Five Ways to Maximize Your Whole Foods to Squeeze Every Nutrient (and penny) Out of Them

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I am a big fan of the traditional foods movement, the real food movement, the I-am-sick-and-tired-of-feeling-icky-and-buying-all-of-this-processed-food-movement. I don’t think it takes a scientist or a doctor to recognize that eating food the way God made it is going to be so much better for you than buying something with a long list of ingredients.

And the bonus is that you save tons of money by making oatmeal instead of cereal or cooking a skillet dinner rather than opening a box of hamburger helper.

One thing that I have learned over these past few years is that you can go even further with whole foods to maximize their nourishing potential, which gives you more bang for your buck.

Here are five ways to do just that:

Soak or Ferment Your Grains. Whole grains are a popular health food, and a cheap one at that. But they also contain phytic acid, loads of sometimes unnecessary carbohydrates, and hard to digest fibers. Traditional societies fermented their grains by simply creating a warm, moist environment for them. It may sound funny, but delicious things like sourdough breads & pancakes, Ethiopian injera bread, and even a soured oat porridge are all examples of fermented grains.

Culture Dairy. Keeping in line with staying as close to God-given foods as possible, our family enjoys raw milk when we can get it. Over the years I have tried my hand at making cultured butter, crème fraiche, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and a few cheeses. You don’t have to use raw milk to make these, and in fact culturing your store-bought milk is a great way to add probiotics, vitamins, and minerals to a less-than-stellar milk. Find starter cultures for the above here.

Ferment Vegetables. I fell in love with this practice when I started eating seasonally and preserving food for winter. Fermenting vegetables in their raw state increases vitamins and minerals, adds enzymes and probiotics, and allows you to preserve vegetables without a lot of energy in processing or storage. Try our favorite cultured salsa or make them using a starter culture.

Soak Nuts, Seeds, & Beans. Nuts, seeds, and beans are similar to grains in that they contain anti-nutrients like enzyme inhibitors and difficult to digest oligosaccharides in the case of beans. I like to soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds and use these tips for making beans more digestible.

Choose Traditional Fats. Perhaps more important than any other food group is the choice of fats you eat. God-given fats like butter, lard, tallow, and coconut oil are actually better for you than you think and those commercially-produced vegetable oils are more harmful than you might know. Sticking with high quality fats can really make a difference in your overall health and are worth every penny.

So those are five things you can do at home, with little to no money, that will maximize the nourishment in every meal you serve.


  1. Lora says:

    Thank you for the information. I had never heard of cultured salsa before.

  2. Linda says:

    I love making fermented foods. I always try to include something fermented at big family gatherings because I know they are not getting any, except for my own family.

  3. Katie says:

    Good stuff. Glad to see you here.

  4. Susie says:

    Inspiring! In my family, we do a fair amount of choosing traditional oils and fats as well as soaking beans and seeds, but I’ve never tried my hand at fermenting vegetables or culturing dairy. Very good info.

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