Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chasing Life & Sharing Some Good Stuff

I've been feeling a little frazzled.  Not in a bad way really.  It just seems I'm constantly chasing down things that need checking off.

Feed the little people their breakfast.  Check.
Start laundry.  Check.
Do school with Sadie.  Check.
Hang up laundry.  Check.
Thaw or prep for dinner.  Check.
Make the little people their lunch.  Check.
Wrestle Miriam up for her nap.  Check.
Do school with Sam.  Check.
Do Bible Study homework.
Make dinner.
Pay bills.
Clean toilet.  AGAIN.
Return emails and phone calls.
Think of something I want to write about.
Fold laundry.
Fold laundry.
Fold laundry.
Forget what it was I wanted to write about.
Fold laundry.
Load the stove.
Send children to time out.
Shower (on special occasions).
Hold some type of meaningful conversation with my husband before we fall asleep.

And tomorrow?  I'll do it all over again.

None of you know what that's like, do you?

Goodness, that took longer to say than I intended.  Anyway, in the midst of all that I have these things I want to tell you.  They don't always fit into neat little posts, so today I'm just going to spit it out.  Please bear with me.  If you haven't noticed, proof-reading and editing are often a luxury my life doesn't allow for.

Saving Ahead (at no cost to you)

Okay, folks.  It's already mid February.  I hope you have your Christmas lists started (practical ideas for gifts, if you have to give them, come up naturally through daily living- not when you have to give someone an idea within a few days). 

Now that you've started your list, I need to know this: have you started saving for Christmas yet? {And, did I use that colon correctly in that sentence?  I'm feeling like I didn't and we haven't studied colons yet in grammar.}

If you homeschool, have you started saving for next year's curriculum?  Setting aside extra money can be hard when finances are tight or when you're trying to throw every extra penny at existing debt (credit card, car payments, or school loans).

One way I've found to sock away some cash is to make use of two online websites, Swagbucks and Ebates.  They are easy to use and it's super easy to ignore the incentives they offer to get you to buy/shop more.  We are trying to SAVE money, remember?  The key to both is spreading the word (like I'm doing now).  And, don't worry.  Spreading the word is guilt-free because you're not trying to sell your friends anything.  It costs nothing to join up and start earning money with either.

With swagbucks, you earn e-cards to your choice of online stores (I only use my swagbucks for Amazon credit).  With Ebates, they send you a check when you earn cash back from online purchases (use it only for purchases you would make anyway!) and referrals.  As you know, Amazon has just about everything, so I use those gift cards for Christmas gifts, needed household items (my most recent purchase was a $14 new mattress cover- ours was 14 years old!), and any school books I might need.  The Ebates cash supplements what Amazon doesn't carry.

But, here's the thing.  It takes time to let these little earnings build into a helpful sum.  So, if you're wanting to start saving for Christmas awhile, you need to start now and set aside those e-cards and that cash (and then don't touch it!).  You also need to start spreading the word about both the sites and give out your own personal link for them to sign up with so you get credit for signing up a friend (I don't get anything from your friends signing up- it's all you).  Share about it on facebook, send an email to your family and help your spouses sign up.

Just think how nice it will be to have a little bit (or a lot) set aside for when you need it later in the year.  And, if you don't buy gifts or need school books, take that money (and the off-set cost for household items bought through Amazon) and give it away.  And, you thought you couldn't give:-).

If you've signed up for either of these and have been slacking, get back at it.  Even an extra $20 would help, right?  Learn more about both here.

What Forks Over Knives Did to Me

I've watched many of the "food" documentaries over the past years- Super Size Me, The Future of Food, Food Inc., etc. They're very popular, you know.  Each makes a good case for making better food choices- eating organic, eating local, eating diets higher in fruits and vegetables.  It's all good stuff.

Then, I watched Forks Over Knives.  It impacted me more than any of the other food-related films I've

Currently, you can watch it instantly on Netflix (or request the DVD, of course).  The film uses research and case studies to present the position that animal products (meat, AND eggs, milk, cheese) contribute and actually increase your chances of having heart disease and getting cancer.


