A Few Easy Changes

Many of the recipes you already cook can be cooked in "whole-food mode"!!! And that's good news!! Of course, there are many changes you will need to make, depending on your actual eating and cooking habits, but the most easier are:

1. Watch "Food, Inc." and/or read "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan
Ok, many of the other girls I just presented to you, recommend this. As a first step. Actually, watching this movie, before learning all that I know now, made a click on me. I had already read Perry's Plate series, and many of LeAna's blog posts, but they had never made any click. While watching the movie (WITH THE HUBS, HE NEEDS TO BE ON BOARD TOO or at least support your decision and its background) I started remembering all of these great girls posts and they suddenly made click. The next day, I searched these posts and started reading them again, and started getting more and more information. So, I highly recommend whatching the movie and doing your research.

2. Start reading labels I read both labels. Learn what you are eating. How much do you evaluate a car you will be buying? A tablet? A cell phone? A house? Then why don't you evaluate what your eating?
Ingredients labels - Do not buy if it contains: 
  • More than 5 ingredients (of course, there are exceptions)
  • HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) or refined sugars as one of the first 3 ingredients
  • Nitrate/nitrite
  • Things you don't know or you can't even pronounce
  • Hydrogenated oils and fats

Nutrition labels - I check for the calories (kcal) per portion, and if I think it's too high for a small portion (except for amaranth) I won't buy it. I also check for carbs.

3. Eat more whole foods Ok, here I have many tips, for instance:
  • Fruits and vegetables: Start adding more fruits and vegetables to your everyday meals. And if you can and your wallet allows it, go for organic. The most you can, the better. You will be saving in processed food, so maybe you can spend a little more on food. You will spend more on medical bills later than a little bit now with organic products.
  • Organic Products: Find out where can you buy organic vegetables, fruits, dairy, eggs, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, pantry items, etc. Go to each one of the stores, write down the prices of the products, along with the sizes and very important, write down the schedule when the store is open. 

  • Whole Grains for Grinding: These can either be organic or not. Of course, if you can, buy organic. You will need to buy a grain mill. I still don't have one to grind my own grains, to bake my own bread, ha! But I'm still looking for one. The hubs is buying one next week, I think is corn mill, my mother-in-law says it's any-grain mill, so we're buying it and let's see how it goes! 
  • Whole Grains in Ingredient Labels: Make sure to select pasta, cereal, rice and crackers which contain whole grains, not whole grains refined flour or refined whole grains or a combination. Go for WHOLE GRAIN in the ingredients list. White flour and refined grains are high in calories and low in nutrition. Do you really want to eat a lot of empty calories? Everyday as breakfast (cereal)? Everyday as snack (crackers)? Everyday as sidedish (rice/pasta)?
  • No Canned Veggies & Fruit: Stop buying canned vegetables and fruits. It's better to buy freezed than canned. Canned have many ingredients for conserving, freezed are just freezed (check labels, sometimes they have a high salt or sugar content).
  • No Refined Sugars or Flours: Do not buy refined sugars or refined flour, or food with refined sugar or flour in the ingredient list. It's better if you make at home the cereal or the crackers or the cookies, or the treats and you measure how much sweets you add and how processed they are.
  • Clean Meat, Dairy and Eggs: Try to buy grass-feed meat. And grass-feed animal dairy. Free-range eggs. No GMOs, no antibiotics, no fungicides, no pesticides, no poison. 

4. Start cleaning your pantry, freezer and refrigerator {and fill them with food, real food}
Ok, some people say to just throw everything away. I can't, I'm sorry, but I can't. I can't throw to the trash food. I just can't. So, some of the stuff I will be giving them away to people close to me, that I know won't change their eating habits but will help their wallet to have these products. It's your decision what to make with the processed food you already have. I would say to start removing everything from your pantry (and freezer and refrigerator) and start eating them away. Or cook a cake or a casserole and take it to a neighbor. I don't know. Many people don't believe processed food it's bad. They should eat it =) ha!

5. Talk to your family. Talk to your husband. Talk to your kids. Teach them how to eat. Share interesting articles with them. Let them know about the changes there will be in your family habits (dining out, kids' menu, treats, school lunch, movie theatre popcorns, etc). Don't overwhelm them and start by introducing whole food, instead of just removing processed food. Instead of a regular white bread peanut butter + strawberry jam sandwich, show them they can have a sandwich with baked-by-you-whole-grain-bread (or store-bought without HFCS, the most natural you can get) + organic/plain peanut butter (or almond, or sunflower seed, no sugars added) + fresh organic strawberries (or frozen berries, thawed) and a drizzle of honey, organic and raw honey or maple syrup! Don't tell the hubs he won't have pizza anymore, he will!!! You'll just make the pizza dough (whole grain) and use organic cheese (the best cheese you can find) and the tomato sauce (with organic tomato and organic basil) will be prepared by you! Even yummier!!!

6. Stock up Ha! I don't mean just stocking up. I mean to make your own stock. Beef stock. Chicken stock. Vegetables stock. This way you can measure salt (and sugar??) added. Just reserve the bones of your chicken and beef and the ends of the veggies you chop (carrots, onions, celery, etc) in a freezer bag (3 bags: chicken, beef, veggies) and make your own stock, adding your preferred herbs and seasonings, and bringing them to a boil, and simmering. Then freeze 2-cup or 4-cup portions for whenever you need them! For brown rice, soup, crockpot recipes, etc. Stop buying store-bought.

7. Make the decision on how to spend and on what to spend and reorganize Evaluate the food prices (whole food + organics) you checked and see what can you simply replace, what you will be needing to reduce consumption (eat less beef meat? more wild salmon? more whole-grain pasta? more soup?). Ask your family (or maybe you already know) about their food preferences and decide what's best for all.

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