Jan 31, 2012

Little Rock's GAPS Practitioner - Pamela Berndt, RN, CGP

Journey into the World of a GAPS Practitioner
by Pamela Berndt, RN, CGP

I am no stranger to the belief that “You are what you eat”, or rather, “You are what you assimilate”.  Having grown up during the 50s and 60s, on 5 acres of rich, organic soil in the glacial basin of southeastern Wisconsin, I was truly an “organic child”.  However, these were the days when traditional ways of preparing and eating nutritious foods were rapidly being challenged by the “convenient”, processed food craze. New mothers were encouraged to bottle-feed their newborns, replacing mother’s milk with pasteurized cow’s milk.  During the ensuing 50 years, the American dinner table became a testing ground for an array of processed chemical amalgamations.  (If the previous three words sound oddly reminiscent of a typical ingredient list on todays cans, jars and boxes, it should come at no surprise).

As a young mother, I became more and more interested in the principles of nutrition. After all, I was now responsible for the health and development of two precious children. Even then, it seemed somewhat odd that our standard food pyramid was firmly planted in the American grain belt......and taking a deep, cleansing breath, I placed the next 2 loaves of whole grain bread into the oven.  Years later, by some quirk of fate, the owner of Serenity Farm Bread in Leslie, Arkansas, introduced me to Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Wild Fermentation, by Sandor Katz.   Thus, began my facination with the Weston A. Price Foundation - its philosophy, precepts and practice.

This journey has now taken me into the world of a science-based nutritional protocol known as GAPS.  Many of you are familiar with the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and may also be following her recommendations.   The book, Gut and Psychology Sydrome, acknowledges and supports the fact that intestinal health is key to well-being.  It lays the foundation for understanding what causes gut dysbiosis and how to reverse it.  There was never any question in my mind when given the opportunity to become a GAPS practitioner.  This was simply the next, necessary step. Having integrated these principles into our family lifestyle during the past year, I have experienced, firsthand, their wisdom and value.

By Appointment:  Holistic Pathways, PLLC

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Jan 30, 2012

Kelli's Real Food Resolutions

This post continues our series on New Year's Real Food Resolutions.  It is written by Kelli who wrote here about how real food started for her.  She has also written Beef Tongue: Not So Offal.
In January, 2011 Kelli wrote:
I can’t believe it’s been almost one year since I came home and told my husband I wanted to change our diet and our lifestyle…and my husband thought his world was ending. HA! Looking back over the year I’ve been thinking about a song from “Hairspray”: “I know we’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go.” (I know. A bit random, but it fits.)

It’s been a year of firsts: First time to bake bread without the aid of a bread machine, drink raw milk, grind my own flour, embrace fat, wash my hair WITHOUT shampoo, make a sourdough starter, learn that there was something even called “Kombucha”…I could go on and on.

I’m not huge into the whole New Year’s Resolution thing, but I have been thinking about some things I would like to see happen in the coming year.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
1. One of the best Christmas gifts I received this year was Nourishing Traditions. I want to read through and absorb the wealth of information.

2. Drink some kombucha everyday – even if it’s only half a cup. (Still acclimating to the slight fermented flavor. Teetotaler here.) Experiment with flavors beyond fresh pineapple – my go-to flavor. An added health bonus is that it seems to help with muscle soreness. I’m training for a marathon and need all the help I can get in that area!

3. Be more diligent about taking my fermented cod liver oil and red raspberry leaf supplement.

4. Focus on gaining strength, especially in my upper body. As a long-distance runner I have plenty of endurance, but no upper-body strength, which is common among us runners. I plan on getting into a routine of pilates and free weights along with my running.

5. Make a better effort to eat well outside my home, which will mean bringing my own food a lot of times. Learn to plan ahead for this. Have a mental list of foods that are quick and easy to throw together in a short amount of time, and are made from ingredients I typically have on hand.

6. Discover the perfect recipe for a natural facial moisturizer: one that moisturizes without drying me out OR causing pimples. No small feat. Any recipes would be appreciated.

None of these things are earth-shattering in their impact, but all of these steps together will go a long ways in improving my overall health and quality of life. After all, it’s all about the Baby Steps!

2012 Update:
I can’t believe a whole year has past since setting these resolutions! How did I do? I would say…good. Not excellent, but good.

I read a little bit of “Nourishing Traditions”, but still haven’t read it cover to cover.

We were doing great with the kombucha until the cold weather set in. Our house stays too cool for it to ferment, so we’re having to wait until it warms up to start it brewing again. We’ve really come to love it, and I miss it! I console myself by grabbing a bottle from Drug Emporium any time I’m close by.

{JULIE adds her two cents here: I was having the same cold kitchen problem until I ordered this seedling heat mat.  It helps to increase the temperature of my kombucha so that it will ferment.  Worth every penny.}

Am I still great about taking my supplements? Sadly, no.  This is one I am still working on improving.

