Friday, August 9, 2013

another food update


As I have previously shared our food journey with you before, I thought there might be some of you wondering how that was going. So I thought a little, or not so little update as the case may be, would be on the cards today.

We have continued to exclude wheat from our diet (though the kids still eat some when out and about), and we have now found that for us adults occasionally eating it has some pretty negative effects. I know now that that is because my body is just not used to wheat anymore. Even spelt flour (though the kids are fine with spelt). It will give me stomach aches, insomnia and leave me hungrier for several days. Which is strange when I have eaten the stuff all my life. But I know how much better I feel without it.

Wheat Belly bread with butter, strained yoghurt and maple syrup

Fortunately a properly fermented wholemeal rye, spelt or kamut sourdough does not have the same effect, and so I think I will soon (budget permitting) look into buying a flour grinder to make our own fresh sourdough. This heavy bread tastes very wholesome and doesn't leave you hungry like I find ordinary bread does. The ancient way usually proves best.

We don't eat a lot of grain these days, but we occasionally have some such as rice or porridge made from oats. I try to follow the Nourishing Traditions way of soaking grains and serving it with plenty of butter or cream. The kids eat homemade popcorn, cooked in coconut oil, quite regularly. It is a favourite lunchbox filler.

I can't say it is not difficult finding snacks for kids when you don't buy anything processed. Apart from popcorn, I also make activated nuts, chickpea bombs, crackers (all three recipes from Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar) or slice up some cheese. There was initially some "teething" problems, but for the most part the kids are now used to it. It has been a tricky and sometimes emotional process though. It is not easy when most of your peers are eating out of packets.

As for meat, we have a full freezer of it right now. Buying meat week to week was proving far too expensive for us, so we bought a quarter side of grass fed beef from a local organic farmer, of which he had butchered (or minced or made sausages) to our specifications. I was also given all the bones, which I make stock/broth with about twice a week. We also bought a whole lamb from him, and another lamb from a farmer down the road. We managed to pack it all into our freezer in the fridge and our freezer in the garage. I think it will last us at least six months, but it is too early yet to say.

Another big change here has been the now weekly arrival of our organic box. We order a seasonal fruit and veg box, cream in little glass bottles and a few bottles of raw "bathing only" milk. I was so happy to finally find a way to include a little raw milk in our diet, though budget only allows a few bottles a week. This milk is almost double the price of premium full cream milk. The taste though is a revelation of how real milk should be. It is beautifully creamy and yellow. Definitely worth seeking out.

The garden is a little dormant right now, but I regularly use the prolifically growing kale (both Russian and Tuscan) and rocket. The cabbages, broad beans, parsnip, and beetroot are slowly growing, but are still not ready.

Chocolate nut balls - though I sweeten mine with maple syprup

For the last few months we have been taking fermented cod liver oil along with butter oil. Every night I melt the butter down and add it with the cod liver oil to a a little orange juice. The additional flavouring in the cod liver oil makes it a little easier to take.

So I guess you might be asking the question is all this effort really worth it? Has it made a difference in our health? I can say for the most part yes, though it has been up and down, as we figure out what foods we react with. We found that once you take out all processed food you suddenly become very sensitive to wheat, white sugar, certain oils, some alcohol and additives. If weight is anything to go by, we have both lost some, and I fit back into my pre-Violet clothes. Daniel is back to the size he was before we were married. But the bigger indicator, I think, is the disappearance of niggling little health problems, the extra energy and clearer skin.

Some days I have questioned whether all the food preparation is worth it, the loss of fitting into society and being able to eat anything without apparent consequence when you are out and about.

The way you eat could be likened to a journey. Along the way you try to figure things out, and you might change or adapt as you go along. You might stumble many times. But there are always new things to learn. New recipes to try or books to read. Real food to enjoy. Above all it is really hope that keeps you going. The hope for good health.


Links to previous posts on this topic :

on food
the follow up food post


  1. Yes I was wondering :) Thanks for sharing your trials as well as successes. I could definitely do with extra energy!!
    So what would your dinners look like?
    I understand it is not easy for the children with lunchboxes....peer pressure is a wonderful (not!) thing and only and will only grow as they get older.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Tania. You have made some huge changes. I have been trying to do more handmade and buy less packaged items. But it makes for a lot more time in the kitchen which isn't always practical. I'm looking at dropping gluten from my diet s well to combat bloating and my up and down energy levels. We are loving popcorn cooked in coconut oil too, I find it great for popping in lunch boxes too. Have a great weekend xo

  3. I am a big fan of Sarah Wilson. I recently completed her 8 week iQS program. I feel wonderful for it but I have found I react quite a lot to the meals I've had when I've eaten out. It teaches me what I can and cannot order. It certainly is worth it.

