Our 30 Day Real Food Challenge’s Epic Failure

I told you about a month ago that we were going to embark on a journey of real food.  It sounded absolutely ridiculous that we were perhaps eating more lab created food then natural food.  But we somehow did invite the world of marketing into our pantry and seems we have a lot of boxes, bags, and frozen this and that.  Organic, but still super processed and lots of questionable ingredients.

I have gained five pounds so far.  Oh no, not from the real food, but because not two days in I defiantly remarked, “You can’t tell me what to do!”  To myself.  I instantly became all bent out of shape about having to cook three meals a day and everything from scratch.  I would spend the day baking bread, scones, looking at cracker recipes, mess up my kitchen, and then make Doug take me out to dinner.  We have been out a record amount of times this month.  

Doug had the idea in his head that we were going to have something like smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and Buddha bowls for dinner.  Doesn’t that sound amazing?  Delicious, fresh, easy?  I can feel my stomach growling.  Sooo boring.

Let’s say I want tacos.  Well, I have to make the tortillas.  No problem.  Now, real meat or lab created veggie meat?  Okay, cheese or no cheese?  Lord, by the time I am done worrying about all this real food I am down at the Mexican restaurant slurping down a margarita.  I am a rather difficult housewife, it seems.

I am rereading, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  The author and her family embark on a journey of not just real food, but local food as well.  I stood in front of my impressive old pantry shelf filled with jars of staples and realized that not a single thing on it was produced locally.  I also have so many rogue ingredients from trying (or intending to try) one recipe.  I have so many things going rancid.  And nothing in my house is local save for what is now coming up in the garden and the eggs from the coop.

It is certainly difficult to rewire the brain.  Simplifying my recipes is the answer I am sure.  Local food.  Organic food.  In its original form.  Without all the overthinking.  But trying to figure out what to eat without the helpful addition of boxes, bags, and this and that, is actually rather difficult.  I had no idea we were so dependent.  Throw in moral dilemmas of meat or no meat and a tired housewife and you have yourself a predicament and an extra five pounds.

My friend laughs because I am actually a lot better at being healthy when I am not planning.  So, perhaps we are better if we just take one meal at a time.  One little change at a time.  One local food in, one box out.  One more walk around the lake.  We’re doing fine.

The Well Stocked Pantry and Repurposed Antiques

I love interesting furniture pieces.  These were cubbies in a hardware store in 1950.  I love the original stenciled numbers.  I bought it at an antique store ten years ago and it was the primary showpiece, holding my tincture bottles, in my shops.  It now holds a place in my kitchen.  I realize that it is getting really dingy looking.  Sixty-nine years of army green can only hold up for so long.  (Spoiler alert!  Next week I am revamping my kitchen.  Can you guess what color the cubbies are becoming?)  I just sold my Hoosier yesterday to make room for my new kitchen idea.  It held glasses and barware.  You can take any old piece and reimagine its purpose.

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I love this idea with the pantry items.  It looks fun and unique while being practical.  Things do tend to get lost in the back of the pantry or spoil.  I end up buying way too many of one thing over time, thinking I am out.  This is a great way to keep track of what pantry pulses I have on hand.  It makes grocery planning easy.  And it serves as dinner inspiration.  Choose a grain or legume, see what veggies I have on hand, think up a theme, and go!  Dinner is on.

How to Use Fresh Herbs

20180227_204739Fresh herbs are delicious and very good for you.  It takes awhile to get used to their intensity, but once you start using fresh herbs it becomes second nature.  Those crisp, strong flavors adds pizzazz to any dish.  Most of the time you will add fresh herbs at the end of cooking.

Using scissors is the easiest way to clip or chiffonade herbs.  For large leaves like basil and sage, roll into a tight roll and clip into ribbons.  The best way to store fresh herbs is like fresh flowers.  Place them in a glass of water in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle ribbons of fresh basil on pastas and pizza.

Clip oregano leaves on to pizza or put in crust before baking.  Fresh oregano livens up red and green chile.

Chives top salads and potatoes and soups.

Saute olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, a little salt and pepper, with sage leaves for a delicious pasta with sage sauce.

Roast root vegetables with rosemary, sage, thyme.  Or for a fresher taste, top roasted potatoes with herbs.

Cilantro goes beautifully piled on top of beans, rice, guacamole, or tortilla soup.

