The Whole Unprocessed Thing

This morning when I checked my email there was one from Jill asking "...what does the whole unprocessed thing mean? i mean, olive oil and spices are processed, but it's hard to cook without them. and they aren't really bad for you ..." Good question Jilly ! I am still formulating what it will mean for us, I mean, I'm the one who decided my family was going to do it (I should mention that my husband is on board with the idea) so I'm the one who has to decide what the conditions are. I thought rather than just email Jill back, I'd respond as a post. Maybe I can get some feedback from everyone ...

There are a few motivating factors for me wanting to do this. The first one is our health. I've done a lot of reading over the years and have been gradually making changes to the way we eat as a family. I guess this is just the next step in that journey. We do eat pretty unprocessed already. Meaning, I make A LOT from scratch. I don't buy ready made meals. Or meals in a box. The only frozen stuff I buy is frozen veg, berries and ice cream. So ... what am I going to cut out ? Well ... white flour and white rice (with the exception of sushi rice from time to time - I just can't go brown in sushi !!) and all refined sugars. Trans fats ... gone. Anything that has additives ... which could be tricky because what about olives ? I'm still working on that one. Processed lunch meat. Gone. I'll miss you salami !

Basically we are going to try and eat as close to the natural state of food as possible. So ... things that don't need preservatives to make them live on a shelf for a long time, or added colors to make them look good enough for us to buy. We will be eating lots of fruit and veg. Whole grains. Nuts. Seeds. Beans. I'll be doing lots of experimenting ...

Oils, vinegars, spices ... all fine. Except, I'll be reading labels. I've already discovered that my balsamic vinegar has a coloring in it that is really bad for you so I'll be on the search for one without the coloring or just using my white balsamic vinegar.

I read a statement recently that made sense to me ... it said something to the effect of "why do we wait til we don't have a choice to make changes to our diet ?" It's true. If someone has a heart attack or gets cancer or some other horrible disease and then makes the changes ... well, that's good but I would like to make the changes now to try and avoid those and other diseases as much as is in my power to do so.

The second motivating factor is to try and get an appreciation for how valuable food is. I will only speak for myself but I know how easy it is to go into the grocery store, buy a bunch of food, eat some of it, not eat some of it, throw a bunch of it away and go get more. Rory and I have done pretty well cracking down on it this year but still ... I'll do it from time to time. It's wasteful and I think if I didn't come by the food so easily, I would not be so hasty in just tossing it away !

I'm going to try and limit what I buy at the grocery store. We have great fruit and veg stores, great butchers, great fresh fish markets, great general markets and a couple of great health food stores in our area. I'm going to make myself a regular at those stores this year ! I'm going to limit my big grocery store shopping to toiletries as much as possible ... and hopefully limit it to online shopping ! It will be a learning experience but I'm ready to learn !!

We are also planting lots of veg in our little back yard garden. I've got a great supply of fresh herbs and we're hoping the veggies we grow will supplement all that we are going to eat ! Again ... it's about appreciating the value. That there is a process to get the food from the field to the plate. One that I think shouldn't be taken for granted. My big dream is to grow enough to be able to trade with friends for fruit or eggs ... neither of which we have room to grow and raise !

The third motivating factor is my never ending desire for simplicity. Now, to some, this probably seems like I'm taking the simple out of it ! ha ha. I may be saying that too, a week into it ! But ... I have visions of having the kids in the kitchen with me more ... something they would love to do and continually ask but I haven't really embraced as much as I want to ! Saturday night will be the night we do things that involve a lengthier process. Like ... making pasta, making flour tortillas ... etc. We'll be making nut butters. Condiments. All of that stuff.

Like I said earlier ... I haven't completely formulated my plan. But, I'm very determined to do it and I've been giving it a lot of thought, doing a lot of research and planning for at least a month, maybe two now ... I'll have my plan and lists of yes and no's before the 1st of January. We're already eating through things on the no list. Last night I made poppy seed bread ... used a lot of the while flour and most of the white sugar. Those won't be replaced once they're gone.

I'm excited. I'm excited to take on a new challenge. I'm excited to increase the level of health in my family. I'm excited to see what other things happen in our bodies. Do we have more/less energy ? What changes might I notice in the children ? What changes might they notice in me ? I'm excited to slow down. Intentionally. We live a full life. We love it. But we also need slow. Simple. If our life is too busy to slow down ... then maybe it's too busy. This will be a good test. I, of course, will keep you all posted on the progress. The trails. The errors. The triumphs. The excitements. All of it ...

Does that answer your question Jill ? Maybe a little bit ?


Talia said...

This sounds really, really exciting!! Can't wait to see what you do. I'm sure seeing your recipes will help motivate me while we're on our new very similar diet!

andrafaye said...

this is so great. i am looking forward to your unprocessed adventure!! and your recipes.
nut butter!! can't wait. i'm with you on wanting a BIG GARDEN!

Teresa said...

What a great idea! This is what I've been moving toward over the past year or so, without ever articulating it. :-)Can't wait to hear how it goes!