Fat vs. Sugar. Which is the True Enemy?

Today let’s talk Fat vs. Sugar.


I was a little girl when I began to hear people say things like…

  • “Low fat is the way to go. We should only eat #?# fat grams per day.” (I can’t remember the exact number. I just remember faithfully counting my fat grams daily as a teen.)
  • “A bacon cheeseburger? That’s a heart attack on a plate.”
  • “Butter?! Butter is terrible for you! We only eat margarine.”
  • “No beef. Just chicken. White meat. Skinless.”

I remember vividly when my mom started following a low-fat diet. I joined her because I was a teenage girl who most certainly didn’t want to get fat by eating fat. I remember hating my fat free turkey breast on low fat bread with fat free mayonnaise. But I ate those sandwiches faithfully for lunches because I was convinced that was the “healthy” way to go.

Oh my gag-ness. I can still imagine the taste of fat free mayo and it makes me turn green. What was in that stuff?

It’s funny (not funny) to me that I actually thought I needed to sacrifice good tasting food in order to be healthy. What a sad mis-conception.

I remember snacking on baked, fat free chips (aka salted cardboard).
I didn’t even like them, but seeing as I was into eating healthy…I made the sacrifice.

That was over three decades ago. I’d like to think we are making progress toward getting away from these untruths about what is actually healthy or unhealthy about our food.

I’m grateful to see that at least the coconut oil trend has caught on. But I still frequently hear people talk about fat as if it is the enemy. I’m determined to educate people about this.

A New Generation of Fat Eaters? Maybe?

Justus, my 16-year old, doesn’t get why people get freaked out about fat. He’s been eating the “real food” way since he was 6 – so fat isn’t scary to him. He knows what it means to eat food our bodies recognize, and he definitely knows that the real food at our house tastes great (atta boy). Recently he was talking about a conversation with friends. He had been telling them about his “mom’s homemade french fries” and they were like, “What? You eat french fries? At your house? I thought you only ate healthy food!” And he was like, “Ummm. Yeahhh???”

Friends of Asa, our oldest son, watched as he salted his food liberally in the college cafeteria. We chuckled when we heard his friends’ conclusion that, “He’s probably doing that because he’s used to eating bland, healthy food at his house.” Hahahaha! Please pass the sea salt and slather on the butter and watch me eat the crispy, flavorful skin of a chicken. Real food tastes so amazing I don’t even know where to begin.

I suppose I could begin by comparing it to that Fat-Free Mayo. Gag me.

Well anyway.

So not everyone is there yet. There is still a lot of confusion as to what actually is good and healthy. Since we have believed (and taught our children) for several decades that fat is bad, I believe it will take a few more decades to undo the damage and re-educate people about whole foods and nourishment.

coconut_oil

Good Fat is Good

I’ve done extensive research on the subject of fat. I didn’t jump aboard the “fat is good” train just because I heard someone say it once or because I “read an article somewhere.” After all, I was riding the “fat is bad” train for many years, so getting on a different train was a little bit hard for me. Real butter? Are you sure I should it eat?? Beef? I don’t know. Bacon? Well now you’re pushing it. I really don’t want to get fat. I’m not sure I can eat this stuff.

So I read and I researched and I found sources and I asked questions. (Some of my favorite sources include Weston Price Foundation and Dr. Mercola. Note that this article I found in my research quotes 73 different sources. These people are thorough!)

I looked in depth into the history of food trends and the health problems that came with them. The results of my research tell a story that is almost completely upside-down compared to what I had heard about fat. (Ironically, I’d never researched the low-fat thing when I started eating a low-fat diet. I just went with what I heard and stuck with it for years. Not smart.)

The truth is that the instances of heart disease and obesity did not rise until after the low-fat trend began. Alternatively, as people started cutting the fat, many started consuming much larger quantities of sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Fast food replaced home-cooked meals. Fruits and vegetables took a back seat (or didn’t even get a seat at all). Donuts and poptarts and sugary cereal became a morning standard. White bread and chips filled the lunch boxes.

Ultimately, we forgot to give our bodies nourishment.

Occurrences of destructive health conditions soared. We blamed the fat.

jelly-beans_fyb6Xwtu

I actually thought jelly beans were healthy because they were fat free.
Avocados, though. I stayed away from those high-fat things. What???
Let us all rejoice that I actually started reading the facts and using logic. 

