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From Buckwheat to Bulk Chocolate

By Robin Enberg
Elberon IA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 1, January-February 2001, pp. 28

The La Leche League concept about nutrition was first demonstrated to me by the snacks served at the first Series Meeting I attended: juice, fruit, and some strange muffins. They looked yummy, but tasted kind of-bitter. "Mmmm-buckwheat!" someone commented. "Yuckwheat!" I thought.

From the moment I walked into the living room at that first meeting, I felt welcome and right at home. I nodded in agreement about the advantages of breastfeeding, scribbled down notes about birth plans, and even won a loaf of zucchini bread in the bingo game we played. I became a member right away and was eager to be a part of La Leche League. I worried sometimes that I might have to go to health food stores and change my way of life to live up to LLL's nutritional "standards," but was relieved when my Leaders assured me this was not the case.

Reading and owning WHOLE FOODS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY (Available from LLLI, No. 151-12, $16.95) helped me make the switch to a more nutritious diet through a "gradually, with love" approach. The cookbook encouraged me to gradually integrate whole grains and other nutritious ingredients into my normal cooking practices. My family barely noticed this slow change. However, the ingredients weren't easy to find at our supermarket, and I was afraid to venture into the "food co-op" which I regarded as a leftover from the 1960s.

At one planning meeting, I got a real revelation. We ate chocolate chip cookie bars! And they weren't even made with carob or whole wheat. What a relief!

One day, one of the Leaders invited me to join a food-buying club that bought in bulk from a whole foods warehouse. For some reason, this sounded less intimidating than visiting the "health food co-op." I visited the buying club and made many new friends. During the ordering meetings, I didn't feel like a newcomer. Everyone asked and answered questions about different products and shared recipes. Because the club bought full cases of items, sometimes I'd buy just one jar or box from the case to try it out, so every delivery was a surprise.

Cooking became more interesting, and my kitchen slowly acquired more and more ingredients that I had once considered unusual but now were a part of my daily life. My family and I gradually adjusted to favor the quality foods that we were using. When my sister visited and pointed out that some of the pastas and condiments were only available through her "gourmet" catalog, my humble "health foods" became even more appreciated. After all, gourmets" use top-quality ingredients.

Between LLL's philosophy about nutrition, the three Whole Foods cookbooks, and the helpful members of my buying club, my family and I have grown to appreciate and rely on the wholesome foods that are best for us. Now I even make pancakes with buckwheat in them. I have one confession to make, though-our buying club orders chocolate chips in 25-pound bags.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies
(to use up that bulk bag of chips)

1/3 C. canola oil or other vegetable oil
2/3 C. maple crystals, sucanat, date powder or other natural sweetener
1/8 C. blackstrap molasses
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 C. wheat germ
3/4 C. pecans
1/2 C. oats
1/2 C. chocolate or carob chips
Add a little water if too dry

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together oil, sweetener and molasses. Add beaten egg, vanilla, and salt. Add all the dry ingredients. Roll into balls and flatten them out on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.

These cookies freeze well. They actually taste wonderful frozen.

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