As many of you know already, we made a conscious change to a lot of our eating habits once my mom was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2010. It was one of the hardest moments of our lives but it has made us not only stronger, but wiser. In the years to come, we have continued to grow in our choices and are moving closer and closer to an all natural and organic lifestyle. It doesn’t means we’re there yet or that we don’t indulge in processed foods either. It just means that we’re getting CLOSER to cutting those things out. Step by step. Here are some ways that we are cutting back and changing our diet for the better:
*We have moved to healthy meats. We have been eating strictly venison for our ground meat (started in 2011) that we get from a local hunter, we have changed to free range chicken and are working to find a local provider, and are making overall wise choices in the meat department. As far as other meats, we don’t eat them quite as much but when we do, we make the search for organic, healthy versions. No more “lightly processed” meats for us.
*We have not only removed the steroids and hormones from our meats, but also from the things that come from the same animals. We make our own sour cream and buttermilk in the form of kefir (we use hormone/steroid free milk to feed and make it). We buy butter made with cream, not 20,000 other ingredients. We buy our eggs from a local farmer, NLV Farms, with free range chickens (they’re beautiful might I add!). We also buy our and Emma’s milk and yogurt organic and/or hormone and steroid free. It breaks my heart how many steroids and hormones we are pumping into our kids and wondering why our girls are developing breasts at age 8, and starting periods before middle school. We wonder why our 9 year old boys are hitting growth spurts that make them the same height as what we were in 8th grade and start shaving before high school begins. It’s ridiculous. I can only prevent so much on my own, but what I can prevent, I will.
*We are careful in what we serve, store, and heat our food in at our house. For Christmas, I didn’t ask for anything. It seems crazy, but there was nothing I wanted. I was really grateful for anything I received. My mom
pressured asked me to tell her one thing I would want and I thought of something I probably wouldn’t get unless I asked for it. We wanted glass storage containers. Heating up food in plastic freaks me out. My mom has some amazing glass storage containers and she got me some, too. I was so excited! It’s definitely in my top 5 favorite Christmas gifts this year (maybe in the top 3)! We only buy BPA free plastics and are working to get rid of anything we have from the era before BPA was acknowledged as a big deal. I know, you may not think it’s a big deal. Remember when lead based paint wasn’t a big deal? And asbestos was the norm? That’s what I thought. BPA’s have got to go!
*We are working on removing items and storage that carry GMOs. What are GMOs you might ask? Genetically modified organisms. It gives me the hibby gibby’s just writing that. Yuck. We’re still working on studying up on this and learning more so instead of writing much here, I would recommend you read this article from A Morefield Life. They’ve got it going on when it comes to being wise about GMOs. We’re already on top of the 4 big things they list in this post but we need to do more and so do you! Say NO to GMOs! That rhymed. How cool is that?
*When in doubt, we buy organic. We can watch things closely like the Dirty Dozen but there are other things that we’re just not too sure about and can’t find a clear answer on quick enough. If we’re in doubt and not sure it’s ok to do, we find the organic version. This is easier said than done because sometimes organic is just plain hard to find and sometimes it’s expensive, too. We’ve been really impressed with Kroger here lately for coming out with an organic brand and it’s really taken off. We were surprised on our last shopping trip to see all that they had available. We are also big Trader Joe fans and although not all their items are organic, they have several healthier-than-most options. Lastly, check out Vitacost. Seriously. There have been so many items on there that we can’t find local and if we can, it’s way more expensive. Yea Vitacost! Be sure to sign up with my link to get $10 off your first order of $30. Do it! You get $10 and I get $10. Win, win! Here are some of my favorites to get there, the prices online, and regular price I’ve found them in store:
Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix (Gluten & Wheat Free):
Regular store price $3.99/Vitacost price $2.59
Sesame Seed Oil
Regular store price $9.99 for 8 oz/Vitacost price $6.29 for 12.7 oz
ECOS Baby Laundry Detergent
Regular store price $11 (at Sams so add $40 membership)/Vitacost price $11.99
Seventh Generation Dish Liquid
Regular store price $3.29-$3.99/Vitacost price $2.99
Annie’s Naturals Organic Ketchup
Regular store price- can’t find local/Vitacost price $4.09
Farmer’s Market Organic Canned Pumpkin
Regular store price- $2.19 (Libby’s brand- non organic)/Vitacost price $1.93
*Find meals that support your habits. We are in love with Stacy Makes Cents’ new cookbook, Crock On!, because ALL of the recipes are free of “can of” crap. Talk about killing yourself slowly. Remove the “can of” stuff for a good start for change. I would recommend this cookbook to ANYONE and can honestly say we haven’t found something that we don’t like. It’s all amazing and delicious! And healthy. Did I say healthy? If you have this cookbook, let me know your favorites! If you’re using other recipes, modify them! It’s easy to do once you start learning and Stacy has several suggestions in her book. Here are a couple of quick ones:
Mexican Chicken Spaghetti– chicken, pasta, and yummy Mexican cuisine ingredients. Yum!
Baked Beans– there’s nothing like some beans mixed with molasses. Delicious!
Coconut Sweet Potatoes– what’s better than regular sweet potatoes? One’s covered in coconut!
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cake– seriously, shut the front door. Healthy and tastes amazing!
*Lastly, don’t get frustrated. Most people can’t go on this type of diet overnight. I know we certainly can’t! Sometimes it gets expensive so we just have to pick the less of two evils and pray that God takes care of the rest. The good thing is if you do it overtime you can find some really great deals and begin stocking up. If you find places like Vitacost, you can get even better deals. With time, ANYONE can make it happen. And we have to decide what we’d rather do: spend $1-$2 on healthy fruits and veggies now or pay the price with the consequences later? We choose to spend more now and it helps us sleep at night. We’re not only helping ourselves now but later, too.
This is what we’re doing to help our family on a path to cleaner and healthier eating. How about you?