That's a pretty big claim, but Jamey (scientist turned pharmacist) was impressed with the research they present.  It hit me hard.  We eat meat maybe once a week (and that means small pieces of meat in a dish of mostly other ingredients), so I thought we were doing pretty good.  I mean, most people know now that a lot of meat isn't good for you and that you can get protein elsewhere.  I wasn't considering that the eggs and cheese and milk we eat often could be having a negative effect on our health as well.

Now.  Before I receive a boatload of comments and questions from you fellow chicken-raising, milk-and-cheese loving folks, watch the documentary, please.  To view the trailer, go here (and scroll down slightly to hit play).

So.  What did it do to me?

1) I promptly ordered the DVD and sent it to a loved one to watch and pass around.  I just had/ have to share the information I learned.

2) The next day, I went to the store and bought fresh fruits and vegetables (something you KNOW I don't do in the off season!!).  We eat TONS of fresh fruits and vegetables in the spring, summer and fall but come winter, we rely on the frozen and canned varieties.  I have always been pleased with our ability to eat and preserve in season this way.

The only hang up with this method is that (if I'm being honest) frozen and canned veggies and fruits can become less appealing than their real, fresh counterparts.  Pulling in some fresh fruits and veggies allow us to get more excited about dishes full of veggies (like stir-fry). 

This does not mean we won't be eating everything we've put up.  It just means I will start mixing in fresh with preserved to maximize our love from fruits and vegetables so dairy and meat aren't as tempting to rely on.

3) I started limiting (but not cutting out entirely- yet) my cheese, meat, egg and milk intake- choosing nuts, raw veggies and hummus and fresh fruit when I feel hungry and giving my kids more raw fruit and veggie options over the standard yogurt and cheese they're so used to.

What did it do to a friend of mine?  She was so inspired after watching the documentary that she stopped eating animal products for a month.  She lost 30 pounds.

Now, I am not encouraging you to watch Forks Over Knives to help you lose weight.  I want you to take a look at some information that we don't always hear when it comes to healthy living and eating.

So, go on.  Be brave.  Rent this documentary.  Use your critical-thinking minds and evaluate this for yourselves.  And then plan that vegetable garden ASAP.  It's more important than ever:-).

Update 2/27/12: 
In light of the excellent discussion below, I wanted to make clear my position.  I want to assure you all that local, home-grown, grass-fed, free-range is still our preference and goal.  The points made in the documentary have caused us to look at the quantity of animal products we eat.  We're not cutting them out, just cutting back.  I've chosen to purchase a few fresh items during winter to offset some of the egg/cheese dishes we eat and bolster our veggie intake.  Come spring, there will be no need for purchases like these.  I'm just want to be super transparent here:-).

No one asked me to say any of the things I said in this post.  As always, if I like something, I can't help but share it. It's a little problem I have. Pin It


  1. I too just recently watched this. Very eye-opening to say the least!

  2. Just wondering... are you familiar with the Weston A. Price foundation and the Nourishing Traditions school of thought?

    1. I've heard of it and have a general gist. What about it do you follow/find meaningful?

  3. I have a question. How many sweet potato slips do you plant? I just placed an order for 100. I have no idea if I ordered to many or not enough. What do you think?

    1. I'll have to ask the pharmer when he gets home. Those numbers are kept in his head and notebook, not mine:-).

    2. Mavis, you'll have enough to feed the city.

    3. We've planted about 50 slips each of the past few years. You'll have a lot. If your experience will be anything like ours, not all of them will be smooth-skinned and -shaped (these store the best). You'll likely have plenty of nice ones to store this way!:-)

    4. Thank you! Now I'm a little scared since I ordered double of what you normally plant. :) Something tells me I might be able to take the fall & winter off from clipping coupons... We will have so much food to eat. :)

  4. You are not alone! We watched that documentary a couple months ago and it completely changed the way we eat. What better scare tactic than cold, hard facts?! (A bonus that I did not foresee was how much cheaper our weekly grocery bill would be without all that cheese!!)

  5. Hmmm. I'm half afraid to watch that documentary because I really do enjoy meat and eggs & dairy. But, I do have instant streaming available through Netflix, so maybe I'll have to check it out anyway.

