Thought-Filled Thursday: Food Rant

I like to read blogs, especially food blogs. I love being inspired by new recipes and healthy alternatives to tried and true family recipes. I truly believe that our culture, the North American Caucasian culture, has a lot to be accountable for when it comes to food and our relationship with it. People are dying from food addiction and abundance and in all honesty it’s disgusting. Food is too cheap and the cheaper the food the more unhealthy it is. Most of us struggle with self control when it comes to snacking and junk food, and in turn we often hate ourselves, our bodies, because we’re too fat and unhealthy…and then we eat to comfort ourselves. This is really messed up if you think of the thousands of people worldwide who die of starvation daily.

Recently I’ve tried a few healthy substitutions in recipes and a few recipes that have surprising ingredients. It feels so great to be eating better and more creatively! Eating should be a positive, enjoyable experience. Not one filled with guilt and regret.

Here are a few things I’ve tried:

  • Chia Seed – a great source of omega 3 and a substitute for fats in recipes when mixed with water
  • Quinoa
  • Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies from The Everything Beans Book, the main ingredient is black beans!
  • Eating more beans – dried, soaked, cooked…not canned as much
  • Veggie pizza – we pretty much always make vegetarian pizza now with whole wheat crust. We don’t use any sauce, just a layer of tomatoes and then top it with whatever we have in the crisper and finishing off with low fat cheese. Delicious!
  • Low Fat cheese – the same price as full fat but with a lot less of the bad stuff. I really notice now when I eat full fat cheese. Even the low fat stuff isn’t that healthy, but it’s a step in the right direction, right?
  • Drinking primarily water. We never have juice (let alone pop) at home anymore. When I have the occasional drink of something sweetened I can really taste the sugar (or artificial sweetener, which is even more distasteful). It’s crazy how you can train your taste buds, just like you train them to need sometime sweet after you eat a meal or when you drink tea.
  • Ground flax seed – I put it in pretty much everything, it can also be used as an egg substitute in baked goods when mixed with water
  • Homemade granola instead of store bought cereal (which are filled with sugar, even the plain ones like Shreddies) I use the granola recipe from Kitchen Stewardship – one of my favourite recipe sites right now
  • Plain low fat yogurt! We only buy natural yogurt and add flavours or fruit to it as we want. This reduces the sugar and preservatives! I would like to try making my own at some point, I’m a little scared for some reason though
  • Making things from scratch and therefore eating less packaged foods (which are high in sodium and preservatives)

There are so many more things I want to try, like eating less refined sugar and dairy (which is known to be difficult to digest). We are trying to reduce our meat consumption to only local/free range/grain fed meats. This is difficult because these meats are often quite a bit more expensive, however, you can taste the difference and if we eat less in general and more protein substitutes like lentils, than it should balance out. We are also getting a CSA box from Sunshine Miles Farm this summer and are very excited about having local organic veggies all summer!

Now, I do have a sweet weakness and I’m trying to have self control when it comes to sugar. This is very hard for me, especially because I enjoy baking and one of Tim’s favourite things is baked goods. I just try and see it as a challenge to make some of our favourite recipes healthier. I also try not to be too hard on myself, especially when there are special events or holidays. Portion size is key, and having a taste of ice cream or another dessert to curb that sweet tooth is very different from having a large slice or cake or bowl of ice cream (also known as a “Cross-sized dessert” in our house).

I also have a carb weakness…especially if there’s fresh bread in the house. What that really comes down to is self control and only have healthy breads around.

The biggest thing for us is just not having those junk foods in the house, because if they’re there then we’ll eat them. I really need to make an effort to have fresh veggies cut for snacking on in the fridge and lots of fruit around because if it’s there than I will eat it!

Changing your diet to include healthier ingredients does take planning and that’s why I love menu planning. Every week I sketch out at least 5 planned meals that we’re going to have (hopefully with leftovers for lunches) and then we go grocery shopping for the necessary ingredients. This reduced (eliminates?) food waste, promotes trying new foods and eating healthier and doesn’t really take much time. I know I haven’t been posting my menu plans lately but I have been making them (for the most part)! You’ve got to be flexible when menu planning and you’ve got to think about your schedule, but once you’ve got it down to a routine it’s a pretty painless endeavor. I definitely recommend it!

