The Catholic Hippie

Catholic… Faith Applied Universally. Hippie… Living Opposed to Current Culture.

Food and family… where to draw the line April 10, 2012

Filed under: Faith/Spirituality,food/nutrition — catholichippie @ 4:31 PM

I just read this very timely post over at Kitchen Stewardship….

This particular post is very pertinent to me right now.  We were still taking the ‘baby steps’ approach to traditional foods when my 7 year developed a cavity.  I was already familiar with the book “Cure Tooth Decay” and felt like this was the so-called catalyst that I needed to really take the full plunge.  So as mentioned in a previous post, we have completely eliminated all refined sugar (only using pure maple syrup, unheated raw honey, and powdered green stevia… very sparingly!), all white flour products, and are only consuming whole or freshly ground grains that have been properly soaked, sprouted, or soured.  We get raw milk, cheese, butter, eggs and meat from a local farmer.  The kids and I are also taking FCLO/BO blend, every day.

My husband is not entirely on board, honestly I think it exhausts him just to think about it, but he is usually thrilled with what is served, so all in all not to many complaints from him.  That and joining the farmers co-op is saving us a lot of money!  As our sole provider, that’s definitely important to him.

So, we, OK, I decided to skip the family Easter this year.  Having it at our house was not an option.  My seven-year old has been as educated as possible on all this and he knows not to eat ‘sugar or white flour’, and he knows why.   But I just felt like it would be really unfair to bring him somewhere with all kinds of candy, dessert, pasta, and white bread being served.  Most of my family still buys into the low-fat-dairy, no-red-meat frame of mind.  They sort of laugh at me and my ‘crazy ideas’, it’s not mean-spirited, but it’s also clear they don’t take me seriously.  People would be offended if they brought a candy gift and weren’t allowed to give it, even though they were previously asked not to.  I am always amazed at what people consider healthy alternatives… since when are twizzlers not candy?  At this point even my husband will say we need to make an exception.  Yes, I agree, sometimes you do. But when there is a visible cavity in my son’s tooth and we are not trying to prevent, but to heal and remineralize, I don’t think NOW is the time for exceptions.

My sister warned me on Saturday about making food my idol.  I’ve also had friends to tell me that I should be more concerned about my kids souls than their nutrition.  But don’t our buying choices affect so much more than just the food we eat?  Are we not to teach our children to be good stewards of the land and animals that God gave us?  Not to mention solidarity with all our global neighbors?  I can’t live my faith in a vacuum.  I try to teach my kids and myself, to live under the premise that everything we do either brings us closer to God, or further away.  There’s no neutral.  And often times that means making a personal sacrifice in the name of the greater good.  Something that we as Americans are not generally too good at.


I’m a Christian, unless you’re… April 7, 2012

Filed under: Faith/Spirituality — catholichippie @ 3:27 PM

Please read the following blog post…

I came across this fabulous post thru a friend.  Wow.  I just don’t even know where to begin.  This writer has said everything that is in my heart.  I just don’t have such a graceful way of trying to present my thoughts without coming across as completely hypocritical to whatever it is I’m trying to say.  This really shouldn’t be such a revolutionary idea; love everyone, no matter what, period.  But it is certainly something I personally struggle with.  Although the writer spoke a lot about the ‘typical’ social outcasts such as gays, addicts, and homeless people, my struggle is usually with those judging the former, the ones practicing a faith-as-a-weapon type of theology.  That and the privileged, which in a global worldview, is pretty much myself and everyone I know.  Is this just a version of self-loathing?  Perhaps.  But it’s still one in the same.  Withholding love from someone for any reason is simply not justified!  I think we sometimes confuse love with approval.  The fear is that we’d somehow be sending the message that we agree with whatever choices someone is making.  But the message we’re really sending is that they don’t have any inherent dignity or worth as a human being, basically, we are saying they are worthless.  Another obstacle is the fear of association, pretty self-explanatory.  But again, this comes down to a perceived lack of worth, why else would we fear being associated with such a person?  I am trying to resist whipping out any bible verses.  This is a universal human message.  It is not limited or confined in any way to any faith or system of beliefs.  My hope is to try and show a little more love to those I perceive as unloveable.  Who knows… maybe it’ll catch on!