So fat vs. sugar?

Refined sugar doesn’t nourish. It’s fun and it’s tasty but what does it offer the body so that it will thrive? On the contrary, when we eat it, our bodies have to work very hard to find something to do with it. When it finds little to no useful nutrients, it calls in the reserves, depleting us and killing our immune system. Then often, whatever can’t be used gets tucked away in storage (aka, it turns to fat).

Some would tell you to never eat refined sugar. I say: be informed and use wisdom. Treats are fun. But keep ’em treats. ;)

butter

Shall we go crazy with the fat then?

Our bodies are smart. If we listen, they tell us what we need, what to eat, and when to stop. Your body doesn’t want you to eat an entire stick of butter in one sitting just because it’s good for you. But your body probably won’t mind if you eat a nice thick pat of it on your veggies knowing that it adds great nutrients and amazing flavor.

It’s important to remember that we need to eat food in balance. I don’t think we need to go overboard – keeping track of what we eat when and how much and what time and with what. When I say “eat food in balance” I mean that when we eat a variety of wholesome foods, we will naturally be eating the right blend of nutrients and getting the right amount of naturally occurring fats, sugars, proteins, vitamins, etc.

All food comes perfectly packaged with a lovely blend of nutrients. Some food is naturally fat free and high in natural sugar. (Have you met my friend the strawberry?) Some food is naturally high in fat and tastes amazing with a strawberry. (Cream, meet Strawberry. Be my BFF.)

We eat a lot of fat in our house, but it’s all balanced with many other high-nutrient foods that work together to nourish.

Fats to Avoid

There are certainly fats I stay far away from. Some fats are manufactured and our bodies cannot use them for nourishment. When considering which fats to focus on and which to avoid – remember that we’re going for nourishment, helping our bodies thrive on food that offers cells something to work with, not fight against.

This article on fats says it all much better than I can, so do go read it. In summary:

  • Hydrogenated Oils cannot be digested and utilized in our bodies.
  • Soybean oil, canola oil, and most vegetable oils aren’t great for many reasons. What most resonates with me is that they go rancid very, very quickly and can turn into trans fats when heated.
  • Margarine didn’t even make this list of fats, so I’m going to take that to mean it doesn’t count as food, the end.

Fats that Nourish

Obviously, not every person can tolerate every food or fat. But these are the fats that should be considered for nourishment. (Again, details here.)

  • Coconut Oil
  • Real Butter
  • Palm Oil
  • Olive Oil (at room temp)
  • Animal Fat from Meat, Eggs, and Dairy
  • Natural occurring fat in nuts, avocados, and seeds

Why We Need Good Fats

Fats carry vitamins and minerals to our cells. Fats give us energy. Fats help us fight depression. Fats help us concentrate. Fats satisfy and keep us from excessive hunger. Fats help us maintain a healthy weight. Who knew? Fat doesn’t make you fat.

Always Consider: What Nourishes?

To feel your best, focus on eating food that nourishes. Our bodies need food that feeds the cells with what they can absorb and utilize.

Obviously, there is so much more that goes with optimal health (exercise, hydrating, so much more). But when it comes to food choices – we must choose real food that nourishes.

Weigh In

I’d love to hear what you learned about fat while you were growing up. How has that effected the way you eat now? What is your current status in the fat vs. sugar debate?

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Are you in? Join many others who are making simple, healthy changes this month to take steps toward better health. Learn more here. (There’s a $100 prize involved!)

Ready to join? It’s free and refreshing to know we’ll be working on this as a team. Sign up here!

The Real Food Ingredient I’ve Mostly Stopped Buying

It was one of the first real food ingredients I wrote about when I started this blog. It made the top of the list on this post. I recommended it highly and always stocked up to keep it on hand. This goes to show that we can never stop learning and never stop changing what works best for our families.

The Real Food Ingredient I've Mostly Stopped Buying

Is it butter? Did I stop buying butter?

Girl, are you crazy? I did not stop buying butter.

But I have realized that I’m buying less and less sucanat.

Why am I buying less sucanat?

