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Eating naturally ? Is it possible to feed my family this way  RSS feed

 
Posts: 87
Location: Ontario zone 4b
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In today's day and age i often find alot of hype around  the words healthy diet.... lately i have been very concerned about the affects of so called nutritious foods on me and my family's diet. It seems that every time i pick up food for my family there is always a problem with it ..today i cut up fruit and berries for my daughter and the berries were from Mexico and possibly radiated before being shipped across the boarders. the apples were not organic so who knows what was sprayed on them and even if they were organic they could have been sprayed with copper fungicide. I also know that my children love bread but the bread you buy from the store has fifty ingredients half of which i cannot pronounce. The milk we buy comes from dairy farmers across Canada and nobody knows what they are fed or what hormones or antibiotics  they are given. I am starting to lose faith in what i am feeding my children. what was once considered a nutritious snack has now been poisoned with something. It is also hard to not buy groceries from the store and i can not possibly provide everything that my children need by growing or raising it as i live in town on a small property. How can i provide poison free meals everyday when i can not afford all organic or source food locally. To me this is concerning and really starting to put strain on me and the eating habits of my family. Is it possible to eat nutritious food when there are so many pressures and constraints. This year i am establishing my perennial foods amongst the yard but i know this isn't nearly enough...please if anyone knows the secret to escaping the clutches of these poisoned foods( deemed good for you )... please let me know. I can't keep feeling like what i am feeding my family isn't safe.:(
 
pollinator
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Ok, you've already convinced yourself that your goal is impossible......you can't grow your own food, can't afford to buy organic clean food, and can't source clean food locally, you just can't provide clean food for your family. You've given yourself an F grade before even trying. You have failed before even starting. Ok, take a deep breathe and throw all that out the window. Next......slowly, gently take you're first baby step to attaining your goal. Yes, baby steps work. I know because I've been there, done that.

If moving isn't an option at this moment, there is still plenty you can do to start on your journey. Step one is to change your expectations. Don't expect to instantly change over to 100% all natural food this year. Set yourself a more realistic goal....a baby step. A small baby step to start.

Not knowing your situation, I can try to offer suggestions but can't be specific. Start out with some of the easier crops to grow, perhaps peas, green beans, Chinese greens, turnip greens, chard. Don't plant a lot. Just a few of each until you become comfortable tending them successfully. Once you find you can successfully grow the easy crops, you may opt to expand the planting. Even on a tiny city plot, those 5 veggies can produce quire a bit of interesting food. They can be grown among the flowers and shrubbery. Eventually you may opt to grow just veggies instead of flowers, shrubs, and lawn grass. (As a side note: my mother grew up in a row home in downtown Philadelphia. Neighbors there grew plenty of greens, turnips, tomatoes, and potatoes which they shared among themselves. Neighbor's with shady backyards...those backyards were extremely tiny....grew greens and turnips. Those with sunny yards grew tomatoes and potatoes. Neighbor's then shared their excess among themselves. My mother said that they had plenty of things during the growing season to add to the dinner table.)

On a small plot, you can experiment growing in containers, thus utilizing unused concrete walkways, margins around a driveway, margins around the house foundation, etc. You can look into growing vertically,  by trellising pole beans or making vertical planter boxes. You can try patio style veggies in hanging baskets and window boxes. There are some really cute veggies suitable for this -- peas, tomatoes, extra dwarf bok choy, fingerling carrots, etc. I've seen examples where people made a rope trellis as a "roof" over their patio, and runner beans, pole beans, pumpkins, winter squash, or other long vine crops were grown on that trellis. I've seen trellises made up against the side of the house, with vining veggies trained to grow up them. I've seen vining crops trained up the side of a tool shed, then spread out growing atop the roof. I've seen portable container boxes lined up on a shed roof, thus growing container veggies in a space normally not used. There are many other possible ideas to use depending upon your property.

The whole idea is to start. Start small. You can build up from there. Even in tiny spaces, you could grow quite a bit of food by being innovative.
 
master steward
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I've dealt with these feeling a LOT over the years. I think there's a term for it, like Orthorexia, where one is so focused on eating healthy foods, and there's so much wrong with all the food, that a kind of paralysis goes on in which you have no idea what to eat, and are afraid to eat anything.

It's even harder when you're feeding your kids, because there's that giant worry of messing them up for life because you fed them too much toxic food (I have a 4 year old and a 1.5 year old, and deal with these feelings A LOT).

