Can we talk? For the past couple of months, my household has been cutting back on white flour and refined sugar, among other things, due to health reasons. If anyone doubts the connection between the food we eat and the condition of our health, I can tell you it's very real. And, as the person in my family who buys our food and prepares most of it, I bear a tremendous responsibility on behalf of everyone in my home.
The irony is that I already understood this concept in theory, which is why Cooking with Mamma C has focused from day one on reducing processed foods in our diet. Now, with doctor's orders to back that up, I'm not the only one in my house who cares about reading labels. My blog's vegan and healthier recipes are getting used over and over again here, and not just by me. I'm so glad we had a head start in all of this.
As I've been trying to navigate our new situation and figure out what that means for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks every day of the week, (not to mention occasional desserts), I've also considered what it means for Cooking with Mamma C. After being stumped for a while, I think I've finally figured it out.
My blog will always reflect what we're eating while also sharing my family's beloved recipes. There's a time and a place for everything. In my home, we're going to eat healthy food most of the time, but maybe once a week indulge in something naughty but nice.
When it comes to pasta (let's face it, that's huge around here), we've switched to gluten-free, brown rice pasta, which we actually enjoy. We definitely prefer its flavor and al dente texture over whole wheat pasta, which just gets mushy after a while. For blog photos, I might make a small batch of regular pasta if the brown version looks weird with the other ingredients. And you can use whatever pasta you want.
We're going to explore all kinds of alternative flour, including almond meal (I love this one in desserts), oat flour, and, of course, my favorite, white whole wheat flour. (We don't have a gluten issue.) And then, there's natural sugar. We're using chopped dates, pure maple syrup or honey in place of granulated or brown sugar with really good results, both from a taste perspective and a weight perspective. (Hello, eating three naturally sweetened, delicious, blueberry whole wheat muffins and still not gaining an ounce the next day!)
I'm actually geeking out about this new frontier, in a food nerd kind of way. And I'm excited about the improvements in health and physique that we're already seeing. (I think I stared at my flatter stomach for 10 minutes in the bathroom mirror after skipping added sugars for a week. Dang, Girl!)
Finally, I have to mention the sticker shock I've experienced. I'm not going to lie; it's expensive to buy whole grain pasta, tons of produce, fish, and things like pure maple syrup and coconut oil. I'm trying to get what I can at Costco, and am working on finding good deals on the rest, so let me know if you have any recommendations. And I will do my best to provide options for cheaper substitutions in my recipes whenever possible.
But...no matter how expensive these ingredients are, I guarantee they're not as costly as prescriptions and medical bills. And how do you place a value on being healthy? It's simply priceless.
I'd love to hear from any of you who are on special diets for health reasons. I hope we can support one another and share great recipes. I'm determined that our meals are going to be delicious.
Thanks for reading, my friends. Salute! (To our health!)
Roz @ La Bella Vita Cucina
Wow, I commend your firm conviction to making all of these healthy changes. Blueberry muffins are the only muffins that I ever order besides bran muffins. I feel like I'm eating just a little bit better/healthier with those. Thank you for sharing this delicious AND healthy recipe, Andrea!
Thanks for your support, Roz. I really appreciate the encouragement!
Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
Glad you got to check that out. I recall hearing about Aldi-Trader Joe's just could not remember it 100%. So we have that cleared up. Have you gone over to either yet to look around?
Not yet. I'm planning to try Aldi tomorrow and head over to the East Side maybe next week for Trader Joe's.
Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
Hi Andrea, do you all have an Aldi there in your area? It is not available here in my beach town (across on the mainland it is but I do not go over there often enough to utilize it)! Another blogging friend who is sometimes gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, depends on her mood, just loves the new line or products Aldi offers in these areas. Similar to Trader Joes (who might actually own Aldi-I'll need to google that?) Any way point being check this option out my friend. Also, she likes their fresh produce. How are you my flatten out tummy friend???Your Florida Bud, Cheryl.
Cheryl, thank you so much for the suggestion! We have Aldi here, about 12-15 minutes away, but I've never shopped there. I will definitely check it out! I looked it up, and Aldi, based in Germany, also owns Trader Joe's. I had no idea. We have Trader Joe's here too, but it's 35 minutes away.