Tiger Nut “Cereal”

Tiger nut flourTiger nuts.  Heard of them?  I hadn’t.  But they were recommended to me to try as a base for a homemade milk.  I ordered some from the river (that would be Amazon) and gave them a try.  You can buy tiger nuts themselves or tiger nut flour.  I ordered both.

Not a nut

Tiger nuts are actually tubers–roots that grow underground.  They’ve been around a long time, just not eaten much by us “modern” food snobs who prefer cake and ice cream. They’re about the size of a very big pea, cream-colored, and wrinkly.  They are very tough to chew, but have a nice, sweet, nut-like flavor.  Your jaws will be tired snacking on plain tiger nuts, though.  I liked them, and my kids did too.  But the chewing was rough.  So I used some of the flour in a muffin recipe the kids like.  (It didn’t replace all of the flour I used, just some.)  It went fine.  Sometimes, the tiger nut flour has tough gritty little flecks in it that you can feel when you bite.  I knew what it was in the muffin, but if I was having a ladies’ coffee, I’d probably opt not to use the tiger nut flour.  But for home use, it’s great.

Tiger nuts are great sources of resistant starch.  Resistant starch is a kind of special fiber which is very important to feed your gut bacteria so that YOU can be healthy.  Resistant starch is usually missing in our modern diets.  It is touted to help in diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and managing weight.  I like resistant starch because it helps my slow GI tract a bit.

How we like to eat them

My kids and I both miss the convenience of cereal.  We try not to rely on grains in our house, although we do eat some.  But cereal every day for breakfast is clearly relying on grains.  We don’t do that.  If there’s one thing I could get moms to believe, it’s that breakfast cereal just isn’t healthy.  No matter what the marketing ploy.  But we do miss cereal.  We have used tiger nut flour to replace our grain-based cereal cravings.

We put some fruit in a bowl (our favorites are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, and ripe peaches), add about 1-2 tablespoons of tiger nut flour on top, a touch of maple syrup, and a little of our favorite milk (or the one best tolerated anyhow).  My kids like it a lot and says it tastes like cereal.  It may be wise to start with just a little tiger nut flour (or tiger nuts) and work your way up.  Your gut bacteria may need a little time to adjust to this new tasty food source.  If you go too fast with it, you may be uncomfortable.  None of us had this problem, but I have read about it in others.

That’s our tiger nut story.  A good little find for us.

Conclusion

Enough about tiger nuts.  They’re nice, and maybe you’d want to try them.  But what I really want to know–health and eating whole, real foods to get it–are you still working at it?  We’re about half-way through the year now.  Nearly six months ago maybe you made some New Year’s resolutions.  Who cares if it’s not New Years anymore?  Pull back out those resolutions and get back on track.  The fruit is ripe and the vegetables of summer are calling.  NOW is the time!  NOW, I say!  Wash ’em up and put some tiger nut flour on them.

~~Terri

P.S.  1.  You can also add tiger nut flour to smoothies.  2.  I don’t get anything at all for what I do here; nobody paid for me to post this.  Just my opinions here.  No sponsor or kickback.  3.  They fit well on an autoimmune diet.  4.  Have a good day and forge a good life.

Can You Still Make Kombucha From One You Buy At The Store?

Kombucha

A couple of months ago, kombucha frenzy was getting out of control in my house.  An inclination that just started with me escalated to the whole darn family.  That’s an expensive habit.  Even if it be a good one.  I mean, better than a Starbucks latte.  But who happily pays for five people to drink a coffee shop latte?  Not this mama.  Man.  You KNOW how expensive those things are.  Do you ever wonder why we pay those prices for that vice?  Because they make us beautiful?  Because they make us skinny?  Because they make us happy?  (Mmmm.  Got me on that one.)

I had to contain costs.  I like to go on vacation, and as much as my yahoos were drinking, they were going to dip into my vacation kitty.  Time to make my own. Why not just use the store brand?   I Googled it.  Our store carries GT’S brand of kombucha.  Somewhere it said you couldn’t start kombucha from GT’S brand anymore due to some changes somewhere in the recent decade.  Skip that thought.  Won’t waste my money on trying that way.  But I wanted to do this.  So, one day, I had five minutes to try to order a kombucha SCOBY or in real words, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.  That’s the disgusting thing that floats in kombucha.  It’s alive.  Of course, there was a glitch and I couldn’t get PayPal man to do the deal.  So the deal blew up.  Over.  The window of opportunity missed.  Money kept flying out the window.

