When I say this is a journey, it is 100% that. You cannot expect to do it all overnight. When my husband and I first started on our wellness journey (which I didn’t think of it as that then), the first step for me was simply learning to cook and getting comfortable in the kitchen and with ingredients. I bet many of you will also need to start here. As my confidence grew with cooking we gradually starting cleaning up our diet. Getting the sugar, processed foods and fast foods out of our diet. This happened naturally some because the more you cook, the less you eat out, but other pieces of it were harder. I was a sugar addict!! Like bags of candy at a time, alone. Ugh, hard to admit, but true. I grew up on Little Debbie snacks (and lots of homemade desserts) and I loved it all but was 100% addicted. Don’t take my skittles! More on sugar later. I also LOVED Taco Bell. Like would eat it twice a day some days! So the first step will naturally start to occur as you get in the kitchen: starting to push out the bad foods will be a few chapters of your journey.
As cooking increased and bad food choices started to decrease, we began to focus on getting better quality ingredients.
That led us to sourcing some organic and local food. We used a local food delivery service (which is sadly no longer in business) and frequented our conventional grocery store’s health market section. We also tried our thumb at gardening, which is the best kind of local food, right?! The further away your food is the more nutrient deplete your food is because it is not picked at peak time and has to encounter many miles of travel to make it to you. In addition to gardening, we started visiting Farmer’s Markets and eventually signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions). CSAs allow you to partner directly with farmers to obtain their produce and often meat / dairy on a weekly basis. This was great for us, but as we started gardening more, we found our need for a CSA to be less because it was often a lot of the same produce. Think options here. Would prefer to just get local farm fresh produce from an expert farmer, whether it be a Farmer’s Market or CSA or do you enjoy getting your hands dirty and eating the fruits of your labor?
Living this way became a passion for me and I wanted to learn it all! Books, documentaries, blogs and eventually podcasts took up my free time (and still do). Is organic really better? What is non GMO? We also started diving into what I call 2.0 nutrition concepts: juicing, fermentation, sprouting, etc. – all of which I will talk about on later posts.
Today, our current chapter still incorporates a lot of the 2.0 concepts, but is ultimately back to the basics of an anti-inflammatory nourishing nutrient dense diet consisting of lots and lots of vegetables, high quality protein, whole grains and fruits – 80% whole, unprocessed REAL foods is the goal.
Tips to get you started.
- Start cooking! Probably the most important. Even if this is not with ideal ingredients, you are still better off than eating out all the time.
- Spend most of your time in the outer sections of the grocery store. This is where most of the whole real food lives.
- Browse the health market section of your grocery store when you need items from the ‘isles’. These sections often have better quality options.
- Consider a grocery store that has guidelines in place to not allow certain foods and ingredients, so some of the work of deciphering food labels is removed.
- Visit your Farmer’s Market to get the freshest food in season. Anymore, Farmer’s Markets are open year round or have indoor options in many cities.
- Join a CSA to make it even more convenient to eat healthy local fresh food and support a small, often family run, operation.
- Learn to garden. This is also a fun way to get your kids involved and I bet you will be surprised what they are willing to try if they grew it themselves.
- Join me on this journey, engage, be open to learning and experimenting and most importantly have fun!
I would love for you to comment and let me know where you are on your food journey. What do you want to learn more about to take you to the next chapter?