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Monday, June 6, 2011

Part of the Journey

The more I read about a crunchy, whole foods diet, the more I realize that I have a long way to go.  Ideally, my grocery cart would only contain raw, unprocessed, free range, non-antibiotic, non-growth hormone, non-GMO, totally organic and only when I can't grow or harvest it myself or purchase it directly from a local farmer.  A noble goal to be sure.  For me, that's not always easy or practical to do.  Much as I'd like to do that, lack of availability in my area or lack of funds in my wallet often prevent me from being a purist or as close to one as my limited knowledge will let me be.  The added hassle of not being able to keep up with all of it doesn't help my outlook and even though I know it's the best way to go, it can become discouraging.  So as part of my "New" year's resolutions list, I'm not going to stress about it.  I'm going to do the best I can with what I have and keep a hopeful outlook about the rest.

Here's a list of things I can do...

Let's start with water...we have a well that produces very good water.  It tastes good, it's been tested, it's been worked hard during dry spells but it's always given us good water.  Well, the township has decided to run city water lines down our road.  They're not here yet...but they're coming!  We don't need city water, we don't want city water with all it's additives and we certainly don't want city water that's been contaminated by the frac water that's emptying into the watershed from the dozens of Marcellus shale gas wells that have been popping up in the area.  But, if you think you have an answer for me on all those counts, what have you to say about the hormones in the water? 
Millions of synthetic hormones flood our water supply from the reprocessed urine of women who use hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills.  And while bacteria, parasites, chemicals, etc. are filtered out of the water supply and other chemicals are added to "purify" the water, studies have shown that these leftover hormones slip past all the buffers and travel right back into the pipes!
Since hormones do so many things in our bodies and excess can lead to so many problems with our health and development and even reaching years into the future to affect our unborn children's reproductive organs, it's important to know what we're up against. 
If you think that hormones in beef have contributed to the increased growth of young people and the early onslaught of puberty in preteens, as well as an increase in obesity, how do you think all these hormones in the water will affect them?  Gender confused, over sexed teens in a mental fog with periods of teen rage and depression thrown in...sound like someone you know?  Are you thinking about your kids or your female friends?  Hormones cycle and so does the use of alternating hormone replacement therapy by individual.  But in the water supply it's a steady dose of a hormone cocktail that we can't control bombarding our bodies with conflicting signals.  Our reproductive organs don't know which way to turn so they start to rebel.  Excessive bleeding, problems becoming pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy, irregular cycles, increased cancer risks and other serious problems that are fueled by the fact that our bodies are overloaded with substances that are not natural controlling nearly all our bodily functions.  Xenohormones - which are chemicals that look and act like hormones but only on the surface - are everywhere.  In our food, the air we breathe and the places we live, work and play.  In this industrialized world we live in, with depleted soil and polluted air, there's really no getting away from some of it.  So, we have to eliminate as much as we can...therefore we DON'T WANT CITY WATER!!

But back to my list of things I can do...

I can buy raw milk from a local dairy where I can talk with the farmer about his philosophy on raising his dairy herd.  I can use that raw milk to make my own butter, cheese, yogurt, kefir, whey, sour cream, cultured buttermilk and ice cream.  Yes, it's time consuming and no, I don't keep up with it on a regular basis but I'm getting better at it and the money I save over buying the store brands and especially over buying organic, free range dairy products (all of which have been pasteurized or even ultra pasteurized and most homogenized) is a blessing to my pocketbook and my family's health.  You can read a little about my dairy adventures here , here and here.

I can cook our meals from fresh, raw, dried or frozen whole foods, better if they're organic but still much better than over processed "dead" foods with all the enzymes and nearly all the beneficial vitamins and nutrients cooked right out of them.

I can add the healing benefit of herbs and spices by using them liberally in my food.  I can also create as many of my own herbal remedies, cleaning products, personal care products etc. as I can.  I know that gathering ingredients to do some of these things can sound a bit overwhelming and costly but I've been adding to my basic ingredients gradually as my knowledge has expanded and my purse allowed.  Now, I have a nice inventory to draw from when I need to create a product to meet a specific need.

I can make some of these foods into lacto-fermented, enzyme heavy, nutrient rich condiments, drinks and dairy by taking just a little time to prepare them and adding whey to culture them.  There are many recipes on this blog telling you how to do this. time permits 

I can raise my own free range chickens for meat and eggs or find a local farmer that raises his meat animals with access to the outdoors and unspoiled pasture land, without unnecessary use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
Check...kinda.  Working on this one.

