Friday, March 6, 2009

ramblings on nutrition, a new book, etc

I have been interested in eating well & nutrition for a very long time now. I had a lot of health issues growing up. By the age of 15 I was determined to start eating better & make a change. Yes, I've learned more things along the way & have backslidden & all sorts of things along the way over the past 21 years (man do I feel old saying that!!), but overall I still try to do my best & when I compare myself to the "average American" diet-wise I can see that I am doing well.

Everytime I learn something new I always wish I could go back in time & start all over knowing that bit of info, but alas it will never work that way. All we can do is move forward knowing what we now know & doing the best we can. (I often feel the same way in my spiritual "walk" with the Lord--but of course scriputre is clear that we are only held accountable for what we have knowledge of).

Yes, I'm interested in eating healthfully, but that has a different meaning for different people. When someone talks about "healthy food" I honestly have no idea what they are referring to--it's a VERY broad term. For me it's mostly about being organic & non-GMO. There are certain key things I try to keep out of the house--hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, possible GMO additives, preservatives, I'm sure there's more but I can't think of it right now. I don't always succeed, I must admit, the kids do like a lot of junk that their mom has allowed & sometimes the fight just isn't worth it--they're gonna just eat it elsewhere anyways, so sometimes hubby & I decide to just give in, especially cuz they're older now, it's not like they're little ones & we are forming their likes/dislikes food-wise anymore at this point.

I have recently obtained & read a book called "Nourishing Traditions." I feel like I've been lead down an interesting path on my way to finding this book. Shortly after the whole fire situation my brother in law stayed with us for a while. We would sit & chat about nutrition, etc in the evenings. He is just as interested as I am about this stuff & he is also a bookworm just like I am. I love discussing this sort of stuff with him. Because I was pregnant he brought up the issue of baby formula being contaminated with melamine & suggested I be sure to do my research on this topic before the arrival of the baby. I was not aware of this, had heard nothing of it. He suggested I go online & look it up for myself. He said he read about it on, but he was sure there was info on it elsewhere. So I went online & read many articles about this. I also went to & while there I ended up subscribing to their email newsletters (which I absolutely LOVE). But it was there that I found the most interesting articles on the baby formula. And I also found an article that contained an alternative, a recipe for making your own baby formula--my initial thought was that that would be a lot of work, but would certainly be good for the baby. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it certainly wouldn't be as hard as preparing actual meals for a child which is what's coming in the future. Little by little I became convinced that I would make my own baby formula & I loved the fact that this recipe was designed to mimic the nutritional value of human breast milk.

What I also found in the article was a link to a yahoo group, they recommended this group for discussing the home made baby formula, etc. I went to that link, but found it referred me to a new link. I did join that group & have learned a wealth of info since being there.

Initially I couldn't wait to get ahold of this "Nourishing Traditions" book (the book that the baby formula recipe comes from). But I must admit that as time went on, based on what I was reading in this yahoo group I wasn't too sure I agreed with their thoughts on nutrition & I became less interested in the book. I was still thrilled with the baby formula recipe, but that was about all. I saw it as a place to take what I wanted from it & leave the rest & that's what I did for a few months there.

Then I was shopping at Whole Foods recently & as I perused the book rack (as I always do) I saw 2 copies of the "Nourishing Traditions" book there. It has never been there before & I know the books there sell out pretty quick & they don't usually restock the same books on a regular basis. So if I want something I know I have to grab it while they have it. I debated for a few minutes & then decided to get it.

I came home & started reading & from the get-go I could see that the ideas I saw presented in the yahoo group were a combination of people have different priorities (other than those stated in the book as well as from my own) & some of it I misunderstood & some just probably wasn't stated clearly. I am thrilled to say that a lot of what's in this book I was already practicing without really having a sound explanation for why--no pork, no soy, no GMOs, buy organic when possible, no scavenger fish, etc. And of course there was a lot of new info that I totally agree with & will put into practice (a lot of info on choosing which oils to cook with). What I like most is the technicality of the explanations in the book. I am a science major & I appreciate very much the detailed scientific explanations when they are provided.

But all in all I really like this book. I plan to gradually start working in the new info & see how it goes. There was also a lot of info on soaking grains prior to eating & on fermented veggies, etc. This was all new to me, I had never heard of this stuff, nor had I heard of it being good for you. I am excited to try it out. One thing they talked about was bone broths--how healthy these are. And I am proud to say that I have already made my first batch of bone broth & am already using it in my cooking. And I must admit it truly tastes amazing!

One thing I encourage people to do for better health is to stop buying processed & prepared foods. Cook basic things from scratch as much as possible--that is step number one to better health in my opinion. Even in the health food stores it's shocking how much processed & prepared foods there are. Sure they aren't made with hydrogenated fats & high fructose corn syrup, but they still aren't as healthy as what you can make yourself. I can't say that I NEVER buy prepared stuff (healthy versions of it anyways), but we do try our best to limit this & not buy very much of it. Hubby & I often feel like we can never get out of the kitchen, some days we are so tired of it, but I do have to admit that I am most happy when I am in the kitchen. On my days when I am here alone that is where I most often find myself--making stuff for my family & I'm there because I "want" to be, not because I "have" to be at those times. And yeah, I have a super picky hubby & step-kids, but when they do eat & enjoy something I've made it makes it so worthwhile to me. I love feeling like I am helping to provide them all with better health.

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