Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Do Love Granola- Part 2

I promised more, so I am back!

I wanted to begin with the changes I started implementing for our family.

Some things I did just for me without making a big deal out of it or forcing it on my family or others. In fact, unless someone specifically pointed it out, I never said anything about what I was ordering, putting on my plate (or not!), and eating. For example, I stopped eating meat (beef, pork, chicken). Initially, none whatsoever. Now, I would say it is 90-95% of the time. In some ways, this was no big deal. But I will be totally honest and confess that sometimes all I really want is something really good off the grill! It is mostly because of the smell that floods my taste bud's memory bank! And if I am confessing, this did start because of a movie I watched. I found it unbearable to see the way most of the industry raises, injects, and slaughters the animals, and the filth we don't even know about. I do a lot of eggs (natural or organic), fish, and non-meat meat; then supplement my protein in other ways. I use Morning Star Farms products mostly for my non-meat meat. I have tried some Boca, but have not liked it as much. I should probably try a few more things before being too judgemental.

At first, I envisioned the weight just melting off because I was not clogging up my intestines. Oh, the naivety!

Next, I worked on switching our milk. I just knew it was the right thing to do for us because of the cumulative effect on our bodies between the pesticide-sprayed grains our cows ate and the artificial hormones injected into them. This was a hard sale to my husband because of the cost. So, I started with milk that was labeled as having no artificial hormones. Then, after feeling like that just was not enough, I now try to always keep organic milk in the fridge. YES, in regular grocery stores and the big W, it is almost twice the cost. Most of the time, for milk especially, I try to always buy it at Central Market where I can get their brand for only about $1 more per gallon. And although I know he rolls his eyes every time and thinks this whole thing is just a bunch of propaganda, he DID make the organic milk purchase without me saying one word the other night. I am sure he knew what I would say if he didn't!

In terms of purchasing organic foods, I must tell you that I felt very overwhelmed at first. Ok, sometimes still today! I knew the cost difference was going to throw my husband and his budget into a tizzy! So, I tried to start with just a few things at once and then add more each time. And to this day, I still have to take a big gulp before picking up the organic version of some foods! My brain is just so programmed to buy what works and is cheapest. Honestly, in the beginning, I made it more about buying fresh fruits and vegetables and staying out of the processed aisles of W as much as possible. For my husband and kids, that would be a huge adjustment in itself!

Now, even if I am shopping at W, I try to keep my eyes focused first on organic, then on natural if organic is not available, then just the healthiest version I can manage of what is available. Because grocery shopping is at the bottom of my list of all-time favorite activities, I still tend to be the gal that tries to get most of her shopping done at a one-stop place. What I love about Central Market is I can do some shopping there and take advantage of their specials like Moo Mondays. At times, I have even found Target to be a good competitor for W in the organic realm, especially when they are having a sale. I have not ventured into researching different grocery store chains in our area for their items and cost, mainly because it just is a lot of work!

Ok, where was I?

As far as your family, just start where you can in terms of foods and cost. Other options are to grow some of your own things, research and shop at local farmers' market, join a coop so you can buy healthier in bulk and maybe save money. There are some great places where other people have already done the research for you about what and where and why.

Along the way, I have also increased my supplementation. Along with my regular vitamins, I increased my selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, multi-enzyme, probiotic, and added St. John Wort and B12. I am still reading and tweaking in this department, so this is subject to change! And I know the arguments about it being a waste, but I just believe most of us and our bodies need more opportunities to absorb what they would not get otherwise due to the way our foods are grown now. And honestly, some days I am better than others in terms of remembering to take it. I can tell you that I do notice the difference when I don't! I get my kids to take a vitamin/mineral with superfood enrichment. We use a powder that makes a berry flavored drink, but you can do whatever you can get your kids to down :) My husband, well, you would think I ask him to swallow dirt everyday the way he resists. At one point, I got him excited and taking a liquid product through Vemma but he fizzled there too. Excuses, excuses! You can go over here to read more about it. I even take it to address the inflammation around the nerves in my spine. Again, when I am faithful, it works! (Oh wait, maybe I should apply that to my life!!)

