Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the wholefood kitchen : little steps

Since I wrote my post on the wholefood kitchen I've immersed myself in what can only be described as an ancient food movement experiencing a renaiisance; a back-to-basics, as nature intended, simple way of eating.

However, simple isn't always easy and in changing our eating ways we are actually going full circle, finding inspiration in tradition and, ultimately, the seasons. In my reading I have discovered the wise elders of wholefood cooking and their fanatical followers as well as a group of young, stylish homemakers who are making their own mark on kitchens worldwide. There are recipes that take minutes and those that take much forethought, there are conflicting opinions and tried and tested methods for a multitude of stocks, broths and milks. The knowledge out there is plentiful, it's also highly subjective. And so, as I've dog-eared pages and bookmarked blogs I have maintained a strong and straightforward intention - feed my family well (it doesn't need to get complicated).


There are some facts and recipes that have, I suppose, become the foundation of our wholefood journey. Here's what has really resonated with me so far:

  • fruit and vegetables are essential in a child's diet but just as important for growth and wellbeing are proteins and good fats. "Saturated fats help to develop the nervous system in the early years, the immune system in the school years and aid with hormonal and sexual development for teenagers," - Jude Blereau, Wholefood for Children (a doorstop of a book but it has sat on my table for months now and I reference it every day). Healthy fats can be found in a variety of food including nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, eggs, milk, coconuts and all animals...
  • ...which leads me to stocks and broths. There's good reason behind the saying "chicken soup for the soul" - indeed, it's soul food, heartwarming and equally nourishing and nurturing. Chicken stock has become a staple in our diet and I always have some in the freezer for the 'emergency meal' (it's particularly good in autumn as we aim to strengthen our immune system for the coming winter). I buy a whole organic chicken, pop it in a deep pot with onion, celery, carrot, a few bay leaves, some fresh parsley, thyme and sage, black peppercorns, a good dash of apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover the lot. I bring it to just below boiling point and then simmer for about 7hours (sometimes I roast the chook first, place the carcass with veggies, herbs, vinegar etc in the slow cooker and leave it on for 24hours). Jude Blereau recently wrote a fabulous post about stock as a core ingredient - there's some wonderful info there. Just today, Sarah posted a great article about using the whole chook - the frugavorian way - and Beth looks into the benefits of eating organic chicken
  • for optimum health it's essential to have a healthy digestive system so nurture and support it with whole, unrefined foods, easy-to-digest grains, coconut (oil, milk, cream) and lacto-fermented foods (I adored Vanessa's recent post on the subject). Choose sourdough over yeast bread and indulge in some raw, unrefined honey.  
  • coconut oil, it's the oil du jour, but gosh it tastes good, can be safely heated and it's so good for you. I use it for everything.
  • make fresh juice every day - it's a lovely ritual, a simple pleasure, and regardless of what you put in there, the kids drink it (especially if a fancy straw is involved).
  • soups are a constant in the kitchen at the moment, especially a creamy pumpkin, chicken noodle and lemon, lentil & coriander (perfect for autumn or spring)
  • for a sweet treat I am besotted with this apple, oat and maple slice (try it straight from the oven with a good dollop of cream)
  • wholefood is never pretentious and it's always worthwhile
I think what has been most enlightening and perhaps a little daunting on this journey is the realisation that supermarkets don't sell much in the way of real food. There have been many times over the past few months where I have stood dumbfounded at the checkout; trying hard not to become disillusioned. I remind myself that this food journey is an ever changing and always evolving one; baby steps, baby steps. 

Wholefood is not just about eating either - it's about preparing, cooking and storing food, which sparks a whole new set of questions and the exploration of new ideals. What has become apparent as I've come across new recipes is the need for a food processor - and I don't own one. Do I need one? What's your most used kitchen accessory? Where do you get your glass storage jars from (aside from your recycling bin!)? What's your favourite wholefood recipe? Let the conversation begin...

I'm currently reading Seasoned and eagerly anticipating the arrival of Petite Kitchen - it's lovely to find women who are self-publishing their culinary tales. Inspiring!


78 COMMENTS

  1. Replies
    1. for the stock that is!

      dave is the king of the chicken stock here- one chook, 3 meals. Every time.

      Winner.

