The past year has been a fruitful one in terms of our journey towards better nutrition. God, in His infinite wisdom, provided everything we would need to sustain ourselves body and soul on our climb up the mountain to Him. He provided meats and fruits in abundance. He designed our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, to function in an ordered and awesome way. When we twist and distort the perfect design, we reap a twisted and distorted body. These realizations, the fruit of much prayer, were the beginning of major change for us. God has granted many consolations and proofs for us along the way. Food as He intended is nourishing and healing. It is simple, whole. This became our benchmark, we began to seek out the simple and the whole.
The journey was very intimidating for me at first. So many changes needed to be made, but these changes required thought, and $money$. We started with meat. It took us the better part of our year to really get a handle on that, but it was perhaps the biggest change we made. All pasture fed beef from a local farmer is in our freezer now. A quarter of a cow! I know we pray for “daily bread,” but I can’t help feeling a little like I’m learning to be more like the Proverbs 31 woman – ” she brings her food from afar.” This meat is lean, healthy, and very tasty!!!
The next big part of the journey was “the daily bread.” Seems like an easy undertaking, but it was not. For now, we bake using a bread machine – a Zojirushi. Bread Machine baking is an altogether different science from hand baking bread. Proportions must be just right, and the dough ball behaves differently in the machine than it would in your hands or on the counter. I was determined to get a basic recipe of 100% whole wheat bread to rise and be edible, soft, light. It took several bricks, but I finally did it. Once accomplished, I almost felt the recipe needed to be housed in a bank vault, so much time and labor had gone into it. I really began to feel confident. I was learning my way more and more around the kitchen.
Organic shopping started to evolve, and though it was difficult to fit into the normal family food budget, I started to make it work. Milk was a big challenge! How many shopping trips did I put the organic milk into the cart, and then take it out again. Our solution has been to cut back on milk consumption. It’s water around here except for milk with the occasional desert, or for breakfast. We have a milk chugger in the house – Sparkly, our 6 year old – who will quite easily chug a half gallon of milk daily if given the chance. There is so much more room for improvement here, but I am content that we are on the right track. After a year, our health has improved in so many tangible ways.
I’m going to list my goals for next year (these will primarily be tackled over the summer because of time constraints during the school year.) Maybe I can look back and check up on myself.
- Learn to make hamburger buns from scratch
- Branch out and master a few other breads (quick breads, rolls, biscuits, french bread, oatmeal bread) the family is asking for variety.
- Look into other sources for frugally satisfying our grocery needs while trying to improve upon the amount spent. Specifically look into United Buying Clubs.
- Improve the amount and variety of veggies eaten here – start to break free of the “meat and potatoes” mentality with salad as the obligatory vegetable representative.
- Continue to work on adding new recipes for our family menus.
- Complete a family menu and resource section in my Home Management Binder.
- I’d like 2 separate monthly menus to choose from and to be able to alternate.
- I’d like coordinated grocery listings for weekly sections for ease of checking pantry stocks.
- I’d like a couple of separate “super frugal weeks” that would include some of the most budget conscious menus.
- I’d like a listing of easy meals that could be completed with the least amount of ingredients and time for panic cooking.
- I’d like lists of breakfasts, snacks, and lunch options to choose from.
- I want to try to plan and execute a couple of major cooking days, with the end result being several meals in my freezer. I’m using this book – Preparing Whole Foods for a Whole Month: That Your Family Will Enjoy. My goal will not be getting a month’s worth of food in the freezer, but several meals (of unspecified number – willy style my Granny would say – whatever comes out of the pot!) I think this will help hedge the “we’ve been working in the yard and I’m too tired to cook anything so let’s run to Sonic” maneuver.
That doesn’t seem like much to accomplish over the summer, does it??? Oh well, I’ll give it a try.
One thing I’ve learned is that we’re committed to these changes. We’re not going back! I have been so surprised by my husband’s ongoing support, he’s one of the biggest cheerleaders for this move, providing a set of guidelines to operate in and encouragement and validation along the way. I take my cues from him, knowing that as the head of this family he always has our best interests close to his heart. Without his very close watch and approval, none of this would be in place. I’m biased, but what a great man!!
I long to be more of a Proverbs 31 wife, who “works with willing hands…and provides food for her household.” This past year God has certainly provided many opportunities to exercise me in the domestic virtues. It feels good to finally have an idea of the bigger picture with regard to whole food eating, but with that bigger picture comes the realization of just how much more I have to learn.