As I’ve started trying to cut out unhealthy ingredients, I’ve realized that it can be extremely overwhelming. Ninety percent of the ingredients in packaged products seem to be completely ridiculous and unpronounceable. How the heck am I supposed to learn all of these crazy words and which ones are good and bad?
Well I’ve basically figured out that if you can’t pronounce it, it is mostly likely not so great for you. If there is a single most important thing I’ve learned, it’s that our bodies need raw, REAL foods. Real food is more filling and has the nutrients that our body needs to function correctly. When you eat foods that are made up of processed and fake ingredients, you’re typically getting more calories that are less filling and less nutritious. For instance, white bread is basically made from bleached, processed flour that turns to sugar in your body and has been stripped of the perishable nutrients so that it will last longer on the shelf. Then pile on a piece of bologna, some condiments made from soybean oil and preservatives, and a tomato slice, and basically you’re left with eating a tomato slice worth of nutrients and a bunch of fake stuff that’s keeping you hungry, sick and overweight.
I only know this because I was 100% doing it… When Craig and I were in college, this was basically our daily diet-
Breakfast – A pre-made package of cinnamon rolls or muffins
Lunch – Something like a sandwich or burger with fries from a local restaurant
Dinner – Pizza or fried chicken at the college restaurant or a pan of lasagna always followed by a brownie or slice of cake made from a box.
So really, I’ve totally been there and know how gross it feels, and hated not knowing what to do to make it better.
So thats why my suggestion for this blog post is short and sweet – try to eat more REAL FOOD! It really is that easy, and you’ll be so much more satisfied in the long run! Not only will you just feel better, but you’ll seriously be more full! When I ate the things I just mentioned, I always felt insatiably hungry, but now I can eat these real foods and actually feel satisfied. When I say real, raw food, I really just mean foods that are as close to their original, natural state as possible. Not processed, altered, chemically or genetically enhanced- just real, raw, straight from the ground food. And it’s amazingly not as time consuming, expensive or difficult as you may think.
Throwing a few sweet potatoes in the oven is no harder than a bag of frozen french fries! Then add a little honey, cinnamon and a dab of butter it’s way more delicious too! Plus kids LOVE how sweet they are!
Cutting up an apple with peanut or almond butter is a super quick and incredibly easy snack that kids love too. Whenever I need to cheat just a little (which is way more often than I’d like to admit) I add a few chocolate chips on top! I could literally eat it twice a day.
Mangos are mine and Craig’s new and current favorite. They are seriously so delicious and full of flavor, and they’re one of those fruits that tend to get overlooked. Try experimenting with different kinds of fruits and vegetables so you don’t get super burnt out on the same old things every day.
Easy is key to me. I am just not the type of person to stress over complicated recipes, so easy snacks and meals are my go to foods. So in addition to the ideas I just mentioned, a few more EASY real food ideas that we love include:
Carrot slices sautéed in raw maple syrup, bananas with peanut/almond butter, roasted sunflower seeds, diced berries or bananas mixed with organic yogurt and stevia, sautéed peppers and onions over brown rice, plus ANY raw fruits and veggies!!
Ultimately, just start adding some kind of real food to every meal! Go to a local farmers market, load up on fruits and vegetables and make sure you eat them before they go bad 🙂 If you have it in the house, you’ll probably end up eating it, and that goes for good or bad food. We always end up eating junk food instead of real food if it’s in the house, and then our good, raw, real food goes bad before we can eat it. So just buy more real food and cut out as much prepackaged, processed food (the stuff with the ingredients you can’t pronounce) as possible! Even if you hate vegetables and can only force yourself to eat a piece of fruit with every meal, that is SO SO much better than nothing. It is extremely common today for people to be deficient in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other necessary nutrients. This is because processed foods are just that- processed! Many of the beneficial parts of the food are typically weeded out through the processing in an attempt to make it taste better and last longer. The result is a food chalked full of preservatives and artificial flavoring and colors added back in, much of the time purely to make it look more like the original unprocessed version! These “foods” don’t have the wide variety of real, complex nutrients that are found in raw foods. You’ll probably be surprised at the amount of illnesses that can be improved or even eliminated purely through eating a well rounded diet of raw foods. And honestly, the more you eat real food, the more you crave it. At least that’s what we’ve found to be true for ourselves!
However one big word of encouragement if you want to start this is simply don’t give up too quickly!! It will be hard at first, especially if you decide to go cold turkey. Sugar, wheat and many of the additives in junk food are HIGHLY addictive. When you start to give them up there can definitely be withdrawals. Just be persistent! I promise the desire for those foods will begin to go away and you will truly start to crave healthy foods. I crave real food all the time when I used to only crave chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies…so if I can do it, you can do it! If it gets overwhelming, it’s ok to have a little chocolaty snack! Try something like a larabar, organic dark chocolate, or chocolate covered fruit. I’ll definitely be sharing more of my favorite healthy dessert recipes, because there are PLENTY of them! Just start somewhere, and you will be so glad you did. It is so empowering to know that you can make yourself crave things that are actually good for you and feel more full doing it! You won’t regret it, I promise 🙂
Kelsey – here is a tip to keep your fruits “good” a little longer…mainly just any kind of berries, though (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries). As soon as you buy them, toss them into a bowl of water (I just use my sink) with a splash of white vinegar. You can get fancy with 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar, but I usually just pour in a pretty good dash. Soak the berries in the vinegar water for a minute or so, then drain, try to pat dry & transfer them to a bowl and into the frig. The vinegar taste will evaporate. I store mine in the in the Rubbermaid Freshworks. I swear it keeps them longer than just popping them in the frig after you buy them. Also, for bananas, separate them and they last a tad longer.