I had a friend tell me a couple of weeks ago that she didn’t think it was possible to not eat ANY processed foods.
Well, I am proof that, that is not true. Yes, you can remove all processed foods from your diet. It’s definitely a challenge & takes commitment, but it’s doable.
Do you have to have a farm & a milk cow to avoid processed foods? I don’t think so. I think you can buy all your foods from a supermarket and still refrain from the processed stuff.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I have 4 normal kids who spent many days of their early years with runny noses. I hated the whole:
- Child comes down with something….
- Wait until they are sick enough to go to the doctor
- Go to the doctor and get medicine
- Wait for the next child to get sick enough to go to the doctor
- Go to the doctor again and get more medicine
- etc. etc. etc.
We had allergies, asthma, sinusitis and general illnesses that were stealing our time and lives.
I wanted off the crazy train and healthy children.
Yes, I made tinctures. I used garlic. I used essential oils. We did allergy shots (for one).
Wanna know what REALLY made a difference in my children’s (and my) health?
When we took control of our food.
Here in Kentucky it is illegal to buy or sell raw milk. If you want fresh milk you are going to have to milk something. I know there are “milk sharing” programs hiding in the back corners of the woods, but we decided not to go that route. So the goat journey began.
Well, there were a few bumps and turns in the goat search and we ended up with a jersey cow instead. It was kinda a God thing, and I’m glad to be a cow owner.
As we traveled the
goat cow road it lead to all sorts of fun surprises. First there were the gardens. Next the chickens. Then the pigs. Last came the rabbits. The cows arrived shortly after the pigs. It was quite the zoo journey.
I’m happy to say that the milk (and the other things) did not disappoint.
We didn’t go vegan. We didn’t quit eating meat. We didn’t stop eating desserts. We didn’t give up grains, eggs, dairy or gluten. What did we do to take control of our food?
- We got a mill (Say “yes” to whole grains!)
- We grew a garden (yard to table, baby)
- We canned (so we could eat the garden in winter)
- We got chickens (eggs, yo)
- We got a milk cow (it’s raw y’all)
- We raised our own (grass fed) meat
It didn’t happen overnight. We pretty much added one project each year to our homestead. I can’t imagine trying to go from zero to “farm, cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs, & garden.” We gradually ended up here.
Anyhow, we were raising all this great food & milking our cows and plugging along when I looked at my husband & said,
“Do you think we could live ONLY on the foods we raise?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “Would you care if I tried?”
He said, “No.”
This is how this craziness all began. I wanted to see if we could eat only foods we raised, grew, canned or milled and I wanted to see how long we could do it.
We’ve spent most of the past 8 months eating only foods we raised. We didn’t even stop because we ran out of food. We stopped because I needed a burrito.
No restaurants. No store bought food. No takeout. No family potlucks. Nothin’ but foods from our own hands.
HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED
What would I tell someone who wanted to get off the standard American crazy train of processed foods and corn syrup mayhem?
Well, first of all, you don’t need to buy a farm. Farming is not for everyone and it definitely isn’t mandatory in order to take control of your food. You can decide to eat whole, fresh, organic foods and still shop at a super market.
Here are the first 5 things I would do to start reclaiming my food:
ONE – Plant a Garden
It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Just turn over some dirt in a sunny spot and stick some seedlings in the ground. You’d be surprised how easy it is to grow a few veggies. You could easily have a salad garden this summer to eat from.
You don’t have to can or freeze or store food in a cellar. You can just grow a few healthy goodies to fill your table this year. You’ll eat better, save money, get exercise and probably have a great time doing it.
TWO – Get a Home Grain Mill
I think our mill is one of the main contributors to our health and wellness. We make all of our baked goods with fresh milled flour and it simply supplies our bodies with unmatched vitamins and nutrients.
Not only are my breads, rolls, tortillas, crackers, and pastas healthier, they are more filling. When food is densely packed with nutrition it is more fulfilling It is more satisfying. It keeps you fuller longer. It even eliminates those cravings for sweets.
Switching to fresh milled flour is a decision that can positively impact your health in big ways.
THREE – Buy Organic
If you’ve always wondered why organic foods are so highly distinguished – you must read this. It rocked my world. Organic is more than just avoiding pesticides and chemicals… these foods are truly superior in stunning ways.
If you want to give your immune system a steroid shot – organic, raw foods is a great way to do this.
FOUR – Read Labels
I know, Duh. I usually eat foods that don’t have labels. Foods like: apples, carrots, ground beef, eggs, etc. If your food has a label – read it. If there are ingredients you don’t have in your kitchen, you probably shouldn’t eat it. If there are ingredients you can’t pronounce, you probably shouldn’t eat it. If the ingredient list is as long as a movie review, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
Oh, and watch out for added sugar… The world is sneaking sugar and corn syrup into everything and it is so bad for us.
I love dessert. Just look under my “Cooking” category for all the desserts I bake around here. I do have a sweet tooth. It wasn’t until last summer that I completely cut out all ‘refined’ sugars. I even stopped consuming cane sugar and turbinado.
Living without sugar is possible (although the first few weeks of detox are horrible). I’ll tell you a secret. I could eat sugar anytime (and no one would know)….
Sometimes I gaze at the chocolate-covered, coconut almonds from Trader Joes in the back of my refrigerator and think about eating them. Just a couple. No one would ever know. I could cheat just a little. Just this once. They aren’t that bad. They’re from Trader Joes, after all.
But I don’t cheat. Why?
- Because I would know, and I want to be truthful.
- Because I have broken my addiction to sugar and I don’t want it back.
- Because I am healthier without it.
- Because I don’t crave it anymore.
- Because I am free from it’s drug-like grips.
Will I eat cane sugar and turbinado again? – I’m sure I will, but I want it to be a rare treat instead of an addiction.
FIVE – Start Small
You don’t have to change everything you are eating this week. You can start by incorporating whole foods into your days.
Breakfast: Eat eggs. Eggs are the easiest breakfast. I can make them 10 different ways & they can be cooked in less than 5 minutes. Go eggs!
Lunch: Have some fresh veggies & a piece of fruit with your lunch. We usually eat leftovers for lunch.
Dinner: Dinner around here is typically a simple meat with a couple of vegetables on the side. Sometimes I think eating whole foods is easier. If you ask me, casseroles and pot pies are a bunch of work.
Treats & Snacks: With our home grain mill we are able to enjoy so many delicious baked goods that we hardly miss dessert! Scones, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, etc. These can all be made and sweetened naturally with honey or maple syrup for a side dish or an after meal treat.
What do you do to eat healthier?
Do you think it’s worth it?
To get old fashioned recipes, farm tips and advice delivered straight to you be sure to subscribe via email (here).
Stay healthy everyone!