Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Process of Going Unprocessed

WOOHOO!!!  I am starting a blog!  I have been talking about doing this for months but every time I get online to start a blog, I take a peek at other blogs and get really intimidated.  Want to feel bad about yourself?  Start looking at blogs!  So, I put the blog idea on a back burner until the other day when I updated my status on Facebook.  This is something I like to do every 6 months, just to let my closest 332 friends know I am alive and kicking.  So, I updated that our family's New Year's resolution was to give up all processed foods.  And, believe it or not, people are interested about our venture and encouraged me to blog about it.  So, here I am...The Unprocessed Kitchen With Heids McGhee.  And, no, my name is not really Heids McGhee, but it's a nickname given to me by the individual that has pushed strongly encouraged me to put myself out there in the blog world.  So, bear with me...I am not a creative writer and I am not a professional photographer.  So, I can't promis you I will always be grammatically incorrect and I do have a tendency to ramble.  But, I promise you that this blog is coming from a place of love...I am making this committment to my family and now to you too! 

I got the idea to give up processed foods this fall.  I thought about doing it then, but then the holidays hit and I happily spent 5 weeks stuffing my face.  So, that left me on January 1st with no resolution.  I asked my kids if they would give up processed foods and they said, sure, yes, definitely!  Of course, they had no clue what a processed food was.  And, like all good moms know, kids are like laborador retrievers and will agree to anything when you use an overly enthusiastic voice and a smile plastered from ear to ear.  Oh yeah, did I mention we were also in Disney World when I asked them?  For all I know they probably didn't hear me and were answering the man walking by selling them cotton candy.  But, my mind, they happily agreed.  I asked my husband and was met with a blank stare.  In our marriage, that means, "yes honey, absolutely, I love when you get these big ideas.  I was hoping you would come up with a resolution just like this for us to follow."

So, it was settled right then and there, the McGhee family was giving up processed foods.  What exactly does that mean?  Technically any food that has more than 5 ingredients on the label is considered processed.  Well, to me, that seems like tweaking the definition.  I am an all-or-nothing person, go big or go we gave it ALL up.  If it is found in a box, made in a factory, or purchased in a form other than what Mother Nature put on this Earth, we have given it up. 

*Side note*  You do not have to go to the extreme that I did.  If this seems too daunting, pick one or two things to change at a time.  Don't get frustrated before you even start!

The first thing I did was clean out the pantry.  I am blessed with a huge, walk in pantry.  When we bought this house, it was one of the reasons I loved it.  Now, I am starting to think that large pantries may be an indication of the decline of the American diet.  We need to buy foods that expire quickly, not foods that can be stored for months (or years!)  So, I got rid of nearly everything in my pantry....cereal, crackers, bread, tortillas, taco shells, soups (including broths), pancake/biscuit/cake/brownie mixes, granola bars, any convienence food, premade meals (macaroni and cheese), jarred applesauce, canned fruit and vegetables, and peanut butter.  I only kept single ingredient foods....steel cut oats, quinoa, nuts, bulgur wheat, pearled barley, and coffee. 

Yup, that part was TOUGH!  The beautiful thing is I now have a huge storage closet in my kitchen. 

I tackled the refridgerator next.  I threw out all salad dressings, marinades, mayonaise, ketchup, flavored yogurt (kept plain to use as a starter for homemade yogurt), lunchmeat, frozen pizzas, cream cheese, and storemade hummus.  I kept meat, cheese, produce, milk, eggs, plain yogurt, and frozen fruit and vegetables. 

And that's it, you're ready to begin!  Now, all you need is hours and hours and hours and hours and hours to research foods and recipes.  Oh wait, that's what I promised to do for you!  So, all you have to do, is come here and read often and do exactly what I tell you to do, which works out perfectly because I love being bossy.

My friend, who is an avid blog reader, told me that people like pictures.  So, here's a couple of pictures of the McGhee family to wrap up this first post.

So, here is Mr. McGhee and I.  I am not sure why we are holding hands like that, perhaps were were frightened by the rushing waters behind us?!?  Yes, he's wearing a beer shirt.  See what I have to work with here?

Here's the mini McGees.  This was taken January 1st, the day we made the decision to give up processed foods.  We went swimming that morning before we spent the afternoon at Disney World.  I guess you could say I "buttered them up" before I proposed my resolution.  Mama ain't no fool.