Monday, August 13, 2012

My Whole Foods Journey Continues

Lacto-Fermented Apple Chutney
Well, I'm not even sure how long it has been since I've posted. These summer  months have flown by without my accomplishing even half of what I imagined I might, and could have, done. Instead, I became totally engrossed in this quest to improve my family's diet and even now am scrambling for a sense of organization in this area with school fast approaching. If you have not attempted eating only "outside of the box," meaning no processed foods, you cannot imagine the panic and frustration when your toddler repeatedly comes to you asking for cookies and chips (and wandering to the pantry wondering why they are no longer there). Well, that alone is enough to convince me that I am doing the right thing by changing the way we eat. But it is SO hard!

Aside from the bigger picture of learning to eat new things, there are all kinds of smaller goals to accomplish. Learning to bake bread, well, learning to make almost everything! I've always considered myself a homemade kind of person, but you never realize how much you come to depend on convenience foods until they are no longer there.

So far, I've had many successes, but also many failures. I haven't yet made what I would consider a good loaf of sandwich bread, and I can't make sourdough english muffins to save my life (but I do have a living starter on my counter which I feed diligently every day). I have, however, made some lovely light sandwich buns, homemade breakfast cereal, and lacto-fermented pickles (what?). The things I have made and failed to make are too numerous to list.

The challenge of eating whole foods comes in three parts: learning to eat differently, learning to cook differently (and a lot more), and making it work with your budget. The first requires a desire and an openness, the second requires time and lots of patience (and a thick skin), and the third requires diligence.

It's amazing how quickly I went from balking at the $3 expensive eggs in the grocery store to not batting an eye at $4 for local eggs and $7 for raw milk. And don't think you can pop out for a pound of grass-fed beef for anywhere close to a grocery store price. BUT...It is doable. We eat less, but better quality meat, and because we aren't buying all the processed convenience foods, there is a little extra money for all the good stuff!

I started out this mission with a vague idea of what it meant to eat whole foods. I had a set of rules and a lot to go by on the Internet. It wasn't long before I found myself swimming in the Nourishing Traditions pool, which is an even greater challenge than just whole foods. Everything requires forethought and planning. Because grains must be soaked or sprouted, there are no impromptu cookies or brownies, and because unrefined sugars are so much more expensive than refined sugar, cookies and brownies are fewer and far between (which is probably a good thing). I have also discovered the joys of lacto-fermentation. I will not even attempt to explain what that is about because it falls under the realm of "sciency stuff." I read the explanation and say to myself, "That makes sense," and then promptly forget it. I have successfully made pickles by this method and currently have ketchup and 5-spice apple chutney in the works. It's amazing to actually see the bubbling, fermenting going on in those jars!

It has been a crazy couple of months and I have purchased things I never thought I'd own, like a grain mill and a food dehydrator. I have learned that grain-free usually means expensive, and that it is okay to fail now and then. I have also learned from several other bloggers that food is not my god, and that eating a certain way should not become an idol (and it easily can). I have also learned that my family is remarkably flexible (or they just really love me alot) and when I think of the craziness of it all (even done for our own good) I don't see how I could ever be mad at any of them after how well they have stood up under this strange invasion of weird foods.

Today my teenager was following a recipe for raw almond butter truffles and he said, "I've never even heard of half of these ingredients." But he didn't say it in a bad way!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this post. You should explain lacto-fermentation in your next one!