Friday, November 23, 2012

6 months on...

It has officially been 6 months since I started this "journey to natural"...
Wow, 6 whole months already, I can't believe it!!

So I thought it might be nice to do a little audit of my fridge/pantry and see how we are really doing on our pledge to eat more whole & less refined foods...
In which case this is what my food storage looked like this morning just after my groceries were delivered:

Pantry audit 6 months on...
{and my lunch, for want of a fourth photo...}

It's a pretty good representation of how it usually looks.
Except if I showed you it yesterday it would look very empty!!... Having had guests staying for the last 2 weeks we had definitely gone through all our supplies.
{Gosh I love shopping day!!}

Overall I'm pretty pleased with how we are progressing!
I can't say that we eat 100% whole food or anything (nor do I really plan to if I'm honest - I'd miss my chocolate too much!) but I feel like I have come an awfully long way in regards to reading packets for additives before I buy things, also moving to more fresh produce and buying organic where possible.

I have to admit that I don't really buy any fresh organic produce. We just can't afford to because it's so expensive here. And especially as probably 70% of our grocery budget would go on fresh produce or dairy. But I have found that I've been able to switch to organic for most of my store goods & grains without adding much (if anything) to my grocery bill.

Most surprising I've also switched to buying mostly organic meat. I've found it's often only a few dollars a kg more expensive but the quality is much better & I feel better knowing that I'm buying hormone & additive free meat. Not to mention free range...

There are many items up there in those photos which I now use regularly and wouldn't be without, but which 6 months ago I had never used (or in some cases heard of). So I thought I might show you a few...

New {to me} grains:

Different varieties of grains I love

1) Spelt: This was definitely a new grain to me. I hadn't even heard of it I must admit. But now I love it as another wholegrain alternative to wheat flour. I grind it to flour & use it in baking or anything that you'd use "normal" all purpose flour for. You can buy it already ground to flour too. But I buy the oats because they keep longer.
Our favourite is spelt homemade pizza dough. Delicious!

2) Quinoa: I had this in my pantry for several months before I ended up gaining the courage to use it. In the end I only took the leap after tasting it at a friends house when she made me lunch one day. It is a seed which you cook similarly to rice or cous cous and is a complete protein. It has a slightly crunchy texture which I quite like.
It's great in salads and I have some baking & fritter recipes that I'm keen to try it in soon so watch this space...

3) Wholemeal pasta:  Basically pasta but made from all whole grains. Higher in fibre & nutrients than pasta made with refined white flours. I've more or less completely switched from white pasta to this and my family didn't miss a beat at accepting it much to my surprise. It doesn't go as soft as "normal" pasta, but otherwise we find it fine.
It would be cool if it was available in a few more shapes but so far I've been able to find it in long tubes, macaroni & spaghetti in Woolworths.

4)  Buckwheat: Another grain I'd never heard of before which I now love. Again I grind these to make flour and use it as a substitute in my baking etc. I often mix half buckwheat & half spelt or half white.
The kids don't notice any difference to straight white baking and I find that spelt & buckwheat don't make baking as heavy as when I use whole wheat flour. So I prefer them.

New {to me} sugar substitutes:

Sugar substitutes I love
1)  Agave syrup: I wish I'd known about this years ago because I LOVE agave syrup. It's such a great sweetner for smoothies, salad dressings or muffins. Anything that just needs a touch of sweetening but to which I don't want to add sugar really. Same with

2)  Maple syrup: I wasn't a regular purchaser of maple syrup before either but now I use it loads. One of my favourite easy breakfasts at the moment is cut up banana with unsweetened greek yoghurt & a drizzle of maple syrup. But it's great in baking & lots of other things as a replacement to sugar. Today I used it in chocolate chip cookies and I have to say that they taste devine!

3)  Rapadura sugar: For a few months I had managed to eliminate all other types of sugar in the house other than this type, rapadura. It is (I believe) the most unrefined sugar that you can buy, so in theory has the greatest amounts of nutrients in. But it's still sugar so we try and use it sparingly.
However, I've also started buying raw sugar again recently because it's much less expensive and more readily available. I tend to alternate between the two now.

4)  Fresh dates: I've only recently started buying fresh dates. They aren't cheap but boy oh boy do they taste so much better than dried dates. If I feel like a sweet fix then these are now my go-to snack. They are great in baking or made into date balls along with cacoa & almonds or seeds & a drizzle of agave syrup They girls love those wholefood "chocolate" (date) balls a ton.

Wow that ended up getting long.
But those are a few of my new {to me} favourite ingredients anyway...


Susan Standen said...

Right, I'm sitting here waiting for recipes using all this stuff. Waiting...

Cassandra said...

Wow! You've made a ton of progress in six months. You should feel proud!

We recently discovered the wonders of a good maple syrup. We buy the glass containers of it, the pure maple syrup. Yum, yum, yum! It tastes so much better than the cheap plastic bottled stuff.

Annette said...

A couple weeks ago , we started on the same journey. I'm watching your blog with interest.
My husband and I are trying to eliminate wheat from our diet. After reading 'The Wheat Belly' , I am even more convinced. Organic is another thing we are trying too, plus the sugar subs.
Txs Kat