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    2. p.p.s we have bay leaves on the back deck

      xx

      i'll stop replying to my own comments now.

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    3. What's on the menu when it's chicken tonight? Always love ideas to make meals go further. Thanks Em. Xo

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    4. roast the chook, use leftover meat for sandwiches, curries, soups and place the carcass in the slow cooker to make more stock. The cyclical nature of one chicken. You might be interested in Arabella Forge's book "Frugavore", it's a great read x

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    5. And when you're too lazy, as Graeme and I were last night, to make dinner, we just add some miso to the stock, ladle into bowls and sit on the sofa! Fermented goodness and bone broth all in one!

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    6. I have a pretty simple philosophy Yasmine- if it won't serve my family two meals, I won't make it!

      So roast chook makes chicken and leek pie. Bolognese makes lasagne. Beef casserole makes beef pie or is served up with pasta or mash. And so it goes on.... and on... and on...

      Dave always makes our stock, i don;t know what he does, I just know i can find it in the freezer (used some in last nights pumpkin soup)

      lazy but AWESOME.

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    7. I can vouch for Em's chicken and leek pie - it's quite amazing (and comes with fancy pastry!) x

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    8. Chicken fried rice made with leftovers from roast chook is a favorite here x

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  2. I have just bought a food processor and I can't imagine life without it now. It just does things that a blender can't; it took my frugal self 3 years to realize this and spend the money on one.

    And now I use it almost every day making cauliflower rice, puddings, sauces etc, I think it's a pretty nifty little machine :)

    Favourite recipe using the processor:
    http://mynewroots.org/site/2011/01/raw-cashew-dreamcake-2/

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  3. I often feel like it's 'all or nothing' and then when I slip up I feel like I've failed myself and my family in a quest for a healthy diet. It's a process and a journey! Thanks for the reminder that baby steps are still steps in the right direction!
    X

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    1. I think it's two steps forward, one step back. I said in my original post that the wholefood experience can be incredibly time consuming and challenging, especially for mothers of young children (who come with their own likes/dislikes, allergies, intolerances etc). Simply being mindful is good enough for me x

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  4. Wow - thank you for this timely post xo

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  5. Wondering if you or your readers have any thoughts on raw milk? It seems pretty accessible here in New Zealand and I am considering adding it to our diet for its health benefits but the associated risks worry me a little. Would love your thoughts. Xo

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    1. I've literally just started exploring raw milk, haven't bought any yet. There's a lot of love for it within the wholefood community but it's something I want to read up on a little more before I commit. I'm sure you'll find quite a few comments regarding it if you pop back a little later...x

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    2. I came back and forth on this issue, and I honestly feel you have to arrive on your own. When we first arrived in Australia almost four years ago, I started buying raw milk but I hadn't done enough research to have me feeling completely confident about it. When other people expressed other concerns, I admit that I wondered too. We've always drunk non-homogenised milk (that to me is a basic), but over the past few months we've gone back to raw milk. I have 100 per cent belief in it now; I've read countless articles and I've listened to several people like Sally Fallon speak online. I know it's the right thing for us, especially my children, and I'm very lucky that I have access to amazing raw milk locally, but it took a long time of me immersing myself in wholefood thinking and the best foods to nourish and the best ways to support young immune systems before getting to this point. You have to get to the point where it feels like the right thing. x

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    3. This is a big one for me too - and ultimately I think it depends on your source and whether or not you trust them. I drink raw milk when we can get it - and ours comes from a local farmer who has 20 cows and sells his milk exclusively raw to our local community in the area. The things I would look for in a source are: 1. a wide community level of support; 2. a small scale operation, 3: exclusively sells unpasteurised/raw products and 4: you feel you can trust them. It took me a while to go through this thought process and conclude that I will drink raw milk/yoghurt/cheese from our local source - and if I changed areas I'd go through the same thought process to decide whether or not I'd drink raw milk from a new source. Hope this helps, I'm here in NZ too :-) xx

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  6. Perfectly said, lovely tips. I agree with Clare, I sometimes forget that it's not always all or nothing, so it's heartening to have the reminder that the right direction can be a touch slow going sometimes - thank you for that.

    Oh my, I probably can't live without Aloe Vera, I use it for everything. A few drops on the gums with a tiny pinch of turmeric for teething or burns or even rashes; a portion in our daily pot of green tea to keep skin clear and healthy, and livers clear of toxins; a drop or two in the nose to soothe irritated nerves during headaches... the possibilities are near endless.

