Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Traditional Food Prep: An Answer to Many Health Problems

Have you noticed the increasing amount of cancer diagnoses, blood issues, heart problems, digestion problems, mood and mental disorders, tooth problems, skin problems, etc.? My Man and I feel like it started pretty much with the baby boomers generation. Way to go guys! Just kidding (sort of...). Along with the mass procreation frenzy of babies during that time, food began to be mass produced. Canned goods were introduced, extremely soft smooth white bread, low-fat and fat-free food options, reduced sugar and sugar free foods, microwave meals, pre-packaged processed foods, year round fruits and vegetables (tons of them!), fast food chains. The food industry went crazy, and society went crazy for it. It sounded so amazing, though! Fast, easy, "healthy" is what they told everyone through the t.v. screen. House-wives could now actually maybe do something other than clean and do laundry and soak grains and make bread and kill chickens like their parents and grandparents before them! Because why would anyone want to do that, when the world had so much more to offer a person(valid question)? Men that didn't like to cook (because let's face it, their mom always did growing up) now could stand on their own. "Why hello there. Welcome to my bachelor pad. Schwan's has prepared us a delicious, lovely roast." I have talked to so many people that say, "I don't know why, but I feel like all these health problems have to do with how we are eating." YES, yes it does. And, even with a new look at diet and new attempts at saving our bodies, we are nutritionally starving them.

Do you know anyone who is gluten-free? Dairy free? Paleo? Clean eating? Doing Whole-30? Vegetarian? Vegan? All of these diet-types were created because there was first a problem with health (well, kind of except for vegetarian and vegan whose problem was largely based on treatment of animals), and ALL of them are proof that the mass production of food has indeed impacted our society, and in a not so pleasant way. Now, just like everything else there is a good side and a bad side. The increased production of these foods has helped out certain aspects of our lives (like easily obtaining a food storage), but right now, we are focusing more on what was lost through this food boom: our health.

Traditional food preparation is such a hopeful lifestyle change. It is hard to get into it, because it requires that little bit of extra time that we all have our fists clenched around.

I should mop the floor tonight.
Your eyes begin to widen, the tiny vessels begin to pop turning red. You notice that your finger nails are digging into your palm. Your shoulders and neck begin to cramp. Your heart beat kicks it up a notch. The upper left-hand corner of your lip begins to twitch sporadically.
But I need to do two rounds of scrolling through Facebook and then I WAS GOING TO WATCH THE SANDLOT TONIGHT ON NETFLIX, BECAUSE IT JUST GOT ADDED!!!
You notice the small growl coming from your throat.

Breathe. Breathe. It's okay. Most normal people have experienced this before....

Moving on.

The extra time you take to traditionally prep your food will bless your family generations down that big old tree. I promise.

So then, what the heck is it? I first heard about it through my older sister who came upon it after years of looking for answers because of debilitating health problems. She told me first about the book Eating on the Wild Side which is amazing and has a lot of info to offer on how farming has changed through the years, and in turn, ruined the crops :) Ha ha! Sad but true, and why? Because we (society) ask them to. And we continue to do so everyday. It also talks about how to get the healthiest options with what we have in grocery store. Really great info! I recommend it. The next book she found and actually bought me was Nourishing Traditions which is AMAZING. Did I emphasize it enough? You need to buy it. It is huge. It is extremely informational AND has so many recipes on how to prepare food that will give you a good gut, good immune system, cancer fighting blood and organs, healthy marrow, etc.

