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Whole Food Eating for the Newbie

 *Be aware that the following links for Real Food for the Real Homemaker are affiliate links on my behalf.* 

Are you new to whole or real food eating? Maybe you know you need to take your meals in a healthier direction but you’re unsure how. I know that’s how I was for years. Low fat, low carb, high protein, no fat, sugar substitutes….which one is right!?

Well, I am not here to tell you what is right or what you and your family should eat or not eat. I’m just here to share my experience.

Growing up, I never thought much about what I ate. We ate out a lot and had a many frozen meals when I was a kid. Both my parents worked and I’m sure it was a challenge feeding us kids when they would work late and come home exhausted. We were definitely a packaged meal, canned soup, microwave dinner kind of family. I didn’t really know any different.

We ate that way for a long time into our marriage too. Cream of mushroom soup, processed meats, box mixes. But after my second baby, I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance. Then with our third pregnancy, I developed gestational diabetes and they discovered that I had hypothyroidism. I knew we had to do something. I prayed, Oh God…please do something. I do not want to end up with diabetes. Please. Show me the way, Lord.

Well, God is faithful and He showed up. A friend of mine and her family invested in our lives and shared their struggle with food and how God had transformed their lives by the way they ate.

One of the kids developed Crohn’s disease. She was on countless medications and even steroids to maintain her “health.” She gained a significant amount of water weight. Then her mom found out about the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. She learned how to prepare food traditionally in order to maintain its nutritional benefits and help the human body digest things properly. After changing their diet, their daughter’s health came back almost fully! She is healthy now, following a strict diet, but she is thriving.

So what changed in my life? Well, for starters, we try not to buy processed foods. Check out this post for more details. We also stopped drinking soda. We started making food at home and we began learning about good fats and fermenting foods.

You’re probably thinking, great…but what kind of results have you had?!  At least that’s what I would be thinking….Well, since beginning this diet January 2013, my husband and I have lost roughly 15-20 lbs each. I have lost 4 inches and we have each gone down a pant size or two. Not only that, but they have lowered my thyroid medication dosage. We are on our way to healing!

Now, that being said, we do not follow this diet to a t. We are still learning and we still eat things that are probably not great for us. But you know what? That’s ok. Stressing about what we eat only makes things more difficult. We still enjoy our food, we still eat plenty, and we still go out to eat sometimes. I’m sure with more dedication, we would see better results.

Maybe you’re sitting there and you’re like I was… You know you need to make a change but you’re unsure of the direction you need to go. Well, I am here to help!

 

As you might now, I am a contributing writer for Young Wife’s Guide and the author of that website, Jami, has begun another website called, Homemaking from Scratch. Well, she and two other authors have launched a real food cookbook called, Real Food for the Real Homemaker.

I really appreciated this cookbook. It helped me simplify some recipes and also gave me ideas for new recipes which was a huge help to get my family out of our “food rut”. One thing this book helped me do was start making my own tortillas. It’s so easy! Now, I don’t have to spend a bunch of money on sprouted or simple ingredient store-bought tortillas and I certainly don’t have to give my family the GMO-ladened, store-bought tortillas either.

The book is full of helpful tips and information and great recipes to help you get started on your real food journey. Right now since they are just launching this eCookbook, it’s on sale! For $9.99, you get the eCookbook (with kindle version included), printable recipe cards, and a meal planner too.

So check it out!

Don’t be scared of real food eating. Start small and simple. Learn the basics.

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Meal Plan Monday

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It’s Monday! That means I need to plan our meals for this week. What are your plans for this week? Do you have plans for the 4th?

Happy fourth of july to you and your family! Let’s celebrate the freedom we have in our country and all the opportunities we have.

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Weekly Goals

My goal this week is to start simplifying everything! Meals, cleaning, storage. I am hoping to do some of this by clearing closet space and preparing for our garage sale next month.

Breakfasts

Oatmeal

Fruit and yogurt

Eggs

Toast

Chia seed drink (recipe to come!)

Lunches

Grilled Cheese

Sandwiches

Leftovers

Dinners

Monday: Spaghetti, vegetable, and salad

Tuesday: Pulled Pork sandwiches, carrots, applesauce

Wednesday: Sausage & cheese omelets and fruit smoothies (recipe to come!)

