The last two years of my whole food journey have been a long process of switching over from a mostly-packaged diet to a mostly-scratch-made diet. Today, there are only a few things I will buy at the store: those that I purchase often- cheese, butter, vanilla (which I plan to make soon!), organic cream cheese (which I also plan to make very soon), organic quinoa noodles, organic sprouted bread; those that I purchase occasionally- organic tortilla chips; and those that are rare treats- soy-free chocolate chips, organic crackers.
For the most part, any thing else we eat, I make: yogurt, some breads, cookies, granola, kombucha, as much butter as I can from the cream we skim off of our raw milk, ice cream… the list goes on and on. While most people think this list seems daunting, I have to admit, it doesn’t take much talent in the kitchen to make most of them! Now, I will say, it does often take a couple tries before I get the hang of things. In fact, I made several failed batches of yogurt before giving up, only to try again a year later and have success every time since. The same goes for kefir. And with kombucha, sometimes I get really great batches, and sometimes I get some that aren’t as great, but we still drink it just fine.
I have spent a lot of time experimenting in the kitchen. I have finally gotten to where I can make up my own recipes or tweak others and usually come up with something at least edible, if not delicious (occasionally!). But I still have lots of recipes that don’t come out great. Luckily, my kids are used to weird food, so they usually like things my husband and I don’t like and will eat up what we don’t care for.
The phrase I hear most from people is “I don’t know how you do it with three kids!” Partly, my answer is just that food and nutrition are very important to me, so they’re high on my list of priorities. I spend a lot more time in the kitchen than I do the laundry room 😉 But secondly, I want to communicate that making food from scratch is really not that hard. Although some things take a few tries before you get really good at them, you will find that after a while, there isn’t much you can’t make! (I have not, however, successfully made crackers yet, which I would really, really like to do because I don’t like to buy them!)
I do have to be honest, though. Most things are pretty easy to make… BUT, many things do take a long time to make, requiring several steps or processes to complete. Case in point: I recently made bulgur for the first time. To make bulgur, you must spend several days sprouting wheat, then more time dehydrating them, then coarsely grind them to create bulgur. When you are ready to use the bulgur, you pull it out and grind it more finely in order to create bulgur flour, which can be used for just about anything. These things are not difficult to do, but they are tedious. But, it’s worth it to me to have a big bag of bulgur in the freezer now, just waiting for me to use!
This is generally how I feel about most of the things I make. It’s worth it. It’s worth it because to buy them at the store is expensive (the same amount of bulgur that I made would probably cost nearly $15 at the store- the 50 lb bag of local, organic wheat I bought will make many, many, MANY more batches of bulgur, and only cost $15 for the whole thing!). It’s worth it because my homemade food doesn’t have any harmful additives: I know what’s in them. It’s worth it because they’re properly prepared. And it’s worth it because of the huge improvements I’ve witnessed in my family’s health since I have committed to this lifestyle.
No one said it would be easy; it most certainly isn’t the easiest thing to undertake, beginning a whole food journey and lifestyle change. But it’s worth it. Choose one thing that your family eats a lot of, or one store-bought thing that has the worst ingredients, and start making that. Try one new thing at a time, and hopefully the tedious-ness of it all will seem lesser as you ease yourself into making most of your foods from scratch.