This is the first post I’ve made in while, but finally I’ve been able to get back to my blog. Apart from building websites for other people, working on building a new business with my partner and managing a few clients, life has just been busy. I’m sure you can all relate to that
Oh, and I got all my hair cut off too as you can see.
Anyway, recently I have had a ‘shift’ in my approach to feeding the family. This shift has been building over the last 12 months as I became less and less satisfied with the amount of ‘processed’ food we were eating. In particular the many packets of biscuits, chips, snacks, breakfast cereals and more that were being consumed.
Honestly, have you tasted a rice cracker? They would have to be the equivalent of eating cardboard with buckets of salt and other foul tasting ‘flavours’ sprinkled on top. I think it was my eldest son’s incessant consumption of these that was the final straw.
This, combined with the fact that ingredient labels seem to be getting longer. Some of these read more like a ‘War and Peace’ than a food item. And usually the longer the ingredient list, the more likely it is that the the ‘food’ contains chemicals, not ingredients. So I guess there should really be two lists – the Ingredient List plus the Chemical List.
Actually, in a past life I was an Industrial Chemist so I can understand a little about what goes on with some of these ‘ingredients”. The thought of some of them passing our lips and ending up in our stomachs was far from appealing.
Finally, I reached a point where I decided enough was enough. Although sometimes it is far quicker and easier to grab for a ‘packet’, I knew it was time to change the family diet for all of our sakes. Besides, I only have a limited window to educate the kids about ‘real food’ and then they can make their own decisions. Hopefully my guidance will help them make the right ones that will benefit their health in the long run.
While we were camping at Bargara Beach over Easter, I finally read the book ‘Nourishing Traditions’ (my sister gave it to me as a birthday gift last year) – what an eye opener! The subtitle for this book is ” The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats” which pretty much says it all. And there are a lot more people than just ‘little old me’ interested in what the book has to say – it is in the top 200 books for all Amazon books.
The more I read of the book, the greater became my resolve to change what and how we were eating. The good thing is, it not only provided information on ‘why’ to change your diet, but also ‘how’ with hundreds of recipes included.
Now, I must admit that althoug at first I was on my high horse and ready to banish all prcessed foods from our lives, I’ve come back down to reality a little since then. Not in the least because two of my most valuable resources when feeding the family – time and money – are limited.
We all know that cooking from scratch takes more time than opening a packet. Further, it requires some time for planning and shopping to ensure all ingredients are on hand. The planning is critical for keeping costs down as well. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients used in ‘Nourishing Traditions’ aren’t ones that are easily picked up at the supermarket. And when you find a retailer (online or offline) the cost for many items can be prohibitive when feeding a family of 5.
Nonetheless, I was determined to start making some changes. Once I started doing a bit more research, I discovered Cyndi O’Meara, author of another great book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’. The good thing about Cyndi is she’s local (lives just north of me on the Sunshine Coast) so she speaks my language a bit more. Also, while her principles pretty much mirror those in ‘Nourishing Traditions’, it’s a little less ‘hard line’ and encourages us to change our habits one at a time towards a better diet.
As a result of reading both books, I have already made the following changes in our ‘food’ lives:
- No more microwave (selling it on eBay);
- Using only cold pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and macadamia oil in cooking. All others (including sprays) have gone in the bin;
- Margarine – in the bin and never to be purchased again. (I actually read to my kids how this is made and they vowed to never touch it again. It’s horrifying.) Now using only cultured butter.
- Buying Maleny Dairies pasteurised only milk (not homogenised). It’s a little more expensive but it’s delicious and has the ‘cream’ on top.
- Invested in a Bread Maker ($35 second hand from Gumtree) and primarily make all our bread now (that’s it to the right).
- Baked from scratch treats only – no packets or ‘bakery’ items allowed!
- Purchasing ‘organic’ wherever possible, but unfortunately this is limited quite a bit by budget.
- Experimenting with different flours for baked goods, pasta and noodles.
- Making my own yoghurt from scratch (this is soooo easy and the taste is great – not nearly as tart);
- Using natural sweeteners as much as possible – Rapadura sugar, raw honey and maple syrup; and,
- Slowly clearing the pantry out of all the processed things that are lurking in there.
So, while I have a way to go, I know that these are all positive steps in improving our diet. Each day if there are less chemicals and less processed foods passing our lips, it can only be better for our health.
Personally I am already feeling the benefits and am a lot more energetic. My body doesn’t feel sluggish and I’m enjoying all the new recipes, particularly making things like bread and yoghurt from scratch.
I look forward to sharing lots of new ideas, tips, information and recipes with you as my family progresses in this journey. Hopefully it will also inspire you to make some changes in your families eating habits too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on these changes to our eating habits. Please leave them below, or on Facebook.