Financial Well-Being

We have been programmed to believe that "survival" is the highest place we can reach for, never realizing that there are higher levels of well-being waiting for us.  When our basic needs are not yet met, the insecurity can cause us to sink into painfully low energy levels. For many people, the lower half of the energy scale is all there is.

1 SURVIVAL – Financial Well-Being

  • Basic needs met
  • Not worried
  • Secure
  • Confident
  • Having more than enough
  • Money to spend on experiences
  • Money to spend on others

It turns out that most people are not dreaming of endless money but would be happy to have a little more than is necessary to get by, so they can do the things they would like to do, for themselves and their loved ones.  Perhaps the gift economy is built into our human psyche and true financial fulfillment comes from giving to others.  A growing number of human innovations have become part of the basic support system on which we build our lives.  This base will continue to expand the number of items we must acquire in order to feel fully supported.

And a variety of upgrades such as:

  • electricity
  • a refrigerator
  • indoor plumbing
  • an oven
  • transportation

These may include:

  • running water
  • a toilet
  • a bed
  • an oven

 

 

 

We believe that everyone in their right mind wants world peace and well-being for all mankind, but they can’t begin to think about these things when they are caught up in “survival mode.”

The first step in rising up out of survival mode is to realize that the problem is not you.  The system is not set up in a way that works for everyone.  It actually works for a very small percentage of the population of the country and the world.  So, remember that you are not alone and if we work together we can figure out lasting solutions for ourselves and for all mankind.

Millions of people today have concluded that today’s system is not designed to lead us into personal or global well-being. In fact, today’s system might even be preventing well-being.  We can begin to see the problem when we look at the terms we use to define our society such as “the workforce” “the consumer” “political demonstrations” “big agriculture” “factory farms” and “developing nations.”  These terms make very disturbing circumstances that prevent the sense of Global Well-Being sound like normal and acceptable conditions of life on earth.

At this time, in 2017, one percent of the population owns 50% of the wealth of the world.  To be even more specific, .7% of the population owns 46% of the wealth. At the other end of the spectrum, the world’s 3.5 billion poorest adults, who account for 70% of the world’s working age population, account for just 2.7% of global wealth.  In India and Africa, the number of people in poverty is closer to 100%.

The first dimensions of love relate to SURVIVAL and provides the foundation on which we build our lives. It supports us in growing and feeling safe to explore all the other elements of love. It is related to our feelings of safety and security, whether it is regarding our bodily needs of food and water, or more developed needs such as “roof over our heads” or a good retirement plan. The first level of well-being is focused on the idea of survival and safety.

Eastern religions call this first element the “root chakra” probably because this element keeps us rooted to the earth where our basic needs are met. A Gallop poll compiled a list of the basic needs that all people need in order to feel safe and secure.  It matches up very well to the root chakra as defined by Eastern religions.

We observe that as we humans become more “civilized” our list of basic needs continually grows longer and more complex.  A Gallup poll revealed these bullet points by asking the question, “How would you define financial well-being?”

DISCUSSION QUESTION:

 

What might be preventing your Financial Well-Being?

Please leave your comments below.

Edamame vs Soybeans

The difference between soybeans and edamame is in the level of maturity when the beans are harvested. Mature soybeans are a light cream color while edamame is harvested when the beans are still young, soft and green. Like a green tomato vs a red tomato, much of the nutritional value is lost when harvesting the soybeans at such a young stage of development.

 per cup  EDAMAME

edamame 1

 MATURE SOYBEANS

soybeans

 calories  376 milligrams  880 milligrams
 protein  36 milligrams  68 milligrams
 fats  17 grams total fat  37 grams total fat
 carbohydrates  28 grams  56 grams
 dietary fiber  11 grams  17 grams
 folic acid  35 micrograms  679 micrograms
 calcium  500 milligrams  71 milligrams
 iron  2 milligrams  18 milligrams

As whole foods such as beans and grains mature and are fully dried they become dormant until they are brought back to life with water.  This is a huge part of Mother Nature’s original plan.  These dormant whole foods are light weight and can be carried around in a sack until the time for replanting. The dormancy is created by enzyme inhibitors. These are the reason for the difficulties that are often experienced with eating whole mature beans.  Solving this problem is easy.  Simply bring them back to life with water by soaking the beans overnight.  The next day the dormant whole food has become a sprouted seed. Sprouts are packed with nutritional value and easy to digest.

Dry beans are about 70% carbohydrate:

Starch (43 – 45%)

fiber (18 – 20%)

Protein (20-30%)

Soak Beans?


To Soak or Not to Soak Beans

A little gas is normal, but let’s face it, no one wants more gas than is necessary. Many people avoid beans completely because they can’t stand the repercussions that inevitably follow a hearty bowl of beans. Because of the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that are designed to keep the dormant beans dormant must be soaked and brought to life! When you soak the beans before you cook them and then pour the water out you have allowed the “coming to life” process to happen in the jar instead of in your stomach. The result is a soft, creamy, living source of protein that your body can easily assimilate.

Many of the leading food blog writers have stated that they no longer soak beans ahead.  They don’t want the extra time tacked onto cooking with beans. Russ Parsons of the L.A. Times says that to soak beans does not improve their digestibility yet does drain away some of the color and flavor. Then J. KENJI LĂ“PEZ-ALT of Serious Eats said he tested himself the digestibility of beans by soaking some, not soaking others and hot water soaking others. He found the difference to be minimal if any improvements at all and noted that if Russ Parsons says you don’t have to soak beans, it must be true.

 

Soaking is Sprouting

soak beansI myself am more focused on what takes place within the bean when it is soaked.  When you soak beans when they are dry and dormant it brings them to life. If you continued to rinse and drain them for several days they begin to send out little “tails”.  You are no longer eating a bean, but a tiny little plant. Wendy Rudell, Raw Transformation states “Soaking will also help to diminish some of the fat content and will help convert the dense vegetable protein to simpler amino acids for easier digestion. The more complex carbohydrates in the foods will also start to break down into the simpler glucose molecules.”