    Looking forward to seeing more from this series, and glad to see you are feeling a bit better!

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  7. A really valuable post for me. I am off to look at some of your links... We started on this journey a few months ago and like you we are taking baby steps... Lisa x

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  8. I love my vegi and herb garden, it has changed the way I cook for my family. Now if only I could grow fruit. Of late I have been craving fresh juice. How do you juice yours? Do you have a juicer?

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    1. Yes, I have a juicepresso - highly recommend. It gently squeezes the fruit and vegies and creates minimal (and dry!) waste, so I know that I'm getting the most out of every piece I put in there x

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    2. That's one thing I'm saving up for. I juice in the the Thermomix so we drink pulp and all. I would like a proper juicer.

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  9. My juicer is used at least four times a week. I love it and I agree, the kids will drink anything I juice!!!!

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  10. Thanks for the mention Jodi. Have to say my Thermomix is the most used thing in the kitchen. It's a big investment (and it made it very hard for a few months last year as we paid it off) but I wouldn't be without it. You should go to a demo and see if you like it. x

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    1. But it's $2000!...not sure I can justify it just yet. In saying that, I'm intrigued. x

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    2. 12 mths interest-free at the mo! There's no obligation whatsoever when you go to a demo. Just go and eat. x

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    3. thermomix all the way. have a look at quirky cooking blog for whole food thermomix ideas! you'll be hooked. apparently great for raw foodists too.

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  11. As an acupucturist I'm conscious of the important of the whole kitchen, whole grains, seasoned food and always listening ourselves and our needings.. I'm so happy you talk about this topic! My favourite, most used element in the kitchen is a GOOD knife for chopping and all that stuff. my grandma's chopped potatoes were the best world wide and I just can't change the energy you put when you chop stuff by yourself.

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  12. Ikea have some great glass jars.

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    1. i have always found the ones at ikea don't quite seal properly but maybe i was just unlucky.

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    2. op shops are great places to find glass jars of all sizes, inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

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  13. Hi Jodi, I get my bottles and jars from Cospak, http://www.cospak.com.au/index.asp which is here in Hobart, so I'd imagine they have lots of locations.

    Also, thanks for sharing this post. The whole (pardon the pun)idea gives me the warm fuzzies. I aspire for our family to cook and eat like this always. As you say... little steps.

    my blog: http://nataliafamilia.com.au/

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  14. This is such a useful post! I especially love the title - little steps - because that's what I think of when I think about my own personal food journey ..

    Our most used kitchen accessory is probably our teapot - but we've sure noticed how great it is to have a good blender capable of making pesto (so halfway to a food processor..). As for glass jars, we're not above raiding our neighbours/the whole of our neighbourhood's recycling on glass days - and we also get given jars from friends who don't do quite the same amount of preserving as we do at Maitland .. and we always go for the ones with screw lids that have a poppable button so you know it's sealed .. xx

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  15. oh this is quite interesting. i've frequently seen the term 'wholefoods' bandied about and assumed it was to do with quite restrictive eating ie eat things as they come, uncooked, or not at all. reading your list and mentally ticking them all off it appears I AM a wholefoody!!!! (aside from we don't do fruit juice, its so bad for the teeth). i've been meaning to research oats more as they feel like a superfood to my body, i always feel so good when i eat porridge for breakfast and i want to find some other ways to use them. my best kitchen tool are chef knives, they make prepping food as enjoyable as smelling and eating it, truly!

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    1. I think you have touched on something very important in this discussion Max when you say "...they feel like a superfood to my body. I always feel so good when I eat porridge for breakfast" for me part of living the wholefood way is eating intuitively, listening to what works for our own body. For some people eating oats won't agree with their body. One thing I would suggest if you are not already doing this is to soak your oats overnight, this helps to break them down making them easier to digest you can enhance the process by placing a teaspoon of natural unsweetened yoghurt in with the water. To my way of thinking being a wholefoodie is about eating real food not industrialised non food and each persons wholefood diet will be different depending on a many factors it is not a one size fits all path and it is not something to become dogmatic or restrictive about. Happy porridge eating to you :)

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    2. Here's a great recipe for using oats in something other than porridge - they're delicious and we often substitute raspberries for the banana and I don't add the maple syrup for sweetening - http://beautythatmoves.typepad.com/beauty_that_moves/2013/02/the-pancake-bowl-and-banana-oat-blender-pancakes-recipe.html

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  16. Source bulk foods in Balmain (also in Mullumbimby) stock a great range of glass jars and bottles that don't cost the earth. I've recently spent several days scraping labels off of used jars...frustrating work but such satisfaction to see those jars beautifully lined up in the pantry brimming with whole foods!

