Eat REAL food!
Nina Planck talks about real food vs. industrial food, & the myths we’ve been told (and mostly still believe, unfortunately).
Farm Fresh Milk Warning
Nourishing Our Children shared this picture via Facebook so I had to post it here.
Check out Nourishing Our Children’s overview of raw milk vs. pasteurized milk here.
“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
― Michael Pollan
Go Back to Basics!!
Lately I’ve been finding more and more ways to convert my lifestyle to incorporate more all-natural & traditional ways of eating (and living)! I’m on my way to becoming a “real foodie” — taking baby steps, of course. But any improvement is better than no improvement at all, and I’ve already come a long way! (More on this in next week’s Back to Basics post)
This video was released just in time for this week’s Back to Basics segment & I thought it’d be the PERFECT way to explain to everyone what direction I’m moving towards and how/why.
In this video, you’re introduced to Sarah of thehealthyhomeeconomist.com. Reading her blog is what initially made me become interested in a traditional/real foods lifestyle. I learned SO much from reading her blog, as well as other blogs & sources from the world of real foods. Everything I learned made perfect sense to me. And although I question everything, this one was a no brainer. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be living how our ancestors did years ago. I already had this mind-set anyway, even before I knew about the community of people who live/eat traditionally. (Remember, before I was interested in the food aspect of it, I already eliminated the use of store bought skin care products & cleaning products by using all natural products that I made myself. Also, I already started going No ‘Poo way before I was reading into real foods!) — It all fell into place with what I’ve been trying to do myself this entire time.
Although I’ve been trying to post informational posts for my Back to Basics posts lately, these next few B2B posts will be going in the direction of what I’m doing, specifically, to go Back to Basics and eat and live more traditionally (without the processed, chemical-filled junk). I’ll use this weeks video post as a preview and overview of what’s to come.
Back to Basics: Farm Fresh Delivery
We got our first ever farm fresh delivery last week! I was super excited to pick it up and even more excited to have everything in front of me.
I like going to Farmer’s Markets but it’s not always the most convenient thing for me — I tend to forget to go to them (at the right place, at the right time, on the right day), and because every Farmer’s Market is different (and depending on the season), they may or may not have what I want.
Farm deliveries make it extremely easy to get farm fresh food — it’s literally delivered from the farm to the city, and you go to pick it up at a specified “drop off” location (some farm delivery services even deliver to your door).
As you can see from the picture above, my order consisted of:
Organic Sprouted Seven Grain Bread - This bread is way healthier/better for us than store bought breads. Sprouting is one of the traditional ways to prepare grains that is important to eliminate anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors in our grains. Click here for my blog post on how to properly prepare some of your own grains and why it’s important. Commercial breads are NOT prepared in this traditional way (unless it is stated otherwise). Since I am not into bread-making myself (at least not yet!), I decided it is worth it to pay a little more for bread that is prepared to digest properly and to reduce risks of developing problems over time. Another reason for buying this bread is that it is completely natural, in the sense that it does not contain any rancid oils (vegetable oils such as canola or soy) or any other unnecessary ingredients. Lately I’ve been reading labels and checking ingredients to switch out some things that I want to eliminate from my diet (or atleast consume LESS of, for now — baby steps!) and this bread is definitely a YES on my list!
Eggs- These eggs are from pastured hens and are antibiotic and hormone free! Most grocery store eggs come from factory farms where hens are crammed into small cages indoors, are fed a poor diet, and never get any exercise or fresh air. Because of these poor conditions, the hens are often sick and need antibiotics (and hormones) to keep them healthy. Pastured hens, however, roam on the green grass of a farm and get plenty of exercise and fresh air and sunlight! They also eat a natural diet of what they should be eating: Things like grass and bugs found in nature! Eggs from pastured hens make a much healthier egg (and you can tell by comparing these eggs to your regular, grocery store egg).
Chicken- The same info regarding the eggs goes for the chickens themselves! Poorly raised/treated chickens makes for poor quality (health-wise) meat! This chicken is a Freedom Ranger. These chickens are free range (roam, exercise, and eat on pasture), and are antibiotic and hormone free!
