Are Dietary Hangups Eating Away Your Travel Plans?

Perhaps for me– and maybe you too– travel and being “on-the-go” seem like an accomplishment! In my case this is primarily because of the way diet affected me, ever since childhood.

My parents liked to get out and take me places, but I was sluggish, depressed, got car sick easily and complained a lot. The high carb diet of the 70s and 80s took its toll on me early. If your daughter is “sleeping beauty”, or your son seems overly tired, its important to look into the causes. In my early twenties, I finally figured out I had hypoglycemia, or blood sugar imbalance. Cereal and fruit for breakfast, sugary snacks, peanut butter and jelly on white bread for lunch, juice… At dinner, meat and potatoes finally balanced out my system, so that I felt like staying up late at night because I could finally concentrate on homework and reading. But during school, I simply could not make it through the day. I craved lunch meat and McDonald’s hamburgers– and although those aren’t the healthiest foods, my body felt it had a right to some protein and fat.

Some questions to ask ourselves:

  • Are we relying on high carbohydrate, sugary foods as snacks or meals?
  • In spite of the organic or gluten-free label, is it going to raise our children’s insulin level, leading to sluggishness, poor concentration and future diabetes?
  • Is there any real nutritional content to the food, or is it just filler?
  • Do we view the foods we feed our kids as being “fun” or the better choice– “nourishing?”
  • Are we giving in to peer pressure to feed our kids what other kids are eating?
  • Do we pay attention to our kid’s behavior based on what they’ve been eating?

Our bodies do need fat for energy, and for proper hormonal balance. When I found out about the Weston A. Price Foundation in my late twenties, I was ecstatic! Finally, free health information from a non-profit group equipped with research and advice for healthy eating! In spite of the plethora of health information reaching us over the internet, I have always come back to this group as the voice of reason, and the true meaning of “balanced diet” and “whole foods.” Although critics may say that too much emphasis is placed on animal products, the truth is that http://www.westonaprice.org is a non-profit group providing research about the quality of our food, how the nutrients work in our bodies, and where to find good quality, wholesome foods. As far as the ratio of meat, milk, vegetables and carbs– that is up to you and your doctor or natural health guru. The information you will find is not a diet plan, nor does it restrict any group of nutrients in favor of another.

In spite of the wonderful resources I have been privileged to find over the years, I feel that there are seasons where I’ve been overly busy in the kitchen, and this has prevented me from doing what I really love– getting out there and experiencing life! Especially when I found that my children had allergies and intolerances. When my daughter began developing severe rashes all over her body due to eating certain things, it was time to stay home and make everything from scratch. Fortunately, acting on what we knew, we were able to get her gut and her body stabilized within about six months.

While traveling and being on-the-go may seem like an accomplishment, if we are coming home from it all feeling wiped out and miserable, it may require taking a fresh look at the health equation. If we are obsessing  over the health equation, it may be time to get back to the basics so that we can actually get out and enjoy life!

 

 

 

Thermal Cooker: Energy Efficient Slow Cooking– At Home, Traveling, or Camping!

Wow! I keep seeing all the face book pictures of children going back to school (I actually get teary eyed looking at other people’s kids starting a new year of school!) Here in Illinois, the weather went from hot and sticky, to cold and rainy overnight. First, you wish summer would last forever, then you get the urge to go apple picking, and next you’re craving heartier meals and thinking about your favorite fall recipes. At least that’s how I am. Our bodies do need a little more sustenance as the weather changes, and most people spend  more time in the kitchen– which adds to the electric bill. My husband and I discovered thermal cookers (non-electric slow cookers) about eight years ago, and it’s a great way to save energy, and perfect for taking on the road, or even just to visit friends for dinner! Here’s an example of one: //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwlittleshoe-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00EI643D2&asins=B00EI643D2&linkId=37OGTT4KQF4HC6IU&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>Thermos Shuttle Chef

Primitive societies discovered how to get a pot of food boiling over a fire, then place a lid on it and bury it underground, where the temperature is retained and it continued to cook. Go into an Asian store and you can usually find a modern thermal cooking system. It’s an inner pot that fits into an outer thermos with a handle. Essentially, a slow cooker that doesn’t need electricity!

We’ve brought our “Cook and Carry” with us to friend’s houses, pot lucks, concerts in the park, and of course, camping! People always ask me, “how long does it keep things warm?” I always smile because that’s not the right question to ask! “No,” I say, ” We actually cook our food in this. Then we bring it with us. It is not just staying warm, it’s cooking. When it’s ready, we eat it!”

Yes, you can take a small chicken, throw some onions, carrots and rosemary or tarragon (love it!) on top, fill it with water up over the food, bring it to a soft boil, put the lid on. Take it off the stove after it has reached the soft boil, and put it into the outer container, flip the lid, and voila! Six hours later, you have a finished meal! If you’re skeptical, bring a thermometer and check the meat temperature! Be sure to bring a stainless steel ladle too– I’ve ended up somewhere with plastic silverware and paper plates, but nothing to serve the food with. Be sure to bring bowls too; we usually take stainless steel bowls for camping and other activities. You will want to enjoy the broth from the food along with it, and paper plates just don’t work for that!

If you’re at a campground, you can use the thermal cooker over a propane stove. You can start oatmeal the night before and have it ready the next morning! You can start lunch before you leave for the day’s activities and leave it in your tent (it’s sealed) to come back to. Or you can bring it with in the car.

Or you can start it on your stove at home– it makes preparation easy if you’re invited for dinner. (I can actually get the kids ready, clean the house, or get myself ready without having to keep an eye on the stove.) I don’t have to worry about transferring it into another dish to bring, because it just stays in the pot. By the time we drive to our destination, socialize for a while, and sit down to eat, it’s ready! You can make side dishes or main courses– I will include some recipe ideas next time!

Here are some new thermal slow cookers I would like to purchase, although our old one still works fine, I like the innovations of these newer ones!

I like this one, not just for the color, but the size of it, and the great reviews it got (five stars), and the cost. It’s made by Thermos, the same brand as my first one: //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwlittleshoe-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00EI643D2&asins=B00EI643D2&linkId=37OGTT4KQF4HC6IU&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>Thermos Shuttle Chef

It comes in a smaller size too, and is very economical compared to some of the other brands listed on Amazon. Here is a link to some other brands available: non-electric slow cookers

Stay tuned for those fall recipes!!!