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  17. I love this post. The thing I find peculiar is that in the media the oil debate is so opposite to what you and we know or at least think we know about oils - Sunflower oils etc are promoted for frying and unsaturated spreads are marketed as being better for you while unsaturated ones like butter, ghee and coconut oils are vilified! There is also much information out there regarding a more wholesome diet but you have to hunt for it so I guess that's why it's not as popular, well that and the effort/knowledge it takes to cook. I suppose there is so much conflicting information about 'the best diet' out there anyway. Thank goodness we can see beyond the marketing agencies and poorly researched articles in newspapers I guess but I can also see why so many people out there are confused. That is why eating a more wholesome/old-fashioned diet appeals to me, at least it's sensible and tasty and doesn't outlaw everything your heart desires. I think it's also important to not be very strict or use food in a very controlled way. Not that eating less wheat for instance wouldn't be better for most of us, just that being regimented about the exclusion of certain foods can sometimes seem to me to be more about neuroses than about actual health, and I speak as someone who was on a very, very strict diet to help with a digestive disease for many years! In the end food is about pleasure as well, not just nourishment. I love the saying 'everything in moderation, including moderation!' Lovely post. x

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  18. wonderful post Jodi! Like you I am becoming absorbed by the wholefood philosophy and feeding my family nourishing, healthy seasonal food. We get our veg box by Rohan Anderson (of Whole Larder Love) and I make most meals from scratch whilst also preserving the integrity of the ingredients. My food processor just broke, so I'm on the hunt for a new one too...I love it, and would highly recommend it. I make our own peanut butter, it's great for shredding veggies for a coleslaw, pureeing soups and sauces...the list goes on. I've just discovered black rice and love it as part of our meal. I make our own muslie (sugar free) for breakfast and whole food snacks for the kids are make weekly and for lunch box snacks. I am so keen to try and make stock, it really does sound easy! I think an whole organic chicken will be on my shopping list next week.
    Thanks for sharing and for opening up a great discussion xx

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  19. I find myself making more and more things at home...I know what is in them and quite frankly, they just taste better.
    I always make my own yogurt and bread now.
    Both are so easy that I can't believe I didn't start making them at home earlier!

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  20. Great post. Jude B is my whole food hero. I've learnt a lot of the basics- soaking, preparing- from her. I have to say using your own recycled glass jars for storage is really satisfying (and very good for the environment, why buy when you can re-use). Soon enough you find a size and shape you really like that is perfect for different needs. Food Co-ops are often very good places to score glass jars. As is buying dairy products that come in glass jars - they often have very good lids. Enjoy your exploration. Nat x

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  21. Love this post! I've been exploring a new way of eating (and being) also and it's a constantly evolving process. I'm really enjoying visiting my local farmers market and wholefoods shop to buy my groceries, I've cut down my supermarket visits to only once per month! I too have been thinking about a food processor, but I've been finding that there are heaps of things I can make without one so for now I'm saving my pennies. My blender does a pretty good job with a lot of things so it will do for now. Oh! I find a lot of glass jars at op shops, even the local tip shop if you have one will usually have some.

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  22. I'm with Em and three different meals from one chook.
    Roast chook the first. Vegie stew with the chicken stock. Then thickened and encased in pastry for pasties for the third. Lasts us nearly a week.

