May 12, 2009

How we eat

I got to thinking that there may be a group of people that read this blog that have no idea what I'm talking about in regard to my food preparation practices. Just after my 3 year old was born, I bought a book called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This is a huge, Bible-like book and is written based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price. You can read more about him here.

Now it seems to be all over- so many of the blogs and websites I read have lots of information about this way of eating. One of the best places to go and learn more about it is in the left sidebar under 'Websites I like'- The Nourishing Gourmet.

Nourishing Traditions seems daunting and confusing, but it is really up to the individual how to implement it. The basic premise of this book is eating in the way that our ancestors did, the traditional way. When looking back over history, you find that there had to be a way to preserve food without refrigeration. Many of these practices have been lost through, er, progress.

People used to ferment everything- vegetables, dairy, beverages and meats, and even bread. (sourdough) What we find is that this fermentation method actually makes the nutrients in the food much more digestible and available to the body for use. Plus they are loaded with the friendly immune boosting bacteria we have in our guts.

Also, there weren't refined flours, sugars or oils. In fact, people used to eat a lot of saturated fat. Only until the early part of the 20th century did heart disease become so rampant. This is when vegetable shortening came on the scene. Traditional fats from animals are actually good for you. People drank milk straight from the animal, no pasteurization or homogenizing. Most of the produce was organic. People made soup from the bones of animals and water. Bone broth is loaded with minerals and anti-oxidants.

Another less well known practice was to soak whole grains in an acid medium to neutralize something called phytates. Apparently these phytates in grains, when eaten, bind to the minerals and vitamins in the grain, and you can't absorb them. It just goes out with the waste. So when you read the label of something whole grain and it tells you how much of what vitamin is in there, you aren't actually going to get that in your body. Unless grains are prepared properly, they just won't break down. Same thing goes with legumes and nuts- gotta soak them to release the goodies. To me this is the hardest thing to do, because you have to think ahead.

So, how do we do this?

Well, back when I was consistenly living by these principles this is what I did. I made whole wheat sourdough bread- three loaves at once. I loved it, but the kids weren't overjoyed. I made sure to always soak our beans or sprout them, and soak our oatmeal for breakfast. We ate real butter, virgin coconut oil, the fat with our meats, some olive oil and whole raw milk. I made kefir, a cultured milk drink, yogurt, and kombucha, another cultured drink made from tea. I made fermented saurkraut and cucumbers. I made all the salad dressings homemade and we used natural sweeteners.

Things I did not do: buy organic, too expensive; I used whole wheat pasta from store; I used regular cheese and meat from the grocery store- no money for raw cheese and pastured meats; I used some unbleached flour for a few things and allowed things like graham crackers; sometimes I bought all natural peanut butter, but I bought regular too; I drank organic coffee and used real cream and white sugar to sweeten it, children drank juice from frozen concentrate.

So, it isn't all or nothing. Right now, I am doing most of the above things. I've been buying raw milk, raw honey, good eggs, soaking our grains, working on the sourdough, make the cultured drinks etc. I can now buy more organic because more is available and it's not much more expensive and we have a garden going now. But, I have a lot of processed stuff in my cupboards because it's easier for the morning rush of making lunches etc. But, it will go soon.

For instance, today my children ate the best quality oatmeal I can get, that had been soaked in water and buttermilk for almost 24hrs. This gives it a slightly sour taste, but is good to me. I topped it with raw honey, cinnamon and a slab of butter. Raw milk to drink.

Snacks were some cheese we bought in Wisconsin and some juice.

Lunch was homemade cheese sauce with tuna mixed in on top of whole wheat pasta and canned mandarin oranges. I baked some cookies this morning that I had soaked the dough yesterday. (experiment)

Later for snacks, since we're running low on some things, will be animal crackers etc. I will eat raw almonds and dried mixed berries and some more milk.

Dinner is creamy chicken soup (I have a large pot of chicken stock cooling) and unsoaked biscuits. (forgot)

I timed myself and it only took me about 5-10 minutes to get my grains soaking yesterday. Last night as soon as dinner was done I just plopped my chicken carcass into a stock pot, added half an onion and covered with water. I brought to a simmer, and covered it, and let it go on low all night.

It took about 15 minutes to make lunch- boiled the pasta, drained it, made the sauce in same pot, toss together. It's just about getting used to thinking ahead really.

We also take cod liver oil, kelp and probiotic pills as well.

So, that's how we do it. I could probably be much more stringent with the diet, but why? I feel comfortable with what I'm doing- it's a good compromise. Someday we'll have our own chickens and maybe a milk cow. Someday we'll grow large gardens I can freeze and can. But right now this is it.

And I don't flip out if the kids have to eat cereal in a hurry or get some candy. We do the best we can. God is our source and our sustenance overall.


Saved Sinner said...

I probably do things fairly similar to you. I know a lot of people say Nourishing Traditions is too complicated or expensive but it just depends on which bits you choose to do. How did the soaked cookies come out? Any chance of you posting the recipe if they came out well?

Mary said...

Thank you for posting this! I too always found the NT way of food prep to be confusing and having little sense behind it. I never gave it much thought, because I always read about people falling off the NT wagon, so to speak. Kind of like falling off a weight loss diet. Your explanations really helped. It makes me wonder how any of us are surviving on the stuff we eat! I need to go get the NT book from the library and give it another look!

My daughter does not eat meat, among other things, I follow a clean diet, no pesticides, refined processed food of any kind. My dh eats all the junk he can get! LOL Making dinner is time consuming around here!