Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our Real Food Journey Begins...

I'm back again, hopefully a little more frequently now since our sweet baby girl is now 14 months old! She is on the move constantly and loves exploring everything!

When I first started this blog I mentioned how my favorite thing to do was COOK. It seriously has become a passion but some of the ingredients I noticed on various items would always make me cringe a little, knowing full well they were not the best choices. There HAD to be something better...right?!?

Couple this, along with rapidly deteriorating health amongst myself and my husband (as well as super moody, whiny kids) and what I had was a recipe for disaster. You see, I have recently become acutely aware of just how BAD so many things are that we've been led to believe are good for us! We live in a society here in the US that is full of chemical laden, synthetic, wanna-be foods that it's no wonder cancer and obesity as well as a plethora of other diseases and disorders are running rampant! It's a very large and sad epidemic. :(

So I asked myself:  what are we supposed to do? How can we eat well on a budget (for many, us included, a meager budget at that)  and make the right healthful choices? It can be done, I have learned. I was skeptical at first, hearing claims from many blogs that you could eat wholesome REAL food on a very tight income. But now that we've dipped our toes into the world of real food, we are realizing it can be done...but it does take some effort, diligence and downright work.

I find that I am spending a lot more time in my kitchen. A whole lot more time. As a matter of fact a good chunk of my day is spent in my kitchen, making/doing/cleaning something. But I'm ok with that and you know why?


1) I'm doing what I was called to do which is be the keeper of my home. This includes so much but a lot of it is feeding our crew of eight...and that is no small task.
2) I feel confident knowing that what is going into their mouths will be used efficiently by their bodies and not be overloaded with artificial ingredients, preservatives and chemicals.
3) I just really love to cook!

Now, understand that I'm aware of the fact that not everyone likes to cook. But, it is a part of our calling to be wives, mothers and good keepers at home. This includes cooking. ;) The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:13-18 "She looks for wool and flax and likes to work with her hands. She is like a trader’s ship, bringing food from far away. She gets up while it is still dark and prepares food for her family and feeds her servant girls. She inspects a field and buys it. With money she earned, she plants a vineyard. She does her work with energy, and her arms are strong. She knows that what she makes is good. Her lamp burns late into the night. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭13-18‬ NCV)

It's obvious that she takes pleasure in working with her hands! She finds it a joy to provide meals for her family and tend to her household. She rises early in the day "while it is still dark" and stays up late in the evening "Her lamp burns late into the night."  One thing that struck my interest was the first part of vs. 18 which shows us that she is confident in her abilities! "She knows what she makes is good."  Ladies, be confident in yourself and use the talents God has given you to the best of your ability!

Now, with that little bit of encouragement from God's Word under our apron belts, let's move on...

A little prep work goes a long way!! Don't wait until the "dinner rush" to get things going. Work on meal prep throughout the day when you have a few free moments. Chop up some veggies for the evenings meal. Even this simple step could save you time and frustration during dinner making.

Another thing that may help ease the transition, especially if the purse strings are really tight, is to quit eating out or eating fast food. Maybe save to go out once a month to a restaurant that serves wholesome food and offers a range of steamed veggies and other healthful side options. Not eating out or grabbing fast food allows you to add a little (or a lot) more money back into your grocery budget.  This will help offset the sometimes higher cost of certain foods or simply to allow for more foods to be purchased and used for making meals at home.

Cooking from scratch is the healthiest option because you know exactly what's going into your food.  And it doesn't always have to be time consuming. Space it out or do some the night before so you're not overwhelmed the next day with all that has to be done. Learn to make a blend of spices to use in various dishes instead of relying on boxed versions that include highly processed sauces or seasonings or that contain unwanted and unnecessary preservatives.

Making wiser food choices begins with small steps. Our journey began 5 weeks ago when we switched to raw milk! It has already made a big difference in our health and how we feel. The benefits of raw milk are astounding! It's definitely worth trying to locate if you can! Either cows or goats milk! I have made butter and, subsequently, buttermilk, which is fantastic in our waffle/pancake recipe! The flavor can't be beat!

We're also making our own yogurt now, which I still need another try on. :/ My first three batches tasted wonderful but isn't quite the consistency I was going for. Which still isn't a loss because I've strained it and made Greek yogurt and am saving the leftover whey (the liquid that's leftover after straining) for use in smoothies and bread making. Milk is so versatile. Little did I know that or how simple it was to make all this on my own! It's still a learning process, but a very fun one. It can also be a good science lesson for the kiddos!

We've also switched to farm fresh, free range eggs and have started incorporating lots of veggies into our meals. We cook with coconut oil now (I didn't realize how toxic so many oils are!) and we use REAL butter. Stay far, far away from the tubs of yellow stuff. You want real sweet cream butter. Margarine is a no-no!

Coconut oil is also used in a lot of our baking now and has replaced shortening completely. (I shudder at how much we've used over the years) Lard and tallow are also options for cooking and baking with. Just make sure they are non hydrogenated. You want 100%. You're best bet may be to locate some from a local butcher or even render it yourself!

Other small steps include switching to organic as much as possible. The biggest thing is making sure to read labels and get PURE ingredients. If you can't pronounce it, it doesn't need to go into your body (or on your skin for that matter...but that's another subject for another day).

Don't try to overwhelm yourself with switching everything all at once. Do it slowly, as you're able, and don't feel guilty.

Do what you can with what God has blessed you with. He has provided a world full of wonderful foods for us to consume, and we should consume it in the most natural way possible. He knew what our bodies needed for fuel because, after all, He created us!!

"Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks." Philippians 4:6

Pray for guidance and diligence. At times, it can get tiring and you'll grow weary, but remember to keep pressing forward! With God's help, you can do anything! Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength."

May God Richly Bless You!


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