As I begin this blog, I've given a lot of thought to why I do what I do and the journey I've taken to get where I am, nutritionally speaking. There is SO much hype online these days about what is and isn't healthy and it gets really old sometimes! At the beginning, I felt like I would just grasp one concept and begin to apply it, then read in yet another article or yet another blog that I was doing it all wrong. I felt so discouraged! But more than anything, I want to raise a healthy family and that has given me the motivation to continue.
Over the last year and a half, I've been gradually changing what I eat and the way I relate to food in an effort to become healthier. I wish I could say that I've done a 180 and am 10 times more energetic and 20 pounds lighter than I was back then, but truth be told, it wasn't that drastic for me. Gradually, I have noticed some changes in the way I feel. I sleep better and have only been sick once since I began changing my diet. I feel healthier (is that possible?). This is a journey I am committed to - one baby step at a time.
And my food philosophy? It pretty much boils down to this: as much as possible (within the constraints of budget and availability) I buy, prepare, and consume whole foods.
My reasoning for this is simple: I started reading food labels and looking up the ingredients I couldn't pronounce or was unfamiliar with. I found that many of the ingredients were chemical additives used to prolong shelf life and didn't enhance or contribute the overall nutrition of the food. I reasoned that I could probably make the same or similar products at home more nutritiously. Slowly my grocery list shifted from "food" to "ingredients". Now, instead of buying artificial ingredient laden products, (even for very little cost with coupons), I buy the best natural, whole, "real" foods that I can afford and make most of my food "from scratch".
So, how did I get there? The first step was zapping artificiality and cutting out processed foods (a.k.a. store bought products that typically come pre-prepared in a box, bag or can - think boxed crackers, microwave popcorn, boxed cake mixes). Step 2 was cutting out refined white and brown sugars and all forms of corn syrup or corn sugar, and subbing in natural sweeteners such as sucanat, honey, molasses, and maple syrup. Step 3 was cutting our overall sugar consumption in half. Step 4 was buying the best meat I can afford - if that's grass fed or cage free or free range, fabulous! But most of the time it's humanely raised, no additives, antibiotics or artificial growth hormones (at least it is according to the label). Step 5 is where I'm currently at - incorporating more plant based foods into our diet, increasing variety and learning more about the best preparation methods for making the most nutritionally of every food item I consume. It's something I'm enthusiastic about and I'm eager to learn more!
And speaking of produce...I prefer to buy locally in order to invest in my community. Buying local produce in season just makes sense to my budget.
As I adapt or develop recipes and post them on the blog, I try to remember that each person is at a different place in their journey. I do what works for me and my family, and I would encourage you to do what works for you and yours.
What baby step are you on?