    1. I know that feeling. You can handle it. I know you can:-).

  6. I'm more concerned with the quality of how the food is produced. Around here, either we raise or can buy farm raised beef, pork, chicken and I know how the meat was raised. No preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, etc. and the feed the animal ate was clean. I seem to recall there are only 3 slaughter houses in the USA and by the time a cow is shipped days to the slaughter house, hasn't been fed nor watered, that animal is ready to eat *anything*...too often *anything* means chicken litter...yep, chicken manure. Then we go to the store and that's what we buy and consume.
    Ummm, not me.
    So, I raise/buy free range as well as have a huge garden; in that way, I'm able to eat more healthfully.
    No bandwidth so will have to set aside watching said documentary when I go to town library.

    1. I was {exactly} right there with you. And, eating meat properly raised IS better for you than the alternative for sure. This is one thing that was so interesting about the documentary. They go beyond *how* the animal products are raised to an actual component in all animal products (regardless of their upbringing) that is detrimental to us. It will be worth a trip to the library:-).

  7. Here's an interesting review: I haven't yet seen the movie, but it's on my to-watch list.

  8. I watched this a couple of months ago and it was good - certainly made me want to eat more vegetables! But I want to eat Biblically, not just "statistically". Statistics can be manipulated to prove a lot of things and while I DO NOT have a reason to believe they did that in this situation, one would need to know more about their research to be sure it's accurate. God says again and again in His Word that He would bless His people by sending them to a land flowing with Milk and Honey; both products I believe theses two doctors would eliminate from their diets. I do not believe that means we can eat all we want of meat, dairy, and sweeteners, but many people will be legalistic about this and eliminate them entirely.

    After the flood, God specifically told Noah to start eating meat. I don't know what, but something changed so that man now needed meat. Most vegetarians do not remain so for life because they find it extremely difficult to get all the nutrients they need.

    I realize that you are not going to be legalistic about it, but I think your readers need to consider what the Bible says FIRST about eating and THEN view this movie in light of God's Word. Then they can take the good from the movie and apply it to their lives - such as eating a LOT more VEGGIES than they probably already are doing, and limiting the amount of meat and dairy they consume. Despite having chickens (for eggs and meat), goats (for milk), and hunting for additional meat, we are careful to eat smaller portions, rotate the kinds of meat we eat, eat several vegetarian meals a week, include some cultured (lacto-fermented) dairy items, and fresh vegetables. And when possible, raw or very lightly steamed. The big take away for me after watching it was this... I need a LOT more raw veggies in my diet!

    1. Good points, Amy. What I keep going back to from the Bible is two-fold. One, when God created the ideal, perfect world for us, we were given only plants that bear seeds to eat (Genesis 1:29). Of course, the fall happened and life for us was changed forever. Does that mean that God changed what we were initially intended to eat? Maybe. Or maybe he just allowed us to eat meat- part of a compromise in light of how things have changed (like in your Noah reference).

      The other Bible passage I can't get out of my head is from Daniel chapter 1. Daniel refused to eat the rich food from Nebuchadnezzar's table and asked for only vegetables (the Hebrew word zeroa used here means "that which grows from seed" which would include fruits, grains and bread as well) and water. After ten days of this diet, he and his three friends looked healthier and better fed than their counterparts. I *know* there are other ways of interpreting these passages (and becoming legalistic is not the answer), but both of these passages make me think about the verse...

      You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

      This is good discussion. Food is a passionate topic! :-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. I do not think we are meant to NOT eat animals or their products. I have tried to eat like a vegetarian because it is what my palate prefers, but my body becomes tired and fat without a good amount of animal protein in it. Some people thrive eating a vegan diet, but it is not for everyone. I think we need to do what feels right to our bodies - BUT - I feel milk that does not come straight from a mammary gland is poison. Yogurt and cheese are okay in moderation when from healthy, drug-free, organically raised animals as the proteins and fat are in different forms the pasteurized and homogenized milk. I think eggs are the perfect food when they came from happy, bug eating chickens. Our beef is organically raised, and grass fed/finished. All of this is important to me based on the diet we eat. I enjoyed that flick myself, and it is good to re-evaluate what we feed our families, but I am not a proponent of vegan eating for all. Just my humble opinion. :)

  10. I watched the movie and did some further research, because I couldn't believe that God would tell us to eat meat if it wasn't good for us. A lot of the China Study has been discredited... and I believe that grass-fed meats are better for us than CAFO meats are. As with anything, I think moderation is key. We are eating less meat with our meals, but I also believe that low-fat diets have their own problems. We'll be eating more veggies once the garden starts producing (should have radishes in 2 weeks!) and I can't wait for that!

