Today I’m a Guest Blogger over at The Lord’s Lass. Sarah is a good friend and she is hosting a birthday party for her blog all week long with prizes, polls, and guest bloggers. Pretty fun, right? Makes me want to throw a party here at CleanGreenStart. 🙂
This is my first time to be a Guest Blogger, and I’m really honored to be asked to be part of Sarah’s party. My topic is The Blessing of Health; I hope you’ll head over and read my thoughts!
Hot tea, Flower-fried eggs, half grapefruit, turkey sausage patties Lunch
Veggie soup, chicken salad (scd mayo with curry-recipe below, chicken from last night’s roast, green apple, raisins, celery) or hot dogs, pear slices Dinner
Taco Bowls: Ground beef fried with Oregon Spice Taco Seasoning, over lime juice tossed shredded cabbage with avocado and Pico de Gallo (Costco), mandarins and almonds on the side.
Aren’t the flower-fried eggs adorable? My children hated them. Sigh.
I was really expecting to miss our customary Creme Fraiche and shredded cheese in the Taco Bowls, but the robust Pico de Gallo gave it a new twist and was very enjoyable. This dinner goes together in a hurry.
Sauce for Chicken Salad
Melt over medium heat:
1 stick butter
Meanwhile combine in blender:
1 very large egg (duck) at room temperature (or 2 small)
2 tsp Dijon mustard (TJs)
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of one lime or small lemon (1Tb)
1/4 tsp curry powder
When butter has simmered and separated, wipe off the froth on top which is the protein solids, leaving only the oil. (This is now ghee.)
Then while the blender is running with the lid on and center piece removed, pour the butter oil in a small stream into the egg mixture until it emulsifies into a creamy sauce.
Yields enough to use with 3 cups chopped chicken, not counting the chopped apples, celery, or raisins.
This is the mayo recipe I use, with curry added. For mayo, omit the curry, add 1/8 paprika if desired. Refrigerate for firm mayo.
We are doing a month of “Clean Eating” for January. This was inspired by the Whole30 diet (no grains, sweets, starches, dairy for 30 days). That means eating lots of veggies, eggs, meat, some fruit, some nuts, and healthy fats.
Of course this is similar to the SCD/GAPS intro diet which we began in July 2011, although we added the SCD dairy into our diet before 30 days, and we had sweets like juice and honey from the get go.
But…we have been cheating our SC diet more and more this fall and winter, and I was making so many yummy desserts like the Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log, and Honey Brittle that I noticed myself gaining a little weight. And I began to feel like my children survived on snacks (nuts, fruit, cheese, nut muffins) between meals…meals which were stared at glumly until cold, then gagged down under threats. (Anyone would gag on cold cooked vegetables!)
So, in addition to not eating honey, stevia, xylitol, dairy, beans, lentils, and baked goods this month, we are cutting out snacks. (I’m still serving some of the nut and fruit snacks, just at the end of the meal.) Also, the Whole30 diet allows sweet potatoes, but we won’t be having them since we are still wanting the healing benefits of SCD/GAPS.
Hopefully we can get into a habit of eating hearty at meals, and not munching all day long.
The clean fridge above? That was just before my trip to Costco, New Seasons Market (a local shop with, among other things, breakfast sausage without sugar), and Trader Joes. Now all those empty drawers are filled with veggies, meat, and eggs. Clean Eating, here we come!
My husband was delighted to note today that Superbowl Sunday is on February 3rd this year, meaning that we can snack away on all the goodies (gluten free of course) which we are denying ourselves in January.
I will attempt to give a brief overview of our eats on each of our 30 days. (Thirty days of posts…gulp.)
This recipe was a real hit for my two year old’s birthday! I developed it from a family recipe which has held many, many candles since I was a kid, and even before I was born. This new version is just as tender, but with less sweetness as I substituted honey for sugar.
Melt in saucepan:
1 stick butter
2 Tb. water
6 Tb. cocoa powder
Pulse/mix in Cuisinart with blade:
3 packed cups almond flour (fine, blanched)
2 Tb. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. salt (less if butter is salted)
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 Tb. cinnamon
Add to dry:
1 cup honey
1/2 cup yogurt (24 hour yogurt to keep this lactose free and GAPS/SCD approved)
1 1/2 droppers English Toffee flavored stevia (Sweet Leaf brand)
2 lg. eggs (I used duck eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
Blend just until smooth. Divide into 2 paper lined cupcake pans (24 count). Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes.