The bean is designed with this powerful protection that keeps it in a dormant state until it is given water. For farmers this means that you can store beans until you get a chance to plant them. Even years later, dormant beans will spring into action when they are given water.  Mother Nature knows what she is doing!  For this reason I would never consider soaking beans in boiling water. It is counter-intuitive to do so.  You might get softer beans faster, but you lost all the potential benefits from the sprouting process.

Planning Ahead to Soak Beans

soak in jarsWhen I teach my plan for Vegan Core Dishes I always soak the beans the night before.  I know how many quarts of each bean or grain I need and I have them soaking for the class over night. But if new students come to a vegan cooking party to make their meals for the week, I don’t put the added pressure of soaking onto their early learning experience.  The first task at hand is to gain confidence in completing the process of cooking the Healthy Meals for the Week.  Then, in time, they can evaluate and decide for themselves whether they want the additional nutritional value that comes with sprouting their whole foods the night before.

If you are committed to soaking over night, you won’t be able to cook with beans at the spur of the moment. Soaking means a lot of planning.  It also means that if you don’t plan ahead, you have to either wait until tomorrow to make your bean recipe or go without the health benefits of sprouting your beans this time around. Because it is a long process and because I want to have beans several times a week as my vegan protein source, I soak my beans for the week all at the same time. Then I only have to plan ahead once a week instead of every time I want to cook with beans.

If you have the weekend off you might try our production plan of “Saturday Soak, Sunday Simmer”. If you have a weekend work schedule, then you can pick your day off to be your “simmer” day and remember to soak your beans the night before.  Take the course.

Cooking in Jars

Cook Beans in JarsCooking Beans in Jars

Most beans take about two and half hours to cook in a jar, but if they are old they may take longer. Pour out the bean soak water, fill it with fresh and place the jars in the pot of cold water. In the canning pot pictured below there is room for seven jars. Because grains only take 40 to 50 minutes or less and beans take about 2 1/2 hours, we cook all the grains at one time and then cook all the beans at one time.

cooking beans 1Cooking beans in quart jars makes sense when you realize that beans take about two an a half hours to fully cook even when you soak them first. Cooking beans in a jar you can cook many in the same pot at the same time. This time-saving, energy-saving process also reduces stress at dinner time and at the same time improves the quality of your meals. We call these whole foods Vegan Core Dishes.

We soak our whole foods overnight such as quinoa, pinto beans and brown rice in jars, then in that same jar we cook it. The soaking process actually causes the whole food to sprout inside. If you left it for several days you would see tails sprouting out of your food. That means your food is alive and packed with the highest nutritional value possible. Soaking overnight is enough to cause the seeds to transform from a dormant, rock hard pebble that is difficult for your body to digest, to a glorious sprouted vegetable overflowing with the life-giving source that every cell in your body craves.

 

beans swell 1 cup to 1 quartWhen you start with one cup of uncooked whole grains or beans and soak them overnight they will swell to about double the size. Then they will continue to swell as they cook to finally be about three times the original size. In other words, one cup of beans will fill a quart jar. Grains swell more than beans. One cup of grains will swell more than beans to fill a quart jar and even push up taller than the rim of the jar! For this reason it makes sense to store large amounts of beans and grains in their smallest state rather than storing canned beans that have already swelled to three times their size. They take less space, cost less and are light weight to store. And forget about expiration dates. Whole foods remain dormant until you soak them. Until then they will remain perfect for years–maybe even decades.

Cooking Meals in Jars

Meals in Jars – It’s easy, cheap and healthy!

 

Cooking Meals in Jars

Cooking meals in jars is our favorite method for our Meals For the Week because it’s easy, cheap and healthy!  No pots and pans to wash. No need for high-calorie oils to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. No harmful additives, preservatives, excessive salt or high-fructose corn syrup. Just whole foods that spring from the earth!

Once the meals in jars are cooked and cooled they have a seal and can store in the refrigerator for several weeks. Simply heat, garnish and serve any time, lunch, dinner or midnight snack!

When you use our Personal Chef services, these meals in jars are delivered each week fully cooked and ready to heat and serve.

 

All of the healthy meals for the week that are included in My Whole Foods Kitchen eCookbooks center around whole foods that spring from the ground and these are the very foods that store for long periods of time as well; rice, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, herbs, spices and seasonings. We might not be able to store everything we see at the grocery store, but we can collect these versatile whole foods that can be combined to make endless healthy meals for the week. If a true emergency happened and we were forced to eat solely from the foods we have stored in our homes or growing in our gardens we want our menu to be as interesting as possible, nutritious as possible, in the smallest amount of space for the least amount of money to ensure that life would be sustainable for any length of time required.

We start with simple breakfast meals that rotate through the days of the week. Monday Muffins, Tuesday Toast, Wednesday Waffles, Thursday Thin Crepes, Friday Fried Eggs, Saturday Smoothies and Sunday Cereal. To make breakfast fast and efficient I mixed up a collection of dry mixes. I organized them in our Baker’s Rack with the recipe on the side of the container to make whipping up these hearty breakfast meals very easy. Even a child can do it. The recipe labels are included when you buy all seven eCookbooks as a set.

The Dinner Menu has the same concept of rotating healthy meals for the week. Each begin with the letters of the days of the week; Monday Mexican, Tandoori Tuesday, Western Wednesday, Thai Thursday, Friday Fun, Seafood Saturday and Sunday Single-dish (Sunday Soup and Salad, Sunday Sandwich). When you know what you will be serving each day, you can plan ahead healthy meals for the week, the month, even the year.

The choices in this cookbook meet specific objectives:

1) Familiar: all meals are well-loved American favorites with ethnic influences.

2) Healthy: all meals are made from whole food ingredients.

3) Fresh: we utilize fresh, organic vegetables and fruits for every meal.

4) Whole: we incorporate whole grains, nuts and seeds for every meal.

5) Convenient: we make mixes ahead that require water only.

6) Store well: all ingredients must store for long periods of time in the smallest space possible.

7) Inexpensive: buying bulk foods is cheaper than buying prepared foods.

Using the list of foods in the Rack and Bin System, I am be able to make all of the recipes in My Whole Foods Kitchen Cookbook and many more of my family favorites without having to go grocery shopping at all. All of the ingredients are already stocked in my own little “store.”