Who cares what the internet says?  Who cares what anyone says for that matter?  I marched into that big tall refrigerator at the store, and I bought myself the original, unflavored kombucha bottle with the biggest, nastiest looking floatie in the case.  I looked through them all.  That was the one.  If it was going to blossom, this was the bottle to do it.

I brewed up a gallon of green tea, because well, you know green tea is supposed to be super good for you.  And in a glass jar because you know plastic is bad for you.  I had some leftover sugar from my childhood.  I poured a cup in there to feed the beast.  I let my brew sit till it was room temperature so I didn’t kill that big nasty.  Then I realized I poured in too much tea and had no room for my kombucha.  So I dumped some out, getting sticky all over the counter.  Nothing I hate more than sticky floors and counters.  But now I had just enough room for the store’s kombucha and poured ‘er in.  I covered it with a paper towel and rubber band.  Perfect.  And let it sit.  It went through some ghastly changes, requiring me to Google “mold on kombucha” and “kombucha looks bad.”  I sat it out.  Apparently, some scoring action was going on in there and it was just making baby SCOBYs, which are uglier than their mothers.  Since it was cold still here on the tundra, I let it brew a long time till the SCOBY looked good and healthy.  No less than three weeks.  Then, we drank it.  It was good.

But there was fear from within my crew.  Are you sure it’s safe to drink?  (As safe as your germ laden tooth brush growing colonies in the dark medicine cupboard.)  Is it okay?  Why isn’t it bubbly?  It’s too sweet.  It’s too sour.  I don’t like the floaties in it.  I like it best carbonated.  Geesh back to the bubble thing.  Guys!  Come on!  Stop the mutiny!  No wonder it’s so hard to save money in today’s world.  Spoiled brats.

So I strained out the floaties.  I poured it into a GT’S bottle.  Put a little more sugar, lemon juice, and ginger in there.  Capped it tight.  Let it sit on Store klmbuchathe counter a few days to see if the thing would bubble in its new package.  Then stuck it in the fridge.

Mmmmm.  That’s good the family all says.

Thank you.

So, the moral of this story is that you CAN make kombucha using the SCOBY in GT’S brand still.  Maybe not consistently.  Maybe only from the original flavor.  Maybe only if you’re patient enough.  Don’t know.  But it can be done as of June 15, 2015.

Aside on kombucha:  I like the taste of kombucha.  I appreciate how many B vitamins are in there.  The B vitamin content is darn good.  I love the byproducts the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii makes which helps us and our GI tracts.  However, all things must be evaluated on an individual basis, especially in people who are pretty immunocompromised.  Really would be best for these people to talk with their doctor before using it.  Personally, I just don’t feel tops drinking kombucha regularly.  I don’t know if it’s a cross-reaction between the yeast and something my body doesn’t like.  Or if it’s too much B vitamin activation going on for me.  Or changes in my bacterial flora as an effect of the kombucha.  Or if I’m just a crazy woman who thinks food can make me grow wings.  Or toxify me.  Anyhow, my family likes it and seems to do well with it.

Do you want a little science on this matter?  Here’s a link to an article about Saccharomyces boulardii (usually the main yeast in the SCOBY) helping mice reduce weight and inflammation:  Saccharomyces boulardii Administration Changes Gut Microbiota and Reduces Hepatic Steatosis, LowGrade Inflammation, and Fat Mass in Obese and Type 2 Diabetic db/db Mice. 

This is only a personal anecdote and not a how-to on making your own kombucha.  Go elsewhere for that!  But, for the record, growing your own SCOBY from a bottle of Original GT’S can be done.  Anyone else try their hand at making this stuff?  How’d it go?  Anyone die?  Anyone cure leprosy?

Today is Monday.  Mondays can be hard.  Hope yours is a good one!

