My food radar was suddenly more alert than it had ever been. I wanted to know all the "whys." Why is brown rice better for you? Why shouldn't you eat HFCS? Why should or shouldn't you eat butter, or margarine, or whole milk or skim milk? And I wanted to know what the most nourishing and nutritious foods are, what are REAL healthy foods? Not just what is labeled "Low Fat," "No Trans Fats" or "Natural". I want to provide not only Susannah, but our whole family, the best, healthiest, nourishing foods I can. I didn't know where to start and I wanted tried and true information from someone I know and trust.
I fired off a message to a friend who immediately replied. She gave me the solution to my yogurt dilemma. Now Susannah gets Organic Whole Milk Plain Yogurt. The ingredients are plain and sensible: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Whole Milk, Pectin, Vitamin D3, Six Live Active Cultures. (I very well may make my own someday.)
She also suggested two book to me and was kind enough to loan them BOTH to me! One is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:
and the other is Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.
They are both blow you away full of amazing information. Stuff that I never knew before. Stuff that the everyday John Q. Public probably has no idea about. These books have changed a lot of the way I think about food.
A lot of the food and ingredients I was buying and making were pretty empty of it's natural nutrition. Our bodies don't process or absorb manufactured nutrients very well, so why do I want to eat something that my body can't get any good from?
**I will say right here and now that I do believe moderation is key. There are some things I am going to change, and a few things I will leave the same.**
Some of the areas that I have changed already would be:
Flour. Instead of using your "usual" white flour that is quite a bit more than just flour (read the ingredients list), I am using All Natural White Wheat Flour. It is flour, plain and simple. Yes, the flavor is different, but it is not as harsh as red wheat flour, and we like it quite well. I hope to buy a grain mill early next year and start grinding my own flour for all or almost all our baking. With grains, as soon as the shell of the grain is cracked it starts losing it's nutrients. So flour that has been sitting on the store shelf for weeks (and who knows how long it sat somewhere else before it reached the store) has had lots of opportunity to lose all it's healthy, nourishing goodness.
Meat. For Daniel's lunch sandwiches he now gets sliced roast beef from a roast that I season and roast myself. It tastes much better and is much better for you that the salty, artificial flavorings added, processed lunch meat. Surprisingly, the price is comparable! Eventually, someday, when we have our dream home on many, many acres, we'd like to raise our own beef. In the meantime, we are checking into buying part of a grass fed steer from a local source.
Eggs. Since I am feeding Susannah egg yolks (hard boiled) for her protein source sometimes, the yolks need to be protein rich. Coincidentally, about the same time we started making these changes, some people just a few miles down the road from us started selling eggs! They are considerably better than store bought eggs for just a little more money. The yolks are a deeper yellow and the egg white is thicker :)
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Salads made with Romaine Lettuce and Spinach are a regular part of our diet now. I happily buy Kiwi (high in Vit. C), Avocados, and other fruits to enjoy.
I make trail mix (or "bird feed") for Daniel with Sunflower Seeds, Sliced Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins and M&M's (yeah, the M&M's are the unhealthy part :P ). Nut and seed laden homemade granola is a staple on our shelf - for breakfasts and snacks. Peanut Butter that is just peanuts; Coconut Oil instead of vegetable/canola/etc. oil; Brown Rice instead of white rice; Hormone free milk; White Cheese instead of orange cheese (artificial coloring); and other little things here are there are among the ways the contents of our refrigerator and pantry are changing.
I don't plan to go off the deep end, but I do plan to keep instituting changes as I go to provide the best I can for our taste-buds, tummies and health. This week proves that eating healthy and nourishing will not keep all troubles away; Susannah has a double ear infection and I have been battling cold-like stuff for a while now. Hopefully as we put better quality stuff into our bellies for our bodies to live and thrive on, our immune systems will grow stronger and we won't get sick as often or as badly.
I know some of you are probably wondering about the budget side of this. But you'll have to wait until next time :)