After running a marathon in March, I’ve been cutting back on the distance running and adding in more Pilates. I cannot say how much I love Pilates!!! I discovered an awesome blog – Blogilates.com – and there are tons of free Pilates videos on there. I feel so much stronger now! The good thing about Pilates is that you get strength without the bulkiness. My belly is flatter and I’m more slim and toned overall.

I have not been diligent about bringing healthy foods when I’m hanging out at someone else’s house, but I HAVE been better at not over indulging and trying to pick out foods that are less evil than the others.

I don’t have any resolutions about food this year, because I feel like at this point in my life, eating traditionally is just something we DO, it’s not something I have to sit and think about. I just want to keep on doing as we do, and if I come across something I feel needs to change, cross that bridge when we come to it. My main goal is to get back into blogging on my personal blog. I didn’t have the time when my husband was cramming in classes to finish up seminary, and I have yet to get back into the habit.

Here’s to 2012!!!


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Jan 26, 2012

Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu

Today's guest post is by Erin.  She is a wealth of information.  I asked her to share some natural remedies for cold and flu because, well, 'tis the season!  I love that most of these remedies are inexpensive, none are toxic, and best of all they can be done in the comfort of your home.
 - Julie

It's that time of year. The marquee at Walgreens says, “Get your flu shot before the rush!” I won't be rushing to get a flu shot, but Walgreens does have a decent selection of more natural remedies.

Today I am sharing some of the ways Dr. Mom treats the sickies in our home.

General recommendations include increasing probiotics, eliminating sugar, decreasing protein, taking vitamin C, and increasing the intake of warm fluids.

You want the body to be able to focus on fighting the intruders, not digesting difficult foods. Sugar basically paralyzes the immune cells for varying amounts of time (up to several hours). I’ve also seen a recommendation to avoid dairy products since they can increase mucus production in some people. We use sodium ascorbate as our source of vitamin C. It is a powder that is easily added to food—you can use it like you would use salt. It’s also easy on the stomach. If you prefer to use a whole food source of vitamin C, this is a good brand. As soon as anyone starts sneezing or having a runny nose in my house, I make a batch of Children's Composition Tea and GOOT.

Sore Throat
Sweet and Sour Tea: apple cider vinegar (ACV), honey, and hot water. The proportions of each are up to your personal taste. ACV is pretty strong so start out with just a little—you can always add more.

- Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals. Comes in a box of 16 tea bags. Available at Kroger, Drug Emporium, and Whole Foods. Tastes great and works wonders. It also comes in a syrup (made with glycerin and honey) and in lozenges.

- A cup of hot homemade chicken stock.

- Frozen blueberries. My kids love this one.

Stuffy Nose/Cough
- The goal here is not to dry up all that mucus. That can lead to infections. You want to work with your body and help get it OUT!

- Did you know that you should only blow your nose gently (if at all) and never hold one side closed? Blowing out of only one side can drive the mucus into your sinuses and cause infection.

- Mullein tincture. Mullein is a great herb for respiratory ailments. Several of our tinctures are alcohol-based (as opposed to glycerin), so if I'm using it for the kids I put the drops into a hot cup of tea. That evaporates the alcohol. The tincture can also be rubbed onto the skin. We buy our tinctures from Mountain Rose Herbs.

- Lobelia. This herb is a bronchial dilator. From the Mountain Rose Herbs website: “Lobelia has emetic and anti-spasmodic effects, which has led to it being used to treat asthma and food poisoning. It is a physical relaxant, and can serve as a nerve depressant, easing tension and panic.” We like to rub the tincture on our feet and chest. There is some debate on taking it internally, so do your research first.

- Marshmallow. No, not the fluffy white things. It’s a soothing herb for the mucous membranes and can be very helpful for bronchitis. This is another tincture we put in hot tea. *Side note: it is also amazing for urinary tract infections.

- Eucalyptus essential oil. Do NOT take internally!!! It is quite toxic. However, eucalyptus vapors are very helpful because they are antiseptic. We like to add a few drops (1 or 2) to a dab of coconut oil and rub it on our chests—a homemade vapo-rub. You can also put the oil on a damp rag and place it somewhere near you while you sleep. Just be sure babies and toddlers don't get a hold of it and put it in their mouths.
- Herbal Vapor Inhalation Treatment. Another option with eucalyptus oil is to make a steam bath using a shallow pot of water on the stove. Heat the water just short of boiling, take it off the stove, and place the pot on a table. Pull up a chair, add 4-5 drops of the oil, and drape a towel over your head to direct the steam. Lean over the pot and inhale the vapors. I would also recommend closing your eyes since the eucalyptus can burn a bit. Continue inhaling the steam for 5 minutes, adding more drops of oil as needed. Rosemary is a good herb to use with this technique as well. If you use fresh herbs, simmer them in the water for 5 minutes before inhaling the steam.

