Feb 14, 2011

Small Beginnings: Where Do I Start?

by Johanna Gelatt, originally posted on her blog.

About a year ago I attended a talk titled, Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later.  The presenter challenged us to think differently about what we were feeding our families and to make a few small baby steps to eating healthier.  This is what she encouraged us to research, think about, and start changing.

1. Eat less sugar and refined foods.

     I think we all know what the effects of too much sugar and refined foods can do to our bodies.  Too many people and children are suffering from diabetes and other diseases in this country.
     This was going to be a difficult one for our family.  I have a horrible sweet tooth as does Micah and several of our kids.  I must say that a year later, we are still working on keeping the white sugar treats out of the house.  We are a work in progress!

Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats
2. Eat more FAT!

     What?  I must say that I was confused about this one.  Haven't we heard for years to eat less fat?  Isn't the market flooded with low fat, no fat items?  My friend doing the talk had this quote,
            "While we American's have been dutifully eliminating fat from our diet, eating low-fat foods, and avoiding saturated fats from tropical oils, butter, and read meats, obesity rates and the overall incidence of heart disease have continued to climb." (from Eat Fat, Loose Fat by Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon)
     I was really intrigued by the above statement simply because dad died of a massive heart attack and yet he "ate right."  Maybe not so right....more on that later.  For our family this has been a relatively EASY thing to switch.

I now use coconut oil, the Queen of Fats. I have tried to eliminate crisco, vegetable oil, canola oil etc from our diet.  There are still a few things that I use these for, but for the most part I try to stick to the coconut and olive oils.
I only buy butter.  I use it generously.
I buy whole milk and I use cream generously.

3.  Reduce the consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

     It is in everything that is processed.  By processed I mean, pretty much anything that is pre-packaged.
I have drastically cut down on the pre-packaged foods in our home.  I was already cooking  many things from scratch but this talk motivated me to cut down even more.  If I can make it, I try!

4. Make bone broth.  It's a super food!

     I cook a whole chicken often, but never realized I should not only be using the broth that forms as you cook the chicken but to also re-cook the chicken bones to make this super food--freeze and you have nutrient dense broth whenever needed.  I did a lot of research on this and am sold on it's benefits.

5. Buy organic, if possible, especially the dirty dozen.

     I don't always have the money to buy organic fruits and veggies, but I try to do SOME.  Baby steps!  Look here for the dirty dozen and the cleanest 12 and see which fruits/veggies to buy organic.

6. Add in a probiotic.  Items such as yogurt, kefir, homemade saurkraut or kimchi, and kombucha.

I recently made my first batch of kombucha (a fermented drink made from tea) it is a different taste, but you only have to drink small amounts to get benefits.  Everyone is willing to drink it and I think as I offer it more often they will become more accustomed to it.

On my journey I realized that I was doing some things right already.  I cook from scratch a lot, we eat freshly milled whole wheat bread products, we don't snack a ton on processed foods, we do grow what we can in our own garden, we have farm fresh eggs......it's all a journey.  I am enjoying learning new things and ideas.  We have felt better since we are making these tiny changes.

Some of the things I want to experiment with this year:  making yogurt and/or kefir, adding in some fermented foods, eliminating boxed cereal (this is going to be hard!), and finding nutritious snack foods besides popcorn!

Where are you on the food journey?

Click here to read more stories of baby steps.

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