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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Food Journey Part 3

If you are just now joining this blog, you will want to read Part 1 and Part 2 of My Food Journey.


Here I pick up with what I learned from my research into lowcarb dieting.  I learned many things.  I learned about how our body releases insulin and about the insulin rollercoaster.  I learned more about how important protein is.  I learned about the glycemic index and how we can lower the glycemic index of the carbs that we eat by including fat and/or fiber.  But the thing that was most enlightening was that fat is not evil!!!  This thrilled me, to say the least—I do love my butter!  I learned that there are good fats and bad fats and I learned what trans fats are.


This information made me feel great that I was raised on the good fats, butter, cream, and red meat, so I wanted to know more.  I picked up a book called, Know Your Fats, by Dr. Mary Enig.  This is the definitive guide to fat.  I learned about Omega-3s, Omega-6s, saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated oils; and much more.  Everything you wanted to know about fatty acids can be found in this book.  Dr. Enig was pushing the FDA to include trans fats on food labels YEARS before they actually did.  She is a champion of healthy fats.  It was  all starting to make sense to me.  As a child I was told that hydrogenated oils were bad, but now I was learning why.


This started an obsession for me.  I kept reading and researching and learning, I couldn’t get enough!  This is the point that I started to make changes to my diet.  I threw out all the margarine, Smart Select butter, shortening, trans fat peanut butter (Skippy, Jif, Peter Pan), and starting scrutinizing labels.  At this point trans fats were not labeled on food labels.  I checked out the book, The Trans Fat Solution by Kim Severson and Cindy Burke.  This is a really short informative book that tells you why trans fats are bad, but also how to tell if food contains it.  With this knowledge, now I know the REAL way to tell if an item has trans fats in it and guess what?  It’s not by looking at the gram listings.


Some time after this I found the book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  This book is really big, most of it being recipes.  The first time I checked it out from my library I just read the nutrition information, it was really eye opening.  I kept checking it out from our library and kept reading new things in it.  After borrowing it from the library about ten times I decided it was time to buy it.  This book opened my eyes to phytates, the substance that is in grains that leaches minerals from our bodies.  I then started playing around with whole-wheat sourdough.  I learned all about raw dairy in this book and then quit buying pasteurized dairy products and started making my own yogurt.  From this book I learned how important animal protein is so I started making my son eat meat at dinnertime.  He never liked meat very much and I convinced myself he was healthy if he had peanut butter and eggs.  Not so after reading Sally Fallon’s book.  (He enjoys most meat now.)  J


About a year ago I joined the Yahoo group discussingnt; these are all folks that have read Nourishing Traditions.  This really helped me along in my changes.  I started making a lot more changes when I joined that group.  There is something to be said for support, whether that is a friend, or an Internet discussion board, or even a private journal (this at least helps with accountability).  Anyway, I saw that there are so many real foods that we’re missing out on because of mass marketing.  According to FDA safety guidelines, food must be sealed in order to be shipped and sold on a mass scale.  This is good because it prevents rotten food from being sold, but the bad news is that this process kills the nutrients in those items.  (Moral:  We should be getting our food locally.)  So I started making my own naturally fermented sauerkraut, dill pickles, ginger carrots, and beet kvass.  When these items are let to naturally ferment and then stored in the refrigerator instead of heat-sealed through traditional canning methods they are alive and full of nutrients and beneficial bacteria.  Also while I was a part of that discussion group I started making Kombucha and still drink it practically every day.


Other changes I have made include less cooking with olive oil, I do use it on salad, on pasta, and to dip bread in.  It is a very healthy oil when it is cold, but it will get damaged when heated.  I do most of my cooking with butter and some with coconut oil.  When I switched to lowcarb eating I learned to like a lot more veggies, since veggies have a lower glycemic index than breads and pastas.  Thankfully when my husband went on his diet we cleared the cupboards of the snack cakes and boxed macaroni and cheese.  He had quit drinking soda and Kool-Aid many years before.  He switched to Baked Lays in his diet days and I have since got him to switch to plain corn chips (Baked Lays are about as processed as you can get).  I have since got him off the granola bars; I now make him muffins to take to work for breakfast.  I now make our own lunchmeat from boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rather than buying processed lunchmeat.  He lost his weight by really watching his portion intake and cutting most fat out.  Since I learned all about healthy fat, I now feed him lots of fat in his meals and he hasn’t gained any of the weight back.  He still watches his sugar intake.  I take coconut oil daily now.  I started taking cod liver oil last fall.  I occasionally take a probiotic supplement, but I feel I am getting a lot of beneficial bacteria from my homemade yogurt, Kombucha, and naturally fermented veggies.  I started making my own sour cream and buttermilk (more beneficial bacteria).  I have switched to aluminum-free baking powder (Rumford).  About a year ago I stopped using commercial shampoo, conditioner, bar soaps, shower gels, lotions, and facial cleansing products (I’ll give more details in a later post) because of the chemical content.  I switched from drinking distilled water to filtered water (spring is best, we’re just not there yet).  And I use plastics a lot less now, I’m not completely away from them, but I am taking my babysteps.


Now keep in mind that all these babysteps I took were over a period of years, this really all started about 6 years ago.  I’m just hoping that my list will inspire you and encourage you in your changes.


Looking back over my food journey shows me 1) I ate pretty good as a child, but there was a high level of phytates, which I think accounts for my dealings with mineral deficiencies now and 2) it is SO important to teach your kids about healthy eating and why you choose to eat what you eat.  I wasn’t taught and had to educate myself as an adult after eating poorly for about 10 years.  It may look like I have come full circle and now eat the way I did as a kid, but there are a few differences.  I watch my carb intake; I don’t eat a lot of breads and pastas.  Even if you’re choosing all whole-grain bread products you can still go overboard, remember, balance is key.  We ate a LOT of grains in our family; my blood sugar just can’t handle that now.  I feed my kids more carbs than I eat, but I do make sure they are getting animal protein every day.


