Monday, January 25, 2010

The Imperfect Diet

Dan and I have unique health goals. We aim for a Nourishing Traditions type diet with high animal protein. You may disagree with our health goals, and that is fine. I might disagree with yours as well.

We have never aimed for perfection. We eat out about once a week and aren't uptight at family gatherings and church potlucks. I will cater my meal slightly but will generally eat what's served. My husband will usually go nuts and eat pure crap.

During the week my son was in the hospital, we all ate pure crap. It was a week marked with white flour pasta and cookies. I could have put in some effort and made more food myself, but I didn't. There was no lacto-fermented salsa or soaked grain tortillas for a whole week.

We don't consider this a failure. Some of it was laziness. I didn't want to make three meals a day. Some of it was comfort food... the cookies. It wasn't a failure, though, because it was temporary.

We undid some of the things we had been working toward. Both Dan and I noticed a marked difference in our regularity. At first, I thought it was because we were using someone else's bathroom, but then I remembered the cookies. Rest assured, we have been doubling up on out lacto-fermented foods, and things are coming back to normal in the bathroom.


Scottish Twins said...

It's the same way in our house - my husband will go nuts and eat pure crap if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, with my health issues I have to be very careful with what I eat and am unable to stray from my diet. I haven't been able to eat something that someone else has cooked me at a restaurant in nearly two years now.

My husband says the same thing when he strays from our diet - it effects his regularity, and most of all his energy levels. It's a catch-22 - you eat the foods because you don't have the energy to cook a real meal, but then the convenience foods deplete your energy even further!

simple in France said...

Hmmm, if you're not used to eating white flour and suddenly you do, that could certainly cause irregularity. When DH had his accident, I too delved deep into cookie eating, but I thought it was better than the alternative: not eating and unusual ammounts of weight loss. I just figured I'd eat whatever managed to appeal to me that I didn't have to cook. . .but yeah, I left that behind very fast once the 'crisis' was over. While my body was running on adrenaline, eating nothing but a handful of cookies all day was no problem, but later . . .uh, I can't live like that. I'm happy to say I'm all back to normal. I think that when things get crazy, you just have to do what you have to do! And when you're a guest, too.

Tammy said...

Did you feel any other symptoms while eating differently for a whole week? I'm mostly thinking of the sugar that you have pretty much cut out totally (with good reason) from your family's diet. I notice mood swings, fatigue, even dizziness with sugar since I try to avoid it. Coupled with probably a marked drop in protein...just wondering.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

haha yeah, I know how it is. Even going on vacation where I choose what I eat there usually aren't the options of things I eat at green smoothies.

Leslie said...

I'm glad to hear that you can get back to normal, now that your son has been released from the hospital. I know that if my son had been hospitalized for something very serious and unidentified, I would have been too afraid and distracted to worry about food, and I'm sure stress and fear would have affected my digestion, too.

Emily said...

Tammy, I was sleepier with sugar and more carbs. I may have been more emotional, but it's hard to tell since I was pretty emotional anyway.

julie said...

I am interested in Lacto-Fermenting, but I don't really know where to begin. I have looked though the Nourishing Traditions cook-book and felt very overwhelmed. After looking at your salsa recipie I am not sure what makes it L-F. Enlighten me somone, please?

Daisy said...

Hi Emily.

Can you, in a nutshell, describe the nourishing traditions diet??? I am just curious.


Susan said...

I am going to have to read your diet book. As a former cookbook collector, I love to read cookbooks.
We have the same problems when we go off our diets. It can take two weeks to get back to 'normal' for us.
Glad to hear you are settling back into your old routine.
Best Wishes

Susan said...

On a personal note,
You have been an inspiration to me to start my own blogs.
I have a myriad of mental and physical diseases and conditions. I share them on my cathartic blog
I am a horticulturist and share on my plant blog
I posted my cooking blog on the last comment.
I do not expect you to post this message. I just wanted to let you know how much this blog has helped me to get 'out there.'
You remind me of myself 35 years ago, without the children. Young, married, and living 250 miles from home. We cemented our relationship while we explored new ways of living.
Thank you.

