Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Food Goals! (coinciding with the new year, but not exactly for it)

My focus has shifted more to the kitchen in recent months, especially the past month or so. In part, probably, because of a season in there of having more computer time (nursing/bouncing (on exercise ball) Timothy late at night when everyone else was in bed), but not being able to type very well. So I got into recipe browsing (and have become addicted to and infatuated with food ;-)), and as I started collecting a mega-stash, I got excited about not only trying new recipes, but incorporating healthier practices, and in general, moving more towards a Weston Price type life style. And, we’ve been wanting to step up our health, anyway. And it wouldn’t hurt to loose the last few pounds of baby fat, either! :-)

So, my current mental focus (the thing I think about most with spare thoughts) is food and health. And consequently, that’s the focus of more of my “extra” time. I’m still working on finding the balance with everything and making sure that it is just taking up extra time, and isn’t detracting from Viviana and Timothy. Trying to find the balance of nourishing my family physically, without sacrificing nurturing them emotionally. Because our physical health is really important…but my family’s emotional well-being is even more so. And I’m not super-mom. It’s been good to work on….I’m not perfect, but I try to work at breaking away from everything (and going for a walk, or tandem nursing, or reading to/playing with Vivi) when I feel my stress levels rising because of being too wrapped up in something when Vivi and Timothy both need me, and are making that well-known.

It raises plenty of questions about what this food journey will look like down the road as our family grows and/or family dynamics change- and challenges me to not judge other people for where they’re at in nourishing their families! I’ve noticed that all the real-food/Weston Price blogs/sites I’ve seen are done by small (or young, growing) families….which makes me curious as to what it looks like when you’re feeding an army everyday. While I hope that in general, we’ll continue to strive towards greater health in our journey, I recognize that in the ebb and flow of life, there’ll be seasons for going backwards for a time. Like buying pre-made dressings for a month after Timothy was born, along with canned beans- stuff we’d totally gotten rid of for several months prior to his birth. But if buying dressing meant that I was motivated to provide a salad at all our dinners, then it was worth it to me. And now life’s settling in, and we’re climbing back on the band wagon. Seasons. Ebb and flow. The month or two didn’t ruin us….it just gave a reprieve as I enjoyed and focused on my babies and settling into life. And now we’re ready to jump back in where we left off, and add some new things, too!

Some of my main food goals for the upcoming months:

-Eating more veggies, including getting much more creative with how I prepare them, and finding ways to hide them in non-veggie dishes (this has been fun, and we’re eating more veggies than we ever have before!)

-Soaking (the Nourishing Traditions way) all our beans.

-Soaking (most of) our grain foods, and continuing to make all of those from scratch. This includes keeping sprouted wheat made up and on hand for times when I can’t soak something ahead of time.

-Eating more varied breakfasts.

-Consuming less sweet stuff, and appreciating other flavors more when I’m craving sweets.

-Eating more eggs…as their own thing, but also in stuff (like loading our ice cream with eggs).

-Experimenting with more Nourishing Traditions practices as I run into them.

-Cutting out remaining processed foods in our diet. Current one in the works: mayo (which we use a lot of!).

-Consuming plenty of yogurt…and trying to do other homemade milk products, like whey/cream cheese.

-Consuming bone-in meat and/or homemade broth on approximately at least a weekly basis.

After Ben’s birthday on the 12th, which is the last celebration in either of our families for the next few months, we’ll be doing a month long sweetener fast, the first two weeks of which we’ll also be doing a grain fast. I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m kind of excited, too….it feels like going cold turkey off some of that for a while will help to kick us full throttle into some of our new goals, and give a dividing ground for eating better. For instance, not eating grains will force me to do more with veggies, to make ample side dishes. It will also help me to be creative about doing meals without grains, which hopefully means once we start back, I’ll either be good about remembering to soak stuff, or be creative enough to do without if I don’t….and I bet I’ll get good at remembering pretty fast under that plan!

In light of all that....there'll probably be some more food-related posts in the near future. And I just *might* even get into sharing some of our menu plans. :-)

So….those are the directions we’re currently moving in! How about you? Did you create any goals/resolutions for the new year? What’s your current focus?


  1. Hi Brianna and Ben. Joel and I purchased a Thermomix (www.thermomix.com) just over a year ago. It has enabled us to cut out a lot of processed foods and eat more veges, without increasing preparation times. For example, we now make our own mayo, dressings and dips; grind our grains for bread; mince our own meat; hide veges from the children in all sorts of creative ways (the children have barely noticed that their favourite pasta sauce no longer contains meat!). As a bonus, it makes wonderful sorbet, icecream and puddings.

