Plastics and chemicals have always made me uneasy, so for a long time I have worked to cut them out of my life and house. Cleaning products, personal care, produce - I read labels and articles and gradually found an approach that worked for me: non-toxic, fragrance-free, mostly organic, and ‘do I really need this?’.
I cook for my family most nights, and have been a member of two CSA’s for a few years now - one for meat (year round) and one for produce (32 weeks), so we were eating a lot of pastured meat and eggs, and produce grown with organic and IPM practices.
But one day, as I was in line at Whole Foods, watching my selection glide down the conveyer belt, I realized that I was still buying a lot of mass-produced, processed foods. The packaging might say “organic", but how virtuous are those boxes of cereal and containers of flavored yogurts, really? That is when I decided to get really serious. (Some say crazy.)
Lucky for me, I had a little more time on my hands than I was used to, having just finished my Masters degree. This is good, because cutting out processed foods meant figuring out a whole new bag of tricks for kids’ snacks, lunches, and breakfast. There were some dark days, when I couldn’t figure out what to eat for lunch, so I skipped it by default. :( Complicating things for us is that we are also mainly gluten-free, as that seems to help both kids with digestive issues, and it feels better for me, too.
I started reading Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, and delving into the Weston A. Price Foundation website. The amount of information and the gulf between them and conventional approaches to food were daunting, but I settled on a small number of steps I could take right away:
- First, I would start experimenting with soaking my grains--starting with oatmeal for breakfast--to reduce phytic acid and increase nutritional value.
- Second, I would prioritize broth-making, using the bones from our lovely pastured meats to make what amounts to liquid gold.
- I also started dabbling with incorporating fermented foods into our diet, for their extraordinary nutritional and digestive benefits.
Changing the way you approach food is hard work! But after a few months of scrambling, trial and error, I feel I like finally have my head above water. It seems like time to share what I have learned (am learning)! Thank you for being interested, and may my efforts also be of service to you. :)