Forgive me for being a bit camera shy today, I’ll just be answering questions in writing for now. I have several that were left in the comments section and that have been emailed to me.
I first want to start out by thanking you for sticking with me through the entire series, as overwhelming as it is. I was unsure as to how to approach it, do post one step a week, all in a row, one a month? I didn’t want to overwhelm you, but I didn’t want you to wonder if or when the next step would be coming, either. So, you got it all at once. Please, please, PLEASE keep in mind that you are receiving seven years worth of information that we’ve learned, digested, and incorporated into our lives. One small step at a time.
I also want to graciously ask for grace from you, dear reader, because I am still learning how to communicate in such a way that is helpful and not hurtful, overwhelming, or discouraging. I am not perfect! When I sense that something I’ve said has affected someone in a manner I didn’t intend, it’s easy for me to feel like this:
I genuinely believe that in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ, what we eat is very important. Many will say, “it’s not the Gospel, which is the main thing.” To which I respond, true, the gospel is the most important thing. But to what area of life should the gospel not be applied? To say, “well, we’re all going to die and we aren’t really in control of our health anyway,” I believe, is foolish. True, we will all die. And true, God is ultimately Sovereign over our health.
But why shouldn’t we seek to honor God by caring for the temples He has intricately knit together out of thanksgiving? And why shouldn’t we seek to rise to the high calling we’ve been given to care for our children, before they can care for themselves by protecting and nurturing them? And why shouldn’t we seek to examine our hearts to see if in any way, we are sinning in this area? Gluttony, seeking comfort, and other heart issues are very common, I believe, though are dismissed far too easily.
Furthermore, it cannot be denied that with the evolution of modern “food,” the health of many, many people has been declining. I don’t know about you, but I would like to be as strong and healthy as possible in order to raise up a generation of strong, healthy godly people that can continue to further the progress of the gospel.
I don’t write about these things to hold out a legalistic standard. I have sought to encourage you to take these things to your husbands and the Lord and to go from there. Each family will look different.
I have shared my own struggles with food. I still struggle. I have not sought to come across as perfect, because the Lord knows I’m not.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are part of my family. I care about you. We share things that have affected us, that we believe are important, with those we love. This is my heart.
Okay, on to the questions and concerns.
Eating real food is so expensive!
Well, I suppose it depends on your perspective. Would you rather spend more money on food to keep you and your children healthy in the short and long-term, or would you rather pay for regular prescription medicines and risk a potentially early death? We have chosen to allot more money in our budget (pulling from what could be given to eating out or other fun, non-essential categories) to live out what we believe to be the best ways we can steward out bodies. From time to time, we’ve adjusted it. Joel Salatin has said, “You think my food is expensive? Have you priced cancer lately?”
Consider also how much you spend on a meal at a restaurant. For two people to eat dinner at a decent place, the total can easily come to $20-$25 or more. Think of all the ingredients you could buy with that money to make several meals! So, I honestly consider this is a weak argument to make for most people. If you are willing to eat out on a regular basis for over-priced food, then you should be able to consider spending more money on real food and lowering the amount of money you spend eating out.
It is also a bit of a misconception that eating well is always more expensive. By eliminating processed foods, you replace them with healthier alternatives. Often, these foods will satisfy for longer and require less quantity for you to feel that “full” feeling. Sometimes, there may be an added expense. This is why I recommend buying in bulk. Buying in bulk cuts out the middle man, lowers the overall price of food staples, and helps the bottom line.
I have often found that when I hear people say this, they are not looking around for the best deals, but instead they go to one store and give up. Just like the preparation of the food takes time and effort, so does finding it! Let your example be of the woman in Proverbs 31 who “gathers her food from afar.” I used to live some distance away from my food sources and drove 45 minutes to pick up my milk and 45 minutes to the closest health food store when I needed things I could not get locally. I didn’t mind this because I knew that I was providing the best for my family. And, the more you look, the more likely you are to find sources closer to you. I have found sources for beef, chicken, bacon, eggs, milk, honey, berries, and other foods by doing my research. It has taken a minimal amount of time and it has been worth the investment!
Lastly, try picking just one thing at a time to change. You’ll have to decide what is most important to you. If you want to purchase a quarter of a cow, plan for it. April was the time in which we were delivered our meat in KY. If you start saving now, you might be able to afford it by then. If not, don’t grow discouraged. Start saving for the next year.
I also have to throw in that often times, there are other non-necessities that people hold on to that would free up some money. I’ve already discussed eating out, but what about cable or other subscription items? Just a thought.
What about the logistics? I have small kids and the planning, research, and time involved is so difficult with all of my children and other responsibilities!
My above comments not meant to be insensitive nor to disregard the fact that getting out with small children is difficult. It is hard to be sure! I know, I have two small children. My suggestion would be to take baby steps and to do what you can when you can, with what you have. It might mean knowing about the benefits of raw milk, but not having the availability to actually get it into your home for six months. Show yourself grace! Do what you can, but don’t stress out about something you are unable to do. If there is a nourishing food we are unable to get our hands on, that’s okay! There are so many nourishing foods that God created and missing out on one probably won’t harm our health.
We need to walk in freedom and with these steps, I’ve meant to aide you in the journey to understanding that most often, Americans don’t consume foods that are nourishing. The intent is not to overwhelm, make legalistic rules, or condemn.
My husband is not on board…and my kids won’t go for it either!
