I had planned on writing about transitioning to a more Paleo diet as part of the October #Unprocessed Challenge. I’ve been meaning to tackle new foods like fermented foods for a long time, not to mention finally coming up with a regular supply of local meat.
But, we’re not going Paleo. While I do appreciate the effect of the wheat we currently use, I don’t think going Paleo is the answer.
Why I’m Not Going Paleo
Humans are resourceful. Whatever environment we’re in, we find ways to use what’s available.
We’re curious. Our history is filled with curious people coming up with inventions that constantly change the world for humans, not to mention the humans who dream ahead of their time like Leonardo di Vinci.
Put our resourcefulness and curiosity together, and you’ll come up with such a range of human diets all uniquely suited to their environment. I think that a long time ago humans figured out how to use that abundance of corn or wheat growing around them without getting other humans sick. Not to mention the early farmer who may have watched a calf nursing and thought “We could drink that, too.”
Because humans have the ability to adapt to their environment and use it economically and completely, I think limiting ourselves to a pre-farming diet is not the answer.
Using our Food Priorities to Transition
Now that I’m clear about this in my mind, I have written down our priorities for our food budget. We’ve always eaten a mostly whole foods diet for years; my husband and I both love to cook with real ingredients. I’ve played around with the Nourishing Traditions ideas for a year, though never fully committing to the concept.
My job this week is to write down goals/steps for each priority. Some priorities are easy to set in place while others like making food from scratch using the Nourished Tradition guidelines will take more time. I also need to take into account my family’s preferences and the influences my children receive from school and their peers.
1. Buy grassfed meat, pastured-raised pork, cage-free chickens.
I admit to struggling with this 1st priority. Because I can’t just walk into a grocery store and buy enough grassfed meat with the variety my family is used to, I’ve been looking for other sources. Another part of the issue is time. There is a coop right around the corner from me which could do bulk orders. I’ve wanted to go since August, but haven’t had the time. Finally, this week, I can go.
My back up plan for meat has been Whole Foods, however, they are 30 minutes from my home, and not in a direction I generally go. I’ve also been able to pick up some of the meat I need at Costco during our monthly trips.
2. Buy and grow lots of fruits and vegetables.
Over the years, we’ve built up a great vegetable garden in our yard, plus added fruiting vines, trees, and shrubs to the collection. Up until this year, we’ve harvested a lot of homegrown fruits and veggies which has helped stretch our food budget while giving the family organic food.
When I’m not growing fruits and veggies, I’m buying it from the local produce stand. We’ve tried Giant (good produce), Produce Junction (okay) and Trader Joe’s (also good), however, the best bet for our budget is a local produce stand called Gentile’s Farm Market. They don’t offer organic, though their produce is always good quality.
While at Gentile’s, I can pick up hormone-free milk and locally raised cage-free eggs. They also offer local raw milk cheeses at a good price.
3. Buy and use healthy fats.
I have orders set up on Amazon for flavored and unflavored coconut oil. I will be adding coconut oil spray to the list. Whenever we cook nitrate-free bacon, we save the greases in a jar in the fridge.
However, I’m still buying conventional butter and cheese. The price of Kerrygold butter at Trader Joe’s isn’t too bad; I just don’t shop there very often. We go through a lot of cheese. Yes, I’d love to buy raw milk cheese. I can’t pay $10/lb. and afford other items in my budget.
4. Make as much as I can from scratch using the best ingredients I can afford.
This summer, my kids and I spent time making gluten-free and Paleo recipes as part of our Family Cooking Project. Gluten-free baking can be expensive and require some unusual ingredients. Thanks to the help of a friend who was also baking gluten-free, we stuck to recipes focusing on almond flour or coconut flour. Not necessarily the cheapest flours to use, these flours are easy to obtain on Amazon.
When it comes to GMOs, I buy organic wheat flour as often as I can. Including coconut flour and almond flour in my baking reduces my use of wheat flour. I do the same with oats. Now I’ll be making sure I soak the wheat flour before using it. To avoid HFCS, I buy the Hunt’s Natural Ketchup, not organic ketchup. We buy Kirkland brand maple syrup, though if we run out, Log Cabin has a no HFCS syrup. I’m hoping to get the kids into homemade fruit syrups like strawberry.
5. Buy organic when I can afford it, and don’t sweat it if I can’t.
When I shop at Giant, I pick up organic apples, organic carrots, organic potatoes, and organic celery, all from the Dirty Dozen list. If I can’t pick them up, I buy what I need conventionally at Gentile’s. Because we grow some of our own food and we eat a whole foods diet, I don’t sweat the organic produce as much as the meat.
In October, I’ll be focusing on sourcing our meat. I’ve been meaning to visit a local coop to find out about bulk ordering. Because my husband loves to cook and loves to eat meat, I need to be sure he’s happy with our meat source. It complicates the decision a little, and that’s okay.