Resources For Healthy Eating
by Tom and Sherry Bushnell Summer 1995
In the Bushnell household, we see adjusting our eating habits as a life- long process. As our family's nutritional needs are changing over the years, we are learning to finely tune our cooking methods; which snack to meal proportions work best and what foods affect our bodies in a positive way. Eating right is an ongoing way of life.
When we were first married, we were faced with our first dietary clash. Tom was raised on vegetables that were cooked to his Father's liking, (and his mom was right in doing so), but not to Tom's taste ---hence an aversion to most vegetables, cooked or raw. I was raised on an abundant vegetable garden. In fact, growing up, many of my family's meals included not only a green salad, but a couple of cooked or raw vegetable platters as well.
How does a new wife express her love for her husband, knowing full well vegetables are good and needful in a healthy diet, knowing her cooking methods and skills do not compliment her husband's tastes?
As the years went on, Tom learned to really enjoy certain vegetables... among them broccoli.
We have found our attitudes toward foods greatly affect our children's attitudes. Our obvious pleasure over getting to eat fresh, green peas from the garden, has turned this delicacy into "candy".
Our obvious relish, piling hot, steaming acorn squash onto our dinner plates, does not go unnoticed by the 7 pairs of eyes around the table.
Our children have grown to appreciate homemade bread, hamburger, and hot dog buns over the white store bought variety. In fact, our children will not eat the "Wonder" type. They say it tastes like yeasty foam rubber!
Our present eating habits have formed over the years through our lifestyle, convictions, and availability of food stuffs. Because we garden and have a small farm, the availability of lots of vegetables, raw milk and eggs has been a standby. We probably could not afford to buy this quality of food, nor could we find what we desired to satisfy our tastes in ordinary super markets.
We have grown to like bread made from freshly ground, whole wheat best. In the beginning, (about 4 years ago) when we discovered the joy of fresh ground flour for cooking, we found we had a lot to learn; the difference between soft and hard wheat, what coarse of grind of each grain produces the best product, how to cook with freshly ground flour and what we preferred in texture. To do this preliminary work, we purchased an restaurant size Kitchen Aid, with attachments. We were able to grind everything we needed, although not as finely as was optimum. After a year of constant use, I was afraid of burning the poor motor out. We purchased a Magic Mill grain grinder to do the bulk of the grinding. We still depend on the Kitchen Aid to do the really coarse grinds such as corn meal for corn bread, and chopped oats.
We also have a good quality blender to make slushies (our favorite drink; see end of this article), mix eggs for omelets, and lots of other cooking uses.
That is the extent of our equipment. We have "someday" wishes such as a cream separator, a large bread kneader (for now it is Jake, Josh, or Tom), and a juicer.
As parents of special needs children, there have been times when we have faced difficulties getting our children to eat. Sheela, our daughter who is blind, came home from India with feeding resistance troubles. She had been spoon fed, via a funnel and held down in the process, so trying to spoon feed (or bottle feed) was out of the question. She choked, gagged and spit out everything. Our best success was in teaching her to feed herself. Once she was in control of what went in her mouth, she was much more prone to try new foods. Now she is doing absolutely terrific, eating anything and with as much gusto as the boys!
We are still working on Sherlynn's difficulties. The first day she came home, it took us literally 2 hours to get 2 oz. of water down her. Over a period of days, we became very concerned, but just as we were facing IV therapy for rehydrating, she started being more amiable. Since then she has gone through spurts of eating just great, and being very finicky. The finicky stages are very frustrating, but with the help of others we are learning to work around her "attitudes" toward food, and helping her feel more comfortable with eating. Presently, with the advice of Robert and Sharon Meyer of Heaven's Gate Ministries in New Jersey, we are supplementing her meals with Ensure plus or Resource plus, both full nutritional "milk-shakes". She will usually take this by bottle. This has taken the pressure off of us and consequently her too. Watching your child lose weight under your very eyes is very nerve-wracking!
For our children who are not crazy about vegetables or crunchy fruit or have trouble chewing, aversion to textures, or choking difficulties we have come up with a few fun ways to get the nourishment down. One of our sure fire ways is to can our own fruit. We use apple juice or a small amount of honey for sweetening. This is not as optimal as fresh, but the benefits of most vitamins and fiber are still present. We also make our own applesauce. Store bought apple sauce is too runny. We make ours quite thick, usually with no sugar and with bite size chunks of apple. This is our winter standby. Combined with cottage cheese, made into applesauce muffins, or just plain, is a sure-fire hit with our younger set. If they will eat nothing else, they will scoop up the cool applesauce and be satisfied. You might find this amusing, but we do most of our canning outside on a wood cook stove. Not to be "pioneers," but because we cannot stand the mess canning (especially applesauce) makes in the kitchen. I get great pleasure in hosing down our outside table after a day's work! Our wood cook stove is a real beater to look at. It sits in the rain all year long and patiently waits for those few weeks in summer when we can. Our table is standing height, made of clean plywood with a couple of large tractor tires underneath. Not fancy, but functional!
