Friday, January 23, 2009

Slow Changes in Eating Habits Part II

Author's note: I've had cold feet about this post and almost didn't post - except - I said I would. Please read knowing that I'm not a food snob. I will eat almost anything (except I can't stomach fish) so please invite me to dine at your place. :)

In a previous post, I shared about Jack Sprat Who Could Eat No Fat and his wife Mrs. Full-of-Fat-&-Sugar. The wife found herself reading many books about healthy living. Consequently, the grocery list was adjusted to reflect this knowledge.

Before sharing how their food consumption changed, Mrs. Full-of-Fat-&-Sugar says that if she'd read this list 10 years ago, she would have screamed, "FREAK!!" at the end of the list. It must be reiterated that this family's eating habits have evolved slowly.

Let me share a conversation between the couple from 3 months ago -

Mrs. Full-of-Fat-&-Sugar: Our eating habits have really changed since we moved to Phoenix.

Jack Sprat: You think so? I don't think it's changed all that much.

The wife began to articulate the differences and below is the compiled list. Cutting out MSG and artificial sweeteners were first steps. These two things give Hubby a rash and make him feel weird. Read here why MSG is so evil.
  • Canned soup has been eradicated from the dinner table. If I can't recreate a cream of mushroom/chicken soup in a homemade version, I don't use the recipe. Those canned soups are full of sodium, MSG, and hydrogenated fat.
  • Instead of snacking on preservative-laden crackers, we now reach for nuts and dried fruit.
  • Stopped buying Cokes, especially the artificially sweetened kind. Occasionally we'll drink a full sugar soda.
  • Make healthful chicken broth instead of buying sodium and MSG laden canned stuff.
  • Substitute brown rice for white.
  • Use maple syrup instead of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Maple syrup has minerals and nutrients your body can use. HFCS is useless and turns to fat almost immediately in your body. Recent reports have found mercury in HFCS.
  • Drink whole milk instead of skim. The brain needs (healthy) fat to function. We like to drink raw milk when we have it. If you're concerned about the fat content, read these posts: Does fat make you fat? Part1 and Part 2.
  • Cut down on processed foods, limit buying food in a box. Read this post on boxed cereals and you'll think twice about Cheerios.
  • Eat yogurt for beneficial bacteria in your gut. Did you know 80% of your immune system is in your digestive system? I've been buying full-fat plain and adding a bit of maple syrup.
  • Butter is waaaaay better than margarine. A friend of mine in Little Rock thought they were the same thing (ack!). To redeem my Southern friends, another LR friend said, "I would not feed margarine even to my enemies."
  • Use more coconut oil and olive oil. One way to get more coconut oil in your diet is to pop popcorn in it. Super alternative to chips! We eat a lot of popcorn at our house. I make a big batch, save the rest in a ziplock gallon bag and it tastes even better the next day (you can't say that about microwave popcorn!)
  • Spreading natural peanut butter instead of the hydrogenated and sugary kind (like Jiff or Peter Pan). It took a while for our taste buds to adjust and I bought both kinds for a while. Hubby was ready to make the change before me on this.
  • Healthier chicken equals a healthier egg. We buy local, pastured eggs from farmers. When I can't get them, I buy organic eggs from the grocery. Try this experiment: buy 2 dozen eggs, one being organic, one other the cheapest available. I promise the shells will be thicker and the yolks oranger and perkier on the organic. Read this post to be convinced further. [In college I worked in an experimental industrial chicken house. It's gross.]
  • Brush our teeth with non-florinated toothpaste. I'd been thinking about it a while but this post pushed me over the edge. After botching homemade recipes, I bought this kind and like it.
After the list, Jack Sprat decided that his diet has indeed changed. But it has taken a few years.

He's no longer Jack Sprat and I'm trying to cut down on the sugar. Do you think I'm a food freak?

If you enjoyed this post then pop over to Naturally Knocked Up, where Donielle has been hammering out the healthy living posts.

Here are links to Part I and Part III of my series.


Koko's mama said...

You're so funny. But of course, I am more freak than you because I used to be the freak of nature until my friends complained about the address. But I do everything on your list so we're kindred spirits. Or just freaks! I am also not a food snob and will eat anything at my friends' houses :)

So, do you have a fluoride water filter?

Sadie said...

We are trying to....slowly going, but getting there. My major problem is the protein...being a vegetarian I don't get as much as I need...but the chickens are helping us out on that part with their plentiful eggs. Nice list though....and not a freak at all!

Charissa said...

What a great summary - thanks for the resources

Charissa said...

I used to be in the category of not knowing the difference between butter and margarine. So many of these changes in our lives were driven by this Biotech industry I work in. It's hard to justify the conveniences sometimes.

Julie said...

Koko's mama: we don't have a flouride water filter, but it is something that I want to look into when we something DIY under the kitchen sink. I'm not ready to go major...yet.

Julie said...

Sadie - Schwarzbein has a cookbook for vegetarians and it's a good one. You might find it at your library. Hubby worked as a butcher in college, so we don't eat a lot of meat (except chicken!) and there's only so much chicken I can eat.

Donielle said...

You guys have made so many great changes to your diet! And I finally (finally!) made the switch to a more natural fluoride free toothpaste. I took us forever, but we finally did it! :-)

*and thanks for all the links!

Erika said...

Love your resources Julie. I just spent the last 1/2 hour on Naturally Knocked Up, and wow, what great tips. The organic thing has always been a goal of mine, but sticker shock (and laziness) always killed my best intentions. Trader Joe's is a good spot for affordable organic, but I need try making some of my own things as well (I'm going to soak some oatmeal tonight). Anyway, keep it up, I love the evolution of your eating habits! :)

Anonymous said...

Right on. Right on. I tell myself daily, "I am such a freak" because that is what I would have called myself even just a short bit ago! But, you are so right. ALL of these things make a big difference.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop said...

Hi Julie,

Great tips! Thanks for adding your link to the Real Food Wednesday "Rookie Tips"! I'm sure readers will love reading all your suggestions.



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