So, traditional preparation is preparing food in ways that it has been done traditionally, for thousands of years. I.E. sourdough bread. This basically used to be the only type of leavened bread there was (OH YEAH, watch "Cooked" on Netflix. It is an amazing food documentary(it is in episodes) that talks about traditional preparation). Our ancestors didn't have little packets of yeast to throw into their Bosch and let it do its work, and my guess is, they wouldn't have wanted our yeast anyways. Why? Because the only thing it does is make the bread puff up. Their yeast, wild yeasts, break down the nutrients and the gluten and the sugars in the bread and either change them or make them absorbent for our bodies. Another example, beans. Soaking them. Did you know soaking them gets rid of something called phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient and makes it extremely hard for our body to get any of the nutrients those beans have to offer? If those beans were grown in your own yard, cool. With good soil, maybe you'd still end up getting something if you hadn't soaked them. But, canned beans? They are already nutrient depleted, and therefor don't have much to offer even if we had soaked them. Buying dry beans, soaking them and then cooking them gives your body the best of the nutrients the beans have to offer. Another example. Fermented and canned vegetables like saurkraut, salsa, beets, etc. These are all loaded with pro-biotics which are strains of healthy bacteria that our gut needs in order to give us a healthy immune system and fight cancer. Do you or anyone you know have joint or tendon/ligament problems? Do you just get told to take glucosamine? Did you know that the best way to help your body actually rebuild cartilage and tendons and ligaments is through bone broths? Bone broths were what people used to make soups before Swanson's started canning their own "broth". Bone broth uses the bones of animals and it melts down the cartilage and the tendons and ligaments and even the marrow and puts it all in a delicious broth, and guess what? When you drink it, YOUR body takes it and uses it to rebuild itself. What about dairy? Did you know dairy can have a much more vital place in your life when you traditionally prep it instead of just eating cheese and drinking milk? You can make pro-biotic rich cheese yourself. Cream cheese. Crumbled cheese. Butter. Kefir. Yogurt. All of these things are rich in the things your gut is begging you for AND they help you body digest that hard-to-digest lactose.

Friends, there is SO much more out there. I have found traditionally prep food blogs all over the place! There is so so much I still don't know, but I have found a passion for it and it is not something that will die out because it has so many answers to so many of our problems. No, it is not going to make us all cancer and disease free, but it will make things much better than they are right now. That is for sure.So, if you are interested in what traditionally prepped food has to offer you, check back under my "traditional food" label every now and then for recipes that I have tried, that have turned out, and that can help change your body and the health of the next generations :)

Disclaimer: Ummmmm, I still use canned goods, like all the time. I have a whole pantry full of them. And, we buy pizza sometimes. And I love huge bags of store bought cheese. The point is this, this isn't an all-at-once change. It is a lifestyle change. It takes time, and patience. So, give yourself that.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ten Worthwhile Children's Books

1. Seven Little Bunnies by Julie Stiegemeyer

I thought this was going to be a "jumping on the bed" book but I was completely wrong and was so glad I was because I'm so sick of that rhyme! We all loved  this book.

2. Daddy Hugs by Nanci Tafuri

We checked out some books for Father's Day, and this was one of them. There are quite a few Father's Day books on this list because, well, my girls are obsessed with My Man. We loved this one because of the art and the girls loved seeing all of the different animals.

3. If My Dad Were An Animal by Jedda Robaard

I loved the art in this one. It was all so peaceful and cute. The girls also loved all of the animals in this one, and afterwards we talked about what animal we thought My Man was. We decided a fox, until he came home and reminded me that he has told me multiple times that if he were an animal it'd be a bear. I think both would fit him well for different reasons!

4. Bedtime Without Arthur by Jessica Meserve

This was just a really cute book, and the girls loved it, and so did I.

5. Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser

I honestly was pretty suprised the girls liked this book, just because I didn't like the art that much. But, they did and the story was good! Maybe your kids will like it too :)

6. I love My Daddy by Sebastian Braun

I feel like the cover picture is misleading for how great the art is. At least I liked it! And the girls, like I said before, love anything to do with dad.This book had a great portrayal of how kids see their dads.

7. Bears and a Birthday by Shirley Parenteau

Apparently this is one of many "Bears and __________" books. Which is great news! We loved this one. It has cute cute bears and talks about cake. Ummmm. Yes, please.

8. Bye,Bye, Butterflies! by Andrew Larsen

I wasn't fond of the art style in this book (can you tell the pictures are big time for me? ha!), but I had just been talking to my oldest about how caterpillars become butterflies, and this describes that process pretty well and makes it exciting for the kids. Both girls loved this one.