 

Terri

 

 

What’s A Cat Who Can’t Hear?

Click here to listen to some music.  It’s Indiana’s (United States) state song.  A song from my childhood.

I was standing at our homeschool association’s annual track and field day event, chatting with another mom that I don’t know too well.  We got to talking about how both of our families had moved a lot, mine around the United States and hers around the world.  How we were both raised on family farms and had never moved until our college years.  How much we adore our childhood homes and families there.

She plied me with questions.  I’m usually the one full of questions, very intense, always hearing my mom’s voice in my head, “Terri, your questions scare people off…”  But there’s just too much to learn.  I can’t help myself.  So I was tickled when she began asking me thinking questions. Here is one she asked.

She said, “You’ve moved around a lot like we have with your kids.  How do you create HOME for them?”

How do you create home when you move around?  This girl and me, we’re Midwestern farmers’ daughter (..wehome make you feel alright..).  Home is the house.  Home is the land.  Home is the smell of the lilac tree at Mother’s Day.  The fields after a rain.  Your elderly neighbor Mabel sending you home with walnut laden cookies.  And you hate black walnuts but you love Mabel.  Your mom at the kitchen sink.  Your dad and his muddy boots.

Yes!  Yes!  That’s home!  For us, it’s scary to move our kids around.  Are we ruining them?  Robbing them of the stability we both experienced and treasured?  We talked together, she and I, and I thought I’d share.

How to create home when you have no home.

Work MUSIC into your lives:  My mom sang to me, lullabies, hymns and silly songs.  Her singing was angelic despite her tone deafness.  Her arms holding me.  Her vibrating voice against my ear on her chest.  Her rocking.  Her going about life with a song, in the car and doing dishes.  Oh, but it wasn’t just my mom!  Dad played music

all the time in the car.  Different music than Mom’s music.  Loud music.  Bob and Tom.  Q95.  ZZ Top.  Jethro Tull.  Always with his silly jokes tossed in.  “What do you call a cat who can’t hear?”

The music of home.  Music creates memories of home that travel through the years and spans all distance.

The comfort of ROCKING:  My husband and I debated this one out.  Is it the actual chair, or is it the action of rocking?  We decided it can be either.  But definitely the secure, strong, loving arms of mom, dad, or grandma rocking you feels good.  When pain in life arises, sometimes you look back to the haven of that time when you were secure, loved, and protected in the arms of a special adult who rocked your cares away.

If your kids will let you, rock them to provide them a memory of home nobody can steal.  If the chair can travel with you, take it.

Share MEAL TIMES AND SPECIAL FOODS: No matter where we live, we have to eat.  We’ve struggled a lot with food intolerances in our house, and it has taken away a lot of our old, favorite recipes.  I was afraid it would take away our “special foods.”  But it hasn’t.  We don’t sit around the table anymore with a pizza box in the middle, but you will find us sitting around the table eating together the work that our hands created.  New foods.  New combinations.  New favorites.

Eating together and sharing food has to be one of the top memories from home, and it’s easily transferred to any location!  Nothing stirs memories of home more than being greeted at the door by a home cooked meal.

Spending TIME TOGETHER OUTSIDE OR BEING ACTIVE:  Being together is home.  And to walk and be outside together in each environment you live in, appreciating it together, creates lasting memories.  I know in the future, my kids will say things like, “Do you remember how hot it got in South Carolina?”  “Do you remember how windy it always was on the prairie of South Dakota?”  “Do you remember that little park we always walked to in Lexington, Kentucky?”  I once remember the time my mom played tag with my dad, my sisters, and me.  She never played much with us, but this evening she played tag.  I remember it.

Home truly is people being together, in harmony with each other, doing things together.

in the fieldsVisit the FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO DON’T MOVE:  Although we’ve moved a lot, my parents have never moved.  There is something reassuring about this.  When we say we’re going home to visit them, my kids know exactly what that means and what they’ll be doing.  They know when we’re getting close by the landmarks.

Some people, some places are constant.  And sometimes, constants are nice.

