August 19, 2009 by Stacy McDonald

Nourishing Families

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The following article was taken from the Fall 2004 issue of Family Reformation Magazine. Here, mother and grandmother Terri Fisher shares with us some helpful ideas for good, wholesome eating:

Summer conjures up idyllic scenes of long sunlit days, evenings that linger in a deep blueness, the wetness of water play, lazy summer road trips, and blazing tiki torches. Parents of school-aged children revel in the change of pace. Dinner might be at a leisurely eight o’clock rather than the punctual six. Waking up doesn’t always have to be at the crack of dawn. The rhythm of the seasons reminds us of the variety of days and natural phenomena that God the Father, through Jesus Christ, has given us.

As parents, we are shepherding our children in a multitude of ways, teaching spiritual truths, manners, sportsmanship, money management, etc. However, teaching our families why it is important to eat well is often neglected and is sometimes even regarded as fanatical or overbearing. But study after study shows that what we eat matters and that it can have a long-term, even a generational, impact on our health. Summer is a great time to start making some fun changes for the better.

Follow these general guidelines for choosing foods to nourish your family:

· Buy fresh, rather than frozen.
· Buy local, rather than imported.
· Buy organic.
· Buy whole foods.
· Make everything you can from scratch.

It does take a little longer, but the results are worth it! Most prepared foods are loaded with bad fats, bad sugar, denatured flour, MSG, and preservatives. Processed foods, containing ingredients that have been significantly altered from the way the Lord made them, no longer have most of the nutrients that they are supposed to contain. Our bodies can only do their job to protect and heal if we give them nutrients—not just calories—on a daily basis. These nutrients—which include vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients—are found in the foods mankind has been eating for millennia. Seeing a list like that makes us appreciate the wonder of it all!

What can we do to enjoy this season of bountiful blessing? First, teach your children to notice and enjoy all the things the Lord has provided for us during this season. Particularly, take joy in the huge variety of fresh fruits and veggies at your fingertips.

At least 90 percent of our population does not eat enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. How much is enough? The current recommendation of 5-9 servings a day will greatly benefit your health and potentially prevent many serious diseases. A serving is usually considered to be ½ cup, so that is a minimum of 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Now who among us manages that?

It is no mystery why disease rates are escalating; lacking the nutrients needed, our bodies can’t fight the good fight. Our cells come under attack and do not have the resources to defend themselves. For instance, could there be a connection between the higher rates of skin cancer and the low rates of eating fruits and vegetables? These are the very foods that provide antioxidant protection from ultraviolet rays. God has a plan—we just need to follow the blueprint!

Improving your family’s health can be done one step at a time, and summer is a great time to take those first steps. Add as many fruits and vegetables to your daily diet as you can. Aim for variety for a broader diversity of nutrients. For breakfast consider serving homemade granola with fresh peaches, berries, bananas, or all three. A high-quality yogurt with a teaspoon of protein powder and fresh fruit is great for breakfast or lunch on a summer day; the added protein keeps the blood sugar steady for a longer period.

For lunch, include some raw veggies or a homemade vegetable soup, along with sliced fruit. Always include a protein source with the meal, such as cheese, meat, or eggs. Protein is essential for every bodily function. For dinner, serve both cooked and raw veggies. Try carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower sauteed in olive oil and garlic, with a little water added for steam, or a freshly tossed salad that includes red peppers, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and Feta cheese, served with an olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Many delicious bread, muffin, and dessert recipes incorporate fruits or vegetables, and fresh, ripe fruit—such as peaches and cream—is always wonderful for dessert. Did you know that carotenoids, phytonutrients found in darkly colored fruits and vegetables, are only absorbed by attaching to a fat molecule? So the carotenoids in the peaches need a fat molecule (from the cream) to attach to for absorption. Some of our old traditions and favorite recipes were very healthful before the research even proved why!

Following is [Terri Fisher’s] favorite granola recipe:

9 c. oats
3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1½ c. coconut (unsweetened)
1½ c. wheat germ
1½–2 c. nuts of choice
Mix the first five ingredients together in a large bowl. Then blend together the following ingredients:
¾ c. water
1½ c. oil (cold, or expeller pressed)
1½ c. brown sugar, or honey
4 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ Tbsp. sea salt

Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix well. Spread out over two or three large cookie sheets and bake for 45 minutes at 250 degrees. Turn the granola gently, then bake an additional 15 minutes. It should be toasted lightly brown; it will continue to get crunchier as it cools. Keep in airtight containers. Enjoy!

Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved



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14 Responses to “Nourishing Families”

  1. madgebaby says:

    I agree with this with one exception: for many families, frozen fruits and vegetables are a convenient, economical source of nutrition that has far less of an impact on the environment than most produce (given that most non organic produce is grown and shipped from far away and loses many nutrients in the process.) Of course, fresh and local is best, but for many that is not a realistic goal all of the time. Far better to eat frozen veggies than none at all or canned!