We also have several avenues to receive quality overripe fruit from fruit stands with which we make fruit spreads for pancakes, bisquits, muffins, etc. We use Slim-Set, a sugarless jam ingredient that acts like pectin to thicken ours. The over ripe fruit demands instant attention and likely all is put on hold in the house till it is either eaten, frozen or put into jars.
Once again, we would like to share with you, we do this not for convenience sake, (not even to be more frugal) but because the food we have become accustomed to over the years is simply not available on the supermarket shelves. Bread, especially, is very difficult to find the way we like it best. This is not to say we never buy bread from the store. There truly are weeks where either our schedule is so tight, or we are facing an "organizational crisis" that bread making is not the priority.
We are always glad to eat our homemade humble loaf once we get back on track.
Earlier this Spring, we bought a large order of grain through our favorite local whole foods store, Martz's Mustard Seed Ministry. They combined orders to get a great price from an outlet in Montana. We ordered 5 gallon buckets of nitrogen packed hard and soft wheat, plus whole corn.
These last for a very long time. We store them outside in our mudroom, stacked up 3 high in the corner.
The rest of our co-op order is done through Martz's Mustard Seed. These friends of ours have remodeled their garage into a genuine store. Most folks come on an arranged day to pick up their order and shop around for those items forgotten or smaller packages of new items to try. This has an advantage over just ordering from a co-op 50 lbs. of this, 10 lbs. of that and wasting most of it because the family won't touch it or it wasn't what you thought. Many years ago this happened to us. I ordered 50 lbs. of steel cut oats (thinking I was getting rolled oats) and opened the bag to finely chopped oat bits. It made glue instead of oatmeal for breakfast! The baby chicks feasted finely that season.
Use common sense when working into eating a different way. Go slowly. Order only a few items at a time. Get used to cooking with those first. 20 lbs of an unfamiliar substance staring at you from the pantry puts needless pressure on the cook to "use-it-up", before the bugs take over. As tastes acclimate and you become familiar with the properties of using date pieces for sweetening, honey in cooking, whole grains in baking and brown rice for dinner, your shopping needs gradually change from experimental to legitimate stocking up on items getting used up in a hurry.
Some great cookbooks to get you inspired toward better eating are Sue Gregg's "Eating Better" set. These 6 (soon to be seven) spiral bound, paperback books of various thicknesses include: Main Dishes, Casseroles, Soups and Muffins, Lunches and Snacks, Breakfasts, and Desserts. Presently they run $45.00 for the complete set. Contact them: Sue Gregg's Eating Better Cookbooks 8830 Glencoe Dr.
Riverside, CA 92503
Marilyn Moll of The Urban Homemaker (see ad on page 21) suggests: The Natural Nine by Lorraine Tyler or Set For Life cook- books by Jane P. Merrill and Karen M. Sutherland. These books are available through the Urban Homemaker.
We, personally, do not use a regular co-op, although our area has some very fine ones. The reason for us is simply a matter of time. The money we save by spending the day bagging and sharing the co-op work load is not feasible. Instead we make use of our fine resource mentioned before, Martz's Mustard Seed and feel that their 15% added on top of the total order from Nutra Source, the warehouse they order from, is reasonable. Thus we have the advantage of trying new things in small quantities and simply calling our order in and picking it up.
Here are a few favorite food vendors
Serving WA, ID, OR:
P.O. Box 81106
4005 Sixth Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98108
Serving WA, OR, ID, NW corner of MT, and other states as well. Contact them to see if they serve your area.
79709 Dufer Valley Rd.
Dufer, OR 97021
503 467 2230
This is an established Christian Co.
Serving IA, IL, IN,KS,MI, MN,MO, NE,SD,WI,WY
Blooming Prairie Warehouse, Inc.
2340 Heinz Rd.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Serving AZ, CA,CO,ID,MT,NV,NM, OR, UT,WA, WY, and container shipments to HI and AK
Mountain Peoples Warehouse
110 Springhill Drive
Grass Valley, CA 95945
916 273 9531
Serving the USA and Canada. This company sells healthy coffee and nutrition products.