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Perhaps you’d enjoy a nice side of antibiotics with your chicken, milk or beef.  Doesn’t sound too tasty does it?   I first heard the term “grass-fed” while watching the film, Food Inc. years ago.  This interesting, yet fear inducing movie gave me an education much greater than I bargained for.  I even decided to share it with my children after first watching it myself.  While I still find myself surprised to have ever eaten red meat again after viewing it, I now have a much broader understanding of where our meat and poultry comes from and how it is raised.  Not always a very pleasant discussion, there is knowledge and power in truth. They say, “when you know better, you do better” and this speaks volumes in the case of my journey.

There I was, forced to take a good hard look at how I was feeding my family.  Michael Pollan’s books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food are great additions to watching Food Inc.  He is a knowledgeable man, best described by the New York Times as a “liberal foodie intellectual.”  Not very popular on the side of the agribusiness, he shares the facts and not always what we’d like to hear.

The first course of action I took was to literally demolish my pantry.  I didn’t throw away unopened food, I donated it.  Then, I hauled everyone to Sprouts and Whole Foods in search of bulk bins full of grain and seeds, grass-fed beef, hormone- free chicken and eggs from chickens that roamed freely.   I completely overhauled our fridge and pantry.  One thing I observed, is that no one really noticed the minor changes I was making.  We were all equally grossed out by what we’d seen, so it was a unified decision.  I made small changes that weren’t earth shattering.  In time, these small changes became our new normal and allowed for greater altering of our overall food sources.  Little by little, we’ve gotten where I want us to be.  Cooking with lots of fresh, organic, healthy ingredients has opened a whole new world to me.  Upon discovering this new passion, I’ve really enjoyed the art of creation and sharing my recipes here.  This whole new world has evolved over the last year and it’s been amazing for me.

These small things, be it more ethical or more nutritious were choices I made for myself and my family.   In time, their taste acclimated and changed to accommodate new things.  I didn’t do it all overnight, it was more of a gradual thing, but my discovery was that no one freaked out.
I now buy these things instead of my previous:
  • almond milk instead of cow’s milk
  • no more juice
  • grass-fed everything
  • hormone free chicken
  • Nitrate free lunch meats
  • Cage free organic eggs
  • buy organic fruits and vegetables when possible
  • buy almond or other nut butters instead of peanut butter

As I continued on with my eyes-wide-open approach, the more I learned, the more I tried.  I began eliminating much of the grain I’d eaten and was really feeling great.  In time, I came to discover the Paleo diet and realized I was pretty much already doing it without realizing, though I still had a lot to learn.  Never wanting my children to feel deprived, I’ve discovered healthier versions of their favorites, many of which I now make myself.  Only this way, can I be absolutely sure what is in their food.

The Paleo lifestyle was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family.  My children are gradually converting with and without their knowledge.   I eat a modified Paleo diet and have never looked back.  I have experienced the benefits first hand in removing dairy and grain (and gluten) from my diet.  I think when you can feel the difference, that is a major component of making a change and one that you are committed to.

Amongst many issues people experience by eating wheat and grains, skin problems, allergies, IBS, Celiac’s Disease, migraine, fatigue, asthma, insulin spikes and  bloating are just a few fun ones.  While people do additionally lose weight by removing grain/gluten, I consider it an added benefit to a host of other excellent reasons.  Overall, the less processed and packaged foods you eat, the better off your are.  You are essentially removing gluten from your diet when you follow this approach.  If you do not follow a Paleo diet, but do wish to eliminate gluten, be advised that wheat products go by several names.

It is also important to steer clear of these ingredients as well:

  • bulgur
  • durham flour
  • farina
  • graham flour
  • kamut
  • semolina
  • spelt

Also, unless otherwise labeled gluten free (GF) you should avoid these products:

  • beer
  • breads
  • cakes and pies
  • candies
  • cereal
  • cookies
  • crackers
  • croutons
  • french fries
  • gravies
  • pasta
  • processed lunch meat
  • matzo
  • salad dressing
  • sauces (soy sauces)
  • seasoned rice
  • chips
  • self basting poultry
  • soups and soup bases
  • veggies in sauce

Some great products that I love and use regularly are:

Red Boat Fish Sauce
Coconut Secrets Coconut Aminos 
Bragg Liquid Aminos
Pure Wraps
Steve’s Paleo Kits
Bob’s Red Mill (shredded unsweetened coconut and almond meal)
Applegate Farms (nitrate free lunch meats and products)
Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

Not sure how great a GF beer would taste, but if you’re committed to making changes, it might be worth your while to do a little research. Overall, taking an interest in your health and the health of those around you is something you can feel good about.  We can control what we eat in our own homes so take an active role in your health and make educated choices when it comes to what you feed your family.

Resource: Mayoclinic