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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think DH and I are finally commited to start eating healthier. Today we were talking and reasearching more, and we need to:

1. Cut way down on sugar
2. Cut way down on processed foods of all types
3. Eat more veggies and fruits

Now, all of that sounds easy, right? Well, I"m having trouble figuring out how to do it? How do I go about re-organizing my pantry, and re-doing how I am fixing my meals? We eat alot better than some americans (little to no fast food, not alot of processed stuff, but still *some*). We do get home grown meat (need to call the chicken place and order some more chickens), I do make alot of our stuff from scratch, but I still feel like we need to change alot!

So... Here are a few questions I'd like help with:

1. How do I use Stevia or Honey in our everyday cooking and drinks? We ususally drink tea or water (I have bought our last sodas
I think DH is addicted, but he's assured me he will quit!). DH and DD also drink milk, but I'm cutting out dairy for baby's allergy! Also, I'd like cookie recipies and possibly bread, too!

2. How do I *know* what isn't really hiding chemicals and processing? I am planning to join a healthfood co-op, and they have some better choices, but I"m still kinda confused. What exactly *is* the bad stuff?

3. What is a balanced meal? NOrmally we eat meat, potato or pasta dish, and 2 veggies per meal (frozen corn is a standard, plus whatever else sounds good, green beans, brown beans, ect.) I like to have bread, too, but since DD #1 was born, I can'st seem to get it together! I used to have fresh bread at all times, now I don't make it but every few months
:

4. How do I go about re-organizing the pantry? I have very little storage, but I'm working on making space in my basement for buying bulk from the co-op. Do I just use what all I have, and replace with a better alternative? My problem is that there are *no* healthfood stores within an hour of me,a nd those that are an hour away focus mainly on the vitamins/ess. oils/herbal suppliments, ect. and not on organic or whole foods. I know I can get flours and the stevia from there, though! ALl other things will have to be ordered once a month from the co-op. Tricky things for me are the oils, margarine, organic butter ($$) and crisco type things. ALso, what types of things go I need to avoid in canned foods, and mixes (like Mac-n-Cheese). Also, what should I look for in juices?

5. Fresh fruits and veggies! I am lucky to live in the country, so we have lots of local farmers markets, and neighbors who give us lots of fresh produce durring the summer. What about in the winter? What types of things should I consider canning (not sure if I will tackle this one this year, but I'm just thinking ahead, and would like to at least try it! I have all of the canning jars I need in the basement, as well as a pressure cooker for canning.)

6. And what about sweets, snacks, ect? I'd love any idea for things that would keep a considerable time, maybe even be frozen. I think I'd do better cooking in batches when I find some recipies I like.

I'd appreciate any advice you can give me! Alot of the things talked about on here are foreign to me (keifer, tofu, those types of things I've never even seen, much less tried!)

Thanks!
 

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1. How do I use Stevia or Honey in our everyday cooking and drinks? We ususally drink tea or water.

Perfect! With tea Hub and I generally use one packet of Stevia - we buy the packets in bulk, it can save a lot of money. We get them at www.vitaminlife.com - I think 1000 packets is about $23.00. And it lasts forever. I also use Stevia in my morming smoothies (kefir, protein powder, 2 pkts of stevia and frozen organic fruit (or fresh)). Other good sweeteners are agave nectar and maple syrup, among my favourites (Grade B is less sweet and refined and can be used in any recipe that calls for sugar.)

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Also, I'd like cookie recipies and possibly bread, too!
I don;t have them per se, but a GREAT source of information is Sally Fallon's cookbook, "Nourishing Traditions". She also talks about canning and preserving, too. Many great whole food recipes in that book.

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2. How do I *know* what isn't really hiding chemicals and processing? I am planning to join a healthfood co-op, and they have some better choices, but I"m still kinda confused. What exactly *is* the bad stuff?
Generally, my rule is if I cannot pronounce it or haven't heard of it (and therefore know what it is), I don't buy it. Way back when we started making the transition, the one thing we began with is NO partially hydrogenated anything and no corn syrup, ESPECIALLY high-fructose. Those are the two evils to begin with. From there, nitrates, food dyes, sugars, modified food starch....