I do bake unhealthy things occasionally, like my Rainbow Cake that I made for baby Awna’s shower this past weekend. It was a hit and I only ate half a piece so I was proud of myself for that!

Do you do anything to alter recipes to make them healthier? Do you have any delicious and nutritious foods/recipes that you want the world to know about? Please let me know!!!

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11 thoughts on “Thought-Filled Thursday: Food Rant

  1. I love this post. Eating healthy and counter-cultural can be difficult, but gives you such a sense of accomplishment knowing you’re doing the best for your family! One thing I need to get better at is cooking with beans – especially soaking my own. I still tend to use them from the can. Also where do you buy your chia seed? I’ve still never tried it and would like to sometime. I make my own yogurt and it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I still buy it fairly often too though, but at least I’m saving some money! I always get “Balkan Style,” because it’s the one with the smallest number of ingredients.
    I actually have switched away from using low-fat cheese and yogurt. It depends on the product, but I’ve found that most low-fat things replace the fat with corn starch and other additives. I would rather just eat the natural fat. That one is really a matter of opinion though!
    My biggest things are probably using only stone ground whole wheat flour for all baking, also some stone ground spelt and kamut and quinoa flour; healthy fats like butter, olive oil and coconut oil, no margarine or canola oil; little to no sugar – I’ve had great success using honey in all my baking; and fresh dairy. I agree with you that dairy is hard to digest, but I believe one of the biggest reasons for that is pasteurization and homogenization. We buy raw goats and cows milk, and farm fresh eggs, from our neighbours. So much yummier. When we run out and I’ve had to give Eli store bought milk, he will often spit up after drinking it, but never with the raw milk.
    And making things from scratch is so much more satisfying! I make all our own bread now and it’s so much yummier, and I just finished a batch of whole wheat tortillas to freeze ahead. Other things I find just as easy homemade are mayonnaise, ketchup, sour cream, salad dressing and cream cheese. The store-bought versions of all those just have so much junk in them.
    Anyway, keep sharing ideas! I love hearing about what other people are doing to try and eat healthier!

    • I really love beans and I’ve been getting into cooking my own, I just rinse them and throw them in a pot with water in the morning and then the following morning rinse them again and cook. I seem to get mushy beans a lot so I definitely haven’t mastered it yet but it’s going relatively well! And I guess you can freeze them once they’re cooked so all you have to do is take them out and throw them in your soup or whatever!

      I actually found my chia at Winners of all places, but you can get it at health food stores and places like that.

      I checked my cheese and there’s not anything strange in it, but thanks for the heads up!

      I’m excited to try your mayo recipe and would love to have your ketchup! Very inspiring:)

      Thanks for all your comments and enjoy these last few moments as a mom of one! Congrats by the way!

  2. Love this!! I so agree with everything you are saying… we’re trying to do the same ourselves. I find when you buy higher quality foods.. which of course are more expensive… take grassfed beef for example, you use less, savor it more and waste nothing. It really is a completely different mindset and way of eating. I love all natural plain yogurt, I add homemade jam to it. My favorite comes from Armadale Farms in Sussex (buy it at the market)… so good! Making you’re own yogurt is a cinch!!! Seriously!! Go to the BuyLocalNb facebook page, there are recipes posted under “Discussions” one of them is a crockpot yogurt… super easy and good. This blog makes me happy. 🙂

  3. Kathryn! I am with you my friend. This is so exciting to read – I read all about this stuff from people I don’t know on their blogs, but to read it coming from YOU, an actual person I know and love, is so great!

    I just read Gina’s comment, and I agree that YES yogurt is actually really easy to make. I am going to go and post the recipe on my blog right after this. I am making it a lot these days and I think I have perfected it. It did take me a few tries but it has been worth it.

    I would like to learn more about chia seeds. I only tried them once in a smoothie but I don’t really know what they are for or what to use them in. Any suggestions?