Top with Cream Fraiche and/or Raspberry Compote:
1 1/2 fresh/frozen raspberries
1 Tb. honey
juice of 1 lime
Simmer on stove until reduced and thickened.
Opening our 4 gallon bucket of raw, local apple blossom honey is an event each September. We all stand around the bucket, waiting for the first whiffs of flowery sweetness. It’s creamy. I spoon it into jars to avoid using a pickaxe later after it hardens.
This year we bought 2 four gallon buckets, and we are nearing the end.
I had read about honey being diluted with corn syrup, so I did a little searching. Looks like that’s not the worst of it; much commercial, highly filtered honey may be imported illegally to the US from China or India and carry chemicals and heavy metals.
Read this link to see the importance of leaving the pollen in the honey; it can be tracked as true honey.
Here are a few of the things we cleared out of the kitchen and moved to the big walk-in pantry down the hall. The idea is these won’t be used for awhile…not until American Family is off the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). One has to wonder how nutritious food can be if it is so shelf stable. We did also move a bunch of foods from the inside fridge and freezer to the chest freezer in the garage; maybe we should put some of these grain products out there too.
On the list of food to “store for future consumption”: all cereals and oatmeal, pastas, chips, crackers, flours, most soups (check for sugar, flour, starch), all sugars (brown, powdered, molasses), chocolate chips, most marinates and jams, marinara, mayo, canned milk, corn starch, potato products, canned beans (not soaked properly before cooked for SCD).
In a comment on another post, a reader stated: “As much as I try to buy organic, it is so expensive and not widely available.”
This is so true, but we can be glad to see organic food becoming more available, and there are ways to save with organic food. My top five recommendations:
Bulk up your diet with veggies; organic or conventional veggies which are low on the pesticide list (see my Consumer Wallet Guides). Veggies, whether cooked or raw/salads, are naturally cheap fillers, and good for you! Buy in season when available (super cheap from local farmers/big gardeners), and frozen when not in season.
Stop buying expensive, unhealthy snacks, deserts, and sodas, and instead choose smaller portion snacks of organic or natural yogurt, nuts, fruit, homemade muffins. When your grocery cart is a quarter full of crackers, chips, cookies, ice cream, and sweet drinks, you can bet about 1/3-1/2 of your grocery budget is going to these items, which aren’t even part of your meals! Choose filtered water with lemon or lime over sweet drinks, and then “treat” yourself occasionally to an Italian Soda made from Mineral Water and a 100% juice from a trusted brand (like Knudsons). Keep deserts for special times, like birthdays, and then make or get something REALLY good from the best ingredients.
With the grocery money freed up by eating more veggies and buying less snacks, deserts, and drinks, invest in better meat and dairy products. Grassfed meats are best, and it is possible to buy a half or quarter beef, lamb, or hog for your freezer directly from a farmer for a great price per pound. If you can’t buy grassfed, look for free range chickens, and organic or natural beef at Trader Joes which has good prices. Always buy seafood wild caught; watch for sales.As far as dairy: always buy rBST free, and try to find grassfed or organic. Many artisan cheeses, some from Europe, are superior even to organic US dairy in that they are grassfed. Again, the Trader Joes prices are amazing for both cheeses and milk/cream/butter/sour cream, etc. One good option, if you have the ability, is to buy good milk/cream and culture your own yogurt/kefir/sour cream. Since we are a big smoothie family, we save about $15 each week because I culture 2 gallons of milk into kefir and yogurt, rather than buying those products ready made.
The best diet for most people is heavy in veggies, meats, fruits, with some dairy and nuts (if you have no allergies to those foods). Grains and legumes can be good additions/fillersif they are properly prepared, however, most Westerners have far too much of these bulking complex carbs in our diets, and our waistlines are proof. However, they can be good fillers if you find you are too hungry without them. If you buy them in bulk (dry) and prepare them from scratch at home they should be super cheap even when organic.
Buy directly from a farm or grow your own. This is often cheaper, and you’ll know where (and who) your food comes from.
Shop at Trader Joes: they often have the best prices around.
Compare prices on the internet (research sources), and with Co-Op buying.
