Friday, July 29, 2011

Real Food - An Update

It has been quite some time since I posted about our real food journey and I thought it was time to update. I am just going to list bullet points because this is more of a brain dump than anything. This is l-o-n-g overdue and I don't have *time* to organize it well...sorry!
----We have not been using local meats. We just simply can't afford to and what a great thing that we tend not to eat much meat. Mostly, we only purchase chicken and sausage and I try to be very selective when choosing these. We have purchased lunch meat over the past few weeks because...IT'S HOT and we have been wanting something easy and light. But, the lunch meat is organic and only has 7 or 8 ingredients. So, it is not far from real food. :-)
----We have been purchasing only organic fruits and vegetables. Honestly, a lot of our vegetables are frozen. It is easier on the budget and the kids will eat them...frozen!, which is easier on mama...especially at lunchtime.
----We have not figured out a good solution for bread yet. I don't have a bread maker and I am NOT going to bake bread when it is 100 degrees outside. We are ok with Ezekiel bread but the budget doesn't allow for it with as much bread as we go through. For now, we purchase Nature's Own in a two pack from Sam's as long as it has the whole grain stamp on it. There are still some ingredients in there that are questionable but without a better solution for bread right now, I am ok with it.
----We only purchase whole grain rice and pasta. Also, I have started soaking our rice.
----We gave up on making our own tortillas. I found some at Whole Foods that have less than 5 ingredients but were super expensive. Then, I found some reasonably priced that have way too many ingredients but the first ingredient is whole wheat flour and I caved. So, this is going to be a cheat for us.
----We do not buy organic milk, butter, cheese etc...these are other items our budget will not allow for. However, I do buy from a brand I trust that is committed to being hormone free.
----We try very hard to stick to the 5 ingredient rule but as I read somewhere before (I think the 100 days of real food website) most importantly are what the ingredients are. If it is a product that has healthy ingredients even if there are more than 5 I will go ahead and purchase it. Occasionally, I also have been known to purchase something that may not be all that good for us just to have as a snack or treat. Usually, I only purchase 2-3 items per week that have more than 5 ingredients. -We stopped eating cereal because it is difficult to find a kind that is healthy and tastes good for a price that fits our budget. I do make granola at home but I haven't made any this summer because...IT'S HOT.
----We started buying raw local honey (as opposed to the off the shelf pasteurized stuff).
----We went from eating the sweetener laced yogurts, to plain regular yogurt, to plain Greek yogurt. We put raisins or blueberries in it and sweeten it ourselves with honey, if needed.
----We eat more smoothies than ever before and no, raw baby spinach leaves do not change the flavor.
----Our favorite recipe from 100 days of real food is the Pecan Maple Breakfast Cookies.
----When baking, I only use oats and/or whole wheat flour as opposed to white flour. I also do not use any sugar and try not to use any oils. It sort of depends on the recipe but in general if I see a recipe for white flour, white sugar, and vegetable oil I skip it. If the recipe looks WAY to good to pass up I may try to figure out who to adapt it.
----We have gone around and around on peanut butter. We are a huge peanut butter family. PB&J is my go to lunch if I don't have anything else easy and the kids LOVE it. However, the first time I purchased organic unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter the kids refused to eat it. Hmmm... So, I tried really hard to talk myself into caving on this one and buying normal peanut butter. The ingredient list is short with only 3-5 ingredients but it contains sugar as the second ingredient and it also has vegetable oils in it, which we are trying also to reduce as much as possible. So, I purchase either peanuts, fresh peanut butter out of the machines, or the jar of organic, unsweetened, unsalted. At home, I put it into our food processor with a little honey and olive oil and mix it all together. This is a lot of work for peanut butter but my kids will eat it this way and it is healthier.
----We eat cage free brown eggs from Whole Foods. We have the opportunity to get farm fresh occasionally and I always try to take advantage of that. I don't think I will ever go back on kids will actually eat them as opposed to white eggs. Also, I read this article on eggs that changed my mind for good.
----I still sweeten my coffee with sugar but do not use it for anything else.
----I make our chicken nuggets and currently pan fry them in canola oil (boo) but want to price macadamia nut oil and see if we can afford it to use for frying. It is a source of omega 3 and can be cooked to almost as high of a temp as canola before it starts to oxidize.
----I also recently stumbled upon the non-GMO project. Health experts are beginning to warn patients about staying away from soy. I know this from personal experience because my mother-in-law had ovarian cancer and has been told to stay far, far away from soy. However, I believe that soy is fine but the genetically modified soybean is likely what is causing problems. I read a fascinating article on that too... So, if I am purchasing a product that contains soy, a soy by-product, or any other ingredient that is known for being genetically modified, it would be nice to see this seal.

I hope that even in its disorganized fashion this post has been helpful for you.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on anything except me and my family. I try to make the best decisions for us. Only you can make the appropriate decisions for your family.
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Victoria said...

Wow you are making a lot of changes. All of those are pretty drastic changes, so give yourself credit as you and the kids get used to it. It will take time for you to develop a stash of easy go-to melas & snacks. We eat red beans & rice about once a week - does that count in your rules? That is a pretty simple meal, and inexpensive. Have you watched the tv show Five Ingredient Fix? She is not concerned with healthy as much as few ingredients.

Alicia said...

Awesome post Tina!! You are way ahead of me in going more whole foods - I am super impressed. Thank you for all the great tips and ideas. I am going to try and put some of those in place.

Tina said...

Thank you guys! We have been committed to trying to make changes for several months now and feel like we are just now celebrating some of our baby steps that have turned into the new normal. I also have figured out where I was a little overzealous in the beginning...with a bunch of things I *wish* we could do but just can't right now.

I will have to check out that show...I believe to a certain extent in just the 5 ingredient rule because generally speaking if it has few ingredients the ingredients are probably not too bad. But, we have cut out added sugars or sweeteners of any kind, artificial dyes, flavorings, and perservatives and trying to reduce vegetable oils. So, even if it only has 5 ingredients if it has something we are cutting I am still not going to buy it except occassionally.

I also think that 100 days of real food says that she doesn't look at nutritional values but just makes sure they are eating a good variety of real food. That is probably not a bad approach but I am too much of a control and detail freak to disregard the nutritial values.

Jeremy and Kara said...

Tina, just now catching up on your blog. I wanted to add in on the peanut butter debate. PB &J is a staple here. And it's not the kids that are picky about it. LOL! I found that Publix All Natural PB is the one that works for us. It's just peanuts and salt. Not organic and not unsalted of course but after trying all the options, it was the one that worked for us in terms of taste, consistency, & price. I can't afford organic due to our volume but couldn't go unsalted or w/ a different brand due to taste and consistency. I have so many other things I want to ask you about. Guess we need to get that playdate organized. ;) -Kara