Saturday, March 17, 2012

Health Transitions

I got an Above Rubies magazine just before we left for Kentucky. I had not had time to read it so I brought it with me. Some of you reading may be familiar with Above Rubies. There are things I like about Above Rubies and other things I don't agree with as well. However, I do find encouragement from the magazine so I typically read it. In their last issue there was an article about making kefir from kefir grain. I knew as soon as I read it that I wanted to make kefir for our family. Then a couple of weeks later we were given kefir grain. We started making kefir.

We had no idea how much we were going to learn from this experience nor how much it was going to change our thinking and way of eating. Kefir grain is basically the bacteria used to make kefir. You pour milk over the kefir and let it sit out for 12-24 hours on the kitchen counter covered with a towel to let it breathe. It ferments and turns into a healthy probiotic powerhouse drink. Then the milk is strained through a plastic (not metal strainer) and you have kefir. The kefir grain multiplies fairly rapidly. However, we noticed that ours was declining. We were a little confused by this, but then thought about the fact that we were using conventional milk. That basically means were were using milk from cows that had been fed with grain that has antibiotics in it to prevent infection. We had not given much thought to the fact that antibiotics could be in the milk. So we switched to making kefir with organic milk. The kefir grain then began to multiply once again.

For those who do not know antibiotics kill the beneficial probiotic bacteria in our intestines which can then lead to candida overgrowth. That has many more negative health implications than I think any one really knows. We know that some of the members of our household have candida overgrowth issues and have not been having success with medications, probiotics supplements, or eating yogurt. So combining all these facts Vic and I began to pray and discuss our eating habits. We have switched to organic dairy products. Our coop order will include organic cheese and at that point we should be switched over completely to organic dairy products. Then Vic and I talked about if the antibiotics are in the milk then it is in the meat too. So we are in the process of switching to grass-fed organic beef, pastured pork, and free-range chickens. That is easier said then done here in this community as to buy them from the farmer directly involves being on a waiting list for a while. So we are deciding which farmers to get on their waiting list. Then we switched to cage-free eggs. Vic and I also discussed that pesticides and herbicides also likely affect that delicate intestinal flora balance as well. So we are using as much organic produce as we can. Then we talked about the chemicals in our household cleaners. I am experimenting with making our own cleaners. So we are transitioning.

The dietary changes will have a negative budgetary impact so we have discussed ways to deal with that. We already ted to eat many meatless meals so we will do more of that, but still include the meats for special occasions and once a week which will make the need for meats be lower thus more budget friendly. Vic and I also discussed how sugars and processed foods feed the bad bacterias that cause the candida overgrowth issues. However, we do not want to give up all treats, but we will decrease them and change how we make them. So we decided to switch to sweetening with alternative sweeteners such as honey, stevia, sucanat, and sweeteners like that. At least we decided with these sweeteners we will make them at least have more nutritional content. As we discussed all these changes that will take time to implement we realized that basically we are changing to a more nutrient dense and less chemical diet. We have tended to try eat local and healthy anyway, but we are taking it further now. So if you visit my house I will be in the garden, kitchen, and garage a bit more once we complete school work for that day.

I started a running program before we left for Kentucky as well. Vic and the boys have decided to run as well. So in almost all ways we are adjusting to a healthier lifestyle as a family. As we transition we are hoping to be a healthier family by this time next year. Our goal is to need less medications and less medical care over the next year.


  1. Charity do you have a whole foods store near you? They will have some of the meat. Also, if you know anyone who hunts see if they would be willing to get you a deer. it's very healthy.
    Vinegar and baking soda work great in the bathroom.

    1. Thanks Hannah! We are making cleaners ourselves so far with vinegar, castile soap, baking soda, washing soda, and borax. Then scenting them with essential oils. Vic deer hunts so maybe he will get a deer this year. Closest Whole Foods or Trader Joes is two and a half hours away. Caleb has been using vinegar and baking soda in the toilet. He loves to watch it foam.

  2. No doubt, on the road to a healthful life! As you continue down the road, you will find yourself researching fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck. In that, I mean you will be looking for the most nutritious foods that have the most benefits. That's where I am. The transitioning is the greatest, as each day you feel better and better. You don't realize how much your health deteriorates over time. You adjust and so you do not know how bad you really feel. It's exhilarating! Good luck to you and your family. I wish you great success and much energy!!