January 28, 2010

Healthy Changes

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!


Nadine said...

An excellent post Camille! We too are trying to make many of the same changes within our family.
The tip on cooking & freezing the beans is a good one - that is what I do and it makes life so much easier!
I am starting to make my own cleaners too...like you said - baby steps!


Lady Farmer said...

Camille ~
This is the best post I have read in a long time! It is ever so practical and non judgemental! Like Nadine, we have been trying to gradually make changes, too.
Thank you for the hint on Tee Tree oil and athletes foot. My poor hubby is in work boots from daylight till dark and does have this problem. I will be getting some Tee Tree and hopefully it will help. (I am just venturing out into the herbal/natural suppliments area).
Thanks again for the great info!

Maria said...

Hi Camille! Thanks so much for stopping by today!

This is a great post on healthy living.
We try to just use free range poultry...and eggs. What a difference! Totally worth the price!

Steel cut oats are so yummy... a lil' butter and honey... Mmmmmm

I'll have to go back and read your post on healthy cleaning products... So much poison in our homes!

God bless!
~joyfully~ Maria

Esther said...

Great post Camille! I think lots of us are trying to make similar changes. I made soap this year for the first time and it was actually quite easy. I make laundry soap too which is also easy and so cheap!!!!! We grind our flour from organic wheat berries and I am learning to sprout beans and soak grains before we eat them. Yum, yum! Still so much to learn but we are having fun learning!!! Our Grandmothers would be proud!! :-)

Camille said...

Nadine ~ Thanks! Oh yes, anything to streamline the kitchen duties! And yes, baby steps is the only way to tackle all this! :)

Lady Farmer ~ Your encouragement is a blessing...thank you! Oh...I know that the Tee Tree Oil works! Just drop it on straight (undiluted) and rub in. Be careful to not contaminate the bottle with infected fingers. :)

Maria ~ Welcome! I agree with you ~ steel oats are yummy! And the free range eggs and chicken are much better ~ I especially notice a difference in the chicken.

Esther ~ Oh thanks for the comment! It is lovely to hear from you here my friend! :) Good for you with your homemade soap and laundry detergent!

Maybe when we are over for a farm day you could teach me how you do the grain soaking ~ I really want to expand my horizons.

Oh yes ~ our Grandmothers would be SO proud! If only we would have thought to ask them for more of their wisdom while we could!


Camille said...

Sorry ~ that should say "Tea Tree Oil"

Wanting What I Have said...

I'm so excited you posted on this and thank you for your email. I'd glanced at this post, but didn't have time to read it in its entirety, and then forgot to come back! :)

I've implemented some of these same things, but have far to go! I was thrilled to read you don't have a microwave! I avoid using ours whenever possible...which has me thinking...I rarely use it. Ha! :)

We're on board with soaking oats (oatmeal), free range chicken and eggs...when available, grass fed, organic beef, organic milk, organic greens, and I'm moving in a more "natural" direction with cleaners. (Vinegar and water is my number one "go to.")

My husband is on board! And quite supportive!

Soaking oats has been our most recent baby step, and how DELICIOUS it is!!!

Thank you for taking the time to compile this post. What a blessing! Again, I hope one day to share a cup of tea with you and to pick your brain! What a blessing and encouragement you are to me! I thank God for you!

Camille said...

Dear J ~ I'm so glad you enjoyed this post...after all, you were the one that inspired it. :)

It sounds like you are already doing SO much to take good care of your family. It truly is a journey in learning and growth!

I would agree with your comment on soaked oatmeal ~ yummy and so easy!

I would LOVE that cup of tea!

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Camille, GREAT post! Very easy to understand and practical 'baby steps'!

I used to think I could NOT live without a microwave, boy was I wrong. I cannot remember the last time I used it for food. I have used it to heat a rice pack and my wax for those few stray hairs on my chin, but we won't talk about that! ;-)

God is taking us to a new level with our diet. I continue to cry out for wisdom. so many bandwagons, like you said. I just want what He wants for us. I also believe it is important to rely on Him for our health and life. Yes, we do have to make wise choices, but our times are in HIS hands, not ours.

Great job. Have a lovely Christ-filled week, friend.

Clinging to His Faithfulness,

It's me ...Mavis said...

I still can't get enough of your homemade refried beans... I made batch #3 this weekend :) I think you are right...baby steps.

Camille said...

Michelle ~ May the Lord give you wisdom as you seek Him for it! What a great blessing to know HE is leading and directing us and will give the needed wisdom as we ask for it ~ how wonderful to rest in that thought. :)

Mavis ~ I am so glad you are enjoying the refried beans. I just made them at the end of last week too...and I thought of you! :)


Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

We have the exact same philosophy when it comes to this kind of stuff! My bread machine and waffle iron are the only things I own that have a non-stick coating because I can't find anything else. The only thing I really do differently from you is I don't use refined sugar at all and I use Tooth Soap (I'll have to post on it some time). Your are better than I am about adding fish to your diet. I love shell fish, but rarely eat salmon or anything like that. I hadn't had a chance to read this post before I replied to your email, so I see that you already knew about soaking beans, cooking them and freezing. You're awesome, Girl! You are so right about baby steps. I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on food and raw dairy, so now I'm learning more about natural cleaning. I love it!

Have an awesome day,

Camille said...

Hi Jackie ~

Thanks for your input! We have yet to delve into the raw dairy world due to my not having time to do the research and switch ~ but I hope to go down that road sometime too. Thanks for sharing your great ideas on your blog ~ it is definitely a great place to go for altered recipes. :)

Have a fabulous evening!