I have cooked these meals so often that I can do them in my sleep. I can teach my children and spouse to cook very familiar meals and they will have a chance to perfect each dish because it repeats every week. The stress level is reduced for meal time as well as for grocery shopping.

 

Feeding Large Groups

Even the pickiest eater will eat Italian food. Pizza, sub sandwiches, spaghetti—who doesn’t love a good Italian meal? Pizza is one meal that is fun to make even for beginners. I give everyone a hand ball sized lump of dough and they have their choice of making it thin or thick, with extra cheese or no sauce, topped with anything they can think of. Kids and adults alike love to make their own pizza.

I taught pizza making to a large cooking class of about 40 people. We made the pizzas together. I set up the classroom with large round tables. Each table had a large lump of dough in the middle of the table. For a large pizza you need a cantaloupe sized lump of dough. We used cookie sheets because we didn’t have enough round pizza stones to feed 40 people!

We made the sauce from garden harvest; tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil, oregano. We bought the cheese, but if we had students that were more advanced we could have made the mozzarella cheese recipe in the Milk section of this cookbook.

We had a sign saying what kind of pizza would be made at each table. All the toppings for that kind of pizza were sliced and ready to use. Garden Veggie Pizza with green peppers and onions. Hawaiian Pizza with ham and pineapple. Italian Pizza with olives and pepperoni. People in the class rolled out their own pizza crust and placed it on the cookie sheet, topped it with sauce and decorated it as a group around the table with the toppings of their choice.

While the pizzas were baking I filmed the video of making Mediterranean Bean Salad for Large Groups. See MyWholeFoodsKitchen.com. This salad is very easy to make in huge quantities simply by using the entire jar of each bean instead of one cup of each cooked bean. Multiply the brine by four and you will have the perfect side dish for pizza and those who are eating light can use this bean salad as a topping for their green salad.

To make this huge endeavor a success we assigned tasks to those who volunteered to help. We determined that each cookie sheet of pizza would feed 10 people. To feed 40 people we would need four pizzas. The recipe we use makes three cantaloupe sized balls. This is enough for a loaf of bread, a batch of bread sticks or a large pizza crust. To have enough for four pizzas we had to make two recipes of bread dough. I assigned the dough-making to two women who brought the dough to class. We needed one cup of sauce per large pizza, so I assigned one woman to make four cups of sauce. She volunteered because she had tomatoes in her garden that were ready to use. I brought her some of my own garden harvest to put into the sauce including basil, oregano, onions and garlic. She made the sauce the day before so that the flavors could develop nicely. Since I wanted to demonstrate how to cook beans in quart jars, I volunteered to bring the cooked beans for the Mediterranean Bean Salad. I assigned another woman the brine for the bean salad. Others brought greens for a green salad from their gardens. Others brought jello salads.

Soup Kitchen
Soup is another meal that might go even farther in an emergency. We store large amounts of chicken bouillon to make soups that will comfort the soul in times of food shortages. The biggest challenge in making large amounts of soup is having a large professional sized kettle. Most of us don’t have one in our usual collection of pots and pans, so if we plan to be able to create a soup kitchen in times of emergency, we have to remember to buy the pot!

If you don’t have a church kitchen with a large space to feed hungry people, you may have to do it outdoors. If so, you will need a shelter and a portable table to work on. This is when you need your portable generator to plug in your grinder, your portable stove, and other appliances. Otherwise you will be back in the dark ages during a power outage emergency. If our utilities shut down for any length of time we would immediately become a third world nation, unable to help others as we would like.

One thoughtful family we know bought a large circus tent for such an occasion and others have purchased generators that run on solar power. Working together, you will not have to purchase all of these items, but can divide the investments over a group of willing and forward-thinking people.

Work Together

I made a commitment to myself that I would one day stop depending on the local grocery store. I am committed to produce everything I am able to produce; granola, yogurt, snacks, cheese, butter and bread. I can grow my own vegetables and fruits. I can create foods to replace meat and dairy products. It takes effort and planning but it can be done!

As I became more proficient at producing my own food and more committed to being the producer rather than “the consumer” I found that the big jobs could be broken down into smaller, more do-able tasks and dispersed over the days of the week. Each time I did any baking or cooking, I multiplied my efforts by making enough for the whole week rather than just enough for one meal for one day.

I planned a rotating meal plan so I knew exactly what I was going to make each week. I filled my refrigerator and freezer with meals I made ahead. With a lot of planning and experimentation I was able to gather and store the foods I was using regularly, to eliminate time spent and money shopping each week. I was able to come up with quick mixes for anything that I made often, to eliminate the preparation time for each meal. I was able to make bread for the week knowing exactly what kind of bread I was going to need for each meal that week; pitas, pizza crust, subs, rolls, etc. I was able to plant a garden and produce fresh vegetables and fruits and even freeze and dehydrate some ahead for later in the season when the garden would be resting. I was able to make replacements for meat and dairy products for the week with plant sources by learning to make soy milk, almond milk and mega-meat. Each step I learned to do, gave me that much more variety to offer my family and improved my family’s health significantly. I was consistently reaching my production goals.

Reality Steps In

As my life became more and more complicated with the expos I was attending and conferences I was offering and books I was writing, my husband took up the slack, taking the responsibility for all of the regular production schedule that I had been doing. The kids pitched in too. Then my husband landed a job out of state and had to be away. All of my food production came to a screeching halt. My garden needed watering. My beans weren’t getting cooked. My mail was stacking up and my emails were out of control. I had deadlines to meet and no one to help.

This situation made it so real to me that if we were ever going to be able to teach people how to keep this kind of self-reliance going, we need a community to work with us. We can’t do it all. If we are going to go “back in time” so to speak, to make our own bread and our own cheese, milk our own cows or raise our own chickens, we must also go back in time to an interdependent lifestyle where everyone worked together. We must have support and assistance. If the cow needs to be milked and I have to be teaching a conference in another state, I must have neighbors and friends who are equally invested in the cow who will milk the cow! Those that we teach will have the same reality in their own lives and will need to organize a group of like-minded people for support.

