Ah....where do I start...to tell YOU where to start??!! My own food journey started over eight years ago and continues on and on and on, as I read and educate myself further. And then find a WAY to apply that knowledge. Sometimes it's the application part that is the hardest. Certainly, it is often the part that takes the longest to achieve. I will admit that at times it's easier to revert back to our old ways. Because they're familiar and normal by the world's standards. They're accepted. But I can never stay in that pattern for very long. Because I feel its effects. And it doesn't feel good.
I'm one of those people who questions everything and spends a lot of time looking things up on the internet and in books. (I'm pretty sure all our physicians hate me.) I read because I want to know stuff. The very idea of having "the wool pulled over my eyes," especially so someone else can get rich, offends and upsets me, especially when it comes to my family's food and health. I guess that's the "mother bear" in me.
My food journey actually began when I had my first baby. It began because I had a baby. While I've always leaned a lot toward environmental concerns and natural, earth-friendly products, when I became a mother I became even more concerned with natural living. For instance, I was adamant I would breastfeed. So much so, in fact, that I endured six solid weeks of torturous pain from thrush (I didn't know what was wrong with me) because no way was I going to quit nursing! Of course, after I survived that I had to figure out what I would do when it came time to feed my baby solid foods.
So I suppose it all began with baby food. I was very concerned with what would be going into my baby's body. After doing a little research, I purchased the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. And while I do not agree 100% with her methods of feeding babies (or believe all she has to say about what's healthy), it was a remarkable resource for a young, first-time mother. I learned why commercial baby food should be avoided, how to read labels, ingredients to avoid, how to choose, cook, and store many vegetables new to me, and how to make my home a safer place by making my own household cleaners. I also learned about organic vs. conventionally-grown food. IF I bought a jar of baby food, I only bought organic. But even then I knew it wasn't the best stuff to be feeding to my child, so most of the time I made everything myself. I made cereals, fruits/veggies, crackers, you name it. And perhaps it was just coincidence, but that baby of mine set a record in our pediatrician's office as the only child ever to make it to the age of three having never been prescribed an antibiotic!!!! (That and to this day the child will eat anything!)
About the time that baby was three I was introduced to the book What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Dr. Rex Russell. I devoured it...so to speak. (Y'all, I hope you'll forgive my nerdy humor. I can't help it.) I knew I couldn't do everything the author suggested all at once (though I always wish I could), so I picked the easiest possible things (for me) to eliminate from my diet. I decided to start with shrimp, other shellfish, catfish, pork, etc. after learning what those animals eat and how they digest their food. It was enough to keep me away. I also began to buy less and less processed food items. For many reasons, there would be no more hot dogs in my house!!
Then I had a third baby and ended up with thrush again. Only this time I had a much worse case of it. And I couldn't fight it off. (Thank you, refined sugars and grains.) Many, many weeks went by with no improvement whatsoever while on pharmaceuticals. Finally, the doctors cut me off. No more meds! They suggested I see a doctor of internal medicine to check for autoimmune disorders. I, being the rebel that I am (yes, I admit this), refused to believe it. I did my own research and learned about the healing power ofphytochemicals.
Raw garlic (and lots of it), probiotics, blueberries, cherries, cranberry supplements. All worked together to heal me. After this experience I was forever changed. I began to look at food for nourishment and health rather than for simply my enjoyment. Since that time, I've learned much more as other books have come my way: The Maker's Diet by Dr. Jordan Rubin, Real Food by Nina Planck, and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, being the top three.
I've made many, many changes over the years. It's truly amazing how vastly different we eat now than we did when we were first married. I don't always do everything the way I should, and I struggle sometimes because I know about so much more and want to do better in those areas, but I can only do a little at a time. This is important, because I don't want to get overwhelmed and give up. All this to say, if you want to get started on a food journey and don't know where to start, just start somewhere. Do anything. Pick the easiest thing you could possibly accomplish and get good at that first.
Some things to start with:
1. Work toward a more UNprocessed grocery list. If it comes in a bag, box, package, or can, you probably should try to avoid it, with the exception of just a few things.
2. Stay away from trashy, rancid meats like hot dogs, bologna, and other deli-style "meats."
3. Switch from refined, synthetically-iodized table salt to Real Salt. It happily still contains all the minerals your body needs (unlike regular salt). It's so nice to be able to say, "Salt away! It's good for you!" with no worries. I've also found it takes less of it to get the same results than ordinary salt. (And you can buy it in bulk at Whole Foods.)
4. Buy your eggs from local farmers who let their hens eat at free-will all day on a pasture. And eat lots of them. You'll thank me for this one!
5. Throw away all vegetable oils, including canola, sunflower, safflower, etc. Use olive oil for salads and the like. But for cooking, use good, unrefined coconut oil.
6. Make the switch to whole grains. No more white flour. And then, eventually, learn to soak the grains.
7. Find yourself some raw dairy. Try to drink raw milk every day. Use lots of butter and cream. Eating fat is GOOD for you!!