Thursday: Happy Fourth of July!  Cookout at home. Hamburgers, homefries or potato salad, salad

Friday: Roast Chicken with potatoes, onions and carrots, beans, and applesauce

Saturday: Cookout with friends.

Sunday: Pork roast with potatoes and a veggie

So that’s our week! I hope your family has a wonderful holiday, celebrating our freedom as a nation.

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*Why do I share my meal plan? There are really two reasons. The first reason is so that I have easy access to my plan all week. It is easy for me to just sit down and type a plan and check it all week. The second reason is accountability. If I have my plan out on the internet, maybe I’ll stick to it and keep up the planning!

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Monday Meal Plan

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So tomorrow is the day we order from our co-op and so I am putting together a list of things I need to order. I thought I might share our meal plan too. Exciting stuff right there.

So for our co-op order, it depends on our budget, but here is what I am hoping to order:

  • Coconut Sugar
  • Cashew Butter
  • Chia Seeds
  • Maybe some Kombucha.
  • Sunflower Oil

I am also going to try to get some kefir grains (maybe water kefir!) from our co-op leader.

So for our meal plan last week, I did a two week plan. However, I will just do this week since I didn’t post it last Monday.

Breakfasts

  • Soaked oatmeal or pancakes with fruit
  • Toast (with homemade bread- Recipe soon)
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Eggs
  • Muffins
  • Tea, milk, or smoothies

Lunches

  • Pizza Quesadillas
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Sandiwches
  • Left overs
  • Salad (cobb or taco)

Dinners

  • South of the Border omelets with home fries
  • Pulled pork and potato salad
  • Dutch Babies with fruit
  • Roast Chicken with baked potatoes
  • Chicken enchiladas with chips and guacamole 

I also wanted to share some time sensitive information with you! Tomorrow at 6pm EST there is a free live webcast (with speakers like Lysa TerKeurst and Sheila Walsh) through Women of Faith. Check it out! Sign up here.

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Whole Food Eating: Co-op Ordering

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photo by richreed

As I was getting ready to place my co-op order last month, I decided I should do a post about it. I touched on it in my last post, but we order from Frankferd Farms. We order through a friend of a friend and it’s not really a co-op because it’s not really membership based. A co-op, or food cooperative, according to the International Cooperative Alliance (1), is:

“… an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.”

The idea for co-ops, is to provide people access to real and natural foods that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to just by shopping at the grocery store. This is especially important in areas like mine that are very small communities that have limited foods available. All we have is a Kroger and a Walmart and a small mexican grocery….SO….a co-op was a good idea for us.

There are certainly other ways to get real food. I touched on this a little in my budgeting for real food article. A really good way to get good food is to go to good people! The little guys: farmers, small shop owners, farmer’s markets, get stuff from friends or grow it yourself. But for things we can’t get this way, we order.

Like anything, we need to budget our spending for the co-op orders. Our main order is wheat berries for making our homemade bread (recipe coming soon). So when we buy those, (25lbs!!) we won’t usually buy anything else. But, since 25lbs will keep us in wheat for a while, when we don’t have to order them, we can get other things. There is a wide variety of things to order from, of course.

To look at the catalog, just go to their website and click on Our Catalog.

taken directly from the Frankferd Farms catalog

taken directly from the Frankferd Farms catalog

Most of the time, we get rice, a nut butter, baking supplies, cheese…etc.

Some of the best things to get are dry goods. Grain, rice, and beans. We do buy this stuff, but we also buy cheese and other refrigerated goods.

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Photo by freedigitalphotos.net

Most of the time, if you have a co-op group, there will also be people in the group who know what is best to buy and what is not as good. There may also be people who you can get certain items from. The woman that orders for us sells chickens, eggs, and much more. She also has Kombucha Scobies, Kefir Grains, and Sourdough starters that she gives away because she’s always got extra. 🙂 So check around.

Ask around at farmer’s markets or people in your area to see if they know of a co-op in your community. There are probably several. You can order from Frankferd and other co-ops independently, but it can be costly. Plus delivery can be difficult. Doing it as a group order will be most beneficial. You can even google “local food co-ops” and see if you can find one that is near you. However, I think the best way to find one, is to ask people you know.

