Ditching the Drive-Thru by J. Natalie Winch ~ Book Review ~ Giveaway & Excerpt!

Book Description:

After an exhausting day at work, hitting the drive-thru or nuking a pre-fab meal is all too often the go-to decision for feeding a family. Cooking a meal from scratch using fresh ingredients can seem beyond the average person’s time, energy, or financial means. But with mounting evidence pointing to processed food and our industrial food system as the culprits behind many of our nation’s health problems—including obesity, diabetes, and cancer—it’s now more important than ever to be fully informed about what goes on your family’s dinner plates.

If you’re ready to take control of your food choices but don’t know the difference between grass-fed versus grain-fed, pastured versus free-range, or organic versus sustainable, read this book to discover:

• How to create your own thirty-month plan to convert your family from junk food to real food, without a revolt!

• Recipes and advice on planning and prepping meals so you can make homecooked a habit for your family

 • Instructions for getting the most out of produce using techniques such as lacto-fermentation, dehydrating, and canning

•  introduction to the world of farm-direct sales, including tips on locating local farms, seeing through marketing buzzwords, and shopping with CSAs Ditching the Drive-Thru exposes the insidious hold the commercial food industry has taken over the fast-paced lives of the average American and the danger these processed foods and diet plans pose to our health, environment, and emotional wellbeing.

Learn how to break free from the grind and return to a simpler relationship with food from farmers, not factories, and home-cooked meals that are created in your kitchen, not on a conveyor belt.

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Author's Bio:

J. Natalie Winch lives in southern New Jersey, not far from where she grew up, with her husband, two children, and dogs. When she isn’t mothering, teaching, grading, or making lesson plans, Natalie runs the Hebrew School at her synagogue, coaches soccer, teaches lacto-fermentation classes, writes the occasional entry for her blog Food Empowerment (, and fights the dust bunnies that threaten to take over her family room.

Connect with the author:   Website

Excerpt from Ditching the Drive-Thru by J. Natalie Winch, from Chapter 9: Perpetuation ─ Creating and Maintaining Good Habits

The Miracle of Canning
by J. Natalie Winch

Canning has become an almost meditative practice for me. I hadn’t thought too much about what I do until I sat down to write this, as most of it has become second nature. Canning doesn’t have to be a major investment. I went out and purchased a hot-water bath canner (at the time I was single and had expendable income), but you can use any large kettle as long as the jars will be covered with an inch of water while standing upright. Some foods require pressure canning, so if you are thinking about using low-acid foods, such as ready-to-eat soups or green beans, you will need to invest in a pressure canner.

One of the moments I love is the pop of the lids when they seal down. When you take the jars out of the canner, they are very hot. As the jars cool, the contents of the jar and the air in the head-space (the room you leave between the contents and the top of the jar) cool, causing it to contract (good ol’ chemistry). The contraction of the contents pulls the lid down, creating the pop. Sometimes it takes a while. One time I made chicken noodle soup and processed about a dozen ready-to-eat jars. An hour after they were out of the canner, they hadn’t popped. I was thinking that I was going to be spending the evening reheating the soup and re-processing it, but then, during dinner, we had firecrackers—pop, pop, pop. Every recipe has its own cooling rate, and the kitchen temperature will affect how long it takes for things to seal.

The summer after my success with the tomatoes, I expanded my repertoire. I bought a pressure canner and a dehydrator. I put up tomatoes again, plus peaches and applesauce, pickled peppers, carrots, dill pickles, corn, and my own ready-to-eat soup. The applesauce was great. The pickles were awful. As a matter of fact, I never made good pickles until my mother-in-law gave me her family recipe. It isn’t in the book; it’s a family secret. We must respect family secrets.

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I love to read about food and health, so naturally when I saw this book I really wanted to read it. One thing that I liked right away was it is not another weight loss book. This book doesn't talk about what you should and shouldn't eat to lose weight, it doesn't give us some false strategies to drop 10 lbs in 4 days. This book is more about where are food comes from, what the marketing aspects are and why were should be conscious of what we were from where. For the past year I have been really looking more at labels and understanding what each ingredient means and how our foods are grown. I buy as local and fresh as I can. We buy usually all our meats at a local butcher, where the meats are all local as they can get them. I know do have some questions for our butcher the next time I go there. I would love to be part of a fresh produce farm and will look into that for next spring. We usually spend a little more and purchase from our local farmers when we can as a way of saying thank you to them for providing such nutritious foods. We know where the food comes from and when it has been picked compared to purchasing in a big chain store. A lot of foods travel a long distance. The down side to having a husband in a food industry job for years was we learned where and what our foods go through.

I really would like to start canning our foods and have been very apprehensive of doing it but after reading this book I am going to read more on canning and take the first steps into it. I would like to ferment some foods as they are really good for the gut.

This is a great book to open your eyes to what happens to our foods before they hit the stores and how processing things like dairy and meats happen between leaving the farm and hitting the table to eat.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. A great start for someone looking to venture into clean eating.

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received the above book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.*~


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