Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 22

Involve those you live with or see frequently with meal preparation.

I was looking at old photos and what great memories they brought back looking through them.  I was very blessed while my boys were growing up since they had good health and were seldom sick.  We had lots of fun with no time wasted with doctor visits.  I am still blessed with good health and a healthy family.  Throughout the years, I have had many people tell me how lucky I am.  It is not luck though;  it is a choice.  And a yummy choice, at that!!! Eating 100% God-made foods provides the necessary nutrients to build healthy bodies.

I found this old photo and it is no wonder both of my boys help in the kitchen now and were interested in having me document my recipes for them.  On Saturday mornings when they were little, Fred would make whole grain pancakes with the boys help.  (Please use caution and be very careful while cooking with toddlers but let them help with cracking eggs, measuring out quantities, and stirring up mixtures.)  It was a special bonding time for my guys, and what a great example Fred was setting for his sons to pitch in and give Mom a break - besides teaching them invaluable kitchen skills. 

A friend made a very wise comment to me about five years ago.  I had told her that I was confident that my sons would continue to eat well (100% God-made meals) when they went off to college.  She asked why I thought they would do that if they weren't cooking at home while in high school.  So since we were homeschooling, we included cooking/nutrition in our health class that year.  I will soon be posting the classes I taught at our homeschool coop this past semester if you are interested in doing something at home.  

Both boys regularly cook or help cook meals now. Tom was equipped to continue a healthy diet when he left for college last August.  Tom continued to eat well at college though he was blessed and did not need to do his own meal preparation.  Even if you don't homeschool, summer is a great time to involve your kids in the kitchen.  In addition, take them with you to the grocery store and let them help plan your meals.

Besides including your children in meal preparation, encourage your husband (or wife if you are a stay at home Dad) to help with meals.  Start with a favorite meal/dish that is your spouse's specialty.  Fred's was flat green chili enchiladas.  He then began to make my chili recipe, and last year since I was doing this blog he really got into making up delicious dinner recipes such as our Baked Spaghetti (with Spaghetti Squash) and Dudley's Calabaza Stew.  Everyone has a special area of interest - help your family members find theirs.  Fred's is dinner, Tom's is quesadillas (for any meal!), Jon's is healthy desserts, and mine is definitely breakfasts.

Lastly, be sure to include and encourage any elderly persons living with you or near you in meal preparations.  It is so important that elderly persons eat the best quality 100% God-made foods to maintain their health (or regain their health).  Gently guide and teach them how foods have changed since they were young and the importance of finding and buying excellent quality real foods.  Best of all, you can learn so many wonderful things from them if you spend time together cooking and baking.  The wisdom and understanding that comes with age is so often overlooked and under-appreciated in today's world.

Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?  Job 12:12

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Take-home Option

We don't eat out often because there are not many good restaurant choices.  When we do, we often have left-over portions of our meals to bring home and they are usually still warm.  So here is a great option when the restaurant only has Styrofoam take-home containers.  Ask your waiter to put a piece of aluminum foil in the container first before placing your food into it.  

Styrofoam is the worst plastic for food storage - especially for warm or hot foods or drinks.  I cringe whenever I see people drinking coffee out of a Styrofoam cup.  Make a decision to not use Styrofoam EVER.  It is that bad.  If you know you will be drinking coffee out, bring your own mug or thermos.  Plasticizers that leech into food cause a myriad of health issues from cancer to infertility.  Eliminate the toxins that come from plastic glasses and dishes by using only glass or ceramic (that has been fired to a high temperature - be careful with handmade ceramics).   

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Week 21

Eat breakfast - a 100% God-made food breakfast.

There are two important aspects to this challenge. 

First, don't skip breakfast.  Even if you don't like to eat breakfast, it is important that you eat something.  Persons who tend to skip breakfast are often persons trying to lose weight.  Skipping breakfast is the worst thing you can do (unless you are intentionally fasting for a short period of time).  If you eat a 100% God-made food breakfast, you will jump start your metabolism, and you will not be as hungry later when you may be tempted to overeat.  So start your day with the 'break fast' routine, and then eat breakfast - something more than just fruit which does not require much digestion.  If you eat just fruit you will be hungry long before lunchtime.   I always eat a large breakfast, such as the one shown in the photo.  Remember to always eat your fruit first, if eating it with a meal.

Second, eat a breakfast of 100% God's foods, the best quality you can find.  Don't eat a breakfast which contains sugar or white flour or any of the other man-processed ingredients on the "to avoid" list.  Skip the sugary cereals, donuts, pastries.  I have posted more breakfast ideas and lots of recipes for breakfast dishes, or if you don't have much time or are not very hungry, you can eat something very simple such as a bowl of yogurt, a piece of whole grain toast with butter, or a range-free egg.  Or you could have some fresh caught fish and bread cooked over a campfire! 

"When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord."  John 21: 9, 12

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Week 20

Thaw foods in advance in the refrigerator.

