Thursday, April 25, 2013

Unprocessing My Diet and Whole Wheat Waffles

So I will say first things first: I don't believe actual "diets" work.  As stated in my About Me page, people who lose substantial weight on popular diets (think Atkins, HCG, etc) almost always regain the weight within 5 years.  What works is a healthy lifestyle.  I DO believe in changing the way you eat to include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These 3 things are the 3 categories of food that most people need to work on eating more of.

I've recently come upon the blog, 100 Days of Real Food.  Um wow, I can't stop reading through all of the posts.  A wife and mom of 2 kids decided to completely eliminate all processed foods from her family's diet.  At first it was a 100-day goal, but now they have continued this way of eating.  I've always known that it's best to limit processed food intake, but the more I read and the more I think of it, it really makes sense to eat hardly ANY of it.  The "American" diet is saturated with processed junk food like Cheez-its, donut holes, Oreos, Reeses'... and is made with unnatural and even harmful ingredients such as artificial coloring dyes, artificial flavorings, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and genetically-modified organisms.  The saying is true that says if you wouldn't find the ingredient in your pantry, then why should you be eating it?

Now that I have a daughter (she's 3 months old), I've really been re-thinking my approach toward nutrition.  I ate pretty healthy before, buying low-fat products and whole-wheat bread, rice and tortillas, while trying to include lots of fruits and vegetables.  But I don't think that's enough anymore.  There is a definite link between nutrition and diseases of the body; you truly are what you eat.  I have a healthy body, but what I eat now will determine my health in 30, 40, 50 years from now, and I want my daughter and other future children to grow up eating the most healthy foods possible with a love of nutrition like mine.  I want their risk of getting illnesses and nutrition-related diseases to be as low as possible, and I know that I can minimize that risk in my own home.

Now I'm not going ever going to be perfect.  I can't say I will never bake with all-purpose flour again (a true "real food" diet does not include any enriched flour) or that I will never eat an Oreo again. That is simply unrealistic.  However, I am going to do my best.  These are the things I am going to work on improving in mine and my family's diet:

1. I'm not going to buy any products with high-fructose corn syrup in it
2. The products I buy will have as few ingredients as possible (the more ingredients it has, the more processed it is)
3. I will bake with whole-grain flour and unrefined sweeteners such as honey, pure maple syrup and sucanat
4. I will try to purchase as many organic products as I can afford
5. I will try to make homemade versions of store-bought items (like BBQ sauce, chicken broth, granola, bread, etc.)
6. I will stop buying low-fat and fat-free products (this post and this post were both an eye-opener to me but after additional research it makes sense that low-fat products are not healthier and they add in extra preservatives and other chemicals that make the product unsafe and unhealthy!)
This will be an on-going journey that will take time to completely adjust to, but I'm feeling committed.  I want the best for my family.  I feel SO amazing when I feed my body healthy, whole, REAL foods.  I constantly think back to the diet of our ancestors- processed junk food did not exist and they ate REAL food! It is the food that God intended us to eat, I think! (I'm definitely NOT saying it is a sin to eat processed foods at all, just that unprocessed food is in or is as close to its God-given natural state).

Here are some additional posts from the 100 Days blog that were interesting and helpful in eating less processed food:
Why you should cut processed food
What exactly is "real food?"
10 common misconceptions about real food
Real food meal plan ideas
85 snack ideas

I am definitely going to make a serious effort in eating "real" food and cooking and baking with real ingredients.  I'm excited to start this lifelong journey.  On a final note for today, I have a real food recipe that I got from the same blog... 100 Days of Real Food: waffles.  These are 100% whole wheat, using white whole wheat flour.  It is a little lighter in texture than normal whole wheat flour but yet has the same nutritional benefits.  These waffles are husband approved! My husband loved them, although he did not love the pure maple syrup that I put on top of my own waffle; he opted for regular pancake syrup (the processed, high-fructose corn syrup kind!). I personally enjoy the fresh taste of 100% real maple syrup and even though it is much runnier than pancake syrup, it is still very sweet and yummy.

Whole Wheat Waffles
Makes 4-5 waffles

2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups milk (anything from skim milk to thick buttermilk should work)
¼ cup oil (I used coconut oil)
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour (organic white whole-wheat flour works great)
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
Warmed 100% pure maple syrup for serving
Fresh fruit for serving
  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon, and baking soda until well combined.
  3. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together just until the large lumps disappear.
  4. When the waffle iron is hot, dab it with a little butter and then ladle some batter onto the center of the iron. Follow the instructions that came with your waffle maker to know how long it should be cooked (mine takes about 3 – 4 minutes each).
  5. Keep waffles warm until you finish cooking all of them. Top with pure maple syrup and fruit. Enjoy!

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