I drank a diet coke with my lunch yesterday and now my stomach feels “off.”
Probably because diet coke isn’t food…
Giving up artificial ingredients and highly processed foods sometimes seems like so.much.work. It’s easier to quick grab lunch at a fast-food chain. Chips and packaged snack foods are oh so tasty. I’m learning so much about how our bodies were not made to eat these 20th century “time savers” and I’m seeing how much better I feel when the food that I put into my body is actually food.
Some of you have expressed questions or feelings of being discouraged with transitioning to a more “whole” food approach in menu planning and grocery shopping. I am by no means an expert, but here are a few products and tips that I regularly use at our house:
- Butter. Real butter from grass-fed cows. I buy Kerrygold from Costco. Yes, it is more expensive, but we aren’t shoveling it down our throats and it is sooooo much better tasting and more nutritious than margarine.
- Oats. I buy oats in bulk and use them in everything from homemade granola bars to traditional oatmeal. I’ve been reading up on soaking grains lately and I think this may be the next step in our whole grain adventure.
- Organic Cheese, preferably from grass-fed cows. Again, I like some of the options at Costco. I look for cheese that is white (cows don’t produce orange milk) and doesn’t contain any unusual additives.
- Organic produce. This can get pricey and I haven’t found a great way around it. I do keep an eye on the Dirty Dozen list for prioritizing my organic purchases.
- I do not buy any low- or no-fat dairy. It is okay if you don’t agree with me on this one, but the research speaks for itself. It just doesn’t make sense to remove the most nutritious elements from milk and replace them with what are essentially chemicals. It is HARD to find full fat yogurt and so I often make our own and add maple syrup or honey to sweeten.
- I use my crock-pot to ‘make’ my own black and pinto beans. Not only is it cheap to buy beans in bulk and soak them yourself, but it also cuts down on waste (no cans to toss or recycle) and you control exactly what goes into them. Beans are also a great way to stretch meat and make meals go further!
- Buy frozen fruits and veggies. I love having a great selection on hand and this allows me to change my mind at the last minute, without worrying about fresh produce going bad. Just be sure to buy ‘plain’ veggies, nothing with added cheese sauce or seasonings.
- Read labels! There is no shortcut around this step! Once you get to know what you are buying you’ll be able to grab items off the shelf, but it does take time. I try not to buy products that have loads of ingredients or contain things that I wouldn’t already find in my kitchen. I don’t keep a shaker of MSG or a bottle of high fructose corn syrup in my kitchen, and I don’t appreciate companies trying to sneak them in.
Do you have any tips to share for people who are trying to follow a more whole-food lifestyle, without investing tons of time and energy?