Making the switch from eating processed foods to clean eating is not an easy one. The artificial flavors, colors, MSG and other additives in processed foods are there for a reason – to get you addicted. The switch will be hard, and at times it’ll seem impossible, but once you start to see and feel the difference you will never look back.
I was guilty of going through a fast food drive-thru, indulging in a cheesecake slice that is large enough to feed a family, drinking soda and stocking up on frozen meals for many years. I am American, after all. Then in 2007, I was pregnant and started researching food and nutrition. Deciding to make the switch from processed crap to food was easy since another life depended on it.
When I first made the switch, I was overwhelmed with recipes and ingredients. I didn’t know what mince or braise meant, and certainly couldn’t tell you where kale or quinoa were in the store. And who in their right mind can spend an hour a day on dinner? If you say you’re willing, can I come live with you? I don’t mind once a week, but I’m certainly not slaving in the kitchen all day, especially after chasing and toting two kids and a puppy around all day. That’s when I started getting brave and creative in the kitchen to find what works best for me and my family.
I wanted ultra healthy, with only a few ingredients, and not too much time or mess. Healthy fast food….yes, it’s possible. :) We slowly started changing meal by meal — first, with breakfast. It is the easiest meal to start with since you usually eat breakfast at home. If you don’t eat breakfast, it’s time to start!! Oatmeal, granola, plain greek yogurt with berries — they are all simple and tasty solutions that can be made ahead. Once we had breakfast down, we moved on to snacks, then changed lunch, and finally dinner.
I’ll get into why I choose to live a mostly vegan and gluten-free lifestyle in another post. Whatever lifestyle you decide is best for you, there are some rules you can follow. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules sums it up best! There are some listed on the graphic below, and some others listed in this article.
Here are a few things that helped me on my journey to a healthy lifestyle. I hope they can help inspire you, and keep you motivated on your journey to health.
Watch a food documentary. They are motivating and informative. There are many great documentaries out there, so take time to watch one every other month to help keep you motivated all year.
- Food, Inc
- Forks Over Knives
- Food Matters
- Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
- Robin O’Brien (FREE 18 min speech)
Clean out the junk. If it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it!
- Replace processed snacks with fresh fruit, veggies, and nuts.
- Replace cookies and ice cream with pineapple, berries, and healthy smoothies.
- Replace boxed cereal with rolled oats.
- Replace soda with herbal teas and water.
Prep food ahead of time. That is all explained in my Sunday Night Prep to Eat Clean All Week post.
Find 3 simple breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. Some of this is also explained in the Sunday Night Prep, and My Ideal Day of Eats post. They don’t have to be recipes off of my site — just find 3 easy, simple and super healthy recipes for each meal. These will be your go-to meals. Try to find recipes that can be made ahead and adapted easily. That way you can change the flavors without needing a new recipe, and a bunch of new ingredients.
Read more about nutrition. The more I read, the more I’m inspired. Food is powerful in one of two ways — it heals or it hurts. You have the power to decide what you want the food you eat to do. I’m constantly pinning nutritional facts to my Nutrition Pinterest board. Check it out for some inspiration!
Believe in yourself to make these changes. You will struggle at times, it’s normal, but do not give up. We are all faced with struggles every single day, whether it’s with food, a workout, friends, your job, kids — do you give up or work on it? That is up to you. But the more you work on your struggles the more you will succeed in all aspects of your life.