I’m Not On a Diet…

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What I’m doing is not a quick fix.

Its not even a weight loss program… Although, I could do with losing a few pounds…

No. What I’m on, is the journey of a lifetime! An ambitious, all-important transformation in how I think about food… how I view and think about my body… my life… and what I want out of the time I have left on this earth!

Big changes like this are always hard.

Changing the way I think about food is hard.

My relationship with food is an emotional one. Food is my comfort, my reward… a trusted friend…

I’ve got food habits and traditions that go back to my childhood.

Will I be able to give up foods that for so long have held an emotional bond?

My goal is to improve my health, my sleep, my energy levels, my mood, my body composition, my self confidence… even my quality of life…

Will the food I eat be able to do all these things?

I am told that by eating whole foods, it will initiate a healthy chain reaction through my entire life, giving me a sense of control, freedom, stability and confidence that will inspire me to take on other personal development goals both big and small.

The theory is that by eating healthy, whole foods, I will feel better. And, because I feel better I will want to do more.

I guess I can accept this theory, since when I feel bad, I eat eat junk food. Which makes me feel worse. So I eat more junk food. Its a vicious cycle!

I don’t expect this journey to be easy… I don’t expect to be perfect…

Real change takes time.

I plan to celebrate even the smallest of victories.

I’m going to do this one day, one meal, one bite at a time.

Why?

Because I’m doing it for the most important and worthwhile cause on this earth — me!

Here’s to good health,

~ Sheri

I’m Not On a Diet

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After a disappointing showing of our home, and spiraling down the rabbit hole of disappointment, I ate my way through a box of doughnuts and a gallon of ice cream!

The result – that old familiar stomach pain!

What was I thinking?

Now its back to the beginning… A fresh start…

What I’m doing is not a quick fix.

Its not even a weight loss program… Although, I could do with losing a few more pounds…

No. What I’m on, is the journey of a lifetime!

It’s an ambitious, all-important transformation in how I think about food… how I view and think about my body… my life… and what I want out of the time I have left on this earth!

Changing the way I think about food is hard.

My relationship with food is an emotional one.

Food is my comfort… my reward… a trusted friend…

I’ve got food habits and traditions that go back to my childhood.

Am I willing to give up foods that for so long have held an emotional bond?

My goal is to improve my health… my sleep… my energy levels… my mood… my body composition…my self confidence… even my quality of life…

Can the foods I eat actually do all these things?

Absolutely!

By eating whole, farm grown and raised foods, a healthy chain reaction is initiated through my entire life. With it comes a sense of control… freedom… stability… and a confidence that inspires me to take on other personal development goals – both big and small.

The theory is, that by eating healthy, whole foods, we will feel better. And, because we feel better, we will want to do more!

I accept this theory, because I have noticed that when I feel bad, I eat junk food. Which makes me feel worse. So, I eat more junk food. Its a vicious cycle!

The journey to good health isn’t easy… I don’t expect to be perfect…

Real change takes time.

As I get myself back on track, I plan to celebrate even the smallest of victories.

I’m doing this one day, one meal, one bite at a time.

Why?

Because I’m doing it for the most important and worthwhile cause on this earth — me!

Here’s to your good health,

~ Sheri

FARM Cooking = Good Medicine

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HOW MY JOURNEY TO HEALTH BEGAN…

I think I’m having a heart attack!

That’s how it felt, as I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance!

Yet, after a weeks stay in the cardiac unit… various tests – including a heart catheter to see if there were any blockages… I was given a prescription of antacids and sent home.

Diagnosis – a severe form of Reflux!

With medicine in hand, I went home, but continued eating the way I always had – with every bad habit I’d learned since childhood! 

Let me explain…

I grew up in a family that didn’t drink alcohol or smoke, but all food — no matter how unhealthy — was considered okay.

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Most of my childhood memories – both good and bad – centered around food.

When we had something to celebrate, we celebrated by going out to eat.

When we were sad, we consoled ourselves with comfort food.

When I got home from school, milk and cookies, or some other sweet confectionary, was a ‘tide-me-over’ until dinner.

As I got older and moved out on my own, I rarely exercised, and ate junk food constantly. I paid little, if any, attention to my health.