    I'm trying to use coconut oil more often here too.
    x

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  23. Hi Jodi, I confess I have happily 'lurked' over here at your beautiful blog for quite some time. But when I read this post I simply couldnt resist saying a proper hello. : )
    We have very recently started down the wholefood, gluten-free path - my 7 year old has recently developing new allergies and has always struggled with asthma and croup. Even at this early stage I can't believe how much my views on how we eat have changed - I totally relate to your supermarket delirium and yet I could never go back. I now realise that we need to plan more to eat nutritious food with seasonal ingredients, be much more aware and informed and be prepared to cook so much more. Convenience foods are just not an option. The sad part is that the life has become so fast it doesn't easily leave the time needed for beautiful slow cooking and preparation. But the rewards are so great that, as you mention, a balance has to be found and new recipes are a blessing - thanks for all your lovely links, I look forward to trying the lemon lentil and coriander soup.
    As for kitchen accessories I have a food processor which I don't use much - I suspect that might be changing - but my sister has an electric slow cooker that she absolutely swears by.
    This recipe makes gorgeous moist muffins and everything just whizzes up in the food processor: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/banana-bread-grain-free-gluten-free-paleo/

    Cheers, Alisa

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  24. We are also at the beginning of our whole food journey, but loving the way the preparation and mindfullness of what we are putting into our bodies makes us feel, not to mention the food itself! A few weekends ago I entirely overhauled our pantry with glass jars and I got most of them from discount stores and op shops. I only just purchased Seasoned last week, and am looking forward to the next installment. A favourite in our house has been a creamy curried parsnip with butter bean soup. I'll send you the recipe - it's delicious! x

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    1. you should blog that recipe, I'd be interested as I looooove parsnip and I've been on the look out for a parsnip soup recipe! x

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    2. Anna, please blog it and pop back here with the link x

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  25. I love hearing about your wholefoods journey Jodi....so glad it is continuing! As you know I am writing a real food ecookbook (well maybe you didn't know) however you certainly know I have an opinion or two on the subject!

    Wholefood means so many things to different people don't you think.....I think it was yesterday I read it was the new religion! So true huh.

    Re: kitchen processors - I have a thermomix, a kitchen aid and a magimix. If I could only buy one what would it be?! I use them all for different things, so I think it depends on what you make.

    For someone who loves grains and would like to mill their own, the thermomix would be great. I use mine mostly for making breadcrumbs, blitzing parmasen and making egg shell powder (a wonderful source of calcium for those who can't tolerate lactose)

    For making the mixture for my ice-creams and batters for cakes I use the kitchen aid.

    I love cooking on the stove, so cooking in the thermomix doesn't appeal to me - other than custard - 7 minutes and perfect warm custard - its the perfect pudding! (and daily snack at that!)

    All your staple foods sound great...why not add ice-cream...seriously!
    http://www.thenutritioncoach.com.au/anti-ageing/ice-cream-bringing-back-a-perfect-food/

    So glad you liked the slice - thanks for linking to me

    x


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    1. Can't wait for your book, Natalie. And yes, I found The Nutrition Coach's ice-cream post fascinating x

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  26. I loved reading this, thanks Jodi. x

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  27. I can relate to so much of this post Jodi :) our journey has been slow and challenging, I still have a long way to go but find your recipes and tips inspiring. Thanks! I bought a new blender last year and use it often to make green smoothies and juices. Ollie-8 years- loves the (non green) drinks if I add the special straw :) another positive step forward has been my meal planning and preparing every Sunday- my fridge is filled with Tupperware that Ollie can access anytime filled with crunchy snow peas/beans/carrots and fresh pineapple/rockmelon/oranges. I endeavour to read and learn more about whole foods but at the moment we are all loving that simple recipie you posted a while back with kale/beans/broccoli etc, lightly cooked in coconut oil. I added red cabbage for colour and crunch and we've had it weekly, yum :)

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  28. I had the luckiest score at the op shop last month. Great sealing glass jars. But I've wondered the same thing many times before.

    Regarding a food processor: don't buy one until you've considered a thermomix.
    x

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  29. I've gradually been changing my family's eating habits over the last few years since I have become intolerant to wheat and dairy (lactose). I recently invested in a food processor and I love it. It's much easier to prepare whole foods like nuts when cooking and baking this way, and cheaper if you can do some of the preparation yourself. I'll have to check out those blogs and books, thankyou. :)

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  30. I am also on a slow path to wholefoods, although I think it's probably a lot slower than yours. In making a birthday cake this week I wanted to layer the base of an ice cream cake with sponge cake and I can not make a sponge to save myself. Have tried many a time and it's no good. I thought I'd indulge and buy one from the shops. I looked at the list of ingredients and I just couldn't do it. I made a biscuit base instead using my very new mini food processor! I have resisted for years as well. I'm reluctant to buy appliances if I don't know if I will use them. But I spotted a $15 mini food processor and figured I'd give it a go. And it's great. I regret not getting a larger one already!

