Yay! We’ve made it to the real part! The part where we really get started!
“Hello, my name is Nikki, and I have a problem with eating.”
It’s time to make the change and implement a healthier relationship with our food. We’ve seen that we have a problem, we have seen what that problem does to our body, we have examined some dietary choices and made decisions about what we think is the most appropriate pyramid of foods for us. Our goal is firmly set before us, so now what?
1. Eat or give away all the unhealthy food that is left in the house. Just go through your cabinet and purge all foods that are now inappropriate- read all the ingredients. Be brutal; if it remains in your house, you are going to eat it. We are doing this thing for real. So take a week to eat up the rest of your food that needs to go and/or just box it up and donate it.
Examples of what to purge:
- white and brown sugar, and sugar products: ie. jelly, yogurt, salad dressings, ice cream, candy, sweetened apple sauce
- corn syrup and corn syrup products- fruit in syrup, pretend maple syrup
- white flour: bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, other gluteny foods
- white rice, potatoes, corn– chips, grits
- processed foods: anything that looks like this
- Other processed foods: American cheese, velveeta, processed meats (bologna, hot dogs, lunch meats, bacon, chicken nuggets, etc.), processed seasoning mixes/rubs/marinades
- all pop and sugary drinks– cool aid, sweet tea, energy drinks
- bad oils: hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated anything, canola oil, corn oil, veggie oil, peanut oil, margarine
- if you are doing an elimination diet, maybe you are getting rid of: coffee, all condiments, eggs, dairy products (remember anything with casein or whey), soy products, beans, red meat, pork, peanuts, citrus, all grains, alcohol
Say good-bye to the old food pyramid.
2. Give yourself a pat on the back, because step number one is hard. Seriously. Good job! Now you have nothing to eat in your house so…
3. Time to go shopping. Yes, this is going to take longer than usual because now you have to read the ingredients on every item in the store, and, yes, some of these things will cost more. That is part of the sacrifice. I highly suggest finding someone to watch the kids and/or going when the store is less crowded. I’m trying to make it a little easier by sharing what I do, but that might not meet your particular needs. My way is not the “right way,” it’s just my way.
I did most of my shopping at Cubs Foods (same as County Market, same company runs them) because they seemed to have most of what I needed for a decent price. I had to shop at every grocery store in the area before I decided which one was best. It was a process. I now stock up on specialty items from the natural grocery, get some things online, and do most of my day-to-day shopping at Aldis, with an occasional trip to Wal-Mart/Cubs for some things that I can’t get at Aldis. I have a system and it seems to be the most affordable way to do things. Sorry it’s not easier. You will have to find what works best for you. All I can say is that once you have your system, it won’t be a pain any more, you won’t need to read all the labels, and it won’t take much longer than your current system. But if you feel like this, you are doing it right 😉
4. Suggestions for replacement real foods (in the order of things we purged). Also, the links I provide are sometimes where I buy mine from, and sometimes just examples of what to look for. Here is your shopping list:
- Sweeteners: real honey for sweetening, preferably local and raw (unpasteurized)- for my local people: I get Mackinaw Valley Apiaries honey from Cubs foods, and raw honey from South Pork Ranch in the summer, also my friends run Golden Thread Apiary. Raw, unrefined cane sugar is good in moderation. And replace your fake maple syrup with real syrup.
- old fashioned oats (I buy at Aldis in big tubs), I turn mine into loads of oat flour using my blender. Also, we eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast.
- Baking Goods: Brown rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, and gluten free all purpose flour I buy in bulk at Naturally Yours, a health food store in Normal, IL. You don’t need to worry about all that unless you want to make baked goods/pancakes etc. from scratch.
If you are more of a mix person, King Arthur makes good gluten free mixes (too expensive for me, but they are nice.) Find them anywhere.