REAL Milk- Yep, Real, RAW milk. I was super excited to finally have raw milk in our lives! Read my post here about raw milk and why it’s WAY better for you than store bought (pasteurized) milk, aka: dead milk. Milk is alive and is traditionally consumed that way. We love this stuff! It tastes much lighter than pasteurized milk, and it is delicious!! Of course, it’s important to make sure that your raw milk is coming from a clean and reputable source. This milk comes from an Amish farm in Paradise, PA. The cows live on pasture and are grass-fed — and that makes for some very nutritious milk filled with lots of probiotics! :)
Grade B Maple Syrup- Grade B is hard to find in most stores (although Whole Foods does have it, it’s more expensive there than buying it from here). Basically, maple syrup is REAL syrup and is great to use as an unrefined sweetener. Grade B is better for you than grade A. Grade B contains all the good stuff — the minerals and nutrients. It literally is the bottom of the barrel, but that’s good in this case! That’s where all of the nutrients settle to!
Yogurt- The 2 containers you see in the picture are all natural, peach and mango yogurt from grass-fed cows!
I order all of my farm fresh food from: Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative.
Although I’m not a CSA member, I am still able to place orders for farm fresh food by being a member of their Buying Club (4 Seasons Harvest)! It’s free to become a member! And some co-ops require you to be a CSA member in order to take full advantage of all that they have to offer, such as meats, dairy, etc. But Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op allows you to buy just what you want (through the buying club), which is the exact service I was searching for! They make deliveries to different areas throughout PA (and many different sites in Philly alone). You get to pick your drop off location and once a week, they deliver to that location. All you have to do is just pick it up (on that day, between specified times). You place your order the week before, and pay in advance. It’s the easiest and most efficient way to get farm food! Especially if you do not live near a farm, or if it’s not convenient to go to a farm). I love it & I highly recommend it!!
BACK TO BASICS: Chipotle is now supporting local sustainable farms, and so should we!
Support small, local farms so we can get rid of the factory farms that fill our food with antibiotics and keep the animals in confined spaces with no natural light, or fresh air to breathe.
This video is the exact meaning of going Back to Basics.
Back to Basics: Homemade Granola Bar Recipe
Store bought granola bars may seem like a healthy snack, but after taking a closer look at the ingredients list, you realize how awful these things actually are. They are no better than any other processed, prepackaged snack. Store bought granola bars are filled with sugar, preservatives, MSG (often disguised as “natural and artificial flavors”), and rancid vegetable oils (canola and soy). Aside from that, these store bought snacks are not properly prepared. As I described in my previous post, it is extremely important to properly soak grains and seeds (including the oats, Grape Nuts cereal and seeds used in this recipe). The grains used in store bought granola bars are not soaked, and therefore, are filled with phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. In order for your body to properly digest and absorb the vitamins and nutrients offered in these potentially nutritious snacks, the grains and seeds must be properly soaked, rinsed, and dried before use. In order to get the best out of what should be a healthy granola bar, go Back to Basics and make these bars yourself so you know exactly what is in them and to ensure they are prepared for maximum digestibility.
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (soaked, rinsed, and dried** -see below)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked, rinsed, and dried**)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (soaked, rinsed, and dried**)
- 1/2 cup rice puffed cereal (I used Nature’s Path Organic Koala Crisps - chocolate flavored rice puffs, from Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup Grape Nuts cereal (soaked, rinsed, and dried**)
- 1 cup raisins (or dried fruit of choice: blueberries, cranberries, cherries)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar or cane sugar
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix oats, Grape Nuts, puffed rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit in a large bowl.
3. Combine peanut butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Over medium-low heat, stir frequently until the mixture slightly bubbles, this will take just a few minutes.
4. While the mixture is still warm, quickly pour the sticky mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until all of the dry ingredients are covered (this may take a little while, just keep mixing and folding over ingredients).
5. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Using a large spoon and/or your hands, press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes; cut into bars. It may be easier to cut if you wait a little while after you remove them from the refrigerator. After cutting, keep individual bars refrigerated.
