Proverbs 31:15 says "She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household"
Of course, Proverbs 31 is a guideline for what a man should look for in a wife, not a list of what it means to be a godly woman. However, it does give us girls a pretty good idea of some of the practical and useful skills needed to run a home well.
Today I'm going to be focusing on the very practical and needed skill of cooking healthfully. (And, really, eating is one of the most basic needs of every human, so whether you learn to cook or not, someday you will have to feed your children and you can either keep them healthy or give them quick and easy garbage.)
I know that there are a lot of people who believe that there is one all perfect diet, whether it is the south beach diet, the 'why Christians get sick' diet, or the average American diet. I believe that we should stay as close as we can to "God's diet" that He gave us in Leviticus and other places. Aside from religious reasons, there are very good, scientifically proven reasons to follow His food laws.
So the best thing would be to completely avoid things like white flour, sugar, ham, and stuff like that, right? (That is a rhetorical question, don't bother answering it)
But are most of us going to be able (or willing) to do the best thing all the time? No. We are going to want our chocolate-covered-cherries, cheesecake, pizza, bacon, pepperoni, etc. (at least once in a while)
But you know what? That's ok. It's alright to have a treat once in a while. We just shouldn't have our regular diet be freezer pizza and milky-way bars. So we need to find a good healthy balance between the best and what we can actually do.
The first thing, of course, is to learn how to cook. If you don't know anything about cooking, you can either get a home economics course (like one that we have from Christian Light Education called "Cooking, Sewing, and More..."), or you can ask your Mom or some other lady to teach you to cook.
Of course, each family has to decide for themselves what is the right balance for them, but here are a couple of good basic ideas.
1. Cut down the white flour. If you can't handle the taste of whole wheat, do half and half or something and then work your way up to using all whole wheat. And if you have a hard time with the bitter taste of whole wheat, than look for "White whole wheat" which is simply made from a golden wheat instead of a red wheat and has less of a bitter taste.
2. Instead of having dessert every night, have it once a week. (The rest of the time you can make yummy treats like German Apple Pancake with no sugar... you'd be surprised how good it can taste with no sugar) Or if you need to have dessert every day make something like Whole Wheat Ginger Snaps (simply use whole wheat flour... you won't be able to tell the difference).
3. Try to have more than one vegetable a day. We usually have something like baby carrots (quick and easy! Just wash them and they're ready) and broccoli or spinach.
4. Don't have ginger ale or sprite or any other soda for that matter. Just don't have it. Instead go to your healthfood store and look for a healthy alternative (around here we have "spritzers" and "izzies" which are made with fruit juice and sparkling water instead of sugar syrup).
5. Fruit makes a very appealing alternative to a candy bar as a midmorning snack.
6. Try to avoid processed foods. A good guide is that if you can't read the ingredients, just don't eat it.
7. NEVER eat artificial sweeteners. Things like Aspartame not only prevent you from losing weight (contrary to what we have heard about 'diet' sodas and stuff that are sweetened with it), but they also have been linked to memory loss and Alzheimer's. If you do not want to use regular white sugar, try something like Sucanat, Stevia, Honey, or maple syrup.
So that's a good start. But don't take my word for all of this, go look it up for yourself. Just make sure that what you are reading is based on facts, not on opinions.
Now, what if your father or husband still wants his white bread and brownies? Well, God has put you under the man that He wants you under, and you have to honor and obey that man. But as long as he approves, there is nothing wrong with feeding the children whole-wheat bread during the day when he is not home wanting white bread. :-)
At least for now I do not eat sugar or white flour (I haven't for six months) because of my health. It wasn't until I went off of sugar that my health truly started improving. Our family cooks with all whole wheat flour (not the red whole wheat, we don't like that bitter taste), and we use Sucanat (sugar cane natural) or honey in our baking.
Ok, well, I guess that's about it for now. Have a good day! :-)
(If you are interested in organic food, but don't have enough money to buy all organic, Amanda Dixon did a really good post a while back and I thought it was very helpful.)