    Also I make those bean brownies too, they are SO wonderful. Just polished off a pan today….

    And, Emily, I would love to know more about how you make your ketchup, mayo, and cream cheese!!

    Oh, something else, I am going to buy raw honey this weekend. We can’t buy it here where I live but you can when you go to Whitehorse, 5 hours away. I think that’s supposed to be a lot better for you too.

    Wooohoo! Yay natural and healthy food. It makes such a difference. Thanks for your thoughts!

    LOVE YOU

    • I saw your yogurt recipe and I’m definitely going to try it!!! I only recently learned about chia seed and quickly fell in love with it. If you let it soak in water if becomes thicker and you can use it to replace fats, I’ve tried it in a few things and you really don’t notice! It’s good for your bowels too and is high in omega 3!!! I need to play with it more and I’ll let you know how it goes. You can also just sprinkle it one granola or cereal or in smoothies for added nutrition.

      You’ll have to let me know how the raw honey is, what’s the difference and benefits???

      love you too and miss you lots!

      -k

  4. Pingback: How to make your own YOGURT « lindsaymuller

  5. Wow, what a great post! I love hearing about your food ventures… and I love that you actually follow through, and don’t just think about changing your diet. Where are you going to get your meat? I was looking at Jolly Farmer’s prices today.

    I think that food is complicated. There is definitely a psychological and emotional aspect to eating. I struggle with stress eating…. turning to chocolate and tea to get me through a hard afternoon, for example. Portion size is a big issue for me. I’d like to work on all of this, so that my girls have a healthy attitude towards eating and eat for the right reasons! I think I have some work to do….

    The CSA box will be a big step for us this summer. I am thinking about local meat as well, and then trying to make my own bread, which will hopefully cause us to not have to go to the grocery store often.

    • Tim picked up some meat at the market this week, we had chicken tonight and it was delicious, moist and flavourful!!! I don’t know about long term but that’s what we’re doing for now.

      Food is definitely more than just something for survival and I think that’s the difficulty of training ourselves. Remember though, you need a lot more calories than someone else your size because of the breastfeeding so make sure you get enough, but it is good to think about and learn when your eating for comfort, out of boredom, or necessity.

      I’m really looking forward to the CSA box too:)

      -k

  6. I use Agave Nectar for sugar replacement in all my baking!! 😉 We eat a lot of Quinoa over here… We’ve been doing a lot of ‘clean’ eating over here.. sorta… ha ha! I’ve cut out all sugars and bad carbs… but I couldn’t be bothered to buy organic, or the whole meat thing… it’s all what you think is best for you!

    Enjoy! cutting out Sugar is a big thing! I think i’ve only had dessert 4 times since November… and it makes me want to vomit now! I replace it in EVERYTHING!!!!! One bite of something sweet! I don’t miss it at All!! You’ll get there eventually if you stick to it!

    God plays a huge factor in weight loss and healthiness. For me eating was an emotional, spiritual battle. I replaced dealing with issues with food. God has brought me a LONG way in my walk with Him. I’m a completely difference person today, then I was in the fall. I think that people that struggle with weight issues, almost always have an underlying issue. We need to let God work in us and confront the things that we are facing and let Him do the work!!! I can’t tell you how many times before I’ve tried to eat right or be healthy, but until I was ready to work on letting God have control of my whole life, I continued to struggle with being overweight and eating too much. God is good. He can help! Even with something that seems trivial…

    • I’ve been thinking a lot about sugar too. Did you find it a hard transition at first? How about the cost? I’m really intrigued by the switch though because I eat too much sugar, especially in my baking. It is definitely all about training your tastebuds. I remember when we were in Thailand and rarely ate sweets and how that really trained me at least, when returning to Canada I found them so sweet and unnecessary. Definitely a cultural thing for us. Tell me more about the Agave Nectar please!!!!

      Thank you so much for your comments and encouragement, I love to hear how you’ve changed so much and how that’s reflected in your appearance! You’re an inspiration!

      -k

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