Jul 5, 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 Julie Majors, one of this blog's moderators. Other authors for Small Beginnings include: Lisa LipeRita O'Kelley,  Laura FiserHBRobin Maguire, Ellie WilliamsErin and Lori Davidson.
Originally posted in January 2009 at Havin' Fun Yet?

In a previous post, I shared about Jack Sprat Who Could Eat No Fat and his wife Mrs. Full-of-Fat-&-Sugar. The wife found herself reading many books about healthy living. Consequently, the grocery list was adjusted to reflect this knowledge.

Before sharing how their food consumption changed, Mrs. Full-of-Fat-&-Sugar says that if she'd read this list 10 years ago, she would have screamed, "FREAK!!" at the end of the list. It must be reiterated that this family's eating habits have evolved slowly.

Let me share a conversation between the couple from 3 months ago -

Mrs. Full-of-Fat-&-Sugar: Our eating habits have really changed in the last four years.

Jack Sprat: You think so? I don't think it's changed all that much.

The wife began to articulate the differences and below is the compiled list. Cutting out MSG and artificial sweeteners were first steps. These two things give Hubby a rash and make him feel weird. Read here why MSG is so evil.
  • Canned soup has been eradicated from the dinner table. If I can't recreate a cream of mushroom/chicken soup in a homemade version, I don't use the recipe. Those canned soups are full of sodium, MSG, and hydrogenated fat.
  • Instead of snacking on preservative-laden crackers, we now reach for nuts and dried fruit.
  • Stopped buying Cokes, especially the artificially sweetened kind. Occasionally we'll drink a full sugar soda.
  • Make healthful chicken broth instead of buying sodium and MSG laden canned stuff.
  • Healthier chicken equals a healthier egg. We buy local, pastured eggs from farmers. When I can't get them, I buy organic eggs from the grocery. Try this experiment: buy 2 dozen eggs, one being pastured or organic, one other the cheapest available. I promise the shells will be thicker and the yolks oranger and perkier on the pastured or organic eggs. Read this post to be convinced further. [In college I worked in an experimental industrial chicken house. It's gross.]
  • Substitute brown rice for white.
  • Use maple syrup instead of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Maple syrup has minerals and nutrients your body can use. HFCS is useless and turns to fat almost immediately in your body. Recent reports have found mercury in HFCS.
  • Drink whole milk instead of skim. The brain needs (healthy) fat to function. We like to drink raw milk when we have it. If you're concerned about the fat content, read these posts: Does fat make you fat? Part1 and Part 2.
  • Cut down on processed foods, limit buying food in a box. Read this post on boxed cereals and you'll think twice about Cheerios.
  • Eat yogurt for beneficial bacteria in your gut. Did you know 80% of your immune system is in your digestive system? I've been buying full-fat plain and adding a bit of maple syrup.
  • Butter is waaaaay better for you than margarine. A friend of mine in Little Rock thought they were the same thing (ack!). To redeem my Southern friends, another LR friend said, "I would not feed margarine even to my enemies."
  • Use more coconut oil and olive oil. One way to get more coconut oil in your diet is to pop popcorn in it. Super alternative to chips! We eat a lot of popcorn at our house. I make a big batch, save the rest in a ziplock gallon bag and it tastes even better the next day (you can't say that about microwave popcorn!)
  • Spreading natural peanut butter instead of the hydrogenated and sugary kind (like Jiff or Peter Pan). It took a while for our taste buds to adjust and I bought both kinds for a while. Hubby was ready to make the change before me on this.
  • Brush our teeth with non-florinated toothpaste. I'd been thinking about it a while but this post pushed me over the edge. After botching homemade recipes, I bought this kind and like it.
After the list, Jack Sprat decided that his diet has indeed changed. But it has taken a few years.

He's no longer Jack Sprat and I'm trying to cut down on the sugar.

This was Part II of a series on Slow Changes in Eating Habits. Here are links to Part I and Part III of our journey.

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  1. What Local farm do you get your eggs from? I'm on the search for one.

  2. Charlotte -
    I get mine from Cove Creek Acres - but you can buy them through the Arkansas Sustainability network: http://www.littlerock.locallygrown.net/ or ask if any of your neighbors raise chickens. You might be surprised! :) There are a couple of families at my husband's work that raise backyard chickens.



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