A little over a year before we began our homeschooling journey, we began another journey that has also had a huge impact on our family. Three years ago we set out to live a healthier life by eating foods that nourish, protect, and heal our bodies.
At that time, I was at an all time health low. I had recently had my second baby and it was clear that I was not well. I was battling debilitating dizziness, fatigue, and anxiety. I was living on a low-calorie/ low-fat diet to reach and maintain my pre-pregnancy weight, not realizing that what I was feeding my body was completely void of any real nutrients (after pregnancy had depleted my body of what little nutrients it did have). Now it makes sense to me why I felt like I was falling apart physically and mentally!
I visited a wide range of medical doctors, but none of them asked about my lifestyle or addressed nutrition at all. Instead their solutions included things like “try taking a birth control pill”. The “health care” I received was a joke and it was then that I realized I was looking in the wrong place. I finally went to go see a chiropractor as my final attempt to seek advice on health and wellness and I was told something so simple, yet something I had not heard before. He told me that I should be able to restore and heal my body with nutrition. I walked out of his office with hope that maybe it really was that simple. Maybe food could have a dramatic effect on health. But after looking for more information, I realized there was so much conflicting information out there on what is “healthy” that it was often overwhelming and confusing. I continued researching and am still learning more every day, but I feel like I have made some pretty big discoveries, several of which contradict almost everything I (and pretty much all of my generation) was taught about health growing up. Here are what I consider to be my top ten:
Fat is NOT the Enemy.
There is good fat and there is bad fat, but most people lump them all together and believe they should avoid them all as much as possible. This is a terrible misconception because fat is essential for proper functioning of almost all the organ systems in our bodies, it helps with the absorbtion of vitamins, and it can protect against things like cancer and heart disease. We are no longer afraid of fat in our home, in fact, we regularly consume things like full-fat raw milk, butter, eggs, nuts and nut butters just the way that God has given them to us…with the fat and nutrients intact!
Sugar IS the Enemy
Overconsumption of sugar impairs the immune system and can cause chronic disease. That pretty much sums it up.
Artificial Sweeteners are NOT a Good Substitute
Sweeteners like Splenda and Aspartame are not acceptable substitutes for sugar. They break down in the body and act as neurotoxins and should be avoided at all costs. Natural sweeteners like stevia and xylitol are much better choices.
A Variety of Fruits and Vegetables are Essential
This may seem like a no-brainer, but there was a time when I thought I was fine if I had the occasional apple. Since no one food provides everything you need, it’s important to be getting a good variety on a daily basis. I used to buy very little fresh produce but now I’d say it makes up most of what I buy at the store, and there is always a huge variety of things in my cart.
Fruits AND Vegetables Make the Best Smoothies
The green smoothie was my first big attempt to better health and it has stood the test of time. We still consume them regularly and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with what I put in them. We’ve been known to use apples, oranges, peaches, kiwi, bananas, berries, a variety of leafy greens and we’ve also added things such as celery, cucumber, avacados, and carrots. I finally got a Blend-Tec blender not long ago, which has improved my smoothie-making even more!
Organics are Worth the Cost
Some would argue this is subjective, but it’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I believe that residue from pesticides are present in non-organic food, especially produce, and I believe that residue could be detrimental to our health and so if I have the option, I almost always choose organic.
Raw Milk is Superior to Store-Bought Milk
This would probably be my most controversial point, however I think there is beginning to be a huge movement towards raw milk as people learn more about its benefits. Raw milk contains a host of essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. On the other hand, most store-bought milk has been ultra-pasturized to the point that all the nutrients have been eliminated (I’ve even heard it referred to as “dead milk”). They have to add synthetic vitamins back into it to replace what was lost, and those vitamins don’t even compare to what naturally occurs in milk. The process of homogenization also poses health risks of its own.
Pastured Meat and Eggs are Superior to the Store-Bought Variety
Meat and eggs from pastured animals provide more essential nutrients than those you get at the store that are from animals fed a diet of cheap corn and grain. Enough said.
Homemade Broth is Superior to Store-Bought Canned Broth
For the longest time I couldn’t understand why people would go to the trouble of making broth when you could just buy it at the store. Now I get it. Homemade broth is an extremely nutrient-dense food and the taste is superior as well! I make a big batch bi-weekly and use it in a variety of recipes.
Freshly-Milled Flour is Superior to Store-Bought Flour (Are we noticing a trend here?)
As soon as a grain of wheat is milled, the process of oxidation begins which leads to a loss of nutrients. The sooner you can consume it after it is milled, the better. It tastes better too!
God is good. He deserves all the glory for taking me through this amazing journey, revealing these things to me, and restoring me to great health. I definitely would not have been able to take on the task of homeschooling if I was not well, but it was all part of his plan in getting us where we are today. The kids have also benefited from our changes. They are in incredible health and their little immune systems astound me! And they are also thrilled to be able to stay at home and learn with their healthy and happy Mommy. We are blessed.
(I highly recommend Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challanges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon and www.Westonaprice.org to learn more about some of the things I’ve listed here.)