- Sinus Rinse/Neti Pot. Not for young children. We like this brand.

- Prop up. This is a very simple step you can take to assist your body in getting rid of the intruders. We actually put our younger ones in their car seat to sleep if a stuffy nose is waking them up at night. And, no, we don't leave them in the car. We put the car seat in the crib. :)

- For older children and adults with a nighttime cough, we have found the homeopathic remedy called “Bronchial Cough” to be invaluable. It's made by Hyland’s.

- Throat Coat Tea by Traditional Medicinals can also be beneficial for some coughs.  Available at Kroger, Drug Emporium, and Whole Foods.

Ear infections
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 80% of ear infections clear up on their own without prescription antibiotics. And who wants all those side effects? But, man, are ear infections painful or what?

- Homeopathic Earache drops. Amazing pain relief.

- Onion or garlic drops. Mince some fresh onion or garlic, add olive oil, and heat gently. Strain, let cool to body temperature, and put 4-5 drops in the ear. Repeat 3 X per day for 3-5 days.

- Heat. Use a rice-filled sock, hot water bottle, whatever—it feels goooood.

- Prop up. It helps keep the Eustachian tubes from getting blocked. See above explanation.

- Onion compress. Yes, food is medicine.

Fever is your friend. It is how your body kills the intruders. Suppressing a fever can even be detrimental. It interferes with the process of naturally acquired immunity.

- Loose, 100% cotton pjs. Cotton lets your skin breathe and feel more comfortable when it's hot with fever.

- Children's Composition tea. A blend of peppermint, yarrow, and elder flower. We bought the bulk herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and made our own blend.

- Ginger bath. You can use fresh grated ginger or ginger powder. Ginger is a warming herb and assists the fever in doing its job. Make sure the bath water and the bathroom is warm enough to keep away chills.

- Garlic. It is antibacterial and antiviral. My 5 and 7-year olds will take it off a spoon if I mince a clove and cover it with honey. Don’t chew! Just swallow. GOOT is another great way to get garlic into your system.

- Enemas. Not a pleasant topic for some, but they can be quite helpful. Intruders can’t be eliminated if the bowels are blocked up. Diluted GOOT and Children’s Composition can both be used for at-home enema solutions. Here are some instructions for a coffee enema. You can find other instructions online.

- Elderberry Syrup. Also the preferred treatment for the dreaded flu. This tastes really good and is easy to make. We bought our dried berries from Mountain Rose Herbs.

- Lemon Wrap. We haven’t tried this one, but next time someone gets a fever…

Some of you will probably notice that I didn't mention Echinacea. My husband is allergic to it! It's in the same family as ragweed, so he gets hay-fever symptoms when he takes it. Not pleasant.

These are just a few of the myriads of natural remedies available. Try some out and see what works for your family.  If you know of something I've missed, please leave a comment and tell me about it.

participating in Monday Mania

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Jan 25, 2012

Rachael's New Year Real Food Resolutions

Rachael's daughter is now 5yrs and the twin boys are 4yrs.
This post is written by my (Julie) best friend from Phoenix.  Rachael gave me my first kombucha scoby and is to be blamed one of the reasons I'm on a real food journey; she's an excellent mother of three preschoolers and is a preacher's wife.

Get the Junk (Back!) Out

We had been successful in ridding the pantry of all taboo (according to Nourishing Traditions) ingredients, but as time slips past, some of those no-no’s surreptitiously crept in again.  They all began as “just this once” or “I need to have something easy for Sunday while we wait for Daddy.”  Slowly but surely, they have become regulars.

The following items need to be eliminated again:

Packaged Snacks (with all sorts of heinous ingredients, I’m sure)
Too frequent desserts

To be successful I will need to get in the kitchen to prepare the alternatives.  This is where the real work begins, right?  To help me with my plight, my daughter needs to do a candida cleanse which will necessitate getting my tail in gear.  I MUST have something prepared to satisfy the 4-year-old, “But, Mommy, I NEED a snack!”

Removing the poor food choices is never enough though, is it?  I also need to:

Add the Good Stuff--CONSISTENTLY!

I have really good intentions, honestly I do.  But as they are wont to do, busy days come and we skip the cod liver oil “just this once--we’ll do it at dinner.”   Most of the following items have been a part of our healthy lifestyle in the past, but this Mama needs to get back on the wagon!  Here are some of the things I would like to add (and keep!) this year:

Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Vitamins and other supplements
Homemade, Soaked Bread
Kombucha for the children (Mama and Daddy have been hoarding it!)
At least one organ meat recipe that everyone loves (okay, tolerates would be sufficient)

Thankfully, my children help me remember their vitamins and cod liver oil, if I’ve been half-way regular in giving it to them.  I am blessed that all three of my preschoolers take their CLO right off the spoon!

