Category Archives: Begin Here

DIY Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing and Why Fat is Important 21 Days from SAD to Well Fed

 

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21 Days from SAD to Well Fed Day #2

Fat isn’t to be feared – it’s your friend!

There are so many tasty ways to include healthy fats in your day. Store bought and many restaurant salad dressings are NOT one of them. In fact most commercial dressings are full of rancid soybean oil and canola oil. Definitely not healthy. Making salad dressing yourself is quick and easy. Read these fun facts about healthy fats, and then keep scrolling for a delicious Caesar-style salad dressing you can make tonight! And keep scrolling for links to more recipes!

Get the skinny on why we start with fats first in this Day #1 article.

Here are 4 different ways fat plays a positive part in your health:

  • Cells need fat – since our body temperature remains relatively constant, being warm-blooded creatures, our cell membranes need a balance of different fats to find that “Goldilocks” spot where they are fluid, yet structurally stable.  To do this about 50% of the fatty acids in our cell membranes need to be saturated fats, and the rest monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. (Confused as to which fats are which? See Day One of SAD to Well Fed.)
  • Fat gives energy – the best energy source is one that lasts all day long without crashing you in a mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump.  Saturated fats, especially those from animal milks, animal meat, coconuts and palm oils, are the best source for this long lasting energy.
  • Strong bones – the most important nutrients in bone health are found primarily in foods that also contain saturated fats.  Vitamins A, D and K2 are the bone health trifecta keeping the calcium OUT of the soft tissue and INTO the bones and teeth. Best sources include organ meats, egg yolks, animal fats like grassfed butter, and also fermented foods and cod liver oil.
  • Hormones and mood – fats are a favorite with Dr. Julia Ross and her books on overcoming mood disorders, food cravings and weight issues. Healthy fats help neurotransmitters and the endocrine system.

This salad dressing recipe includes good fats from healthy mayonnaise (avocado oil, egg yolks), virgin olive oil, and cheese!

Caesar Style Creamy Salad Dressing

1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise without canola or soy oil (try this one or make your own)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice and zest of one lemon

one clove of garlic, pressed

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until creamy. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

 

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad dressing
 
lots of healthy fats in an easy to make creamy caesar salad dressing
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup good quality (no soy or canola) mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • one clove of garlic, pressed
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until creamy.
  2. Store any leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

 

For more easy salad dressing recipes check out these on Well Fed Family:

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing

Tzatziki Sauce

What is your favorite salad dressing?

 

Out with the Bad (oils) and In with the New (good fats) 21 Days from SAD to Well Fed

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SAD = Standard American Diet

Characterized by a dependence on commodity crops like GMO corn, soy, and canola; fast food; highly processed food; and filled with additives, chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic ingredients.

In other words not very likely to provide a base for a healthy life.

Take 21 days and make a difference in your health. It doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to taste bad either!  If you like to journal this would be a great thing to journal about! What motivates you to make changes to your diet? Your own health? Spouse? Children?

I hope to make this as easy to understand as possible. If you want to go more in depth on any item I will provide links to find more information. If you have children elementary age or older this would be a great project for them as well!

Let’s get Well Fed!

DAY ONE: Out with the Bad Oils and in with the Good Fats

Why start with fats and oils? Because this is where you can make the most impact in your overall health both quickly and in the long term. Structurally our brains are 67% fat. Saturated fat provides structure to brain cells and body cells alike. Healthy fats and oils provide sustainable energy, important vitamins, and stable moods.

The kinds of fats and oils found in the SAD way of eating create fatigue, deplete vitamins and increase inflammation and oxidative stress which can promote anxiety and even anger.

Learn more by reading Know Your Fats on the Weston A Price Foundation website, or for an in-depth book on ancestral health try Nora Gedgaudas’ Primal Body Primal Mind.

What oils and fats need to go?