** Two days before I planned on making my granola bars I began to soak my oats, Grape Nuts (wheat), and seeds. I did this around 7pm that night. I soaked the oats and wheat as follows: 3 cups of each (in separate bowls) in 3 cups of warm water, with two tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar per cup of water. That’s 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for each grain to soak in (oats and wheat separately). *Note: you do not need to use raw apple cider vinegar, that is just what I use because to me, it’s better than regular apple cider vinegar.*
In 2 additional bowls, I added about 2 cups of pumpkin seeds (in one bowl), and 2 cups of sunflower seeds (in another bowl) - I added 3 cups of water to each of these, plus two teaspoons of sea salt to each. Stir salt, water, and seeds. Cover all of the soaking bowls with lid or plastic wrap. I let these soak overnight. Then, in the morning around 7am, I began the next part of the process. Starting with the seeds (since they need less soaking time), I strained all of the water out and rinsed both batches of seeds thoroughly. Then, I used three cookie sheets to spread out seeds evenly to dry in the oven. (It’s probably easier to use a dehydrator for this if you have one, but I do not). After patting the seeds dry with paper towels, it’s important to put the seeds in the oven at the lowest temperature you can (mine was at 170 degrees, but 150 degrees would be ideal). This will take hours to dry out the seeds completely (taste them to feel the insides — they shouldn’t be mushy on the inside), and every so often you should make sure you are checking on the seeds and taking them out, mixing them up, and rotating them in the oven.
Meanwhile, I emptied the water and rinsed the oats and wheat, but refilled the bowls with those grains and added fresh water and fresh apple cider vinegar. I knew that the seeds would pretty much take all day to dry in the oven, so I wanted the oats and wheat to be able to soak until the oven was freed up from the seeds. After the seeds were dried out completely, I then drained and rinsed the oats and wheat thoroughly. The oats and wheat take a little longer to completely rinse. After rinsing, I squeezed them (in large handfuls) to allow excess water to drain out, and then laid them out on the three cookie sheets. Then, I dried them in the oven the same way I dried the nuts (at 170 degrees, mixing and rotating the oats and wheat every so often). Drying the oats and wheat takes less time than the seeds, but require more mixing and rotating. The oats ended up being stuck together when they dried out, so I threw them into a blender to pulse a few times in order to break them up a bit.
Since I did my soaking in a larger batch than I needed to use for this recipe, these ingredients will be prepared and ready to use for future batches of granola whenever I need them. Of course, you do not have to soak and dry all of the ingredients at once (as I did), you can soak and dry whenever you want and spread it out to different days, and make your granola bars whenever you have all of the ingredients ready.
BACK TO BASICS: HOW TO PROPERLY PREPARE GRAINS
Whole grains can be very beneficial to our health since they are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, improperly prepared grains can do more harm than good. In all whole grains there are enzyme inhibitors (anti-nutrients) that inhibit the ability to properly absorb and digest all of the vitamins and minerals that they would otherwise provide. Therefore, if your grains are not properly prepared before you cook with them and/or eat them, they will interfere with digestion AND block the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the digestive tract.
Over the years, our society has become lazy and completely disregarded the traditional way grains used to be prepared —and now skips that preparation step all together. Nowadays, mostly because most of us are uneducated on this issue, grains (more often than not) are not prepared properly for maximum digestibility. Traditional societies soak, or ferment their grains to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in grains, which essentially pre-digests the grains so that all of the nutrients within the grain are fully available and capable of being absorbed. This is what we should be doing to prepare grains in our homes as well.
Overtime, consuming too many grains that have not been properly prepared can lead to more serious digestive issues.
As a warning: Modern store-bought breads/commercial breads are most likely not properly prepared, unless you know what to look for/what kind of bread to buy, and are reading the ingredients list. (more on this in the video posted above)
To learn how easy it is to properly prepare the grains you eat ate home (and maybe on a daily basis), watch this short video of Sarah, from thehealthyhomeeconomist.com, as she explains how to properly soak rice (prior to cooking), oatmeal, pancake batter, beans, and what to look for when buying store-bought breads.