I love talking about food – especially REAL food. I love to share what I’ve learned with others. What we choose to eat and to what extreme we take our healthy eating is a personal decision, so I tend to give input when asked and share via this blog. I can’t tell anyone what to eat – that’s up to you. I just want to share my input and what I’ve learned.
But if someone ASKS for my input…and I’ll have lots to share! :)
And then their eyes glaze over and sometimes they look a little freaked out…and then I know I’ve overwhelmed them.
Because that’s part of the problem, especially at first. Eating real can be a little overwhelming. I just today started reading a book called Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe. I’m not too far into it yet to give a full review but so far I’m enjoying it. One of the first paragraphs I read hit me and inspired this post:
“We are, as a culture, bombarded by so much information all the time, yet much of it draws conflicting conclusions and never seems to provide a definitive, clear answer to the question of why we should opt for organically grown foods rather than those grown with synthetic chemicals. We live in a fairly constant state of confusion about most of the things that are essential to our survival, but have been conditioned to do what is easiest. We are, frankly, too busy and distracted to think too deeply about most things. Meanwhile, we eat what’s available when we are hungry and try not to think too much about it because it’s all so disheartening and confusing.”
So…true… And not just regarding organic food but just real food eating in general. We are busy people – so busy that we so often do not take the time to really think about the food we are putting into our [and our family's] bodies. The problem is that the food we eat plays a huge role in how we feel, our weight, our illnesses, our behavior, and our overall health. Its a HUGE part of our lives, and we don’t give it the attention it deserves.
I KNOW it’s overwhelming, but I believe it’s something that should be made a higher priority. Your body will thank you!
So with that said, where do you even start?
I remember when I first decided to start on our journey of eating real foods. I wasn’t sure where to begin or what was even the right choice! I want to share right off that I have made numerous mistakes. There were countless times that I thought I was making a great choice only to find out later that it was no good either. :) Don’t beat yourself up and like all life lessons – learn the lesson and move on!
When I started I picked a few things that I wanted to get out of our diets. Sometimes it’s easiest to just pick ONE thing. Work on one thing and once you get that settled, move onto the next. All or nothing will likely leave you frustrated and ready to give up.
Here are some ideas of things to start with to get out of your diet. I realize that I’m not giving a lot of “why” in this post but I will be doing future posts with more detail. Here are some of the initial things we did:
Our Initial Just Say No List… :)
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils – any kind, yes that even means your shortening. You do NOT need shortening to bake cookies, fry things, etc. Don’t buy any packaged items with this in it either.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – This one is a real bummer…it is in SO MUCH stuff. I realize you hear a lot both ways about this stuff, but regardless of what each study says, as Michael Pollan says in his book In Defense of Food ~ seeing this in a product is a “reliable marker[s] for foods that have been highly processed”.
- MSG and other glutamates – These are bad news for numerous reasons and MSG is in SO much stuff. Things I didn’t realize even though I thought I didn’t buy things with it. MSG hides under other names like autolyzed yeast extract, yeast extract, and hydrolyzed soy/corn protein to name a few.
- rBGH & rBST Hormones in Milk – There IS milk out there that is hormone free and it is NOT expensive. In fact the hormone free stuff we buy is one of the best prices around. Hormone free milk is marked on the label.
We moved on from there to many other things but these are some great places to start as you shop. Mainly because the first 3 will help you greatly cut down on the processed foods entering your home [and your body!]. Be prepared to spend a little more time shopping the first time you go out. There will be a lot of label reading initially. But I promise it gets faster and easier as you realize what is good and what is no good.
I’d love to hear your feedback on your experiences cutting out processed food. What challenges did you face? What was the hardest thing you’ve cut out? What did you learn while shopping? And of course if you have any questions, fire away! :)