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  31. As you know Jodi this topic is very close to my heart, in fact I dedicated much of my waking (&possibly dreaming) life to it! It is a wonderful, honest and inspiring post you have shared. I think that the growing interest in wholefoods, that is real food non-industrialised food, is a direct result of the poor health that so many people and our beautiful planet suffer. Either people are not well or, like myself they want to look after their health and understand that food really is medicine and also that food really does impact the health, well-being and behaviour of our children as well as their physical development. I am not at all into gadgets and gizmos, I had been getting along just fine with only a blender in my kitchen until my mother in law bought me a mini food processor and it was so handy for making pesto and dips that I fell in love with it...then it broke because I attempted to blitz dates and nuts in it. So I replaced it with a full size food processer from Target I paid $25 for it and it is going great guns, it can handle nuts, dates, pesto, dips, sauces. I am totally happy with it. As for the thermomix I just cannot in a million years justify the expense. I have a number of friends who have them and they have mixed reviews. One friend whose two sons had serious allergies loves it because she can grind flour and use it to create things particular to their diet, I have another friend who is a chef who says "very expensive blender". Do go to a demo though if you are curious it will help you decide. I have a wholefoods step-by-step series planned on my blog that will cover ingredients, equipment, cooking techniques and so on. One step at a time as you say. xx

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  32. hi jody and nice to meet you. In Italy we use in everyday life something special: extra virgin olive oil, which is a “good” fat and upon which the Mediterranean diet is based. Olive oil and fruit and vegetables are what make our diet sooooo healthy and "natural", and that's one of the reason I'm so happy to live here. Thanks for the inspiration jody: whether you speak about kids, breastfeeding or .... food.
    Veronica, mum of three

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  33. We have a Vitamix blender. I gave away my food processor because the Vitamix does everything I need. Smoothies, whole juices, chopping, dicing, pureeing, hot soups, sorbet, ice cream. It's amazing. Expensive..but worth it! Thanks for doing this summary of your family's whole food journey. Going to share it!

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  34. I love my tea pot & ball mason jars!

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  35. www.ballmason.com.au in case you're interested :) tried them in US & fell in love - so many uses, great glasses, storage, great for candles

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  36. I went on the same whole-food exploration last year after reading several books from John Pollen. It's definitely hard to change a lifetime of eating habits, but like you said, it's all about baby steps! My most prized kitchen gadget is my immersion blender, it can do most of the same jobs as a blender or food processor but right in your mixing bowl/pot. I used it all the time this winter to mix soups!

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  37. I've been all about the chickens for the last year or two. Buy them whole, break them down into parts for roasting and then use the carcass/innards for stock. It's cheaper, healthier and far tastier than the pre-butchered and store bought varieties. Here's my very simple and easily altered stock recipe: http://www.thebookofjimmy.com/chicken-butchery-what-to-do-with-the-leftover-carcass/

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  38. I have discovered glass containers are cheap at IKEA, on Amazon.com, & thrift stores, actually. They are easily sanitized, so it's not something I worry about. But yes, I also save glass containers from other foods we are finished with, & collect them from friends & family's recycling bins as well. :)

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  39. I second the immersion blender and canning jars. I have managed quite well without buying anything else. That said, we bought an old upright deepfreeze quite cheaply from someone's barn. I use this for storing much of the summer's bounty from our garden, as well as things like stocks, breads and meats I find on sale.

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  40. I too love coconut oil. Especially on some stove top popcorn!

    The food processor - it took me many years to get one, they are pricey. But for the things I use it for I can't imagine not having it. The thing is amazing.

    glass jars - we do Ikea mostly. or thrift stores.

    raw milk - I truly believe if you do dairy it should be raw. We aren't doing raw right now though as our source is kind of hard to get from at the moment. So I buy organic and just have to hope it's good enough. baby steps.