This can be a tough area, particularly if your husband isn’t on board when it comes to transitioning to healthy eating. However, I think that if you present information to him in small nuggets, he may be more willing to accept it and try new things. He probably doesn’t have nearly as much time to spend reading about these things as you might, and he might really appreciate the fact that you are taking the time to learn. His lack of interest may only be because his burdens for his role in your family are different than your own. And he might not be interested in doing the research, but would really enjoy the fruit of your research in tasty, nourishing foods. Just remember that he is the leader and you should seek to honor and serve him.
Try fixing his favorite recipes, only modified with healthier ingredients. I don’t think you need to be sneaky about it. Since your husband is a grown man, ask him if it’s okay if you try spaghetti sauce or whetever it might be, with the healthy ingredient added. If he says no, respect it. Chances are good that you don’t eat every meal together, so there will be plenty of times for you to consume something that you would consider healthy.
And try to remember that he’s a grown man, able to make wise choices for himself. Even though my husband loves learning about health and nutrition as much as I do (I realize this is a rarity!), he still would prefer something else (ice cream, for example) over vegetables. I often will make a meal with plenty of vegetables, but also a hearty grain for him to enjoy. I don’t dish any for myself, but know that he’ll appreciate that I thought of him. We are our husband’s helpers, not their mother’s.
He and your children may be surprised to find that the flavor of whole foods is comparable and even better than store-bought foods. And let me add that my kids aren’t crazy about vegetables. Some they really like and others they don’t. I have found green smoothies to be a huge helper in this because they taste great (usually).
We decided before having kids that we would not cater to their picky eating desires. Sure, my kids would much rather have something sweet at every meal. Most kids probably would. But more than my desire for them to have a healthy diet that is full of variety, I want my children to learn how to be grateful for what has been provided and prepared for them. And I do believe they have to learn it. Just like I have to learn to be content and grateful for any circumstance in my life that I don’t like. In Scripture, we are told to do everything without complaining or arguing, and also to honor others. I believe meal-time is a perfect time for teaching this. I am their mother and I know what’s best for them. I will also be held accountable (I believe) for how I cared for them.
This means that sometimes, my kids don’t eat. Not because I’m being mean and haven’t prepared food for them, but because they aren’t happy with it and have chosen not to eat it. I don’t think this is being harsh. At what age will be the appropriate time to learn if not the first time it happens?
This is not meant to be condemning toward anyone. I am not the perfect parent.
I don’t know where to start with making homemade food. Help!
I have written another ebook just for you, and have recipes on my blog. It can be overwhelming when starting the process of preparing foods at home, but it doesn’t need to be. Myself and many other bloggers have taken the time to give step by step instructions on how to make numerous foods. Trial and error is how I have learned (and still am learning!). Be patient and have a sense of humor. You will try some recipes that are total flops and others will become fast favorites. You will get the hand of things the more you work at it and soon, you’ll be able to teach someone else!
Can I cook and freeze grains (like oatmeal) like beans?
If it’s something like baked oatmeal or bread, muffins, coffee cake or biscuits, definitely! I don’t know about cooking oatmeal and then freezing it. You could, however, soak and then dehydrate the oats. When you’re ready to use them, measure out however much you need and then cook ‘em up just like you would normally.
Admittedly, the forethought necessary for soaking can sometimes be a pain. But, honestly, I’d much rather it than to continue consuming unsoaked grains on a regular basis because I have personally noticed a big difference in how my body digests them.
How much liquid does there need to be to soak a recipe?
This is a great resource for how to soak. And Katie of Kitchen Stewardship has written more than you’ll ever want to know about it. In Nourishing Traditions, it’s explained that just 1T of an acidic medium will be enough for 1c of liquid. When I make muffins, for example, and one cup of milk is called for, I measure a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a measuring glass and then add milk to the one cup line. There is no need to adjust the amount of liquids called for in the recipe.
For yeast breads, the same is true, except that 1/2 cup is reserved to proof the yeast when you’re ready to bake.
Soaking grains for quick breads and yeast breads is a learning process, in my humble opinion. I’ve had many flops, actually, and following other’s recipes. But, I’ve just continued to experiment and change things until they work for me. Don’t give up after a failure or several. I’m speaking from experience.
How can I know what’s processed and what’s not?
All food is processed to some degree. Picking bananas, packaging them, shipping them, and then unpacking them to put on a store shelf is processing. The question then, is “What is going on during processing and what does it to do the food?”
It’s hard to know unless you dig a little. This is why we like to buy local and/or organic for many things. I don’t buy organic for everything! I don’t buy grains in the store but order them directly from Montana Wheat (which is why we have several thousand pounds in our basement). I get honey in bulk locally. I do my research about the companies who produce the food we eat (most of them). It’s not easy to do this with produce, so I stick to the Clean 15/Dirty Dozen list.
I hope this is helpful. Please keep asking questions, and I’ll respond in the comments section. I chose to wait so that I could answer them all at one time, but I’m going to update them with my responses, so that other people coming for the first time can easily find them.
By the way, there’s a new book out that look’s great called Health for Generations. There are several other bloggers who I have learned much from, that you would probably enjoy learning from, too:
The Nourishing Gourmet (her recipes are too gourmet for me, but she has a wealth of helpful information)
I am on this journey, too, and am very much in process. I’m just sharing with you what we’ve learned. We haven’t arrived and we aren’t perfect!