Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Food Chronicles

I decided to look at what our family was eating to see if I could make some changes.

Breakfast: Omelets

Lunch: Homemade soup (chicken or pork w/ veggies using homemade broth), + sandwich (1 piece of rye bread with a slice of cheese or leftover roasted pork/chicken)

Dinner: Various kinds of meat+rice/pasta/potatoes +salad or other veggie

We have tea after every meal with a small treat of some kind (ONE piece of chocolate or ONE cookie). And snack on fruit or homemade croutons, etc.

Verdict: I know that I don't eat enough of some things, like fruits and veggies. But it's hard to believe that with 90% of our food made from scratch we could be way off the mark. People keep talking about the evils of grains and sugar and it's hard for me to believe that having a few slices of bread or a few cookies per day would be ruining my digestion.

A lot of women in the fitness discussion groups I frequent seem to talk about "real food" and "Paleo" all the time. So I decided to check out a new e-book written by a woman I'd run into before in the blogosphere. She blogs at http://trinaholden.com/blog/.

-My Thoughts-

Even though I am not sold on the "real food" movement, I really enjoyed this book. Yes, I rolled my eyes about all the "staying close to the source" and buying local everything and finding a raw milk source and whatnot. I wish someone would put out a book like this for urban life! And the dessert section is frustrating...I don't know where to buy sugar substitute or eggs that can be consumed raw.

But aside from the shopping side of the equation, Trina definitely has a knack for making things sound doable, and she assigns some simple tasks for those who like their checklists.

Here are a few sections of the book I found applicable:

1) Bone Broth

Making my own chicken broth seemed like a no-brainer. If I make soup, I use homemade broth, but I don't actually make it that often because I don't have stock vegetables on hand like onions, celery, and carrots.

"Your Real Food Journey" suggests: use bone broth in almost everything as a substitute for water; use it to boil your rice, pasta, etc. Again, that wasn't a new idea to me, but I'd never purposed to do it regularly. The life-changer was that she mentioned simmering just the bones. No soup veggies needed, just cover the chicken bones with water and some vinegar and simmer away for several hours. Then you have some broth you can use the next day for cooking your dinner. We eat chicken so often that I could definitely see myself doing this a lot.

2) Cultured Foods/Homemade Yogurt

Fermentation is a part of the Russian food culture, and I could see myself getting into it. "Your Real Food Journey" claims that fermented foods have special enzymes that can aid your digestion if you include them in every meal. Kefir and sauerkraut are the main ones around here, but the book has recipes like "Gingered Carrots" that sound edible as well.

As far as homemade yogurt, she suggests using some whey, which I'm pretty sure I could find in the supermarket here. The dairy section in Russian grocery stores is huge, and that includes cultured products. Hopefully I will make a yogurt attempt one of these days. If not, I can always just buy some kefir. Homemade is "better," but sometimes baby steps are necessary. Extra dishes have to be factored in!

So those are a few projects I'd like to try. As far as cutting out foods/food groups, well....the jury is still out.


  1. Buying local - I bet the most "local" or close to the source would be going to the ринок/market or buying from the babushki near the metro stations (assuming you have the equivalent there)!

    I used our chicken scraps for broth one time - was pretty tasty! Just make sure to get out all the bones and scraps before using it again. :) Any idea why the vinegar is necessary? Is it to soften the bones? I think I've also read that using the bone marrow is good for you.

    I miss the dairy section. Especially the drinkable yogurts - like Чудо brand and their many varieties.

    What about honey as a sugar substitute? You should be able to find the sugar-honey conversion factor online somewhere - it's not quite 1:1.

    Приятного аппетита!

    1. That's a good point about local sources. I guess it's a double standard: I want local quality but at an international healthy/safety level. Who are these babushki and where did they get this stuff? You know?

      Yes, the lemon or vinegar draws more of the good stuff out, I guess.

      My son drinks чудо chocolate milk now. :)

      I'm not sure where I got the idea that honey wasn't acceptable; maybe because her recipes emphasize sucanat more. I guess the raw honey is kind that should be used, and that's a little expensive to use in baking. Does that make sense? Otherwise maybe you're right and it could be used.

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. I've usually thought that about the babushki selling the meats/cheeses/dairy products....never really wanted to risk it, unless it was a babushka I knew. :)

      PS Could I have the next installment of the book series? :)

  2. You scare me. I thought your diet sounded absolutely spectacular already. I think you need to buy your veg from the little ladies sitting on the street corners - there were sure plenty of them in Moscow! Maybe it's getting too cold for fresh now, but in the winter, there they were in Moscow and Ivanovo with their canned things. (I was brave; my husband thought he'd be heading back to the US alone.)

    I heard that you can eat eggs in Russia raw because they are not washed at the "factory/farm?" as the ones in the US are....so I have been told, anyway. And I think you don't have to refrigerate them either. They still have the natural covering/patina (whatever) that keeps them fresh and keeps bad things out. So you just wash them at the last minute, I guess.

    You'd feel a lot better if I did this little exercise. Hm....I am having an Entemann's doughnut with my coffee right now.

    1. Well, I may have left a few things off our menu (like all the mayonnaise and baked goods). Yes, you are brave. I have some canned things from my in-laws that I'm saving for winter. And I'm doing frozen veggies.

      That is so interesting about eggs! Yes, the eggs are out at the grocery store, though I refrigerate them once we're home. Hmmm, I'll have to ask around.

      I'm a bit of a baked goods snob, but I do plenty of bingeing. I think Entemann's would make the cut...I wonder if there are any copycat recipes online?

  3. My grandfather used to be a kind of "health food" advocate. He made that bone broth - and more...something he got from bone marrow or something, and then he'd use every bit of every strawberry. After a bit of watching him cook, I completely gave up eating "at grandpa's house" unless it was something one of my aunts brought. Yipes.

    1. By "every bit of every strawberry" I mean the parts that were mushy, the parts that were not the right color, the parts that birds or worms or some such had been at already....in short, all the ones that at home we'd call "heavers" and give a heave over the back fence for the animals to eat!

    2. I sure wish I had gotten into that habit. It seems like something hard to learn partway through life. Have you seen that photo of people from different cultures eating chicken wings? I am the person who leaves some meat still on there, because I'm too squeamish to get some of those squishy bits between my teeth.


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