Friday, January 11, 2013

3 really easy real food habits you can start NOW

Photo Credit: Faux Runner @ Blogspot
You have heard the infamous quote, "The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step."  I have often written about things we have changed here and there in our diet to improve our health and nutrition, and I know the task of revamping your family's diet, budget, and food philosophy can be nothing short of overwhelming and intimidating.  We feel the challenge and sometimes we recoil at it -- but, why?

Sometimes it's good to analyze what it is about it that's bothering us or holding us back.  And sometimes, enough analysis or pause is enough and it is just simply time to move on and make change! 

If you have been afraid to make a change for any reason, let me provide you with 3 simple things you can do to help you make the transition from eating nutrient-depleted food to real, nourishing food!

1. Source the best whole chickens you can find on your budget (maybe that means the organic chickens at the supermarket, pastured chickens at Whole Foods, or finding a local farmer who can sell you pastured chickens), and roast your chickens for dinner, for lunch meat, for soups, enchilada fillings, chicken pot pie, etc.  SAVE THE BONES to make chicken broth, and use that broth in your soup recipes, in place of water for boiling rice, beans, and the like, or for when someone in your family starts to feel a little ill.  The healing properties of "chicken soup for the soul" are not just literary!  It's the real deal.  (If you're in my local area and need help finding a chicken farmer, check out The Makers Farm.  They're awesome!)

Photo Credit:
2. Use butter in place of margarine. No exceptions!  Have you ever looked at the ingredients in margarine? I was no chemist in 3rd grade, but we always had both margarine and butter at our Sunday dinner table growing up to put on our rolls (family likes options - what can I say), and I just had this intuitive feeling butter was better.  I always wanted the butter instead of the margarine, regardless of naysayers talking about its fat content.  Yes, I stepped away from the butter for a while as an adult for easy spreadable butter substitutes, but now that I have a butter box, I can safely keep my butter on the counter where it's soft and spreads easily at any time!

SAY NO to imitation buttery spreads!  Photo Credit:

Worried about which butter to get?  Like chickens, there's a good, better, and best option here.  
good option which I often rely on for budgetary reasons is pasteurized butter from the store - organic or not is up to you. A better option is Kerrygold Irish butter which is grassfed but not raw (minimally pasteurized).  The best kind of butter is fresh, raw grass-fed butter.  You can learn how to make your own butter from cream here!

But what about the saturated fat?? Hey guess what?  The poor guy has been victimized: It's not bad for you after all. 

Photo Credit: Dave Sommers, via Food Renegade on Facebook
3. Cut out the sodas and gradually step away from the processed foods.  Okay, maybe I lied, and this one isn't as easy as it sounds.  Sodas are addicting, and so are processed foods, and just simply removing them from your diet isn't as easy as turning a switch, but I guarantee it will GREATLY improve your health.  Looking at the ingredient list on most processed foods you will easily find ingredients you cannot pronounce nor do you know from what they are derived.  Doesn't exactly sound like the best fuel for our systems, does it?  If you don't know how to pronounce it, chances are your body doesn't really know how to DIGEST it.  

Photo Credit: GT's Synergy Drinks
If this step intimidating for you, try swapping out sodas for tea (sweetened or not is up to you), 100% fresh fruit juices, or the like, and/or adding mint or herbal infusions to your water. Just take baby steps to reduce your sugar consumption. If you are missing the fizziness of a soda, you might really like kombucha or water kefir soda!  You can find kombucha at places like Whole Foods or your local healthfood store, and you can even brew it at home (super inexpensively, I might add)!  The benefit to kombucha or water kefir sodas are that they are honestly really good for you and provide a probiotic kick.  I personally find flavored kombuchas extremely tasty - just go easy on them as drinking too much can cause detoxification headaches if your body isn't used to all the probiotics.  

So, not as scary or crazy as it sounds, huh?  The thing is - you can do it, and chances are you have access to so many things already to start making or sourcing healthy food - just ask around!  Generally speaking, people who love eating real food also love talking about it because it just makes them feel so good so pull up a chair, grab a kombucha and fire away! ;)


Tiffany Hope said...

I just finished a vegan/raw weekend. I was totally unmotivated, even though it was my idea. Luckily my friend shopped and made everything. I couldn't believe how great my skin looked the night after the 3rd day. I'm gonna TRY to improve.

Ragan Burkley said...

Thanks for posting this. We're in the process of eliminating processed foods from our diets. It's definitely NOT easy, but I am finding myself being more and more careful and making these gradual changes.