So, how many of you signed up for the Nourished Kitchen Real Food Challenge? Here are my experiences with the first week of the challenge.
The challenge for Day #1 was to clean out my cupboards, getting rid of all processed foods. I spent all of December 2009 and part of January 2010 doing just that (mostly because I couldn’t afford to throw away an entire kitchen of food all at once! All I used to eat was processed foods! Just call me, freezer-to-microwave-girl).
An interesting shift that occurred was in my refrigerator/freezer. Once upon a time, my freezer overfloweth with Lean Cuisines and frozen pizzas. My fridge looked like a bachelor’s fridge – a few cases of Diet Dr. Pepper, a gallon of milk, and occasionally, a tub of yogurt or a loaf of bread. The fridge was bare. Now, my refrigerator is teeming with food – mostly produce – and my freezer is pretty empty, except for some frozen vegetable purees and a variety of leftovers to tide me through the work week. (I cook for one, so I’ve always got leftovers!)
In going organic, I gave up my 8-10 can-a-day diet soda habit. It wasn’t a conscious decision, really – it just sort of happened. I’d look at the can sitting there on the counter, and think, “wow, a can of carbonated chemical water….” Who wants that?! It doesn’t even taste good. It took me an entire 9 months way back when to train my taste buds to drink diet pop instead of regular – I switched because at the quantities I was drinking, I was getting a full day’s worth of calories in soda with no nutritional value whatsoever (and a ton of sugar). Diet has zero calories – that’s gotta be good, right? Not so much. Early calculations indicate that I’ve offset the increased cost of organic groceries simply by cutting out the Diet Dr. Pepper.
One shift I’ve made that coincides with this week’s Real Food Challenge is to regular cheeses and yogurt. I used to buy fat free cheese and fat free or low fat yogurts, but the more I’m learning about how our bodies use foods and how various nutrients work in combination with each other, the chemicals and sweeteners used to replace the fats to make the products palatable to our taste buds are worse for us than the right combos of these animal fats in moderation. Enough with the chemicals, already!
Another new item to my kitchen world is old fashioned rolled oats. I discovered their splendor via KERF’s Tribute to Oatmeal, and I see oats popping up more and more in recipes that I’d like to try. Day #2 of the Real Food Challenge suggested trying Soaked Oatmeal or Baked Oats; both are on my list of things to do soon. This, coming from a girl who had tried every variety of instant oatmeal known to man, and turned her nose up at every one. Oatmeal is wonderfully delicious when you make it yourself from real food ingredients!
My first attempt at Day #3’s recommendation to soak whole grains to improve the nutrient profile and digestibility of them will be in the form of Buttermilk Oat Flour Biscuits. Stay tuned for the write-up! Soaking flour is so… simple – it just takes a little bit of planning!
For Day #4, I ordered a sourdough starter kit from Cultures for Health. I love fresh baked bread, and don’t use my bread machine nearly enough. I’d love to kick the habit of store-bought bread (even if it is organic!) and make my own regularly. Years ago, I used to make my own yogurt and absolutely loved both the process and the end result. That’s something I might have to try again. It sounds like keeping a sourdough starter alive is a lot like making your own yogurt… or caring for the friendship bread starters that come around every few Christmases.
Day #5 includes sprouting some grain. I need to actually get some grains if I want to sprout them, so I’ve tucked this item into my list of Things to Do.
I’m glad I’ve started this Real Food Challenge. I may not be able to convert completely to a traditional kitchen in a month’s time, but I am confident that I will be able to implement a significant number of healthy changes, learning a lot as I go. I will have a lot of catching up to do during Week 4, as I will be traveling throughout the entire Week 3 – but we’ll see what happens!
Good luck in your challenge!