Good food is the key to a good life.

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photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Sources: 1.)http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/save-money-food-coop.htm

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Pizza Quesadilla Recipe


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This is super easy and fast way to feed your kids a nutritious meal.

You can make these as a quesadilla or you can even make your own personal thin crust pizza.

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First, you’ll need all of your ingredients. We just chose to do only mozzarella cheese but you can do any pizza topping you like. You’ll also need tortillas and tomato sauce.

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We chose to use sprouted wheat tortillas. Read about why sprouted grains are good for you here.

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We also used cheese from grass fed cows that we ordered from our co-op, Frankferd Farms.

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And for the tomato sauce, we used Muir Glen tomato sauce. Not only is it delicious, but it’s actually on the more reasonable end of the price range.

DSC_7011 DSC_6993Shred or break apart your cheese and put it on your tortilla.

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You can put it on the whole tortilla like this. Or you can put it on half like the one below.

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Next, place another tortilla on top, or fold it in half.

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Then, bake them at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Or until the cheese is melted.

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DSC_7004Don’t forget to flip them over and bake it on the other side for 5-7 minutes.

DSC_7006Cut and serve. Yum!

When they’re finished, serve with the tomato sauce (heated) for dipping.

DSC_7016This makes a great little lunch or quick supper. With more toppings, it could make a really yummy pizza too! Add a salad, soup, or fruit to make this a super yummy meal that your family will love. Enjoy!

Pizza Quesadilla Recipe

Makes 3 large Quesadillas

Ingredients

1 Pack (6) Sprouted Tortillas (we like Alvarado Street Bakery)

1 can of tomato sauce and any seasonings for it! (Italian seasoning…pizza seasoning…garlic…..)

Mozzeralla Cheese- We used about 8-10oz. But you can put on as much as you like!

Other pizza toppings: sausage, pepperoni, peppers, tomato, onion, mushroom…etc.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Shred or break apart your cheese and put it on your tortilla.
  3. Next, place another tortilla on top, or fold it in half.
  4. Then, bake them at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted.
  5. Cut and serve.
  6. Serve with the tomato sauce (heated) for dipping.

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Real Food Rules!

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Photo by © 2006-2013 Pink Sherbet Photography

Many people have their own idea of what a good diet is. I’m sure it’s different for everyone and that’s fine. Today, I’d like to share a little about the things we’ve been learning about food.

I recently came across this article by The Frugal Girl. Kristen (Aka: The Frugal Girl) writes about a book the helps define certain rules of a real food diet. She shares several of the rules such as:

#10 Avoid foods that are pretending to be something that they’re not.

#13 Eat only food that will eventually rot.

For us, we are certainly not perfect in this area. At. All. But we have changed our diet pretty drastically in the last few months.

Our “rules” before? Anything goes.

Now we have some rules that we try to follow most of the time.

Real Food Rules

#1. Anything created by God for human consumption is probably good for you.

#2. Make as much food at home as you can. Eating homemade food, even some meals that might not be great for you are still better than buying pre-made food at the store.

#3. Remove processed foods from the diet. Anything from canned soups to breakfast cereals. We try to avoid foods full of chemicals, MSG, dyes and foods that are highly processed.

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Photo by epSos.de

#4.Watch your oils. We’ve nixed vegetable oils, canola oils, soybean oils, and the like from our pantry. Hydrogenated oils are no good! Use stronger fats like butter, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil for high temp cooking and sunflower oil for non-cooking uses.

#5. Eat good dairy. Yogurt, kefir, butter. These are full of gut-healing bacteria and are super for the digestion. They are also good fats which keep you full and help you fight fat too. If you are allergic to dairy, try using full fat coconut milk instead.

#6. Ferment veggies & beverages and soak grains. We don’t do this as often as we should, but like I said, we are still learning. Soaked grains are broken down and the harmful anti-nutrients are neutralized making these difficult to digest foods good for you and easier to process in the body. Fermented veggies are full of gut-healing bacteria too.

#7. Ditch the soda.

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Photo by © 2006-2013 Pink Sherbet Photography

There is definitely more to it, but those are the basics.

What does a good diet consist of in your house? Do you follow a certain diet or is it anything and everything?