The big theme that I’m seeing in these goals (and others for the new year) is that I need more routines and structure.  From cod liver oil to a regular baking day to having the children help tidy the house,
Rachael milks 3 goats for their family's raw milk.
Mama needs a routine.  And I need to stick with it!  I’ve never been much good at sticking to a system and maybe I should start out by figuring out why.  It may be that I try to overhaul my life in a single day or it could be that I don’t like being told what I have to do, even if I’m the one telling me!

If anyone out there has suggestions or what has worked for them, please leave a comment.


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Jan 22, 2012

Toddlers and Cod Liver Oil

Today I'm sharing a video of my toddler eating her fermented cod liver oil right off the spoon. It looks like chocolate but I promise it is cod liver oil. (If you're reading from email, click here to view it.)  My family takes fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture.  I aim for 5 days a week - sometimes it is more, usually it is less.  Consistently, it is the only supplement we take.

We've shared before reasons to take cod liver oil as well as methods. Cod liver oil contains key nutrients for brain development, most specifically it has ample amounts of fat-soluable vitamins A and D that aid the body in mineral absorption.

Because cod liver oil is actually food and not a man made supplement, you body can more readily absorb the vitamins in it. {synthetic supplements - think: round peg in a square hole}  If you are taking synthetic vitamin D, may I suggest trying cod liver oil?

Ramiel Nagel wrote a book called Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition (which can be found in the Central Arkansas Library System).  He gives convincing arguments that along with other things, cod liver oil can stop cavities and help teeth remineralize.  Check out his website for more info.

Antidotal evidence: a friend of mine had severe tooth pain one Friday afternoon and thought with certainty that she would need an emergency root canal Monday morning.  After some internet research, she decided to take large quantities of cod liver oil, hoping for relief.   I saw her Saturday morning in immense pain; she hardly talked and held her jaw the entire time. To her amazement she did not visit a dentist at all the next week and attributes the healing to cod liver oil.

To reiterate some of the things I learned at the Weston A Price annual conference:

- Vitamins A, D, and K are the activators for minerals.  A person cannot assimilate protein or calcium without vitamin A.  {Lori's post on Brain Pow-ah is expands a bit more on this.}

- Primitive diets contained 4 times the calcium and other minerals and 10 times the fat soluable vitamins compared to modern diet.

- Green grass that pastured animals eat makes vitamins A&K.  Vitamin D comes from the sun as well as from animals who have been in the sun.  It is so important to eat animals who have been on grass.

Since we have had a few cloudy days here in central Arkansas, I am motivated to give my family their cod liver oil every day this week.

Green Pasture did not compensate me to tell you about their cod liver oil.  I told you which brand because I thought someone would ask.

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Erin's Real Food Resolutions

This post is written by Erin, who has written articles before like Real Food Budget Tips, about her food journey in Small Beginnings: Where Do I Start? and the dangers of fluoride in Water, Water Everywhere and Nor Any Drop to Drink.  As a side note - Erin's husband, Paul, wrote a song called I Eat Real Food.
I have to keep things very simple when it comes to resolutions or I'll get discouraged and give up before I even get started.

My theme for resolutions this year is keep it simple and frugal.  So here are my simple kitchen resolutions for 2011:

1. Learn how to make (and start making!) my own yogurt.  I might try to make it in the crock pot.
2. Grow some of my own food, especially herbs
3. Stop using paper napkins and paper towels


Here's my update for 2012:

1.  I pretty much bombed with yogurt-making because I am constantly using my one crock pot for cooking chickens and stock.  However, I am picking up a new crockpot this week!
2.  I bought herbs but didn't get them planted soon enough--so they fried. :(  I will be attempting this one again.
3.  Success!  We have completely eliminated paper napkins.  I still keep a roll of paper towels around for emergencies, but I hardly ever use them.  I found this product to be a nice substitute.

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Jan 20, 2012

Where to Buy Locally Grown Food

Several people have included "eating local and in season" for their New Year's Real Food Resolutions.  Many of you are familiar with the summer farmers markets at the River Market, Hillcrest Market and my personal favorite in North Little Rock at Argenta.  Read the difference between the the River Market and Argenta here.  Unfortunately these markets do not open until April.

However, you may not know about a year-round, on-line farmers market option.  One option will deliver to your work place if you work at Blue Cross Blue Shield, UAMS, UALR, and ABC Financial Services.

Baby Steps
If you are not in the practice of buying locally grown food (or, you buy all your food at a store), take a baby step this week.  Look at an on-line market that works with your schedule.  Order something.  May I recommend pastured eggs?  They are a bit more expensive than their grocery store competitors but are packed with so much more goodness!  Read this post I wrote comparing eggs.  Pastured eggs are an inexpensive form of quality protein.  And did you know - eggs at the grocery store can be up to three months old?!  

