A little while back I was asked to share some of the things we have implemented in our home to facilitate healthier eating and living. This is the post that brought on the question. Thanks J for asking! :)
Before I launch into this topic, please know that my kitchen and home is a "work in progress" and the things mentioned here have been developing in my mind and in practice since we got married 18+ years ago. I have by no means "arrived" and still have lots to learn ~ and I am human ~ occasionally I "fall off the bandwagon"! It is also important to note that I do not believe that this is the only way to do things. Neither do I believe that the way we do things is going to guarantee a longer or happier life ~ that can only come from the Hand of the Living God ~ HE gives us the very breath we breathe.
But for those of you who are interested ~ here it is!
One thing I have always done in my kitchen is use butter...I was always afraid of all the funny names on the side of the margarine containers. When I read what was in butter (cream and salt) I felt much better about using it. The other oils I use are olive and coconut...that's it.
I try to stay away from "non-stick" pans. I didn't always do this ~ but over time I noticed that the coating wore off of those pans and ended up (presumably) in our tummies...yuck! Can't be good for a body! One of my pieces of kitchen equipment that still has that coating on it is my waffle maker ~ are they even made without it??
Oatmeal is a staple breakfast in our home ~ not only because of the nutritional benefits, which apparently are many ~ but also for its effect on the budget! Oatmeal is also an easy grain to soak ~ which is something I am just learning about now. See? We are always learning in this life! :) The why's and how to's are explained in some detail in this Passionate Homemaking article. Michelle posted some soaked oatmeal recipes on her blog to help implement this new way of doing things. You will find the instructions for soaking steel cut oats and baked oatmeal here and here. Once again, do not get bogged down with all this information ~ the only grain I am faithfully soaking at this time is oatmeal ~ baby steps, remember?
Another place I found some information on incorporating healthy food ideas into the diet was at In This Season blog.
Hormone free / Antibiotic free / Chemical free meats and milk ~ organic if possible (which is not always feasible) ~ But definitely hormone, antibiotic and chemical free.
Organic free range eggs.
Organic produce (as much as possible) but if this is not something that will fit into your budget there are some fruits and vegetables that matter more than others. Stephanie posted this helpful article on her blog addressing the choices we must make at the grocery store...organic or conventional?
I am also beginning to realize that broth is important...so I am seeking to be diligent to make chicken stock fairly regularly.
I use whole grains in my baking (mostly) and substitute it where I can in recipes.
I use organic sugar, sucanat, organic honey (be careful with babies and honey) and Maple Syrup ~ as close to nature as you can get!
Proper soaking of beans just requires a little planning ahead ~ it is not difficult to do and beans are so economical! You can buy a bag of dried beans for about the cost of one or two cans of prepared beans. Why not buy the bag and soak and cook lots of beans at once and then freeze the prepared beans for future use? (I would advise freezing single recipe amounts and labelling accordingly).
I try to incorporate fish into our diet at least once a week, if not more. Salmon in particular is nutrient dense. You would want to be sure it was wild and not farm raised though...important point! :)
We use filtered water ~ I was getting tummy aches from our local tap water...again, this is something you might want to research for your area.
Another thing we do is use fluoride free toothpaste...research for yourself whether this is an option for your family. I became increasingly uncomfortable with fluoride exposure.
Speaking of "exposure" ~ I have never felt very comfortable with having a microwave in our home. It is very easy to live without ~ really, it is! :)
We are seeking to use more natural medicines and avoid over-the-counter meds as much as possible. This post gives some information on Oil of Oregano. Another natural oil we use is Tea Tree Oil ~ it's very effective at treating ailments such as Althlete's Foot. Having said this, there are times when conventional medicines are necessary and should be taken ~ do not be unwise in this regard!
Natural cleaning products are another area of change that could improve your family's overall health. In the early days of blogging I wrote an article called "Natural Cleaning Tips" ~ it may be that there are some things you might like to implement that will be just as effective and much cheaper than what you already are using!
One last thought for you to consider ~ which I believe is more important than anything else I have said ~ NOTHING is to take the place of God in our lives...HE is the ONE we ought to worship ~ not ourselves. It is easy to replace God with anything that becomes too important to us. This blog post by Lindsay is fabulous and really a call to be wise in all we do in persuing health and well-being. Remember that even one change for the better is a step in the right direction and will likely contribute to better health overall.
**Dislaimer ~ I am not a medical professional, just a Mum who is seeking to do what she can for the health and well-being of her family. Whatever I have said in this article is just a sampling of what I have done in my home ~ it may not be the right choice for you!
Be very careful not to jump onto every bandwagon that goes by! As always, take it in baby steps!
DO NOT try to change everything all at once!!
AND be sure to discuss any changes you plan to make with your husband ~ some things just may not be feasible for your family ~ and that is OK!