No discussion is complete without RELIGION:  I have a young woman who helps me and feels like a part of our family.  She has lived in 27 different places in her less than 30 years of life, from Colombia, South America to Israel to New York.  Her religious background is pretty diverse too, but she relates to me that getting ready for synagogue together was important to her sense of “home.”  It was a constant in each place her family lived.  Getting ready each worship day together and going all together to the same place provides a sense of togetherness–a sense of continuity.  Discussing the lessons learned (or disagreed with) in the car on the way home further fuels that sense of family.

Years will pass, but we often (usually?) draw on the religious experiences of our families.

Celebrate HOLIDAYS:  Festive foods.  Festive activities.  Together.

Holidays travel with the calendar, not the location.  Or maybe they travel with your heart and you can celebrate the holiday any day you wish.

Have a favorite VACATION spot:  Even though we move around a lot, we often vacation to the same place each Black Hills, Roughlock Fallsyear to a treasured vacation spot.  Years from now, my kids may travel back with their families to see if “it’s the same.”

Home is where the heart is.  And vacation is always a good place to be.  Eh?

Closing

What do you think?  I hope my blog is found to be a place to share ideas and thoughts.  I would love to hear what you think about home.  Are people who move around a lot better at change?  Are people who don’t move more stable?  Does it probably not matter either way–and people just are who they are?  Is it important to instill a sense of “home?”  What instills a sense of “home” best?  How do you create “home” for your family?  Is home an “energy?”  If home is an energy, then are we all being called home?

And lastly, what is a cat who can’t hear?  Careful, it bites.

Happy June!

~~Terri

How Do You Eat THAT Vegetable? Fennel.

Vegetable Series: When we changed our eating two (now three) years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. I’ve been slowly working through a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.

fennel salad and bulbWho eats fennel?  Ok.  Maybe you do.  But I didn’t.  It’s still not my favorite, but how do you know ’til you try?  Can I tell you what I love about fennel?  Bon vivant–I feel like a bon vivant when I’m chopping that thing.  Like I should be cooking from Epicurean or something.  Dim the lights.  Set the music.  Pour the red.  And chop fennel.  To serve to four kids.

Fennel tastes like black licorice.  I’ve fed caterpillars a lot of fennel in my lifetime, so I can’t say why I think of it as a gourmet item.  Butterfly caterpillars love it.  We tolerate it because we know it’s good for us.  (How do caterpillars know such things?)  I’ve used fennel in soups, but I’ve observed we like it and eat it best in a salad mixed with some fruit (like caterpillars—not fruit “like caterpillars,” but we like fruit like caterpillars do).  Something about that licorice flavor that gets supported by fresh strawberries or oranges.

So I tell you, don’t be intimidated by a bulb.  Go get one to hack on today.  I buy the whole bulb of fennel with its little, fern-like leaves.  It shouldn’t have brown spots or soggy looking spots on it.  Give it a good rinse before use.  Then, chop off the top right where the stems and leaves start.  Save them.  Next, chop off the bottom.  Toss it.  You’ll be left with a bulb and some stems with soft leaves on them.  I just chop the bulb like I would an onion and use.  The stems and leaves are all edible.  So I use the leaves and some of the stem, disposing of any that look too big and tough.

Apparently people who have allergies to carrots and celery (or mugwort–What?  Anyone?  Anyone?  What’s mugwort?) may have reactions to fennel.  I don’t think my salad will bring about any of the reported effects, but fennel oil is reported to help painful menstruation, decrease hirsutism (unwanted hair growth) in women, increase libido, stop colic in babies, and decrease bloating and constipation.  Are those doTerra and Young Living “snake oils” onto something?

Fennel Fruit Salad

  • 1 bulb of fennel diced like an onion (get a fennel bulb with the leaves on)
  • 1/4  cup of the fennel leaves finely chopped, it’s okay to get some small stems in there
  • 1 cup of diced (or chopped) strawberries, stems discarded
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup of peeled cucumber, chopped (leave the peel on if it suits you better)
  • 1/2 cup of red onion, diced
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped up
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and oil and about 1/4 teaspoonful salt.  Mix well.  Set aside.
  2. In a large serving bowl, mix together all the other ingredients.
  3. Pour the dressing over and mix well to coat.
  4. Finish the salad off with a sprinkle of salt over the top to greet the taste buds.
  5. Options:  You could also add in a tablespoon of poppy seeds or 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds to give it a nutty twist.  If you like a little more dressing, then double the recipe.  If you like the dressing a little sweeter, add not quite a tablespoonful of your favorite sweetener.

