Begin Where You Are

stuffedpita1I’ve noticed a trend lately.  There seems to be an overwhelming amount of people with opinions that their way of eating is the only ‘right’ way of eating and everything must be an ‘all or nothing’ approach.

While some people might surely need to follow a very strict style of eating and subscribe to an all or nothing approach due to food allergies or illness/disease for many taking it slow and making changes that will last is a viable alternative.

And as far as the belief there is only one ‘right’ way of eating a real food diet I don’t agree.  I also believe that thinking that one must change their way of eating overnight can be completely overwhelming.  I know that my family couldn’t do it. We took many months to slowly change our diet to accommodate for the new things we were learning, the fact that I hadn’t cooked much for years, and to keep our budget in check.

For those of you wanting to make a change to real food over time, and coming from a place of not being comfortable in the kitchen, this post is for you.

 

Not One Size Fits All

Last year I did a somewhat weekly Book Club series sharing what I was learning while reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration salmon by Weston A. Price, DDS.  It was apparent as Dr. Price traveled the world he found many different cultures eating a variety of foods that were common in that area.  In the Tropics they enjoyed coconuts and seafood. In the North it was dried salmon dipped in whale oil and dried berries (my husband was totally fascinated by that diet), in Switzerland there was lots of sourdough rye bread and fresh milk products.  All different items, no one size fits all.

However, I would like to point out a few things that might be obvious but I feel the need to share anyway.  Dr. Price found these people living the lives they had always lived and their ancestors had lived. They had always eaten similar to the way he documented.  They did not come from a past diet consisting of fast food, boxes and candy bars.  They were used to procuring and preparing their meals– all of their meals.  If they were tired at the end of the day they could not call out for a pizza.

I think these are important things to keep in mind if you are considering starting a journey to real food and also to keep in mind as the journey continues.

Begin Where You Are

If you are considering changing to a real food style of eating you should be aware from the beginning that you will probably spend more time in the kitchen than if you are used to dine out, drive-thru, frozen dinners, and boxes.

Butterscotch RiceThat thought might be overwhelming.

Take heart. If you are brand new to real foods you don’t have to go from barely cooking to cooking everything from scratch overnight. Start slowly.

Start by cooking one meal from scratch the first week. Nothing canned, no boxes. It doesn’t have to be a super fancy gourmet dinner it just need to be made from fresh foods that started in their most natural state.

Next week shoot for two from scratch meals, the following week three. Training or retraining yourself to spend this time in the kitchen slow and steady will make a huge difference. It might even be what keeps you going. Not requiring perfection of yourself can go a long ways toward contentment.

You may notice that I never mentioned the quality of the food you are buying. Yes, you will need to address that but for now take it slow and get used to your time in the kitchen. I know I sure felt better about ruining a dinner that didn’t cost me an arm and a leg to buy the ingredients for when I was first relearning how to cook!

Think About Your Gut

In Dr. Price’s time he was encountering people that were very healthy, not just dental health which he was specifically studying, but physical, mental and emotional health. I’ve already mentioned that these people had eaten these foods their entire life, their parents ate the same foods, their grandparents, great grandparents, etc.  They did not have to undo the damage that the Standard American kefir grainsDiet (SAD) may have inflicted.

We can undo some of the damage that our SAD diet may have done by looking at our gut health and beginning to repair it.   For my family, fermented foods made a huge difference in our digestive health.

We started with dairy kefir.  My husband and I both believe that kefir was a big reason we stopped having severe Irritable Bowel Symptoms (IBS).  Kefir was super easy to begin with since it takes only a couple of minutes each day to make.

You may not want to start kefir during week one of your transition from a completely processed, never cooking, life but go ahead and order some kefir grains or find a place to buy kefir powder (your local health food store might carry the powder) and plan for making kefir.

 

Pace Yourself

By taking these small steps toward transition to real food and not adding more until you are comfortable where you are you can make changes that last, fit into your lifestyle, and even work with your budget.

 

Are you on a journey to real food? What tips can you share that help with the transition?

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Photo Credits: Salmon, kefir grains, other photos mine (click on the photo to go to the recipe)

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Millie

5 comments to Begin Where You Are

  • Fantastic article Millie, I couldn’t agree with you more! If people are going to eat well, they have to find the foods that work best for them. Following some hard rules that someone else tells you about will only get so far. You need to learn to love cooking and be blown away by the great tastes that you find in real food vs. processed foods. If you just follow some diet because a book, or person, told you exactly how to eat, I don’t think it’ll ever last.

    I’ve always thought it’s amazing how humans have adapted to live anywhere in the world despite drastically different climates and diets. As long as we’re consuming a lot of nutrients and vitamins, we humans seem to do pretty well for ourselves, no matter the source of the nutrients.

    • Millie

      Hi Kevin,
      Absolutely. By making your diet ‘yours’ I think it helps with the ownership factor. Thanks for the great comment.

  • Karen

    I agree 100%. I also wonder if a sudden and complete switch might play havoc with the digestive system. Kind of like the warnings to ease into eating beans regularly.

    • Millie

      Hi Karen,

      I didn’t even think about that aspect of it when we started real food. Of course, since we went so slow with our transition it didn’t much matter. 🙂

  • […] For those wanting to transition to real foods but are overwhelmed, Real Food For Less Money puts it best when she says “Begin Where You Are.” […]

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