Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Baby Steps

Update 2: I successfully resisted soda, even though the dinner I ate (shared a huge meat baked potato with Micah from our favorite bbq place) came with a FREE drink!:o) I couldn't resist sugar altogether, however, and had a bowl of "Cookies and Cream" ice cream later in the evening:o)

Update: The withdrawal is starting already! I had my last soda on Saturday, and I'm really, really craving one right now. A fizzy Dr. Pepper with lots of crushed ice. Can I drive past that gas station with the soda fountain? Will my determination and willpower win out???

I've done this before. I was off soda completely at one point for several months before I carelessly relapsed. According to my previous experience, if I can get past the first 2-3 weeks, my cravings will diminish and I won't even miss it.

As Carrie recently reminded me, taking Baby Steps (Seen "What about Bob", anyone?:o) is a good way to keep from getting overwhelmed. I'm not at all the type to take Baby Steps. I'm actually a Perfectionist Nut, so I tend to go overboard and get overwhelmed quite easily. Just ask my ever-patient husband.

Lately he's been patiently (if a bit warily) supporting me in my quest for healthy eating. He should have never let me study nutrition. I was blissfully ignorant--believing that we were healthy because we don't buy Twinkies and doughnuts and many convenience foods. But oh seems that just about anything you can buy at Walmart is decidedly not healthy. Anything that survives large corporate processing plants is, in fact, border-line toxic.

What happens if you let a Perfectionist Nut study nutrition? She decides that she should make all her own bread (out of whole grains, of course...but should she sprout the grains first? Is using a starter better than dry yeast?)

If she decides to make her own bread, then she should make her own crackers, too.

If she makes her own crackers, then she should also make her own cereal mix. (What does it benefit a woman to eat whole grain bread and crackers if she's still chomping on Fluffy Nothingness cereal?)

If she makes her own cereal, then she will need some real milk to put in it.

And if she's going to switch to using real milk, then she should also make her own yogurt, butter and cheese using quality ingredients instead of trusting her family's health to the commercial fake food entities.

And then there's the organic produce, organic free-range eggs, grain-fed organic meats and poultry, cold-pressed olive oil, raw honey...

Of course, you see where this is going:

Poor Micah is forced to interject some reality into my fantasy world. "Honey, making cheese...isn't that kind of involved?" "Raw milk costs how much?" Oh yeah, that's right...we do have a little thing called a budget. And making bread, cheese, yogurt and butter (not to mention the amount of time spent running between organic markets, dairies and farms) might tend to take a little bit of time out of my week.

Well, I'm not giving up on the whole idea! But perhaps Baby Steps is a good practice to implement right about now. Take it a little at a time and see what we can do. we should stop drinking soft drinks. I don't often taint my own refrigerator with soda, but I do find ample opportunities to get my fix away from home! (I guess ceasing the liquid sugar hits would be a logical step to take before deciding to spend $7 a gallon on raw milk, huh?)

So here it is...Baby Step 1: Soft Drink Elimination

Water shall be my first and foremost drink of choice (not too already is:o)

Henceforth, no soda shall ever pass my lips (I'm not setting the "ever" part in stone...just semi-hard concrete)

Diet soda is not an acceptable alternative (crudmuffin!)

Decaf. tea is fine (herbal teas are best)

I am allowed to treat myself occasionally with fruit-flavored sparkling waters or sparkling juices. Perhaps they're not super-nutritional either, but they give the "soda buzz" without the caffeine and with (some of them) less sugar. Most importantly, they're less easily acquired. I won't be able to get them at most of my former soda watering-holes:o)

I'll see if I can get this one down. Then I'll let you know about the cheese-making.


Blogger Carrie said...

haha.... We made cheddar cheese on valentines day and it finally finished ripening this week - or so we thought. I'm going to detail our experience on my blog today, I think, but let's just say we threw away the cheese. :)

We're pretty confident we can make it work next time, but as for being cost-effective, it's not at all. We used 2 gallons of milk to make 1/4-1/2 lb. of cheese! (I can't remember exactly how much it made) It's definitely something to do for the experience of doing it, not for the frugality! :)

7:52 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

Hey, when I lived in VT we made mozzerella cheese from goat's milk. That was pretty easy...and it tasted good.

