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Changing Ingredients For A Nutrient-Dense Diet

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Are you thinking about making changes in your dietary choices that are more traditional and nutrient-dense? This process can seem daunting, even to the most experienced cook. But making those changes can cause a huge impact on your health – in ways you might never imagine.

It may seem like too much to go into your pantry, throw everything out, and start from scratch. But, just by making a few simple changes – like switching from rancid, genetically-modified, artificial fats such as shortening and canola oil to healthy fats like butter and tallow, you can lose that extra 20 pounds you’ve been fighting for the last decade, or perhaps reduce the amount of colds and flus you catch each year. The possibilities are endless!

I want to thank Marilyn Moll from from The Urban Homemaker for allowing me to post this great list of getting-started ideas in your kitchen from her site. It provides some basic ideas about how to change out some of the not-so-healthy ingredients in your kitchen for those that are healthier and better for your body.

Making changes from processed foods to natural, nourishing foods does more than just satisfy our bodies. It also provides us with a sense of satisfaction about preparing foods from scratch for our families, supports our local farmers and food growers and our own communities, secures sustainable and humane farming practices for the future, and keeps our environment clean by not putting our dollars toward companies that pollute our health, water, soil, and air.

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If you have decided to transition over to a more nutrient-dense diet based on Nourishing Traditions or Eat Fat Lose Fat, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. This post will summarize ingredient changes to make existing recipes in your kitchen more NT (Nourishing Traditions) friendly.

Ingredient changes:

Replace commercial baked goods such as bread, biscuits, muffins, crackers, tortillas, and others, with: breads, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, etc prepared using fresh whole grain flours which use the Two-Stage Process. If you do not have a grain mill, many batters can be prepared with whole grains using a blender.  Locate additional recipes for baked goods here.

Replace any refined sugar with: Rapadura, sucanat, muscovado, raw honey, maple syrup, or Stevia (use the green variety, not white powder or the liquid).

Replace white flour with: freshly milled (if possible) whole wheat flour, spelt or kamut flour, sprouted whole grain flour, or other freshly milled flours. Flours that are not sprouted can be soaked overnight in 2 tbsps whey, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice.

Replace water and bullion cubes or canned stock with: Home-made chicken or beef stock.

Replace shortening/other artificial fats with: virgin coconut oil or palm oil, or butter from grass-fed cows (or raw butter, if available).

Replace canned cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and other creamed soups with: homemade white sauce, add your own flavorings. Recipe: 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp whole wheat sprouted flour, and 1 cup stock. Multiply this out for the number of cups you need for healthy and tasty homemade cream of chicken soup.

Replace vegetable oils such as canola oil or corn oil with: coconut oil or butter, olive oil or Mary’s Oil Blend, written about in Eat Fat Lose Fat (equal amounts of coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and sesame oil). Use a variety of healthy fats for good balance of essential fatty acids.

Replace canned fruit in syrup with:  fresh or frozen fruit w/a little honey and enough added fluid to make the recipe

Replace skim, 1% or 2% milk with: raw milk or coconut milk

Replace flavored yogurt with: raw milk or whole milk yogurt.  Add real fruit or 1-2 tbsp all-fruit preserves to sweeten.

Replace dry milk with: coconut milk powder

Replace constarch with: arrowroot powder

Replace canned beans with: dry beans that have been soaked overnight in water with vinegar added. Drain in the morning. Then add fresh filtered water to cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until softened. Drain. Add to your soup or stock and cook 4-8 hours.

Replace soy, rice, or nut milks with: Raw milk from cow or goat

Replace refined table salt with: Real Salt or sea salt (minerals should be visible in the salt)

Replace sodas and juice with: carbonated water, Nourishing Traditions ginger ale, kvass, kefir soda or other fermented drinks. See Nourishing Traditions for more information.

Replace commercial cheese with: raw milk cheese whenever possible.

Replace commercial mayo and salad dressings with: homemade dressings and mayo from NT’s recipes or use good quality mayo or good quality dressings that contain no soy, cottonseed, or canola oil. Try Wilderness Family Naturals mayonnaise.

Replace pasta with: spaghetti squash or brown rice pasta, or other whole grain alternatives which have been soaked or sprouted, or long-fermented.

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The Urban Homemaker is a family run business dedicated to teaching and promoting “old fashioned skills for contemporary people”. UH offers back-to-basics products for physical and spiritual family health. They believe the products and skills offered promote a more healthful diet, the virtues of thrift and self-sufficiency, and enable homemakers to fulfill the Biblical mandate to be keepers of the home in the spirit of Titus.

When making changes to ingredients in your kitchen, unless you are ready, don’t feel like you need to do everything on this list at once. Pick three items and focus on those for one or two weeks, then pick three more.

Make a list of the things you’ve changed and each week and add to it. At the end of two months, look back through your list and notice what you’ve changed and which of those you’ve committed to and what difference, if any, it has made in your health.

In the near future, I’ll be posting more about how to make changes in your kitchen and health that will bring noticeable change to your life.  Until then, here are some other posts you might find useful:

Breakfast makeovers – you really can rise and shine!

Food budgets – using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating

Waste not want not: tips for saving in the kitchen

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday, hosted this week by A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.