You may find that making your own bread and growing your own garden is easier when you work together with other people who have the same goals, dividing the tasks or doing them together, side by side. For instance, why not organize a group that meets weekly to grind enough wheat for their families? You can also mix up your quick mixes while you are together.

If you are an elderly woman who lives alone, you might not have the motivation to make your own bread and plant your own garden, but you can work together with a group to help motivate them to eat whole foods or to be prepared for emergencies. You can be a motivator even though you don’t need a lot of food for your own needs.

I suggest that whatever your age or living situation, organizing with other neighbors to create a garden spot and share the responsibilities of a garden is more productive than doing it all by yourself. I spent many more hours in our community garden than anyone else did, but who’s counting? I didn’t mind a bit. I was grateful to have a place to garden and to have friends to share in the harvest.

At that time I was teaching classes and trying to write this cookbook while also keeping up with all of the self-reliance cooking I was committed to. It was more than one person could do. My husband took up the slack by taking on certain food production tasks each week. He loves to make mayonnaise, hummus and tomato sauce. He doesn’t mind whipping up breakfast or dinner as long as I have all the necessary ingredients ready, such as homemade yogurt, pitas, pizza crust, butter, soy milk and quick mixes for waffles, pancakes, crepes, and Mega-Meat.

After a strenuous year of trying to do both teach and keep up with my own home-making goals I found that I wasn’t able to do both. I had to choose one or the other. I had to choose my home and family, of course. That is the whole point of writing the book! I know that if I stop being a producer so that I can go to work to be a successful teacher and business woman promoting my book, I will not be living out the lifestyle I am preaching! So I switched my focus from teaching to filming home videos of My Production Schedule. This turns out to be a better way to demonstrate and teach anyway. I don’t have to advertise. I don’t have to drag all my pots and pans. And I don’t have to supply samples!

Though I learned how to make all of the groceries on my shopping list and eliminated trips to the store, I found that it took great organizational skills to keep track of it all. The makings for each meal had to come together at one moment in time. When I make bread dough I usually don’t have the energy to also make my own pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese for pizza on the same day. I had to pace myself and just do what I can with the amount of time and energy I had. So I made a Production Schedule that divided all the tasks into projects and assigned them to specific days each week so that all the groceries would be ready in time for the meal they were intended for.

 

 

A Community is Like a Torus
Gardening together in cooperation is a true torus. The torus sends energy up, out and back in every direction. When we put out energy to plant and tend a seed, the seed digs into the earth and sends energy back up to us. We take in the energy and give back to the plants by weeding and watering. The plants send up seeds for the next planting. We gather them and plant again. It is a perfect torus. The more people who are involved in a single garden, the more energy that goes in and the more energy that comes back to us.

I hope this article will start the conversations going about creating a more interdependent lifestyle. I know I need people in my life, and I can’t be the only one that does. As I talk to people about the ideas I have been kicking around, every one of them have said they thought about the same thing. It is on the hearts and minds of the thinkers of our society. We know that some parts of our society are changing drastically. Our cities, as they are designed today, may not be the best place to be if and when food shortages begin and civil unrest arises.

In the midst of this revelation about community that was coming to me, our city was doing some repairs on a water main in our neighborhood and our water had to be turned off the whole day. The whole street had its water turned off. I couldn’t run next door, establish a friendship with a stranger, to use his bathroom or to wash my face or brush my teeth, because his water was off too. It suddenly occurred to me that a crisis could come at any moment that cut the water off for a period of time and if everyone in the neighborhood has their water off at the same time, we would all be in a lot of trouble. Water is the one thing that you cannot do without—even for a short time. I bought four 50-gallon barrels several years before this when I first started learning about self-reliance. They are full of water and ready to use in my garage. I was the only one on my block that had water for this minor reality check.

I began to gather other families to experiment with an interdependent lifestyle. My garden buddies and I worked together to make meals straight out of the garden. My friend made zucchini relish enough for both of us. I made salsa and tomato sauce for both families. This greatly increased what we could do with our own time and productivity. This is when life starts to get interesting. This is the secret to world hunger. Not mass producing for the entire planet so that they don’t have to do anything but shop, but instead increasing individual self-reliance and interdependent production to assist each other to have more time and energy for greater things than just eating.

This is when my mind went to work organizing and planning a community that would work together and pool all the skills, energy and resources they have for the good of all. It’s not a new idea. It’s an old idea that has been lost because we don’t need each other anymore. We can go in and out of our homes and never say hello to our next door neighbor. Everything we need it at the superstores. We can go in and out of a superstore and never run into anyone we know. With automated check-out stands we do the whole thing without speaking to another living soul. Our shopping carts are overflowing but our souls are starving for a close knit community.

Our lives might be easier than generations past, but our body, mind and spirit suffer the consequences of a lack of community. Our time is “used up” with the task of earning a paycheck to buy the necessities of life, instead of creating the necessities of life with our own hands. The activities that once exercised the body and fulfilled the soul such as digging in the soil, chopping wood or kneading bread have all been eliminated and replaced with activities that often bring stress and emptiness such as telemarketing or bill collecting.

 

Raising Chickens for Eggs

A few years ago my little boys and I 2011-01-18 11 40 03decided to try raising chickens for eggs.  We bought three baby chickens from a friend who had too many.  We fenced off a small area in a shady corner of the neighbor’s yard where we gardened. In a few months we had more eggs than we could keep up with. We let them run around the garden area and they were so much fun to watch as they cleaned up the bugs that would have damaged our garden harvest and fertilized the soil.

We have been fed propaganda to make us believe that animals are “dirty” and “smelly” and “undesirable”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It may be true that if you cage an animal in too small of an area they may be trapped into stomping around in their own feces, but if an animal is allowed to roam free in enough space, their droppings go back to the earth in a short amount of time, making the land more fertile.

We found out that raising three chickens is equivalent to the cost and effort of raising a dog, but turned out to be a lot more profitable. Our three chickens each laid one egg a day, so at the end of each week we had 21 eggs. Most families buy a dozen eggs a week. We grew very attached to our chicken pets and would never consider using them for meat. The eggs were more than enough to make us very thankful for our little pets.

