Nutrition. Nourishment. What’s the difference? Is there a difference? If you look in the dictionary, it may even say that they are synonyms. However, in my mind they are two different words, related to each other but different. Nutrition, to me, is simply about food. Nutritious food would be food that contains nutrients and does not contain harmful substances (aspartame, MSG, GMOs, etc.). Nourishing food is also that, but a whole lot more. This post is about my personal philosophy on nourishment.
When I think about nourishment, I get a picture in my head of a non-nourished family. Parents and kids go-go-going in all directions, rare (if any) actual sit-down family dinners, food is from a box (or a joint), lots of runny noses and hyper-activity. If this is you, please don’t be offended. Try to hear me with your heart. The picture of a nourished family is just the opposite. Parents and kids are single-minded and live simply, gathering together for family meals where they give thanks first and have real conversation, eating meals prepared in a steaming kitchen from real ingredients, and reaping the benefits of good, whole food (less sickness, better behavior). If this is you, I applaud you. I have only just begun.
As I thought about nourishing my family, I thought about the following six elements, most of which I use on a daily basis.
1. Food should be nutritious–We subscribe to the Traditional Nutrition philosophy which, as described on the Real Food Media Blog Network is basically this:
We believe food should be:
- Humanely raised (animals on pasture, not in factories)
- Grown locally when possible
- Whole and unrefined (real maple syrup instead of high-fructose corn syrup)
- Processed as little as possible (raw milk instead of pasteurized and homogenized)
- Nutrient-dense (enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics)
- Free of additives and preservatives
- Free of synthetic and chemical ingredients
- Not genetically modified
- Traditionally produced and prepared
For reasons of space and time, I simply cannot address each of those points within this post. More to come in the future! I do the best that I can, with the time and money resources available, to work within this basic framework of traditional nutrition.
2. Food should be comforting–I remember the saying, “Eat this, it’ll make you feel better!” We all know that chicken soup is comforting when you’re sick, or mashed potatoes (or anything warm and carb-rich) helps women during their monthlies. I try to incorporate as many comfort foods in our menu as possible, and I like to think that they will become Little Boy’s “go-to” comfort foods in his adulthood!
3. Food should involve the senses–Pretty obviously, it should taste good. It should also look and smell good. I often have Little Boy smell my spices as I put them in foods, and he frequently asks to do it now! I believe that smelling the steamy broth in the kitchen or the bread baking in the oven nourishes my family in some way. Even for me personally, I think the tactile experience of kneading dough or cutting up veggies for a soup gives me the feeling of doing loving labor for my family (however cheesy that sounds) and nourishes me.
4. Foods (and eating) should involve tradition–This would be different for each family, but at the least, just sitting down together at the table helps to nourish the family. Our family holds hands and gives God thanks before each meal. Some traditions involve holidays and other celebrations, with the baking activities and such. Whatever traditions your family embraces, they are all important, and serve to bind the family together and provide rich memories for the young ones.
5. Foods should be life (& health)-giving–This is part of my personal nourishment definition; others may have a slightly different approach. I try to make sure that the bulk of our vitamins and remedies come from the foods we eat. I use coconut oil, cod liver oil, sauerkraut, elderberry syrup, garlic, raw honey and lots and lots and lots of bone broth, to name just a few 🙂 Please do your own research on specific remedies, but we use these foods for building up the immune system, weight loss support, sore throats, coughs, colds, flu, etc. I keep in mind that there is no “magic cure-all,” but there are many foods that are extremely beneficial for the immune system and various minor illnesses.
6. Nourishing a family requires commitment–It takes time to prepare menus, shop for the best deals and do all the prep work and other kitchen work required for this lifestyle. Most of the time requirement is on my part, and a little over a year ago, we made a decision for me to quit my stressful full-time job and only work part-time. This allows me time to do what I need to do at home. I don’t want to down-play Hubby’s part in this either. I simply could not do what I do without his support and praise (and help in the kitchen sometimes too). I love him all the more for it.
This is how I nourish my family. Think of me as Nourishing Mama.