There are many things that can be done. As I mentioned last time, soaking grains, sprouting, lacto-fermentation, cultures galore. ;) But, for right now, we have started simple. These are some of the guidelines we try to follow...
Basically we eat all our food as close to the way God made it/meant it as possible. For instance, instead of processed grains, we eat whole grains...non-processed (when we eat them...more on that below). Fresh is always best when talking about fruits and vegetables (as opposed to canned). Everything as close to its natural state as possible, bottom line.
Beef and chicken (and other meats/animal products) should be:
--grass-fed (cattle, sheep, goats, and game)...raised on grass and hay as opposed to grain, corn, soybeans, or something called 'sorghum silage'
--pastured (applies to pork, poultry, and eggs)...'grass-fed' bacon and eggs is not correct, because a diet of grass is not enough for these omnivores; they eat corn, insects, and sour milk as well as grass, but the point is that they are not held in cages/houses, but are free to roam pasture
--organic...means the food was produced without synthetic fertilizer, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, and irradiation; but, does not mean that the animals were grass-fed or pastured, so be careful; and the label natural says nothing about the animal's diet either; according to the USDA, "all fresh meat" qualifies as "natural;" just watch your labels
We use raw milk. Yes, yes...I know it's controversial. But, before you speak evil of it, do lots and lots of research on both sides like I did. Just be assured, we've researched and have made an educated decision. Also, raw cheese is good, but basically I don't know anything about raw cheese just yet. I know that it can be controversial too, but not sure if it's outlawed like raw milk is in some states there. Here, raw milk is very, very simple to get (is brought to my door) and much cheaper than store-bought (don't hate me, raw milk enthusiasts). ;) And, you can make your own cheese of course. But, even if you don't, don't get the lowfat/nonfat kind at least. As close to its natural state as possible. Key phrase. And with the milk, if you can't get raw milk, or don't want to go the raw milk route, it is possible to find milk that has been pasteurized (process of heating liquids for the purpose of destroying bacteria, protozoa, molds, and yeasts) but not homogenized (The fat in milk normally separates from the water and collects at the top. Homogenization is the process of breaking up that fat into smaller sizes so that it no longer separates from the milk, allowing the sale of non-separating 2% and whole milk. This is accomplished by forcing the milk at high pressure through small orifices.). And, even if you buy pasteurized and homogenized milk, again, stay away from the non-natural lowfat/nonfat.
Fats...we aren't afraid of them. But, they must be in their natural state of course. Nuts, butter, cream, etc. All of these things are good for you. Yes...they really are. YAY! ;) The truth is that if you eat these foods, you are more full and more satisfied for longer...and you aren't unsatisfied, roaming through the pantry for something to snack on all the time. Truly...it really does work.
Imitation...don't do it. For instance, margarine is imitation butter. Soy ice cream is imitation ice cream. We stick to the original (which is better for you). Interesting interview about this (and more) here.
Junk...we limit big-time. Occasionally we have a treat. But, that's not even an everyday thing. Water has always been our main drink. So, no soda in the house. Occasionally I'll make some sweet tea (rarely actually...because I love it and am emotionally attached...hahaha...and it's just better not to have that temptation in the fridge) and when we go out to eat sometimes we get soda. Sweets/candy are super limited. Sometimes for afternoon snack, the kids will get a couple of little cookies along with their fruit or popcorn. But, not everyday and not many. As close to its natural state as possible. Store-bought cookies are pretty processed obviously. Homemade cookies are better of course, but still aren't the ideal, everyday snack in my opinion. Sometimes, but not every day.
Bottom line...we just try to stay away from processed foods and stick with whole foods in their natural state.
My usual day's menu...
Breakfast: 2 egg omelet with tomatoes, onions, salt, and cheese with 2-4 pieces of bacon on the side (mostly 2...but sometimes 4 :))...or another version of the omelet is with tomatoes, onions, chicken, cilantro, salt, and cheese...yum! I don't usually eat right away after waking up...never have. If I'm going to work out before breakfast (which I usually do), sometimes I'll have a banana beforehand. This breakfast fills me up until lunchtime...and I usually eat lunch after the kids actually, so around 1-2pm.
Lunch: HUGE salad. Seriously huge. Lots of lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, bacon pieces, yogurt (natural of course...no sugar, full fat...plain yogurt replaces sour cream for us), and Tabasco. Yep...and it's SOOOO good.
Snack/Supper: I usually eat pretty light the rest of the day. Just not hungry because the wonderful, filling breakfast and lunch were enough. Sometimes I have a protein powder shake (made with yogurt), sometimes just some cashews, sometimes another salad for supper. If I have a hankering for anything 'treaty' I have a cup of tea (lemongrass, mint, etc.) sweetened with honey. Yum.
And that's it. Joel and the kids eat a little differently usually, but still really simply. Granola or oatmeal or eggs for breakfast, rice and beans or a grilled meat and rice and veggie for lunch, sandwiches for supper...and tons of fruit and veggies. I generally don't eat grains. And even the kids don't always eat them. Basically because from what I've read, they just really aren't that necessary. And, actually are considered unhealthy and warned against by some. But, what? Even Jesus ate grains. True. But I found this great post on the matter by a nutritional consultant.
IF you are going to eat grains though, how should you prepare them? As that site said, they need to be prepared a certain way. This is a great article on preparing grains...and of course you can google and find out more. I mean, who knew this?!? For years we've been preparing (or not preparing) grains a certain way...but then again, look at the health of our country. Yikes. Time to make some changes, folks.
Now, will I be eating some Oreos when I get to the United States next week? Yes...a few at least. Will I have Mexican, Chick-Fil-A, Bodacious, Munchbox, sweet tea, and Granny Hough's PB&J (best sandwich in the world) on white bread? Yes...yes I will. The lifestyle of all of this allows for occasionally having things like this...it's just that my 'occasional' is all crammed into 2 weeks in the states. ;) Just be forewarned when you see the Facebook statuses...that's all.
But, I am so very at peace. This is the way it should be. This is a normal lifestyle. This is health. With all that I've been learning about this and through my time of Lent/concentrated time with God, something has been changed. I am a new creature with my mind renewed in the area of food. Thank the Lord. My kids will grow up in this health and will be better off for it. I'm still learning and it is definitely a process. We're not at all perfect in this area, but getting closer and closer all the time is the goal. ;)
What can you do to get started? For one thing, look at all these fabulous sites and books that I've linked to in these past few posts (2 more: 1) Can't remember if I said that you need to watch Food, Inc., but if you haven't you need to...there are other similar documentaries/books on the subject too, and 2) Here is another good site that I ran across recently...check it out). And, here is a simple list by Michael Pollan that was given in this article (the whole article is good):
1. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
And lastly, the first part of a great series. Click on YouTube and watch the rest of the series...great stuff.
Thoughts? Hope this has been helpful and I truly hope that we can all live more healthfully. Do your research. Put those things into place. And live a better life. I know I plan to. ;)