  • Any industrially produced seed oil. This includes canola, soybean, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, and safflower oils. Seed and nut oils are delicate oils that can turn rancid very quickly when exposed to heat.  If your canola, corn, soy or other seed oil is clear and you found it just sitting on a grocery store shelf then it is already rancid. Rancid oils are a major source of inflammation in the SAD way of eating. Additionally canola, soy, corn and cotton are the most widely Genetically Engineered (GMO) crops on the planet. For lots more information about genetic engineering risks visit the Non-GMO Project.
  • Any margarine or butter substitute. Even the ones that promise to lower your cholesterol or magically eliminate some other kind of disease.  These products are made mostly from the previously mentioned industrial seed oils. Often they are also hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in some way.
  • Any vegetable shortening, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated animal shortening. These are also called trans fats. These start out as liquid polyunsaturated fats, but through industrial processing they become solid even at room temperature. Your body has trouble recognizing what to do with them, and they lead to cell dysfunction and even cell death! Read more about them here. Or take a deep dive with Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness. 

What Oils and Fats Should I Use?

There are 3 categories of fats: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.  Healthy diets should include some from each of these categories.

Overall you need to look for animal fats from animals living outdoors on pasture eating species-correct diets. This means grass for the ruminants (cows, sheep), and access to omnivore appropriate food for the others (pigs, chickens and other poultry). They all need sunshine!

You need to look for vegetable fats and oils from cold-pressed and organic sources that are not treated with solvents or bleaches.

  • Saturated healthy fats include butter and ghee from grassfed cows. Beef tallow, lamb tallow, pork lard, duck fat and goose fat from animals living outdoors on healthy pasture. Coconut oil from sustainably grown coconuts. Palm oil can be a part of a healthy diet as well, however there are a lot of ecological problems with palm oil so I am not recommending it for that reason. MCT oils is another saturated fat making headlines recently.
  • Monounsaturated healthy fats include cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Avocado oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil and sesame oil are other options. Once again these need to be cold pressed or expeller pressed and preferably organic. Peanuts, especially, need to be organic due to a common toxin found in conventionally farmed peanuts. Incidentally pastured pork lard is also a very good source of monounsaturated fat. Good lard is roughly 50/50 saturated and monounsaturated.
  • Polyunsaturated healthy fats are the trickiest to find. These oils need to be expeller pressed without heat, because heat will damage the delicate oils and cause them to go rancid quickly. Also exposure to light and oxygen will turn them rancid, so these oils need to be stored tightly closed and kept in the refrigerator. Flaxseed oil, walnut oil, non-gmo canola, and grapeseed oil. All the fish oils are also in this category. Fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and foods like caviar are all quite delicate and need to be treated carefully to remain healthy and viable.

So open up your pantry, cupboards and refrigerator and start tossing the bad SAD oils and replacing them with healthy fats!

Visit Well Fed Family on Facebook to see the conversation around healthy lard.  Like our page and keep in touch! Let us know what you find when you start cleaning out your SAD fats and replacing them with healthy ones!

Six Signs You May Need Magnesium

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases. 

six signs you need magnesium titlesWhere Did the Trouble Begin?

A Senate report documented that we are growing our vegetables, grains and fruits in soils that are depleted of the necessary minerals needed to give us the correct balance of nutrients when we eat them. In fact they are so depleted that we are starving for these minerals no matter how much of these foods we eat. Laboratory tests proved the vegetables, eggs, grains and other foods we are eating are not as nutritious as they were generations ago. Scary? You haven’t heard it all….this report was written in 1936!

Six Signs You May Have a Deficiency

One of the most overlooked mineral deficiencies is magnesium.  It is estimated that as many as 80% of us are deficient in magnesium. How do you know if you are deficient? There are many symptoms, but these six are some of the most common according to Liz Lipski, nutritionist and author of Digestive Wellness.

  • Eyelids twitching
  • Muscles twitching
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Muscles very tense at the end of the day
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sensitive to Noise

What Does Magnesium Do?

Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, is probably one of the leading authorities on magnesium deficiency and nutrition.  She explains that magnesium is crucial to good health. It is responsible for hundreds of important processes in our body. It activates our muscles and nerves. It creates energy in our cells. It helps digest proteins, carbs and fats. It is a building block for our DNA as well as RNA. It is even part of the process that builds our “feel good” neurotransmitters like serotonin.

What About Calcium?

Everyone has heard about calcium. Lots of people take calcium supplements thinking they are helping their bones. What you may not know is that you need to supplement with equal amounts of magnesium! The two minerals work in balance with each other. In fact they work best in a synergistic balance of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2. When these four nutrients are in a plentiful balance you will be helping care for your bones, heart, and the rest of your body!

Where Can You Find Magnesium?

Foods plentiful in magnesium include almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, seaweed, dark green leafy vegetables, properly soaked and cooked black beans, avocado, wild caught seafood like salmon, and grassfed beef. Often people think whole grains are a good source of magnesium, but the anti-nutrients in whole grains actually deplete minerals from your body. This is why it is so important to soak, sprout or use sourdough leavening with all of your grains and breads. (For a detailed demonstration and recipes see our Breads DVD.) Juicing fresh vegetables is also a good way to get more of them into your diet.

Homemade bone broth is a great source of many important minerals and nutrients. Including broth in your meal helps you absorb even more of the nutrition from all your other foods! Find recipes here and here to make delicious bone broth at home.

What Depletes Magnesium?

Many prescription and OTC drugs deplete magnesium. The list includes, but isn’t limited to, Zantac, Nexium, Prilosec, Maalox, Tums, Alka-Seltzer, most antibiotics, blood pressure medications, Ritalin, steroid creams and inhalers, HRTs, and oral contraceptives. If you take any of these it would be wise to ask your doctor about a good magnesium supplement.

In addition to those medications, magnesium is also depleted by stress, caffeine, high amounts of calcium supplements, and very loud noises. Eating a diet high in processed foods and soft drinks, as well as having any kind of digestive disorder can also deplete your magnesium.

Also remember that foods treated with herbicides, especially glyphosate (RoundUP), will further deplete the minerals in the soil and in the food. So stick to organic whenever possible, or follow the Dirty Dozen guide when choosing fresh vegetables and fruits to find the ones with the least amount of toxic chemicals.

What About Supplements?

Magnesium glycinate is an easily absorbed form of magnesium that’s good for supplementing a deficiency. Be aware that magnesium has a laxative effect when you first begin taking supplements, so start slowly and work up to the most effective dose for you.

Mix up Natural Calm powder if you want to drink your magnesium. Take a bath with epsom salts, or use a high quality high mineral sea salt

Using magnesium oil spray or making a magnesium body butter are two more ways to add magnesium to your daily routine.

What are your favorite ways to get magnesium? Tell us about it in the comments or visit our Facebook page to share your thoughts.

 

 

Turkey Broth Instructions and Free Recipe to Share

turkey broth titlesThe big feast is over, the turkey is eaten, but there is still one more thing to do….Make Broth!! Here is a free printable and shareable set of instructions plus an easy recipe for Turkey and Rice soup.

turkey broth and recipe card

What will you make with your broth? Who will you share this recipe with? Tell us about it in the comments!

This blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting us with your purchases.

 

5 Ways to Bless Your Family, Your Budget and Your Community

 This blog is for informational purposes. Some links may be monetized. Thank you for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases. 

5 ways to bless your family titles

 

Take This Short Quiz

  1. What is the number one thing you can do as a family to improve your general health?
  1. What is a good way to connect with your teenagers?
  1. What is the most important thing the average person can do to make the American food system healthier and more sustainable?
  1. Name one thing can an individual do to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on a fluctuating, unstable economy?
  1. What activity can you do with young children to engage them in learning concepts in math and science even when they don’t usually enjoy those subjects?

