Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 4

I cooked my chicken today.  I've never cooked a whole chicken, so I didn't really know what to do with it.  I simply washed it, stuck it in a pan, and cooked it at 375 for 2 hours (the insides had already been gutted out, phew).  When it was done, I cut off all the meat (it fell right off the bones, it was perfect) and I sliced & diced it into small pieces in anticipation of making chicken enchiladas for dinner later.

Next, I made whole wheat tortillas from scratch.  The ingredients are very simple: whole-wheat flour, oil, salt, and warm water.  Confession: I did use vegetable oil, even though that's a big no-no and it makes me very sad, but it's honestly all I had in the house.  In case you don't know yet, refined or hydrogenated oils should be avoided, including (but not limited to): vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, margarine, and grape seed oil.  I totally forgot to pick up an alternative at Sprouts yesterday, dang it.  Anyway, so the tortillas weren't difficult to make at all, and they taste great!  Although, Mari thinks they need more salt, ha.  But once they have chicken and cheese wrapped inside and are topped with sauce, I doubt their lack of salt will matter. ;)

They look good, right?

Mari wanted to check out Sprouts after I told her about it, so she left for awhile.  When she came back, she had lots of veggies and had bought some dried fruit and cashews to make a trail mix.  Dried bananas, dried cranberries, cashews, and some pretzel-stick things that I picked out because they're probably processed. :)

Then!  Mari also made a veggie soup.  Carrots, broccoli, cabbage and fresh cilantro.  I know, I'm spoiled. :)  Thanks, Mari!

We blended it up in a baby food processor for my daughter to eat, too.  I tried to get my son to eat some but that brought on probably the most epic tantrum I've ever seen which resulted in him pushing the bowl off the table, spilling veggies on the rug, and thus losing his TV privledges for the day.  I hope this gets easier for him.

Another day, another authentic bite!  This is, honestly, pretty difficult and even discouraging at times.  I am not Laura Freakin' Ingles and I have a lot to learn about traditionally prepared food, rather than popping open a box of processed crap when I'm hungry.  It takes so much more thought, time and energy to prepare meals... and there is so much information, so much to consider and remember, it's overwhelming!  But I just need to be patient and remember that it won't happen over night.  I have full support from my amazing husband on this and I know together we can work towards our goals. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 3 - Farmer's Market

I scoped out my first local Farmer's Market this morning.  Thankfully, San Antonio has a pretty hopping local market scene, so it wasn't hard to find one near my house.  I referenced this list.

There were only 4 booths set up, but plenty of produce.  One farmer had eggs and free-range chicken, which I purchased.  I also got some local honey.

My final loot was 1 whole chicken, 12 eggs, 1 watermelon, 4 cucumbers, 7 tomatoes and the honey for $30.  Having never purchased at a Farmer's Market before, I wasn't sure what to expect pricing to be, but I don't feel like this is out of my budget.  I spoke with every one I purchased from and they were all warm people with bright smiles.  It was refreshing and a totally nice experience over all.

Afterwards, I went to Sprouts Farmers Market, which is a privately owned Arizona- based chain of  health food stores.  Not everything in there is what I'm looking for (just because it's organic doesn't mean it isn't processed) and I had to read labels carefully, but with a little time I was able to find everything I wanted at pretty reasonable prices.  I spent $119, so almost $150 total for what I think should get us through the week...

So this isn't exactly breaking the bank, yet.  Everyone keeps warning me how expensive this lifestyle is, so we'll see.  So far I'm happy.

Mmmm... my son and I couldn't wait to cut into the watermelon. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 2

Seeing as I just started this venture, my pantry isn’t stocked adequately yet. I was worried this morning I wouldn’t have anything to eat for breakfast. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been defaulting on brown sugar cinnamon poptarts for the last three mornings in a row. Quick, easy, delicious. I seriously heart poptarts. But no! Processed foods = evil! Focus!

I knew I had a box of malt-o-meal in there somewhere. That’s whole grain, isn’t it? I was almost afraid to look at the ingredients label… (because, by the way, the number one rule when eating real food is to always check the label. Even if it’s “all natural” or “organic” -- that doesn’t mean anything. The less ingredients the better, and if there’s something on there you can’t even pronounce, it’s probably not good for you).

