Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How we eat healthy....

I make a very conscious effort to feed my family as naturally as possible. I do not, however, buy organic (simply because I can't justify the cost). I prefer to call our eating style authentic. I shop locally, utilizing a great butcher shop, dairy, and farmstand that are all located within ten minutes of my home. I love the fact that I know where our food is coming from and I really appreciate being able to support local farmers.
I do have to supplement from traditional grocery stores with things like: cereal, "snacks", juices, pantry staples, etc. When I do this, I buy very selectively. I avoid trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and generally anything that appears to be concocted in a labaratory. I have found that even if labels suggest that there are no "trans fats" or are "all natural", this can be very deceiving (legally they can claim 0 trans fats if there are less than .5g per serving). I just read today that even if 2% of daily calories include trans fats, the result is a 23% increase in heart disease! I read each list of ingredients before buying a product. Before you think I am the picture of health, I do this so that we only have healthy choices at home....last week we "inherited" some chips and starburst...and guess who ate most of them?? I have no self-control unless the junk is not around!
When preparing meals, I try to serve at least two vegetables and/or fruits. We usually don't have a problem reaching the recommended amount of fruits, but sometimes struggle with all the veggies we should be eating. To make this a little easier, I will prepare two vegetables with dinner, not necessarily something that everyone likes, but I try to get my kids to try different foods prepared different ways (sometimes they are surprised that they like something they thought they hated!). Another "trick" I use to up our veggie intake is to prepare soups or include different veggies in a pasta sauce.
When cooking or baking, I use butter and sugar (I think margarine and sorbitol are of the devil), olive oil, and canola oil. I have not fully switched over to lard from shortening, but I'll get there, as soon as I find a great product!
I also do not buy any "boxed" foods (cake or brownie mixes, store-baked items, etc). I try to bake every other day so that we have a better alternative to candy. I can regulate what I put into my baked goods, subsituting ingredients when possible (sometimes this does not turn out, like the hideous cake I made last night). The pre-packaged goods are filled with extra ingredients, preservatives, etc.....in many cases, it is almost as easy to mix a few more ingredients and have a homemade version. I also keep ice cream on hand, from our favorite dairy (which uses no growth hormones). I realize that I am blessed to have extra time at home and I had a little taste of how working parents feel last week, but even if you can incorporate some new healthy ideas into your food consumption, it will be beneficial.
Feeding my family healthy food is very important to me, but not so much that it is an obsession. I think health can become an idol very easily. I know people that are so focused on eating healthy, that they lose sight of enjoying life. I simply am intentional about making everything from scratch (that I can) and ensuring that my family has a well-rounded and balanced diet. Truthfully, I realize that if I spent as much time feeding our soul(s) as I do our stomachs, we would be spiritual giants (I'm working on that, too....it is a constant struggle).


  1. I totally agree with the margarine and sorbitol. Just so you know. It's crazy that by using "substitutes" to increase our health, people are actually missing out on some key nutrients in their diets. (Like the good fats in egg yolk and butter). Everything in moderation, natural products, exercise, and a soul at peace is what healthy means to me.

  2. amen, sister! ;) i agree with all of the above and follow the same plan religiously. glad to hear you do the same!

  3. I just read this after following the link from your FTF post. Wow, I love your philosophy. I pretty much agree with everything you said, although i do fall back on the occasional "boxed" food, but that is not very often. I find most pre packaged foods, beside having a whole lot of not very nice ingredients, are way too salty. I would far prefer making something from scratch and knowing every single ingredient in it. The only thing that I do buy regularly that is pre packaged these days are curry sauces. I used to make them from scratch, but they involve so many ingredients in small quantities that it was not cost or time effective.
    Please keep on posting recipes as it is great to see the different recipes that you are familiar with in the States that we don't have here.

  4. I totally hear you on the curry sauces - our only issue is that my husband and I are really sensitive to msg - do you have that there?
    I'll keep posting recipes, maybe I'll start listing dishes by: chicken, beef, veggie, etc.

    I do try new things quite often, but some of our standbys taste the best!

    thanks for your feedback!

  5. Yes we do have it here, but most people don't want it in their food, including me. We had a huge problem with it when we lived in Singapore as it was in everything over thee. I usually check to make sure it isn't in whatever I want to purchase. We are lucky as there are a lot of smaller companies producing excellent quality sauces etc that don't have all the additives in them.