Family “gustar” report:  The kiddos blew me away.  Everybody ate their salad.  Epicurean.  So this salad gets a 5/5 rating!  I know.  We have six in the family now with the baby.  Babies don’t eat salad.  Do they?  She ate the blueberries.  One other one picked out the red onions.  Will your kids or hubby like this?  I don’t know.  Your call.

Closing

My kids are slowly learning to expand their palates.  If I had given up in the first month.  The first three months.  Even the first two years, I would have lost the battle.  Call me Boadicea.  I’m tired of marketers and government guidelines raping my children, taking the health that is rightfully theirs.  I’ve had enough.  No, kids.  Your friends don’t eat this way.  Period.  We do.  We’re brave.  We’re fearless.  We’re gourmands.  Or maybe we’re just plain folks who eat fennel in a salad.  It’s just food.  Have another bite.

Have a good one!  Eat some fennel.  And artichokes.  And rutabagas.  And jicamaAnd parsnips.  And kohlrabiOr some vegetable!  Got a vegetable you’re proud of chopping this week?  Care to share?

~~Terri

Our Fifth Grade Curriculum: Spanish , History, Poetry, and Music

I’ve provided links to what texts we use.  Most of the links are from Amazon because that’s where I find the most reviews to read from other people.  I like to read reviews.  That does not mean I bought it from Amazon, though.  I don’t get any money from Amazon or anything affiliated with any of these texts.  I am more than happy to answer any questions anyone may have about any of these texts or what we do in general!

Spanish

Spanish text we picked upWe continue to have the gift of a great, steady native speaking tutor who comes to our home twice a week.  She follows an old textbook that someone gave to me a couple of years ago.  Just something I picked up along the way that seems to work.  It moves a little fast over some topics, so we supplement with exercises from several Practice Makes Perfect workbooks I picked up at Barnes and Nobles and Amazon in the past.  Our goal has Practice makes perfect textbeen to transition to thinking and speaking in Spanish during class time, but it is painful coming.  One day at a time.  My daughter’s verbal comprehension is good, and the teacher speaks in Spanish for the class.  Moving through the book and worksheets is also par on course.  It is simply the speaking application which stalls, although I know this is quite normal.  Besides our formal lessons, we have  a wonderful college student who watches the girls when she can; she is also a native Spanish speaker and tries to speak only in Spanish to them.  Both our tutor and babysitter are great people whom we consider our friends.

I have lots of Spanish resources in my home that we rotate through.  This year Spanish, like most everything else in our home, was streamlined secondary to the birth of our final baby.  If you’re working Spanish into your curriculum, you may want to check out my other homeschooling posts on this topic.  Or ask me in the comments if that’s easier.

History and Geography

Story of the WorldStory of the World by Susan Bauer continues to be our “spine.”  Actually both of my girls completely read the assigned material on their own.  They enjoy reading it and move quickly through the assigned reading.  I supplemented this year with lots Gilgamesh the Heroof documentaries appropriate to the sections they were reading.  Some of the documentaries were a bit sketchy, and some were top notch.  In addition, we supplemented with audio tapes, like The Iliad, and books, like Gilgamesh the Hero and Greek Myths from Usborne.  History is such a fun, easy topic to teach.  Actually, by now, I teach little.

Geography is taught alongside history.  As the history book circles around to the same areas for different cultures, it is easy to hash and rehash geography so it sticks.  As we rehash the geography, I also take time to ask them what other named cultures existed in the same region.