At that time we gardened in an elderly neighbor’s backyard because we didn’t have a yard of our own and because the neighbor had gone to live with her children. We kept up with her lawn, flowers and mature fruit trees in exchange for the use of her garden and green house.

When the elderly woman heard Raising Chickens in the Backyardthat we were raising chickens in the corner of her yard she wanted them removed from her property immediately.  As a child she had lived on a farm with chickens and believed that Americans had “progressed” beyond the need for raising food in the backyard.

We were forced to move the chickens to our balcony because we had no land to put them on.  To make sure that they had the bugs that they loved so much, we created a portable enclosure that could be moved around a friend’s backyard. I made a cube shape with PVC pipe and bought some bird netting to drape over it. It worked perfectly and was very light and portable. I brought them to a grassy area in a neighbor’s yard near our house where they could eat bugs and grass.

When they got muddy or dirty, we bathed them like we would a bathe a baby in the bath tub. They cooperated and let my little boy dry them off with a towel. We absolutely loved every minute of raising our little chicken pets. Raising chickens for eggs is just as easy as raising dogs or cats but with more benefits! When summer came and the balcony became blazing hot, we had to find a permanent home for them at a ranch outside of town.  They were mysteriously missing when we visited them the following week. We’re pretty sure they ate our little friends.  Some day we hope to own chickens again.

Our chickens were our pets.
We loved them as much as a dog!

Here they are in our bath tub.

Urban Chickens

Healthy Food Storage Organization

Food Storage is Financial Planning

I can make the case that food is the best financial planning to prepare ourselves for a financial crisis.  Many financial experts in America predict the crash of the dollar and the coming of a depression worse than anything we have seen before.  Each one suggests financial strategies to prepare for these possibilities; Buy gold. Invest in the stock market.  Buy other precious metals.

Whole foods that spring from the ground also happen to be the same foods that store for long periods of time; nuts, grains, seeds, beans, dehydrated fruits and vegetables.  The closer we live by a whole foods diet, and the more of these foods we store, we not only protect ourselves from heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses, but we also ensure we survive in the event of a true financial crisis.  Food Storage is true financial planning.

Can you eat gold? Can you feed your children stock market investments?  Only if there are others who have the money to buy your gold and only if there is food available to buy at that time, two factors you have little or no way of guessing. Invest in food now while these foods are available at fair prices.

 

Food Storage is an Investment

In the event of a true financial crisis, food prices may skyrocket.  Can you ever have too much food stored?  Will there ever be a time when you, your loved ones, your friends and neighbors, and other hungry people will not need quality whole foods?

Food storage is the one investment that will always keep its value. Since the 1950’s food prices have steadily risen, so having the basic foods stored in large amounts will always make sense, especially when you understand that foods that store for long periods of time, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, are also the foods that the cells of your body must have for optimum health and ultimate energy. During a true financial crisis you will need your health and your energy more than ever before. Food storage is the only financial planning that also ensures the survival of your loved ones at the same time.

Owning a Milk Cow

Does it mean I am crazy if I admit that I dream of owning a milk cow and boarding it locally just like some people board a horse. I want to share the responsibilities of owning a milk cow, caring, feeding and milking this cow, with a community of like-minded people. If the cow has to be milked twice a day, seven days a week, (fourteen times a week), then I plan to involve a community of 14 families who would each milk and feed the cow once a week. The amount of milk they get from their milking is theirs to take home and will hopefully last them for the whole week until their next milking.

Many elderly people will tell you that they grew up milking cows. It used to be part of everyday life. There was a cow in every back yard. Now yards have gotten smaller and smaller and zoning has made laws to prevent you from owning a cow. I believe it is all part of a greater problem of being forced to be dependent. I believe owning a cow will be an important step in empowering self-reliance among my friends.

 

 

Dried vs Freeze Dried

Many people have stored large amounts of dried vegetables that store very well for long periods of time but unfortunately I found that they do not reconstitute well. They take long hours to cook and never achieve the texture that you hope for. The dehydrating process also causes much of the color and taste to be lost. I bought a 50 lb. bag of potato shreds knowing that my family loves hash browns, only to find out that no matter how long you soak or cook them they do not keep the integrity of the cell structure and become hard as a rock the moment you attempt to brown them. Some brands are better than others, but I have not found any yet that I would recommend. Carrots, corn and peas dehydrate and become so hard that you cannot eat them until they have boiled for several hours.

Dried onions, garlic and bell peppers on the other hand, are fantastic to work with. They keep their flavor and reconstitute almost immediately. You can toss them into just about any recipe and they enhance the meal.

Freeze dried corn and peas are a miracle. They keep their color and don’t shrivel at all. They reconstitute quickly and can even be eaten as a crispy snack without reconstituting them.

After working with all of the varieties of dried and freeze dried vegetables I have chosen to store a specific list of freeze dried vegetables and a specific list of dehydrated vegetables. You can take my word for it and follow my list. You can also invest in a small amount of each vegetable (like one can) and then take the time to cook with them yourself to make your own list if you don’t believe my research.

I had already bought so much dehydrated vegetables before I realized that freeze dried was better in some cases. So to use my dehydrated carrots, peas and sweet corn, I put them in a quart jar with water and a little salt and cooked them with the beans in the water bath. See Cooking in Glass Jars in Part 2, Meals for the Week. They cook up nicely and can be used in the veggie burger recipe that we call Mega-Meat. They can also be added to soups, cold pasta salads, etc.

If you have a huge amount of dehydrated veggies as some people do, you can set them aside for a time when you may need to feed a large number of hungry people. A wonderful soup or stew will go a long way to satisfy starvation and comfort those without food.

One-Year Bulk Food Storage

I store large amounts of the exact same list of foods that I used in the Baker’s Rack, but I buy them in bulk and store them in buckets and cases. I then organize these in groupings and labeled them to make logical sense of it all so I can find things easily when I need to refill my containers upstairs.

BUCKETS – 4 gallon buckets are my favorite choice because they are lighter, just 25 pounds, and most grains and beans come in 25 or 50 pound bags. I also like the white buckets because they breathe and are not airtight. Remember grains and beans are alive, but dormant. They need to breathe or they will die and will not be able to sprout. I want living foods that can also be sprouted or planted. I stack the buckets in various shapes to make a corner table or a countertop. Place a table cloth over them and top with a 24×24 tile and you have a useful piece of furniture for a lamp or TV.