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  41. I've got a collection of antique mason jars passed down from my grandmother that are bright blues, peculiarly shaped, and otherwise just lovely. Those are for using as vases, holding spools of thread, and keeping my grandmother close. For actual canning purposes, as our only drinking glasses, and storing stocks, etc. we use the regular Ball or Kerr mason jars that you can pick up at any grocery store or yard sale. I'm curious, are they harder to find in Australia? If they're hard for you to find or more expensive there because they're uncommon, I would be happy to ship you some. We buy our pint jars in packs of 12 for about $8 US dollars.

    I love when you blog about eating whole foods because I am so passionate about that lifestyle!

    Sometimes I can get caught up in the fanciness of recipes that call for thirty different exotic ingredients that are surely healthful but complicate the issue at hand. We keep it simple. For us, eating local has become a great priority. We make sure to buy our meats and dairy from local farmers so we can be aware of the circumstances they came from. We try to buy our vegetables from the farmer's market, if we can't grow them ourselves. We do our best, but then we don't hold ourselves guilty for the areas we fall a bit short. We're two college students who want to do everything they can to help the environment and eat well, but at the end of the day we can't sacrifice the ability to pay rent or utilities so that we can get some organic crackers.

    Outside of the meat, dairy, and produce, we often compromise on the "local" and "organic" side of things, or we just try to make it ourselves--like breads.

    The mindset we try to keep is to eat like a pioneer. Did humanity eat it a hundred years ago? If so, we'll go for it! If not, though it might be a tasty meal, we omit it because it usually means it will be more expensive and very complicated. You posted about a book, Frugavore, ages ago and once it was finally available in the states I bought it. I don't follow that lifestyle one hundred percent because meats make me a bit more nauseated than they made the writer and I can't imagine cooking with animal fat because of my aversion. The book is full of so many wonderful concepts though. Soups made from home, nutrient-dense breads, and lots and lots of vegetables and fruits are prevalent in our home.

    ***
    Right now we have hundreds of little tomato seedlings and a plethora of other seeds to plant. In two weeks we move to our cabin and can begin tilling the land and really start our farming adventure. The home we're moving to has a root cellar and in that we plan to can and store much of the spoils of our growing season. Our goal is that from the last harvest (in late October) to the next one the following year, we won't have to buy one can of tomatoes, salsa or spaghetti sauce. This year we are working very hard to become the producers of as much of our food as possible. We've been limited in space up until now and are really diving into this with as much fervor as two bodies can contain. We're able to have chickens, too, which will be wonderful for a steady supply of eggs. We're getting back to basics.

    Also, I don't have any kitchen gadgets so to speak... No fancy choppers or anything. Just a good knife--and a food processor. I find it's absolutely indispensable. We use it for making smoothies in the mornings, vegan "ice cream" which is frozen bananas and some vanilla extract pulsed till it becomes smooth and creamy like the real treat. For making soups, for making sauces, and I've used it for making bread dough, too. It seems nearly every recipe I go to in the autumn or winter calls for a food processor to aid.

    My, this is long. Apologies!
    Jo Farmer

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    1. P.S. I use coconut oil as my face and body moisturizer, straight from the jar. All hail the coconut!

      P.P.S. I just noticed the comments about raw milk. We can buy it in the states, though each specific state has its own laws about it. I've been buying raw milk for a while now to make cheese and to use the cream for butter but we don't drink it straight quite yet. A few books I've read have said to begin incorporating it into your diet by cooking it into something to dilute its power a bit... make it into cheese or a sauce. Make yogurt. Then slowly work your way into having it by itself, raw, after your body has acclimated to the healthy bacterias. It's the way to go about it to reduce the chance of getting sick. Also, large companies sell it and may meet the industry standard for health, but it's much safer to buy from a small, local farmer that you can personally check out, and where the farmer can check on each cow every day for signs of illness or something gone awry. I hope some of that was helpful, not bossy. I didn't intend to be bossy! I just did a lot of reading around before I began purchasing it for our family.

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    2. I'm curious to know if anyone is concerned with the use of coconut oil and its affect on rainforests being culled and therefore all the animals reliant on it? I don't know alot, only from talking to a zookeeper outside the orang-utan enclosure at the zoo who was saying to be wary of coconut products as "most" aren't sourced sustainably.

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    3. A valid concern. One that I, too, share.