Check out Grocery Outlet for clearance prices on natural dairy, organic olive oil and some other shelf items, as well as personal care products (always read lables!!). Conventional stores (Safeway and Fred Meyer in my area) often have organic items on clearance in the bins near the back of the store/warehouse door, and clearance stickers on refrigerated items in the cold cases (near to expiration date items should be used immediately or frozen). Pair with a coupon for a great deal (see below).
Become acquainted with Couponing Strategy, as shared/taught/blogged in many blogs. My favorite is frugallivingnw.com. The basic idea is to use a coupon on a product which is on sale to get a great deal. Although most of the deals are for conventional products, there are coupons and deals to be had for organic products. Many organic coupons are for items in the snacks/crakers/prepared foods category, so these coupons aren’t the best way to save (just stop buying those expensive foods, as discussed in point 2). But even still, there are valuable coupons to be had, and steal-of-a-deals to be scored. Hint: go to organicvalley.coop to register for dairy coupons, and to seventhgeneration.com to register for household product coupons. Then hang on to your coupons until a great sale comes up, and stock up for a few months. (No, I am not advocating extreme couponing, and neither do the blog sites.)
(And I’m not talking about crowded or unorganized, but the foods in it.)
And maybe your doctor, or your friend, or your nutritionist, or your conscience has recently told you that you need to change over to healthier eating. But maybe you are overwhelmed?
If so, take heart.
My pantry looked similar to this a few years ago, and I have made significant changes to the pantry and our diet, even as a busy mom with a limited budget. Remember the CleanGreenStart Approach:
Startbecause every change to a healthier product is a step in the right direction
Read labels, including ingredients and processing info for food
Replacethe most toxic products immediately as your budget will allow, but commit to change over the rest as you use up/repurchase them
In the coming weeks (months?) I’ll be adding tips on switching out foods in the “Standard American Diet” (the SAD diet) for healthier choices. And we’ll come back and take a look at this all-too-familiar looking pantry for inspiration.
(This is not my pantry. . . and the owner will remain anonymous. The cute baskets are a great idea, don’t you think? Maybe I’ll “cute up” my pantry a bit and show you what it looks like sans Cheese Nips, etc.)
I have a lovely patio, with perfect cracks between the stones for growing weeds.
The people who owned this house before us would use Round-Up to keep the weeds down. However, I don’t want poisons in my yard, where my children play and where we breathe in fumes (while spraying). Yes, I understand that the makers of these weed neurotoxins state that they are harmless to humans, and that they disintegrate after a few hours of exposure to sun/air. I also know that Round-Up is chemically very, very close to a human neurotoxin which destroyed the dopamine center of the brain in the unfortunate people who took it (as a street drug), clinically launching them into complete paralysis as in endstage Parkinson’s Disease.
When it comes down to it, I just try to avoid poisons of all kinds.
And that’s why my patio looked like it did in the picture above. Terrible. Some of the weeds were as high as my knee.
Of course we had to pull them out; no easy spraying method here. And of course, some of the plants had tap roots that wouldn’t come up/got broken off (probably old roots which broke off last year).
A month ago, I pulled weeds all around the deck, where it comes down to the patio, and then used regular table salt in the cracks. To date, it is keeping down all the weeds in this one area.
I got this idea as I remembered something about the Romans sewing fields with salt in lands that they conquered. I looked this up on Wiki, and it seems that there are as many myths about this as anything, although salting fields was used at other times in history as a punishment for crimes.
Whatever. I know that for our backyard, we won’t be poisoned by salt, and that nothing will grow in salty cracks.
This week, we tackled the whole patio, big weeds and all. Here are my weeding helpers. Many hands make light(er) work!
The salt I used is the cheapest on the grocery store shelf, and I want to make clear that we DO NOT use this type of refined, bleached, iodized salt for eating. I had it on hand for making playdough.
If you are just switching over to healthy, unrefined salt with all the wonderful minerals in it (which your body is craving . . . so salt away!), then weed abatement might be the perfect use for the salt that was previously in your shaker.
Remember: wherever you put salt, it is likely that NOTHING will grow there for a very long time, so you obviously can’t salt areas of your yard where you have plantings, grass, etc.
We were careful not to put so much salt on that it would run off onto the lawn when wet.
Wow, look at those weeds!
Once we had finished pulling and salting, I ran water over the salt to melt it into the cracks, and then I sprayed off the whole patio.
Now it looks so lovely, we ate dinner out there last night and breakfast this morning!