There are several reasons. Allow me to share:

1. Our grocery bill is a killer. Some things had to go.

As the boys have gotten older – our grocery bill has more than doubled with their teenage appetites. I’ve found that I had to make some compromises on what I consider to be “less important” items in order to make sure we’re still eating plenty of nourishing foods. It doesn’t make sense to me for hold out on the fruits and vegetables so that we can afford to buy sucanat for our brownies.

2. Sucanat is better for us, but it is still sugar.

While sucanat does have some nutritional value, our bodies still recognize it for exactly what it is: sugar.

There is a clear difference in sucanat and regular white sugar. I love that sucanat has many nutrients still intact – so when we eat sucanat, our bodies can utilize its nutrients. Great. But I’m not relying on sucanat as a main source of nourishment. Our primary sources of nourishment come from our meals, not our desserts. If we don’t eat sucanat, our bodies won’t be deprived of important vitamins and minerals. We’re getting those from other food sources.

Any sugar – even the natural sugars like sucanat, honey, and maple syrup – can effect our bodies negatively even if they do offer some nutrients here and there. Thus, making sucanat less of a priority only makes sense for our family right now.

3. We’re eating less sugar overall.

Well, at least I am. And Matt is. The kids…well. They still like their sweets and you can read more of my thoughts on this matter here.

Overall, I’m baking fewer sweet treats to have on hand. Also, I’ve learned to cut down the sugar in the treats I do make. In summary, we go through less sucanat because I’m not stirring two cups of it into a batch of brownies every other day. Good grief, I used to. I was such a sugaraholic!!

I love only using 1/2 cup of sugar in a recipe that originally called for 2 cups – and turning out a product that still tastes amazing. Why, Betty Crocker? Why??

Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake

What I Am Using Instead of Sucanat

More and more, I’m learning to use Stevia to sweeten our treats. It has taken some trial and error to find the correct amount to use so that our smoothies, frostings, and custards will be sweet enough but not bitter. We’ve gotten the hang of it now. I love it!

I’ve tried my hand at making Homemade Stevia Extract, but I’m not confident enough in my efforts to share the recipe with you yet. I stick with NuNaturals brand, which I have found to be the best tasting with ingredients I trust.

For baked goods, I frequently use regular ol’ brown sugar from the store. It saves us money, and that is important right now.

I also still use real maple syrup and our wonderful local raw honey. But I’ve cut back on the quantity of those too now that I’ve learned that I can still turn out delicious treats with a lesser amount of sweetener!

sucanat

I Haven’t Stopped Buying Sucanat Completely

I really like the taste of sucanat in certain items. I haven’t stopped buying it altogether. I’ve just stopped making it a grocery priority. I watch for online sales on sucanat at Olive Nation or Amazon and I grab it if the price is right. But I’ve definitely stopped buying 25 pound bags every few months. Whoa, Nellie. The grocery budget says “no way” right now.

So how about you?

Are you a fan of sucanat? Have you found a good source to keep the cost down? Have you found that you compromise on certain items in order to stay within your real food grocery budget?

Make Healthy Choices Easy For Your Family

I’ve told you how much my kids love corndogs. And how I still love Dortitos. And how, if given the choice, my kids would choose the candy over the good stuff.

Oh look. My family is normal! (Normal is relative. Thank you for your support.)

This is why I have to be strategic when putting food on the table for meals and snacks. Yep, sometimes I offer chips. So be it. But in an effort to fill us all with as much nourishment as possible – as easily as possible – these are the tricks I’ve discovered through the years.

How To Make Healthy Choices Easy For Your Family

Healthy Choices Are Easier When There Are Several Choices

I’m not about to become a short-order chef. But when I know I’ll be serving a fruit or veggie one of my kids doesn’t love, I’ll always serve another one or two he does love. Then I don’t have to fight a battle that doesn’t even make sense. After all, even I don’t love every single veggie on the planet (sorry jicima, I tried). 

Serve the Healthy Choices on a Plate

This one may sound silly, but the truth is that the easier I make the food to grab and eat, the more my family will eat. Last week I got out jars and bowls filled with little bits of fruit and raw veggie leftovers from the past couple days’ meals. Had I put them on the table as-is – which would have meant that my kids would have had to reach farther across the table and down into jars to access the food – I know without a doubt that they wouldn’t have eaten as many fruits and veggies. Instead, I dumped everything out of the jars and made a big platter of the fruits and veggies for the table. The munching started even before I was ready to call everyone in for the Potato Soup meal. Bingo. My plan worked.

