When I started my journey towards self-sufficiency, I took a good look at the food we were putting into our bodies. Trust me, I have definitely done my share of budget shopping, trying to save money for the family, telling myself that the sacrifices made will pay off in the end.
As I am finding – NOT TRUE. Whoops. For the last couple of years, we have surely been trying to utilize more fresh foods here in the Northwest, especially in the summer months. Sadly, though, I was still buying the occasional “quick & convenient” foods that seem so necessary after those long shifts working at the hospital. You know what I’m talking about. Taquitos, burritos, Top Ramen… What?! Yes. Top Ramen – Have you not tried it with eggs and a spicy peanut sauce? Now that’s tasty dollar food! Ugh. Ok, so back to where I was heading…
I have always looked forward to my yearly canning of jams, jellies, preserves, pickles, and such – but last year, I became a tad bit fanatical about it. I became that person – “What? You have extra (insert ANY fruit/vegetable here)? I’ll take it! Nope, I don’t know what I will do with it – But I will do SOMETHING with it!” I’m sure you know what happened next. Zucchini. Yep, I didn’t turn that down either. 20lbs of that green fruit later (yep, it’s a fruit!) – zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini cake, zucchini relish, pickled curried zucchini pickles… YUM! Ok, I digress once again. My point being, I had adjusted my perspective on food little by little – and gained such a stronger appreciation of where it came from. Why would I let it go to waste when there was certainly something I could do with it? And why would I continue to put that crap food into our bodies when we have such amazing options before us?
My outlook changed even further after purchasing the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.
As the book description on Amazon.com reads:
“This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diets, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.” (Amazon..com)
Whoa. Heavy stuff, right? A tad mind-blowing? I thought so. I can finally eat the foods I actually enjoy, look forward to eating. REAL food. Trust me, it was quite an adjustment. That nonfat yogurt I live on for breakfast? Full of chemicals. Diet soda? Crap. Store-bought processed milk? Yup, processed. Zapped of major nutritional value. Yikes! Who’d of thunk?!
So what did I do? I’ll be honest – we are still working the kinks out. Since I have still been trying to be budget-conscious, I just couldn’t bring myself to toss out my entire kitchen , so I have been slowly purging using up what we have, little by little. I have also changed my grocery shopping process – I no longer do all of my shopping at Safeway and Costco, only some of it. I try to purchase the majority of our fruits and veggies locally, until our garden starts producing more (still a bit early for us – it is our garden’s first year, you know!). We have joined our local co-op: When we were still in Oly, we were members of the Olympia Food Co-Op, but since our move, we changed over to the Yelm Food Co-Op. There, I purchase raw milk, raw cheeses, produce, bulk grains, eggs, and even wine! Yes!! Wine!!! More recently, I have found a great gal down the road from us that sells me eggs – but only until our ladies start laying (soon, we hope!). And as of last week, I have started purchasing raw (grass-fed) cow milk from the family we bought our cows from – SUPER score! From this milk, I can now make our own (chemical-free) yogurt, sour cream, butter, etc. Honestly, my options are endless – I feel so spoiled! On off-season when it is hard to find fresh organic produce, we use our Thrive foods (freeze-dried, natural, shelf-stable) that Micky and I recently started selling (www.mickandmel.thrivelife.com). I have also consistently been making our own bread and granola bars once or twice a week – as well as transitioning to a completely homemade, processed-free diet. I won’t lie – it does take more effort – but well worth it! It simply just takes more planning to squeeze it all in.
As I say, if it is important to you, you will make it happen!
I’m not perfect – I can’t follow this all of the time. But I also have enough going on that I can’t stress myself out over something like a diet. I strictly follow the 80/20 rule – or 90/10 or 70/30 rule (it really depends on the day…). Meaning 80% of the time, I work hard to follow a Traditional Foods way of eating, but understand that 20% of “fluff” isn’t going to ruin me – you know, date night out, treats with the kids, etc. Otherwise, I would drive myself batty with guilt if I have an off-day. I also don’t expect my kids to give up everything they love as well – root beer floats, frozen yogurt shops, cupcakes at birthday parties, etc. But if we have those treats at home, I just make it from scratch using whole ingredients – Tell me that homemade vanilla ice cream for that root beer float sounds terrible. Really.
Tomorrow is bread day and kombucha bottling day – two of my favorites. Happy girl here! I am hoping to actually get some decent pics this time to share!
Take care – and happy eating! 🙂