It’s no secret that one of my biggest concerns is what chemicals I expose my family to. In the last few years, I have made great strides in altering the way we clean our house and our bodies, but I haven’t, until now, looked at our diet with the same scrutiny.
A little background: We eat as much home-cooked foods as we can. We try to buy organic as much as our paychecks can afford. My kids can spot the Golden Arches from a mile away and know that “I” is for ice cream. They get candy, treats, and sweets for the occasional dessert or “just because.” My family is healthy, yet I still have this nagging feeling that they may not be in the future.
A little while ago, we renewed our NPR membership and came away with a copy of the book, The Science of Skinny. It’s not a diet book. The author is a chemist, and through her studies, and her battle with obesity, discovered that the foods she was eating, and the chemicals they were rich in, were contributing to the deterioration of her body (as well as ours). It was the wake-up call I needed to look deeper at the foods I was eating and feeding my family.
In the last 2 weeks we have adopted a Clean-Eating plan. One that attempts to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Anything that was over-processed and full of chemicals was tossed and replaced with healthier alternatives. A few of the “rules” we have are as follows:
– Eat as many vegetables as we can in the day: LOTS of organic green veggies mixed in with rainbow veggies for balance in flavor and nutrients.
– Dump the sugar: Refined sugar is out, and in its place are natural sweeteners like raw honey, coconut nectar, pure maple syrup, and Stevia.
– 5 real ingredients or less on the label: Anything with a label that has more than 5 ingredients or has ingredients that are unpronounceable or sound like they were made in a lab are out (exceptions to this are things like soup that contain more than 5 real ingredients). This does not apply to foods/meals made at home!
– Good fats are good for you: Fat-free and low-fat labels are indicators that there are chemicals in those foods to make them taste good, but they aren’t necessarily good for you! We now drink whole milk, full fat foods, and enjoy good fats from extra virgin olive and coconut oils, and REAL BUTTER!
– There is room for not following the rules: I can control the food in my own house, but I cannot control life. There are times when at restaurants, with other families or friends that we won’t be able to follow the rules. But it’s ok, because I will know that I have been setting up a good foundation and the house will not fall.
So far it has been working well, and my kids really haven’t noticed the difference. In fact I have been much more creative in my meals and lunches and they have been enjoying their food more. Hubby and I have noticed less fog and more energy in our days.
This post (and any that follow) is certainly not a “you must do this” kind, and more to help harried, busy moms find easier ways to feed their families with more real food and less chemicals and manufactured ingredients. I was very overwhelmed by the sense of wanting to do better in this area, but not knowing where to begin. If that is also you, then you have found the right place.
For a start, I am posting my granola recipe below. If you have ever looked at the cereal aisle and perused the labels, those things are loaded with sugar and chemicals! This recipe has been adapted from others I found across the web, but has no nuts and is gluten-free. It’s also the best granola I have eaten (hubby and kids think so too)!
Pictures of some of the ingredients I used
3 cups rolled oats ( I use Trader Joe’s, shown above)
1 cup crispy brown rice (I use Erewhon brand, above)
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 packet Stevia (I use Sweet Leaf brand, above)
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of raw honey (Trader Joe’s, above)
1 tbsp Coconut Nectar (found at Whole Foods)
2 tsp pure vanilla (without alcohol)
– Preheat oven to 250 degrees, prepare a baking sheet (with sides), lined with parchment paper.
– Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowls and set aside.
– In a small saucepan melt butter, honey, and coconut nectar. When butter is melted, add the vanilla and take off of the heat.
– Pour hot liquid over the dry cereals and mix until well coated. Spread mixture, evenly, in the prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes.
– Take out of oven and let cool completely (it will harden as it cools). Place granola in a plastic bag to break apart into crumble and store for up to a week at room temperature (believe me it, won’t last that long!).
We serve this with yogurt, as cereal with blueberries or raisins and milk, or just eat it plain as a sweet snack.