Anyway, Erin, you are pretty obsessed. I used to cook from scratch alot but I have made the decision that since my second baby, this is not practical. I just don't have time for it without stressing out and loosing my temper. (Last night a bunch of roll dough that was dropped on the floor because the kids were distracting went sailing through the air.) I am usually pretty patient so I must have been really stressed. (It did make me feel better. :)) For now on it is going to be the Pillsbury Dough biscuits.

I don't mean to discourage you but the most unhealthey people I know are the organic eating type. They have a really bad complexion and you could blow them over with a gentle breeze. I don't know why it is. I think the best thing to do is to eat everything in moderation.

A little refined sugar will not kill you but a lot will.

I was raised with goat milk and garden grown veggies but we lived in VT and it wasn't that hard to do. Infact it was cheap. However, we also ate plenty of refined stuff from the grocery store. Update: we are all very healthy and at the appropriate weight.

Don't stress about food too much. From experience, husbands don't like it. They also like food that tastes good. (I gave up making whole wheat pizza.)

Good luck on your food adventure!

Oh, soda IS very bad. 8 tbls of sugar. It is especially bad for women. I only drink it when we go out. Water is my drink of choice.

10:18 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

Ha ha! This post reminds me SO much of the book, "If you give a mouse a cookie..." You should read it.

I went through my nutritional nut phase last year. Unfortunately, that was when we lived with my in-laws, not the most healthy eaters in the world, so it was a constant battle. I was paranoid about putting ANYTHING processed, especially refined sugar, in my mouth. My husband has helped me find a good balance.

Interestingly, things that I think ARE healthy sometimes aren't! I've been trying to drink more juice since I've been pregnant, but on Friday, the midwife actually told me I shouldn't drink juice! Because all the fiber is removed, the natural sugar from the fruit converts quickly to fat in your body. (I'm gaining weight a little too quickly, and she thought that might be a main culprit. However, give the fact that my pre-pregnancy weight was actually about 11 pounds too low, the fact that I've gained 14 is a good thing, I think.)

10:33 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

An interesting post on nutrition and its effects on the teeth of children.

11:08 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Carrie said...

LOL, Erin!! :D Although I don't stress out too much about food right now (I would if I had researched it as much as you, though), I could relate to this post. Today I was stressing because there is SO much cleaning and organizing I want to get done before the baby arrives, and yet I feel tired, achy, and have swollen feet, so I know I need to rest. But I got such a good start on straightening up yesterday, that I just want to push ahead and get it all done NOW!!! Reading all these other blogs that are inspiring me in the area of homemaking has given me the itch to do so much more with my own home. Anyway, keep taking those baby steps, and keep sharing your adventures with us! :)

11:47 AM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Carrie said...

Erin, I don't think you are overly obsessed. :) I for one really *like* to cook from scratch, so for me it's as much a hobby as it is trying to eat better. I could do a lot better job about making the things we eat healthier, and my husband appreciates that as long as I'm not trying to serve him cheeseless pizza or something! ;)

Anyway, all that to say - a lot of people think I'm crazy because I can spend all day in the kitchen preparing for one meal, but I enjoy doing it, so for me it's like scrapbooking or reading or whatever hobby other moms do when they have time! For me, it just happens that what I love to do is something I HAVE to do! :)

12:17 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

This post made me LOL! My husband calls my brain a 'super-conductor' that I have a hard time shutting off at times! **smile**

I think studying nutrition is good but you **have** to eat and it's ok to not eat **perfectly**. Luke 12:22-23 comes to mind. (o:

12:38 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Carrie- yes...please do write about your cheese making experience! I probably won't be able to make all my own cheese (especially if I switch to raw milk at $7 a gallon! $14 for 1/4 - 1/2 lb of cheese? Can't do that on a regular basis! We use WAY too much of it!), but it would be a fun thing to try! Same with butter. I read somewhere that it takes 10 gallons of milk to produce 2 1/2 lbs of butter. Sheesh!

BTW- I think you're doing great if you're getting ANYTHING at all done with a small child and being pregnant. When I feel stressed and overwhelmed now, I wonder how I'll respond when I have kids to worry about too! That's why I'm hoping to acheive a good nutrition balance now...something that can be maintained when (Lord willing) our family grows. There's no point in setting up a system of eating now that I won't be able to continue.