So upon reading the label, I learn that Malt-O-Meal contains: Wheat farina, malted barley, calcium carbonate, ferric orthophosphate (iron), niacin, vitamins B6, B1, B2, and folic acid. It doesn’t sound too shabby, right? Certainly better than a poptart. BUT - is that 100% whole grain wheat? No, it‘s “enriched” wheat farina. In case you don’t know yet, “enriched” is a misleading and red-flag word on products. Enriching flour actually strips it of nutrients, then they add a few back in.
Here’s the nutritional math: Whole Grain Wheat - 11 nutrients + 5 nutrients = “Enriched.” The nutrients are destroyed during the processing and then they are difficult to digest. Studies even show that extruded whole grain preparations can have even more adverse effects on the blood sugar than refined white flour! Yikes. :(

Below the ingredients it says “Wheat used in this product contains traces of soybeans.” -- another ugh.

Moving on, I find a giant can of Quaker’s Old Fashioned Rolled Oats. I look on the label and there is only 1 ingredient: 100% whole grain old fashioned rolled oats! Okay, so they’re not steel cut oats, which are the whole raw oats cut into smaller chunks, but this is probably my most natural option for this moment.

So I prepare a serving and top it with beautiful fresh blueberries. A little bland because I don’t have any honey or 100% maple syrup to flavor it with, but the blueberries help.

Meanwhile, I also squish a couple oranges on the juicer. I’m not into pulp, so I strain it. Admittedly, this is my first time ever using a juicer to squeeze juice out of an orange - not from concentrate, no additives. It was delicious! Why would orange juice ever need anything else added to it? Stupid food companies.

My 4-year-old son, by the way, ate 2 scrambled eggs and some peanuts for breakfast. :)  It's going to be hard to get him off processed food completely, it will be a long weaning process, but we'll get there!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 1

This blog's purpose is to keep track of my progress, keep me accountable, and maybe help inspire you if you're trying to do the same thing. :D

I'm literally starting from scratch here (aka I have no idea what I'm doing), but I'm excited and motivated.  The biggest challenge will be making this lifestyle work on a very low budget.  For now, I'll start by setting some small goals and spend the next couple weeks focusing on those.  You know, baby steps.

  • "Products of nature, not products of industry!" - this is my new mantra that I will repeat ad nauseum at the grocery store.  Whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible.  The less they've been messed with, the better.
  • Fruits & veggies, preferably from a local farmer's market.  I've already been told about a few in the area, but the next step is to scope them out in person.
  • Dairy - Okay, before we get into a pasteurized/homogenized milk vs. raw milk debate, let me just say: I hate milk. You will never catch me drinking a glass of milk (unless it has copious amounts of chocolate added to it).  The only thing I use it for is cooking, and I will probably stick with my unsweetened almond milk for now.  I don't feel moving to raw milk is necessary yet - but once I start making my own butter, then I'll probably start thinking about this more.  Cheese will be bought in blocks (no more pre-sliced or pre-shredded) and undyed (white cheeses)... that's a good start on the cheese, I think.  I don't really like yogurt, so I probably won't bother with it for now.
  • Bread - I've been advised to wean myself off bread completely.  I don't see the harm in occasional bread, as long as it's 100% whole wheat.  Often times the bread in the store has a dozen unneccesary ingredients, so I'll either make it myself or seek it from a local bakery.  I'm looking for maybe five ingredients tops in my bread: flour, water, salt, yeast, honey.  Anything else isn't necessary.  For now: scope out local bakeries, check prices, and bake a loaf of bread.
  • Snacks - dried fruit, seeds, nuts, popcorn (real popcorn, not store-bought microwavable stuff!)
  • Beverages - water, water, water!  Occasional raw juices,  coffee without artificial sweeteners or creamers, tea.
Ahh, there is so much more to consider.  But I've taken the first step, and that's a start.  I don't want to overwhelm myself, so I'm starting slow and simple and we'll see where it takes me. :)