Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whole Foods, My Version

Someone recently asked me, "What do you consider whole foods?"  Here is my story:

For a couple of years, my husband and I babysat for a really cool family once a week.  The girls were always in bed, so we watched TV or whatever documentary they had.  It put us in another family's house regularly, which gave us a picture into their lives.  We started to learn some stuff.

The food stuff:  They didn't have a lot of snacks.  I used to think it was because they were always low on food, but now I'm learning that they ate whole foods.  There was nothing to grab and all their foods had to be prepared.

That family and a book that we read (In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan) really changed how we looked at food.  

That book has some great "rules" in the back.  Things like, 

don't get your food where you get your fuel
don't eat anything that your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
avoid food that makes health claims
eat at a table 
don't eat anything that has more than 5 ingredients that I don't know
shop on the exterior walls of the grocery store

There are ton more GREAT things.  Get the book, it's very approachable.

So, we started to change.  Now, I try hard to make most of things that I make are from scratch. (I'm learning that "from scratch" can be defined different ways.  Instead of getting into how "scratch" I may or may not be,) I'll give a list of our new habits:

I use spices instead of packets.
I buy raw oats instead of instant oatmeal packets-no cereal.
I make all my own broths.
I use real butter, whole milk (just switched).
I read labels.and read labels.  I want to see protein, fiber, and NO corn syrup.
I get local eggs.
I don't buy organic.
I put half and half (full fat) in my coffee.*
I try not to eat a lot of meat.
I'm picky about my meat.
Raw Vegetables over canned (unless I know the person who canned them).
Frozen veggies if needed.
Whole grains over whole wheat.
My husband only takes leftovers to work.

*I used to drink my coffee with two big spoons of sugar and loads of flavored cream.  Then, I got it down to flavored cream.  Then, the dad that we babysat for pointed out that flavored cream doesn't have any dairy.  I switched to one spoon of sugar and half n half.  Now, I'm down to just half n half.  That is HUGE for me.

I don't know how this sounds to everyone out there.  It may sound crazy or it may sound normal.  For us, it sounds great!  Our old habits had us gaining 5-10 pounds a year.  Now, my husband is in total shape and I'm on my way there.   

If you came to my house, there wouldn't be a lot of food.  Most of the things that I buy go bad quickly, so I can't stock up.  Dairy, meat, produce, and cheeses don't have a long shelf life.

  If you looked in my cabinet of food, then you would see boxes of pastas, oats, bread flours, and legumes.  There aren't a lot of boxed meals, cans of food, packaged foods, or other things that take little to not time to prepare. 

There it is.  My story of food change.  Now, if I could only start making jelly.   


  1. Food Rules by Michael Pollan is kind of a summary of the book, and it always makes me laugh. So much of the stuff is common sense that we as modern, convenience-loving Americans have forgotten, and it really makes you wonder why you're stuffing your body full of chemicals.

    Real food is just much more appealing, though in a way more time consuming (there is always something to prepare!). I do stock some whole-grain cereals and popcorn for snacks, but try to stick to non-processed. That's the way it should be.

    One of my first thoughts (when I got over the shock of this baby) was to wonder what I was going to do about my stock of strawberry jam. If you can take the chaos around here, I'll help you out!

  2. Hi! I'm a new reader (dig the blog). This is a great post, but I'm curious about one thing: Why no organics?


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