On-line Farmers Markets
- downtown Little Rock - Saturday pick up 10am-noon order here.
- downtown Little Rock - Wednesday pick up 4:30-6pm order here.
- Around Little Rock - Wednesdays delivered to these work places: Blue Cross Blue Shield, UAMS, UALR, and ABC Financial Services. If you are not affiliated with any of these businesses, you can also place an order for pick up at Eggshells in the Heights or the Kitchen Co. in Pleasant Ridge, WLR.  Order here.

- Conway - Friday pick up 4-6pm order here.
- Russellville - Thursday pick up 4-6pm order here.


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Jan 18, 2012

Rita O'Kelley's Real Food Resolutions for 2012

Rita O'Kelley, former Weston A. Price chapter leader, has written in this space before.  A few of the topics include: where to start on a real food diet, fats do not make you fat and the short and skinny on sweets.  

And, remember - Thursday night is the Weight Loss Edition from 6-8pm at FamilyLife.  If you're thinking of going, be sure to let Dr. Bishop's office know.  Details here.
Goal: Eat “In Season”

When I began my “real food” journey in 1999…. I let my Irish spontaneity take me into “all in” hyper drive. I read Nourishing Traditions and got rid of ¾ of the “food” in my pantry and fridge. I realized I needed to take small, manageable bites… what to keep, what to absolutely stop or discard, what to try later.

In 2012… one month at a time, my goal is to learn what foods are “in season” in Arkansas, and more specifically in and around Little Rock not California, Florida, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and beyond.

We go to the store and buy whatever we want (usually) and it is there; albeit tasteless, picked prematurely, shipped ridiculous distances, and subjected to harsh road trips and mishandling.

Read those labels… see where it was born and raised, country or city-fied…. Sprayed or au naturale….green or ripe….USA or foreigner.

If it isn’t fresh, locally grown or “in season” right now, I am going to ever-so-slowly discipline myself to set aside “wants” and plan. Eating what is “now” means winter and requires discipline. In Arkansas there is not much grown or harvested Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb.

It will teach me to put up food for the winter, learn about my farmers and area, and quit expecting blueberries in January… or chicken if I have not bought chickens when harvested locally. I bought chickens. Yea!

January: winter squash, potatoes and onions stored from prior months, lettuces, herbs and other “green” foods grown in greenhouses by Arkansas Natural Produce and other local farms.

Here is link to what is available by month (general rule) in Arkansas.

Good luck and good planning! One day at a time… one month at a time.  Eat fresh and local.


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Jan 17, 2012

HB's Real Food Resolutions for 2012

This week we are continuing our series on Real Food Resolutions. Today's post is written by HB who has also shared with us her real cheese dip,  don't hate the okra, and the baby steps her family has taken on a real food diet.

1. Do less, be more.

I've been taking my family on this wonderful, crazy, challenging, totally un-American journey into real food for nearly two years now. It's time to stop trying new things and stick with the basics that are working. So, I am taking a big ole break from incorporating new recipes, making new beverages, and trying to convince my sweet hubster that spaghetti squash tastes just like Ronco pasta!! You know it does! :) I've finally figured out how to make delicious bread, granola, and many other recipes that fill our bellies and nourish our bods. For now, I'd like to take it easy, enjoy nutritious food and live a little outside my kitchen.

2. Get back to my food-budgeting roots.

My man and I got hitched in November of '03. For the first two years of our marriage, our food budget was less than $125 a month. Yes, it's true. We were squeaking!! It was awesome. Actually, I mean, it wasn't really awesome because we definitely ate some processed junk, but I loved the feeling that resulted from conquering the food budget. I was large and in charge and my man was happy. Seven years and three kids later, our food budget is way, way, way more than $125 a month. That figure just makes me laugh. I've given myself plenty of time to get used to eating real food and lots of wiggle room in the budget. Now that I've tackled feeding my family real food, it's time to take this budget DOWN! My goal is to cut it down by 40%. I know that seems extreme, but hey, if you're gonna set a goal, why not get crazy!?!?

Here are some ways that I plan to save some cizash:

buying wonderful pastured eggs from the farmer who gives me the best price. This is not super convenient, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.
ordering most of our organic produce from Azure Standard. Azure has already saved me a load of money. They have great products and dang good prices.
continue buying our meat in bulk. I buy our pork and chicken from Cove Creek Acres and our beef from Falling Sky Farm. I know these farmers personally and they are great people who work hard to bring the best grass fed meats to my table. Buying meat in bulk has saved me literally hundreds of dollars.
continue meal planning. I am a die hard menu planner. I love, love, love to plan a good menu. Makes mouths happy.
once-a-month cook what I can so that we have great meals prepared when we are pressed for time and tempted to eat out.
eat out less!!! My man and I are trying our darndest to not spend a dime on eating out for the entire month of January. So far, so good. Only 20 something days to go. That's not too bad, right? Right??? I've begun twitching slightly when we drive past Layla's on Rodney Parham. They miss me, I know they do.
ask my farmers if they will trade with me. I make lots of bread and am happy to trade. Making bread is easy. :) Shhhh...don't tell.
grow some seriously good veggies this summer. We had a garden last year and it was fabulous. My children snacked out of the garden until there was nothing left. We saved a ton of money by gardening.