I can plant my own fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and vegetables and raise them without the use of herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  I can extend my growing season with row covers and mini high tunnels.  I can put up my harvest in ways that preserve the nutrients and enzymes. progress

I can purchase organic grain for reasonable prices and grind my own fresh flour.  Or I can sprout that flour to make it in to a vegetable, dry it and grind it giving me a vegetable flour that is full of nutrition and has very little gluten.
Well, I'm working on this one...I'm purchasing organic flour and grain from a food co-op. 

Have I lost you yet?  My list may be overwhelming to some but weak to others who are already immersed in a totally whole foods all the time diet but that's where I find myself today.  It's all a part of the journey.

Sharing this post with Alphabe-thursdays

Much herbal love,


  1. No, you didn't lose me. I've been contemplating this very thing lately and have a tentative post in the making because I'm moving from a huge city that offers thousands of food options to a rural area that offers limited options outside of growing season. It has been a culture shock but in the end it will be good for us.
    Is the city going to force you to use their water or can you keep your well?

  2. @LindaM Thanks for your comment, Linda. I'm not sure about the water situation. I guess time will tell, I don't think they can do anything about the well but they may be able to force us to hook up to the city water and sewage.
    One thing that has helped me to make the switch to more whole foods is becoming the drop off for a food co-op. They deliver here every 4 weeks and because others in the area can also have their orders dropped here, it lowers the minimum that I would have to meet on my own. It's more handy for everyone because the co-op in near Pittsburgh and we're about 2 to 2-1/2 hours away in a rural area. Maybe you could find a similar situation in your new home.

  3. Just a warning though I'm not too sure if it applies to you and hope it doesn't. A neighbors mother had one of the last working wells in the city and eventually was forced to cap it at her own cost.
    I love your co- op idea. We are moving to an organic area with plenty available during summer, but slim pickings 7 months out of the year. Thats the real problem. Fresh food in the stores is awful. Its expensive, wilted, imported of course. We do have Amish co- ops for whole grains and some are interested in a closer distribution point so I might adapt your idea. Thank you:)

  4. Wow! And I thought I was informed on health food!

  5. We go to the Mennonite community and get our produce, it is not certified organic but they do not use any chemicals. I dehydrate veggies and fruit. I buy beef from my brother who uses organic feed. I buy free-rage eggs and chickens. I would love to make my own cheese and when I retire from teaching plan to have goats. But I live in a city so I must wait till I can move to our farm.

  6. We are trying to more healthy food at my house too.

  7. I applaud your desre to travel this path and am sure that it is something I should consider more carefully. I try to make healthy choices, but nothing in your league!

  8. @HWhen I started out a few years ago, I wasn't even aware of some of the things that I'm doing now. At least not that I could do them myself, at home! It's been a learning process and I still have a long way to go. And I don't keep up with all these things regularly but I'm trying!

  9. One of the rehabs that my daughter was in was based on organic 'whole foods'. Part of the theory of treatment being that if the body is strong and 'in balance' it is easier to resist the temptations of heroin.

    I had to stay with her for the six weeks she was in the program.

    We stayed in a tiny apartment within walking distance of whole foods, organic butchers, etc. We were allowed to drink and cook with only bottled, purified water.

    It was a very high stress time, but eating that way (and taking carefully timed natural supplements combined with vitamin C and B IV's to combat environmental contiments) worked.

    Kind of.

    First of all, it was so expensive to eat like cost me more to feed her and I then I spent on groceries when the entire family still lived at home. I mean, it was wickedly expensive.

    Their theory was that if you were in excellent health you didn't need to go to doctors, etc., but still, spending well over 1,400 a month for food for two people was out of control for us, financially.

    I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and the problem is so massive and so invasive that I really don't even know how 'normal' families can start.

    I guess small improvement are always good, but the problem is so immense it feels almost insurmountable.

    I do a lot of organic gardening and we eat a lot from the garden in the months that it produces. And then we are back to buying produce where I can't tell you the origin.



    Obviously you can tell this was a thought provoking post for me.

    I wish I knew the answers.

    I wish that eating healthy was affordable and simple to do.

    Thank you for linking.


  10. @JennySounds like you've had a hard prayers are with you. I think small steps are the way to go. There's so much to learn. We have the advantage of a wonderful, teaching, organic farm near us where I've learned a lot to help me on my journey. Seems like the government is out to stop real organic food from being grown and sold by small farmers and stopping raw milk from being sold. So, you do the best you can. You know about the clean 15 and the dirty dozen, right? If not, I'll send you the info.


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