Food and nutrition are topics with very strong opinions and conflicting science surrounding them. In our home we’ve tried a little bit of everything, from eating all sorts of junk food to vegetarianism. I became anemic during a pregnancy which effectively put an end to our vegetarian ways for a time. We’ve made some lasting changes over the years and other things are on our list of changes to be made. Yes, we really have a list. I’ll share it in a minute, so keep reading.
Thankfully there are scriptural guides as we wander through the food and nutrition maze with our family. The Holy Ghost, first and foremost, can guide us as we make choices for our family. Read about Daniel in the Bible to see his food choices for health. The Word of Wisdom found in Doctrine and Covenants section 89 teaches us things to avoid as well as things to consume. The list of foods to eat includes grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat –with the caveat to eat meat sparingly and a further description to eat it in times of winter, cold, and famine. Using this as our guide we can evaluate each new food idea we come across. This is a picture of my refrigerator after today’s grocery trip. I spent $234.00 for my family of 9 for about 2 weeks of food, though we’ll run out of fresh fruits and almond milk before the 2 weeks are up. You can’t see the other 6 lbs of apples, a bag of oranges, and three bunches of bananas that are out on the counters. We’re going to need a second refrigerator as the kids get into their teens.
I’ve been reading the articles on GreenSmoothieGirl.com for the last few weeks (look under the categories Nutrition, Articles, and Blog) and just started reading her 12 Steps to Whole Foods Manual. It’s pretty expensive but is over 300 pages long. Each of the 12 steps is to be tackled in a different month, though you can do more in a month if you’re up for it. Slow and steady changes. I love that there are lots of recipes included to help you in each step. She also has four pages of YouTube videos demonstrating recipes and sharing information.
A hint if you’re interested in reading her book: read all the articles and try the first step, green smoothies. If you decide to make green smoothies a part of your daily life and want to invest in a high-powered blender get the BlendTec Total Blender through her site and you’ll get the e-book version of her manual FREE. That’s what we did. My husband is counting down to it’s arrival so we can make our own V8 drinks.
The 12 steps, in case you’re wondering, are:
- Bye-Bye, Stimulants—Hello Green Smoothies
- Making Salad the Star
- Dressing Up Your Salad
- Avoiding Bad Fats, Enjoying Good Fats
- Reaping a Gardener’s Rewards
- Making Plant-Based Main Dishes
- Sprouting and Dehydrating
- Preserving Raw Foods with Natural Probiotics
- Replacing White Flour with Whole Grains
- Starting Your Morning Off Right
- Creating Delicious Whole-Food Treats
- Achieving an Alkaline Inner Terrain
My kids and I have started making serious plans for our garden. We kicked it off this week by setting out to regrow store-bought vegetables! Our gardening has been hit or miss the last few years. We have a 16’x4’ square foot garden in the back yard. The first year we put it in everything grew really well. Then every spring after that I either had a brand new baby or was in the depths of morning sickness, so planting didn’t happen. We still got a few things that volunteered themselves from the previous year’s dropped seeds, but mostly we got weeds. I’m determined that this year we’ll get back to gardening in earnest. It helps that my oldest 3 children at 6, 7, and almost 11 would love to earn money weeding this summer.
At our house we’ve made a list of food changes we want to work towards over the next year. We actually had the list before I came across Green Smoothie Girl, so it was really neat to find her site went along pretty well with the goals we already had. Some will be easy or we are already on our way. Others will require finding new recipes and learning to like new foods. I thought I would share some of our list here, in no particular order:
- Increase vegetables, beans, and whole grains. This means I need to find new, yummy recipes! We’re pretty good on the whole grains already but want to try brown rice. We’ve added green smoothies and are branching out in our salads. We’ve got veggies on hand for snacking too.
- Eliminate artificial colors and dyes. Learn more about why here.
- Reduce meat consumption to a few times per week except in winter (then the goal is no more than once per day).
- Reduce dairy, use alternative milks (we’re loving almond milk).
- Eliminate all nitrates/nitrites – Found in processed meat to retain their color, these react with stomach acid to form nitrosamines, which have been shown to contribute to some cancers and increase risk of heart disease by damaging blood vessels and arteries(Mayo Clinic).
- Turn over some cooking opportunities to the children, with supervision as needed. Encourage trying new recipes.
Phew, this post is getting really long, so if you’ve read this far you must be interested in food and families too. I would love to hear more about your current food or gardening goals in the comments!