CASES OF #10 CANS – Seeds, dried fruits and vegetables and any powdered products must be sealed in #10 cans. These cans come in cases of six. Cases of #10 cans stack to make a table just as easily as the square buckets.

COLLECT ONE OF EACH FOOD ITEM
I collected one bucket of each grain and legume that I have in My Baker’s Rack and one #10 can of each nut, seed, dried fruit, dried vegetable, powders and flours.

To learn more, purchase #2 of the Seven Steps to Conscious Cooking; Short Cuts. This workshop teaches how to give your kitchen a healthy make-over.

Cheap Healthy Meals for the Year

My Whole Foods Kitchen Healthy Meal Plan intentionally uses a rotating menu planner that always remains the same so that we are able to store large amounts of specific foods without fear that they will go to waste.

Plan how much to buy using the Conversion Table on the inside back cover of eCookbook. The first step is to follow the rotating weekly menu and stick to it so that you can plan with confidence what you will need for the year. For instance, if you plan to have chili once a week and really do stick to it, you can buy red beans in bulk without fear that you might not use them.

Every recipe in this plan has been developed for easy calculations. The bean recipes all start with 1 cup of dry beans. The bread recipes and dry mixes all start with 10 cups of flour. The buckets are all 4 gallons, which measures out to be 64 cups. Using each type of bean for example once a week, we can see that 64 cups is “more than enough” to last a year because one cup for 52 weeks in a year is 52 cups, Once you understand how to calculate a one-year supply, all you have to do is plan your favorite seven meals for the week and then buy a bucket of each item needed in each recipe.

I included a conversion table on the inside back cover of each eCookbook to make planning and calculating how much to buy for a one-year supply easier.

EXAMPLE CALCULATION: CHILI ONCE A WEEK FOR ONE YEAR

  1. The chili recipe in this cookbook calls for one cup of red beans.
  2. One cup multiplied by 52 weeks in a year = 52 cups of red beans.
  3. The conversion table on the inside back cover says that a 4-gallon bucket is 64 cups—more than enough for 52 weeks.

Using the chili example above, you might start with one meal and then branch out from there. Collect all of the ingredients for chili for the year and plan to serve chili once a week. How much chili powder will you need for 52 batches of chili for your family? According to the recipe in this cookbook you will need six and a half cups. See calculations below.

1) Each batch of chili calls for 2T of chili powder

2) 52 weeks times 2T = 104T of chili powder

3) The chart on the back page says that 16T = one cup

4) 104 divided by 16 = 6.50 cups of chili powder

Continue through all of the ingredients for chili and buy this amount of each ingredient. You now have a one year supply of chili if you plan to serve chili once a week. If you plan to serve chili once a month, then how long would one bucket of red beans last assuming they aren’t used in any other recipe? We can easily multiply a one-year supply to become a four year supply by changing it from once a week to once a month. You might even choose to label the bucket of red beans “CHILI BEANS” if you really love that recipe and don’t want that particular bucket to be used for anything else. Following this example you can plan your meals and gather the food for those favorite meals without fear that the food would not get used eventually.

 

CALCULATING RICE AND BEANS FOR ONE YEAR

(Our rice and bean recipes start with one cup of dry whole foods)

1 recipe a week = 52 recipes a year

1 cup of dry food per recipe = 52 cups a year

52 divided by 16 cups per gallon = less than 4 gallons a year

1 recipe a week = 1 bucket a year

1 recipe of each of six beans per week = 1 bucket of each

1 recipe of rice per week = 1 bucket of rice

 

Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Rice Milk: Each batch of milk substitute requires one cup of whole foods. If we make one batch per week, one bucket will be enough for the year. For those who are lactose intolerant or a vegan vegetarian you will probably store more of these milk replacements than the average family.

Sprouting: Mung Beans, Alfalfa seeds and flax seeds are so small that 5 pounds of mung beans and flax is enough for the year. One pound of alfalfa seeds is more than enough unless you plan to plant a field, which might be a good plan. However, we recommend one pound for the average family.

Popcorn: If you pop one cup of popcorn each week to keep in your snack bin, you will need one square bucket of popcorn for the year. If you plan to sprout the popcorn kernels and grind them for corn meal, you may want two buckets.

Rolled Oats: If you plan to have cereal on the weekends as our rotating breakfast menu suggests, plus have granola bars in the snack bin year-round you might plan on making a recipe of granola once a week. Each recipe uses a #10 can of rolled oats.

1 recipe of granola per week = 52 #10 cans of rolled oats

1 recipe of granola per month = 12 cans

 

Remember that a 25 pound bag of grain or bean will fit into one 4-gallon bucket

4 GALLON BUCKETS

6 grains

6 Beans

12 wheat

12 other

36 buckets

12 buckets make a large corner table.

8 buckets make a small corner table. Can you find a corner or two in your home to be used for storing food?

 

#10 CANS

six dried fruit

six flavor vegetables

six freeze dried vegetables

six basic powders

six flavor powders

5 cases

Cases can be stacked as easily as buckets.

 

Foods must be stored indoors in a climate controlled environment that stays a consistent temperature. Warm temperatures above 70Âş will shorten the shelf life of stored food.

Nuts and Seeds: If you want to add variety to your granola and trail mix, we suggest five pounds of each nut and seed.

 

Planning your Freezer and Wet Pack (bottles and cans)

Wet pack means canned goods and bottled foods that are not dehydrated. In the pages following, use the same calculations for wet pack as we did for dried foods. For example, if you plan to use olives for Monday Mexican every week, you will need 52 cans of olives. Write in the totals you will need and shop by the case at Wal-mart or Costco, two stores that are willing to order for you by the case.

I store nuts and seeds in transparent airtight containers in the extra refrigerator. If you don’t have an extra freezer or refrigerator, now is good time to consider getting a used one for the garage or the basement, along with a generator to keep it running in times of emergency when the power is down.