Good places to visit and to keep handy as a resource could include
Food Routes
Whole Foods Market
World's Healthiest Foods
Naturally Savvy
Horizon Organic
CleanWell Hand Sanitizer
Food News
Healthy Child
Town and Country Foods

I am sure you could suggest many many more! I already feel like this is way bigger than I can comment on! Ultimately, remember, these are resources that you can keep going back to. Don't feel like you have to read and absorb all they have to offer in one sitting!

Just a couple of more things strictly for fun...and bragging!

Since starting the weight-loss challenge, I have lost 9 pounds! I so wanted to say 10, but last week was a bust! Better still, the 12 women participating with me, together we have lost SEVENTY.TWO POUNDS!! OH.MY!!

Ooooh, and this weekend I made my favorite fall dessert. Sturbridge Pumpkin Muffins. I modify it to include chocolate chips cuz I am all healthy like that :) And while I do use canned pumpkin, I am counting on you Cara, to give us some fun and easy way to make the pumpkin mush ourselves!!!

Bottom, bottom line is that I do NOT know everything about all this. I am still learning, still making "mistakes" (or just creating learning opportunities, right!), and still making changes. I am not so all mighty that I never let the enemy foods cross my sacred lips or preach (oh, i really hope this is true!!) to my friends about all this.

My husband and kids are slowly trudging behind.

But nothing a little flax seed, wheat germ, and healthy purees thrown in their foods won't make up for!!



Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Do you have a farmers' market nearby? That's a great place to find fresh fruits and veggies. Most all of the farmers around here do organic farming, but it's not "officially organic."

Sounds like you have made LOTS of progress in this area! I know exactly what you mean about the sticker shock when you are used to purchasing based on price alone. I still struggle with that. That's another reason I like the farmers' market - the prices are often much better than the supermarkets!

Cara said...

:D Happy to help. I just did this for Hannah, and I tasted it myself and it's GOOD! Mmmmm.

Pick up one or two of those cute little sugar pumpkins at the grocery store. Not the big ones for carving, they're too hallow in the middle, the cute little dense ones.

Chop it in half either way, vertical or horizontal, and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon into a bowl.

Rub a little bit of olive oil on the cut side (so it doesn't stick) and put cut-side down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for an hour or so, until you can pierce the skin with a fork easily. Let cool, and scoop out the pumpkin mush.

I also did my pumpkin seeds while I was baking the pumpkin; remove most of the pulp from the seeds. Give the pulp to the chickens ~grin~ and to the seeds add about a tablespoon of olive oil and half a teaspoon of sea salt (sea salt is much better than regular salt) Mix with a fork or your hands or whatever, and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake on the other rack in your oven when you bake the pumpkin, but remove after about 30 mins, or when the seeds are a golden brown. Let cool on a paper towel :)

tegdirb92 said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today for a visit. I don't mind if you share the pumpkin smoothie recipe :) I love your blog--I will be visiting here more often!

Jennifer said...

Have I mentioned the meat service that we use? It's awesome. I know they will deliver here but when you move, I'm not sure. You would have to check. Okay, these farms all use organic practices- the chickens are corn fed and free to roam, none of the animals are injected with hormones, etc.....I could go on and on. It's the best!! Depending on the needs of your family, they will come and stock your freezer full of meats and organic veggies. Each piece of meat is individually flash frozen so you are not forced to thaw 4 chickens at once if you only need 2. Because they are flash frozen, they defrost literally in minutes. They taste amazing- you can really tell they don't have all the junk in them- and they don't shrink much because there is very little water weight. You really need to check them out. It has saved us so much in the long run because I enjoy cooking since I know our family is eating so healthy! It's Town & Country Foods. Call me if you want the number. Tell them I sent ya!!

Anonymous said...

We're trying to gradually "go green" around here, so I've really enjoyed your granola series! :-)

I just switched the Wog to organic milk. It's only $.90 cents more than a gallon of regular milk at my Publix.

I'm not sure where, geographically, all of the Publix are located around the country (they just came to Alabama in the last couple of years) but it is an EXCELLENT place for organic shopping!