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Eating For Nutrition

January 5, 2010

My years as a vet tech got me paying attention to nutrients and food ingredients(food allergies are a HUGE problem in pets).  Feeding domestic skunks also taught me a lot about nutrition.  There is no ‘skunk chow’ available, you have to formulate a complete diet, or else you get skunks with health problems, which leads directly to vet bills.  Unfortunately, this interest took quite a few more years to make its way over to the food >I< was eating.  But now, there is a complete LIST of foods that don’t enter the home, and every label is thoroughly read(sometimes undesirables ‘sneak in’ at the end of labels).   We actually started eating really, really well in spring ’07.  We both lost a lot of weight, exercised, got a little TOO healthy, and ended up pregnant December of that year…  But I guess that all turned out for the good 🙂

Right, wrong or different, I never let Ian eat anything that I wouldn’t be upset about if that was all he decided to consume for a while.   That way, fights are avoided.  Not to say he doesn’t get junk food, he just doesn’t get TOXIC junk food.  Not much goes into his mouth<for consumption> that hasn’t had a whole load of fore-thought(on MY part of course).   My adventures in skunk food had led me to a human supplement called brewers yeast.  I prefer Lewis Labs for taste and texture.  It is even GLUTEN FREE.  you can check out the extensive nutrient list here: http://www.lewis-labs.com/products/facts/brewers-yeast-facts.htm You can practically LIVE on the stuff!!!  It can be added to baked goods, smoothies, cold and hot cereals, yogurt, pasta sauces, really just about anything.   It has a slightly nutty flavor, which Jon and I like, and Ian even likes I think.  At least he has no complaints about his sippys containing it.  Ian gets more than a full dose of this every day, because I am NOT a believer in man-made artificial vitamins and minerals, OR fighting over food.  Brewers yeast is a complete food, with actual bio-available nutrients.  It’s super stuff.  I highly recommend it, especially for picky kids whose nutrient consumption you’re concerned about.  It does NOT, however, flow through bottle nipples.  I had to wait till Ian was onto sippys or sneak it into his other foods.

Another thing we’ve switched in our kitchen: we cook with lard.  REAL lard, not the hydrogenated lard found in the stores.  You CAN find sources for local, real lard, it took us about 3 minutes to find a place in Cleveland that sells it.  Lard contains:

More monounsaturated fats (“good” fats) than sunflower oil and corn oil

More polyunsaturated fats (also “good” fats) than olive oil

Thirty percent less saturated fat than butter

No trans fats at all(IF you get it from a non-hydrogentaed source)!

While exploring the world of fats, we also discovered unrefined coconut oil.  Super!!!  Not only is it great for ALL sorts of cooking and baking, it’s also useful as a health a beauty aid.  Moisturizer, lip balm, conditioner, diaper rash, whatever you think you want to use it for.   The greatest thing about it, aside from the fact it is about the only other substance on earth besides human breast milk that contains lauric acid(SUPER immune booster), is that it NEVER goes rancid!  Heat and light exposure do not affect it like they affect other fats.   Some people buy it by the gallon bucket, because there is no fear that it will go rancid.  We’ve used it for about everything– baking, on toast, in oatmeal, it’s tasty stuff.

Another thing we just recently discovered is sorghum syrup.  I was so impressed with this at a local fall festival this year that I bought 6 quart jars.   Apparently, not unlike the 2 previous “wonder foods” above, sorghum syrup used to be quite popular, but it was replaced by the nutrient-deficient white granulated sugar.   Here’s a little sorghum FAQ:

http://www.ca.uky.edu/NSSPPA/sorghumfaqs.html

The sorghum syrup I got was made right in front of me– the sorghum was ran through a ‘pulverizer’ powered by a horse, then the juice was cooked down over a fire, and bottled up right there.  Conveniently, they had a nutrient composition list near-by, and they sucked me right in. 1 tablespoon contains:

Protein- 300 mg, Magnesium-20.00 mg, Carbohydrates-15 gm, Phosphorus-11.00 mg, Calories-62, Potassium-200 mg, Calcium-30 mg, Sodium-1.60 mg, Copper-0.03 mg, Zinc-0.80 mg, Iron-0.76 mg, Riboflavin (B2)-0/03 mg

That may not seem like a lot, but when you compare it to other sweeteners, it’s a goldmine.   We’ve used our sorghum syrup in baked goods, hot cereals, Jon’s thrown it into his homemade pancakes and waffles, and he even made a sorghum pecan pie for Thanksgiving.  It was super!

We also discovered a nutrient called CLA, or Conjugated linoleic acid.  It is found in meats, fats and milks from grass-fed ruminants, and in pasture-grazing(insect-eating)chicken’s eggs.  We learned about it, then immediately found a source for grass-fed beef.  We also found ‘pastured’ butter, and ensured our raw milk source is grass-fed cows.  This nutrients is anti-cancer, and it keeps joints ‘lubricated.  Interestingly enough, cancer and arthritis rates sky-rocketed at about the same rate during the same time that it was becoming cool to feed cows grains.  Even a little grain can deplete CLA in beef and milk.  This nutrient is non-existent in the average American diet(but aren’t they all?? LOL)Read ALL about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugated_linoleic_acid

Well, hopefully at least 1 person learns something from this, we’ve learned A LOT over the past few years about nutrition, and I keep looking to learn all the time, mostly for Ian, of course 🙂


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