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Living Naturally: If I can’t afford organic, where do I start? (part 2)

Last week in our Living Naturally Series, we took a look at fitting Traditional Foods into your budget – but more than anything – we looked at those products that were worth spending a little more money on – namely quality meats, dairy, produce and fats.  If you haven’t checked it out already, take a look at last week’s post and then come on back for part 2!

This week we are talking practicality and building on to the tips that we looked at last week.  I always need things spelled out for me in black and white, and if it’s a new concept, I need lists.  So, for your reading (and printing!) pleasure, here is a list of things to do, to prepare yourself, your family, and your budget for a Traditional Foods over-haul!

1. Clean our your cupboards and your fridge.  I mean for real – don’t just throw things away, but seriously clean them -with good ole soap and water.  It’s not because there are some weird deadly toxins hiding in those dust bunnies or in that sticky-gummy-somethin that spilled in your cupboard. It’s purely psychological (and frankly a good idea 🙂 )  You’re changing things – cleaning up your eating habits –  and it’s amazing how refreshing clean cupboards can be.  right?

2. Slowly phase out canned goods and get the real thing.  I’m not an advocate of wasting things, but I’m a huge advocate of nutrition, and there is VERY little (and that’s being generous) nutrition left in commercially processed canned food.  It’s cooked under such extreme pressure and heat (so as to kill any bacteria) that it has also killed anything beneficial.  Don’t believe me?  Taste a canned green bean, and then lightly steam a fresh green bean and douse it in some butter and salt.  you’ll see what I mean.  In it’s place, start stocking up on frozen versions, which at least retain more nutrients.  Or, if you’re really daring, and to really delve into the Traditional Foods, start dabbling in lacto-fermentation and good old fashioned canning.  Then you know what you’re getting, how it was grown and how it was preserved.

3. Throw out vegetable oils.  We mentioned this last week, but quality fats are a foundational stone of Traditional Foods. So, get rid of everything with a funny name that you don’t know where it came from…ie: there is no “crisco plant”. Keep your olive oil, flax seed oil, palm oil and coconut oil but then ditch ALL of your other vegetable oils.  They’re junk.  I wish I could say it nicely.  I even wish I could find something redemptive in them that would make it worth keeping them.

Nope.  I can’t do it.  

They are not just worthless – they’re downright toxic to your intestines, nervous system, metabolism and the list goes on and on.  Canola oil seems to be the rage right now – everyone is stocking up on it because, according to the people who make it, it has the perfect ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3, plus it is low in saturated fats and high in POLY unsaturated fats.   What they don’t elaborate on is the fact that Canola oil is a new invention – it didn’t come around til the ’70’s and until the Canadian government ‘subsidized’ our Canola industry, Canola was never recognized as SAFE for human consumption.   Also, POLYunsaturated fats are very unstable – meaning that when they are heated (like…uh…for frying and cooking) those fatty acids become oxidized.  And, in case this isn’t on the Canola bottle, oxidized fatty acids are carcinogenic.  So maybe if you only DRINK the Canola, and you don’t COOK with it, it might be safer. (I’m being sarcastic. don’t drink Canola. gah.)  It is a little disturbing, and when you want to be shocked and annoyed, google “Canola oil”.  that simple.  it’s amazing what you’ll find.

4. Replace those rancid oils with Traditional oils.  Meaning, no more Country Crock.  Purchase higher quality oils, even if it costs a little more and you find yourself pinching pennies in other categories.  Fats are the building blocks for our cells and this is one area that is crucial to good health.  Look for organic unrefined coconut oil,  butter from grass-fed cows, organic extra virgin olive oil and tallow and suet from grass-fed cows.   

5. Comsume dairy in it’s raw state or fermented (like in yogurt or kefir). Believe it or not, it’s not weird, and when you start drinking raw milk, going back to store-bought tastes like water. Our family has been drinking raw milk for several years and when we travel, my body CRAVES it! Raw milk is high in CLA, which is a necessary and beneficial fat for fighting heart disease, cancer and obesity!  YES – drinking WHOLE, full-fat milk will help you fight weight gain.  Don’t believe me?

Now, don’t freak out, but DON’T buy store-bought organic milk.  I know.  I want you to eat and drink organic, so this seems counterintuitive.  However, did you know that there is no reason for store-bought organic milk to be in the cooler?  its shelf stable before its opened because there is nothing left of it.  no nutrients. zilch.  Organic farms are fewer in number, so the milk is coming to us from farther distances, therefore it needs to last so it has been processed at such a high heat to “keep it safe”.  It’s just that we consumers would freak out if the milk was sold next to the paper towels in the grocery store.  Here’s a great summary of what actually goes into making Organic Milk: Organic Milk, the Health food Trojan Horse

Not sure what to do then?  check out this article: What Kind of Milk Should I Buy?

