soak some old fashioned or cut oats (and I add some dried fruit and a few tablespoons of maple syrup) the night before in the solution outlined in the book, then cook in the morning.
  2. Cultured Dairy- making yogurt is so easy! Look up the instructions online... maybe someday I'll post my version!
  3. Change your cooking fat- canola oil is not for cooking! The fat in canola is very unstable and becomes rancid quickly, and most commercial canola oil is already rancid due to heat exposure during processing. Best cooking fats- butter, lard, olive oil, coconut oil (our personal favorite!), and palm oil.
  4. Eliminate refined sugar and white flour- Yes, all of it! This step is going to be in a different place for each person, as this is harder for some than it is for others. But refined sugar and white flour are linked to cancer and heart disease... it's just not as publicized because large food corporations need these cheap products to turn large profits. And don't fool yourself that diet soda is better for you! Artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause spikes in blood sugar DESPITE NOT EVEN CONTAINING SUGAR, and artificial sweeteners have been linked to all sorts of nasty cancers as well as depressing the immune system.
Make those 4 changes and you've covered a good deal of what is outlined in the book!

1 comment:

MrsHashBrown said...

Facinating post! It inspired me to check out how to make yogurt - I had no idea it was possible to make it at home.

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