Saturday, December 4, 2010

I shared with you how my friends from the local chapter recommended we begin our food journey. So here is how I began mine...or ours (being that I am the main chef here at the Hutsell mansion...I take my family along for the ride!). Actually, I was relieved to see that the steps they recommended were things I was currently doing. Our journey began with the simple things...the things that would be delicious and easy to change....such as butter. I mean, butter is more expensive but who can deny it's delicious compared to margarine. I bought a butter keeper and this keeps the butter fresh and soft on the counter. I now try to buy pasture butter from Whole Foods. Pasture butter is produced from cows who roam free and eat grass...not corn. It produces a deep rich tasty yellow butter. I only use this butter for spreading on bread and things. In recipes, I use WalMart butter. I'd love to make my own butter!

Then I began moving up the percentage of fat that was in our milk. We normally drank 1% milk so I moved us up to 2% and then whole milk. The baby was already drinking whole milk so when the other milk was gone the boys would drink that anyway. Making this transition made it no big deal when we tried raw cow's milk for the first time. In fact, our boys LOVE raw milk. I can't afford to use it exclusively but we do own one share of a cow which gets us one gallon a week. You might think...what good is one gallon of raw milk in a family who drinks one gallon of milk A DAY? Well, I use the milk to make things like whey and cream cheese as well as I can use it to make my kefir more potent. What's left after I make the things that can only be made from raw milk (like whey) then we drink that and it's a special treat. I figure even a few glasses is better for us than nothing. I am sure health gurus would say we should drink no pasteurized/homogenized milk at all but this is baby stepping for us.

Then I began experimenting with coconut oil. I went and bought a small jar from Whole Foods and began using it in recipes where I'd normally use vegetable oil. My kids never detected it and I think it made the food taste better. I think it makes pancakes and waffles really yummy. I also use it in smoothies. Coconut oil is a little tricky because it is solid at room temp so you have to soften it under warm water to get it pourable. And if you use it in a smoothie you have to add it while the blender is running so that it doesn't harden. It's pricey and at times I'd switch to vegetable oil for things like brownies and such. But now that I am sold out on the evils of vegetable oil and the benefits of coconut oil, I have bought a big gallon bucket of coconut oil as well as some palm fruit oil to use for things like frying. Eating healthy is definitely one of those things where you have to spend money to save money. So you have to be ready to dive in before you can break down and spend 40$ on a gallon of oil. But it beats spending 10$ on a small jar! But I bought 3 jars before I felt ready to dive in! Palm oil is also good for you and cheaper but it doesn't have the same benefits as coconut oil.

Then, we are blessed to have friends who raise their own chickens so I get fresh organic eggs for $3 a dozen. Yep. That's expensive but also a deal for fresh eggs. Again, I started slowly. I bought one dozen of those and would use them only for eating straight eggs. In other words, in recipes I'd use my Walmart eggs. Now I buy more eggs from our friends and when I make smoothies with raw eggs I ONLY use fresh eggs. Fresh eggs from chickens who roam free and eat organic food and bugs produce healthier eggs. You can see the difference in the color of the yolks. They are deeper yellow.

As you can see, so far I am not introducing different foods I am just exchanging foods we already eat for healthier foods. So the next thing was a desire to make my own flour. Several of my friends have grinders and would give me flour and it was so delicious. I love to bake so it seemed natural that the only way I could improve the health of what I was baking was to have healthy flour. But how in the world was I going to afford a grinder or a mixer? I mean, I have a Kitchen Aid mixer but I have read that it quickly burns up its motor to knead freshly ground whole wheat flour in it. The dough is so heavy. My friend Leslie told me I could use her grinder but honestly, my plan was to grind my flour as I needed it and I knew it would be inconvenient to trot over there each time. Amazingly my sister bought me a Nutrimill and a Bosch mixer. So obviously my next step was making flour and bread! Now whenever I make pancakes or waffles or banana bread...I grind fresh flour. The thing about flour is that it is the most nutritious immediately after its ground. It actually becomes rancid within 24 -48 hours I believe. That is why the flour on store shelves...even the whole wheat flour is not as good for you as fresh ground. You can grind your own and freeze it and that is better than store bought. I have read that it is good to soak your grains to make them more digestible but I have yet to do that! I'll let you know!

Basically...there you have the beginning of my journey. I am doing more now but I will make that a different post! I know, you can hardly wait! I smell freshly baking bread...gotta go! M.

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