 

Planning water storage

Water is more important than all the food combined. Without water, you and your loved ones will take about three days to die. The experts recommend five gallons of water per day per person. A 55 gallon drum, for instance, would be enough for 11 days for one person. Not that they would drink five gallons of water a day, but they will need to add water to their food, make hot drinks to stay warm, boil water to cook noodles or eggs, wash themselves, wash their clothing, or flush their toilets.

This blue barrel is my favorite. I like the shape, the built in handles and the large twist off top so I can see inside. But most of all I like the two spigots on top and bottom that allows me to connect several barrels together with hoses. This makes filling and draining very easy.

I have not been able to find a good source of these barrels anymore. They were imported from Greece full of olives, then pressure washed and re-sold for a few dollars. But they became so popular that the waiting list for them made them hard to get and the cost to ship them was very high.

I’m still looking for a good source if anyone knows where we can all get more of these. Email me at tfoster@MyWholeFoodsKitchen.com.

Make Your Own Dry Mixes

Set up your own Dry Mix Set Up from MY WHOLE FOODS KITCHEN cookbook. You will see how easy it is to make your own groceries, how much better they taste, how much cheaper they are and how much better you feel. Some families start with these foods to make all the dry mixes in the cookbook. Add these dry mixes to your own grains and beans to make wonderful meals that your family will love.

Email us for the latest price sheet tfoster@MyWholeFoodsKitchen.com. Prices are always going up and we have no control over that. Get what you can a soon as you can.

 

DRY MIX SET UP

specialty items

1 year or more
QTY
Organic Vanilla Powder 5 lbs canister 1 $69.00
Clear Gel #10 can 1 $9.12
Spiff-e-whip #10 can 1 $20.94

Dry Mix Set Up – 1

size Qty price each
Honey Granulated #10 can 4 $21.21
Milk Powder – Country Cream #10 can 4 $18.38
Butter Powder 1 $24.62
Egg Powder #10 can 4 $21.30
Cheese Powder #10 can 4 $19.65
Tomato Powder #10 can 4 $29.03

Dry Mix Set Up – 2

size
Cocoa Mix #10 can 1 $18.38
Apple Drink Powder #10 can 1 $17.07
Cherry Gelatin Powder #10 can 1 $17.57
Beef Bouillon #10 can 1 $21.77
Chicken Bouillon #10 can 1 $21.77
yeast, SAF 24 oz 2 $4.49

Dry Mix Set Up – 3

size
Garlic minced 20 oz qt. bottle 1 $11.10
Onion Powder 16 oz qt. bottle 1 $9.60
Bell Peppers #10 can 1 $15.56
CeleryF/D #10 can 1 $11.49
Mushrooms F/D #10 can 1 $21.41
onions #10 can 1 $11.75

Homemade Dry Mixes

Mega-Meat
Italian Tomato Sauce Mix
Mac n Cheese Dry Mix
Magic Thickening Mix
Dinner Crepe Mix
Flavor Veggies
Chili Seasoning Mix
Seasoned Seed Mix
Ranch Dressing Mix
Cup of Soup Mix
Nut Crunch Topping Mix
Cookie Dry Mix
French Toast Mix
Granola
Waffles
Scrambled Egg / Omelet

Produce Your Groceries

 The ultimate goal for writing My Whole Foods Kitchen Cookbook is to inspire people to explore their creative power to become “the producer” of health-building foods rather than “the consumer” of health-depleting, manufactured products.

Today, Americans are dependent upon the local grocery store for every meal they eat.  The expensive foods that we are dependent upon have been stripped of all of their original nutritional value causing diet-related illness and disease.  At the same time creating an artificial barrier called “money” between these food products and those who can’t afford to buy them. The answer to all of the pitfalls of health and well-being today is so simple, yet so profound: Eat foods that grow from the ground and when possible grow them yourself.

The food industry has lost our trust. The only way we will know it is organically grown and free of chemical additives and harmful ingredients is to grow it and process it ourselves.

A few years ago I had many symptoms that were seemingly unrelated such as an ear ache, athlete’s foot and cold sores. I found that they were all symptoms of an overgrowth of bacteria in the stomach called candida.  I became so ill that I was making plans with my husband, both of us in tears, about who would take care of my children. We thought I must be dying.  I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t lift my arms. I couldn’t live my life!  I finally developed such terrible neck pain that I went to see my chiropractor.  He told me to stop all sugar for three weeks or more.  But sugar is in everything!  In order to do this I had to completely stop all store-bought processed foods; everything in a box, bag or can.

The little candida organisms crave sugar, which is their life source. Any form of sugar will do; any sweetener, any carbohydrate.  So I kept craving the wrong foods because that’s what the intruders were begging for.  I researched it on the internet and found that a large number of people in America have candida without recognizing it. I had been treating all the little symptoms without understanding the nature of candida.  It is a colony of life-sapping organisms that made me tired and depressed by attacking every bodily system.  Now I observed that we had even more stacked against us; a life-draining job to buy life-sapping processed foods that feed the life-sucking organisms that attack the body from the inside out. From there the body begins to manifest diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The food companies know this and so do the pharmaceutical companies, but this means big bucks for both, and I cannot rely on them to solve the problem fast enough to protect my health and the health of my loved ones.

I came to the truth that I had known all along; I had to boycott these companies before they actually sapped me of my life!  Thus My Whole Foods Kitchen Cookbook was born.  For some readers, My Whole Foods Kitchen Cookbook offers more than just recipes, but a brand new awareness. In this “cooking adventure” we voluntarily take steps toward self-reliance by learning to produce our family’s needs. I adopted a rotating weekly meal plan that meet our nutritional needs instead of breaking our bodies down with every meal, “killing with kindness” as the saying goes.  I learned to set up my kitchen to be a place of productivity and vitality rather than a den of obesity and disease.

I have found that the best way to avoid junk food is to have none in my house. As soon as I leave the house I am surrounded with all the foods I am trying to avoid, so I make my home a “safe haven” where these foods will not bombard my loved ones with impulses that work against their health and wellbeing. Because I am the shopper for the family, I hold a grave responsibility to guide the family wisely in the foods that they have to choose from when they are in their own home.

