Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Going Native!

So our family began our changes into the world of native traditional foods about 1 1/2 years ago. We had very little income at the time so we have really changed gradually. Here is what we have done:

• We quit all cold cereal. Instead we eat eggs, sourdough hotcakes or biscuits, mexican food like chilaquiles or chorizo, breakfast burritos, yogurt or kefir, breakfast sandwiches or sprouted granola. We are working on sprouted oats or sprouted hot cereal. Sometimes I make cream of wheat and I soak it overnight. We eat this with sourdough toast and butter.

• We eat dozens of pastured eggs each week. Someday we hope to have our own chickens.

• We abstain from pasteurized meat and cheese. We try to buy grass fed, organic meats and raw dairy products. Usually these are not in our budget but we do buy them when possible. We hope to buy an upright freezer and then a whole beef or whole chickens from a trusted source.

• We made the switch from aluminum cookware to stainless steel and cast iron.

• We use whole milk and raw milk when possible. (We used to use 2%. We also abstain from powdered milk.)

• We culture our milk by adding kefir. We make and use it daily.

• We try new lacto-fermented foods.

• We make and use whey. (We make it from raw milk, yogurt or kefir.) We use it for soaking and for lacto-fermented foods.

• We use local well water.

• We ferment most of our bread products with sourdough. I even make noodles with sourdough. This helps break down the phytate. At this time I use white, unbleached flour from a local mill. Eventually I plan on purchasing a mill and using sprouted whole wheat in my breads.

• We gave up the sodas (mostly) and powdered drink mix and now make lacto-fermented soda, kombucha, and lemon-aid.

• We soak all our grains in water for about 3 days.

• We use coconut oil, palm oil, butter and lard for cooking and baking. We use extra virgin olive oil for foods that are not cooked. (Lard had been hard to find locally- a farmer I met will save it for me if I buy a pig. I would have to render it, which I have done before with what lard I have been able to get. I did find some organic rendered lard online. Also, sometimes I use whatever coconut oil is on the shelf at the local grocer. When funds allow I buy online in bulk (and on sale).

• We use organic maple syrup. We used to buy it at Costco, but they no longer offer organic, so we purchase it online from farms. I usually search out the cheapest. We use grade B- we like the syrupy taste and it is usually cheaper. Eventually I plan to purchase maple sugar. I also would like to use Date sugar. (Back in Indio, we used to go to the Date Gardens for their super -delicious date shakes made with date sugar.)

• We still use white sugar. (In water kefir.) I use agave nectar on occasion. In all our kefir and sourdough recipes we use raw honey. We use a little stevia. We are trying to minimize the sweets and still use white sugar in moderation.

• We supplement our diet with Cod Liver Oil. We also have high vitamin butter oil but it tastes in-edible so next time we will buy the capsules.

• We try not to buy snacks and to make most things from scratch.

This is about it. We plant a garden and grow our own foods. I try to plant those things we use the most such as, tomatoes, lettuce and melons. We also try to buy from local farmers and at the farmers markets. We also have a family rule that when eating with other families we eat whatever they have served and we do likewise when eating out.

When we first started this diet my two youngest children we under the 50th percentile in height. Since then, they have all shot right up. I was surprised that both of my two little ones are now at the 65th percentile in height. I told them, after reading Nurturing Traditions that 'butter makes you grow!'. My oldest son, now 9, pointed this out on our home growth chart. "Look at how much we've grown since changing our diet!" The gaps in growth were obviously much larger. It's hard to see the benefits of healthy living when everyone is healthy, so this observation really pleased me.

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