      Personally I buy Dr. Bronner's. You can read about their story and their commitment to sustainability here:
      http://www.drbronner.com/coconut_oil_from_sri_lanka.php#tab-2

      Jo Farmer

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  42. Wonderful post and wonderful links! Our journey of eating more whole foods began several years ago after reading Animal, Vegetable. Miracle which spiraled into watching many a documentary and more and more reading. Even after years of trying to eat better, we often find living in southern california can be difficult if you want to eat healthy. There are just too many fast food places too close and not enough space to grow things. We visit the farmers market every week for local produce, we are trying to grow some produce in our small yard and we buy our meat products at a local butcher. We cook everything from scratch but have really just touched on the whole foods movement. I would love to learn more about canning and raw products.

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  43. I just made ice cream with only full fat coconut milk and maple syrup-so yummy!

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  44. I have a food processor and I just got a Vitamix. Vitamix are so over the top expensive in Australia, we pay double the US price. However, I am liking it, and if you want to grind your own flours from oats, barley, other grain etc, it is quite a fun thing to have. The smoothies I make are much smoother (good for making greens taste better) and it works so fast, and is easy as anything to clean. The food processor I used to use for pureeing soups and blending frozen bananas for vegan ice cream and nutty/dried fruit type mixes for things like bliss balls. All that can be done in the vitamix so I don't think I will have much use for the food processor anymore. However, the food processor can also grate, chop etc, but I have to confess I have never even touched most of those attachments, though my mum uses hers in that way often. I also occasionally used the food processor as an alternative to a stand mixer to quickly blitz a cupcake batter. Also used it for cheesecake. However the Vitamix cookbook has lots of recipes that use it in this way too, so it looks like it pretty much replaces the food processor if you don't mind chopping and grating by hand.

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  45. I recently started this journey as well. although this is the way I grew up really. I come from the south of Italy so for me eating local food, fresh fruit, vegetables and eating meat, drinking milk that you know exactly where it comes from is something it was never questioned in my family. Only now I realize how lucky I have been.However, I don't live in Italy anymore and this of course has some challenges, this and the fact that my youngest son who is only 18 months is allergic to several ingredients, pushed me even more to avoid completely any processed food and cook everything from scratch. As you say, it doesn't have to be complicated, just healthy and nourishing.Ah and my favorite kitchen gadget is my immersion blender, small and useful to blend creamy soups!

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  46. The wholefood journey is a great one to be on. Just knowing that I am doing the best I can to nourish my family is a great feeling. I've also been finding alternatives to sugar in my baked goods and no one has noticed a difference. I get all my glass jars at op shops. I can always find quite large jars and some different shapes and sizes. I think they look great in the pantry. Another thing I've noticed is that our recycling bin now contains a lot less waste, with so much less pre packaged items being purchased. It really is win win all around.
    Thank you for your recommendations and links above.
    Milina x

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  47. Some great advice and beautiful (stunning) photographs, Jodi xx

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  48. Wonderful, thank you for sharing your journey. Health issues have had me re-assess lately...after many years of eating well lately I realize I have been getting lazy! Reading your post co-incides with my own re-emerging consciousness about eating for an optimum me.

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  49. I have to say I've been a little obsessed over the whole food thing lately. Although we had always followed an organic way of eating, I recently made some drastic changes due to niggling health issues such as low energy - cutting out wheat and reducing grains being the biggest change. I've begun incorporating fermented foods and beverages into our diet. We're eating more real foods - nuts, eggs, soups, salads, cheese to name a few and finding that we feel so much better for it. Favourite recipes? I love Sarah Wilson's recipe for granola and her chickpea snack (in I Quit Sugar). Nourishing Traditions has some wonderful traditional recipes (though time consuming in regards to soaking). The kids love the buttermilk biscuits and the buckwheat pancakes. I have Jude's book Coming Home to Eat and it is one of my favourites.
    Everyone is different, from one family member to the next, so it is all a learning journey. But a delicious and incredibly interesting one at that. I wrote a blog post on this last week and I don't think any other subject encourages a more interesting discussion in the comments (as I see here!).

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    1. so happy to hear that you've found a path that works for you and your family, Tania. And thanks so much for suggesting those recipes. What I have discovered over the past few months is that some recipes just don't work or aren't nice (I made a horrid coconut bread the other day) and I get so cranky about the waste of food! Recommendations are often fool-proof, in my experience ;) x

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