This summer has been the summer of learning for me. I’ve delved into cookbooks and non-fiction books about foods, whole foods, and paleo. If you’ve read any of my past posts, you’ll know that I swear by the Homemade Pantry, Taste of Home Farm Fresh Favorites, Homemade Snacks and Staples (blog: Badger Girl Learns to Cook) and Weelicious (blog: Weelicious). I’ve picked up more cookbooks and books from the library than I had realized until I was looking at my past month’s history.
Here are a list of the books that I’ve read relating to healthy eating this summer:
- Don’t Throw it: Grow it
- Real Food Has Curves
- The Eat Clean Diet
- Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
- The Farm: rustic recipes for a year of incredible food
- Food in Jars: Preserving small batches year round
- Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys
- Practical Paleo
- How to Be a Domestic Goddess
- Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
The basic premise of the majority of these books has been to eat clean. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, use natural sweetners and whole wheat flours. Incorporate more vegetables and fruit into your diet. Basically, everything gets made from scratch. If you need to purchase something from a middle aisle in the grocery store, read your labels. Carefully. If you can’t pronounce a word in the ingredient list, it’s time to put the product down. If the list is longer than five ingredients, put the product down.
I’ve been a different grocery shopper. My carts have been stocked with fresh produce, full fat dairy products, and fish. I never purchase chicken or beef at the grocery store. We wait until fair time in Wisconsin (end of July/beginning of August) and purchase a cow from one of the butcher shops. The majority of the time, around our area, they are grass-fed animals. If not, at least I know they are local and that they are treated fairly. As for chickens, my uncle raised chickens this year and just butchered them. Again, grass/grain fed animals, treated humanely and I know where they are coming from. I have not dived into purchasing only organic fruits and vegetables though. I live in a small town. Our organic section is about three feet by three feet and that has ALL the organic produce in it. I ‘shop’ in my garden and from the local farmer’s markets more often than not for vegetables.
Dairy is a trouble spot for me. Diets all say to purchase low-fat dairy, not fat-free because of the added sugars, and never to eat full-fat dairy. However, when you start researching using whole foods to feed your family, you immediately notice, that every dairy product is full-fat or made from tofu or almonds. Our house is full-fat because Steve used to be a dairy farmer. We would have nothing less than the real thing before. When I’d diet, I’d buy some low-fat things for me, but none of the boys chose to eat this. If we hadn’t been a full-fat household already, we would be now. The amount of processing and other ingredients added to your dairy products to make them low-fat or fat-free is not acceptable for my family.
Now, please don’t think I’m 100% organic and wonderful. Do I buy the occasional loaf of bread? You bet – but I try to make sure I have baked enough for the week over the weekend. Do I occasionally purchase graham crackers or chips? Yep. I have a husband and a few little boys who adore potato chips. While I have started making my own, they aren’t sold on them yet. When they see a bag of potato chips (maybe once a month), they all get very excited. I would say that 95% of the food in our house is a whole food, good for you, food. A dessert once a week with refined sugar is not going to kill my family. A dessert riddled with refined sugar eaten daily – that’s another story.
I try to take into perspective. We make great choices at home. Next school year, Charlie and I will be packing our lunches together and keeping it healthy. Do we make the best choices when we eat out? No. Sometimes, you need to splurge on those not so great for you foods to understand that your body doesn’t care for them and neither does your wallet.
Whole foods and cooking from scratch will continue to run rampant in my house. Paleo will never exist here. My family adores grains and beans and the thought of eating sauerkraut for breakfast makes my stomach turn.