I find it sad that I have to start by saying I’m not a doctor. I haven’t attended medical school. I’m not a professional giving professional advice.
I am a work at home mom on a transition to a healthier world in our home. I want to help everyone hit their health goals. This is just the start.
I started it all by asking why. Why was I getting sick all of the time? Why was my son intolerant to cow milk? Were my kids getting enough nutrition to grow and thrive? Was my husband eating right in order to work his body hard? I even looked into my extended family and friends. What were they doing? What did they do for food and how was my nuclear family comparing? I evaluated our eating, sleeping, working, stress inducing, and exercising habits.
Our habits fell short of my goals and list of “non-negotiables.” Our non negotiables are time with God, time as a family, “work” and farm chores, eating healthy food, and housework. Everything comes after that. It’s about priorities.
Everyone’s list is different. Everyone has different hopes and dreams for being “healthy.”
Find your definition. What do you realistically want? Make your list of “non-negotiables.” You can’t hit your health goals without knowing what those goals look like.
Regulate your body
Start with your gut health. Balance and feed your gut and your body will work better and you’ll feel better. You’ll have more energy and sleep better at night. I bet there are one hundred articles why getting healthy starts in your gut. Go read some of those actually written by docs.
First step is to find a top of the line probiotic. I have one that has five strains and an anti-fungal. It’s important to get the cultures to your actual gut so find one freeze dried instead of refrigerated.
Cleanse your gut often, if you can. Pregnancy and nursing has made it impossible for me to do a total body cleanse, but it’s worth doing gently if you can handle it. Find a supplement to support your body while expelling the toxins because we all have them.
Be a progression
We started on this health journey with raw goat milk because our son, Caleb. He needed it because of a minor dairy intolerance, but it turned into a gateway drug into dipping into healthy food to heal and fuel our bodies.
I then made a conscious effort to make our diet more protein and less refined carbs ( I thought of simple things like less noodles and bread). Of course through this process I inflated our fruits and veggie portion of our groceries considerably. I made a conscious effort to stop buying anything in the snack isle, and if we really wanted it, I would make an alternative at home. I still think fresh fried potatoes are better than chips from a store. We still enjoy life. We still participate in a social beer, and the kids still eat candy for a special treat.
The time we spend in the kitchen isn’t that considerable. It can’t be to be honest. I have three kids, two toddlers and an infant. I can’t spend a lot of time cooking. So I made shortcuts where they mattered. We simply started making simpler meals…
Like three “ingredient” meals. For example, eggs, bacon (I know this more than one ingredient but we raise our own – we know what’s in it), and spinach. Many days we have hamburgers (with no bun) with veggies and fresh baked potatoes.
It’s about making a choice – a choice that matters to you. What are the things that you really love and don’t want to give up? Then don’t – entirely. I loved refined carbs and coffee, but I knew I wasn’t feeling well and that was the culprit. I had to crack down and just make a choice. Health or the instant gratification of said food.. most of the time I made the long term choice, but I also still enjoy a big, hot cup of black coffee on occasion.
Fat doesn’t make you fat
There are a hundred articles on the science of it all, but realize we need fat for our brain and our cells. Fat isn’t what makes us fat… our metabolism does. It’s simple, what goes in goes somewhere. We use it, lose it, or yes, store it (maybe in our love handles and tummy – wait, just me?). Enjoy the fat on your steak and butter on your veggies. It’s going to be okay.
Fat-free doesn’t mean free.
Things labeled “fat free” might have all of the brain boosting fats sucked out of it, but they have to put stuff back into it to make it anything at all. Think of commercial skim milk. Milk processors ultra- high temp pasteurize it killing all of the bacteria. They remove some of the components, like cream, to make butter and other milk products, then homogenize the rest so it doesn’t separate. What is left? Not a whole lot, so they fortify it with synthetic vitamins and minerals. They might also add preservatives or other components that “help” it be more palatable.
This is at no fault of the dairy farmer. It has nothing to do with them. They raise beautiful cows they love, but they lose some power when the milk leaves the farm.
If you haven’t already, read the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G Enig, Ph.D. It’s worth your time.
Forget Gluten; it’s the processed grains that suck
Research processed grains and flour. It’s a sad reality of the amount of non-nutritional components. I still felt like everything needed a side of noodles, a side of bread, a roll, a pastry, a cookie, a brownie, etc.
Processed grains are hard to digest, and they bond to vitamins and minerals in our gut to block their absorption into our bodies making us vitamin and mineral deficient.
Even if you’re not gluten sensitive, or have a condition, it’s best to lean toward healthy true whole grains instead of quick rise breads and flours. Think of the tough sourdough bread that has fermented and soaked grains because a simple forgotten art is soaking your grain before eating it.
An easy way to do it yourself is with oatmeal. Soak oats overnight for breakfast. It helps your body have a kick-start on digesting it.
Google and YouTube info on soaking your grains before eating. It’s been a lot of fun researching it.
Processing, toxins, and the great debate
This is where it gets tedious with reading labels, researching companies, and googling terms. Things like cold pressed coconut oil vs regular. What makes a product organic? Why should we eat organic? GMO? Grass fed beef and what does it mean? I think we can all make specific decisions for our family individually here.
My best piece of advice is that I think the truth is in the middle. Is grain fattened beef bad? I actually don’t think so, but I have some basic common sense rules I put with it. As a farmer/rancher who deploys this common sense in my dairy goats, I’m having a lot of fun trying new things with them.
I want you to know this about farmers and ranchers: they aren’t trying to kill the world, and they are literally feeding the world. Again, I think we need some common sense here too. We have to feed the world and take care of the land. The processes on a conventional farm are quite necessary to keep each U.S. farmer producing enough food to feed and additional 155 people.
However, when making decisions for food, pick the best you can afford to buy. This is fuel for your body. This is important for your body to thrive and move and yes, live. This is such basic common sense that I find it mind boggling that I have to say it.
If you are having a hard time keeping a budgeted grocery bill, then cut out most everything with more than one ingredient. Search online for recipes, and be open to trying new things. Simplify your meals, and you’ll be surprised what it would do for your health.
Do you really need them? Probably, unless you are near perfect in your nutrition, cook and process your food correctly every time, and hardly ever “cheat.”
I still feel like it’s important to mention that it’s so hard to find good, reliable ones. My advice: read labels, understand how it’s processed, and how it will be digested in your body to make a good decision.
Pick your hard
Everything is a choice. Everything is a sacrifice. If you want to keep up with your kids, your grand kids, your peers, your whatever, take care of the body God gave you.
It’s simple. It’s worth it.
But, it might be a little more than that. You might “feel fine” and you’re “doing okay”, but you never know when bad habits will sneak up on you. Maybe it’s with diabetes, heart disease, whatever. I had a real truth moment when I realized Caleb was dairy intolerant. It took a minor thing in our life to shift us in the direction of making better choices. Now, I hardly recognize our meals, but I’m so satisfied in what I’m helping them achieve: health for life.