This takes just a little planning but is very doable, especially if you have prepared your meal plan for the week.  Do not thaw foods in your microwave.  Instead take out the meat or other frozen ingredient from the freezer one to three days in advance and let it thaw (on a plate or in a dish) in the refrigerator.
When we remodeled our kitchen, I got rid of our microwave.  Microwaves heat the water molecules inside foods, so the heating occurs at the molecular level from the inside out.  This causes superheating of the molecules.  This 'superheating' method of defrosting and heating of foods destroys much of the nutritional content of the food.  I buy top quality foods/ingredients and I want to retain this nutritional value for my meals when cooking them.
I know many people feel that the claims that microwaves destroy the nutritional value of food are bogus, but you should investigate this yourself if you do not believe me.  Many studies have been done concerning the superheating of water molecules in food in microwave ovens.  Studies show that water heated in the microwave is heated beyond its typical boiling point (thus superheated). This method of heating  causes eruptions of steam and hot pockets, damaging your food at a molecular level when these explosions occur.
Before I took my microwave out of my kitchen, I used it to store my clean yogurt jars or as a bread box.  Using your microwave as a storage container is a much healthier practice!  I reheat my foods on the stove top or in my smaller oven (I was blessed with double ovens when moving to our house in the country).  If you rely on your microwave to reheat foods, and don't want to heat your large oven, then buy a toaster oven to use instead.
"Do not be deceived.  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows."  Galatians 6:7

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Butter

Does what animals consume affect the quality of food that comes from them?  You bet.  That is why buying the best quality ingredients that you can is so important to your health.  That is also why eating foods in season is so important to your health.  Health is dependent upon living and eating according to the rules set up by God in nature.
Above is a photo of butters that I have made from my fresh, raw milk.  The one on the left, which I have in my freezer, is from this winter (February).  The one on the right I made this morning (May).  It is a much deeper yellow color because the grass that the cows are now eating is green.  This deep yellow spring butter is the healthiest - filled with vitamins and anti-oxidants.  In the 1930's, Weston Price realized the importance of spring butter and health when he studied the diets of the healthiest native people groups around the world.  Dr. Price clearly documented the link between top quality foods and excellent health.  

However, the knowledge that the deep yellow color of spring butter is 'healthy' was known before Weston Price investigated healthy native diets in the 1930's.  The food industry by the turn of the century was artificially trying to produce spring butter year round.  The interesting bit of information above states that in 1904 it was already widely recognized and accepted to artificially color butter to make it look like healthy, spring butter.  This documentation is from a Supreme Court case in 1904 concerning taxation of margarine artificially colored to look like butter (the artificial coloring was not in question, just the amount of tax that could be collected). It states that butter was artificially colored because "the taste of consumers of butter in the United States required all butter to possess the deep color naturally belonging to butter made in the spring season".
The government and big business cannot be blamed for the poor quality man-altered foods that are now available.  As shown in the proceedings from this court case, American consumers wanted the best quality all the time, not only when available in season.  Wanting to sell products and maximize profits, the food industry developed artificial colors and flavors to provide what 'appeared' to be the best quality year-round for butter and eventually all of our foods.  The prime products of the season were 'created' and then were made available throughout the whole year. 

Not only are these man-altered products nutritionally inferior, artificial ingredients are toxic to human bodies (not recognized as food) and require additional nutrients to neutralize them and eliminate them from the body.  Even worse, the conditions in which animals are raised were allowed to deteriorate to a point where 'healthy' foods are never produced.  Unfortunately, with the artificial doctoring of the foods, no one knows by just looking at the food.   
Artificially producing food, man-altered food, does not provide the nutritional foundation that God's foods in season do and which are essential to maintain health.  Butter and eggs are two foods that one can easily see the change in quality with the seasons.  While I have mentioned eating produce in season - think about eating all foods in season.  Eggs and fresh milk are abundant in the late spring and thus great additions to your diet at this time after completing an annual early spring detox (but only if you have found a local source of good quality eggs and milk).
Quality, quality, quality.  God has given us quality foods and we need to follow God's plan eating foods in the right season and growing/raising our foods naturally.  Man cannot make/alter nutritious foods that will nourish our bodies; man can only create poor quality imitations.  Don't be fooled and deceived.

"We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us."  1 Corinthians 2:12

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Week 19

Review, refocus, renew.
This week, please go back through all of the weekly challenges, and read all of the information in the basic posts.  It is easy to slip off track and back into old eating patterns and habits.  If you have been following the blog and weekly challenges, you have come a long way this year!  Please use this week to review and recommit.  If you have gotten busy this spring and drifted, don't be discouraged or feel you are behind.  Use this week to get back on track.
If you are working on changing your diet to 100% God-made foods, once you cheat once or twice, the addictive quality of man-made foods and ingredients can draw you back into the typical American diet.  If you have been doing well following the weekly challenges, you might be feeling better and thus you might not see the negative effects of the man-made foods right away, especially if the things that have snuck back into your diet are sugar and stimulants.  These will, in fact, give you a temporary lift and give you more energy, enticing you back.
Spring is a wonderful time of the year, usually an energizing time of the year for me.  I spend more time outside and less time in the kitchen cooking.  But there is also many more fresh fruits and vegetables available to enjoy.  Buy them, use them, make simple dishes.  And don't forget that you must plan in advance - make your meal plan.
Your efforts will pay off in the long term but you must spend the time and energy upfront learning and implementing your new knowledge.  Take this week to review what we have covered this year so far, refocus your efforts, and renew your commitment.
"Create in my a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10

Monday, May 5, 2014

Keep your eyes open

A text from a good friend has prompted me to write this post.  If you don't learn anything else from reading this post, remember: 
Keep reading ingredient labels and buy locally as often as possible!!!  

