Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nourishing my Family

I've had a blog update itching to get out for weeks now, but finding the time to sit down and actually write one proves more difficult than typing it up in my head. In the meantime summer and fall have flown by, Eli had his first birthday in September and is almost 14 months old now, I've been dealing with first trimester morning sickness (which praise God is over now!) and trying to get back into the swing of things.
Getting pregnant just as fall began was, while exciting and very welcome, not great for all the fabulous plans for a perfectly clean house and organized Mommy that I had. The first week or two of September our house was spotless, I cooked fantastic meals, did school with Eli every day and worked out five days a week. Then pregnancy hit. I'm still trying to catch up. Ah well, there's lots of time for perfection later in life!
My life lately has still involved cooking good meals, one of my favourite pastimes! Last night we had roast chicken, which we probably have at least ever two weeks or so, but this was I'm sure the best roast chicken dinner I've ever made.
I've been striving to learn more and more about nutrition and healthy eating, and Nourishing Traditions has become my Bible. The subtitle is "The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats," and challenge it does! It throws a lot of our preconceived notions about healthy eating right out the window and really digs into the science, also focuses a lot on looking at the diets of different cultures all over the world and tries to see why people seem to be living so much longer and are so much healthier on much more "primitive" diets than we consume. It strongly encourages the consumption of lots of healthy fats in our diet. Don't be scared of butter! But that "heart-healthy" margarine plastic? Run. Run fast. It also encourages the consumption of lots of full-fat dairy products, as well as a lot of cultured dairy products and other fermented foods. I'm obviously not an expert and can't get into all the details in my little blog, but I would highly recommend the book. Even if you don't agree with everything in it and decide that she's crazy, it's still eye opening and really makes you think about the messages being blasted into us through the media. I now try to AVOID the low-fat options in the grocery store, and am making more and more of an effort to "make my own."
Anyway, back to the chicken dinner I was talking about... my favourite way to roast a chicken is, believe it or not, from frozen. I mostly discovered this because I'm lazy and never remember to take one out to thaw ahead of time, but it works like a dream. Grab a frozen chicken, put it breast side down in a roaster with a little water, cover and stick in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 hours. Tender, juicier, more falling-apart chicken you will never taste. Of course I'm sure it would be even better with onions and herbs and butter and all that, but who has time for that? Not me! We also had brown rice, now this is where I'm trying to get better at planning ahead. Nourishing Traditions strongly recommends soaking all grains before consumption in order to reduce the amount of phytic acid, which is an enzyme inhibitor and makes whole grains harder to digest. That's why a lot of people have digestion issues when they switch from refined grains to whole. Soaking gets rid of the phytic acid and also makes a lot of the other nutrients more readily available for your body to digest. So I soaked one cup of brown rice in two cups of warm water and stirred in a tablespoon of plain yogurt (or whey, or cultured buttermilk, or lemon juice or vinegar although a dairy product is best). Leave it on the counter for at least 7 hours, then cook as usual. The result is a slightly softer, more palatable brown rice with ever such a slight, but yummy, acidic taste. Much easier on the tummy! Now if I can only remember to do this EVERY time. I also instead of boiling my carrots this time (and boiling away valuable nutrients!) just sauteed them in some butter and olive oil. Delicious. Add gravy, some of our friend Chester's homemade bread and butter pickles, and we were eating like kings!
I feel so good when I serve up my family a meal like that. Good and good for you! Unfortunately for me I got hit with a stomach bug a few hours after this deliciousness and none of it stayed down. Sigh. You'll be glad to know I'm feeling much better today. Tonight's dinner was mussels and I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but that's another post for another time. Right now I think it's time to curl up on the couch with a club soda and turn on the mind-melter. Goodnight all.

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