Poetry

This year, we took time to simply review all the old poems we have memorized.  I wanted to expand the poetry curriculum teaching poetrybeyond simple recitation by either learning about some poets and their poems or learning about poetry styles.  I probably just didn’t have time, but I couldn’t find a poetry text which satisfied what I was looking for.  I settled on Teaching Poetry:  Yes You Can! (Jacqueline Sweeeney) and Read and Understand Poetry, Grades 5-6.

read and understand poetryTeaching Poetry:  Yes You Can! is a fairly brief paperback text which unintentionally mirrors our writing program excellently (Institute for Excellence in Writing)!  Topics hit on include similes, imagery, strong verbs, nouns and adjectives, onomatopoeia, refrain and echo, choosing titles,and structure.  The author walks the teacher through how she teaches poetry, even going as far as to provide some scripting for you.  I like it and think it’s a great little find, but if you’re looking for a student-led poetry text, this is not it.  (I was kind of looking for a student-led text this year.)  If you want your kids to view poetry as an expression of self, this is your book.  If you want your kids to learn how to best make poetry express themselves in a memorable fashion, this is your book.  The author also provides lots of examples of student-written poetry to illustrate how to incorporate her topics into writing poetry.

Read and Understand Poetry, Grades 5-6 is organized by poetic themes, rather than topics to learn in poetry.  I was looking for something more structured along the lines of “Meter–what is meter?”; “Rhyming patters–what are the types of rhyming patterns?”; “Form–what is form?”; and so on.  This book hits on that, but not in a logical, sequential fashion like I wanted.  Instead, the book presents poems based around a theme, and then tells about the features used in that particular poem.  Nice, but not what I was looking for.  (At the end of the book, there is a little summary of terms, but still not what I was looking for.)  My kids actually like the book, and we will keep working through it slowly through next year.  My fifth grader felt it was just at the right level for her, and I’d have to agree.  I would stick with the recommended grade levels.  The book uses multiple choice questions and also open-ended questions to “test” understanding.  At the end there is a glossary of terms and poets.  This book is very much like what I would have used in my public school education (although now it meets the beautiful, magnificent, sure-to-make-our-kids-smarter requirements of Common Core–don’t we all feel better?).

Music

Violin was a new endeavor, and my daughter loved it.  She has lessons once a week.  They’re loosely Suzuki method.  She continues to dabble in piano on her own, moving forward in spurts.  Last year we used piano theory books, and I liked them a lot.  But this year, although we still have them, I didn’t make time for them.  They got a little advanced for me, and so I need to find the answers or someone who can tell me the answers!  My daughter is also playing guitar now this summer.  It really all just sounds so beautiful.  I’m so lucky to have such music in my life.

Extracurricular

We kept it narrowed down to dance, ballet and tap dancing.  And of course the music lessons.

Closing

That’s about it for our fifth grade curriculum!  This was the year where independence took off!  It was refreshing for me!  Take care and may your homeschooling endeavors flourish!

~~Terri

Money Talks: Part Three (And Final)

Let’s just go to McDonald’s (Maybe our cells won’t know the difference?)

“I know for a lot of people it’s all about the money. I was following some folks around SafeWay the other day as they Save money eating rightpicked up bacon, eggs, muffins, butter and then started adding it up. They tossed everything in the orange juice cooler and said, ‘Let’s just go to McDonalds!'”  (Tim Steele)

What’s wrong with McDonald’s?  Same thing that’s wrong with all processed foods.  Corn oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, autolyzed yeast extract, and dimethylpolysiloxane to start.  These are not the things that our cells use to function.  For every calcium they pull out to use, they’re having to figure out how to eliminate the dimethylpolysiloxane.  For every magnesium you ingest, they have to put out the fire (almost literally) from the corn oil and hydrogenated soybean oil being incorporated into your cells.  Years of this mistreatment, and the body finally succumbs to chronic diseases:  diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders.  The body just is not getting enough of what it needs and the trash from what it doesn’t need is accumulating, causing disease.  Your doctor can’t change it.  Your husband can’t change it.  Only you can change it.

And if you have young children who can’t go to the grocery yet themselves, you can largely control the outcome of their health story.  Buying them good, whole, real foods.  Educating them.  Setting examples for them.  Staying the course, just for them.

Today is the last post on ways to try to make eating whole, real food a reasonable price.  Part I is here.  Part II is here.  And today is Part III.  Thanks for reading.

