Jun 21, 2010

Small Beginnings: Where Do I Start?

Small Beginnings: Where Do I Start? This is a series intended to give courage for those wanting to launch into a real food journey. This week our author is Ellie Williams, who just celebrated 25 years of marriage.  She is the mother of seven children. Other authors for Small Beginnings include: Lisa LipeRita O'Kelley,  Laura FiserHBRobin Maguire, and Erin.
I've always been somewhat interested in nutrition, but our family's jouney toward healthier eating began in earnest out of desperation. Our daughter had been sick for 8 months, had to have major surgery, and was finally diagnosed with Crohn's disease before we were willing to make some serious changes in our diet.

The first changes were simple. Julie Majors recommended two books to me about the time my daughter's illness started. The first was The Schwarzbein Principle and the second was Nourishing Traditions.

After reading The Schwarzbein Principle, we cut out all soft drinks. This change was relatively easy because we drank them infrequently.  We noticed that when we drank them we felt bloated and our weight went up.

Secondly, we stopped using artificial sweeteners, and cut out foods whose ingredients read like a chemistry experiment.
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

After reading much of Nourishing Traditions, we added good fats back to our diet, including whole milk dairy. We'd always liked yogurt. Now that has become a staple. We've also added kefir to our list of probiotic dairy foods (so simple to make) and enjoy kefir smoothies almost daily.

One of the most difficult changes was no wheat pasta or traditional store-bought breads. Grains had always been an easy way to fill our 7 children.

Now we soak almost all of our grains or eat them sprouted. Now and then we have brown rice pasta.

Grains are hard to digest without soaking or sprouting. Digestability is one of the keys to good nutrition. A food can be loaded with nutrients but not be easy to digest. When that's the case, as it is with whole grain foods, a lot of the nutrients can pass right through the body. Soaking also decreases the irritating effects of grains that can lead to gluten intolerance.

We now eat grass-fed meats. They're expensive, but who knows what was fed to the meat we'd been buying before. Add to that the possibility of hormones and antibiotic exposure. Because of the expense, we don't eat meat every day. To fill in the gap, we've added farm fresh eggs to our diet and we eat more beans than ever, being careful to soak them making them more digestable.

The changes we've made haven't come easy. Meal planning and preparation have become more time consuming. Plus it's more expensive.

I regularly have to ask God for wisdom (But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him -James 1:5 ) and trust that He'll provide for the extra expense (And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus -Philippians 4:19). He's been faithful to guide us in the process of change. There are still steps we need to take.

In all this I cling to one of my favorite verses in the Bible-Jeremiah 29:11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'

By the way, our daughter has been virtually symptom-free for a year now. We thank God for that!

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