8. Use natural, unrefined sweeteners. I use raw honey, maple syrup, and Sucanat. (Sucanat compares cup for cup with sugar, and you can buy it at Whole Foods, online, or through a co-op.)
9. Watch Food, Inc. It will change your life. Meat at the grocery store is scary, scary stuff. Look for grass-fed beef, pastured, free-ranging poultry, and wild-caught fish. The animals are healthier and happier this way, and you will be, too.
Take it one step at a time. Changing a lifetime of bad eating habits is going to take a while, so be patient both with yourself and with the process. If you're in the central Arkansas area (and even if you're not), I would encourage you to check out the Real Food in Little Rock blog for advice and information about obtaining and preparing real food.
We took Paul out for lunch today at ZaZa's, a local restaurant that uses many fresh, local ingredients. Suits us. It was delish.
And then we splurged on gelato.
Poor Atticus fell asleep in the car between church and the restaurant. So he missed the entire meal!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Noah went to his first day of VBS at a nearby church, so the others needed something fun to do. We found it.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Oh, yes. Yes, it has arrived! It was a long five and a half weeks. Very long.
I think they're actually sparkling!!!!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It's 2:19 p.m. Something's verrrrry wrong with this picture.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Sure enough. Noah ran fever all afternoon and through the night last night. He's quarantined today. But Mommy's not. I have a Women's Fellowship tonight, and I'm bringing a dessert: Rhubarb Crisp. (One of my favorites.)
Friday, June 25, 2010
Daddy treated us with his presence today. We LOVE when he surprises us with a "day off." We would have thought it couldn't get any better, but it did. He took us all to see Toy Story 3.
And I'm not kidding you. Atticus sat just. like. this. the entire movie!!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
After staying the night at Poppy's house last night, we had a quick morning swim before doing our Saturday food runs.
Bless his heart: Atticus slept late and missed all the fun. Again. Obviously, we are wearing the boy slap out. Honestly, I could have joined him. Any other "Project 365" participants worn out? See for yourselves over at Sara's.
I looked over during church this morning to see Gabriel resting his head on Saylor's lap,...and she was gently patting his head!
After all the kids were in their pajamas this evening, Paul let them go outside and watch him water our newly-sodded slope out front. Of course, ride-on toys had to be dragged out. By the time I got out there, I discovered my oldest son pushing my youngest child in his little car waaaaay up our sloped street. (This had apparently been going on for a while.) "That's too high" and "He's not going to like that" and "You're going to scare him" and "Be careful" are the thoughts in my mind, especially when I saw this look on Atticus's face as they came barreling down the road:
And you should have heard him screaming! It sounded awful!! I was so scared for him.
But take another look.
He was actually screaming with laughter. He loved it!! (And yes, he was buckled in. I DID manage to ask that before they took off.)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Tonight we're having oatmeal for supper.
'Cause sometimes that's all I can muster. Oatmeal with a good tablespoon of butter per 1/2-3/4 cup serving of oatmeal. Mmmm... I believe in the health benefits of animal fat, especially when eating grains.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Saylor went to a birthday party today. It was a "dress-up like a fairy princess party." I thought it was pretty silly, but Saylor enjoyed it quite a lot. From the hair-do (complete with glitter) to the nail polish (oh, my!), it was definitely her cup of tea.
Then I went to make dinner and get a shower before Bible study. But before I got into the shower, I found this little catastrophe awaiting my attention. This is why it does not behoove me to spend my "alone time" in the kitchen cooking. This is why. (Do they make slings that will hold two toddlers at once?)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Having the front doors refinished.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Noah at his school desk.
Don't think for one second that he is smiling about schoolwork right now...
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Today we shopped some more for a dishwasher. (For those of you keeping score, we are now at five weeks and counting without a working dishwasher.) The kids? Well, between riding the lawn mowers, the excitement of the escalator, and dancing to the likes of Tom Petty and Heart, they seemed to have had a grand time.
So, that's about it for this week. All the "Project 365" participants are linked up at Sara's. If you need me I'll be washing dishes. Many, many dishes. By hand.
We have these great friends. The kind of friends who come over at the drop of a hat when you have an emergency appointment to see the doctor, the kind of friends who are available to help install dishwashers, the kind of friends you can call anytime to borrow something, the kind of friends who visit you in the hospital, the kind of friends who will run errands for you if you need it, the kind of friends who will sit and talk with you when you need to work through something, the kind of friends who pray for you, think of you, and call you, and most importantly, the kind of friends who hold you accountable. These great friends of ours...are moving in just a couple of weeks. And about as far away as possible.
First, they are moving IN FAITH to a training program called Beautiful Feet in Oklahoma City. They will be there for a mere six months, and then...THEN they are moving to Africa.
To be family to the scads and scads of orphaned children there.
To help meet their physical and emotional needs.
To parent them.
To love them with the love of Christ.
To teach them about Christ.
To do what God has called them to do in His great Kingdom plan.
