Sunday, January 6, 2013

Small Changes

Real food. Natural food. Gluten free. Grain free. GAPS. Dairy free. Vegan. Vegetarian. Wow, what a list! That's just quick off the top of my head on different diets or approaches that people take towards a more healthy approach to food and their health. I don't claim to be an expert in any particular way or want to spout off which way might be the right way. I can't even pin point what approach I'm steering our family at the moment! I think it's important to not get overwhelmed and not take on too much when adjusting to a new lifestyle of healthy choices. Most likely your family won't appreciate a sudden change and the new raw diet you chose! Currently I do make yogurt for our family, but I don't make my own bread. (I may start that again soon, but currently it would be too much for me to handle.) I make granola bars for our lunches, but the kids eat processed powdered covered pretzels after school. (Beyond gross IMO, and we take breaks from that favorite snack.) We buy raw milk, organic meats and cheeses, but still buy hotdogs and lunch meat. (Although I have seen recipes on how to make your own lunch meat, I'm intrigued but hate to experiment on good organic meat!) But do compromises make a difference? Does it need to be all or nothing? Certainly choosing healthy foods are always positive, made from scratch with real ingredients is better than the store processed with extra unpronounceable junk hidden in it. But will these small changes add up to a difference with your health? I think so. You don't have to be perfect, but one small healthy choice can lead to another. I totally believe what I choose for breakfast will set the tone for my food for the rest of the day. The more homemade items and home cooked meals you have, the sooner your tastes buds will sour to store bought confections. Candy bars are way to sweet and frankly a disappointment to me now. It tastes like wax to me, very sweet wax! The other day I bought my kids some "healthy" yogurt at the store, an attempt to let my 6 year old choose his own healthy snacks. I believe it was vanilla Activia yogurt. I tried some when one of the kids didn't finish the cup(hate to waste!) and I couldn't put my finger on the flavor- oh wait, frosting! It tasted like frosting! That's how my taste buds have changed. How do you start to make these changes? Most likely you already have made some changes so maybe I can share with you some truths I found in starting change. 1. Revert back to healthy choices you used to make. For example, swap your fake GMO processed flake of a cereal to oatmeal or eggs.... something that's normal for you and that you used to do at one point in time. It doesn't have to be something for every meal, just the easy adjustments you've made and liked before. 2. Make something from scratch - and go big. Let me explain, I don't mean run out and buy a bread maker with dreams to never buy a convenient loaf again. No, I mean make one simple homemade meal and make enough for leftovers. Make homemade soup and have that for lunch for the week. Make enough roasted vegetables for dinner and then add into your eggs or lunches the next few days. Make a crustless quiche for your breakfast all week. It doesn't have to be fancy, simple steps to make change easier. 3. Include the family in these changes. This can mean so many things, but I would think others would agree they could eat healthier, although resistance is normal. Small changes, some so subtle family members won't even notice, can get the ball rolling. Over the holidays I made my cheesy potato casserole but made it with 1/3 each of potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli. Nobody baulked. Cauliflower lends nicely to the potato flavor, and cheese makes everything better. Just don't ignore your families habits and try to strong arm them into super healthy super fast, it won't be accepted. I'm sure there are other great ideas on starting change, please share what's worked for you. I'm always looking for ideas too.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Yogurt Update

If you read my previous post for over a year ago(whoops!) not much has changed on the yogurt front. I still make yogurt regularly. I still sweeten it with honey. I love it with fresh or frozen berries and sometimes a bit of granola. I don't use it much in baking, but I have and did use it just the other day in my pancakes, I was short the proper amount of buttermilk and didn't want to just add thin milk. That's another story, I suppose. A few useful ideas with your yogurt to help trouble shoot and to incorporate it I to your kid's diet. First of all. Don't rush the process. If you try to cool it quickly in a sink of cold water you may easily get it too cool. It's certainly okay to warm it up on the stove, but too much fussing with the temperature will prevent the yogurt from thickening and setting up properly. I will still turn out, just won't be as thick as store brand. This is easily a problem for those with texture issues or who aren't that crazy about yogurt or especially *homemade* yogurt in the first place. Mental blocks can be hard to jump, let's make it easier! An easy way to incorporate it into your kid's diet is to add it to yogurt they already enjoy. Some kids cups of store bought yogurt has a bit of extra room, so add a table spoon or two and mix well. They won't notice and it will help them adjust to less sweetener I their yogurt. Soon you'll want to take it a step farther and divide the store bought yogurt in half then mix with your home made yogurt. You may need to save the store bought cups so they don't wise up too soon. You may also need to help your child adjust to your sweetener of choice. A lot of kids(mine) don't like honey by itself. My daughter has grown to like it in her yogurt, but refused it initially. And if all else fails, just tell your kids they don't like it. With my 7 year old it worked like a charm! We were talking about things that were healthy and not healthy at the dinner table(my kindergardener is obsessed about figuring this out lately) and I told her she didn't like an of the healthy things I made. - "Not true!" she claimed. So I listed off all the examples of homemade snacks she wouldn't eat. Well, to prove me wrong she said she did like those things, or at east needed to try them again. So now she'll eat my home made yogurt and granola bars, not all the time but definitely as an option.