Sweet Potatoes and Broth

My Aunt Rebecca has many interests. This morning she was on the radio (Baltimore Talk Radio) singing a song she wrote about the government treading on our rights. (You can preview the song here.) She gives riding lessons to handicapped children, wrote a curriculum on overlooked figures in Black History, wrote and published kids’ album on horses, oh, and she is our family resident expert on alternative medicine. (Sometimes I think of her as a “witch doctor,” but I mean that in the best possible way :). She lives on The Farm in Maryland, and is a wealth of knowledge. Her thoughts on healthy eating are below. I like it because you can hear her talking when you read it. Great tips!
If you were to study the components of a sweet potato or, say, some wonderful homemade beef or chicken broth, the life-giving elements you would discover in these foods and how these elements all work together for our good, are truly amazing! Food is a miraculous gift from God. How sad when these gifts are over-processed, stripped of all their dense nutrients, fortified with synthetic vitamins and then sold to the uneducated consumer. When shopping for our families, it is important to keep two thoughts in mind. First, is this a “nutrient dense” food? And, second, did God make it? If the package says enriched or fortified the answer is a resounding, “No!” Preparing food for your family is a matter of common sense. Here are just a few things to get you thinking and to help you figure out for yourself whether a certain food is one that you want to put on your family’s table or not.
1. God did not make ‘low fat’ anything. Man has decided that he knows best and has stripped the fat and therefore much of the nutrition from many foods. There is a lot of information available about the myths of high cholesterol.
2. “You are what you eat and you are what your meat eats.” When you consume beef and dairy products from animals that are raised on grains, not grass and sunshine as God intended, you are not receiving His nutritious gift and in fact may be hurting yourself.
3. God did not make artificial sweeteners. He made raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. Did you know that aspartame is derived from the waste products of e.coli bacteria?
Do you see my point? It is, really, just a matter of common sense, and believe it or not you will eat less, and feel truly satiated if the foods you are consuming are “real.” Now, how do you take this common sense and fit it into your family’s budget?
Food is the most important item that I purchase, and although I may not be able to afford everything I would like to consume, this has always been my plan of action. Before I spend money on anything, I ask myself one question: “Is this purchase something I really need?” Is this tube of mascara necessary? What about this cartful of “stuff” from the dollar store? Hmmm. Are there hygiene and cleaning products that I could make myself or simply do without? Vacations? Christmas presents? Trips to the local coffee shop? The list goes on and on and it all adds up! When I look back on how people lived years ago, I learn a lot about what is truly necessary for us to live. There are many areas where, if I choose, I could be more frugal.
So let’s get back to food. Keep in mind that you want to purchase foods that are “nutrient dense.” This means you may have to do some searching before you can find a good source. The local grocery store may not be your first choice. Fresh, free range eggs are packed full of nutrition and will easily last a few weeks in your refrigerator. Take an afternoon ride and keep your eyes peeled for the little inconspicuous cardboard signs posted on telephone poles or mail boxes that say, “eggs for sale.” If the place looks alright, don’t be shy, just pull up! They put the sign there because they want you to stop in and “bother them!” It may sound silly but sometimes something as simple as a nutrient-dense egg reminds me of how great God truly is. Oh, make sure you ask how old the eggs are.
Then there are farmer’s markets and roadside stands. Yes, take advantage of these. Always try to find out if their produce is local, because this means less of the crap they had to spray on your food for prolonged shipping and shelf life.
Have you ever seen the small family roadside stand with no attendant? You know the ones where they trust you to stop and purchase using the honor system putting your money in a small box under the counter? Well by all means, stop there too. Don’t worry that some little old lady might be peeking through the living room curtain to see who’s pulled up at the end of the lane. Take a minute and see what they have! Maybe you don’t want it for supper but you can freeze just about anything. Which reminds me. Freezing is much easier and far healthier then canning.
Meat is the expensive item. Keep in mind the amount that you truly NEED to eat, not the amount you WANT to eat. Ask around for local butchers, as their cattle, more then likely, have not come from filthy feed lots where they are primarily eating corn and soybeans instead of grass as God intended. Also keep in mind that shipping cattle long distances for butchering puts them under heavy stress which causes them to release toxins that taint the meat.
Making soups and stocks from pasture-raised animals is easy, economical and extremely healthy! You can add bone marrow or chicken stock to anything you are preparing for extra nutritional value. I’m sure you’ve seen the popular picture of the old man at the table, head bowed and eyes closed, thanking God for the small bit of sustenance that he was about to eat. I like to think about the miraculous gift of nutrition that God was providing him through a little bowl of broth!
Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself when planning meals. Concentrate mainly on “nutrient dense” foods and you and your family will be fine. I remember my mother saying that when she was a little girl she took an apple and a piece of bread with butter (mind you, not margarine or a low fat spread) to school each day. And, oh, what a big treat it was if they got to take a sweet potato! Needless to say, we eat way too much nowadays.
Food has become such an obsession with many of us, and advertising doesn’t help. I will always remember a young mother I met this year in D.C., at Glenn Beck’s “Restore America” event. She told me of an instance where they had taken the kids to Burger King for a treat. Her 10-year-old daughter commented that she didn’t like what was written on her bag. The mom asked her what she meant. “Well, the bag says, ‘Have it your way,’ and I just think that’s rude.”
I pray that God will constantly remind me that I can’t always have food “my way.” Maybe all I really need is a sweet potato or a little bowl of homemade broth.
One last thing. Experts say that we should be eating fermented foods sort of like a condiment with your meal. A small serving, say 1 tablespoon, with your meal gives you great added flavor but more importantly tremendous health benefits. I wanted to leave you a simple recipe that is packed full of nutrition and tons of good bacteria that are essential for a healthy gut and immune system. Please find other fermented recipes and try them also, as they are extremely easy and economical. Get your children accustomed to these foods at an early age!

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