FAST FORWARD TO 2014

After dad passed away, mom decided she wanted to move to the country… to raise chickens, and grow our own food…

But even then, my bad eating habits and my love of sweet confectionery foods continued…

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However, after my third trip to the hospital, and second stay in the cardiac unit – once again told that it was my digestive system, I knew drastic changes were needed!

I began educating myself with different eating plans… Yet I was still having severe pains in my stomach, which now included pain in my gallbladder!

My digestive track was under attack!

In August 2016, I began a severe elimination diet. The purpose – to eliminate the pain!

I was only eating 4 veggies (carrots, zuchinni, spinach and green beans), chicken, and homemade bone broth.

Amazingly, within 24 hours the pain was gone!

The only problem – I quickly became bored with my ‘diet!’

I needed to find a better way to eat. A food plan that would allow me to eat without pain!

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That’s when I stumbled upon an eating plan that helped me understand my relationship with food and how it affected my health.

Unfortunately, as good as the plan was, its wasn’t meant to be a long term eating plan…

I needed something that would carry me through this journey we call life!

That’s when it hit me… The foods I was growing and raising on my little homestead was providing me the nourishment I needed for good health!

Henceforth, ‘Farm Cooking’- eating whole fresh foods from the farm, equals good medicine!

Here’s to good health!

~ Sheri

Testing… The Strengthening of Our Faith

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So much has happened since my last post. I’m not sure where to begin…

After dealing with flooding, twice in 10 days time… sorting and packing for our new adventure… planning a yard sale… making plans on earning an income on the road… it came as quite a disappointment when we showed our house!

Disappointment is an understatement!

So many doors had opened for us! Including my finding work as a photographer.

It was a hard pill to swallow when the only offer we had was $20,000 less than what we still owe on our mortgage!

All our hopes of traveling – gone!

The loss of a potential new income was devastating to me! I’ve always wanted to travel and follow in my fathers footsteps as a photographer.

In Proverbs 16:9, it says that man plans his ways, buy God orders his steps.

Was God saying ‘No?’

After spiraling down the rabbit hole of disappointment, and eating my way through a half dozen of doughnuts and a gallon of ice cream, I decided to pick myself up, dust myself off and figure out the next step!

In a sense, each day is a test of our relationship with God.

To every person comes seasons of special joy, or adversity.

Both present opportunities for trusting that the Lord knows what He’s doing.

This type of testing is not like taking a classroom exam, where God is watching us, with grade book in hand, waiting to ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ us.

No, this testing comes through the circumstances of our lives. Its through this testing that we become more aware of our own hearts – our thoughts, our attitudes and emotions!

Through this self awareness, God shows us where we must still yield to Him in trusting obedience.

For me, I realized I still struggle with emotional eating, and that I wasn’t really trusting Him to take care of me…

Well, today is a new day! I will get myself back on the wagon of healthy eating. And, I will trust that whether we are on our little homestead a few days or a few years, He knows what is best for me!

~ Sheri

A Lofty Goal

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Recommiting myself to have our small farm support itself, I looked at the planting calendar.

What I discovered is that its just short of 15 weeks till the 4 year anniversary of our move to the country!

This got me thinking…

A fellow homesteader I know had given himself the challenge of growing and raising 100% of his food in just 100 days!

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That’s a lofty goal for sure!

Could we do that?

I think so!

We have until July 27th… that gives us 102 days…

Its will be a lot of work!

Already I can see some challenges we are going to have to face…

Our plan is to use the whole northwest end of our property…

The first step will be to decide which veggies to grow…

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No specialty veggies this year! Only what we know we will enjoy! And, only foods that are Whole30* compliant… You can find more on that reasoning here.

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Next, we will have to figure out how to keep our flock out of the garden area.

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The fencing that we used last year, was relocated to the back of the barn to replace broken fencing, and to enlarge their free range area.

We have other challenges to face as well…

With a late snow, and April showers, the original garden has flooded. The area has been too hard or too wet to plant any cool weather veggies.

With last night’s thunderstorm and today’s down pour, even the chickens had the good sense to stay indoors most of the day! Only when it stopped raining, did they come out to get some worms for a bedtime snack.