I think that's all I'm resolved to do at the moment. When our children are older and don't need every single ounce of my attention and energy from the hours of 7 a.m. till 8 p.m., I will likely add some more food goals to my plate. Get it? :) For now, I'm enjoying feeding my family well, but mostly, I'm just enjoying my family. Happy New Year, friends!!!

Well, how did I do in 2011?

Thankfully, I was able to meet many of the goals I set for myself.

I brought our food budget down quite a bit, but not 40%. I would say it's down by about 15 to 20%. Since I posted last January, we have had the privilege of becoming foster parents for the state of Arkansas. We have a very hungry one year old in our home. Adding another real food eating, milk loving baby has definitely increased our food budget. I am convinced that feeding this little one nourishing food while he is in our home is more than worth any extra expense or time in the kitchen.

Though it may not be cheaper than the grocery store, my husband and I have decided to support Kellogg Valley Farms and buy a CSA basket.  Kellogg Valley grows local, chemical-free produce and getting chemicals out of my food is important.  Though I plant a garden, it just doesn't produce enough for our family.

Speaking of time in the kitchen, I have successfully spent less time in the kitchen this past year. My husband is happy and so am I.  Julie and I will continue our batch cooking extravaganzas, and I will continue with my basic standby recipes: oatmeal bakegranola, and soaked sandwich bread

As far as real food resolutions for this year, I plan to continue cutting back on eating out and make my mayonnaise taste less like olive oil and more like Miracle Whip. I know, don't cringe. I'll admit, I like Miracle Whip and so does my husband. I'll keep you all updated on any mayo making successes. 

After a few years of real fooding, I think I've finally come to a happy medium.  I am comfortable with my 80/20. Yes, there is almost always a bag of wavy Lay's potato chips in my pantry. There will always be a few things that I like and choose to eat even though it's not nourishing. The main staples of my family's diet are nourishing, whole foods. I encourage you all to embrace freedom and not perfection when it comes to real food. Each one of us can only do so much. Focus on what you can do, not on what you wish you could do, or what someone else seems to be doing.

Happy 2012!

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Jan 16, 2012

Maximized Living Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

In the 1980's I watched too much television.  Most of it I don't remember but one Oprah show stands out. The guest had lost a lot of weight.  A lot.  As in over three hundred pounds if I remember correctly.  When asked the key to success, the weight loss expert {I will call her an expert since she lost 300 lbs!} said using her long skinny fingers with red fingernail polish to articulate, "There are three.  You gotta eat.  You gotta breathe.  You gotta move."

In the twenty-five years since seeing that skinny woman on Oprah, I have heard many ways to eat, breathe and move in order to lose weight.   Not all of those ways are healthy or sustainable over time.  

One of the many things I like about eating a traditional diet, like the ones that Dr. Weston A. Price observed, is the fact that the food tastes great.  I really enjoy eating.  Breathing comes naturally.  Moving?  Well, my toddler wants me to hold her most of the day.  That 25 pounds counts as weight training, doesn't it?  :)

Being the first of the year, many people are resolved to lose weight.  Below is an opportunity to learn healthy, practical, sustainable ways to loose weight and keep it off.  I will be there THIS Thursday, representing the Weston A. Price Foundation at a table.  There will be other vendors there as well.  I would love to see you there, too.  Tell your friends - especially those who are in the beginning stages of wanting to live healthier.


Dr. Traci Bishop, Doctor of Chiropractic, and her staff at Natural State Health Center invite you to the Maximized Living Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

THIS Thursday, January 19, from 6-8pm will be a free night of learning.  The event will be held at FamilyLife just off Highway 10 at 5800 Ranch Drive.  

Dr. Bishop will share how eating real food and taking care of your health can lead you to not only a much better looking body but also overall mental, physical, and better emotional health for 2012. 

Specific topics Dr. Bishop will cover:

- Why your body needs fat (yes…needs) them in order to function properly.  Throw that skim milk and soy milk out the window. Your body needs healthy fats plus they keep you feeling fuller longer.

- Working out in just 12 minutes a day can actually transform your body composition, get you in shape, and keep you healthy.  Spending an hour at the gym is NOT necessary.  Dr. Bishop will talk about the WHY and HOW this can happen.

- Lose weight eating real food. You don’t have to starve yourself, you don’t have to eat a bunch of pre-made processed foods from some program, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just a couple salads. 

Knowledge is power and by simply learning ways to improve your lifestyle then you can make better choices.