The journey doesn’t end here—it goes on and on.  We all should never stop growing, never stop learning, and never stop changing!


Update:  I forgot to mention that I have started soaking some grains, we eat soaked old fashioned oatmeal once a week and soaked multi-grain pancakes on occasion. 


  1. I have really enjoyed your last 3 blog posts. I look forward to hearing you share about cutting out commercial shampoos, conditioners, bar soaps etc. I hope you will share what you are currently using for these things. I would enjoy hearing more about the Kombucha tea (do you make it or buy it) as I have never heard about it.

    Also, you said you take Coconut oil each day. Is this in a supplement or not? I was thrilled when I found the baking powder in the store that is aluminum free and have used it ever since.

    I tried the Suzanne Somers diet a few years ago and I believe it is a great way to eat. I actually lost weight and felt great! However, I just couldn't stay with it strictly enough. You mentioned that you don't eat a lot of bread and pasta. Do you eat mostly meats and veggies? I am curious about that. :-)

    I would also like to hear more about how you are feeding a family of 4 on $66. We also have a family of four. I noticed that most (if not all) your meals were based around chicken. Is that common? Is that on purpose?

    I buy meat from the deli every week. My husband takes a sandwhich to work each work day. My girls eat them a lot of days of the week as well. I assumed that the meat from the deli was much better for you than the packaged meat. Do you know anything about this?

    I would also like to hear more about making your own sour cream and yogurt. I tried your recipe for the veggie dip and it was GREAT! I have made it 2-3 times already and plan to make it a lot more.

    One last thing. If you could recomend ONE book what would it be? I want to start teaching my children (ages 13 & 17) more about nutrition. I want them to hear from someone else the things I have been telling them for years. :-) Sorry for this long post.

  2. Wow! I'm inspired all over again!

    Thanks Shannon!


  3. Kim,

    I think I will have to make my next few posts about the personal care products, Kombucha, homemade yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk.

    As for the coconut oil, I am going to post in detail about that soon, too. I don't take the Lou Ana brand from Walmart, that is for cooking. I take Extra Virgin Organic Coconut oil by the spoonful. It is great for gut health, it combats Candida among other things.

    I tried Suzanne Somers for a short while. I thought all the lowcarb part was great, but the food combining or lack of didn't work for me. She says if you have a carb it has to be by itself without any fat or protein (if I remember correctly) and my blood sugar won't go for that. I need to post a food diary on here soon so you all can see what I eat. I eat very low carb for breakfasts and lunches, but mostly eat normal dinners. Sometimes I'll substitute something at dinnertime. Last night we had Chicken Parmigiana, I had the breaded chicken with a side of steamed spinach (with lots of butter) instead of the pasta and marinara. I feel less tired and bloated when I keep the carbs at a moderate level (and I can maintain my weight).

    Family of four on $66. We are a family with two small kids so that will make a difference. And yes, you observed correctly, I purposely cook mostly with chicken. I detailed in the Money Matters article that by buying whole chickens and cutting them up for meals, I save about $100 per month. I think I also save a lot by making most things from scratch.

    About finances in general, I think that having a goal helps. About a year and a half ago we looked at our budget and decided to cut back in the area of groceries so we could pay off some debt. With that goal in sight I really started cutting back. After the debt was paid off there wasn't the urgency so the grocery budget started increasing a bit here and there. My husband and I sat down last month and decided to start paying extra on our house so that we could have it paid off in 4 years instead of the 9 and a half that we owe. Again, it became easier to cut back on the groceries. I'm amazed each week how low I can get it. I bring my calculator to the store so I can see as I shop what my total is. I also think that God blesses the effort. When you become a better steward of your money, he blesses you with new ideas and extra ways to make money. I felt that it was our stepping out in obedience to pay off that debt last year that brought forth all the ideas of how to save on the grocery budget. I think I have detailed all those ideas in my Money Matters article.

    Meat from the deli is a step up from the Oscar Meyer type packaged meat. Remember the Bad-Good-Better-Best scale. There is some processing involved in deli meat, but I don't know if it would be at the bottom of the scale. You can probably ask the deli to see the ingredient listing and then decide for yourself. See if there is any MSG or corn syrup included in it. Since I am so frugal I was buying the cheapest deli turkey I could. It was $2.98 a pound and pink. The more expensive chicken or turkey was white and seemed more like real meat, but it was $5.98 a pound, so I just started making our own.

    One book for teens to read--hmmmm, that's a tough one because there are a lot of great books out there. I think that Nourishing Traditions is an easy read. The chapters are broken up by Carbs, Fats, Protein, Vitamins & Minerals, Allergies, etc. The book looks so big, but the nutrition part is only about 63 pages. It does include a political bias that bothers some people, but I think that people need to know the truth about how our government agencies are bought and pressured into presenting us with a politically correct way of eating.

    Anyway, hope this helps. I will get to work on posting more detail about those recipes.

  4. Well, sounds like you've been on quite the journey with the rest of us. Looks like you found the right road this time. Good job.

  5. I'm exited for you Kim. You sound as hungry as I am for the truth. I'm glad you'll get to learn about Coconut oil and Kombucha. I've really enjoyed them both and was introduced to them by Shannon last winter. Have fun!

  6. [...] When I first picked up Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (as I mentioned in My Food Journey) I just read through the nutrition information, I didn’t really pay much attention to the [...]