First, a big thank you to all of the ladies who are doing the panel for us! It has been so great to hear everyone’s stories and glean insight from you all.
I hope that those of you who are newer to this type of eating are encouraged that real life, normal people were able to transition to nourishing food. I also hope that those of us already well on our way to eating nourishing food are encouraged by the fellowship of people like this (in real life and via cyper-space).
A second thank you goes to everyone who has been taking the time to leave such great comments on the panel posts! I feel like we have 15 panelist instead of four! It’s been wonderful to hear everyone’s perspective. If you haven’t already, check out the comment sections of the last two panel posts. Where Did Your Interest Start? and How Did You Get Started? I hope all of the great comments continue!
This week, I asked this question to our panelists:
What benefits have you seen from those dietary changes (as discussed in How Did You Get Started? ) and what changes do you consider the most important to make?
Let’s start with Kimberly
Kimberly Hartke from Hartke is Online
The most important benefits are that my husband and I have eliminated our health issues, and have more energy and are so much happier. He has excellent blood pressure now, before it was 220/110, today it is 110/70. We work out 5-6 days a week for one hour in the gym. We go to farmers markets together on Saturdays. We sponsor three farm drops at our real estate office. We buy around 85% of our groceries directly from farmers that we now call our friends. We tell our story at WAPF meetings and try to encourage others to support sanely, humanely raised food. This is our new lifestyle. We do it together and have such fun!
My knee pain is nearly gone. We didn’t have to move to a one level home! I continue to try new things with my diet because I am determined to heal my knees totally—my latest change is to eliminate nightshades from my diet (See my blog post, Bye Bye Nightshades), which I recently learned can cause joint pain.
I really am a big raw milk and raw cheese fan. So is my husband. He was afraid of raw milk at first. He watched me drink it for 5 days, before taking the plunge. Now, he is wild about it, and couldn’t live without it. I also highly recommend bone broth. I love so much cooking with stock. My freezer today has lamb, fish, chicken, turkey and beef stock stored in 1-cup containers. To make a meal, I always use stock for a broth, gravy or a reduction sauce. Cooking with stock has made meal preparation a breeze, and has turned my cooking from ho-hum into 5 Star chef! I rarely use recipes, just add whatever I have on hand to the stock, add some seasonings and voila, a custom delight is on the table! Our favorite dish is fish curry with coconut milk. The only downside is that my husband doesn’t like going out to dinner anymore, he says “your home cooking is the best!”
Stephanie from Keeper of the Home
One of the most blessed benefits I have seen is continued good health in my children. Compared to many other children we know, ours are rarely sick, are full of energy (oh yes- boundless energy!), learn quickly, sleep well and have bright eyes and clear skin. Though they have both gone through bouts of Candida (yeast) which they got through me during breastfeeding (which absolutely did not make it any less important for them to be breastfed for as long as possible!), we have been able to deal with it naturally and have seen wonderful results.
In myself, I have seen incredible changes! Despite my PCOS, I am now on my third healthy pregnancy, something that I was initially told would not be possible without medical intervention. I have seen my cycles move closer to regularity and ovulation happen spontaneously. Wow! I have also dealt with my Candida issues, and now have less cravings for sugar (and feel so much more satisfied with naturally sweetened foods), as well as more vitality and energy than I used to feel. Previous issues with lactose intolerance and an irritable bowel are completely gone, and my digestion and elimination have greatly improved!
It’s hard to say exactly which changes I think are the most important, but a few that I consider high on the list of priorities would be switching to high-quality sources of all animal foods (meats, poultry, eggs, dairy), cutting out all refined grains and sugars, and adding in foods with beneficial bacteria to aid in digestion. Of course, cutting out processed foods is of the utmost importance! I’d say more, but then I wouldn’t be sticking to the most important anymore, would I?
Sono, my mother-in-law
I will focus on the second part of this question because in our family we discovered digestive intolerances that have since limited our ability to sustain all of the dietary changes (dairy and wheat ).
I think that the nutrient dense stock and the fermentation were definitely two of the most important changes for our family.
These two additions to anyone’s diet would be extremely beneficial.
The stock delivers minerals, hydrophilic colloids (attracting digestive juices and making digestion easier), and gelatin (digestive aid, specifically utilizing protein). Beside taking it straight or making soups & stews, you can cook grains and legumes in it and add those benefits to other dishes. I also make stock ice cubes and store them in a ziplock bag. These are thrown into stir-frys, ground beef based dishes to add flavor, nutrition, and aid digestion of the cooked foods.
More importantly, stock can be taken by the infirm because it is so easily digestible. Whether you have young children, are taking care of an aging parent or just have a family member or friend with a cold, there is nothing better you could give them than a bowl of homemade stock!
The fermented foods are right up there with stock in their benefits (pro-biotic, enhancement of digestion & nutrition, enzymes) so I would urge anyone to find several that fit in their family diet and have them regularly. When we were able to do dairy, I bought some small shot glasses from a local potter. We would put these out at every meals and everyone would have a shot of kefir. Now I have been experimenting with young coconut kefir.
After trying many fermented vegetable recipes, I have chosen the ones we like the best and use those. Being Asian, I use kimchi, natto and umeboshi easily. At first I wanted the fermented food to match the meal whenever possible (kimchi with chicken teriyaki, Latin American sauerkraut with tacos, etc.) but after we lost the standard kefir, I have become more practical and we just eat a bit of whatever I have. We work hard to have it with high protein meals and especially when we grill meat.
Amy, a real life friend
Though I am still in the process of regaining health, the way I eat has really helped me avoid more acute health issues, and has impacted my overall health and daily energy levels.
As my health concerns are largely related to a compromised digestive system, I started by getting all my food into the most digestible form possible. I then have attempted to add foods that will increase my intestinal flora, such as kefir and kombucha.
Of course all along the way I have slowly tried to eliminate as many toxins from my diet as possible, by finding quality sources for my food, whether that means local, raw, organic, or all of the above!
Now, what about you? What results have you gotten with the changes you’ve made?
This panel was requested to be part of Cheeseslave’s Carnival, the topic being “Real Food Testimonials” . Check it out for more stories.