(However, if you are just getting started on a healthy diet, don't get overwhelmed by this post.   Start with the weekly challenges which provide easy steps to help you transform your diet within a year from typical unhealthy man-processed foods to a diet of nutritious foods as provided to us by God.  I know if you stick with these challenges that you will reap the benefits of health and vitality!  And you will be ready to delve deeper into issues like the ones presented in this post.)
The text message that I received shows the importance of continually checking out the ingredient lists on all products.  Organic Valley is one of the few companies that has not been bought out by a large corporation and thus I thought to be 'better' quality.  I knew the organic brands sold at Walmart, such as Horizon, were poor quality but Organic Valley is a farmer cooperative with higher standards, or so I thought.  But perhaps all companies get to a point where they are too big to maintain top quality and still meet market demands.  Here is a great article from 2006 that you might want to read.  The situation has only gotten much worse over the last 8 years, so that now in 2014 it is more important than ever to find local top quality ingredients.

Back to the text message.  What are the ingredients in Organic Valley's heavy whipping cream?  It is hard to read in the photo, but they are listed as: Organic Grade A Cream (Milk), Carrageenan.  Why is 'carrageeanan' needed in a carton of whipping cream?  Good question.  I am so glad that I never buy whipping cream, but use the fresh cream that I skim off my raw milk straight from the cow.  No processing; no additives.  So I investigated and found the following about the additive, carrageenan and Organic Valley.  Read the rest of the article if you wish to further understand why Organic Valley is using this additive.  Here are a few details from the article:
At the May 2012 meeting in Albuquerque, the NOSB carried out their legally mandated "sunset" review of carrageenan, and, despite disturbing evidence that this synthetic ingredient causes digestive problems and cancer, decided to allow it in organic for another 5 years. With carrageenan allowed in organic for at least another 5 years, the only thing left for organic consumers to do is to ask companies to voluntarily phase it out. So far, nearly 3,000 Organic Consumers Association members have sent letters to organic brands that use carrageenan.

Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley are the first companies to respond to the thousands of letters from consumers asking them to stop using carrageenan, a synthetic emulsifier linked to digestive problems and cancer, in their products.
It's great that Organic Valley is actively trying to phase out their use of carrageenan, but it is somewhat ironic given that National Organic Standards Board member Wendy Fulwider, an employee of Organic Valley, voted in favor of continuing to allow carrageenan as a synthetic material on the USDA's National List of Approved Substances, and that Organic Valley CEO George Siemon called NOSB members by phone prior to the meeting and lobbied them, urging the re-listing of carrageenan.
Hmmm, is big business more concerned about making money or about your health?  I don't like bringing up negative things or to dwell on these issues.  But knowing big food companies, even those who sell organic products, don't have my health as their number one concern is important.  Knowing this, I like to focus my energy on growing, raising and obtaining the best local ingredients that I can find.
So, it is very important that you understand that the quality of the ingredients that you buy is key.  Once you accept the fact that man-altered foods have detrimental effects on your health, this is probably one of the most important things for you to realize and pursue. 

One way that quality is greatly reduced is when a large food corporation buys out a small company.  Many of the small companies from the 1980's and 90's that were concerned about the quality of the foods and offered excellent quality products have been bought out by large corporations.  These buy-outs occur for a number of reasons but bottom line, the large food corporation is not concerned with supplying the best quality but with the amount of profit they can make.  When they can cut corners, they do.  They also often try to hide the fact that the small company has been purchased.  For example, Stonyfield yogurt.  If you google Stonyfield, and click on the link 'about us', you get a wonderful story about a little farm in 1983 that started selling quality yogurt.  Nowhere does it mention that a large corporation, bought out this small company. 

So how do you find quality ingredients???  Each year this question gets harder and harder to answer.  It is frustrating for me to even address this topic but two things you should do regularly:
1.  Read ingredient labels (while trying to minimize buying things that have ingredient labels).
2.  Find high quality local sources for your foods.
Remember, just because it says it is 'organic', it may not be a quality product.  Don't be lured into thinking all is o.k. by these big corporations who have changed the food game again.  Big business and organics often don't mix.... be informed, start a garden, grow some herbs, find local farmers' markets, join a food coop.  Keep your eyes open, great local food choices are all around us!