A few weeks back we were all feeling a little unbalanced around here. There were a number of random symptoms scattered between us. Tired, achy, headaches, insomnia and some tummy troubles. Nothing major, mind you, but certainly enough to catch the mama's attention and make her say hmmmmm.
We decided to take a hiatus from wheat for a month. We started taking some b vitamins, probiotics, and drinking green smoothies. I began reading about GAPS, Gluten Free and Traditional diets. To be honest, I became so overwhelmed with everything I was reading I sort of felt like we could eat nothing or that we could never afford to eat the way I was reading about. You know those moments when you read too much and over-think everything? It was something like that. As I pondered the idea of going completely grain free and read everything I could find via google search I came across this. Reading through that list was like looking around at my family. The common symptoms of mild grain intolerance seemed to be right here in my house.
So what to do now?
Having read and reread this book, I was familiar with the practices of traditional cooking, and we already eat a whole foods based diet. What I needed was a way to easily incorporate traditional cooking into our meals. That's when I came across these menu plans. Each week a lovely menu of nourishing foods arrives in my inbox. All the meals have substitutions to accommodate grain free, gluten free, dairy free and GAPS diets. The menu focuses on seasonal food, quality proteins, good fats, and soaked, sprouted, or soured grains. All written by a mama feeding her own family and living on a budget. I am completely smitten with my subscription. Truly.
In the last month we've been eating more fermented foods, making our own sauerkraut, sourdough, rich bone stocks, and culturing our yogurt for a full 24 hours. Last night I served my family the most delicious chicken cacciatore we have ever eaten and we're making pumpkin curry soup tonight for the third time this month! We've slowly added wheat back in smaller amounts and almost always soaked or soured. I can honestly say that we all feel better. Our minds are clearer, our bodies feel good and everyone is getting a good night's sleep.
We are by no means purists. Our goal is to follow a traditional diet about 80 percent of the time. For me this gives us some freedom and flexibility to be actively involved in our community food culture. For example, my kids ate several pieces of Halloween candy before they decided to give the rest to the sugar sprite, we all ate (burritos) out for dinner when we made the long road trip to pick up the big boy from school and we've no plan of giving up occasional treats like chocolate chip cookies and zucchini cake. For the most part though, these little changes and tweaks are getting easier and well worth the extra effort and planning.
After a month and a half of getting these menus I emailed a heartfelt thank you to Jenny of Nourished Kitchen and told her I planned to share the wealth of information she has to offer here with you. My hope is that any of you struggling with similar issues might also find healing and balance through food.
I really believe in what Jenny is doing over at Nourished Kitchen and have decided to add a list of links to her classes and menu plans on my sidebar for you to explore if you so choose. If you're new to traditional foods and want to learn the basics the How to Cook Real Food series would be a good place to start, or if you're interested in the health benefits of fermented foods and want to expand your knowledge, Get Cultured looks very good. With the holidays coming up I am looking forward to exploring the Healthy Holidays series next and of course if you need nourishing inspiration in planning your meals the Menu Plans are truly worth every penny. The classes are full of beautiful pictures, videos and delicious recipes! You can visit any of those links to get class schedules and specific details about the offerings of each. She also offers any of the classes a la carte if you just want to take one or two. A well categorized offering of free recipes is available here and I enjoy reading her newsletter as well.
Jenny has generously offered a 25% off coupon to all Gypsy Forest readers with the code GYPSY25. It's good through the end of November and can be used on any of her classes or menu plans. (Thank you Jenny!)
Wishing you all Nourishment and Good Health