I just opened my first jar of sour kraut!! I can’t believe I made it and it was successful. It tasted delicious! I even made pickles, pickled okra and yogurt all by myself. Those were good too. Why all the culinary delights? Making our own real food has been a dying art.
When I first married over 34 years ago, I was a young inexperienced wife who didn’t know anything about baking bread or canning peaches. We attended a BYU (Brigham Young University-Provo Utah) married ward (congregation) which included many women in the same boat as me: we didn’t know how to do anything. So we learned together. The oldest and more experienced in our group taught us all the secrets of canning, baking and storing food for emergencies. Many areas of Utah had orchards where we could pick our own food sometimes for free so we were all canning like crazy and it was a great blessing to us. We were all on tight budgets so anything we could squirrel away to help us later on was greatly appreciated.
Fast forward twenty years and I had stopped all the canning and baking as I became complacent with modern conveniences of buying what I needed at the store and stashing it in the closet. We had a garden but ate what we could and gave the rest away. Sometimes I would freeze our produce but I kept thinking about losing electricity for long hours which would ruin all my stock.
From Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, I read:
“Technology is a generous benefactor. To those who have wisely used his gifts he has bestowed freedom from drudgery; freedom to travel; freedom from the discomforts of cold, heat, and dirt; and freedom from ignorance, boredom and oppression. But father technology has not brought us freedom from disease. Chronic illness in industrialized nations has reached epic proportions because we have been dazzled by his stepchildren—fast foods, fractionated foods, artificial foods—all the bright baubles that fill up the shelves at our grocery stores, convenience markets, vending machines and even health food stores.”
The food wars of “politically correct” healthy eating habits have changed over the last 30 years. Margarine was healthier to eat than butter. Eggs were bad to eat, too much cholesterol. Lowering sodium for a healthier diet was better and don’t eat real sugar, eat the chemical substitute instead. Now it’s better to eat gluten free bread because gluten is bad for us. Then why are we so sick all the time?
With the onset of the 20th Century, studies have shown the increase of chronic disease, dental decay and mental illness. I have pondered long and hard about the direction our modern society is going in feeding themselves so I have reconsidered our eating habits. I work towards preparing as simple a meal as possible using basic fruits, vegetables, meats and grains in order to keep to a whole foods diet.
Taking advice from the Word of Wisdom (a section of modern day scripture from God to Joseph Smith on what is taken into our bodies) I have come to the conclusion that whatever my family ingests will have a great affect on their health so I will continue to make our own brown sugar, bottle as much produce as I can from fresh, cultivate our own yogurt, use only butter instead of margarine, olive oil or coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and prepare meals from whole foods. We cut out soft drinks completely and drink water and some fruit juices. I’m not in the habit of baking our own bread but I do on occasion and try to buy the healthier kind. If I could keep chickens in our back yard I would do that as well.
This plan has blessed our lives. My children have very few cavities; there has been no need to visit the doctor, and we feel healthy. As long as we have enough sleep, our life has been a healthy one.
I find comfort in these words from the Word Of Wisdom found in the Doctrine and Covenants at the end of section 89: “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.”
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.