Baby Steps to Whole Health

…steady is as steady goes.

New Thinking

As we strive for whole health in all areas, it’s easy to get swept up in focusing all of our energy on one area. This past week, while I’ve tried to maintain balance, a lot of my mental energy has been put into thoughts of food. More specifically, ethically farmed and organically grown food. It’s a lot, I know. You know it’s because I’m reading the book “The Way We Eat – Why Our Food Choices Matter”, by Peter Singer. It’s very much affecting me as I finally get a clear picture of the actual cost of cheap meat and dairy. Not just the financial cost to myself, but the economical and lifestyle impact of towns and people and the environment. And animals, as well. Did you know they breed turkeys to have breasts SO LARGE that they are physically incapable of mating? Yeah, the male turkeys have to have their semen sucked out of them, and the lady turkeys get their legs pulled apart and their vents opened up, then the semen is shot up inside of them with a pressurized syringe. You know when you get your eyes checked and they blow that little poof of air at your eyes, and they have to try it like seventeen times because it’s so irritating? The pressure they use to inject the semen is so much more than that, and we’re doing it so we can have large breasted turkey for dinner. It’s not just an animal ethics issue though. The environmental impact of factory farming is greater than I had ever even thought about. To be honest, I didn’t think about it. I went to the grocery store, bought the most meat I could afford for the least damage to my bank account. That’s what most of us do, right? It didn’t matter before, because I didn’t know. But now I know, and I can’t continue to eat that way. I cannot even purchase a single meat or dairy product without thinking of the inhumane treatment of those animals, and how it was done to line someone’s pockets and save me a little money. Well, no more, because I am convicted and angry I’ve bought into the lie for so long.

As I’ve read this book, Proverbs 12:10 continued to come to mind, “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” The accounts of this man and his team visiting various farms, the excuses of the operators of the farms (if you could even call them that), can only be called cruel.
Consider also 1 Timothy 6:7-11. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” Again, I consider the accounts of this man, and there’s absolutely no sign of godliness or gentleness. And it goes back to corporations, wanting more money, so they squeeze animals into spaces so small they can’t even turn around, they kill animals before they’re completely stunned (yes, gruesome accounts of the deaths of these animals), they carry chickens FIVE to a hand by their feet, and farm employees drop-kick them for fun – let’s not even get into what feeling free to abuse animals does to the human psyche! Cows spend their lives eating genetically modified corn, standing in fields covered in manure, with no grass to eat; they are injected with growth hormones and antibiotics so the almighty corporation can get more meat from one cow (more meat, more money). Looking back to my Bible, the love of money truly is the root of all sorts of evil. And I can’t support it.

Next on going back to my Bible, I consider the story of Daniel. The king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem and took some of the men, Daniel and his friends among them. The men were to be trained up in the language and literature of the Babylonians, and after three years were to enter into the king’s service. Each man was to receive a ration of food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel knew that the meat at the table would be meat that had been sacrificed to Babylonian gods, and he would be defiling himself and his relationship with God if he ate it. He asked the official if he and his friends could eat only vegetables and water, and avoid the meat. The official was wary, but Daniel convinced him to give it a ten day trial, and if at the end of that time, Daniel and his friends looked any worse off, they would willingly eat the royal food. Come to the end of the trial, Daniel and his 3 friends looked better, were stronger and healthier than the other young men. The officials took the royal food away from everyone and they all had to eat just vegetables and water. The take away from this for me at this time, is not that we should only eat vegetables and drink water. It’s not that we should stop eating meat altogether, either, as God provided us with animals and plants for nourishment.
The take away for me is that I cannot, in good conscience, eat meat that has been sacrificed to other gods, more specifically, the god of money.
So where do I go from here? I have some kids that are pretty set in their eating ways, and 13 year old boys aren’t too into eating vegetables, even though they’re already on the menu every night. I can’t just go out and spend massive amounts of money on grass-fed, humanely raised meat and dairy products (I’ll get into organics another day…), as it’s been said – our food budget is already high (almost a quarter of our income!), and there simply isn’t room to make it larger.
I spoke to my husband about my convictions, and though he had never considered our purchasing of cheap meat as a sacrifice to idols, upon hearing all of it, he surprisingly (yes, a very big surprise to me!) agrees. He has been planning on getting a hunting license for quite some time now, and this has helped to push him through. If we hunt, the meat we eat has been provided by and cared for by God. Our plan, for now, as we baby step into eating for whole health (this isn’t just a body thing, it’s become a spirit thing now), is for us to only eat humanely raised, pasture fed and finished meat, be it purchased or hunted. This means we will be eating a lot less meat for the foreseeable future, until we figure out a new budget and more plant based main dish menu. Meat will likely be a small side, or enjoyed only a couple of times a week.
Is your diet based around meat as a main dish? What are your favorite vegetable main recipes?

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Savory Gluten Free Tartlet (Mini Quiche Shells!)