1:07 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

I don't mean to discourage you but the most unhealthey people I know are the organic eating type. They have a really bad complexion and you could blow them over with a gentle breeze. I don't know why it is. I think the best thing to do is to eat everything in moderation.

Zan - moderation is definitely a healthy principle when it comes to eating! What I'm wanting to do is not to become a vegetarian or eat all non-fat, but to just have higher-quality products not pumped full of chemicals and hormones, or stripped of their natural nutrients (i.e., white flour or foods that are overly processed!) I believe that vegans and many vegetarians are depriving their bodies of foods that they need, if those are the kind of people you're talking about.

I was raised with goat milk and garden grown veggies but we lived in VT and it wasn't that hard to do. Infact it was cheap.

Luck-eee! ;o) That's the hardship here. I have to decide what I can reasonably make (or afford to buy) and where I must compromise. If I didn't have to worry about staying on a budget, I could buy most of these products at higher qualities already prepared for me!

Don't stress about food too much. From experience, husbands don't like it. They also like food that tastes good. (I gave up making whole wheat pizza.)

My husband and I have already come to an agreement that I'm free to experiment, but the foods that will be made a second time must taste good to both of us:o)

1:21 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Becky- discovered where I mooched part of my post formatting from! Perhaps I should have cited "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" as my inspiration there:o)

It's hard to get past our cultural and commercial marketplace mentalities when it comes to nutrition and discover what the real truth is! (Like about fruit juice). In general, I'm trying not to listen to anyone I know is attempting to sell me a product about what's healthy or not. I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that eating all food groups (in moderation) in the highest quality and most natural state possible is the height of a nutritious diet.

Thanks for the link! It was interesting. Good quote at the top of her blog...the perfect is the enemy of the good

Mrs. B- good reminder! Even though I definitely want what's best for my family, I need God and others to keep me balanced...not succumbing to the pressure of perfectionism, but just enjoying doing the best I can!

1:34 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

What's hard about learning about what's best to eat and not is how often the 'experts' change the info. At one time 'low-fat' was the way to go. Then it was 'low-carb or no carb'. And I just read in my Prevention magazine that there is a new study that shows lowfat eating does not reduce heart attacks and stroke. I've even read books that say cow's milk is bad and that we should drink goat's milk because cow's milk was designed to grow a huge cow, not grow people.

Frankly I think it's God, genetics, then a lifestyle of moderation that's the key.

My Aunt and her husband (not Christians) are on this major health kick and have been for a couple of years. It has helped them but boy is it a pain to have them over for a meal. They came to stay with us for a visit and practically had to bring all of their own food and then the meals I did provide she talked about how bad she felt because of eating 'junk food'. I did the best I could but I do eat red meat and some pasta.....they don't.

You'll get it figured're a smart lady! (o:

1:44 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs. B... ooh. I certainly don't want to turn into one of those kinds of guests!!!:o)

I never heard the cow vs. goat argument before. Interesting. But doesn't it follow that goat's milk was designed to grow a small goat...not people? It is hard to know what to believe sometimes!

1:56 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said... would think it would but she said that it was because goats are more similar in weight to us than a cow is. This lady was Christian and she wrote a book called 'Are You Sick and Tired of Being Sick And Tired?' or something like that. I heard her on a Christian radio program many years ago.

3:41 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Tami said...

Thanks for the honesty, Erin! I am a recovering extremist. :) My darling husband is such a help to me- he extends much grace and constantly reminds me that the burdens I tend to carry were not God-given- Jesus came to give us a light and easy yoke! I know it honors God that you are seeking so diligently to serve your family and home (a husband and wife are a family, right?).

Your sister,

4:26 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger zan said...


That cow's vs. goat's milk is the silliest thing I have ever heard of. LOL!

I approach food like you Mrs. B. ; )

5:16 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Samantha said...

That's really funny, I am in the experimenting phase of cooking as well. Jim really wants us to eat healthy, and it's not always easy to cook something healthy that's tastes great as well. I just shop at the regular grocery store, but we've been enjoying different stir frys with different meats and lots of fresh veggies. I agree that balance is the key. Some people eat extremely healthy, but constantly worry about what they are eating (which is even worse for your body). I hope you guys find your healthy balance, and if you find any healthy, but tastey recipes be sure to share!

