Since I have researched where grocery store food comes from, how pre-fabricated (boxed) foods are made, and the foodways of cultures existing before industry changed food, I have learned to really embrace food. As someone who has always dealt with weight issues, I had come to either be indifferent about food ( Ah, who cares what I eat. It’s just going to make me fat, and I want to enjoy myself.) or fear food (I can’t eat anything I want. It will make me fat.). Eating with traditional foodways in mind has changed the way I view food. Now, I can enjoy it without fear, have fun making it, and see it as healthy nourishment. This is a lifestyle change and not a fad diet that I’ll be doing until I achieve some weight loss goal. It isn’t some ridiculous recommendation of 1500 calories a day and 35 grams of fat. I’m not going around hungry. I don’t have to make a different supper for myself and another for my children and husband because I’m dieting. I believe it was the way humans were meant to eat. The way my family eats mirrors more and more the way the early Appalachians would have eaten in times of plenty. I believe food manufacturers have changed food so much that the current “diet” recommendations are flawed and leaving our population starving for nutrients and unnaturally overweight.
For anyone wanting a change that is for health and not another fad diet that will leave you feeling hungry, tired, and deprived, I suggest you read the following two cookbooks – Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Eat Fat to Lose Fat by Mary Enig Ph.D. I have went from a size 16 in December to a size 6/8 currently with using only the first book mentioned. As I said in my previous post, weight loss came secondary to my other health goals. I believe I lost weight because I am getting exercise and my body is stabilizing after years of eating “food like substances” instead of the foods my body was meant to eat prepared in the way that my body will most readily accept.
When looking at my typical daily food consumption you will notice that it isn’t like any recommendations you’ve probably heard Dr. Oz make on Oprah, or your doc make when telling you to lower your cholesterol. Why? Because I am not eating man created foods that are pre-cooked, freeze dried, corn syruped, or sugared down. I’m eating foods that are whole, and cooked from scratch. The rule of thumb for me is if my great great grandmother would not recognize it as food… it isn’t.
The General Rules for My Family
- No refined white granulated sugar or artificial sweeteners. We only sweeten with the following: honey, sorghum, agave nectar, molasses, 100% pure maple syrup. Yummy! I know.
- No refined white flours. We use only whole grain flours that are preferably sprouted and/or soaked before used in cooking. When these flours are soaked you can hardly tell they are whole grain.
- No vegetable oils aside from olive oil. We cook in bacon fat, real butter (no margarine), lard, coconut oil, sesame oil, palm oil, and olive oil.
- Make use of bone broths.
- Eat whole fat dairy products. (Those who can afford it and find it should eat raw dairy products that aren’t pasteurized). Of course, preferably organic and hormone free.
- Eat fresh produce when possible, next frozen, then canned.
- Eat fermented condiments.
- Soak rice, oats, and most beans.
- Eat meat free of nitrites and nitrates, free range, antibiotic free, hormone free whenever possible.
- No MSG!!!
My Daily Food Intake
- Breakfast – 1 bowl oats soaked and sweetened with sorghum, banana, raisins, 2/3 pieces sausage or bacon, coffee with honey and half and half… alternating days I eat 2 eggs instead of oats and add a cup of yogurt instead of the fruit. Oh, and I love butter in my oats.
- Lunch – I stay full from breakfast for a long while so lunch is a bit light. 1 Babybel Cheese and 1/2 cup or more nuts… sometimes I eat dinner leftovers.
- Dinner – 1 meat, 2 veggies, or soup and cornbread. I eat an entire plate of food salted with sea salt and buttered. Potatoes are yummy fried in lard with onions or baked and buttered and sour creamed. I eat whatever meat I feel like eating that day. I don’t worry about red or white. When we don’t feel like meat we’ll have pinto beans (soupbeans) or something. With fresh veggies coming soon, we’ll probably have a veggie plate here and there. Oh, and more fish from my dad.
- Snack – glass of dairy kefir when available to me, cheese, nuts, banana, cup of milk
I’m looking more into how traditional diets seasonally changed. I know that there were periods of fasting and/or abstaining from certain foods either out of cultural standards or lack of availability. The key is to listen to our bodies. What do they want? In winter I find myself craving meat and potatoes, heavy chili, and cornbread. In summer, I love cucumbers and tomatos vine fresh, salads, and chicken. Our foods should change with the seasons in order to get the optimal nutritional value from what is available.
So, I’m happy I’m not being fooled anymore. I’m happy I won’t be on the drastic rollercoaster of up and down weight. I want to share this way of eating with others who are fed up with the standard American diet and the results they are not getting from the recommended way of eating.