Our Family Is His said...

Yeah, when you only eat out once a week, it can take a toll on your body to do it daily. We had a stint with eating out daily for a bit (irony is, it was due to my son's health issues, glad that's ending) and I was so sick of that food. You just feel sluggish and ick when you eat it too much. I would head back to eating out only once a week and you will feel better. (we are heading back to eating out no times a week, unless it's date night)

Also, on your 2-week menu, could you tell us which of those meals are the two you buy at a restaurant? Those are incredible prices and I would love to know where you go to feed a family of 5 on that kind of money as it would save us a TON on date night. Most places around here charge nearly that much for just a drink.

Emily said...

julie, if you combine the ingredients of my salsa recipe, you will have basic salsa, but adding the whey and leaving it at room temperature for a few days allows the lactobacilli on the produce to multiply, turning it essentially into a probiotic.

Daisy, the Nourishing Traditions diet is a whole foods diet. It is pro-meat and dairy, but not everyone who folllows it consumes as much meat as my husband and I do. It has the ideal of organic produce and pasture raised or game meat, but has guidelines for other options for those who can't afford it. It has taught me how to process grains in a way that is not destructive to my gut and quality of life. Also, it encourages lacto-fermenting, which is the old fashioned method of preservation that turns produce into a wonderful digestive aid.

Susan, thanks for sharing your links. (:

Emily said...

Our Family, We do mystery shops for the meals out. Some meals are reimbursed, usually around $30, and that amount feeds our family fine. Other jobs have specific ordering requirements, but pay above the cost of food, so we can get more food with that money. It evens out to free meals for a little bit of work. I wrote about it long ago.

Happily Frugal Mama said...

Emily- do you use the Nourishing Traditions book or other resources? I just went through the book at Borders yesterday, but am debating if it's worth the $27.00 price tag or if I should just stick to my online resources!

We are using part of our tax return to buy a 1/2 grassfed, local, beef... mostly in ground form because we don't do a lot of steaks, etc... That should be enough to get us through the year once we add some local buffalo, chicken, and tuna.

I have my first ever sourdough starter (wild yeast) going right now... I've split them into two jars and they are looking good. I'll try out my first loaves of bread with them in a few more days!

Penniless Parenting said...

When my son was in the hospital, I realized that I just needed to get through the day. Food from scratch needed to go out the window, and yea, it was less healthy, but for a short term basis that was what needed to be done.

Emily, have you ever read the blog It seems right up your alley. Its whole foods and Weston Price and all that. She has a "Real Foods Wednesday" blog carnival that might interest you.

Thank you for posting about your tacos.
I just posted about mine on my blog:
You might enjoy this little variation to your usual.

Emily said...

Happily Frugal, I use the Nourishing Traditions book, as it combines lots of recipes with detailed explanations. You can get a lot of info off the website:
And there are some great blogs out there that have recipes. I read these:
The book is $17 at Amazon, as opposed to $27 at Borders. I got it with Swagbucks gift cards months and months ago.

Penniless, I like Kelly, she's not one I read regularly, but she's a great resource as well. Thanks for the taco link.

Anonymous said...

I also do not eat white flour or sugar and feel better for it. I do eat organic Quinoa (pronounced Keen wah). It's very nourishing and though it is a grain it is packed with protein and is very easily digested. You can find it near the rice in most grocery stores. One cup of the dry quinoa boiled in two cups of chicken broth can feed a family of five as a side dish with enough leftover for my lunch the next day. As a meal I use two cups and mix it with sauteed carrots and spinach. Plenty left over for lunch as well. Another thing I like, though pricey, is almond milk (sugar free, casein free, gluten free, preservative free). I use it in cereal and substitute it for milk in receipes. Tastes just like milk, and lasts longer than milk.

The Saved Quarter said...

