So if you get to know me, just a little bit, you will soon discover that I am a bit of a foodie. Not really in the "it's hip to be a foodie" kind of way, but in the "eating for well-being and health" kind of way. I haven't always been this interested in foods or cooking. And honestly cooking in the kitchen for hours does not thrill me ( I know this may be shocking to some that see all my food posts on instagram). I am a mom to two little boys that are BUSY. But I can say that knowing more about what I eat, and more importantly how it effects my health is something I am definitely interested in. So I like to say our family eats pretty "cleanly", for lack of a better term. And for us this means taking out as much processed food as we can, using natural sweeteners instead of refined sugar, choosing some organics when they fit into our budget, buying locally (again, when we can fit it in our budget), reading labels on foods to be sure we know what the actual ingredient names in things are and not consuming high fructose corn syrup or weird dyes/chemicals. And the big one: cooking from SCRATCH, whenever possible.
I know, cooking from scratch is a big one for most people. I think there is a fear there of having no clue where to begin. And I was there once too.
When I started us on this road to eating better, it was for health reasons. I went through a lot health-wise that was really difficult. I stepped back and started looking at what I was putting into my body. Making small changes along the way, I gradually became more knowledgeable about how food really affected my moods, skin care, weight, and health. Knowledge is powerful when you start diving in! To me it was anyway. I had times when I had to step back so that I didn't become all-consumed by it. By this I mean you can't really just up and change your entire diet overnight. Unless you are wealthy and have access to a personal chef. Hats off to you!
There were a lot of challenges (and still are) to eating real, whole foods. When you simply strip away all the fluff that is added to the jarred, canned, boxed, and packaged items you pick up at the grocery store, that is the "real" part. You know like, wheat, milk, eggs, honey, lard, meats, produce. Once I started understanding what "real" was I started reading labels looking for the real foods. This helped me tremendously when I wanted to try to save money, or find a healthier option for us without all the extra chemicals in a packaged product like taco seasoning, pizza sauce, ranch dressing.
I could easily make these items from scratch and usually make about 5x more than the small packages at the store sell, and save a lot in the process.
It isn't always cost effective to make from scratch, by the way. But healthier? Usually. And from scratch, I mean within-your-sanity from scratch. For example: I do not make my own pasta. I buy one that has minimum ingredients. At Aldi they sell pasta that has ONE ingredient. The wheat. Then I'll pull out some sauce I made that is in the freezer (because making your own, you make a LOT) and I'll make my own meatballs, or throw in some chicken I may have cooked the night before. Add some steamed veggies and we are good to go!
So, all this to say I am still learning.
I have a long way to go, but I am thankful for where we are at this point. The Lord has been good in blessing the efforts that we've made along the way. I really feel that by giving it over to Him in all my meager efforts, He has blessed me for trying!
I also wanted to say that we have a very tight budget. We don't have the option to shop at a Whole Foods exclusively, or buy all organic, or all locally sourced. But I've been diligent in finding the best quality for our family, and the best price for those items. By remaining open-minded, it's helped me remain content with what we can afford, rather than what we can't. Even a little change is something to be positive about!
I wanted to share some of this journey for those out there that struggle to find a way to put REAL food on the table in their crazy busy lives. It is possible! So I thought I'd share some of my efforts here. Perhaps it will give you the encouragement to go in your kitchen and make something from scratch, to buy from a local farmer, to weed out processed and refined things in your pantry, and to start feeling better about cooking for your family. And the biggest benefit from all of it? It's so GOOD!
I will be posting some of my favorite food recipes, and practical from scratch methods as time allows for me!
Until then, here's to you cooking something new and nutritional for your family!
And also, isn't this strawberry lovely? We picked it this morning from our wee little patch out back.