Our Nourishing Traditions

Filed under: food/nutrition — catholichippie @ 1:06 PM

After a VERY long journey from the truly sad standard american diet, thru low-fat-dairy & no-red-meat land, and a whirlwind tour of vegetarianism, we have finally arrived at what I believe to be the gold standard for optimal nutrition.  This is not a fad, this is not a quick fix, and it is most definitely not new.  So what is it?  Some people call it whole food, others real food, I personally prefer traditonal food.  Only it’s not just traditional food, but traditional preparation as well.  This type of eating/cooking can be found in every culture around the world that has not succumbed to modern processing and conveniences.  Granted, that’s pretty few and far between these days, but that has not always been the case.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is the go-to source for any and all information about traditional foods and modern day dangers.  About a year and a half ago, a fellow homeschooling mom introduced me to the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.  As I love to say (a la Johnny English) this book is SO much more than a cookbook!  Needless to say I have spent  a lot of time educating myself and my family, looking for local sources, and experimenting with new recipes/techniques.  The WAPF website has become invaluable to me.  Not only for information on the site, but also directing me to other books, DVDs, and blogs.  Check it out here.

This month a lot has finally fallen into place.  Our 100% grass-fed beef has been taken to the processor and will be in our freezer very soon.  All refined sugar has been eliminated from our diet.  No grains are being consumed without first being soaked, sprouted, or soured.  We began our weekly pick-up of farm fresh raw milk, eggs, butter and other local products.  And the most impressive event… all four of my children took their first dose of the most important whole food supplement there is; fermented cod liver oil.  It’s impressive because no one complained, retched, puked, or even so much as made a funny face!  Who says miracles don’t happen?


Who’s the expert? January 8, 2011

Filed under: homebirth — catholichippie @ 10:28 AM
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Got a call from my favorite midwife today.  She is the leader of the Home Birth Option of Cleveland, an informational group that meets monthly, to discuss… yep homebirth.  She asked me to speak at the next meeting, along with a few other women, about my varied birth experiences (hospital, birth center, and finally home).  This is very flattering to me… I can’t even express how much I look forward to these monthly gatherings with other like-minded women/couples!  But a stray comment got me thinking… she half joked that I’m ‘credible’ or at least viewed as such because I am a nurse.  And she’s right; many people have commented to me that it was OK that I chose homebirth simply because I’m a nurse.  Well let me tell you how much of my nursing experience came in to play during my hours of labor… zip, zero, nada.

Fast forward to another conversation with a friend/co-worker of mine who shares my passion about breastfeeding.  We know many women who sometimes encounter normal issues when getting started with breastfeeding, and who do they turn to?  Their pediatricians.  The usual response, to whatever the issue, ranges from a prescription being given, supplementing with formula, or even worse to stop nursing altogether.  Again, how much of their medical training prepares them to answer these questions?  Again, the answer is very little if any.  Are these women being referred to lactation consultants?  Or local La Leche League groups?  Very rarely.  Yet they all feel confident that they’re doing the right thing because ‘that’s what the doctor told me to do’.

The same applies to birth.  I feel so frustrated when any pregnant woman starts a sentence with something along the lines of ‘my doctor won’t let me…’.  Doctors are trained to treat pathology.  It may be a surprise to many people to learn that pregnancy is not a disease or state of illness.  Neither is getting over some of the bumps in the early stages of breastfeeding.  If you are a healthy person with no signs of cardiovascular illness, nobody suggests you should start seeking the advice of a cardiologist.  If your blood sugar is normal and you show no signs of diabetes, nobody wonders why you aren’t being treated by an endocrinologist.  WHY THEN do people assume that a healthy woman having a normal pregnancy should be under the care of someone trained to treat problems associated with pregnancy?


