Eating has become complicated. Labeling on food packages is at an all time high. Marketing companies are outsmarting us at every turn. You can make anything seem healthy, but is it? So, these next 5 steps will hopefully help you in your journey towards an All-Whole-Foods life.
1. Know Your Food - Changing over to a Truly Whole Foods Diet is tough. Most people don't really understand what constitutes "Whole Food". Here are some common recommendations that you have probably heard to help you Know Your Food:
- Eat foods that your Grandmother would have eaten
- 5 Ingredients or less in labeled food
- Be able to pronounce all ingredients in your food
Basically, it would be best if you could pick that food right out of the garden... or pretty close.
Tip: Start in produce. Load up on as many vegetables and fruits that you think your family will eat. Then move on to meat/dairy/eggs. Next move on to grains (Whole Grains): Brown Rice, Quinoa, Barley, Amaranth. Eat foods that you know and recognize, but get our of your comfort zone and try something new once a week, like a new veggie or a new grain. You may find your new favorite food. When you grocery shop, then you will.....
2. ....Eat Out Less - Anything worth while is never easy. It is much easier to go out and have someone else prepare you meal, but you are missing out on the satisfaction of prepping and working together with your family to prepare the food you are about to consume. When you prepare it at home, you will be more aware of what it contains and your satisfaction level will sky rocket when you put work into something. Cooking is an art, so be an artist. Make meal prep time more fun and involve everyone. That leads to Number 3....
3. Spice It Up! - Using spices on your own will help you avoid spice mixes that overload with preservatives and artificial colors. It will also teach you how to make your Whole Foods taste fantastic. Try one new spice a week to learn how to incorporate it into your favorite dishes and into something new. Basil, Dill, and Sage are my three favorite. But I have many more to try. Do you have a favorite?
4. Organic Experience - Start to incorporate Organic into your produce. Organic is not cheap. You have to look at it as an investment. So, decide on a few you want to start with. The Environmental Working Group has a great website with fantastic research on this. Use the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen to help decide on what fruits and vegetable you want to place as a priority. Try adding one new organic item a week. And whenever possible buy local. We have revolutionized the shipping process, but by doing so, we have started to manipulate the way our fruits and vegetables ripen with our own chemicals.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables far outweighs the risk of pesticides, so make sure you start by buying lots of fruits and vegetables, whether they are organic or not. Then slowly incorporate Organic choices into that.
5. Finally, One Day at a Time - I am not a supporter of the throw everything away in your cupboards that does not fit into this plan. It is amazing what can happen when you make small changes and then they become habit. After a month or two of incorporating these rules into your grocery shopping, your cupboards and fridge will start to reflect your choices. Don't underestimate the time-tested rule that "slow and steady wins the race".
A mom recently told me she was surprised how much better potatoes tasted out of a bag than a box. Tell me some of your favorite whole food switch-a-roos.