The answers:

  1. cook 2. cook 3. cook 4. cook 5. cook

 Cooking vs Watching Cooking

Two people (both grandmothers!) in the last week have told me “I don’t cook!” Way too many people in my classes over the years have admitted they rarely or never cook. In fact Americans spend less time on average cooking each day than people in any other country! The average time spent cooking per day (not per meal, per DAY!) is 27 minutes – less time than it takes to watch The Next Food Network Star (what is up with this fascination of watching people cook? More people watch cooking than are actually doing cooking, and then when the show is over they still don’t have anything to eat!)

 It’s Healthier

Cooking at home is healthier. When you don’t cook you make yourself vulnerable to the big corporations who make all the ready-to-eat food you have to buy. Unless you spend big bucks to buy your meals from a local restaurant where the chef grows his own organic vegetables and carefully sources his ingredients from local farms, you are most likely eating a lot more refined sugar, industrial oils, and highly processed salt than you normally would if you cooked your own food. Corporations also use all kinds of chemical ingredients not available to the home cook. These chemical ingredients make their food last longer and look fresher than it actually is.

 Teens Like It

Cooking (and eating) together connects you as a family. Teens are social creatures, and they are also usually hungry creatures. 🙂 Bringing them into the kitchen to prepare a meal is a way to get them to interact and be social with everyone who is involved in the meal preparation process. The shared experiences can build family bonds. Eating together a meal you have prepared gives a safe place for conversation, listening and sharing together.

 It Connects Us

Cooking connects you with your food and its origins. We were making homemade pizza as part of a Sunday school lesson and I had brought fresh oregano, parsley, and basil from my garden to use. One young 5th grade girl, already surprised that you could actually make a pizza, freaked out saying “why do you have weeds? How do you know those are safe to eat?” I said, “I grew these. They came from my garden. Where do you think food comes from?” and she replied, “I don’t know. The store has it.”

When we cook at home from fresh ingredients we are connecting in a small way to the rest of the community that grows and raises our food. We gain a new perspective on food when we see a list of raw ingredients get transformed into a meal. Growing something that you eat, or buying directly from a farmer, can bring even stronger connections. Real food doesn’t come in neat boxes, shrink wrapped for microwaving. Buying pre-prepared, pre-wrapped meals separates us from the reality of real food. Cooking at home from fresh ingredients creates more demand for real food while reducing the waste and high cost inherent in the processed food system.

 It’s Budget Friendly

Knowing how to cook gives you power over your budget. The illusion of the “value meal” keeps many people trapped eating expensive yet unhealthy food. Being able to cook for yourself means you can eat higher quality ingredients for less money. It means you can cook a little extra to freeze for later or to eat the next day for lunch instead of eating out. Knowing how to cook helps you be more frugal like when you use the bones for broth, leftover vegetables for soup, or freeze over ripe fruit for smoothies.

 It’s Educational

Teaching your children to cook opens up a new world for them. Measuring and counting, doubling a recipe, figuring out what makes bread rise, what makes pickles sour, seeing liquid cream transform into solid butter, comparing the taste of salt vs. sugar – all of this can bring math and science alive. Tactile experiences like kneading bread, cracking eggs, tearing lettuce, stirring batter, or chopping vegetables can be rewarding for busy little hands. And as your children grow and develop new skills in the kitchen you are giving them the gift of self-sufficiency for when they become adults.

Tell us your reasons for cooking! Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page!

3 Important Questions To Ask Before You Eat

 

3 important questions titles

 

 

This blog is for informational purposes. Some links may be monetized. Thanks for supporting Well Fed Family with your purchases.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to know whether or not something was healthy to eat or not? There are so many people and organizations and agencies and companies telling us to eat this and not that, or to avoid this and emphasize that, or this is bad and that is good, or… well, you know what I’m talking about!