  11. This was a very important column you did today,I watched the trailer and Ive seen a ton of other kind of info the same or the same order like "Food Inc", my whole family needs it-my 2 grandsons who live me are pre-diabetic,I am however losing my will to be so helpful anymore .I'm complicated person with too many problems. I'd be better off living by myself ,I would accomplish more I simply cannot battle all the problems anymore.You sound like you will be very successful at doing this and helping your family,I really hope you can do it. I have a favorable comment however. My niece Mariah was elected to do a TV show -you can watch a trailer at"Projectnotme"iT WILL BE SOMETHING LIKE "The Biggest Loser "Show.She tackled all this while watching her mom die off lung cancer in Nov.2011. she had to fly out to L.A. to do filming all the while .We are very proud of her.

  12. Thanks for sharing! Happily, my library has this DVD and I put it on hold. I'm curious to watch it because I used to be a vegetarian (ever heard of Hallelujah Acres? I was very into that for a while), but when I got pregnant I NEEDED protein from meat, and added that back into my diet. Soy - which is problematic anyway - and other plant proteins just weren't cutting it for me. Anyway, I checked out the FAQs on the "Forks Over Knives" webpage and was surprised to see that they claim there is very little nutritional difference between grass-based meats & dairy and their conventionaly raised counterparts. I just read "Folks, This Ain't Normal" by Joel Salatin, and he provides several charts showing some dramatic differences. I know I've seen this elsewhere, too. That being said, we don't eat meat every day, and I do feel deficient when I don't eat SOMETHING fresh on a daily basis. Despite the claims of this documentary, is balance really the key?

  13. Have you read The China Study? Sounds like it is along the same lines. I will never look the same at cancer research again-there are a lot of studies that no one knows about that link animal products directly to cancer...all kinds of cancer. It is not a scare tactic sort of book which is why I liked it-very informative and research based. Can't wait to watch this movie now-thanks for the recommendation!

    1. I haven't read it, but the documentary references it. I think you'll find it fascinating.

  14. Jane, I tried to reply to your reply, but it wasn't working...

    Regarding Nourishing Traditions, I've always felt that we should eat what God gave us in as close to it's natural state as possible. In my experience, NT expounds on that premise. (Sally Fallon may disagree, but that's my opinion.) I like how the folks at the WAPF work hard to educate people about nutritionally dense foods that we don't get (the information) in the mainstream. I've learned so much about food preparation using traditinal methods that makes the food more nutritious and it's doable. Not as easy as the SAD including fast food, mind you, but not impossible (for a household where both adults work full time), either. Think peasant food.

    I like how the WAPF flies in the face of "politically correct nutrition" and encourages use of natural foods such as grass fed butter, tallow, and lard instead of the synthetic and GMO stuff that is touted as healthy fat in the mainstream.

    I hope that made sense. There is so much to it that it's hard to be concise. I just used traditional fats as an example.

    There are some people who, IMO, go to extremes. I don't agree with those who say meat is the most nutritionally dense and therefore best food, for example. God made veggies and fruit much more abundant and easy to prepare than He did meats. I think our diet should consist of a large portion of raw foods (fruits, veggies, and dairy) when they are in season, as well, which isn't necessarily a NT way of thinking.

    I don't think NT is the final answer in nutrition, but I do feel it is the best resource I've found.

    P.S. Forks Over Knives is on my movie watching wish list, but we very rarely rent movies.

  15. I watched one last month that had cold, hard facts to "prove" the opposite. I don't know what I think anymore ;)

  16. Jane, thank you for bringing up these points/passages:
    "The other Bible passage I can't get out of my head is from Daniel chapter 1. Daniel refused to eat the rich food from Nebuchadnezzar's table and asked for only vegetables (the Hebrew word zeroa used here means "that which grows from seed" which would include fruits, grains and bread as well) and water. After ten days of this diet, he and his three friends looked healthier and better fed than their counterparts. I *know* there are other ways of interpreting these passages (and becoming legalistic is not the answer), but both of these passages make me think about the verse...