Here's some of the things I do to get healthy foods for more affordable prices:
  • Eat conventional foods that are on the Dirty Dozen list. These still have nasties on them, but not so much
  • Get lots of antioxidant and cancer-fighting foods: fish, berries, artichokes, dandelions, nettle, etc. If your body is strong, it's more able to fight off the occasional nasty chemical.
  • Eat weeds and drink teas from weeds. Weeds usually have a lot more potent compounds and more nutrients than conventional foods. And, they're free! And they grow themselves! Dandelion tea is yummy. Nettle is delicious cooked. Bittercress adds a mustardy punch to a salad or stir fry. etc.
  • Grow berries! These are easy to grow, expensive to buy, often sprayed with pesticides if they're at the store, and they are full of antioxidents. Blackcap raspberry, blackberry, blueberries, huckleberries,
    strawberries, etc. These are also delicious for kids, and fun to pick and grow.
  • Buy crazy amounts of organic produce from farm stands when it's in season and can/freeze/dehydrate it to eat it all year round. Frozen stuff is great in smoothies, and kids like smoothies!
  • Make smoothies! Use berries you grow, and weeds from your garden, and frozen food from the store (easier to get organic for reasonable prices all year round if you get frozen)
  • Share a cow or sheep or pig with someone. this requires a separate freezer, though
  • See if any of the local cattlemen have heart. We got hearts from grassfed beef for really cheap because the actual buyers of the cow don't want the heart. There's a LOT of meat on a heart, but not too much that you can't get it processed without an extra freezer. It makes EXCELLENT jerky, it's full of iron and other vitamins, and it's delicious cooked up, too. Tastes like the best sausage/bologna. I felt really guilty the first time I tried it and it was so yummy.
  • Find out when your local stores discount their meat, and swing by then to get the organic meat for cheap. Our local grocery store discounts meat at around 7:00am, and my husband works night shift,
    so he swings by on his way home and gets all the affordable, organic meat.
  • Eat organic potatoes &/or conventional/organic sweet potatoes. Potatoes are PACKED full of nutrients--they have almost every vitamin you need, and you can pretty much live on them. I bake mine into fries, or make mashed potatoes or baked potatoes. Kids like fries--they can be healthy, too! And, potatoes are generally pretty cheap. You can also get sweet potatoes, which are just as good, if not better than normal potatoes. Organic is of course better, but not as crucial as it is with potatoes


  • Other than berries, I'd focus on whatever is expensive in your area but is easy to grow, especially if it's something your family likes and especially if it's on the dirty dozen. I'd also focus on the most nutrient, cancer-fighting foods. Some of those foods are Berries, cherries, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, herbs. Grow the expensive, easy to preserve foods so you have more money to buy local &/or organic.

    And, I also ditto Su on saying to just start. Finding healthy food can feel paralyzing at times. Find something, like organic potatoes, that you know is healthy, and eat it. Find something you can grow, like berries, and grow it. If you find some reason that it wasn't the best, than change. But, at least you know you were doing better than if you hadn't started. Just taking that first step really helps. Once you find one thing, it frees your mind to be able to find another.
     
    gardener
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    Su and Nicole give great advice on how to eat clean. Yes, it can be frustrating, but it's possible. I'd like to add that it is almost certain failure to try to get to perfect 100% clean eating. For my wife and I, we aim for what we call 95%. We garden and shop at farmers markets and grab a few remaining things from whole foods. A couple weeks ago, we were 2.5 hours from home and had been at our new farm all day working and things took longer than expected. It was supper time when we departed and I knew I wouldn't make it home as hungry as I was; I get cranky and physically don't feel right when I get hungry. So we stopped at a mexican restaurant and had poison tacos. Some things we absolutely will not eat no matter how hungry or dire the circumstances, like McFood, aka any fast food. 

    My suggestion, get a reverse osmosis water filter. The clean drinking problem is solved. And baby steps.
     
    garden master
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    Some of the things I have started doing in order to grow more food:

    Sprouts:  My system takes up a small area on the counter near the sink.  I enjoy watching the seeds sprout and experimenting with different seeds.  This might be a fun project to do with your children.

    Microgreens:  I am new to growing these so I am just starting to experiment.  Another fun project that can include children.

    Perennial vegetables and herbs:  I have been slowly adding these to my Monarch Garden.  Each year I add something new. Last year was herbs. This year I am aiming for more vegetables.

    Cover crop:  This year I am planning to use lettuce as a cover crop.  I plan to plant it among the flowers.