The Final Tips on How to Make Eating Right Affordable

If your family doesn’t eat leftovers well, then freeze them that night and label them to pull out later!  Then, next time you thaw and reheat them, serve them up attractively on plates so they don’t know they’re eating leftovers.

If you see veggies and fruits going spare in nature, ask!  We live in town, but people here still have apple trees and gardens.  It’s so sad to see tomatoes and apples rot in the October frost.  So if it’s getting to the end of the season, go ask if you can pick the apples, pears, and tomatoes going to waste!  Free is cheap.

Shop from a list to prevent any impulsive buys suggested by your own brain or kids.  My kids always ask for juice.  Is it on the list?  Is that what we came here for?  Uh.  No.  No juice.  It’s not really good for you anyhow.  Impulsive buys are usually expensive buys.  Make your list and stick to it to save money.

Shop around.  This is where time plays a role and makes budgeting a challenge.  But to trim costs, you really must shop around.

Fish.  No.  Not buy seafood.  That can be expensive.  But go fishing!  Go hunting!  Not your thing?  Bum food off of people who do!  Wild-caught food that you catch on your own saves money.

Eat only whole, real foods for health.  What?  I’m supposed to be telling you how to SAVE money!  How to make eating this way sustainable–not just repeat my by-line…BUT this one probably saves us the most money.  By eating this way, we dropped an average of probably 2.5 prescriptions per family member (We had terrible allergic rhinitis, all of us.).  Co-pays were running us about 10-20 dollars per prescription.  Let’s shoot low.  We were spending at least $125 per month on prescriptions.  At least.  I didn’t tally in over-the-counter stuff, antibiotics, and doctor’s visits.  Eating whole, real foods saves money by shedding prescriptions and doctor’s appointments.

Avert diabetes and high cholesterol.  For most of us, statistics clearly show we will be obese.  We will have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol—these diseases travel in packs.  (That’s a bare minimum of three prescriptions.)  These are foods of chronic poor food choices in most all cases.  Choose real, whole foods which, yes, take effort to prepare.  I am NOT hearing it loud enough for my tastes yet.  You do not have to have these diseases.  It will take what today’s society considers drastic food changes, but they are not drastic when measured against what we’ve been eating for thousands and thousands of years.  Eating whole, real foods prepared with your own hands can reverse and prevent these chronic diseases.  You tally up the cost.  (Tip:  Look around you.  It’s exorbitant.)

Your Success

That’s all I have time for today.  I want you to succeed.  Your success opens up opportunities for other people.  When you feel good, you can give to the world in the way only you can.  I sincerely believe that.  I hope you have a great weekend.  I hope you have a great life.  McDonald’s and grain flours may be a bit cheaper and a lot less effort in the short run, but it’s ruining the function of your tissues and cells.

If you have any questions about how to get started on this journey which will require much more effort than money, ask away.  Your health depends on it.

And experienced passers-by and friends, leave your tips for others to learn from!  Thanks for prior tips and comments.  You’re the best!

 

~~Terri

Money Talks: Part Two

The garden

You can use money as an excuse to choose cheap, processed foods, but when you’re really ready to dive in I want you to know, it is simply an excuse.  Clear heads, energy, regular bowels, and pain-free joints–they do not come from a box.  I know I have lurkers who wonder if they can do this.  They wonder if they can commit.  Their spouse wants to know, “Can we do it on the same budget?”

You can.  You won’t break the bank.  Read on for more ways to make eating fresh, real food more economical.  Read yesterday’s post for more.  And tomorrow’s post for even more.  NO excuses.  Effort?  Yes.  Excuses?  That’s what they are:  excuses that enable bad eating.

Learn to cook

Let’s face it.  Four years ago, I was just a crummy cook who knew how to boil pasta and mix white flour, butter, and sugar.  Since then, I’ve learned how to use most all vegetables and spices.  My fear of fish and lamb are gone.  My fear of the grill is gone.  I’ve learned how to combine what’s left in my kitchen to something my family loves.  By learning to cook, you can buy sale items with confidence.  You can use cheaper cuts of meat and spices and transform a table to gourmet, although it costs less than steak and chicken breasts.  You’ll be able to eye a recipe quickly to decide if it’s a good fit for your family or not.  Find a friend and don’t be embarrassed to ask them to help you learn how to cook.  It will save you from ill-health and save you money.