6.  Ditch white flour and look for whole grains.  toss it and never look back. It contains ZERO nutritional benefits and the bleach used in processing is linked to diabetes.  In fact, the link is so strong, that if scientists want to give lab rats diabetes in order to study diabetes treatments, they feed them white bread.  TO GIVE THEM DIABETES.  As in: they did NOT have diabetes, and were fed white bread so that they would acquire diabetes.


When baking or using flour for frying, check out King Arthur’s Brand White Whole Wheat Flour.  It has a lighter flavor and texture than true Whole Wheat Flour, but it is not bleached or denatured like commercial white flour.  Also, experiment with spelt flour (great for baked goods) and buckwheat (makes awesome pancakes!)

7. Just say NO to soy.  Sorry to burst your edamame bubble.  but please, I’m begging you, don’ soy. (and don’t drink it either!)  I know that many people who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies then turn to soy milk as a viable alternative.  However, soy is a phytoestrogen – meaning it mimics estrogen once it’s in our bodies.  Estrogen dominance is linked to breast cancer, infertility, and endometriosis…to name a few.  Infants fed a diet of soy formula are consuming the equivalent estrogen amounts of 4 birth control pills each day! Plus, it inhibits the absorption of iodine by our thyroids and is one of the highest plant-based sources of phytates – which are enzyme inhibitors – which block mineral absorption in our intestines, which means we can eat as healthy as we want, but large amounts of soy will block our mineral absorption and we’re being malnourished, even when eating healthy, vitamin packed meals.  But the Asians eat it, you say!  yes, but they FERMENT it.  Ever heard of “stinky tofu” from the Asian Market? That is the ONLY way that soy is REMOTELY tolerable to humans.  Tofu, when it was first created, was fermented.  However, today’s store-bought version is not fermented because REAL tofu, as it was intended,  has a VERY strong flavor.  By fermenting it, the phytates are neutralized and we can digest it a little better.  Nancy Planck does an amazing job describing the dangers of soy in her article here…check it out, as well as Dr. Mercola’s articles here. And, if you really want a shocker, here is the FDA’s Poisonous Plant Database.  yep. soy is in there….If you are looking for dairy replacement, check out this article on how to recover from soy and start using coconut milk.

8. go buy a chicken!  Pasture-raised to be exact and slowly stop buying your meat from a grocery store!  Find a local farmer or butcher so that you know where your meat came from, how it was raised and what it ate!  Roast it and enjoy, then save the bones and…

9. Make Bone Broth! Gretchen mentioned this in her post yesterday, and it definitely bears repeating!  it is SO easy and a POWERHOUSE of nutrition!  Check out some great tutorials and recipes here and here.

10. Toss our your artificial sweeteners and, for a wholesome treat, replace them with natural sugars. Here’s a great summary by Jenny at Nourished Kitchen “As with all foods, the sweeteners you choose should be whole and unrefined: raw honey, whole unrefined cane sugar (AKA Rapadura/Sucanat), date sugar, green stevia, palm sugar, sorghum syrup, molasses, maple syrup and maple sugar all represent good options for natural, unrefined sweeteners.  Agave nectar, raw agave nectar, corn syrup, white and brown sugars should be avoided as well as liquid and white stevia, xylitol and sugar alcohols as they are all heavily processed.”

and finally – 11. Your friends will think you’re crazy.  Or at least a little over-zealous. OK, so #11 wasn’t a shopping tip, but I thought it was worth throwing in there.  even just completing these steps will totally overhaul your kitchen and place you in the “weird-hippy-health-food-picky-eater” club.  Most of the things that we have been talking about in this series truly ARE small changes – but they go against EVERYTHING we have been told by the FDA and the Food Guide Pyramid, so somehow, we must be food rebels, right? I don’t consider myself a rebel,  I just want to know what I’m putting in my body!

My family has a colorful array of every known auto-immune disorder, cancer and major debilitating disease known to man.  I’ve seen how diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer, thyroid problems, obesity, ADHD, bi-polar disease, schizophrenia, asthma, Crohns, Parkinsons, heart disease, and infertility have crushed my family and these diseases, all of which are linked to nutrition and most of which are preventable, all have names and faces…

….and I want better for my kids.  

So if it means that I eat weird things, or that I don’t drive through McDonalds or eat food at the fair each summer,  that’s ok.  Because I want my kids to know that it’s ok that we don’t eat like everyone else.  it’s ok to ask what’s in your food and wonder where it came from.

So I’m telling you – it’s OK to eat differently.

it’s ok to throw away things that may potentially harm your family.  Don’t be afraid of your food – know what’s in it and what it does to your body and educate yourself on the best way to nourish your family!  it’s a huge undertaking, but as a mom, what a privilege and an adventure!

This post is featured on the link up over at Monday ManiaTraditional Tuesdays!Fight Back Fridays, The Homestead Barn HopWhole Foods Wednesday Recipe Swap at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

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