So join us Thursday night from 6-8pm at FamilyLife to learn some things about health you have never known or have maybe been taught wrongly about. Learn how to take care of the body you have been given. It’s a new year and it can be a better you! 

For questions and/or to sign-up you and your friends, call the Natural State Health Center at 501.224.1224 or email Jordan.NaturalStateHealth AT gmail DOT com 

Dr. Bishop (left, front row) and her staff.

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Jan 13, 2012

New Year's Real Food Resolutions

This post is written by Christy K.

My family has been eating real food for a while, but there are always areas that we can improve upon.  Here are some changes I'd like to see in the coming months:

Plan ahead for meals away from home.

This is a big hurdle for me.  I really enjoy eating out, if only because someone else is doing the cooking!  Usually though, this is lunches for my husband.  But just this step would:

1. Save money
2. Provide better nutrition than restaurant meals and/or junk food
3. Avoid re-introducing foods that are addictive, like sugar and white flour


1. Seek out some healthy foods that can be bought easily and inexpensively if we can't make it home to eat, and keep some cups, napkins, etc. in the car.
2. Keep some individual portions of food or sandwiches in the freezer which will thaw quickly and make a good meal on the run.
3. Keep a few cans of tuna or salmon that can quickly be made into a salad to either put on homemade crackers or bread, or eaten with a fork.
4. Send a thermos of raw milk to work with hubby, and another thermos of hot soup or other leftovers.  

Be faithful to take supplements.

Even though I think taking supplements is necessary because of soil mineral depletion, I am prone to skipping them when I don't feel like taking them.  We take High-Vitamin Cod Liver Oil and an iodine supplement, but need to add in more minerals (possibly Concentrace and nettles) which would be added to soups.  I'm also considering desiccated liver since we don't care much for organ meats.

Find or create a sourdough bread recipe that we enjoy. 

This has eluded me for years!  But I haven't given up and recently purchased a sourdough starter from Cultures for Health to try in place of my homemade (too sour) starters.

Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less WorkKeep a sufficient quantity of lettuce growing in my garden year round. 

I have lettuce in my garden right now - but not enough.  So what do I do?  I buy organic lettuce.  I can't bear to wipe out my salad garden for one meal!  Silly, huh?  Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew has been great inspiration!

Writing out these goals has been a great way to force myself to think through the best way to accomplish them. Isn’t that the first step? And there is nothing like having a way to look back and see how far we’ve come!


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Jan 11, 2012

New Year's Real Food Resolutions

Last January in this space, we posted New Year's Resolutions for real people, striving to eat real food.  In the 365 days since, new readers have joined us so I have decided to re-post the Real Food Resolutions.  The first in this series was written by yours truly.  I will post the others over the next couple of weeks.

Every year when the new year rolls around I like to make lists of resolutions but *dad*gum*it* I can't keep up with half of them.

Today I'm posting my real food resolutions for 2011.  I'm loosely following Kimi's four wise tips for success and participating in her carnival:
 - make baby step goals
 - make goals very specific
 - don't plan a whole year
 - make one goal per month

That said, the first two resolutions I tried implementing last year and dropped the ball more than once.

1. Take fermented cod liver oil at least 5 days a week.  Seven would be great.  Five is realistic. Read here for tips to get it down.

2. Eat a fermented food with every meal.

This resolution was inspired by Little Rock's Weston A Price chapter leader, Lisa Lipe.  Lacto-fermented foods introduce beneficial bacteria and enzymes that helps your gut digest food, among other things.

Lisa says she doesn't always plan a fermented food with each meal, but more likely just pulls out jars of lacto-fermented condiments and has them on the table for each person's personal choosings.  I'm thankful that my family enjoys kombucha, a fizzy lacto-fermented drink.  Other fermented options could be: yogurt, kefir, raw dairy, lacto-fermented mayonnaise, radish relish, sauerkraut or kimchi.  With lacto-fermented condiments, a little bit goes a long way.  A couple of tablespoons is sufficient for beneficial results.

Two new resolutions for 2011:

3. Buygrain mill (with Christmas money) and use it.

I've been wanting to buy one for a while but not had the cuh-za$h. A friend of mine with a grain mill and has been grinding grain for me.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)4. Eat seasonally and locally.

The book that inspired me to think seasonally and eat locally was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  It ranks in the upper echelon on the list of books that have changed my life.  Another book my husband read recently, that resonated with both of us, is What Are People For? by Wendell Berry.

Eating seasonally and locally will be the hardest resolution to fulfill.  It will require forethought, planning, and self-control.  Because it is such a paradigm shift - I am not resolving to exclusively eat seasonally and locally. I have been thinking about this resolution for a couple of years and trying to take baby steps to get there.  My specific resolution: I will strive to have at least one meal a week that is exclusively local and supplement every meal with something grown locally.  The typical farmers markets are shut down for the winter but I can still buy locally through the Arkansas Sustainability Network (ASN) food club.  I love shopping the markets in the summer!