I remember the first time I heard someone say “Fat isn’t bad, it’s important.” I’d spent years deciphering how to read fat grams and figure daily fat percentages in what was apparently a futile exercise in how to be less healthy rather than more healthy. Now 7 years later and I still meet people every day who think they’re being healthy when they drink skim milk, make egg white omelets or choose fat-free sugar-free yogurt over bacon.  (Bacon!)  I wish I’d known about these three important questions years ago. It would have made me think more critically not only about what I was eating but also about the dietary misinformation being hyped all the time.  But I’m telling you and now you will be equipped to make much better choices than I did for so long!

Question #1 – Is what I am eating actually food?not food

Why, you ask, would we eat something that WASN’T food?  Seriously – people do it ALL.  THE. TIME.  There are things currently in our food supply that were never meant to be food in the first place. But somehow they made it in there. Things like artificial colors (made from petroleum!), artificial flavorings (and even the natural flavorings aren’t so great – beaver glands anyone?), artificial sweeteners (neurotoxins linked to all kinds of diseases), and chemical preservatives (proven to cause hyperactivity among other things).  Azodicarbonamide (banned in Europe for stimulating asthma it gives us miracle bread that stays soft and never molds ever), sodium hexametaphosphate (in your frosted flakes, and also in the cardboard box itself, this one can damage kidneys, heart and decalcify your bones), dimethylpolysiloxane (in your contact lenses and shampoo, but in your chicken nuggets too?!) – those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of additives people eat every day that are not food. Most of them are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) which is a status our government awards ingredients if less than a certain percentage of people get sick right away. Long term consumption studies? Forget it. GRAS status gets awarded in just a few months. It takes years before people figure out there may be a problem.

Question #2 – Is the food I am eating as close as possible to the way God created it?michelangelo fingers

Example 1: at least a dozen or more steps and several chemical solvents plus high heat and pressure are needed to take rapeseed and turn it into a bottle of canola oil.  Butter can be made in two or three steps depending on whether you want salted or unsalted, cultured or sweet. Children can make butter.  Canola oil is highly altered. Butter is something that could happen to cream accidentally if you whipped it too much.  Refining foods is generally just a bad idea. Refined white flour, refined sugars, refined salt, refined oils – all the important vitamins, minerals and enzymes are stripped away making these items into something harmful rather than healthful.

GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) is a biggie, too.  In the wild you will never see a salmon mate with a tomato. You will never find bacillus thuringiensis cross pollinating with corn. Plants and animals just don’t breed with each other. However you can shoot the DNA from one organism into the cells of another by using a particle accelerator to create a sort of Frankenstein creature.  These biotech plants are now in our food supply. Many folks are calling them Frankenfoods. Unfortunately you can’t just turn a package over and read the ingredient list to find GMOs like you can find (and avoid) trans fat or artificial colors. There’s no law requiring the labeling of GMOs yet. Buying organic or looking for the Non-GMO Verified seal are the only ways to be sure.

Question #3 – Does this food cause a problem for me?oreos and rats

A recent study showed us that Oreos are more addictive than cocaine. (Did we need a study to tell us this?) We already know white sugar and white flour are addictive. The same is true for MSG (monodsodium glutamate) and aspartame. We can also have cravings and addictions for foods to which we are actually allergic! Gluten and lactose are biggies in that respect. They can act like opium in our blood and brain and cause physical addiction and cravings for people who are actually sensitive to it and shouldn’t be eating it. Oddly enough digestive discomfort is not one of the primary symptoms of gluten or dairy sensitivity. Usually it shows up as headaches or sinus infections or even arthritis or brain fog.  If you eliminate the food for a week or two and find your unexplained aches and pains going away, or your mental alertness returning then you’ve probably discovered a food sensitivity.

I hope these three easy questions will help you on your journey to good health. Let me know how you do when you try them out. I think they are an easy way to teach kids how to make good choices too! Share with us how you make good choices. Leave a comment here or on Facebook