Monday, July 18, 2011

Recipes and Resources

I'm working toward stepping up the posting schedule since I've heard from several of you that it's too slow. I really appreciate all of the feedback and questions! Keep 'em coming!

I'll do a couple of posts answering some of the more common questions we've gotten.

For starters, recipes.

I'm the new kid on the block with this topic, so I rely on many other bloggers and what they've learned in the kitchen as starting points.

I hope to eventually have my own recipes on the blog, but for now, these links are my go-to's when I'm looking for inspiration.

As a bonus, not only do these links give you lots of recipes, but the blogs they're linked to are pretty great resources for techniques, research and practical tips. Consider it my gift to you.

Next up, resources.

Where do we get our food and how do we decide what to buy?

There are a few great websites that we did lots of research on when we first got started.

For milk and dairy:

For meat, eggs and dairy:

For produce and other farm-related products:

There's also a little resource called the Weston A. Price Shopping Guide (description below from the Weston A. Price website):

Provides "best" and "good" recommendations for purchasing healthy foods (including brand and stores names) as well as foods to "avoid." Tucks easily into pocket or purse. Includes choices for those consumers whose only choice is supermarket food.

It's only $1 and can give lots of ideas on where to go for good food. (Just click on the "Order Materials" link on the right.)

Now if you live in the same city as we do and are interested in exactly where we buy what, here's how it breaks down (for specific farmer info, contact me and I'll hook you up):

Milk: We get whole, raw milk from a farm.

Chicken: We get whole pastured chickens from a couple different farms.

Beef: We made a big grassfed beef order from a farm that sells cuts as well as ground beef.

Eggs: They're from pastured chickens from the same farm where we get our milk.

Produce: It usually comes from the farmer's market, United, or Natural Grocers.

Coconut oil, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds, pantry items, etc.: We shop between HEB, Natural Grocers, Vitamins Plus (in Drug Emporium) or Mountain Rose Herbs.

That's a brief overview of the major food categories we shop from on a regular basis and where we usually end up making our purchases.

We're always learning and looking for new and better ways to shop, cook and incorporate more natural options without breaking the bank.

So, if y'all have any questions or suggestions on where to go for recipes and food sources, please share!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dealing with a Few Myths

Before we get to the fat issue, there are a few things I need to clear up/confess.

Myth #1: Matt and I have this healthy eating thing down.

The reason this blog is title "Unnatural Journey to Natural Living" is because we are awkwardly working through what it looks like to put the knowledge we've discovered into practice.

This week alone, we've gotten fast food twice, had Cocoa Krispies for dinner one night and for breakfast the next morning.

Why were the Cocoa Krispies in the house, you ask?

Well, we needed them to make a little recipe called "Better-Than-Crack Brownies" which we polished off in a matter of days.

We have lettuce in the fridge that went uneaten, is past its prime and will be tossed.

We also have two half-gallons of Blue Bell in the freezer.

Do we have our act together? Not in the least.

So why are we putting this blog out there?

We want to share what we've learned and experienced because we've seen positive changes and results.

And as you can see from what's written above, if we can figure it out, surely anyone else can too.

Myth #2: If you can't stick with eating this way, just give up.

Oh how we fight this one.

I'm not going to lie.

It's hard to stick with eating things more traditionally.

It's more expensive.

It takes a lot more time/creativity/planning.

It's so much easier to just eat the brownies and the Cocoa Krispies and the ice cream and the fast food.

But here's the thing we've experienced when we do.

Do we feel great? Not really.

Are we struggling to stay trim. Yup.

When we go back to eating the way we're learning we should, we find our health and weight improve almost instantly.

When we fall off the wagon, we try to chase it down and jump back on.

Most of the time, we find it's not hard to get back after it and the rewards are worth it.

Myth #3: Eating more fat will raise your cholesterol and make you fat.

We actually have bloodwork proof on this.

It just so happens that every year at Matt's work, they do health screenings.

We got his numbers right before we switched to eating more traditionally and we got them again about a year later to compare.

After changing how we ate, he lost:
32 pounds
3 inches from his waist
4% body fat
3.6 BMI

Systolic blood pressure dropped 13 points
Diastolic blood pressure dropped 15 points

Total cholesterol stayed the same, but HDL (good kind) went up by 10 points, LDL dropped by 9 points and his triglycerides dropped by 8 points.

His cardiac risk ratio dropped from 4.1 to 3.2.

His glucose level dropped by 7 points.

So, in eating more fat, we found that we dropped weight and his blood pressure and cholesterol improved.

Below is a link to an article that explains how this phenomenon works much better than I could, along with advice on how to incorporate eating fat correctly.

Take the Fear Out of Eating Fat