A Wholesome Year!

It has been nearly a year since we began our wholesome living journey. It is hard to believe how quickly time passed and how many changes we made. Most of our changes have become a part of our everyday life. My husband is used to seeing a variety of bowls and jars filled with soaking grains or fermenting veggies on our counter. Jokes about our kitchen being an unending science experiment are not made as often anymore. Most of our “old” recipes have been converted to healthier versions, and we have found sources for almost all of our foods and household products, especially those we buy in bulk.

Here is a list of some of many changes we made (and stuck with) this year:

  • Switched from store-bought, pasteurized milk to farm-bought, raw milk.
  • Make our own yogurt.
  • Significantly reduced the amount of processed foods in our home.
  • No white sugar in our home- instead we use maple syrup, Rapadura or honey for sweeteners.
  • No white flour in our home.
  • All grains/legumes soaked for 12-24 hours before use.
  • Weekly family trips to local farmer’s market for our veggies/fruits, eggs, and cream.
  • Switched from commercial, liquid hand soap to locally made, goat’s milk bar soap.
  • Switched from commercial shampoo to castile soap.
  • Switched from commercial conditioner to using apple cider vinegar.
  • Make homemade antibacterial/multipurpose cleaning spray.
  • No more harsh cleaning products for our home. Now use vinegar and baking soda and/or homemade multipurpose spray.
  • Switched from mainstream, aluminum-based deodorant to non-aluminum deodorant.
  • Switched from mainstream toothpaste to a flouride-free, natural toothpaste.
  • Eat primarily grass-fed, free-range meat.
  • Eat eggs from chickens that are allowed to roam the great outdoors.
  • Make chicken and beef stock from scratch.
  • Threw away a large majority of pots, pans and bakeware that was made from teflon, etc. Now we only cook with cast iron, stoneware/glass, and stainless steel.
  • Use coconut oil (never had it before this year…) for baking.
  • Take cod liver oil daily.
  • Make sourdough bread (after trying numerous recipes throughout the year, I think we finally found one we all like).
  • Switched from mainstream laundry detergent to one that is derived from coconut-oil.
  • Learned to make (and made over 50 tubes) of lip balm.
  • Make our own cream cheese and whey.
  • No products with high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient allowed in our home.

Here is a list of things we attempted to change, but ended up being complete failures or we decided were not worth the effort to continue:

  • Tried making homemade dishwasher detergent, but decided it was not worth the effort. Found a more natural version to use instead.
  • Tried making homemade dishwashing soap, again, too much effort so found more natural version to purchase.
  • Gardening- a complete and utter failure.

Finally, here is what we are hoping to try this year:

  • Attempt to make our own toothpaste.
  • Veggie and fruit CSA (since gardening is probably not going to be successful till we remove a few trees from our yard).
  • Research and try more superfoods.
  • Start composting.
  • Research probiotics and decide whether or not to take them.
  • Remove all plastic containers from our kitchen (e.g. rubbermade, etc.) and switch to using glass containers instead.
  • Get a quality water filter.
  • Learn more about natural remedies for illnesses.

I have to say, I am extremely proud of how many things we have changed in our home. The only reason we have continued with the changes listed above is because we have noticed a huge difference in our overall wellness in the past year, and we found we enjoy more wholesome foods (once we got used to the initial switch).

Another huge change is that I (Grace) now LOVE vegetables. Prior to this year, I hated vegetables of nearly every type. This year we learned how to prepare different types of vegetables numerous ways in order to gain the most nutrition from each. The result- veggies are delicious- I had just never prepared them the right way (or had always relied on canned veggies as opposed to fresh, local in-season veggies).

Additionally, once we started reading ingredient lists on products more closely, we realized that foods are not the only products that have ingredients that may be harmful to our well-being. After a few months of reading food product labels, we started to look at the ingredients in our cleaning and hygiene products. We realized that there were a lot of chemicals in cleaning and personal hygiene products that we prefer to avoid so we gradually started replacing those products with our own homemade version or store-bought versions that had ingredients we recognized, could pronounce, and have no long-term or short-term (e.g. not poisonous to children) health risks.

Thank you dear friends for coming along this journey with us. We are looking forward to sharing some of our new adventures in wholesome living with you over this next year!

*This post is shared at Real Food Wednesday.

6 thoughts on “A Wholesome Year!

  1. These are wonderful accomplishments. I appreciate your inclusions of the 2nd and 3rd lists as well. My family will go along with a lot of things I direct us into (they really don’t have much of a choice), but some things don’t work out and I have to be ok with that.

    I have really wanted to do a garden as well, but I think establishing a solid composting system will have to be established first. We’ll plant a few things, and maybe next year we’ll be ready for more. Your mention of a CSA re-perked my interest in that, but I’m not sure we’ll be here enough to make it worth our while. Will have to discuss the summer plans with my dh.

    Keep on keeping on!
    God’s peace,

  2. Barb @ A Life in Balance says:

    I love the 3 lists! I can see your accomplishments which are quite a lot for a year, and I can see what you’re planning on working on next.

    I’m working on the glass container issue myself. Every time I pick up more glass storage containers, I put a few more plastic containers in the Goodwill pile.

    I just wrote a post on composting which you’re welcome to check out. The University of Illinois Extension has a great resource on their website about building compost piles and how to make them work properly.

  3. Soli says:

    Wow, that’s quite a change for just one year. This is the first time I’ve been here and I am looking forward to reading more of what you’ve done.

  4. Jim Firaben says:

    Great to hear Grace. Let me know what your research shows for a good water filter. I want to get an under the counter model with a spout. Thanks

  5. Nicola says:

    Congratulations Grace!! Great to see your accomplishments in the year. We are still in our first year and still trying to do the big switch. Looking forward to reading more about your switch.

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