9. Cricket Song by Anne Hunter
Image result for Cricket Song by Anne Hunter
This has such a peaceful and beautiful tone to it. The girls love that, and so do I. Read this one!

10. Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson

I loved the creativity of the art in this book, and like the one above it was very peaceful and beautiful, along with a beautiful message!

Milk Kefir---Yum.

KEFIR. What an adventure. If you haven't read my first entry on it, check it out here: Water Kefir---The Super Soda. I have so many updates for you guys on water kefir! A bunch of stuff happened, then they(our grains) had to go to rehab(the fridge.), and then we were trying to activate them again which hasn't worked so far. So, I ended up throwing them out! :( So sad.

But, this entry is on MILK kefir, as promised in the water kefir entry. It is funny because at first I thought water kefir was so easy (and it is, as long as you keep up with it), but our grains are definitely not bouncing back as quickly as our milk kefir grains did from their rehab! And, I actually think  it is because we were using sink water to make the water kefir instead of spring water...anyways.

Milk Kefir is like a liquid yogurt drink. Some call it the "Champagne of yogurt". If you buy it from the store, it is quite normal for it to be a bit fizzy from the cultures in it. If I remember correctly, in store bought kefir you generally get around 12 strains of different gut bacteria a.k.a probiotics. With homemade kefir you get almost double the amount and types of strains, PLUS you get good yeast strains as well. To read more on Milk Kefir FAQ go here.

Your gut is so so important when it comes to your health, because that is where all of your health comes from! The strength and health of your gut is what your immune system relies on to stay strong and what your body relies on to be strong. So, take care of your gut, and you will feel great.

I'll start at the beginning. The milk kefir was really hard for us to get started. If you haven't had kefir from the store, it is this delicious creamy milk fruit drink---like yogurt, but not. It is more tart. Anyways, for such a long time I could never get our kefir to be creamy. It always just separated into curds and whey or simply just soured(not normal souring...this is a good souring). Either way, we still used it all up in smoothies and it tasted great AND still had all of the pro-biotics as creamy kefir. But, it was not the same. We wanted our dreamy creamy kefir back that we had gotten used to from the store! And we wanted all of the added benefits.We had looked on SO many different sites trying to find what ratio might work for ours, because it depends on so many things like temperature of where you're at, what milk you used, what your grains are used to, etc. Finally, after giving some grains to my brother-in-law, he figured out the ratio (hallelujah!bless him.) We use 1 tsp. of grain per pint of milk. We have realized that with store-bought 2% cows milk, it takes a full day and night to reach that delicious consistency. After getting some raw goats milk from an awesome family down the street and using that to culture, it only takes literally like a day! Change the grains in the morning and you have creamy kefir by nightfall or sooner depending on the temperature. And, I have to say, the goats milk definitely gives it an aged rustic depth of flavor---if that makes any sense. So so good ! We always make smoothies with frozen berries and bananas OR just use fresh berries and a little bit of vanilla and it is so good. I like using the fresh fruit better and just having it be kefir than a smoothie, but fresh fruit is usually limited, and both are good :)

Kefir is an everyday thing. Fresh milk needs to get switched out consistently or the grain will die. But, it is also not that hard. If you end up not switching out the fresh milk in the morning and you wait a whole extra day, the kefir will just be more thick and more separated. All you do is mix it up and give the grains more fresh milk. The kefir will still be fine. If it goes too far and is pretty dang separated, you could always look into trying your hand at homemade kefir cheese! ;) Also, if you need to go out of town and won't be able to be feeding your kefir grains for a while, all you have to do is stick them in a little tupper-ware of milk and put them in the fridge for up to about a week! Maybe two....When you get back home just put them in some fresh milk out on the counter and wait a bit longer than normal because they take a while to get back into the swing of things, and then BAM, they will be thickening up that milk in no time :)

If you want any info on what milk kefir is and all of the health benefits it offers and WHY you should start making it too! Check out this website here. Our milk kefir grains are re-producing like mad, which is awesome!!!