Saturday, August 29, 2009

Being Healthy

If you have been around me at all the past few months, then you have probably had a conversation with me about organic food, raw milk, or alternative sweeteners. I confess, this new way of thinking has taken me by storm and I've changed quite a bit. I would say the change is for the better, but, as always, danger lurks.

I have to be careful for many reasons. Cutting out refined carbs did nothing to further kill the sin that remains within me, I am sad to report.

First of all, I have to remember that I do what I can. I am not a bad mother if my kids eat non-grass fed beef or a conventionally grown apple. I am not sacrificing their health and well-being if a Teddy Graham passes throught their digestive system. It's easy to feel defeated and overwhelmed, especially with the staggering amount of information available. I do the best I can. I try new things and make small changes. I can't expect to have arrived yet. I just want to be headed in the right direction.

Secondly, I have to remember that the body is important, but the soul is infinitely more important. No matter how clogged or clear your arteries are, they aren't coming with you when you die. So if I nurture my kids bodies, but neglect their spirits, I've essentially accomplished nothing. I have to keep in mind that the point of having a healthy body is to be fit for the work that a healthy spirit longs to do.

Thirdly, I can't compare myself to others. If I compare myself to the crunchy, granola, earth mother who makes, grows, or churns everything her family eats whilst wearing a handsewn frock and Toms, then I'll become defeated. If I compare myself to a friend who is at a similar place that I am in and striving for the same goals that I am, I'll become competitive. If I compare myself to the mom who serves Totinos pizza rolls and Dr. Pepper in a sippy cup for dinner on a t.v. tray, I'll think more highly of myself than I ought.

And all of that is pride, which is, of course, sin.

So as I commit to being a faithful overseer of my family's diet, I have to strive for balance. I want to be healthy and enjoy God's good design in food. I want to take pleasure in all He has given. I want to be loving and kind. I want patience extended to me as I figure it all out and I want to the same for others.

Being a mom is hard enough. Let's encourage each other as we strive to give our families the best that we can by God's grace.

Friday, August 28, 2009

If You Add Omega-3 to Oreos...

then they're health food, right?

One of the topics discussed in In Defense of Food is the concept of "nutritionism." Pollan defines it as the mindset from which those of us in Western cultures approach our food--that is, we rate food based on it's nutritional components to determine whether it falls into one of two categories: "good" or "bad." Food is viewed merely as a conglomeration of calories, fat, protein, carbs, vitamins, etc. These various components can be added, deleted, or modified in any food to move it out of one category and into the other.

If something is low in the "bad" substances (usually fat in various forms and calories) then the food is considered good for you--a good choice, especially if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, if a food is high in the "good" substances (vitamins, fatty acids, calcium)regardless of how those "good" things got in that food, then the food is deemed "good" as well.

But there is a problem with this way of thinking (bear with me as a paraphrase Pollan's assertions.) A large apple has over 100 calories and 23 grams of sugar. A few reduced fat Oreos have fewer calories and less sugar than an apple. So in our "nutritionism," we think "calories. sugar. bad." and choose the Oreos. I don't think they've had omega-3's added to them yet, but I bet it won't be long.

Forget that Oreos have an ingredients list full or unfamiliar and unpronounceable words. Forget the chemical warfare used to manufacture them. Forget that they don't even taste that good and aren't at all satisfying. Just look at the nutrition label--scan down to the line item for calories and then fat. If those are both low, dig in and pat yourself on the back for your healthy choice!

But contrary to this philosophy, substabces like fat and sugar aren't bad (when consumed in moderation.) At least not the naturally occurring kind placed there by the Creator for our sustenance and pleasure. The kind injected in "foods" by food manufacturers is another story altogether.

A higher calorie, sweeter snack that has no ingredients list or nutrition label beats a 100 calorie snack pack of anything every time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Veggie Pad Thai

I made this recipe tonight from one of my new favorite blogs, Beauty That Moves.

This recipe calls for zucchini and red pepper, but I think one of the most helpful things I've learned is that it is okay to just use what you have. I used to be really hung up on only using exactly what the recipe called for, but now I just use whatever was in my share for the week and it (usually) works out just fine.

All that to say, I used yellow squash instead of the zucchini. And I couldn't find brown rice vinegar so I just used regular rice vinegar.

To please The Carnivore, I cooked one chicken breast and he diced it up and added it to his dish. The boys ate it fairly well. I think the sticky texture from the peanut sauce was a little weird for them. I might thin it out even more next time I make it.

This one is definitely being added to the rotation!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Organic Produce Buying Guide

Right click and then print! It is sized to be able to carry it around easily in your wallet, but feel free to enlarge or modify it to best suit your needs.

When the lady at the co-op hands you radishes...

make a radish tart!

Sometimes it is frustrating to get produce that I have no idea how to prepare. But I've found it really is the best way to broaden my horizons because I would never have bought radishes before and now I have several recipes that call for radishes and I probably will buy some next time I see them out.

Here is the recipe I got from WikiBooks.

The radish tart was really good and I'm pretty sure any vegetable would be good in this. Actually, I'm pretty sure a dirty sock would be good in this. Heavy cream, cheese,'s basically fool-proof. I'm a fool--I would know.

The best part--everyone ate it! My kids did not miss the memo that informed them that all kids are supposed to hate veggies and have a very short list of acceptable ones so I am always pleased when they will venture out past peas, carrots, and corn. Next time, I think I will diced the radishes more finely to make sure they get more in them though.

I think squash, tomatoes, eggplant--really anything--would work great.
We also had green beans and new potatoes and salad with it. Even The Carnivore approved. High praise indeed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two Blogs?

I may be overestimating my blogging capabilities here, but I really wanted a separate space devoted to my newfound perspective on food, cooking, and eating.

This will be the place for me to record my thoughts as I learn more about this way of living as well as a central location to link to other helpful sites and blogs.

How's this for an introductory post? Wow. Betcha can't wait to see what I come up with next.