Make homemade broth

Never spend money on packaged broth again!  Homemade broth just requires leftover scraps of meat, bones, and water (or leftover scraps of vegetables for you vegetarians).  Recycling at its finest!  You’re making something awesome out of food you’d normally just throw in the trash.  How’s that for saving money AND being quite the cook?  Make broth to add nutrition, flavor, and save money.

Count the cost of what you don’t buy:  soda pop, junk food, breakfast cereal, and meals out

Spend the next two months adding up the price of all the drinks, processed/packaged food, cereals, and meals you eat out.  Count it all up.  Every stinking penny of it.  Every quick run through the drive-through for a latte or Diet Coke.  What you tally up may surprise you!  Marketers want your money.  They’re probably getting it.  Especially if you use coupons.  Don’t see many coupons for kale.  Poor kale farmer.  Save money by not buying processed foods and meals out.

Start using the fat skimmed off of meat in place of oil:  bacon, lard, tallow

I used to drain all the fat and set it aside to trash when it cooled.  Now, I’m much more likely to save it in the pan to sauté some onions and broccoli in or store it in the fridge to use to sauté chicken in later.  The fats that we can save from cooking our meats, those are the fats that allow us to better absorb vitamin D and other “fat-soluble” vitamins that we need and are known to be deficient in.  I avoid vegetable oil, corn oil, Crisco, and margarine because they incorporate into our cells in “broken” forms which need fixed.  Using left-over drippings saves money, saves waste, and avoids use of rancid (spoiled) vegetable-derived oils.

Learn to can.  Do it with friends. 

It’s fun and creates good memories.  I have tons of memories of my mom, Aunt, and Grandma canning together.  Happy memories.  I have good memories of canning with good friends too.  Canning vegetables and fruits picked at peak nutrition saves money and creates lasting bonds with friends and families.

Buy lots of fruit in season. 

Then can it.  Cook it.  Freeze it.  Just get it when it’s cheap.  99 cents per pound.

Use co-ops and CSA baskets

Sometimes it takes a knowing a person to get you the information, but most communities now have co-ops and produce baskets where you get fresh-from-the-farm produce at a good price.  Amazingly, instead of complaining, most people I know love it when they get something they haven’t had before because they like to “figure it out.”  So if you’re willing to learn and experiment, these are great!  Ask around, getting fresh produce from a co-op or CSA basket saves significantly.

Drive to the farm

Straight from the source saves money.  And many like to chat.  I’ve learned so much from our 83 year-old farm woman about chickens, eggs, cows, and canning.  She is amazing.  Many farmers are talkers and love to share.  Buying food from the farm saves money.

Ask a friend to pledge to eat 90% whole, real foods with you

Having a comrade shares the joy, the pain, and the cost.  You can split bulk orders.  You can get together once a month and cook casseroles to freeze.  You can can together.  You can share good recipes.  Going in with a partner can save money.

Make soup so nothing goes to waste

Learning to use up everything in the kitchen saves money.  Soup is a great, economical way to stretch a budget.  Of course, you’ll need to learn to cook so you can figure out how to meld all those ingredients together.   But with the homemade broth, vegetables you froze from in season, and what’s going south in the fridge, you can make some very taste concoctions.  Soups are economical.

Skip those froo-froo drinks

Strangely, this one gets people!  Water just doesn’t do it for them.  Crazy how far we’ve come when water doesn’t sound good.  All purchased drinks seem to cost so much money, even bottled water (which is teeming with plastic run-off).  Save money and your health by sticking with water in a glass cup.

There are more

Oh, yes!  There are more tips tomorrow.  Have you been reading?  If so, which tip, in your mind may be the most important?  I’m almost bordering on the “Learn to cook” one.  Probably second is “Buy it in season.”  And probably the most important concept is gathering the drive and effort.  With drive and effort, nearly all barriers can be navigated.

 

~~Terri