Of Cooking Healthy Food

It’s been interesting to watch the trend for healthy living come “in” and how this is affecting the way people eat and cook. There are people on gluten-free diets. Most recently, the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating has spread like wildfire, and suddenly everyone is eating “S”, “E”, and “FP” meals and substituting ingredients and figuring out what not to eat with what. I don’t pretend to understand it all — my knowledge is rather limited at this point, but it seems like it’s working for alot of people.

I’m most definitely not the expert on healthy living, but there are certain things I’m trying to improve and implement into our eating habits and the way I cook, to improve our food intake. The more you study and learn about processed and GMO foods, the more you want to eat as healthily (is that a word?) as you can. The last time we went to a farm conference and heard a speaker on GMO foods — well, we came home and ate all veggies from the garden for supper. (Haha!) [And please don’t worry about me being a food snob if you’re ever feeding me a meal — I’m not. :)] Obviously, one cannot live in fear of what you’re eating, but I believe in being aware and well informed. We can make good choices about the food we put into our bodies.

So what do we do, practically?

1. We grow as many of our own vegetables as we can. Potatoes, corn, broccoli, peppers, green beans, peas, tomatoes, beets, onions, carrots, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, herbs, apples, etc. I love being able to run out to the garden or the freezer or my canning cupboard with the confidence that we grew this ourselves.

2. I cook only with good fats — olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. One of the things I did before we got married was invest in a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil — well actually, my brothers graciously paid for it as a gift. It’s a little challenging at times to convert recipes that call for shortening, but for the most part it’s not hard to sub with good oils. (Cookies being my biggest frustration) I love being able to fry things in coconut oil and know that we’ll be putting good fats into our body. I also love pie crusts made out of butter/coconut oil — mmm, so good.

3. I try to buy organic food as much as I can. Living in the area that I do, this is easier to do than in some places. We have lots of discount grocery stores around that will happen to have organic food at any given time — I’ve found organic black beans, pinto beans, butter, chicken broth, beef broth, salad mix, lemon juice, cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and so on. There’s also a produce sale that a lady holds in her garage every Wednesday — I have to drive half an hour to get there and you never know what you’ll find from week to week, but often it’s worth it. I’ve found organic peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, broccoli and much more. Even if the food isn’t organic, it’s still priced great and so worth the drive. I usually leave with a big box and will have spent maybe $7-$9.  It’s especially fun to go in the off-season for growing.

4. I try to use as little processed food as possible, and make as many things from scratch that I can. Canned cream soups, packaged mixes, velveeta cheese, etc. are out. I am not totally a purist in this area — I still will use things sometimes, but I try to improvise or make my own as much as I can. I make my own bread, tortillas, and get homemade yogurt from my sister-in-law. We buy organic raw milk from an Amish farm.

All that said, there are so many areas I have lots to learn in. I haven’t made the switch from sugar to all the substitutes out there yet. (Other than using honey in my bread) There are so many options out there, that it feels a tad overwhelming. I’d love to own a grain mill and be able to grind my own flour out of wheat grown on the farm. Also, we’re in the process of finding good meat sources — I recently found a place to get organic non-GMO chickens, and ordered 10 whole chickens to pick up next week. I’m not very fond of cutting up chickens, but it will be worth it in the end. Still working on a place to get good grass-fed beef/burger. Hopefully we’ll have deer meat in our freezer someday soon!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this. Healthy food can taste really good. I used to have this negative image in my mind of healthy food — usually it didn’t taste that great, mostly just healthy. So I am on a mission to cook as healthy as I can and make it taste as good as I can.

Any advice or experience you have to share with me on my healthy cooking journey?

P.S. I still like my sugar-laden cookies. 😉

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8 thoughts on “Of Cooking Healthy Food

  1. Sounds like we are on the same food journey!. But I must admit I am caught up in the craze of THM:). And just in case your interested my brother has grass fed beef for sale for 1.30/lb. hanging weight.

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  2. Well this sounds like me. I am not up to date with Trim Healthy Mamma but from some things Phyllis has told me, I think by watching what eat together is gunna help my weight problem I continue to fight.

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  3. Well, I entered the healthy way of eating by way of necessity, not choice. It’s funny, because it happened right at the same time that THM became the “rage”. But it was by Dr’s. orders, and I have seen some improvements in my health. As a side benefit I lost weight. (Too much, so says my husband!)

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  4. This could almost have been written by me….sounds like our journey this summer and fall. My hubby has graciously suffered all of my recipe “expeirments.” 😉 Sounds like you are doing better at it then me though. I wish I could find a place that sells organic produce besides a grocery store where it cost twice as much as non-organic. I don’t do much baking so the sugar thing isn’t a big issue. I do like to use honey and maple syrup though its not recommended by THM. Its been fun coming up with my own recipes! 🙂

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  5. It’s exciting to hear of others adopting a healthier lifestyle too. My husband and I have been learning about healthier lifestyle the last five years, but our journey has been one of neccessity for me- not a choice I made willingly. I got really sick and discovered I had numerous food allergies. Since making changes via baby steps I feel so much better.
    It really is so fun to take an unhealthy food and make it relatively healthy .:) In our area it is really hard for us to buy organic veggies and fruits, so once a month I make the voyage to a city an hour away and stock up. I am trying to grow more for ourselves but have a lot to learn in that area. I’m like you, I still have a hard time changing the sugar to a natural low glycemic substitute. And yeah, I still love a good allergy free cookie or sweet. 🙂

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  6. It was very interesting to read this. Sounds like I’ll have to borrow the Trim Healthy Mama and see what’s up with the current ideas.One thing I’ve found is the reason that what is “healthy” varies so much over the years is what the criteria is for those teaching it. In other words it depends how they define “healthy” and for what reason they think it’s good for you/ not good for you. What are they valuing?

    Not to overwhelm anyone here but here are some examples of what I’ve found over the years: Is it weight loss? No GMO? What will give you energy? Some foods but not others because of—–? Close to how God made it vs processed? High protein or meat is bad?, No sugar or sugar is okay because something else is considered to be more important? No dairy? High calcium (even this varies as to what calcium is thought to be absorbed better) Low fat or good fats are essential and wonderful?(why is it a “good” fat?) A super food that is nutrient-dense or one that is low calorie? (Avocado or celery?) Is it for pregnancy? For children? Eating the foods of our ancestors and benefiting from their wisdom? All these usually based on new science research or people experimenting on their own so there is usually some truth in each one until it is refined with more research.. The big thing to ask is “Why?” And decide what you will value and what your body feels good on personally. (and you’ve seen me change my values of what is healthy over the years! Will we ever really know!?)

    Don’t forget blessing the food/genuinely thanking the Creator, makes it good for us too!
    “…foods which God created to be eaten with thanksgiving by those who have come to trust and to know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing needs to be rejected, because the word of God and prayer makes it holy.” 1 Timothy 4
    Hmm, so if we’re not thankful for [specific food] (even what we call “healthy” foods?), it might not be as good for us??..just following the logic here.. might have to rethink the forcing children to eat what they hate?

    Uuh– long post.. guess I miss blogging? 🙂

    I love your cooking! I wish I could pop in today… be blessed..

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  7. Aww, good for you! You sound like quite the homemaker. 🙂 I want to start eating healthier too (because it’s good for me, but also because I need to lose some weight). How do you make homemade tortillas? And also soup from scratch; I’d like to learn how to make that too.

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