People frequently ask me why we bother to make most everything we eat from scratch. This seems to bother these people. They treat me as if I have lost my way and they need to help me…or maybe it is my senses that they think I’ve lost. I can’t imagine why it bothers them, they don’t have to grow the food, can the food, freeze the food, dehydrate the food, grind the wheat, bake the bread, flake the oats, churn the butter, work the cheese or cook the meals…but it REALLY bothers them.
I’ll try to explain how we started down this path. When my second son was born I knew right away that he had a dairy allergy. If I drank so much as 1/4 cup milk, he reacted. So…for one year, I ate NO dairy products…a horrible experience I assure you. As he grew, we found he had other allergies, lots of them. This required some work, trying to find foods he could eat without getting sick. Now, some people might think this was a very bad thing. I did myself at first. But, looking back I can see how God took something bad and turned it into something very good. (Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.) God had a purpose for those allergies!
It turns out that my son is not allergic to all those foods we thought he was allergic to…it was the chemicals, dyes, preservatives etc. that caused the allergic reactions. Now, let me state that we did not buy “junk food” at the grocery store. No sugary cereals, toaster pastries, frozen dinners etc. We bought the “healthy” stuff. But when the USDA has approved over 800,000 chemicals (read that again…800,000!) for our food supply can it truly be healthy? Any of it? When a glass of milk can have traces of hundreds of different antibiotics…do you want to drink it?
Now, God is very gracious and gentle when He leads us down new paths. If God had sat me down and told me 7 years ago…”beginning tomorrow you will grow all your own food, bake your own bread, make your own cereals, raise your own meat, make your own cheese etc.”….well, as Grandma use to say “I’m just gonna lay me down and die”.
God showed us one area at a time, like a gentle parent leading a child. What a gracious God we serve! We began with a garden that has just expanded a little every year. We began keeping bees for honey. We started grinding wheat and baking our own breads. We planted an apple orchard. A little further down the road we started making our own cereals. This year we hope to add a berry patch. Each year I preserve a little more of what we have been doing and we try to add something new to the list.
How do you explain why you bake 8 loaves of bread every Monday when “you can buy a loaf of bread for $1 at the store”? (Apparently the bread thing bothers these people a lot!) Because it tastes so good! Because it is so nutritious…..because there are NO chemicals of any kind in my bread! Because I don’t have to watch my son suffer anymore with headaches that were completely debilitating or see him go through the other symptoms of allergic reactions.
The time involved in living this life also seems to bother these people. “How do you find the time?” they cry. Well, we don’t watch t.v. (an occasional family video night is the exception). We stay home… a lot . Except for church, the kids aren’t involved in lots of activities that keep us running around and take away from family time. We all work together….at just about everything.
Is it worth it? You bet it is! Our health has improved tremendously! Our food tastes wonderful and I know it is more nutritious! If there was a huge disaster, or my hubby lost his job…we’d be o.k. Add homeschooling into the mix and I get to be with my kids most of the time. Working together to accomplish common goals and playing together (family game nights are big in our house) builds strong relationships with your kids.
The kids enjoy walking through the grocery store and naming all the things we don’t need to buy anymore. It is so satisfying every time you take a little step towards more self sufficiency. It makes them feel good that they have participated in providing these things. They have extracted honey from the hives and worked the bees throughout the year. They have picked the apples and cranked the mill to turn them into sauce. They helped grow and pick the tomatoes and milled them into spaghetti sauce and ketcup.
And these people…it is so funny to me… what bothers them about our lifestyle they are quick to enjoy…”got any homemade ice cream in the freezer?”….”I love homemade bread!”….”This applesauce tastes so different”…”this chicken is delicious”…”I can’t wait for eggs in the morning”… I just smile….made from scratch!
I thank God for my son’s allergies…look what they have wrought in our lives! Great blessings!