  4. Hi Tania,I have just started reading Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz and I really would like to get into more fermented foods. Sometimes I do feel like I'm always in the kitchen cooking or cleaning up but I think the end result is worth the effort.

  5. I'm glad you posted the update. We've cut way back on bread sweets ourselves and our blood sugar is getting under control and we are feeling much better. I need to go through some newer cookbooks I bought to work in some of those healthier recipes and you are so right about eating out. It is hard not to "just order" but I know it will make me into a sleepy head if I get too many carbs. It's amazing how clear my mind is with cutting back on the breads and sweets. I've also found that people can be down right hateful about your choices and I have to be careful not to respond with any personal beliefs on food as I have been verbally attacked by co-workers. I will never understand the lack of concern people have for one another... is differences really such a cause to be hateful to another human being? Keep up the good work! Your family is healthier than most.

  6. Really enjoying these updates on your food choices Tania. One of my friends has just started the GAPS diet for her children with autism and it has quite a few similarities with your diet change. It removes all grains and focuses on meat eggs vegetables no refined sugar and some fermented dairy. You may find some more recipes that align with your plans under a search for GAPS. mel x

  7. I too would love to know what you pack in lunchboxes. mel x

  8. I think if we all work towards better foods and not processed foods the health benefits show up in behaviour, skin, tiedness or not tiedness as the case may be. I want to make sure that my kids have good wholesome snacks for school however I am no where near I want to be but working towards it. Great to hear your thoughts on your families journey. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  9. Hi :-) We are on a simmilar diet and it is so nice to read your posts on this topic, it makes me feel not quite so alone. I have an autistic son who at the age of 4.5 was doing 6 poos a day ( a nightmare trying to get him toilet trained!) so i began to focus on what would stop him pooing so much. We are doing something simmilar to the GAPS diet but he is also lactose and fructose intolerant. Basically we are all eating some combination of meat, vegtables, nuts and eggs every meal every day. The next step is tring to get him to eat fermented foods, and a fish oil. Ive also been looking into a coconut keifer as he cant tolerate lactose. We are now down to 2 poos a day and I too feel so so much better without wheat and sugar (and I suspect cheese).
    I too would love to hear what you do for luches, right now we are doing some kind of meat and some cut up vegtable sticks, my boys aren't complaining about it anymore but we went cold turky in the beginning.
    Thanks again for the post

  10. Yes I have been wondering how you have been getting on! I think I posted a comment on one of your earlier posts regarding my failsafe diet, practically the opposite of your eating. But because of you and some other blogs I have really started to investigate a more "GAPS" style of eating. In the meantime, my 13yo daughter has been diagnosed with gluten intolerance and now also has to go off dairy, corn, rice, millet, oats and yeast. Which certainly makes cooking complicated! (Coupled with my diet and another daughter being vegetarian - yikes!) So ... yes, much reading to do, much cooking, and many times of wondering "is it all worth it?". So it's good to read your thoughts.
    Regarding your children and their greater tolerance of wheat, you might find as they get older they react more to gluten. I didn't have definite gut problems until I was 40, but my daughter has been tested and has the highest sensitivity to gluten that the doctor has ever seen, yet has no digestive symptoms. We had her tested because of migraines, not sure if the gluten-free diet is helping yet.
    I always like seeing your photos of your cooking and fermenting "in action". And now I am slightly envious of you with local farms and presumably a big freezer.

    Like Mel I would LOVE to know what you give your kids for school lunches!
    All the best, nice to hear where you're at!

  11. PS forgot to say that I just got a Thermomix (lucky me!) which helps a lot with grinding grains, making nut milks, well as making soups and other dishes ... Something to consider if you're going to buy a grinder. Not cheap at all, but I do like that it cooks as well as grinds/blends.

  12. Hi Tania, I really enjoyed reading this post because it describes how our fmaily eats almost exactly. I have a local baker who makes us a slow rise (fermented) spelt bread every Saturday - working full time I just don't have time for bread making. A trick I sometimes use to get that fermented butter oil into all of us, is to mix it through mashed veggies! I bought the unflavoured cod liver oil from Green Pastures...the only way my kids will take it is if I give them a bit of sugar-free dark chocolate afterwards :) Thanks for sharing your food journey - it's such a releif to know we aren't the only ones who eat this way!!! x

  13. oops...sorry for a comment full of spelling errors!

  14. Tania I'm so curious, can you get your kids to eat sauerkraut? I've been making it lately in an effort to get more fermented food into our family (health reasons as well) and they so far won't have a bar of it. Ginger beer is the closest they get to any of my fermented things, (besides sourdough.) I'm still hopefully and slowly changing things round too though.


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