30 Days of Real Food (and the science of food)

I wonder when we as a whole forgot how to eat?  I doubt my Depression-era great-grandmas ever had to overthink it; what do we have to eat?  Women all over the world wake up in villages and towns and prepare food every day dictated by culture and availability.  The women in Okinawa make sushi and rice dishes, in Sardinia pasta is being made, in India a curry can be found, in America (and probably other places), we don’t know what the hell we are eating.  Most of us have lost any cultural identity we had and foods are so prevalent, shipped in from everywhere, that we haven’t an inkling of seasonality or even health.  It is incredible that we have forgotten how and what to eat.  Convenience and big companies dominate.

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You can find a fad a minute and I trust none of them.  Keto?  Come on.  Extreme veganism?  Not healthy or realistic.  Paleo?  Don’t get me started.  I might be a housewife, but I do research like a University professor.  I want to know what we should eat, why, when, how, and I desperately want to stop overthinking it.  My theory (which is not a new one) is that we are dying and sick from sedentary lifestyles, stress, loneliness, and chemicals.  Aka: fake food.

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Doug and I decided that in May we would do a 30 day Real Food challenge.  Is that the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard?  Can you imagine great-grandma saying something like, “You guys eat fake food?”  It sounds like a sci-fi movie.  Most of the food that we eat is indeed chemically altered and processed.  For example, my day yesterday: coffee (real!), cereal, almond milk, a cookie, a previously frozen breakfast sandwich at the book store, 3 dates (real!), and a breakfast bar.  I did make a mean Shepherd’s Pie from my daughter, Emily’s recipe.  Instead of lamb, as she called for, I used Beyond Meat crumbles.  Delicious, convincing, but my intuition screams that these new fangled veggie meats are not what they seem.  And they are, in a nutshell, chemically altered.

30 days of Real Food.  Which means, no eating out, and I need to conquer my lack of creativity in the realm of lunches.  Cookies are not lunch, y’all.

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While I figure all that out, I have two great books to share with you.  One is called, 100 Million Years of Food by Stephen Le.  It studies the eating habits from then to now and how in each area of the world, our enzymes and needs changed.  Much of his research comes out as, damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but it is fascinating information.  Yes meat will make you stronger, more fertile, and fast, but you will also peak and die early.  Yes, being vegetarian extends lifespan but at the expense of energy and nutrient deficiency.  Yes, dairy makes you grow strong and tall, but also increases the risk of hip fractures.  (Incidentally there are only a few places in the world that the people developed the enzymes to process dairy; Nordic, Celtic, and some African regions.)  Fruit is good for you unless you eat too much, then you increase your risk of Pancreatic cancer.  The whole book is like that but I enjoy the research and the ideas it triggers within myself.

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The second book is called, The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.  You all know I wanted to attend cooking school, and I have even toured a few, but let’s be honest, I probably won’t work in a restaurant, I just want to be a better cook.  I saved roughly $9000 by purchasing this book!  It is the science and exact how-to’s and why’s of cooking.  Love it.  I can’t wait to cook my way through it, not unlike the popular blog, book, and film, Julia and Julia.  I will have to, for the first time in my life, actually follow the recipe.  But there is no chemically altered food found here.

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Along with our food ideas, we are also walking 3+ miles a day around the lake in the evenings, completing the exercise stations at the lake on the weekends, and incorporating yoga into our routine.  Our hope is, not only weight loss, but more vitality, energy, strength, and overall health, as well as a shift in our thinking so that we can sustain a healthy lifestyle.  Perhaps you would like to join in on the challenge!

The Best Farm Breakfast

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I talk a lot about lessening our use of electronics, heading towards off grid living, getting to the point where if the power went out we wouldn’t notice, there are a few electronics we love and one of them is our Vitamix.  Doug jokes that it has a Volkswagen engine.  It makes it very easy to get lots of fruits and vegetables in one sitting.

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We always feel better when we start drinking our breakfasts.  Green drinks have been written about in books and researched to rid the body of cancer.  Green drinks oxygenate the blood and cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated environment.  I like the Vitamix because juicing wastes a lot of the pulp and uses more vegetables and fruits than necessary.  Throwing everything into the machine breaks down all the produce into a drinkable vitamin.  This drink provides the body’s needs for iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, B vitamins, vitamin C, D, K, and protein.  Add pumpkin or other orange fruit and get vitamin A.  Add a tablespoon of almond butter and get vitamin E.  I don’t think much of vitamins in the store.  They are lab created and the body simply does not recognize them but vitamins in food are readily uploaded into the body.

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The raw fruits and vegetables have all the necessary enzymes for the body to digest easily and the cell walls of the produce are broken down allowing the body to assimilate the nutrients effectively.

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(To serve two) In a powerhouse blender add:

4 cups of greens like dandelion, kale, or chard.

Then add whatever is around the kitchen.  The produce section at the health food store often has bags of produce on discount.  I scored a big bag of bananas that were browning but make perfect smoothies.

Apples from the root cellar.

A chunk of raw pumpkin.

Frozen berries and rhubarb.

Peaches I put up.

Anything works!

Then I add a splash of maple syrup (anti-tumor) and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom…mmm.

Add enough water to achieve desired consistency.

We fill up the Vitamix container and we each get 3-4 cups of smoothie with approximately 5 fruits and vegetables each to start our day.  We get plenty of energy, boost our immunity, and feel really great.

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This may very well be the quintessential farm breakfast!