    You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial. (1 Corinthians 10:23)"

    I've often contemplated the Daniel passage, especially, but I think it needs to be brought to the forefront of our food journey. I'm continually amazed at how closely connected physical and spiritual nourishment are!

  17. I eat mainly a "Paleo" style diet. Google it and you'll learn more, if you're so inclined. I do eat meat, but only ethical, fresh, locally-raised meat. I primarily eat like a hunter-gatherer --- lots of veggies!


  18. Great discussion points....

    Check out the Seventh Day Adventist views on food. They believe that it is their responsibility to eat as healthily (and for most of them that's vegan/no sugar or processed foods) as possible BECAUSE this is the way they can best take care of their bodies (temples) that God has given them.
    Quote from Amazon on The Seventh Day Diet (a cook book)...
    The amazing seven-step total health and weight-loss program that has made Seventh-Day Adventisits "the healthiest people in America." Study after study has shown that this group lives longer and has lower rates of cancer and coronary heart disease than the general population. Now anyone can realize these astonishing health benefits.

  19. I just came in from working in the garden. I was mulling over this whole eating debate and have a few thoughts of my own. Forgive me if this is a repeat of what others have said, I didn't read all of the comments.

    I struggle with the more fresh veggies debate. I believe fresh is better, but I also believe that in season and local trumps food that has been shipped. Our animal protein comes from what we raise or people we know. From the reading that we have done, it seems that eating the whole animal (or at least as much as possible) is much healthier than eating just the meat.

    I think those of us who garden can look at ways to grow more veggies that store well over the winter and ones that can be left in the garden to be harvested during the winter. I've been harvesting leeks and turnips all winter. Granted, it's been a mild winter. Carrots and other root veggies can be stored in the garden or a cellar for a long time. Floating row cover and hoop houses extend the growing season even further.

    After I learned that there is BPA in canning lids, I've been trying to do less canning. My goal this year is to make a solar dehydrator and dry as much food as possible. How did you like the dried carrots?

    Thanks for entering into this debate. My husband is reading the book "Deep Nutrition" which takes the opposite position as Forks over Knives. I'd be happy to let you borrow it after others who have expressed interest in it are finished.

    I often wish that I lived in a place that had a culture deep understanding of diet. At the same time, I'm thankful for the abundance that we have been given. I just can't imagine having this discussion with the family I stayed with in Guatemala or people who live in Italy!

    1. Crystal,
      The dried carrots worked well and take up very little space because they become so small once dried:-).

  20. I lean towards the Weston price viewpoint and wonder if the statistics come from those who eat alot of animal products, but also have a diet of mostly processed foods (foods that are not whole grain and very few anti-oxidant foods). One heart surgeon (can't remember name) wrote a book because after many years of performing heart surgery, he made an amazing discovery. In each patient it wasn't the plaque that caused the heart failure, it was inflamation. My non-expert opinion is that if one eats meat and dairy but does not eat enough fruits and vegetables and whole grain, then the processed foods they consume will cause inflamation to the heart tissue and arteries, which in turn cause fat to become trapped instead of free flowing. There are so many wonderful artery cleansing foods: raw garlic, cayenne, cold pressed olive oil and coconut oil, and my favorite, extra virgin red palm oil from africa (one Tbs has a ton of naturally occuring vitamin E & A, both so important for heart health)I found it on amazon, tropical traditions also carries it. I have struggled for the last ten years with heart rhythm problems, so I consume lots of raw garlic (eaten with food of course). Cayenne pepper was what saved me from having to be on blood thinners after a mini stroke. I have not had another stroke since I use garlic, cayenne and ginger root (juiced). Hope this helps someone.

  21. Hi again,

    I just found the website of the doctor that made the discovery about the real cause of heart disease.

    Quote From "The Great Cholesterol Lie", By Dr. Lundell

    I'd be in the midst of surgery, looking down at a patient, thinking, this man should not by lying on my table. He doesn't have the typical risk factors for heart disease. His cholesterol is in check, doesn't drink or smoke and he is not obese. Yet, he had the same condition I saw in each and every surgical patient - inflammation.

    Greatly enjoying all the wisdom you share in your blog. Bless you Jane!



Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

Please choose the Anonymous option if you prefer not to sign in to comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails