Rededicated Food – a quest for mastery over an uncertain food world

February 10, 2009 in cooking, Gardening

Raw food: getting started

Ever since I have not been spending every moment either driving to or from work or at work, I have been able to spend some time at home reconnecting with the family in ways I have not been able to do in the whole of this past year. There is some qualitative difference for us between 2 and 3 kids that made me feel wildly out of balance with respect to making work and life mesh. Now that I have been able to decompress a bit and even tho the stress doesn’t end due to continued unemployment, I have been able to concentrate on something that was simply beyond my capacity before – our day to day food.

Sure, we have our own dairy goats but we have only one in milk and that was mostly for the toddler (with pasteurized cow milk intolerance). We have still be supplementing with conventional 1% cows milk.

We have bred the girls and there is some chance that soon we will have a visit from the caprine stork who will leave us baby goats (kids) and mommas in milk, thus increasing our milk output. I will be pushing hard then for a total ban on milk from the store.

Sure we have our own chickens and we buy no store eggs but we still have been eating conventional meat (organic store bought meats are WAY beyond our budget). I have been having to buy mostly chicken because that is whats inexpensive (99c/lb often) even though I KNOW that this meat is filled with unknown additives and are veritable nutrient-depleted bags of estrogen and estrogen mimics that are hell on our bodies (many cancers are estrogen-activated).

I have been putting together the seed starting schedule and I have already started indoor mesclun spring mixes for nibbling in the mean time. I have lots of tiny little seedlings which one day will give us fantastic organic nutrient rich eggplants and squash and cucumbers and lots more!

Mesclun sprouts

Yummy green sprouting lettuces

Peaknix: food storage follies

So, as you can see, we teeter between fantastic home-crafted food and cheap store-bought staples – considerable cognitive dissonance for me.

Peaknix: food storage follies

It has been an ambient undercurrent that had been festering for me for quite a while and then just recently the boil burst (to put it crudely) and I was left with an epiphany of sorts.

On the one had our diet didn’t suck all THAT badly. Its not like we drink sodas or eat frozen pizzas day in and out or any manner of things but on the other hand why do I feel so utterly unhealthy and have so much weight to lose? What part of this equation is not working. I think part of this is timing. Its been MANY months since the fresh bounty of our garden – we have not been eating fresh green things, fresh fruity things because those things in ADDITION to meats are expensive.

My epiphany boiled down to the fact that we do not experience natural health because of the things we buy from the store and our bodies are depleted of vital goodness (vitamins, cofactors, fruity juicy goodness).

For this reason I am exploring a diet that brings more living fruits and vegetables into our world, even in the dead of winter (I am looking out at several feet of snow as I type).

Carrot Chip Snowman & KD: coy

I am learning about the raw food diets out there and think I have decided that what makes sense to our family is not your traditional raw food diet. We already drink raw milk and I intend on keeping it that way. Our raw diet will mean that we will not drink any more “cooked” milk from the store. We wont start eating raw eggs but we will look for ways to use them that are easier on the proteins. We will eat MANY more fruits and uncooked vegetables.

Raw Food: meager blender

We here includes our family of young kids and 2 adults. My personal diet is going to be even more raw and less egg intense than the rest. I am enjoying learning how the vegan raw foodists have crafted all manner of recipes that bring texture and variety to the raw table. One way to do this is by using a dehydrator. You can take sprouted seed and grains, add other ingredients (fruits, coconut for sweet; spices, peppers, shoyu for savory) to make crackers and flat sheets that make great wraps or other dish elements.

This doesn’t have to be about salads all the time! (If it were, I could not do it, I need more depth to my cuisine than that).

We already had a juicer and a butch blender so getting the dehydrator was the final step in preparing for this new way. I am also teaching myself the simple craft of sprouting beans. Tested the family on store bought sprouts and they seemed to like it so its a yes-go!

Raw Food: juicer

As with any diet, there seems to be no end to the fantastic health claims that you see associated with raw foodism (take a peek at the abundance of YouTube testimonials). I am not interested in all of that. I just know that my body is not thriving on the standard american diet (SAD). Neither are the other bodies in my family. If the SAD is what we have tried, not sure how bad it can be (and I am thinking there has to be an enormous upside) to adopting a more raw approach to our food.

Tell me if you have any experience with raw food and if you have any favorite recipes, sites, books, mentors.
I will be writing again about recipes that I like or that I come up with that fit in this category.

I am not big on making faux burgers and such so I will be exploring how raw food recipes can move beyond that inherently disappointing goal on to a more holistic celebration or exploration of food in it’s raw state.

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