Wednesday, December 24, 2008

PTGW Part Four: Learning To Cook (Healthfully)

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.)


Hannah L. said...

Thank you so much, again, for the great post, Janna! It can be very discouraging to live in a culture where everyone else makes super yummy unhealthy food, and you stick to healthy. I know, because where I live, people pride themselves on their fatty, sugary food.
Keep up the good work!

Hannah L.
P.S. I have started a blog at
If you are interested. I have been blogging about honoring parents.

Brooke Whitaker said...

Great post, Joy!

Heather said...

On the Whole Wheat... It only tastes bad because it goes stale so fast in the store. We grind our own fresh, right before we use it. It doesn't take to much extra time and it tastes SO good! We can't stand the store stuff.

Good point on the sugar in cookies and things. Sometimes I cut it out entirely, if there is fruit or something else that is sweet in the recipe. Nobody ever notices!

Great post!


Heather said...

Sorry, my blog address is actually,

I entered it wrong when I commented.


Heather said...

We use the Nutrimill. It works well, is quieter than most and we've had it for about 5 years now. It's definitely our favorite out of all the mills we've tried.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year's! :) May God bless you abundantly this year.

Miss Jocelyn

Bethany said...

It is good to hear that others are spreading the word about white flour and sugar! Recently, my family and I went completely off white flour, and for the most part no sugar too (one of my New Years' resolutions is that I cannot eat white sugar for a year, except on special occassions, and I am enjoying being off it for all the benefits:)
We also, use (red) wheat berries, and grind them just before we use them to keep the wheat fresh.
Good post!

Bethany said...

Has anyone heard of the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon? This is a great book to have if you are interested in nutrition. It covers nearly (if not all) aspects of food and lots more, and it is based on fact, not conjecture! If you have not heard of it....well I highly recommend that you get a copy!


Joy said...

Hi Bethany!
Thanks for your comment! It's great to know that there are others out there trying to eat healthfully.
I have read "Nourishing Traditions", and while I believe it has a couple of valid points, I would not recommend it. For one thing it makes most people feel as if they can't possibly cook healthfully because EVERYTHING is a threat according to that book. For another thing, most of the things that she says in the book about nutrition and different things have been shown to be false by various scientific tests. (Such as the idea that un-soaked grains are harmful because of phytic acid
A very experienced lady that I know through my college says this. "As for Nourishing Traditions, their assertions are neither Biblically-supported or widely accepted by the medical, scientific or natural community and there are some good rebuttals out there, Sue Becker is one.

Sprouted grains are great! Nutritionally superb. Fermented sauerkraut is awesome! Some of the recipes are delicious. I personally recommend trying some of their recipes, but not buying into the whole package they are selling."
Her name is Vickilynn Haycraft and her website is

I would say that a book that might be more helpful would be Jordan Rubin's "The Maker's Diet" (which seems to include all of the good recipes out of "Nourishing Traditions").
Thanks again for your comment, Bethany!

Haughstuff said...

We use all natural applesauce/apple juice concentrate as a sweetener in a lot of things. We also use applesauce to substitute for oil when we bake certain things like brownies.

No one has noticed a difference yet :)