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I’m REALLY, REALLY excited to share this recipe with you! What is perhaps most exciting to me is that I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve been able to save and adapt a recipe!

This recipe started out as what were supposed to be gluten free cheddar crackers. I’ve made the recipe many times before and never had an issue. I’ve even adapted it into bacon ranch cheddar crackers! This time, I forgot to add the butter, added too much water, realized I forgot the butter and used a pastry blender to get the butter in after I had already created a dough. I wound up with a dough that wouldn’t roll, therefore – no cheddar crackers 😦

One of the things that was extremely difficult for me at the beginning of our gluten free journey was how incredibly expensive every. single. thing. was/ still is. We’d buy a box of crackers or breakfast bars, and Lu would hate it. No one else wanted to eat it, either, so it was money down the drain. And not a $2.00 box of granola bars. No, it was a $6 box of granola bars, which came with 3 bars less than the $2 non-gluten free box! Oh how I cried so many times over the agony of being wasteful. Eventually, little by little, we learned which brands and which items Lu enjoyed, and we stuck to them. Though we tried many cracker brands, we never found one that she liked. So to Google I went, searching for recipes. There were many failed online recipes, too. Even following direct, step-by-step instructions, we had some horrible tasting cookies, breads and crackers!

Anyway, onto the recipe!

SAVORY GLUTEN FREE TARTLET (Adapted from this cracker recipe):

Tools needed: Food processor, mini tart pan and presser.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces grated mozarella cheese
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold butter, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (without Xanthan gum) – I used King Arthur brand
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (you can use regular, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (NOT salt!)
  • 2-4 Tablespoons ice water

-Preheat oven to 375 ° F.

-Place all ingredients except for ice water in food processor.

-Process until ingredients are well combined. It will look like a thick powdery substance.

-Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and continue to process until ingredients become doughy. If they don’t seem to get doughy, add another tablespoon or two of ice water and process again. Often, after processing, I just pull the dough out and knead it for a minute until everything comes together and makes a dough.

-Pinch off about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place in one cup of tart pan. Repeat until all cups are full. Use your tart presser to press the balls into the cups, making sure the bottom is fairly level.

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-Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.

-At this point, the tarts will have puffed up a bit in the middle and around the edges. Use your presser to press in each of the tarts, removing to cooling rack as you go (tarts will stick to the presser as you pull it up and out, so it’s super simple).

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VOILA! Mini savory tart shells!! Oh, the things you can fill these with!

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I chopped up some Polska Kielbasa into tiny cubes and dropped three or four into each shell. I then beat two eggs with about 3-4 tablespoons of milk and a little salt. I used an Asian soup spoon to spoon the egg mixture into the shells on top of the meat cubes. I baked 6 right then and there for my daughter’s afternoon snack yesterday. I placed the rest directly in the freezer (raw egg and all!) on a cookie sheet. Once they were frozen, I removed them and placed them in a zipper bag for storage.

To heat and serve these frozen babies, simply preheat your oven to 375°  and bake for 15 minutes until the eggs get fluffy! This is what Lu had for breakfast this morning and boy, was she thankful!

(Yeah, I need to be a better food photographer!)

Do you have a favorite ‘accidental recipe’? Let me know what you think if you try these!

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Quieting the Mind with Yoga

I’ve really struggled in coming up with something for today’s post. There’s just so much I want to share about, and I can’t seem to get mentally organized enough to keep a post orderly!

I mentioned in this post  that I had learned to do the sun salutation yoga sequence (is that what it’s called???) and that I was able to do it for 10 minutes. Fast forward a few days, where I haven’t been consistent in practicing. On the second day of not doing any yoga  laziness (allow me to excuse my laziness here in that I just don’t want to get dressed in one outfit, then change into stretchy clothes, then back into the other outfit. And I don’t like to wear sweats all day. I don’t function well unless I’m dressed and wearing shoes. Seriously.), my body began to feel tighter. My joints were cracking when I’d move around. On the third day, I had to ask my husband to give me a quick massage between the shoulders and at the neck because my muscles were tight and feeling sore. I finally made the connection that my body was feeling sad because I hadn’t been stretching it or moving it as much.

Today was a tough day with O-bo, my 3 year old. All he wanted to do was play. With me. There was no getting ten minutes alone to do anything. I felt frustrated and restless. Finally, Lu came home and he was happy to play with her, and the first chance I got, I ran upstairs and began doing sun salutations. In jeans. As I stretched my muscles and joints, my mind began to relax as well. Breathing deeply, coupled with the movement and the quiet was really nice. I realized that yoga isn’t just good for the body, but it’s good for the mind as well. It’s important to quiet your mind from the hustle and bustle of the day, and we rarely take the time to do that.

Do you practice yoga? Other than the physical, how else do you benefit from it??

This morning, in my distracted state, I messed up a cracker recipe that I was making for Lu (gluten free girl). BUT, I was able to rescue it and make something different! My plan is to put the recipe up tomorrow – watch for it!

 

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