Even though I didn’t get out to the garden today, tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. Perhaps I will at least get outside to remove the debris from last nights storm…

~ Sheri

*This post contains affiliate links. This means that Country Girl Homestead makes a small commission on items purchased via these links. This income directly offsets the care and maintenance of our farm. Our flock thanks you for supporting Country Girl Homestead.

A Lifetime Gig

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Mornin’ y’all! Sheri here! For those who don’t yet know… Recently, I committed myself to doing The Whole30  because of severe stomach and gallbladder issues.

Well, I just finished my first round of whole 30, and am presently working on what’s called the Reintroduction phase.

What does that mean? Well, I’ll tell ya!

Over the next 10 days, I’ll reintroduce certain foods… beans, gluten and gluten-free grains, and dairy… and I’ll watch for any reactions!

Because of the severe pain I’ve had, I know that doing this for just 30 days will not be enough to heal my digestive system! So, I’m planning on another whole30… or 60, or even 90!

Most likely, because of the progress I’ve had already, I expect this will be a lifetime gig!

I’m okay with that! – Being healthy and pain free is a good thing!

Here’s some of the results I’ve already seen:

  • Day 31: Stepped on the scale and I’m down 8 lbs. That’s the equivalent to 32 sticks of butter. That’s a lot of butter!
  • My ‘skinny jeans’ used to fit snugly. Now, they’re loose and baggy!
  • I have a better handle on what foods cause me pain and discomfort when I eat.
  • I no longer need my expensive stomach meds that had serious side effects!
  • My relationship with food has changed!
  • I enjoy cooking again!
  • I’ve discovered new and interesting ways to prepare my old favorites!
  • I have more energy.
  • I’m sleeping better.
  • I’m not as moody as I used to be!
  • My back pain (degenerative disk disease) isn’t as bad as it used to be! I’m now able to stand for longer periods of time before needing to sit...
  • Where I used to take 2 BP meds… I am glad to report that I am only using 1 BP med! AND before long, Lord willing, I will be off that one as well!

My next step is to turn the whole northwest section of my small farm into a whole 30 compliant garden! More on that tomorrow!

Here’s to better health!

~ Sheri

Homemade Bone Broth

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More than a year ago, I had severe stomach pains. By changing my diet to healthy, nutrient dense foods, including homemade bone broth, my digestive health has been allowed to heal.

Homemade bone broth is something that should be part of your daily nourishment! Especially if you are hungering for optimal digestive health.

Its also helps your joint and skin health. Not to mention also keeping your bones and teeth healthy – even on a dairy-free diet.

How to make Homemade Bone Broth

The essential ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small chicken carcasses (you’ll want it all – the bones, skin, neck, feet and gizzards!)
  • 4-12 cups of water
  • 1-3 Tbsp of vinegar (apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp of salt (adjust to your personal taste)

Optional add-ins:

  • 3-4 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp whole or crushed black peppercorns
  • A few sprigs of rosemary, thyme or parsley

Method of preparation:

  1. Put all the essential ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.
  2. Don’t forget any optional ingredients you want to add.
  3. Heat on high until the broth starts to boil. Watch that it doesn’t boil over. If you want, remove any foam. It will improve the flavor of your broth.
  4. As soon as the broth starts to boil, reduce the heat to low. You should only see very small bubbles in the center.
  5. Simmer on low heat for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
  6. Once ready, let cool, then strain your broth using a metal mesh colander (and cheesecloth if desired)
  7. Ladle broth into mason jars.
  8. Discard the bones. Keep the veggies if you wish. If you’ve got chickens, they’ll enjoy the treat!

Here’s some helpful hints:

  • This recipe works well with beef bones too! Just use 1-2 lbs of beef bones and any optional add ins and follow the directions as usual.
  • You can keep your homemade bone broth in the fridge up to 4 to 5 days!
  • If you have more broth than you can use in 4-5 days, you can freeze it. Just portion it out into wide mouth mason jars, leaving one inch at the top of each jar to allow for expansion of liquids. This will prevent yours jars from breaking.
  • Another great way to freeze your broth, is to put it in ice cube trays, making it convenient and easy to reheat.
  • You can drink your homemade bone broth by the cup, or use it for preparing sauces, soups and stews.

Enjoy!

Here’s to your health,

~ Sheri