5:24 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Tami - Thanks for your encouraging words! It's definitely good for us perfectionist women to be married to laid-back and patient guys! My husband really helps to keep me from getting too worked up or discouraged about things that don't go right:o)

Zan and Mrs. B - about the goat and cow milk thing...I don't think I'm going to go so far as to compare my weight with the weights of animals that eat the same foods;o) I've heard things about milk not being good for people at all...but I'm not about to cut out animal products. I need protein and don't feel good when I don't get it! Zan, you're funny:o) You say what you think, and I like that!

Hey Samantha! We do stir-fry a lot too! I agree with you that constant worry about food isn't good or healthy. I don't like to have to count calories or weigh myself everyday (I don't even own a scale!) or constantly be worrying about every little thing I put in my mouth. That's why I want to do my research, and come up with a healthy food plan that we can just do and be happy with and not have to worry about:o) Sounds like you guys are in the same boat! I'll try to share recipes as I figure all this out. Lol...the ones I have shared haven't really been my "healthy" ones:o)

7:30 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Kimi Harris said...

LOL, it's true that we can go to extremes (I think it's human nature). We eat pretty healthy, but it has been changing one step at a time towards that end. We now eat mostly organics, raw milk, etc. But we also don't freak out about eating something refined once in a while (like donuts or desserts). We just don't eat it everyday. One book that you might find interesting is Norishing Traditions. Ever heard of it? I don't agree with everything in the book..... and you definitely can't start eating 100% like she suggests all at once (it would be way overwhelming), but she has a lot of interesting research quoted. When I say we eat healthy, it's not the traditional type either. We eat red meat, and a lot of "good fat" like cream and butter and olive olive oil. A lot of what we are told is that cream and butter and other animal fats are bad, but there is another side to that story (which you can find in this book). Husbands usually go for this type of healthy, LOL And if any of you are wondering, both my husband and I are slender and haven't gained weight from eating this way. Anyway, an interesting read!

11:12 PM, April 12, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Kimi - I've flipped through "Nourishing Traditions" at Barnes and Noble, and just ordered it yesterday through my library's network so I can finish reading it:o) It does look like an interesting book...and like the information it contains is a lot healthier than following some "diet method". I agree with you though...from what I've seen so far, I think following it to the letter is unrealistic.

It sounds like you and your husband now have a very healthy way of looking at eating...not freaking out about eating something less desirable occasionally, but trying to eat well most of the time.

10:40 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Frugal Homemaker said...


But yogurt is really, really easy to make. You don't need a yogurt maker either- just a candy thermomoter, a starter (a small container of plain yogurt with active cultures is fine for the first batch- after that you can use your own) some jars and a warm place to put it. E-mail me at if you want directions!

I've never tried to make cheese, but I've heard it's really cost ineffective. It does sound fun though!

11:17 AM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Frugal - I'm glad to hear that yogurt making is easy! I've been scared to try it without a machine, though, because I know that you have to keep it at a certain steady temperature for several hours straight, and I'm not sure how I would do that!

12:58 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

Goat's milk is easier to digest as is raw milk. It is a shame that milk has to be pasturized before it is sold but it is necessary because of diseases. There is even evidence to suggest that pasturized milk is why there are so many lactose intolerant folks around. When you pasturize milk you kill alot of "good things" too.

My goal is to live in the country like I did when I was a kid and have goats again and chickens, grow my own veggies and maybe raise a beef cow. This is a dream but it may happen. I live in a pretty rural area and the country is not far away.

However, until that happens I will have to do without and eat the modern way.

I wonder if that lady who wrote that book knows that goats come in all different sizes. Pygmy goats are as big as a medium size dog.

2:42 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

You crack me up! Very funny!:-) My husband groans whenever I really start to get into studying nutrition. I am over-analytical and a perfectionist, too, so I understand how it can work. Baby steps are hard for me too, but much better to start off slow and not get burned out and overwhelmed because I did too much at one time. I've read that making yogurt is really easy and healthier-the store-bought kind has so much sugar in it.

9:05 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger a suburban housewife said...

Did you know that your kidneys can't process carbonation? My midwife told me that once. Interesting thought 'cuz I'm like you: I want a "stinging" coke with lots of ice!!

8:44 PM, April 15, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home