Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the journey begins..

I submitted an entry a few weeks ago about switching to only food that is in it's most basic raw form. I thought I would just pick a few recipies and start the next day but my life got in the way being a working mother of two, and taking care of my post-surgery husband. It was productive though, the time I spent from the past post to this post. I observed our eating habits, calculated costs on food we purchased, kept a list of our favorite foods, tried new dishes with my family that were almost completely a nude food, and continued to try convince my husband that he won't be eating stale crackers and barley for breakfast every morning.

Tonight, as I was making Chicken Helper (our last "helper" box, hopefully forever!) I saw that we were nearly out of bread. I remembered a container in the pantry of whole wheat flour and got inspired. Bread! Who doesn't love fresh bread baking in an oven? I started cooking it at 5:00, let it sit out for two hours once it was made from 6:00 to 8:00, seperated, rest and cook at 9:00. I love it! It was quite messy but I'm thinking it could become a Sunday evening ritual which would fall right in line with our transition to a Waldorf inspired household.

I want to make it less dense so I will work on fixing that problem, though I'm kind of thinking that we are just used to the thin store bought bread, so a hearty slice of homemade bread is a little shocking to us.

I will post an official recipe and pictures soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nude Food

Yet again a book has inspired me. I've been reading a lot lately on organic farming, self reliance and our current way of life in regards to where we get our food and what we eat.

Going back to a previous thought, I have realized that often times I live my life far too worried about the future, instead of living in the present. Everything is done quickly and efficiently in order to make more time for something, or nothing. Instead of savoring the moment, I find a way to do it fast, so I can savor something else.

I'm done with that. I'm tired of it. I'm exhausted. For about a year now, my family has started our slow transition into a more simple life. Prior to children, my husband and I spent most of our time playing computer games, watching tv, and doing this efficiently. Dinner was often prepackaged if not precooked and frozen. I had mountains of free time, yet nothing productive was done. I can't think of a single thing I did during our marriage that was productive to our marriage, or myself. It was just efficiency.

My goal is to stop being efficient in the way that our society is leading. My ultimate goal is to be entirely self reliant, as much as possible. Magazines, TV's and the Internet shout at us what to buy. If you buy this shampoo, you will be beautiful. If you drink this soda, you will be strong and sexy. Buy this! Eat that!

Enough!

I am done with being told what to buy, and where to buy it. I am done with feeding my family prepackaged food that was manufactured two years ago and has been in a pouch ever since. Our produce, dairy, bread, everything is manufactured. Our cereal has "blueberry crunchlets", which is technically a mix of sugars, soybean oil, red #40 and blue #2. Now, the real blueberries that we all know and love have antioxidants and this entire list of wonderful essential vitamins and nutrients. Sugar, soybean oil, red #40 and blue #2 do not contain any of these vitamins and nutrients. So what are we doing eating this manufactured blueberry mixture?

We eat this kind of crap all day long. Some store bought "honey" is high fructose corn syrup with flavoring. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! Honey is a natural food given to us by bees, and yet we make an imitation product out of corn syrup? What are we doing to ourselves?!

Of course our country has an obesity problem. Our food is fake. We eat fake blueberries, fake honey, drink fake lemonade, and then wonder why our children are too large to fit in their car seats, why diabetes is becoming a common diagnosis, and why for the first time in history, our life expectancy is decreasing. Since the beginning of time, each generation has lived slightly longer than the previous, and for the first time, the previous generations have/will live longer than we will. That is shameful. What are we doing to ourselves?

Why are we eating fake laboratory food in order to allow for more time to do something, when our lives are being shortened and infected with obesity and disease? And has it occurred to anyone that half of the joy of food is actually making it? Can't we just have real blueberries in our cereal without the garbage?

This is my mission. I'm going to go back in time with cooking. I want to make bread with my hands, make pancakes without a box, give my children a snack that does not contain a manufactured ingredient. I want to give them real food. Nude food, without fillers and preservatives and flavoring and weird named ingredients to "enhance shelf life". I want us to be healthy, and I want us to appreciate where our food comes from. I want to support our local farmers. I want to be self reliant with my food, and not depend on cook books and prepackaged mixes.

So, the rules are:
  1. Each food item is to contain no more than 1 ingredient.
  2. Everything must be made from scratch.
  3. Eventually, grocery store purchasing will be entirely phased out and all of our food will come from our backyard, or a local farm.
  4. We will only eat what's in season, or what we have canned.
  5. I will admit to defeat on certain items, but only after I have attempted to make them several times. If I must buy them, then I will get the most basic nude version of the product.
My goals are:
  1. Lose weight and get healthy.
  2. Save money. Some say that eating healthy is more expensive but I'm determined to debunk that myth, especially if most of our produce comes from our back yard. It can be done!
  3. Learn to cook.
  4. Enrich our lives with appreciation and love for our beautiful Mother Earth and everything that we receive from her.
Our cupboards are bare, and I must go shopping this week. I will tackle this one area at a time, and slowly phase nude foods in, and prepackaged foods out. It will take a very long time to completely switch over, but my first area of attack is snack foods. I will spend the next month or two discovering homemade snack food items and experimenting them with my family. Each time I make a new recipe or attempt to retry an old one, I will make an entry here. I want to inspire others to throw away their fake food, and eat real food. Eat real blueberries and real honey!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wasted

It always happens this way. I'm in the middle of a book and a certain line or situation in the book inspires me so much that I spend the following days or weeks in deep thought trying to understand the book and how it applies to me. How can I use this moment of englightenment to improve myself? And so here it is, in the middle of a book, "No Impact Man" is a quote that made it all crystal clear: "

Why are you more concerned with where you're going than where you are? Why are you more concerned with what you're going to do than what you're doing? Why aren't you paying attention to how you live your life right this very moment? Why are you wasting this moment? Why, indeed, are you wasting your life?"



