Let me tell you – this really has been a war. And another thing – I’m absolutely winning! But, you don’t go to war just because. You need a reason. My reason is my niece – Emma.
Namely, when my sister gave birth to this little miracle, I was over the moon. I spent days imagining how I’m going to be that cool aunt that we never had. I imagined how I’d arrange a room for her in my house and how I’ll pay for her travels and experiences… you know. The stuff my sisters and I didn’t have as kids.
Then, one day, I was talking with my friends about how my father isn’t careful about his health. He knew he had a hereditary kidney condition and didn’t really want to bother with it. Then one of my friends asked me “So, what are you doing in regards to this? It’s hereditary, isn’t it?”
I felt weirded out by that question! I wasn’t doing anything. I’m young. I’m healthy. Why would I even…oooh… I went back home and started thinking. Why didn’t I think about it sooner? How could I have been so reckless?
I’m young, yes. But, not that young. You know when older people say: “If I had known, I would have taken better care of my health.” I was in that period they were talking about. The time to take action is this precise moment.
And then it hit me – How was I even planning on doing all those things for Emma, if I didn’t take care of myself first?
So, I rushed to the doctor’s, explained the situation in my family and he said that I, indeed, have the same condition as my father. He directed me to a nutritionist. I took a deep breath, started arming myself with knowledge and started preparing for the war. War against all unnecessary chemicals and elements that hurt my kidneys.
I am now at war. A war for Emma’s aunt’s health. A war for Emma’s better future.
Spotting the enemy
At this point, I need “only” to watch my sodium and chemicals like preservatives, artificial emulsifiers, additives,
flavor intensifiers… My head started spinning. This means, I’d go into the store, and read one label after another, compare products and make better choices.
Soon enough, I found out that “low sodium” is a better option than a regular product but that it still contains sodium. I realized that I’d just have to make many trips to the local market and prepare a lot of stuff from the scratch rather than grab a can and be done with it.
Spotting the enemy was difficult at first, but in time, you get the hang of it and you just do it.
Here are my weapons I use daily:
I prepare my beans and tomatoes
I usually do this on lazy Sundays. I just buy a ton of raw chickpeas and soak them overnight the day before.
The following morning, I toss them into the biggest possible pot I have, add three times more water and cook them until they are ready. Then I just leave them to cool down and pack it all into my freezer.
Chickpeas can last for three months in your freezer and this way, there are no chemicals in them. You just unfreeze it a bit when you need it for lunch, heat up some olive oil in a wok, quickly sauté some tomatoes, garlic and celery sticks and add your chickpeas. That’s a 10 minute healthy, no-sodium, no additives lunch right there.
I do the same with the red beans. No more cans for me. Kidney beans can be frozen for 6 months.
As for the tomatoes – no more canned stuff for me. I just opt for Roma tomatoes, slice them and sauté them 10 minutes before I need tomato sauce. If I have the time, I cook them, peel them, toss them into a blender with some garlic and olive oil and it’s just perfect.
I make my own breads, buns, pizza doughs and tortillas
I love my breads and tortillas, but whenever I buy them, I can never be sure if they have been prepared in a way that is safe for me. In other words – salt free. The only way I could be sure if this is true was to make them myself.
I bought a bread maker and I’ve been enjoying It ever since. It takes a while to learn how your bread maker “behaves”, but once you do, it’s a real bake fest! I love using spelt or corn flours and adding pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, oregano…you name it.
As for tortillas – I freeze those, as well. Tortillas are just flour, water and oil. While those chickpeas boil, I make my tortillas, pile them one on top of the other with nylon layer between them and stack them in my freezer.
I make my own milk
When I say this, I mainly think about almond and coconut milk. This is all a matter of soaking the almonds overnight and having a good blender. I just use smaller amounts so I can have fresh almond milk. It really takes a second to make.
As for the coconut milk, I prepare them a day before I plan to use it in a Thai inspired rice noodle bows. When I leave it overnight, it forms a creamy layer on top, which is similar to that of a coconut milk from a can.
I make my own spice mixes
This really is a no brainer, is it? The bought mixes already contain salt and that is something I want to avoid. I use dry garlic, pepper, cumin, turmeric and other spices and make my own blends. It’s fun!
I also have many pots of mint, coriander and basil, so I air dry them and chop them myself. Of course, this is not necessary, but I love it. My home smells amazing.
I make my own vegetable stock
As you can imagine, this is another thing that I do on a Sundays. I buy tons of fresh vegetables, cook them together into a broth, using my own slice blends, of course, and then let it cool down. After that, I pour this stock into the ice cube molds and freeze them like that. That is so handy. I just crack a couple of those when I need some stock and return the rest to the freezer.
I know none of these things are revolutionary. You just don’t think about them when you don’t have to and you think that buying such things from a store is faster and easier. Is it? With a bit of organization you can make your own food from scratch without spending too much time.
When you calculate the time needed to cook your broth, chickpeas and beans, remember that you don’t have to sit by the stove all the time. That’s the time you can spend with your family, pets and friends and the end result is that your food is so much healthier.
I’ve shown you only my main weapons from my arsenal, but there are many more, as this war is on!
Kate Adams is a part of the Easy Kitchen Appliances team. She is a passionate writer, food lover and coffee
addict. Kate loves discovering the “whys” behind the facts and turning them into interesting articles.