Assign a Number

Often when there is a plate of healthy grab-and-eat foods, I’ll tell my kids, “You each need to eat at least 8 foods from the plate.” Then Malachi says, “What if we eat 10, is that okay?” Smarty pants. Again, some of the foods on the plate aren’t my kids’ favorites, so they don’t even have to touch those and it doesn’t matter as long as they eat at least 8 (or sure, 10).

Healthy and Delicious Should Happen At the Same Time

What I love about healthy food is that it is so yummy and flavorful – naturally. But if a fruit is not in season, it’s not going to taste as good – so choose accordingly for the best chance at your family loving the food choices. Also, be sure your family doesn’t equate the word “healthy” with “dry, boring, and flavorless.” As for me and my household, we will avoid rice cakes at all cost and instead make delicious and flavorful dishes and snacks with herbs and spices, milk, cheese, meats, fruits, veggies, real butter, sea salt, and coconut oil. Real food is what deliciousness is made of.

Serve the Favorites – the Healthier Way

We all love pizza, tacos, hamburgers, fries, and did I mention corndogs? Sometimes we splurge on the not-so-good-for-you variety. Mostly though, it is less expensive and tastier to make all of these favorites with our own wholesome ingredients. Have you ever made homemade fries? On my stars. And corndogs? We can make those too.

I’d love to hear the tricks you use to make healthy choices easy for your family!

The Best Mocha You’ll Ever Need

Aside from telling you that I have a mocha recipe for you, I have nothing cute to say.  That time of year has hit in which not only is it still winter, it is also still winter.

Yesterday I saw a picture of myself wearing a sun dress and sporting a healthy tan.  “Oh, oooh!!  Remember that!?” I exclaimed to my husband. “That picture was taken on that really fun day when our family did that really fun stuff because the SUN WAS SHINING and it was HOT OUTSIDE.”  He just grinned and handed me another blanket.

I’m thankful for every day and all that.  God is good all the time, you can bet on it.  If summer never comes, it really is okay because I have Jesus.  Look at me, I’m like Paul.  I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Whether I’m freezing or freezing or even if I’m freezing.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

That’s from Philippians chapter 4 in case you want to find more encouragement from that passage, to read it within its context, or maybe to be sure I quoted it accurately.  My brain gets a little fuzzy after enduring forty-three months of winter in a row.

I know that really, I have nothing to complain about.  I have a roof over my head, a beautiful fireplace, and a husband to pat me on the head and hand me another blanket when I burst into tears over a picture of myself in a sun dress from last summer.  I’m very blessed, the sun will shine again, and someday soon but probably not for at least 68 more days – I will be warm.  Can we just talk about something else now?

I came up with a little something to help me cope with my issues this afternoon.  Some might call it a Mocha.  Some might call it a Warm Chocolate Soother with a little coffee stirred in.  I’d like to call it the answer to every cold, desperate woman’s need for warmth and sunshine.  Not that I really have issues or am what one might call desperate.

mocha 1

I just need some sunshine, okay?

So this.  This mug of goodness saved the day…

Warm Nourishing Mocha 2

It’s Warm Chocolate Soother mixed with coffee.  The idea came from a dear reader, Missy, from South Carolina.  She sent me the idea months ago, then I remembered it while huddled beside my space heater this afternoon.  Here’s part of her email:

Good morning!  It’s a cold, wet, blustery day here in South Carolina.  I awoke to the sound of wind and rain hitting my windows.  My first thought was to brew a cup of coffee, but then I thought of my 2 boys and wondered what they would like to have warm and yummy.  I thought about your Warm Chocolate Soother and knew it would be perfect!
I gathered all the ingredients and set about making the soother.  I tweaked the recipe and used half whole milk and half unsweetened almond milk.  I love using real food ingredients to make treats for my family.  It all came together and I served my boys a mug full.  They loved it!
I served myself a cup of chocolate soother and tasted it – yum!  Then I remembered that I had wanted a cup of coffee.  I decided to mix the two. Oh boy – it was GOOD!  I have my coffee and the warm chocolate soother in my mug and I am a happy girl!  I know how you have begun enjoying coffee and wanted to share this with you, if you haven’t already discovered this!  Thank you for your Warm Chocolate Soother recipe – now to try coffee and Warm Vanilla Soother next!  Many blessings for today!  :)
Everyone (probably, especially, and mostly my husband) thanks you, Missy, for the fantastic idea.  Not only is this drink warm, comforting, and delicious – it is also very nourishing and can double as a filling breakfast or snack.