Also going organice with as many fruits and veggies as possible, but ESPECIALLY things like spinach, leafy veggies, grapes, strawberries - anything that you eat whole and can absorb a lot of pesticides. Things you get to peel are less dangerous as far as pesticides, but the aforementioned get the most pesticides.

That's a start.

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3. What is a balanced meal? Normally we eat meat, potato or pasta dish, and 2 veggies per meal (frozen corn is a standard, plus whatever else sounds good, green beans, brown beans, ect.)
Personally, I don't consider anything that isn't green a vegetable, technically. My thought? A salad AND a green vegetable, then things like corn or potatoees or carrots are starches. Beans are a protein, so I include those in that category. So to me, a balances meal would be a salad, a serving of veggies, a serving of protein or a whole grain, and sometimes both, but then it gets more difficult for the body to digest - proteins and starches are best eaten separately.

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4. How do I go about re-organizing the pantry?
When we did it, we took out anything we deemed to be not on our food list and gave it to a food bank. (sigh, I know, I know. But better than to waste it.)

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Tricky things for me are the oils, margarine, organic butter ($$) and crisco type things. ALso, what types of things go I need to avoid in canned foods, and mixes (like Mac-n-Cheese). Also, what should I look for in juices?
I generally use the rule of avoiding any kind of additives. When I pick up an item of canned food, I want there to be only the food listed in it. Generally anything organic goes well with this rule.

Annie's naturals makes a great mac and cheese. Everything is a familiar ingredient you can pronounce.

In juices, just 100% juice, and nothing from concentrate unless it's organic (this is MY rule, I don;t expect everyone else to agree). I also look for tarter juices like cranberry to only be sweetened with other fruit juices and not sugars of any sort (except maybe the lemonade or limeade). Also? For me? I dilute all of my juices with water because then I get a bit of the flavor without all of the sugar.

Kefir is an excellent probiotic. You can try it by buying it from the store - it tastes a lot like tarter liquid yogurt. It makes great smoothies. They even sell flavoured kefir so you can drink it right from the bottle. If you're more ambitious (after trying it to see if you like it), you can buy your own kefir grains and make it youaelf. Saves money and you can use about anything you like - milk, fruit juice, even water. It's also great for lactose-free folks because it IS partically digested by the happy bacteria and flora in it, so it doesn't cause any issues like milk does.

Tofu is awesome because it essentially takes on the flavour of whatever sauce or food you're cooking it with and is a great, easily digestible protein. All over the web there are great tofu recipes - just do a Google search if you're interested and you'll find tons.

I hope this was helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm.. very helpful!!! Thank you! So, I need to get some Keifer for DH's protien shake (he is currently using ice cream and chocolate milk
So, where do I find it? He takes the Shaklee Physique, and mixes it w/ one
2 scoops of ice cream and the rest choc. milk, so I would need quite a bit of whatever he decided to replace the icecream with. Currently he uses about 1 tub of icecream (the tub, not the carton) every week to a week and a half! (you would think he's big, but he's really not, he lifts weights, so he needs the extra calories and protien in the shake, but tnot the sugar in the icecream).

BTW, I'm in Missouri, too! Way down south, about 4-5 hours from you
 

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Kefir can usually be gotten from places like co-ops, natural food stores, Whole Foods. It comes in quart plastic containers - Helios and Lifeway both make organic brands.

And! You can actually make your own ice cream...even without an ice cream maker, I hear. It's fairly easy, too. So if Hub HAD to have ice cream, you could at least control the amount of sugar and the kinds of sugar he puts in it.

There have been threads on MDC about making your own ice cream (or frozen yogurt), if you do a search they'll come up. And it's delicious!
 
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