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Budgeting for Real Food

budget2photo by Tax Credits

So the titile isn’t exactly a mystery…and it certainly doesn’t sound too exciting does it? Well, you’re right. It’s not. But keep reading anyway. My husband and I just recently had a heart to heart talk about his worries and mine. One of his concerns was money. (Big shocker, there, huh?) It was no big surprise to me. We aren’t exactly very organized when it comes to finances. So we decided to change all that.

Before I get into detail about learning to budget, let me explain a few things. Last year at this time we were spending significantly less at the grocery store than what we spend on groceries now. We did a great deal of shopping at Aldi and bought discounted products. However, we were also buying mostly processed foods. Canned soups, frozen tater-tots and pizzas, bags of chips and processed cheese. Well, in the past year, our eating has changed drastically. Thus, our buying has changed drastically. Buying farm fresh eggs and produce, grass fed beef and organic dairy not only affected our bodies, it also affected our pocket book. We aren’t buying as much snack food, and processed items, which helps, but there was still a significant increase.

So recently, I’ve been watching what I buy all the time. Yogurt, cheese, and fresh and frozen produce are the items we buy the most. Of course, those can be the most expensive too. So, in addition to learning to make my own yogurt, I also expect these items to be higher than most anything else. So, because we eat those the most, I have been trying to keep other costs down. There are several ways to do this.

1.) Buy in Bulk- A great way to save money on items you use frequently is to buy it in bulk. For us, since we are learning to make bread, we have decided to buy wheat in bulk from our co-op. We buy the organic wheat berries and then sprout/and or grind them ourselves.

2.) Shop locally- It’s summertime which makes this step even easier right now. I can’t stress enough to buy local food. We have several families within a mile or less that sell produce, honey, syrup, eggs, meat, yogurt, cheese, soaps, and many other goodies. Granted, we have countless Amish and Mennonite farms around us. For those who may not have that opportunity, check out your community farmer’s markets. I have yet to attend our local farmer’s market but I intend to change that soon. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.

3.) Grow your own- One of the easiest and budget-friendly ways to save on your groceries is to grow your own fruit, veggies and herbs. There also are several ways to store this food so you can eat it year round too.

4.) Plan your meals- This is one of the best ways to keep your pocketbook in check. Plan your meals ahead of time. If you’re internet savvy and you like digital lists and recipes, check out Plan to Eat. Otherwise, sit down once or twice a month and plan what you’re going to eat. Breakfast through dinner and snacks. Don’t leave anything out. Then write your grocery list accordingly. Your initial grocery bill might be a little more than you’re used to, but you won’t have as many little trips to the store. Remember, it all adds up.

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photo by david_shankbone

5.) Stick to it. This one is the hardest for us. Stick to your budget for food. Stick to your meal plan. Stick to your list. Stick to it. Don’t alter your meals once you have the plan. Now, I know things come up. Believe me, I know. But try with all your might to keep it up. This past few months has been interesting for us because we ran out of chickens from our freezer and all we had left was a ton of pork from buying half a hog several months ago. So, what have wee been eating? You guessed it. Pork. For months. Bacon, sausage, pork roast, ham roast, pork chops, ribs. But with a little creativity, it’s been fine. We get more chickens in June and we’re looking forward to it!

6.) Pay with cash. This is plenty easy (and necessary when buying local food). Use cash to buy anything, really! Even paying bills. That way, you’re seeing your money and where it goes, and you’re less likely to spend as much. Also, a plus for us has been saving the coins left from our purchases. Recently, my husband counted over $80 in coins just from paying in cash. He was able to buy a power tool with it!

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photo by Tax Credits

And lastly, (though this is actually the first step), don’t forget to create a written budget. Having something in writing always feels more binding. Just thinking in your head “I’ll just spend $50 this week”, doesn’t really do anything. Be sure to have accountability as well. Work with your spouse to establish a budget that will work for both of you. And keep each other to it.

There are plenty of free budget templates. Check out google docs and start putting it to use!

Stay tuned to see an example menu plan and shopping list. Also, I’ll tell you about ordering through a co-op.

Also, to get more real food recipes and ideas, check out my Pinterest board: Whole Food Eating and don’t forget to follow it!