     
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    hi there i am in ontario as well and share many of youre concerns
    cant say for sure whether they use glyphosate as a dessicant on the grains
    but my favourite bread right now is rudolphs bavarian style multi grain
    it is the only one that sustains me and doesnt leave me hungry
    whole grains and starches feed youre gut

    check out canada banana farms
    he started growing foods to improve his own heath
    he has clean local bananas pinaple oranges etc

    the more people who make informed food choices the sooner the tipping point is reached
    so you are helping improve the situation
     
    gardener
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    Jordan Johnston wrote:In today's day and age i often find alot of hype around  the words healthy diet.... lately i have been very concerned about the affects of so called nutritious foods on me and my family's diet. It seems that every time i pick up food for my family there is always a problem with it ..today i cut up fruit and berries for my daughter and the berries were from Mexico and possibly radiated before being shipped across the boarders. the apples were not organic so who knows what was sprayed on them and even if they were organic they could have been sprayed with copper fungicide. I also know that my children love bread but the bread you buy from the store has fifty ingredients half of which i cannot pronounce. The milk we buy comes from dairy farmers across Canada and nobody knows what they are fed or what hormones or antibiotics  they are given. I am starting to lose faith in what i am feeding my children. what was once considered a nutritious snack has now been poisoned with something. It is also hard to not buy groceries from the store and i can not possibly provide everything that my children need by growing or raising it as i live in town on a small property. How can i provide poison free meals everyday when i can not afford all organic or source food locally. To me this is concerning and really starting to put strain on me and the eating habits of my family. Is it possible to eat nutritious food when there are so many pressures and constraints. This year i am establishing my perennial foods amongst the yard but i know this isn't nearly enough...please if anyone knows the secret to escaping the clutches of these poisoned foods( deemed good for you )... please let me know. I can't keep feeling like what i am feeding my family isn't safe.:(



    Su Ba and Nicole have given you very sound advice, so much so that I can't really add anything on that end.
    What I can and will do is give you some help with the products you mention in this post as worrysome to you.

    Berries from Mexico, these are far healthier than berries from other South American countries, they do practice good growing techniques for the most part. (the Mexicans eat the same foods so they don't really grow for foreign markets persay).
    The Irradiation you brought up is UV light, not going to give you radiation sickness, what it does is allow countries to import fruits/ vegetables with out fear of bacterial contaminations getting across borders so easily.

    From what I know about the Canadian Dairy industry, you don't have as much to worry about there either, they have limits on how much and what types of antibiotics can be used and hormones are illegal.
    Most of the Canadian Dairy cows eat diet of corn and other grain products along with grass in pastures just like the cows in the USA.

    Bread, Try to buy Bakery breads, not big corporation breads the local bakery will have far better for you breads than any of the giant bakery products at the grocery store with the exception of some of the Pepperidge Farm products. 
    My wife and I buy only Pepperidge Farm breads or she bakes them at home these days, one exception is the Italian bread by Sara Lee, she does buy that one type because she did research on it.

    Apples, if found in a grocery store have had sprays used on them, no matter if they are organic or not and country of origin doesn't matter except that anything from china will contain lead. It is in their soil so nothing can keep it out of produce from china.
    Washing the apples (in warm not hot water) will do two things; it will remove the  wax that they are coated with and it will then remove residuals.

    Do not allow what you read, hear or find out on the internet about food stuffs paralyze your ability to feed your family. Washing all foods that can be washed goes a long way in getting off the items that were applied.
    Reading labels is great as long as you understand the purpose of the ingredient, many people are reading labels but don't know what that items purpose is so they put it back on the shelf instead of finding out.
    There are things used as preservatives that are perfectly fine, far more so than just a few that should be avoided as much as possible.

    Since you live in Canada, there is a Government web site that should be a great help to you: Canadian food safety site
    It is great to be informed, but you really want to be informed with correct information and not allow yourself to become paralyzed food wise.

    Redhawk
     
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    James Freyr wrote:

    My suggestion, get a reverse osmosis water filter. The clean drinking problem is solved. And baby steps.



    I just wanted to add that I have read lots of information about RO water filters, and have reached the understanding that they are actually detrimental to our health- to what degree, compared to unfiltered water, I don't know.  The reasoning is that reverse osmosis removes all of the natural minerals that exist in water, including almost all of the beneficial calcium and magnesium (magnesium deficiency being quite common).  Apparently, when we consume water that is devoid of these minerals, the water actually has the effect of leaching those minerals from the body, making us further deficient and leading to health problems.  Essentially you have water with toxins removed, but also with no minerals, which are what helps the body to absorb and use the water.  This is a good article on the subject - https://www.aqualiv.com/reverse-osmosis-water-filter-health/

    Admittedly, I have purchased the Aqualiv filtration system and it works well for me.. I have not done any kind of scientific comparison with the water from RO systems but I can vouch for the fact that their system is an alternative, and seems to genuinely improve the quality and drinkability of the water.  It also is about the same price as an RO system, about $500 for an under the sink system with a tap.  And it has a much faster flow rate than RO systems.

    I used to add a bit of sea salt when I was drinking water from a reverse osmosis filter, to add some minerals back in and because a slight amount of salt helps the body retain the water more efficiently anyway.

    Not that I'm biased toward the brand, but seeing James' suggestion to get an RO filter, I thought I'd add this to the discussion.  It just really makes sense to me how water that is too clean can be as bad as dirty water, as in nature you will not ever find 100% pure H2o.
     