How to Make a Warm, Nourishing Mocha

Mix 1 cup Warm Chocolate Soother with 1 cup coffee.  Or 5 cups Warm Chocolate Soother with 5 cups coffee.  Or whatever it takes for you to survive these last few weeks of winter.

Warm, Nourishing Mocha

You’ll notice that I put my mocha in a bright yellow cup just so that I could pretend I was was drinking from a cup of sunshine.  And look.  I’m all better now.
mocha 2
Winter won’t get the best of us, friends.  We’ve got this!  Now hand me another blanket.

(How’s winter treating you, by the way?)

Add Spinach for Extra (Inexpensive) Nourishment

Money Saving Monday Banner

Have you heard the news? Spinach is the new chocolate. It’s showing up in everything. People can’t get enough. It’s highly addicting. Spinach makes people sooooo happy.

I just made all that up.  Chocolate will always be chocolate, and spinach will…not. But at our house, the “can’t get enough spinach” statement is very true. I’ve been adding spinach to everything. (Actually, I haven’t been adding it to my coffee. I do draw the line there.)  It’s almost become a joke. The boys sit down to eat and say, “So did you add spinach to this, too?”

The good news is:  They are eating it. ALL of it. And they aren’t complaining. Even the pickiest one. Why aren’t they complaining? Because you can add spinach to many, many recipes and it will not change the flavor. It will only add nutrients. And…it might turn the food green, but whatever. I’m not trying to hide the spinach. I’m just trying to add goodness to our food in every way possible.

While I continue to learn more about eating well, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is this:  Healthy eating is not just about what you eliminate from your diet. It’s about making sure you’re filling your body with as many good nutrients as possible so that it can thrive.  I’ve also learned never to overfill my blender, which is an equally important lesson, though not so much about nourishment as it is about the regret of finding crusty peach milkshake on the ceiling three days after the episode.  But about adding nutritional value to our food…

Spinach has 19 amazing nutrients. Nineteen!!!! Vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein, and choline – all in a spinach leaf.  Impressive.

Add Spinach for Extra Inexpensive Nourishment

The best news of all? Adding spinach to your recipes is a very inexpensive way to eat healthier. I paid $6 last week for a pound of spinach. That sounds like a lot of money until you recognize that spinach is very light weight and one pound of spinach is enough to stuff my pillow. I add spinach to meal after meal after meal. Just think of it. For about 75¢ per meal, I can add 19 fantastic nutrients to my dish.

How to add spinach to your food:

I find that simply tearing up handfuls of raw spinach with my hands and throwing it into the cooking pot works great. My cousin said that she dumps a package of raw spinach into her food processor, adds just enough water to help it spin, then purees it. Then, she freezes the pureed spinach in ice cube trays, throwing a frozen spinach cube into recipes. Brilliant!

What I’ve added spinach to successfully:

What I haven’t tried yet, but you better believe it’s on my list:

If you haven’t tried adding spinach to your recipes, I highly recommend it! If you have tried it, leave a comment to share what has worked for you.

Drink Your Nourishment {31 Days of Real Food Reality ~ Day 28}

Three meals. Every single day.  Plus snacks. I’m over it! Please pass me a bag of chips.

Oh yes – I’ve been there. Some days, I’m still there. Can’t we just get a little break from all the food needs?

Whether you’re just starting your journey to healthy eating, or you’ve been on the journey for quite a while – being sure to get plenty of nourishment day after day after day can become overwhelming if we allow it.  But don’t fall back on a bag of chips in your frustrated moments. After all, you would crush the bag of chips, and wouldn’t that be a shame? You would also just be filling a hole, not giving your body anything it needs to thrive, and likely, you’ll still be hungry – because our bodies crave nutrients! And sometimes Doritos.  But truly, the more we fill ourselves with real food, the less our bodies will ask for the junk. I promise (says the former Pepsi addict).