We as a society have become so accustomed to our big prize being the destination, ignoring and sometimes avoiding the travel to reach it. We see the work it takes to reach a destination as, well, work. We avoid it and we hate it. We try to find ways around it, or at least make it easier or shorter. We try to use short cuts and alternatives, insisting that the shorter travel time will get us to our destination more efficently, increasing our happiness and pleasure of the destination. We're missing the point.

When I was in school, I hated it. I looked forward to every day when the bell rang so I could get on the bus to go home. I couldn't wait to reach high school and graduate, so I could "live real life". I wished that we were all born with our knowledge so we didn't spend years wasted sitting in a chair. I wanted so bad to reach my destination. Looking back now, I realize that it wasn't the destination that made me the person I am, but the travel spent. It was the years spent sitting in a desk, the hours upon hours spent with my peers working on reports and adding numbers. I was so focussed on the destination that I let those years go by without quenching them.

I still do this today. I still take the short cut home, use the ATM instead of going in to talk to a teller face-to-face. Or use cash. Why don't I use cash? There is a serious amount of responsibility when carrying cash. I remember when I used to carry cash and would avoid breaking a large bill for a small purchase. Now I whip out my card and voila, a pack of gum and a slurpee and a new shirt and a cd. All impulse purchases, all unnecessary self indulgent crap that will get added to my collection of crap.

We rarely even open doors anymore. When we walk into a store, the doors open for us. When we use a public bathroom, the toilet flushes for us, the soap dispenses for us once we produce jedi moves beneath the dispenser and the hand dryer the same. While I'm sure germaphobes were more than happy when these touchless bathrooms began to spring up at every major shopping mall and department store in the country, I'm not so sure that this direction we're taking as a country is getting us anywhere. Letters have turned into phone calls which have turned into text messages. Walks have turned into car rides. We insist on being fast, on being efficient. The popular pass through of the Hoover Dam which connects Las Vegas to it's travelers, has recently had a face lift. No longer do the cars drive through the canyon and along the edge of the spectacular dam. You drive over it at high speeds. Blink, and it's gone.

Way back when man was first emerging, you hunted and picked your own food. Then we began to grow our own, cutting out the effort of finding it. Eventually, we decided it would be a good idea for a farmer to grow the food for us, and we would have more free time to do better things. Then there were stores, where we could walk in and out and have tonight's dinner with almost zero effort. We decided to take it a step further, and not even cook the food ourselves, but just arrive at the restaraunt with empty bellies. And, of course, we have to take it further than that, we are human after all. We pushed the limit, and began to bring our empty bellies to fast food restaraunts. In just minutes we could order our food and sit in a booth to a nice greasy once frozen and shipped hamburger smothered in condiments to mask the taste of grease and freezer burn. We can even have this food delivered to us, taking the travel completely out of the picture of the destination. We have removed step 1 entirely. I'm sure our next step will be to inject food into our veins so we could get back to our life as we have so many other things we need to be doing, right? Right? We have become so focussed on the destination that we have missed the point. Your mother's meatloaf is the best you've ever had for a very specific reason. I'm sure her secret ingredient has something to do with it, but it's your mother herself. Mixing the ingredients with her bare hands, forming the loaf in the pan, cutting the potatos and carrots, the smell that fills the house as it cooks in the oven. There is a reason why we are left emotionally empty after eating a fast food hamburger or getting a pizza delivered.

Once upon a time, we made our own clothes. The women of the family would spend hours building the warddrobe. Now we stop by the store to buy a new shirt, with our debit card, to be added to our collection of dozens of other shirts. An item that once had so much meaning and so much worth and effort, is replaced by a thin piece of clothing that is multiplied by thousands and sold throughout the country and the world.

Go to any gym and you will see a complete mockery of our society. I'm certain that our distant ancestors are laughing at us. With vehicles and computers, phones and our efficency, we have almost completely wiped out the travel time to our own health. No longer do we run and hunt, plant and dig, we buy. No longer do we walk or run, we ride. No longer do we talk, we text. All for a goal of being faster, better, and more efficient. But this is not efficient at all. We now pay an astonishing monthly fee to walk on a motorized surface. We take mechanical stairs and mimic hard labor with barbells. We even pay for our skin to be painted a darker color, to mimic time speant outside.

And all of this for more time for what? How do we fill up our new free found time? Reading books of people having experiences, and watching shows that show experiences that we will likely never get. Our music is of people inspiring us, when life is supposed to inspire us. We have taken out the inspiration and natural joy of life, and replaced it with a freeway over it traveling at 60 mph, passing by the spectacular view to get to step 2.

I think that in order for us to end this cycle as a society is to infuse our life with natural joy. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, cook your own food, go for a jog in the park, call your spouse, turn off the tv, and live your life for now, for today, in this moment. Enjoy step 1. Embrace the pain, frustration and sadness, it lets you know you're alive.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The greatest bath ever

With help from our jacuzzi tub and a half bottle of bubble bath, Charly and I had the greatest bath ever. Bubbles spread throughout the bathroom and the water eventually got cold, but it was the greatest bath ever. I think that's the best thing about being a parent; being able to dump way too many bubbles into the tub and flood the bathroom. It was fun. I hope this is a memory for her, because it was for me.