So far, it has not been easy. And they're still here in Arkansas! They have met with some adversity, they have wondered "How?", they have NOT been given an easy ticket. But they are still going. IN FAITH.
These friends of ours have eight (EIGHT!) children, seven of whom are moving to Africa with them. These friends will be doing this thing IN FAITH, supported one hundred percent by regular folks like us. One hundred percent! And while a large, one-time gift would be VERY much appreciated, what they really need is monthly support they can count on. Even if all you can do is just a little bit per month.
Here's what you can know about sending your money to help them. You will be serving a family with your resources, and they, in turn, will be serving the multitudes. You will be showing God's love and mercy to the needy through real hands and feet, even though you yourself have not sacrificed everything to GO THERE. Do you need to know how many will be saved as a result of this family's work in Africa? No. You only need to know that God will take what you give IN FAITH and will multiply it for His purposes. Do you even need to know exactly what they will be doing 24/7 for the next however many years? No. You only need to know that they love these orphaned, abandoned, and forgotten children and will love ON them, because as believers that is what we are called to do for people.
And we are commanded to give. We don't need to know all the whys and wherefores. Give IN FAITH. God will bless that.
"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys." -Luke 12:33
You can follow their blog at SuubiFamily.blogspot.com to learn more about our friends and their heart for missions, especially for orphans. Feel free to contact them for more information about where they will be going, what they will be doing when they get there, and how you can help.
I am asking you to prayerfully consider them, IN FAITH, as a possible place to send your money, knowing that it would be going to support a godly family doing Kingdom work.
I am even asking you to tell others about them: your friends, your family, your churches. Get involved!!
I am asking you to take seriously John Piper's command so often quoted, yet so often ignored (even by those who quote it): "Go, send, or disobey."
This dear family is GOing. Will you help SEND them?
After church today Paul and I "restfully" cleaned out the garage, mowed, and trimmed hedges, all of which desperately needed to be done. Even the car got cleaned out!! Then we went to a baptism out in the country.
It was so bloomin' hot. I was grateful to not have the kids there in that heat with that many people, trying to feed them and watch them swim. It made for a nice (but hot), relaxing (but hot) visit with our fellow church members (who were also hot).
And then on the way home...we just might have found "the land." We'll see...
What do you think??? Not bad, eh?
Monday, June 7, 2010
After sleeping late (again), vacuuming the entire downstairs, and doing various other necessary-before-my-children-come-back chores, I headed southward to pick up the kids from my parents' house. In some ways it seemed like we had just left them, but in others it seemed like a lifetime since we'd seen them. We were all happy to be reunited. Here are a couple of cute moments mom captured while they were there. (I was on the road for over four hours today. I was in no mood for photographs.)
And, no. That's not a horse. Cubbie is my mom's greyhound. Gabriel calls him "My Dubbie."
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Today was a day of catching up with each other. I "locked" us all in the bonus room upstairs (not really, so please don't call DCFS), where the kids played and watched movies while I cleaned and organized all the random stuff that gets designated to the bonus room. We even ate lunch up there! It was a pleasant change. We also read lots of stories together today. And then, probably because I had missed them so much, I just had to end the day with a little sweet for them: swirled lollipops from our trip to Eureka Springs.
Can't believe I let my baby eat a lollipop...
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Today we spent a couple of hours at the zoo. From 10:00 - 11:00 the weather was pleasant, but the next hour was downright miserable. Even the kids were complaining!
One of these days I'm going to the zoo...just me, myself, and my zoom lens. 'Cause I really wanted to capture this moment UP CLOSE.
Saylor fell in love with this sweet baby. I think he liked her, too!
All Aboard the Zoo Train!
Another animal Saylor really liked. Wonder why??
We quickly made our rounds to the things we missed the last time and then headed home for lunch in the air-conditioning like good, sensible folks!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
We had plans to go skating tonight, but that didn't pan out. We had decided to cash in the kids' free chicken sandwich cards at Chick-fil-A and then let the kids play. Our dinner took a little longer than planned because the play space was closed for "clean-up" (don't ask) when we got there, so that took a while. By the time we were all fed, though, it was finally ready, so the kids got their fill of tubes and slides. For now.
Noah made friends. As usual.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Tonight was our friend's birthday party. TEN years old!! (Don't know where the time has gone.) Anyway, his mom did a Highlights Magazine party. Cute, huh?
And then while the kids played outside, my little Gabriel decided he was big stuff and hopped on this battery-powered four-wheeler and headed off into the woods all by himself!!
(Ugh. This picture is wacky-looking. That's what I get for taking this from underneath the trees and using a cell!!)
Wah-ha-ha!!!! I caught Noah singing and dancing!!!
Hooray for egg shakers!
Wow. Sometimes I get to the end of these posts and think, "How did we DO so much this week?!" (And occasionally--"How is it that I found myself without a REAL camera for the better part of it?") Anyway, I'm certainly glad to have a way to keep up. And I enjoy getting to know all the ladies in Sara's project. See y'all next week!