Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Nourishing Foods, Limited Options

On one hand I feel like a very beginner to the notion of nutrient-dense cooking a la Nourishing Traditions. On the other, I've been doing this to some degree all my life.

I grew up on a large hobby farm. My parents loved the country life and they felt it was a good way to raise kids. It was! Many nights we sat down to meals where we'd grown/cooked/preserved almost everything ourselves...Raw milk, fresh raw butter, homemade yogurt, garden veggies, grass fed beef, free range chicken and eggs, wild fruit at times. Once we even grew our own wheat for fresh homemade bread. We were amazingly healthy. I didn't go to the doctor from the time I was four till the time I had my first baby at age 22 (with the exception of a tetanus shot at age 12).

Now I live a different life. I live in a neighborhood outside town. Although I want to garden this year, I'm limited in how much food I can grow myself, and I live in an area that's a virtual wasteland for natural living. The only cow share farm in the state was shut down, I understand. I don't know of any CSA's and it's over and hour to the nearest health food store. (Is it coincidence that we also have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates and one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation?)

So at this point in my life, feeding my family healthfully is a challenge. Even if you have very limited options, I'd like to encourage you to make healthy steps too.

One thing almost anyone can do is make slow-cooked bone broth. I can't get organic chicken right now, so I use what I can with the goal of doing better as I'm able. I use it to cook rice and beans and make chicken soup. My kids beg me for this soup when they are sick. I crave it myself. It truly is healing!

My parents raise a grass fed beef for us yearly. We arrange slaughter so we can pick it up when we are home for the holidays. Do you have a friend, neighbor, or family member who might allow you to pasture a beef on his property for a reasonable fee? If they are local, perhaps you could have a part in taking care of the animal if necessary. Think outside the box.

A rural neighbor has been furnishing me (off and on) with bright-yolked brown eggs. I hear a rooster crowing early in the morning from another direction, so I know other neighbors have chickens too! Drive around in the country. Go slowly...You just might spot a "fresh eggs" sign or a chicken tractor in someone's yard. You might find someone who's willing to sell you fresh eggs.

Square foot garden in your flower bed or grow something in pots. You can grow a lot of lettuce in a big flower pot!

Don't be discouraged by lack of opportunity. Do the best you can with what you have, and don't allow debilitating worry to take over when you can't do as well as you'd like! Remember, "A joyful heart is good medicine!"~Proverbs 17:22

Check out more awesome tips at Real Food Wednesdays, hosted this week by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.


Jennie said...

What a gift you've been given to grow up with such healthy foods. My childhood was filled with processed 'cheap' food and I swear the result of that was the digestive disease I've had since the age of 12.
I try to buy organic and make stuff from scratch and my family is much healthier (and slimmer) for it. It just kills me how much it costs to do that though. In my Grammie's time healthy eating was the cheap way to go, now things are reversed. I hope as a nation that trend will change.

vehementflame said...

Don't you wish you were a kid again?:) Sigh....Great story- I wish I'd paid more attention to the important things as I grew up- now I call my dad every 5 secs with another dumb question:"dad, can I sprout chickpeas?"

erica m said...

Good post. We too live in town and can't garden here. But, Ryan's folks are in the country and we're going to try and garden with them this year! I also buy fresh eggs from a friend when she has them. And, I'm learning to "shop the outside of he store, instead of the inside." It's true, most processed/junk foods are on the inner aisles at the grocery store. You'll find fresh meats, produce, dairy etc on the outer walls.
I wasn't raised on processed foods, and I don't even like things like american cheese, bologna, or koolaid. Give me the real stuff!
A few things I try to stick to are:
Never buy soda for at home. We can have that when we go out to eat or for special occasions.
Always buy whole wheat (preferably 100%) of whole grain whenever possible.
When buying snacks like chips, make sure they are planned for a meal. If you end up just snacking on them it's not healthy, and it's expensive. They go further if eaten a few at a time with sandwiches!

erica m said...

oh yes, and i really want to participate in the simple craft carnival, but with hubs home sick i don't know that i'll get to!!! :-(