Today, I want to combine two thoughts that I’ve shared within this Real Food Reality series:  Food is Nourishment. What a Concept. and You Are What You Drink.

It is very fun to put together delicious, nourishing drinks. These drinks can be used as a meal or a snack. The variety of options is limitless. They are filling. You can get creative. You can use what you have on hand. You can use what you find on sale.

Feeling overwhelmed with ways to offer your family nourishment? Try a fun drink option! Here are some of our family’s favorite, nourishing drinks:

Warm, Nourishing Drinks

Warm Chocolate Soother

Warm Chocolate Soother

Chocolate Mint Soother

Chocolate Mint Soother

Warm Pumpkin Custard

Warm_Pumpkin_Custard

Warm Vanilla Soother

Warm Vanilla Soother

Cold, Nourishing Drinks

Creamy Orange Cooler

Creamy Orange Cooler

Pineapple Mango Smoothies

Pineapple Mango Smoothie

All Kinds of Smoothies

smoothies

Pineapple-Orange Slushies

Pineapple Orange Slushies

Strawberry Peach Slushy

Strawberry Peach Slushy

Chocolate Milkshakes

Chocolate Milkshakes

Strawberry Milkshakes (substitute another variety of frozen fruit if you like)

Strawberry Milkshake

 

What are your favorite nourishing drinks?

Food Is Nourishment. What a Concept. {31 Days to Real Food Reality ~ Day 6}

31 Days 300

It was way back in my “eating low-fat” days as a college student and young married gal. I would eat a bowl of low-fat cereal with skim milk for breakfast. Lunch might be a turkey sandwich with low fat mayo on “light” bread, and a side of fat free chips (aka salted cardboard). For a snack, I’d have Pepsi and Twizzlers, which are both fat free. Dinner would be any variety of food made with skinless chicken breast, white pasta or potatoes, and maybe a salad with fat free dressing. At the end of the day, I would feel great about how I’d eaten for the day. “I’ve had hardly any fat today!” I would say to myself.

That’s what I thought it meant to eat healthy.

There is a common truth in the way I used to think about eating and what I know believe about eating:  I need to be aware of what I’m putting into my mouth because it is important to eat a healthy diet.  What I didn’t recognize then, however, was that food isn’t just meant to fill a hole. Food is meant to nourish us.

Nourish.

I was getting very little nourishment when I ate a low-fat diet. Why? Because nourishment wasn’t my focus. My focus was on avoiding fat, not on consuming nutrients. Somehow, candy and soda made it on my “healthy” list.

Is It Nourishing

Whether eating low-fat or not, I’m going to venture to suggest that there are many who are consuming very little nourishment. Even people who over-eat. How can this be? Well, there are many edible products on the market that fill a hole, but offer very little nourishment. What nutrients are found in a bag of chips?   A slice of white bread? A box of crackers? A box of cereal? A slice of American cheese?

Please don’t hear me heaping on guilt to those of you who are still eating many of those foods. Hey, I eat chips, cereal, and crackers sometimes too. It’s fun, it tastes good, and we enjoy the occasional treat. But I also know that if that’s all we were eating, we would not be receiving much nourishment – I don’t care how fortified the box claims its contents to be.

When making healthy food choices, we must always consider how much nourishment it will give our bodies. Crackers are a fun snack and may hold our kids over until dinner, but are they doing much to give their bodies needed nutrients and fuel?

A well-balanced diet of healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, rich broths, nuts, and few whole grains will give our body what it needs to thrive! When not given foods filled with nutrients, our bodies can make do for a while, but then we become depleted and sick. Sickness takes on many forms, from sluggishness to disease to everything in between.

So when making food choices, ask yourself, “Is this going to nourish me?”

Fill your body with food meant to nourish!  What’s great: Nourishment comes in all forms of deliciousness. Our list of options for real food nourishment is longer than my leg, because God is good to give us wonderful variety!  This real food thing just keeps getting better all the time, doesn’t it?

What’s your favorite form of nourishment? When you picture foods that fuel the body well, what foods comes to mind?

A Nourishing Way to Warm Up

warmvanillasoother2sm

Cold? Hungry? Need some energy? I have the magic potion.  And there are three variations to the recipe!

Have you tried my Warm Vanilla Soother? It’s the first of the three soothing drink recipes I concocted. Drinking this is like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold day, and I always feel nourished and energized afterward.

