Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Family's Winter Diet

I wanted to share a snapshot of what my family's diet looks like these days.  We've been following a Weston Price-inspired diet for over 10 years now, including about 18 months strictly following the GAPS Diet in 2010-2012.  I was very strict with our diets for many years, but over time I have found that approach to be unbalanced, anxious, and stressful. Being very strict with our diets also did not improve our health over the long-term (homeopathy has worked much better for that).

Over the last few years, rather than continuing to exert extreme dietary control, I have shifted to a place of finding balance. My emphasis has been to find a healthy diet that we can sustain and enjoy for many years to come. We are still eating a primarily nutrient-dense diet, but rather than aiming for perfection, I am aiming for an unstressed, maintainable diet.

Because we eat somewhat seasonally, this will be the first in a series, with more dietary snapshots to come in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Here is a snapshot of our Winter diet.


    • My second breakfast is most often sprouted whole wheat or white sourdough toast with eggs and frozen veggie mix sauteed in butter, usually with a glass of raw milk. I have a dose of extra-virgin cod liver oil with my second breakfast about twice a week (as determined by when I feel a craving for it).
  • My husband eats homemade custard cake for breakfast 6 days of the week every week. (He likes eating the same thing over and over; I can't stand doing that!) In the winter, I most often make one of the following custard cakes for him to have for breakfast each week:  
  • My nearly-6-year old son often eats sprouted whole wheat or white sourdough toast for breakfast, always buttered, sometimes with honey or jam, sometimes with an egg, and always with a glass of raw milk. On days when he doesn't want toast, he often eats a homemade muffin with a glass of raw milk for breakfast. He chooses to have a dose of extra-virgin cod liver oil with his breakfast about 2-3 times per week.
  • My 8&1/2-year-old daughter often has one of the following for breakfast, alongside a glass of raw milk. She also chooses to have a small dose of extra-virgin cod liver oil with her breakfast about once or twice a week.



  • The only snacks my kids are allowed between breakfast and lunch is fruits or veggies, which they have to get for themselves. That makes it where they are certain to be hungry at lunch (whereas previously when they were allowed more-filling snack options, they often didn't eat well at lunch). In the winter, their fruit and veggie snack options are:
  • Perhaps 40-50% of the time, the kids will have a small snack after our afternoon Quiet Time, usually consisting of nuts, fruit, or cookies (such as butter shortbread). I am always ravenous when I wake from my daily nap, so I always have an afternoon snack such as butter shortbread, plain whole milk yogurt with maple brown sugar granola, apple and cheese, etc.
  • The kids have a snack before bed every night; usually fruit, yogurt, or applesauce. About twice per week they will have dessert such as ice cream or cookies. 



The drinks we consume the vast majority of the time are:



  • I make a from-scratch dinner meal about 2-3 times per week (and I always make a large portion so there will be enough to freeze for my husband's lunches, or for us to have as leftovers). I can't stand eating the same thing two days in a row, so I plan to eat leftovers a few days later, or freeze them for a future use. In the winter months, the dinners I make most-often are:
  • Side dishes I commonly make in the winter months are:
  • On days when I don't make a from-scratch dinner, we have leftovers or dinners which include some already-prepared ingredients (which I consider to be compromise dinners). The ingredients in our compromise dinners aren't absolutely perfect, but they are pretty good, and incorporating these items into our diets allows for busy days when I don't have hours to spend in the kitchen. Our most commonly-consumed compromise dinners in the Winter are:
    • Pizza made with Against the Grain crust, quick-and-easy homemade pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, sauteed mushrooms, scallions, and nitrate-free pepperoni, kielbasa, or ham
    • Nitrate-free sausages such as kielbasa, hot dogs, or mild italian sausage, served with hash browns or frozen sweet potato fries, and fermented pickles
    • Spaghetti marinara sauce with added ground beef and veggies (onions, carrots, celery, and/or mushrooms), served over white rice noodles or bean thread noodles
    • Tuna salad or chicken salad sandwiches, made with canned tuna or chicken, served with kettle chips and fermented pickles
  • We eat out at a restaurant about 2-3 times per month. We also often eat Sunday dinner at my mom's house, and are often blessed with leftovers to often bring home which will make for an easy meal some other day of the week.

Do you find it helpful or interesting to see what we're eating?  What are your favorite Winter meals?

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Anne said...

I love this! Seeing what other health conscious people are eating can be very helpful. I have read W A Price's book a few years ago. I understand that you've relaxed a little, but I just don't remember all those baked goods being recommended. Do you have a list of foods post from those earlier more strict years?

Rebecca said...

Sounds yummy! I think I will try your beef stew tomorrow.

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Anne,
I don't agree that baked goods are not recommended in Weston Price's work. His studies showed that there was a very wide variation in the healthy diets of traditional cultures, and some of them did include quite a bit of grains being consumed. For instance, the diet of the Swiss in the Loetschental Valley consisted "largely of a slice of whole rye bread and a piece of the summer-made cheese (about as large as the slice of bread), which are eaten with fresh milk of goats or cows." In his own studies on improving health of children, Price included bread from freshly-ground whole wheat in the children's meals.

I am not saying that I think everyone needs to eat lots of bread, but I do think that individual needs vary considerably. In my own family, my husband and daughter tolerate grains less than my son and myself. Consequently, my husband and daughter consume grains much less frequently than my son and I do.

If you look at my husband's diet, for instance, you will see that there are rarely grains there (the custard cake he eats for breakfast is grain-free, his lunches are grain-free, and our whole family's dinner is grain-free most of the time). If grains are problematic for you, looking at his diet may be helpful.

On the flip side, I actually can easily get heartburn if I consume too much coconut flour or nut flour, so grains work better for me. My son actually shows no negative reactions to any foods, so his diet has a lot more freedom.

I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, I love this post and I love your recipes! Thanks so much for sharing them. I do have one request: Would you consider adding a print feature? On some blogs and websites, there is a print icon the reader can click to make a print-ready copy of the recipe. That would save me (and others) from having to paste, copy, and format the recipe into Word before printing it out. I'd rather quickly print and run straight into the kitchen once I get inspired by one of your delicious recipes :- )

Sarah Smith said...

Okay, I just added the print feature! You should see it at the bottom of any particular post (but not on the home page). Thank you for asking for this; I used to have a print option, but had some problems with the code so I had removed it awhile back and forgot to update it when the code was fixed!

MamaWestWind said...

Yum, I want to try your dinner meals as well as your husband's custard breakfast. Sounds delicious. I have been making a veggie sweet potato stew the past couple of weeks that I LOVE.

I love making it for my lunch so that I have it throughout the week. I enjoy having the same thing every day too, like your dh. Though I like changing it up weekly.

Amy F. P. said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your meals. You have so many great ideas and this list is so helpful to me. I am always looking for more ideas. I am going to try your applesauce custard cake tomorrow. Your website is such a great resource!