- Coconut flour I buy in bulk from Nutiva. It’s normally quite expensive, so I have split it up with a dear friend and just got 25# for $40. Bargain! Again, if you aren’t a baker, disregard.
- Bread and Grains and Beans: When we weren’t completely gluten free at home I bought Ezekiel Bread in the freezer section at Cubs Foods.Now I make this oat bread. I use Tinkyada pasta, also available at my normal grocery. From Walmart, I get lots of plain old brown rice, cheap! And sometimes get wild rice, not so cheap. I also pick up our dried beans there- lots of lentils, and black beans.
You can find gluten free cereals as well, but check the labels, many are still loaded with sugar and are over-processed. Gluten free crackers are crazy expensive, but we do splurge on these pretzels from time to time.
Also, find some healthy peanut butter that has in it: peanuts and salt. I get mine in 5# containers at a local store. I used to get:
- Snacks: looking for cookies? I start at Pinterest for recipes. Make a bucket of healthy granola with nuts and seeds for protein. Try a dried fruit and nut trail mix. Dates are great for a sweet tooth. If you aren’t shunning corn, popcorn popped in coconut oil with pink salt. Also, Xochitl corn chips are easy to find and are good-ish for you.
Fresh fruit. Hummus with carrot sticks. Baked oatmeal is a tasty snack. I also get turkey meat sticks from Aldis (probably more processed than we should be eating, but fills kids tummies and is easily portable.)
- Meats– the best way to do meat is to buy a hog or a half of a cow from a farmer you know and trust, then stock your deep freeze.
There is a learning curve, if you have never done it. But it’s actually quite fun- please read this info if you want to know more. If you don’t know a local farmer, google it or ask around (facebook is good for this.) You are looking for pastured animals, preferably organic and organically processed. Store-bought chicken and turkey are a good alternative because they are lean. Remember, animals store toxins in their fat. Animal fat is good fat if the animal has been treated right.
- I get good eggs from a local farmer or from Wal-Mart. (But next week we’re getting our own hens!)
- What to drink? Water and more water. Not glamorous, I know. If you want fun water, put a slice of lemon and/or cucumber in it. Also, a soda replacement, for more probiotics in you life, try kefir water. My kids loved it. Teas are good too, I get mine from Adagio. Almond or coconut milk, I used to make my almond milk, now I get my almond milk at Aldis- but it was missing last time! I get canned coconut milk at Wal-Mart for baking.
- Good oils are not hydrogenated. Some butter is better for you than others- pick pastured butter over store brand. (But it is still ALL better than margarine!).
Virgin coconut oil or palm oil is great for baking and cooking. Sautee and cook meats with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), like this, I loved the amazing scent of the California stuff. Real lard (from pastured hogs) is extremely good for you, as is bacon fat from good hogs, save that stuff!
- Remember to get spices and herbs and vinegar and other things. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating bland! Get pink salt, turmeric, sage, fennel, italian seasoning, parsley, cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, clove powder, cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, nutmeg. Get vinegars that sound good, including balsamic. Get Franks Hot Sauce. Get fresh herbs and ginger. If you don’t know what to do with these things, look up a fun, healthy recipe for it when you get home.
- Produce: Of course, while you’re at the store you are going to pick up plenty of fruits and veggies too. Organic or not? Up to you. Remember to get some baby spinach/kale for salads or smoothies.
- Leave the potatoes on the shelf, or go extremely easy on them. Remember onions and fresh garlic. Get carrots, peppers, avocados (Aldis has them for cheap sometimes, stock up and freeze), apples, oranges, lemons (especially if you are getting fish), pears, bananas, and anything that is in season (I forget there is ever food in season because it’s February.) From the freezer section, I usually get green beans, peas, broccoli, strawberries in HUGE bags, and blueberries.
5. Then, eat those things before they go bad. I know you may not be used to eating that much produce. But remember your new pyramid:
6. Obligatory motivation:
Coming soon: what to do with the food you now own. Some practical meals.