Once I realized how wonderful the vanilla drink was, of course, I had to try making a chocolate variety. Thus, the Warm Chocolate Soother was born. It’s like drinking a brownie that is warm right out of the oven. (Be careful that you don’t trip on the kids while rushing to make this. Yes, it’s that good. But your kids might need dinner or a diaper change first.)

Last, I created a Warm Pumpkin Soother.  It’s a holiday party in a mug. Ahhhhhh…..

So, let’s review. Delicious, satisfying, warm, nourishing, filling, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Or pumpkin. Or vanilla. Take your pick.

Which is your favorite?

Warm_Pumpkin_Custard

The Most Comforting Comfort Food

It’s what I want when I’m cold. It’s what I want when I’m tired. It’s what I want when I’m sad. It’s what I want when I’m happy. And this week, it is what I wanted when I was sick.

warmvanillasoother2sm

Warm Vanilla Soother

Warm Vanilla Soother is packed full of nourishing, stick-to-your-ribs comfort. And if you need comfort with a side of chocolate, well, there’s also Warm Chocolate Soother.

Our Healthy Eating Journey, Wrapping it Up

healthyeatingjourney

If you missed them, please catch up on
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 , Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9.

I had finally accepted and realized that our bodies needed nourishment. Eating food wasn’t just about filling a hole. Eating food was about providing our bodies with all of the right nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fats.

I re-read Nourishing Traditions. I asked millions of questions of my friends who knew more about healthy eating than I did.  I got completely overwhelmed.  I began throwing processed foods out of my pantry. I pretty much turned into a Nazi about healthy eating. If it wasn’t organic, raw, fermented, grass fed, soaked whole grain or cultured…I was scared to let it pass our lips. We would probably die! We would for sure get cancer! Malachi’s eczema would get worse! My asthma would get worse! We would all get terribly sick!

This way of thinking turned me into a nervous wreck anytime we went anywhere. If I was at home, I could control what we ate. But if we were at a friend’s house or out of town visiting family or if someone offered my children candy…I was scared to death to let us eat! Those foods were poison!! It sounds crazy (because it was) but that’s how I was when I first learned about eating nourishing foods. When you’re first learning about the harmful ways animals are raised for meat and milk and how many pesticides are sprayed on produce, it can make you want to run away screaming. 

It took me a few months to come around. Part of it was that I just needed to wrap my brain around this new lifestyle. I had to figure out how to eat and serve my family a healthy diet. I had to learn where good food sources were. I had to learn to spend money on food (and figure out where that money was going to come from). I had to learn how to grow my garden organically. I had to learn how to cook and bake differently.

But I had to learn to CHILL OUT.

I learned that while we could try our best to eat the best foods we could most of the time…we could never eat perfect foods all of the time. And guess what? That’s okay! The stress of trying to eat perfectly, and the fears I had developed when we couldn’t were probably more harmful than the occasional store bought pizza or non-organic apple we might eat.

And so I discovered a healthy balance.  More importantly, so that our children would come along with us on this journey and not be afraid that Mommy would be serving them yet another weird dish that they’d never heard of and that they hated…I learned to re-create all of our favorite foods. Now, we could eat all of our favorites (Pizza, Mac and Cheese, Tacos, Nachos, Spaghetti, etc.), but they were made with healthy and wholesome ingredients! The kids were happy. The parents were happy. Our bodies were happy.  

So that’s where we’ve landed. We don’t eat a perfect diet…we just do the best we can. Our journey continues, because that’s what journeys do, don’t they?

Now my goal is to continue to develop more healthy and tasty recipes that my family loves and share them with you!

I’m wrapping up this series about Our Healthy Eating Journey today, with plans to launch into another series of sorts in which I’ll share some simple steps you can take toward healthy eating if this journey is new to you. I’ll share specific information about healthy meats, dairy products, eggs, spices, grains, produce, fats, etc. More importantly, I’ll give you ideas and tools for where to start. You DON’T need to change everything all at once!

My goal is to help you know that eating healthy is a possibility for EVERYONE. No matter what your budget, your cooking ability and experience, your understanding of nutritious food. You can do this!

Healthy eating tastes so good! Learn along with me that changing over to a healthy lifestyle is simple, affordable and delicious!