  2. Stacy McDonald says:

    I agree with you, Madge. In fact, sometime frozen is better than fresh because there are times when the "fresh" we get is not all that fresh by the time we buy it. Often frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen right after they are picked, retaining much of their nutrition.

    We just finished freezing 2 dozen quarts of fresh peaches we picked ourselves (thus the photo in this article). This will give us fresh peaches for smoothies all winter long (hopefully). LOL

  3. Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family says:

    I LOVE your blog! I have soooo much to learn when it comes to being a good mother and wife to my husband! I am definitly going to keep coming back to read more and more :) And recipe help too! FUN :) I am determined before Jeremiah comes home that I will be better at all this and I will cook more nutrisiously because I think Nutrition will make a big difference for him and for my Noah!

    Thanks and Blessings,
    Tami
    PRAYING JEREMIAH HOME QUICKLY
    http://www.tillGodbringsthemhome.blogspot.com
    Tamijoysisemore@aol.com

  4. Step says:

    I can relately greatly to this article. I'm on a quest to rid our diet of processed foods. Fortunately, I like to cook! We're really enjoying the bounty of our garden right now and I can't wait to start canning tomatoes and apples (we're in apple country here in Michigan) in the next month or so. Stacy, those peaches sound yummy and a pineapple-peach smoothie is my favorite!

  5. Ann says:

    When we overhauled our diet several years ago and started to look in the Bible for nutritional advice, it made a big difference to the health of my family… no visits to the doctor for reasons of illness in years. I wrote a post about this called 'A Journey into Health' on my blog. We implement many of the principles outlined … wholefoods, organic and absolutely no additives. I really do believe we need to be diligent in looking after our physical bodies which are after all the temple of God's Holy Spirit.

  6. madgebaby says:

    the cherries and blueberries were incredible this year, and I froze a ton of blueberries when they were really cheap. Just rinsed them, dried them, poured in bags, and froze them. I made baked french toast last night for breakfast today and put some of those same berries in a smaller container to thaw in the fridge and honestly, they were 99% as good as fresh.

    I really enjoy these posts about how to realistically and deliciously move to a whole foods diet for a family!

  7. Stacy McDonald says:

    We did the same thing! A friend gave us a ton of blueberries from her parents' blueberry plants and we froze them in baggies.

    We put them on top of yogurt in the mornings, a well as in smoothies and on granola. We haven't made blueberrie pancakes in a while. Hmmm…I have a recipe for soaked whole wheat and oat buttermilk pancakes that are wonderful! I'll have to dig that up!

  8. NYLass says:

    Stacy,

    I could not agree more! I would add that something like a Food Saver – that removes all air and then seals the food up air tight has been a tremendous help for us in being able to 'keep the freshness' of organic, homemade foods.
    I also agree with the comment about frozen food – especially in the winter when fresh can be hard to come by and expensive.
    I have one question – in one of your reply comments you mentioned freezing peaches. We have done that, but ended up with brown, yucky tasting peaches after only a few months. Do you ever have that problem? Do they only last for 2-3 months or did we do it wrong?
    Our method:
    We put a portion of fresh, ripe peaches (1 to 1 1/2 cups) into a bag, remove all the air and seal the bag – airtight.
    Again, did I miss a step or does this happen to everyone?
    thanks for any help
    Annie

  9. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Annie,

    Peaches will turn brown in the freezer if you don't prepare them ahead of time. Here are the 2methods I know of for solving your problem:

    1. Sprinkle Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C) on your fruit before freezing.

    2. Dip fruit pieces in lemon juice lime juice, or orange juice before freezing.

  10. Stacy McDonald says:

    Oh – and I would suggest peeling your peaches first. I've heard the peels get all slimy and gross after freezing.

    Just dip them in boiling in water for 45 seconds and then plunge into ice water. The peels come right off.

  11. MrsHunsaker says:

    Stacy, our family has been following a very similar eating style to your family. Do you have any wholesome ways to make popsicles that turn out well? I looked up recipes but they were just sugar mostly.

  12. NYLass says:

    Thank you Stacy,

    I will try the Vit. C!

    The New Yorker in me still has so much to learn about homesteading!

    Grateful,
    Annie

  13. Christine Read says:

    This was a great blog post, Stacy! It truly does make a difference when moms make the effort to fuel their families with simple, wholesome foods. I wanted to mention to Mrs. Hunsaker that one thing you can do for homemade popsicles is to buy some 100% juice such as grape, apple, cranberry, etc. that is made just from juice or juice concentrate and pour into popsicle molds. I have some molds that I think I got from Tupperware that we use sometimes.

  14. Patty says:

    We pour yogurt & fruit smoothies or just yogurt unto popsicle molds. It’s nice that the kids can have special summer treats without all the sugar!

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