Mint and parsley with garlic and lemon liven up veggie meats and vegetables.

Be brave!  And add spice, health, and freshness to supper.  Make sure you plant these lovely herbs.  They are even better straight from the garden!

Vegan Road Update (first week)

 

IMG_0705We were vegan when we got chickens. Their eggs tasted so amazing, pasture raised chickens, organic feed from our own spoiled girls. We hadn’t consumed eggs in over two years. Even now, I don’t know if those eggs affected us all that adversely. The problem was that once you open that door, you allow yourself to eat eggs at restaurants and at places. All or nothing.

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Then we got goats. Oh my, they were cute. We believed and touted and taught that raw milk was not nearly as bad as pasteurized milk. Never mind the fact that we knew, of course, that we are the only mammals that will kick the babies off (and send them off to slaughter) so that we can have milk from another animals’ boobies. But cheese, though…mmm…did you know that cheese has the same effect on the brain as heroin? Indeed, it is that addictive. A chemical reaction takes place that makes it quite difficult to stop eating cheese.

And then we’ll only eat chickens that a local farmer produced, only….pretty soon we are just eating everything because that is how humans work. All or nothing. We didn’t want to just go vegetarian, because the dairy industry IS the meat industry. We prayed diligently that we wouldn’t have boy goats. Their fate is not great. In larger goat milk dairies there is not a large community wanting young goat. You can imagine what happens to the babies. They just get disposed of. The girls become lucky, until they stop producing well in a few years. Milk cows rarely sit or lay down. Their babies are taken and become veal. Being a righteous vegetarian is incredibly hypocritical. We’ve been there. We were the spouting vegetarians unknowingly causing so much harm.

Well, that is all well and good but if you can’t see the animals suffering it is easy to convince ourselves that maybe the research on animal products causing the majority of disease is wrong! Maybe the animals aren’t suffering that much. Maybe….it’s easy to not “see”. So, we needed health to be our guide.

After we started drinking our righteous raw milk Doug got a serious sinus issue. Post nasal drip, choking, bloating, he seems sick. It got worse at night. Seemed to be linked to eating. Or sitting.  Or whatever we blamed it on. After one week vegan he didn’t have it yesterday. We’ll see what happens as we stay dairy free.

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Shyanne’s vegan lemon mint cake

Doug lost three pounds this week. I lost two. I have a pretty good figure so I won’t lose much more but I do want to get rid of the inflammation and circulatory issues in my body.

We walked each day. We need to incorporate a little more exercise into our routine. It’s funny, the healthy eating triggers more healthy habits. I don’t want to wear makeup or color my hair. I am more mindful. I feel better when I see wildlife. More compassionate. A deeper connection. I can’t explain it really. But I feel closer to the natural world. I haven’t needed as much herbal antidepressant this week. We just feel better.

It’s only been a week. We can expect to detox still. That can scare folks if they aren’t used to it but we know what to expect. You know, we are actually looking forward to it?

We had our fun, ate everything in sight, and are now seeing how just eating meat and dairy for a few years could so profoundly affect our health.

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Next week I’ll preview a few cookbooks and I may put mine back into print. We have started every morning with a smoothie with any of the following combination:

Frozen fruit, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens, carrots, oatmeal (grinds up, adds sustenance), honey, almond butter, peanut butter, ice, honey.

This morning we had a smoothie for two.

Add to blender, 2 bananas, ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of cold coffee, 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 ½ cups of cashew milk. Roughly, I just eyeballed it all. Just throw in what you love.

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Last night we dined on miso soup and fried asparagus with drinks as we talked about our days.

This is good eating.  This is a good life.

Garden Breakfast

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We usually eat hot cereal with cinnamon, dried fruit, and nuts in it for breakfast.  Or slices of homemade bread, butter and jam.  Or eggs scrambled with fish and potatoes.  Heavier fare to strengthen us and get us on our way.  But the other day, I was walking through the garden early and noticed a lovely red tomato.  First big tomato of the season and thought, ‘why not?’  Sliced red tomatoes with freshly minced basil and sea salt.  Fresh, delicious fruit.  Eggs from the coop hard boiled.  A few salty olives.  Maybe even corn on the cobb!  One of the pleasures of summer eating is the variety and getting out of the “what to have for a meal” rut!  There is no reason not to have tomatoes and basil for breakfast!  I ought to do it more.