I have learned from experience that deciding to make nutrition changes in your life is nothing shy of completely overwhelming. There is so much information out there. Half of it is wrong, and the other half of it is fanatical/extreme, and we are left to our own devices to try and make sense of it all. I want to make things a little bit simpler for everyone and for myself as we continue on this process, so that no matter where you are on the health spectrum, you can take one baby step at a time and feel like you are making changes without getting frustrated at the process. I mentioned before that I only allow myself to make one major change every two months so that it isn’t too shocking for the family, or too overwhelming for me. That seems to be the right pace for me, in that it makes the changes a bit more permanent, instead of fizzling out after a week or two. So keep that in mind. Here is what I have done and up to the point where I am now.
- Cut back on eating fast food. I am going to leave it at that. I don’t forbid anything, so I won’t say you CAN’T have it, but eat it less and less until it is no longer a consistent habit. Our family eats fast food about once a quarter. And when I met The Mr. he was eating it daily, so it is possible to change.
- Repeat that process with soda. Start with replacing one glass of soda with a glass of water until you barely drink it. This will make a HUGE impact on how you feel.
- Buy whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
- Eat brown rice instead of white.
- Exchange one meat dish for a vegetarian dish one night a week, working up to several nights a week. We eat meat about once a week.
- Try to get more fruits and veggies in, until you work up to 5 servings a day (or MORE!). Green smoothies help pack it in in one sitting.
- Once eating lots of fresh produce is a habit, get familiar with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen and try to stick to it.
- Cut out one processed food a month until you are living pretty processed free. This last change we made was to stop buying cereal. I occasionally get it as a snack for the kids, but it is rare. I have been stuck on this step for quite some time, as I figure out how to make my own crackers, bread, granola, muffins, etc.
- Start shopping locally if you can. Farmers markets, bountiful baskets, CSA’s, and local farms are all great ways to go.
- Read up on the way that chicken and cows are being raised, and the hormones, antibiotics, and meat-diets they are on. Start buying free-range meat.
- Along with that step, try organic or local milk and eggs. There is a HUGE difference in the taste.
This is where I am right now. I have SO MANY more changes to make (like soaking grains, cutting back on dairy, cutting back on/eliminating sugar, eating kale and collard greens, and finding tasty dinner recipes). I also try to read a book in the whole foods field about once a month. How long does that whole process take? Years. And it will keep taking years and years until hopefully I will wake up and say “Hey! We eat pretty healthy!”
I will continue to post updates to this list when I make changes in our lives, and include this post in a tab at the top, so you can continue to change along with me, or check it out at any given time. I know this list can seem overwhelming depending on where you are on the health spectrum. It might seem discouraging and you might think my life is completely deprived of flavor and fun, but most of the time, I feel pretty wonderful. Yes, we do occasionally indulge, and sometimes a little too much, but we feel great. We have seen major changes in our lives, especially in The Wild One. Just try it out and take it slow.
This just pertains to nutrition for now, and I will probably address exercise in another post in the future. Ta Ta!