Not just no mammals July 24, 2010

Filed under: vegetarianism — catholichippie @ 6:40 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

It has been a long-standing family joke, although some have never found it funny, that I don’t eat mammals… mammals?  Yes, mammals!  And why, you may (or may not) be tempted to ask…  Truth be told I have never really been a fan of red meat.  I remember as a child (sorry mom) interminably chewing the most awful piece of some kind of meat.  Now, I have had my share of filet mignon and other good cuts, so I know it wasn’t just a kitchen mishap that turned me off.  Honestly, I just never got what the fuss was about.  So, several years ago, I decided that as a rule I would not eat red meat or serve it to my family.  My favorite saying was that I wasn’t going to eat any animal that fed its offspring the same way I do.  That and I had this sort of misguided philosophy that you could ‘bond’ with mammals (dogs, cats, cows, bunnies, etc)  as opposed to other living creatures like fowl (chicken) and any kind of seafood.  One holiday I phrased it something like; ‘well you could have a relationship with a mammal’.  This is how the joke was born; my brother and sister-in-law always teased me about ‘having relations’ with various kinds of animals (all mammals of course!).  Like I said, some people never really found it all that funny.  But year after year I could always count on at least one or two wise-cracks from them.

Four years ago my one and only daughter decided that she wanted to be vegetarian; vegan actually.  Her reasons had little to with the animals, she was not so concerned with any possible (missed) bonding experiences, and more about the environmental impact.  She was only going on 10 at the time, and so her basic concern over the wasting of natural resources was good enough for me to support her in this decision.  So like any budding homeschooling mom, I had her look up all the vitamins/nutrients she could possibly be missing and list their alternative sources.  Of course I did my own homework on this as well.  Instinctively, I was more for just the basic veg diet rather than strict vegan.  I knew that vitamin B12 was essential and that it was not found in any non-animal sources.  She agreed to eat salmon once or twice a month to appease me.  I thought it was fun trying new recipes; we had an egg free cake at her birthday and stuffed squash for Thanksgiving.  After deciding she just couldn’t live without eating eggs, she quit the vegan thing after about six months, but stuck to veg for a solid year.  Ever since she tries to at least avoid meat as much as possible.  Looking back, it’s probably my fault it didn’t last longer.  The novelty in the kitchen started to wear off and basically I got lazy.

I have always been fascinated with food and nutrition and have enjoyed reading on the subject.  I have gone thru a series of ‘jags’ where I swore off one thing or another; artificial everything, preservatives, dairy, gluten… you name it I’ve avoided it.  For a while I was making all my own bread and bread products from scratch… bagels anyone?  I never did successfully make a homemade hamburger bun.  Over the last couple years I have become more aware of both the horrors of factory farms and the healing powers of certain foods.  As usual, I dove in head first; only organic produce, no sugar, no salt, nothing at all processed, only free roaming chickens and grass-fed beef… wait a minute; I don’t even like beef!  At this rate I knew that I was once again going to fail because of my ‘all or nothing’ approach.  It was time to realistically prioritize how I was going to modify and incorporate some healthy changes in my family’s diet.  Thankfully, some of my previous endeavors had some lasting effects; we’d been off cow milk for quite some time and quite gloriously everyone was happy with rice milk (did I mention I went thru a phase of making it myself?), all natural peanut butter and raw honey had become staples, as well as an array of other healthier alternatives.

I did my research and double checked the statistics.  One thing that stood out was that commercially prepared meat (red, white, or otherwise) has more than 10 times the amount of pesticides as non organic produce.  Wow.  That mixed with the overwhelming desire to no longer monetarily support the factory farming industry finally pushed me over the edge.  Now, why not just buy organically raised meat?  Good question.  Mainly; we can’t afford it.  It’s cheaper to eat vegetarian.  Besides, I’m skeptical about the ‘all-natural’ labels on these meats that you find at the grocery stores, and we’re not yet ready to commit to any CSA shares or co-ops.  BUT, that’s not the only reason.  My social conscience tells me that I am a child of God and citizen of planet earth first.  This solidarity with the rest of humankind no longer allows me to eat what has historically always been a kind of delicacy, a treat of sorts.  Not just what’s for dinner.

Just to be clear; I am not saying that it is wrong to kill animals for food.  I am saying it is wrong to treat animals unethically and make them suffer.  I am not saying there are no health benefits to eating meat and animal products.  I am saying that mainstream processing which includes pasteurization and homogenization destroy most of these benefits.  I am not saying that not eating meat will solve world hunger or end global warming.  I am saying that these complex consequences require complex solutions.  I am simply one woman, one mother, trying to learn to take baby steps toward a healthier future and perhaps instill a little justice along the way.


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