Monday, June 13, 2011

Healthy Eating

Sometimes I pity myself for the extra work and money I have to invest to provide healthy food for Jeremy. The burden feels heavier on the days that the grocery "budget" is low (still haven't figured out a good system and weekly quantity), or the day I don't have leftovers to send for Jer's lunch and I can't just throw together a pb&j.

Each bite of food that Jeremy takes has to be considered. And as I am the cook in the house, I'm the one doing much of the considering. Restaurants, pitch-ins, dinner at friends, none of these can be approached without careful thought and planning. In trying to cut down costs and provide lesser processed foods, I grind my own grains (well those grains I have ready access to); I "make" my own flour; I'm learning to make yogurt; I make ice cream; I make chicken stock; I soak and cook dry beans. And while none of this is actually all that difficult or a big deal, it takes extra planning and time.

It can seem like a lot of work and yet, if I step back and really think about it, I am privileged; God has entrusted me with the work of bringing health to my husband!

I spend countless hours flipping through cookbooks, reading blogs, researching, and trying out new recipes. My quest of late has been healthier sweeteners that don't mess with the blood sugar so much. I've long had a thing against artificial sweeteners. Not only are they pure chemicals, but they leave a nasty aftertaste in the mouth. Coconut sugar (also called palm sugar) and stevia are the two natural sweeteners I've been experimenting with recently. Though pure maple syrup, raw honey, sucanat, and agave nectar are also in my cabinet. I do still have a bag of conventional sugar that I use sometimes, but it's not my go-to sweetener. The natural sweeteners are much pricier to keep in the pantry, but the price also makes me stop and think before I bake which is probably a good thing as we don't need lots of sweets, right? :)

One new recipe we've been enjoying lately is Stevia Lemonade (recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook). I love lemonade--the frozen concentrate kind, not the powdered kind--but have you noticed that high fructose corn syrup is nearly always the first ingredient? Instead this spring we've been enjoying fresh-squeezed lemonade. My half gallon jar is sweetened with just 4 teaspoons of powdered stevia (which by the way is the fine ground powder of an herb), and it's not just delicious, it's also nutritious. I feel good serving Jeremy lemonade for supper if he wants.

If you're interested in more natural sweeteners, I suggest you research coconut sugar and stevia. They don't work for all recipes, but they're great sweeteners to have in your repertoire.

3 comments: said...

We buy stevia on amazon - we've found it for cheaper there.

stephanie said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Kim. For now I'm buying the powdered kind at Trader Joe's when I'm back visiting family...they sell a nearly 10 oz bottle for $7! Not a bad deal.

Heather L. said...

I feel your pain!!! Although we don' have to do gluten free, it still is hard to figure out ways to eat healthy, feed 7, provide 3 meals and 2 snacks everyday, and make sure all those 5 "meals" are balanced for keeping blood sugar levels proper. UGH! It seems insurmountable sometimes.

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