I can’t allow our menu choices to be driven by our cravings for sugar or salt. Feeding our craving for sugar is actually “feeding” the living organisms of bacteria that are wreaking havoc on our health. I teach my children these concepts every day and hope that they make good choices when they are outside my home, but inside my home, they will only find whole foods that improve their health instead of processed foods that will break it down.  Teach these concepts to your children so we can end the epidemic of obesity and diet-related diseases in their lifetime!

I hear people say they can’t believe what the manufacturers are doing to “our food.”  However, we have to remember that the food in the grocery store is not “our food.”  That is “their food.”  That is why it is inferior.  We have to produce our own groceries for ourselves if we want it produce with love and commitment to the well-being of our loved ones and call it “our food.”

To read the rest of this article see My Whole Foods Kitchen Cookbook – 2013

Store a One-Year Supply

Once I set up my Baker’s Rack, I organized a system of whole foods in buckets. I set up 32 white square buckets that are labeled clearly so that refilling my kitchen containers is efficient and fast. I prefer square buckets to round because they are easier to put into tight storage areas or configure into tables or benches. The round buckets are far too heavy for me to lift. Square buckets hold exactly 25 lbs of wheat or beans. The round buckets are 5 gallons or 6 gallons which brings the weight up to 37 lbs or 45 lbs. Eight square buckets make the perfect table shape when I top it off with a 24×24 inch cutting board or flooring tile.

The price of food has been on a steady incline of about 25% per year. Where else can I invest my money and get that kind of return? Even if someone didn’t have preparedness goals, it couldn’t hurt to set up a store of whole foods for investment purposes if nothing else. It will get eaten eventually.

Just like buying toilet paper, how much is too much? Will there ever come a time when it won’t be put to good use? If you know for sure that you are buying consumables that you will use eventually, there should be no fear in buying these items in large amounts to get the best bulk pricing. The only question is where will you store it?

Buckets protect your food from rodents, bugs and water damage. For this reason, when I buy a bulk bag of 25 pounds or more, I buy a bucket too. You will need one 4-gallon bucket for each 25 lb bag of grains or legumes. Eight or 12 buckets stacked together make a nice corner table that you can put a tablecloth over and use the top surface for a lamp or flower arrangement, a small appliance or a television set. Buckets must be indoors in a climate controlled environment. They have to have airspace under them and can’t be directly on a cement basement floor. Look for furniture risers to put under each bucket.

LABELS
Each bucket must be clearly labeled so that you don’t have to take a whole table apart and open up buckets to find what you are looking for. I have labels for every item that is listed on the ingredients list. This constitutes the Bulk System. The labels help to organize my purchases. I made 12 labels that say “wheat”. When I finished using up those labels, I knew I had my one-year supply. In some cases I bought the bucket and had it labeled before I bought the food to go in it. This way I can move them around and try different configurations while they are empty and easy to move.

Planning a One-Year Supply

My Whole Foods Kitchen cookbook includes My Rotating Menu that always remains the same so that we are able to store large amounts of these foods without fear that they will go to waste.

Plan how much to buy using the Conversion Table on the inside back cover. The first step is to follow the rotating weekly menu and stick to it so that you can plan with confidence what you will need for the year. For instance, if you plan to have chili once a week and really do stick to it, you will need one 4-gallon bucket of red beans in your home storage. Every recipe in this cookbook has been developed for easy calculations. The bean recipes all start with 1 cup of dry beans. The bread recipes and dry mixes all start with 10 cups of flour. To use the mixes you start with one cup of mix at a time and add water until you get familiar with how many cups are required to make one meal for your entire family. If one cup is enough waffle mix, for example, to make waffles for everyone in the family, and you use the mix twice a week, then it will be easy to calculate how much mix you will need per week, per month and per year.

EXAMPLE: CHILI ONCE A WEEK FOR ONE YEAR

The chili recipe in this cookbook calls for one cup of red beans.
Multiplied by 52 weeks in a year = 52 cups of red beans.
The chart above says that a 4-gallon bucket is 64 cups—more than enough.

Using the chili example above, you might start with one meal and then branch out from there. Collect all of the ingredients for chili for the year and plan to serve chili once a week. How much chili powder will you need for 52 batches of chili for your family? You will need six and a half cups. How did I come to that amount?

1) Each batch of chili calls for 2T of chili powder

2) 52 weeks times 2T = 104T of chili powder

3) The chart above says that 16T = one cup

4) 104 divided by 16 = 6.50 cups of chili powder

Continue through all of the ingredients for chili and buy this amount of each ingredient. You now have a one year supply of chili if you plan to serve chili once a week.

DRIED VS FREEZE DRIED VEGETABLES

Many people have stored large amounts of dried vegetables that store very well for long periods of time but do not reconstitute well. They take long hours to cook and never achieve the texture that you hope for. The dehydrating process also causes much of the color and taste to be lost. I for one bought a 50 lb bag of potato shreds knowing that my family loves hash browns, only to find out that no matter how long you soak or cook them they never reconstitute enough to cook them in oil. They do not keep the integrity of the cell structure and become hard as a rock the moment you attempt to brown them. Some brands are better than others, but I have not found any yet that I would recommend. Carrots, corn and peas dehydrate and become so hard that you can not eat them until they have boiled for several hours.

Dried onions, garlic and bell peppers on the other hand, are fantastic to work with. They keep their flavor and reconstitute almost immediately. You can toss them into just about any recipe and they enhance the meal.

Freeze dried corn and peas are a miracle. They keep their color and don’t shrivel at all. They reconstitute quickly and can even be eaten as a crispy snack without reconstituting them.

After working with all of the varieties of dried and freeze dried vegetables I have chosen to store a specific list of freeze dried vegetables and a specific list of dehydrated vegetables. You can take my word for it and follow my list. You can also invest in a small amount of each vegetable (like one can) and then take the time to cook with them yourself to make your own list.

I myself have decided to set all my dehydrated veggies aside for a time when I may need to feed a large number of hungry people. A wonderful soup or stew will go a long way to satisfy hunger and comfort those without food. I have multiplied a few recipes so that I can use up these foods for feeding large groups of people.