Choosing Health

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As we’re working on putting our boat back together, I’m working on putting myself back together. As a mom of ten children, oldest of ten siblings, wife of thirty years, and trained midwife, I’ve spent a lot of my life taking care of other people. Unfortunately I didn’t take care of myself the way I’ve urged others to do. Funny how that happens. Oh well, now’s better than never!

Over the past year, we’ve been so busy and distracted with the boat that I’ve managed to let myself get run down even worse than usual. I think it’s probably the heat and dehydration combined with quick meals of fast food and ramen cups that’s contributed to gaining thirty pounds and having kidney problems.

So where do I go from here?

Well, after landing in bed with debilitating kidney pain AGAIN I decided I was ready to make a serious change. I know a lot about eating healthy, I just haven’t stuck to anything I’ve researched over the years… but this time I was serious. I NEED to be healthy to stand up to the rigors of the life we’re planning

I decided to tackle my health challenges using a whole food plant based approach. This means:

  • No added sugar

  • No flours

  • No chemicals passing as food

  • No dairy

  • No meat

Now before you freak out - I’m shooting for 80% compliance to this plan. Not because I want to eat these things, but because I’ve got a family and I’m working on a boat and life’s just too complicated to be 100% plant based.

So what do I eat? REAL FOOD.

The list is too long to bother writing. But think about it. Any vegetables, fruits, whole grain (not flour), rice, seeds, nuts, legumes. Oh, and I am also limiting processed fats. There’s actually more I can eat than what I can’t.

Hydration has been a big challenge for me. Obviously, I’ve been drinking mostly water because there really isn’t many other healthy options that I’d want to drink in the hot weather down here in Texas. But while we were in Utah for Todd’s dad’s funeral we grabbed some Water Kefir Grains from someone selling them on craigslist. The bubbly water is so refreshing and my first tip toe into replenishing the healthy bacteria in my body after several rounds of antibiotics for my kidneys.

Those pesky antibiotics have wreaked havoc on my gut health - at least that’s what the research says. In my search for natural ways to improve my gut health the idea of pickled and fermented foods popped up over and over. When we saw our friends, the Litzenbergers, make kimchi on their sailboat we were intrigued. Then, while we were going through Todd’s dad’s cookbooks this summer, we snagged one about fermented foods and began reading about the process.

The final tip toward actually trying our hand at these tasty recipes was finding a bottle of jalapeno pickles in the back of our pantry that someone gave Todd after completing a job last summer. I don’t know how we missed it before now, but I’m glad we did because I’ve not had an exploratory pallet until recently. I added some of these yummy pickled cucumbers, onions, and jalapenos to my afternoon salad and I was hooked! We headed to Walmart the next day to get supplies and I put up my first four jars this morning!

Here are the recipes we tried:


Orange Apple Cranberry Sauerkraut
by Fermented Food Lab

So I adapted this recipe because I couldn’t find any fresh cranberries at our market and Liberty ate my only orange. I also don’t have a food processor or cheese grater in our trailer. It was all good though. I added a pear and carrots - sounded yummy to me, then chopped the pear and apple up really fine. It also makes a HUGE amount and since we’re new to this fermenting thing - and I HATE wasting food, we scaled this recipe back to make one pint. Wasn’t too hard. We’ll see how it turns out, but it tasted yummy when I finished.


Easy Pickled Red Onions
by Rachel Cooks

This was super EASY! I’ve already tasted them and they are delicious! I don’t try new things very often - yeah, I can be kinda picky - but we recently tried a top rated Vegan restaurant in Austin, TX and they had these on the portobello mushroom tacos I ordered. I’ve been looking for a good recipe to try ever since!


Pickled Cauliflower
by Recipe Girl

This recipe also makes a HUGE amount, so we scaled it back to 2 pint jars. It was an easy recipe to follow and first nibbles after they cooled off shows yummy promise! I’m super excited to try these veggies on a salad soon! This was the only recipe we had to buy a TON of spices we didn’t have but after tasting them, I’m gonna say it’s worth the investment.

Be sure to follow along on our instagram to see how they turned out and what we eat them on!