    Bryant RedHawk
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    RO water is for the most part just like distilled water, neither of which are good for humans to drink, these waters are for Steam irons or chemical analysis use, for the precise reasons that Conner Murphy states, lack of minerals.
    Many years ago I would have thought differently but there have been a few deaths that were able to be contributed to the victims drinking "pure" water for long periods of time.

    Today we know that there needs to be some minerals in the water you drink, just not lead or other heavy metals and chlorine should be removed if possible, most of the water filters you can attach to your faucet will do a good enough job almost every where.

    Redhawk
     
    Jordan Johnston
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    All of these suggestions are very supportive and helpful i really appreciate it. There are a ton of solutions then i once thought some people probably think i am crazy for feeling this way. Just like i research solutions for other aspects of life i also need to research all of the food and where it is coming from and i like that suggestion because i feel like i deserve to know more about the food i am purchasing and ultimately it is my responsibility to ask those questions just like buying a house or a car. Thank you i like these forums because i look at them as a way of providing and getting positive helpful criticism and feedback. Thank you everyone.
     
    James Freyr
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    Conner Murphy wrote:

    James Freyr wrote:

    My suggestion, get a reverse osmosis water filter. The clean drinking problem is solved. And baby steps.



    I just wanted to add that I have read lots of information about RO water filters, and have reached the understanding that they are actually detrimental to our health- to what degree, compared to unfiltered water, I don't know.  The reasoning is that reverse osmosis removes all of the natural minerals that exist in water, including almost all of the beneficial calcium and magnesium (magnesium deficiency being quite common).  Apparently, when we consume water that is devoid of these minerals, the water actually has the effect of leaching those minerals from the body, making us further deficient and leading to health problems.  Essentially you have water with toxins removed, but also with no minerals, which are what helps the body to absorb and use the water.  This is a good article on the subject - https://www.aqualiv.com/reverse-osmosis-water-filter-health/

    Admittedly, I have purchased the Aqualiv filtration system and it works well for me.. I have not done any kind of scientific comparison with the water from RO systems but I can vouch for the fact that their system is an alternative, and seems to genuinely improve the quality and drinkability of the water.  It also is about the same price as an RO system, about $500 for an under the sink system with a tap.  And it has a much faster flow rate than RO systems.

    I used to add a bit of sea salt when I was drinking water from a reverse osmosis filter, to add some minerals back in and because a slight amount of salt helps the body retain the water more efficiently anyway.

    Not that I'm biased toward the brand, but seeing James' suggestion to get an RO filter, I thought I'd add this to the discussion.  It just really makes sense to me how water that is too clean can be as bad as dirty water, as in nature you will not ever find 100% pure H2o.



    I should have mentioned that I too add sea salt to my RO water to put minerals back in it. I use "unrefined" sea salt, for lack of a better term, that is evaporated sea water that contains all the other minerals that were present in whatever seawater that's being evaporated. Sodium chloride is the first mineral compound to come out of suspension and crystalize when evaporating sea water, and some sea salts are just this, essentially pure "table salt", which really doesn't do a whole lot of good for the human body, but still necessary in small quantities.

    I only brought up RO filters as they will remove everything, giving the user a clean slate if you will, to then build mineral water. Too much bad stuff still gets thru carbon filters, but they are way better than drinking unfiltered municipal water. I'm moving to a farming community and I will put my well water thru an RO filter as I can only imagine what sort of 'cides and other petroleum based chemicals/fertilizers applied to the neighboring lands leach thru the soil and into the ground water.
     
    Conner Murphy
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    James Freyr wrote:

    I should have mentioned that I too add sea salt to my RO water to put minerals back in it. I use "unrefined" sea salt, for lack of a better term, that is evaporated sea water that contains all the other minerals that were present in whatever seawater that's being evaporated. Sodium chloride is the first mineral compound to come out of suspension and crystalize when evaporating sea water, and some sea salts are just this, essentially pure "table salt", which really doesn't do a whole lot of good for the human body, but still necessary in small quantities.

    I only brought up RO filters as they will remove everything, giving the user a clean slate if you will, to then build mineral water. Too much bad stuff still gets thru carbon filters, but they are way better than drinking unfiltered municipal water. I'm moving to a farming community and I will put my well water thru an RO filter as I can only imagine what sort of 'cides and other petroleum based chemicals/fertilizers applied to the neighboring lands leach thru the soil and into the ground water.



    Good point. RO is definitely one of the best filter types to get all the crap out of water, it's just if people use it they should know that the water needs to be remineralized.  Now that I think of it, I believe there are actually some RO systems out there that have a remineralizing component to them after the filter, so people must be catching on.
     
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