Our journey to real food has definitely begun. I first posted about that here. As we use the things we have up, I am trying to replace them with real food alternatives rather than the refined, processed, chemically laden stuff we have been eating. It is somewhat difficult sometimes simply because I am not sure what is what. But I started with the things I know and am working from there.
One of the big ones was using whole wheat flour. I have actually attempted this almost since Chick -- now 19 -- was around 2. But the thing I kept coming back to was that everyone said you had to use half whole wheat and half white flour. There was no way I was going to keep canisters of two kinds of flour on my counter for what I saw as a whim so I just gave up.
Well, guess what. You don't have to do half and half. There is absolutely no problem with using all whole wheat. The difference is in texture (unless you do soaked whole wheat which I have been trying out and I think I love -- more on that in another post) only. And there doesn't always even have to be a texture difference. I am currently on my fifth (I think) bag of whole wheat flour and no one seems to mind it at all.
Chick even made both cookies and mini-muffins for one of her classes with it just to prove that it was good. She also dumped a little ground flax seed in there too. Ha!
My other biggie was oils. I have always kept a large container of olive oil as well as vegetable oil in the pantry. Once the vegetable oil ran out, I refused to buy more. I have replaced it with a small bottle of extra virgin olive oil and a big jar of coconut oil. Coconut oil had already invaded our bathroom pantry months and months ago. I love using it as a moisturizer and in other health care ways (lip balm, etc.). So it wasn't a big jump to using it in the kitchen. And I really like it there too so far plus it feels much healthier than all that hydrogenated chemical nonsense since it isn't as heavy. And of course there's butter too.
I have found three health food stores around here but they are all a little hike for me. You would think that in a place as big as Oklahoma City, there would be a few more. I was really hoping for an Earthfare but alas there is none. There is however a Whole Foods and a Sprouts. The closest to me is a little store called The Health Food Store. It doesn't sound like it but I think it may also be a chain. There are a couple of no account health food stores near the Sprouts but when we previously checked them out, they were more like a no name GNC than a grocery.
We do have several co-ops available and a farmer's market that I've yet to visit (good grief - I would hope so as many cows and fields as there are in this place). I'm hoping to get a better grip on those things.
I'm working on finding a raw milk supply next. I've got some leads (for lack of a better word) but my time was getting away from me this past month so I haven't gotten to check them out. Fortunately, Hubby's co-worker sells his organic, free range eggs for $2 a dozen (or rather his wife's since they are her chickens) so those are easier to acquire.
I'm also working on getting pastured, grass-fed meat sources. There is one very nice butcher in Mustang that I know sells some things but I've never taken the time to truly look at what he stocks. So I really need to do that. There are also some farms around that sell directly to consumers that I would love to give a try. Have to get Hubby on board for that though. Grass-fed cheese can be difficult too but at least Sprouts carries it and I'm sure the others do too. Grass-fed butter probably won't happen. The price is crazy high so unless I manage to get my raw milk going so I can make my own, we'll be using the non-grass fed. I may have to splurge though at least once and get some Kerrygold butter. I've heard that it is beyond awesome good!
Some other changes I've made are:
switching to raw cacao powder when my cocoa ran out
adding raw honey from a local source
Braggs apple cider vinegar (with the mother) for about a million things
sticking with all frozen or fresh veggies/beans/etc. -- no more canned
only brown rice instead of occasionally like before
One of the unexpected pros to this is that my pantry is really easy to find things in. When you aren't buying all the processed crud and lots of cans of beans, veggies, sauces, and other stuff, this little tiny closet pantry is plenty big enough. That may change when I start canning my own stuff again in the summer -- I remember complaining about not having enough room last summer -- but I can deal if it's my own home made food. I actually kind of wish I had taken a picture at the beginning so I could show you how much more room I have already. And we haven't completely made the switch over yet.
This is also kind of fun in a way. Once I figure out where to get everything, I think it's going to make organizing my meals and putting them together so much easier. And the older ones are already calling me blessed (sorry but I love that line in the Proverbs woman section) because of all the good home made stuff they are getting.
So there it is. I feel good and we are eating good too. And so far, thanks to my Tightwad Gazette ways, I'm not really hurting the budget either. Can't ask for better than that.