    Last night, I made garlic quinoa with the children's favourite vegetarian pasta sauce (baby spinach, zucchini, carrot, garlic, tomatoes, onion), as well as mincing some chicken breast to make chicken and vegetable pastry rolls (http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com/2010/11/spicy-chicken-vege-sausage-rolls-with.html)

    I haven't tried to make my own yoghurt, but I understand it can be done. I have friends who make their own rice milk in it!

    Love to all

  2. We are on the same boat Brianna! Matt and I are venturing into a less wheat/more variety of grains (and me trying harder to remember to soak them), less sugar, more veggies, more raw eggs, more fermented foods, less dairy (because we can't find a cheap enough sorce for good healthy cheese) and just basically a more simple healthy diet, with more flavor. It is going to be alot harder, since we are a big family, and as you said..most recipes and such are for smaller families. (Like seasoned chicken breasts...um, for 8, soon to be 9, people, that's alot!) And I usually round out our meals with homemade wheat bread. It's going to inspire me to be creative! But in between homeschooling, blogging, Etsy, and life, I know every other free moment will be in the kitchen. I wish us both luck!

  3. I'm so glad you've discovered Weston Price and Nourishing Traditions! It's so good for you and the little ones. I have adapted that eating style for a long time. It's very versatile, and still maintains a lot of flavor. My Nana and Papa have pretty much made it a practice and are going strong in their mid seventies.

    I'll be reformatting from just a gluten free diet (for Celiacs) to now a Candida diet, which is going to be more extreme in 2012. I have the Body Ecology Diet book in my hands, as well as SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and the GAPS diet (which has it's base with bone broths).

  4. Good for you!! I'm focusing on eating more veggies too. It's really easy for me to do in the summer/fall but not so easy during the winter months. So I'm working on that :) And also eating a lot less processed foods. I don't eat a lot right now but cutting it to none would be awesome.

  5. Anne-marie- I'll have to check it out! It sounds interesting...

    Yeah, Holly, and it only gets a whole lot worse when that big family turns into a big, old family, with lots of teenagers! Should be a fun year for both of us....I'll look forward to seeing what kind of recipes you turn out from your experiments! Trying different grains would definitely be a good thing...

    Sarah- yeah, we've been familiar with NT/Weston Price for some time (Ben's family has for many years, mine for a handful), and more or less on board with the ideas. Our families just don't practice all the nourishing practices, and I've been slow in researching and really, thoroughly implementing. I'm excited to start, though! I started doing a lot of soaking last summer, and enjoyed how simple it was to implement, as long as I menu planned. It's neat that your grand parents have done it and are healthy testimonies! Someone whose mother recently passed away said she felt like eating a healthy diet would've added many years to her life. I've researched the GAPS diet some over the past few months (and hence, seen some of the other diets you mentioned)- I hope it goes well for you! I'm sure it will definitely have challenges! I don't know very much about celiacs....is your hope that the diet restrictions are more or less temporary, and will eventually cure the disease and enable you to eat a fuller diet?

    Samantha, yeah, cutting our processed foods to nothing would be great, too. I feel like we do really well (depends on "who" you compare to ;-)), but there's always one more thing.... Hope your veggie focus goes well! We've been having a lot of fun with it....but we're pretty new into it, so I'm sure it'll get difficult at some point, here- we'll see how well we can make it permanent habit.

  6. Have you tried making your own mayo? It's super, duper easy, you can have it in like 30 seconds in the blender. :) Just thought if you're trying to get rid of processed stuff, then you might like try making it!

  7. Christina- yeah, it's a work in progress- the current processed food on the way out the door. :-) We use a ton of mayo, so it'll be good to have gone! :-) I tried it for the first time (I know, it's taken me too long!) last week, and was thrilled with how the consistency turned out, but the flavor needs tweaking. I used extra virgin olive oil...and would prefer a less-olivey taste. So next batch I'm either going to try a milder olive oil (which I don't usually use, but figured it's still better than Helman's) or 1/2 and 1/2 of EVOO and coconut oil. I want to try adding whey, too (but need to make that) to lacto-ferment it. What do you use oil wise?

  8. Not the first time lately grapeseed oil has come up...I guess I need to look into it more. I've never used/seen it, so thus far have avoided it as an "unfamiliar" oil to research someday. :-)