Happily Frugal Mama - we bought 1/4 of a cow and LOVED it! It was great to have healthy grassfed meat in the freezer, ready when I was! I am hoping to do like you are and buy another this spring with our tax return. We'll see how that works out!

Emily, I thought of you last week when I found grassfed ground beef at our grocery outlet for $2.29/lb! I bought 12 lb. and blogged about it, haha. I also have done a few mystery shops this week. :)

I find that when I'm in stressful situations, I get irregular no matter what I eat and it takes a few days of normal routine to get back into my normal routine.

Suzie said...

In addition to the changes in your diet, stress, including living in a strange environment on top of what you endured, can be a huge part of the bodily changes.

As one who suffers from anxiety disorders, I am very familiar with the changes in my body when in unfamiliar surroundings, whether I've changed my diet or not. In your case, I think both were contributing factors.

Anonymous said...

In the previous entry you said the RMH provided meals...I'm surprised they would serve "crap" or that you'd write that of their food offerings. annie

Emily said...

Anon, they had a large variety of food in their well-stocked kitchen, and I could have put in the effort to make nourishing meals for our family. Instead, I went the easy route and we ate what was most convenient. I don't think it reflects badly on them that they had the house stocked with comfort foods.

ly said...

I would like to point out that RMH meals are provided by volunteers. My mom's group goes to our local one one to two times a month and makes a dinner. We have to provide a vegaterian options also. This is all paid for and cooked by volunteers every night. Groups take time and money away from their own families.

"During the week my son was in the hospital, we all ate pure crap."

When you say this about the meals that were provided to you, from someone trying to make your life easier, it really is insulting.

Kaitlynn said...

I like that philosophy--you really can't do it perfectly all the time and really, what's life without an Oreo every once in a while! Great post!

Emily said...

ly, the kitchen was stocked with all sorts of food. Someone could have gone in there and made healthy meals each night, but we didn't put the effort in, as I made clear in the post. We chose what was easiest. Convenience food usually isn't healthy, and it wasn't for us. Only one meal a day was cooked by volunteers.

zerohousepaymentforever said...

I know it was a blessing to have that food ready for you. But I bet you are glad that you can start your normal routine of things again. I'm glad Daniel is going to be ok.

Anonymous said...

Oatmeals and boiled eggs cost very little and takes five minutes to make. Serve it with fresh fruit and milk and you have a whole meal for the family.

As for snacks: I always keep bags of nuts and dried fruit in my handbag for emergencies so I won't raid the chocolate section in the nearest store. ;)

Penniless Parenting said...

I dont think emily wrote crap in a condescending way. I think she just meant "junk food" and to someone who is very into healthful eating, someones usual fare will be junk food or crap by comparison.

Jean said...

I am a fairly new reader. I just have to tell you how much I love your blog. This and another great blog were my main inspirations on living a more frugal life. I get so many inspiring ideas here. Your creativity simply amazes me. Your religious beliefs and way of life may not be a fit for everyone, as I have seen in many previous comments (yikes!). But, that's why I am of the belief that one should take the information they can use from any blog, ignore the rest and simply say, "Thank you." So, thank you! By the way, I am so glad that your son is okay and your family life is getting back to normal.

Emily said...

Jean, thanks! I am the same way with blogs I read, I take what is applicable and don't harrass the blogger for every point I disagree on, but to each their own, right? I am wondering what that other great blog is? I am always looking for other creative frugal bloggers out there.

Jean said...

Emily, the other blog that first inspired me is on your favorites list already! It's down--to--earth.

Guinevere said...

I'm with the anonymous poster that loves quinoa. It's a rich protein source, and very inexpensive. For a vegetarian dinner, we love quinoa tabbouleh (a salad with quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh parsley, lemon) and falafel.

We're still figuring out our ideal diet, but fast food or sugary junk all makes me feel... under the weather. That always reminds me of how important eating healthy is!

Post a Comment

Post a Comment