Traditional Foods…Why Bother?

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Traditional Foods: Why Bother? :: Vintage Kids | Modern World

lacto-fermented salsa. kombucha. kimchi. kefir. coconut oil. raw milk. sourdough bread.

oh and cultured butter. lots and lots of it.

my hubby’s translation: “hippy food that makes our kitchen look like a science experiment”

my translation: “REAL food, that is packed full of vitamins, enzymes and cultures that aid in digestion and can heal your gut, fill you up, and give you more energy as it cleans out your system.  and yes… it’s very ‘hippy’ and it does kinda look like a highschool science lab on my kitchen counters”

In the coming weeks here at Vintage Kids|Modern World, we will be exploring more “hippy recipes”, but before we get that far…why on earth would you want to bother?

especially if your grocery cart is packed full of “the normal stuff”…

…lunch meat and sliced cheese, some apples and maybe some carrot sticks even, hot dogs, frozen pizza, some boxed (or maybe frozen) dinners (for that night when the kids have sports and you’ll be rushed to get something on the table), maybe some chips and soda, some skim milk, maybe a few yogurt cups for the kids’ lunch.  oh and that pint of Starbucks ice cream that will be quietly stuck in the very back of the freezer, lest little ones find it, and -horror- they delve into that caffeine laden dessert…it all seems normal, so then why bother? after all, those “normal” foods don’t contain anything scary like “lactobacilli” or things that you once grew in a petri dish, right?

I had never heard of these things growing up.  It kind of even freaked me out that yogurt had “live cultures” in it. I never would have guessed that I would be fermenting my own kombucha in large jars above my stove! (And if you don’t know what kombucha is, please don’t feel bad – you’re not alone!)

but let me back up…this all started 6 years ago when we realized that our oldest daughter had, what we thought, was baby acne.  Through a long string of events, and misdiagnosis, we realized that because I had received massive amounts of penicillin during my long labor with her, that she was born with compromised gut flora.  The antibiotics that I had received had attacked all of the good bacteria in her gut, so her intestines weren’t able to process many enzymes, and she had an especially hard time with the lactose in milk, producing a funny rash every time she came in contact with dairy.  After some research and recommendations, we started her on a high-grade probiotic and we switched to local, grass-fed raw milk.  I know it sounds scary and hippy-ish, but hang with me.

her dairy allergy is gone.   We were able to help cure her gut, thus strengthening her immune system.  And most importantly to me, as a mother, I watched my daughter’s body heal itself through simple, traditional nutritional practices.  

So what is traditional food?

In the most basic sense, traditional foods are those things that are un-processed, un-refined and were not created in a factory or laboratory.  Things that our ancestors ate back in the day that completely nourished and sustained them; things that were eaten raw, fermented, cultured and sometimes soaked and sprouted. (and don’t worry; we’ll cover these things in following articles!)

Traditional cultures, pre 19th and 20th century industrialization, consumed non-processed foods…quite obviously.  And funny thing is, before our “convenience foods” diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cholestrol problems, many forms of cancers,  auto-immmune diseases, dental problems, and even depression (just to name a few!) were a rarity and most definitely not the norm.  We underestimate how much our nutrition plays a part in our total health, not to mention our energy levels!  For some great resources on traditional foods, check out these articles:

Traditional Foods in a Nutshell

Two Paradigms of Healthy Eating

After we realized the impact that diet had on my daughter’s health, I realized that I wanted to make some big changes.  The problem was, I was still working part time  and raising a little one and so I didn’t have hours to spend in the kitchen preparing “homemade foods” – which in my mind meant that I would be kneading bread and plucking my own chickens.  Plus, (and this was a BIG one in our house) there was no way we could afford to buy all of our groceries at the health food store, so if I couldn’t do it all, why bother?

After a lot of trial and error and many late nights researching, here’s what I discovered:

1. We saw huge improvements in our health with just a few small – very inexpensive – changes; both in adding certain things and omitting others.

2. With a little preplanning, I am able to prepare traditional foods with very little extra effort and can even do “meals on the go” or last minute options!

3. Eating traditionally can actually be cheaper.  Seriously.  Yeah, there are some ingredients that cost a little more because you’re paying for the quality of the ingredients.  Funny thing is though, the higher the quality of the food, the more vitamins and nutrients it has and so you feel fuller.  You’ll start to find yourself eating less because your body is TRULY satiated – not just full.

4. Even on those days when I find myself in the kitchen longer than I planned…I realize that, beyond a shadow of a doubt…it’s worth it.  

Please take a look at some of these links from fellow Traditional Food Bloggers to see why they “bothered going the natural route”.  They have done an amazing amount of research and put together some great information, so see for yourself…

Reading Food Labels

Soaking Whole Grains: why do it?

Can we be well fed but malnourished? the teeth will tell

Why Skim Milk Will Make You Fat and Give You Heart Disease

Cholesterol and Heart Disease, a phony issue

Fats and Oils and Their Impact on Health

All of these blogs have a WEALTH of information that will really make you think about the value of nutrition – so look around at their recipes, tips and research!

…and stay tuned!  We’re going to continue on with our”Living Naturally Series” with part 2: “If I can’t afford to buy everything organic, where should I start?” coming next week!

what kind of questions do you have about traditional foods? Do you already incorporate these in your diet? 

*originally posted on 1/9/12

*photo credit




This post is linked to Better Mom Mondays, Homestead Barn Hop, Traditional Tuesdays, Titus 2 Tuesday, Fat Tuesday Adorned from Above Blog Hop, Wheat Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Healing with Food Friday, Food Renegade, Unprocessed Fridays, Simple Meals Friday, Kelly the Kitchen Kop

This entry was posted in Health + Home Remedies, Living Naturally, Traditional Nutrition   |    Bookmark the permalink.


3 Responses to “Traditional Foods…Why Bother?”
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  1. Colleen

    I’m typing this as I have a pan of homemade granola in the oven!! Hee! Hee! 😉
    Yes, I try very hard to incorporate traditional foods into my family’s diet. Why? Mainly because I’m a very picky eater and after reading what goes into food (and what happens to it before I even see it at a grocery store) grosses me out! While I KNOW it’s worth the time and effort (and you’re right, it’s really not that much extra work), I do get tired, busy and/or am away from home some days and we can’t always have everything ‘traditional’…and I totally feel the difference when some ‘convenience foods’ start creeping back into our tummies!!!
    My main questions are: 1) How do you plan your meals (or do you)?, 2) Do you have a few good ol’ standbys that you keep on hand at all times?, 3) Do you have any time-saving tips for a culinary-challenged cook who is still trying to figure out which family member likes which ingredients? 😉 Seems like I’m coming up with a new menu every day! (and why is it children are more hesitant about eating real food than they are about eating overly-processed foods?? Can’t figure that one out!!)
    I’m already enjoying this series, so thank you!!! 🙂

  2. We are just starting to eat more real food – and trying our best! It’s definitely quite an adjustment and some of the prices (like NF Lunchmeat) are causing me to start looking online for deals. However, it is so worth it! I love the thought of feeding myself and my family real food that nourishes our bodies.
    Nicole @ Working Kansas Homemaker recently posted..How to Have the Best Year EverMy Profile

  3. Kelsi

    Nicole, I totally agree…high quality meat and dairy can be hard to find and a little pricier, depending on your source. The initial sticker shock was a deterrent for awhile. However, once we started eating them , I realized that we were actually eating less of them, because they were so much more nutrient dense. I was able to make them stretch a bit more, and it made such a huge difference, I don’t think I could ever go back!! Blessings on your new journey, and thanks for popping in! -Kelsi