Bonus Resolution {shooting for the stars here, this one will most likely happen in 2012}

Learn how to make awesome soaked, sprouted, or sourdough bread.

Bread making the traditional way seems to be daunting.  I have wanted to do it for a long time and is one of my last holdouts.

Stay tuned for more resolutions from others who write for Real Food in Little Rock.


Click here if you'd like to read other baby steps my family has taken on our real food journey.  Or this article written by my husband (to wives) on how to get your man to eat real food.


2012 Resolutions
I have not written new resolutions for this year, I will continue working on the ones above.  With joy, I am able to report that my family was able to keep up with most of the resolutions.  I bought a grain mill - that one was easy!  

After attending the Weston A. Price conference in November and learning about the incredible benefits of lacto-fermented foods, I was resolved even more to keep adding the lacto-fermented foods to our plate.  

In 2012 I want to strive to do better with eating locally and seasonally.  I have invested in a half-share of Kellogg Valley's CSA. He has more shares available if you are interested.

As for the bread, I have been experimenting with Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It is not sprouted, or soaked (in the traditional sense) but it is easy to squeeze into my crazy life and much better than store-bought bread.  This bread falls into my unhealthy 20% of the 80/20.  I can't do it all.  I don't do it all.

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Jan 3, 2012

Batch Cooking: The Menu

not pictured: french onion soup & burritos
It is super fun to cook with your best friend.  We emailed back and forth for a few days about what recipes we would use, based on each family's preferences, what we have been eating lately, as well as what we had on hand.

We were able to create seven different recipes, the most diversity we've ever had.  This was possible because of the work we did in advance and we were in the kitchen for 5.5 hours on cooking day, but most of all because my best gal pal is organized and keeps me on track.  Seriously, I could not have done all of this by myself!

The Seven Recipes
1. Taco Soup with chicken - similar to this but of course we tweaked it.
2. Mexican Cheesy Chicken - to be served over rice - the recipe is basically cheese, cream, chicken, tomatoes and peppers.  You can add broth if it gets too thick.
3. Chicken Corn Chowder - similar to this and this; we used potatoes, milk and cream instead of broth, and didn't add cheese.
4. Chicken Pot Pie
5. Pizza Sauce - tomato sauce and paste, lots of fresh thyme, dried basil and fresh minced garlic warmed in a crock pot for several hours.
6. Burritos - chicken, beef and pork - 24 total, 12 for each family.
7. French Onion Soup (a la Julia Child)

We each took home 14 generous meals (with side dishes to make leftovers it will go further to maybe 20 meals).  Plus pizza sauce for 4 nights of pizza; we both make two pizzas once a week.  This is a total of at least 18 nights of no cooking, just thawing what is in the freezer.

-Julie for HB

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Jan 2, 2012

How to Roll and Package a Burrito

For our batch cooking days, HB is really the master mind behind it all.  I'm just the grunt.  Whatever she tells me, I do.  She plans the menu (with feedback from me) then makes the grocery list and best of all tells me what to do on cooking days (which is welcomed!).  She is quite the cruise director.  Without her my life would be directionless and I most definitely wouldn't attempt to cook as much as we did.

Below she is filling a burrito while chatting away with friends sitting at the bar.  She is an extrovert's extrovert.  How she multi-tasks like she does, I don't know.  I'm doing good just to get pictures taken.  (Please notice pictures of the cute little Santa Baby - that was seven years ago!!)

She set out all the ingredients and put a few on the tortilla at a time.  I suggested dumping it all in a bowl and scooping portions from the bowl.   Never question the Cruise Director.  Her ways are good best.

Ingredients: meat (carnitas, chicken, or beef), fresh tomatoes, corn, shredded cheese, grilled onions, grilled peppers, and black beans.  We didn't use rice because the Cruise Director says that rice in burritos turns to water after being frozen.  And yes, we used Mission Tortillas as part of our unhealthy 20%.
And this is how you fold:
note: below the first rolling end is narrower. 

She rolled them individually in foil.  To reheat - slather with butter (this makes the outer shell crispy!) and reheat at 350* until warmed through, about 15-25 minutes.
I served ours with sour cream and lacto-fermented radish relish.  Avocado would have been yum but they all looked gross at the Kro-ga.


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For the non-Spanish speaker, carnitas literally means little meats.  But if you like to eat Mexican food, you probably know it is pork.

Here's is HB's carnitas recipe that she used in burritos for our most recent batch cooking day.  (Go here to see how she rolls the burritos.)  It tastes a tiny bit sweet even though there is no sugar in it; the cinnamon fools your taste buds.   It is delicious.

Pork Carnitas

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
about four pounds pork chops (locally grown is best!)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups water

Cook on low in the crock pot until the meat shreds easily.

-Julie for HB

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