Sunday, July 19, 2009

we've come a long way, baby

It's been nearly a year since I wrote this post. I had just begun to think about the way we eat as a culture, and I was determined to make some changes. How little did I know where it would lead me! Had I known, I might never have screwed up the courage to begin.

But I did begin, with little steps like giving up my adored JIF peanut butter, and cutting refined sugar out of our family's diet (no easy task - read the labels and you'll see). Jeff and I read "The Maker's Diet" by Jordan Rubin, which completely revolutionized the way we view food. We started frequenting the local farmers' market that summer, and discovered a source for grass-fed beef. I also discovered "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon, and the Weston A. Price Foundation. We began to buy and drink raw milk. Each of these steps has been significant in my journey.

The objective? To make wise choices for my family. To not simply give lip service to the fact that the "bad stuff" is bad, but to stop buying it. To advocate for my children in a culture so swayed by convenience and bad advice.

My pantry today looks very different than it did a year ago. Gone are the fruit snacks and the Ritz Bits. Cereal bars are a very occasional treat, and even then they are carefully chosen from the supermarket shelf. There are much fewer pre-packaged foods, and many more bags of nuts, dry beans, quinoa, millet, rice, and flour. The refrigerator also looks different. I keep whey, raw milk, homemade yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, kombucha, and a perpetual bottle of home made oil-and-vinegar salad dressing. Our freezers are stuffed with a quarter of beef, gallon-sized bags of frozen local berries, and whole chickens.

I don't buy 100% organic. I'd like to, but I can't quite swing it at the moment, in terms of the budget. Still, it is important to me, and I think I manage pretty well. I make educated choices and do my best. But even more than organic, my goal is to serve my family whole foods - and in ways that are most easily used by our bodies. This is not a new concept. The people in societies of old historically knew those methods which would make food the most easily digestible and healthful. Methods like soaking grains, and letting cows eat grass as much as possible. They accepted the fact that butter is good for us! It has been so eye-opening to learn about what makes food healthy, and so freeing so turn away from the mantra of convenience and low-fat diets which we've been hearing for the past 60 years.

So eating whole, traditional, real food has become the new way in our house. It's been quite a year, but I wouldn't trade this journey for anything! My family certainly doesn't eat perfectly, and we're still learning. The biggest challenge has been finding a way to keep the balance when we're away from home. Culture's influence is strong, but my hope is that the boys will see the value in our "food ideals," and adopt them for their own one day. In the meantime, I'm working toward giving them the best chances I can for a long and healthful life.


Molly said...

Eating better is such a commitment (even though the benefits are SO worth it!) and I think what you've done in a year is nothing short of amazing. You inspire me!

Anonymous said...

Have you been reading Michael Pollan too? I enjoyed the concept of Edible Food-like Substances: our grocery stores are filled with them, and everyone just thinks this is okay?
-(Breakfasty) Michele

Mindy said...

Hi Michele! :)

I've ready some Michael Pollan - I started "The Omnivore's Dilemma" - but it was slow going for me, for some reason, and I ended up reading the other book I had checked out (Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle" - awesome read!) instead. They both had holds on them at the library so I knew I wouldn't be able to renew. But I'd like to tackle it again! Jeff and I recently watched the documentary "King Corn," and it matched up perfectly with what I'd read in "The Omnivore's Dilemma."