I often have people message me asking what changes they should make in their diets to "get healthier".
It's no secret getting rid of pre made processed foods is essential if you are committed to eating clean and it's not as difficult as many people think.
It takes a little more preparation but once you have done it for a week or two it will become second nature. When you start seeing results in the way you feel, being less lethargic, your skin clearer and brighter and your body functioning the way it should be and niggling little pains, bloating etc is gone you will think why on earth did I not do this earlier!
I found this great chart the other day from the Hungry for Change website http://www.hungryforchange.tv/ and I think it's a great quick tool for people looking at changing their eating habits to stick up on the fridge or pantry door and remind themselves there is always another option to processed food!
If you stock your fridge & pantry with good food options you will eat well!
These small changes are getting easier to make with organic produce becoming more readily available at your major supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles (for those who are time poor and cannot make it or do not have local farmers markets) - yes it's a more expensive option but really can you put a price on your long term health? How many times have we been told chemicals and medications that where deemed safe for us 20-30 yrs ago only to be told now they where not as safe as they originally thought. I don't want my children or myself for that fact used as guinea pigs thankyou!
Interestingly enough the markup on supermarket produce is quite high so when comparing their organic produce to their conventional produce with the new unit system 9 times out of 10 you are only paying a $1 - 2 more for the organic produce which for me is worth it. I personally try and support my local growers markets first and my bulk dried organic goods supplier but there is of course times I do have to pop into Coles or Woolies for something having two small children who eat like horses and our markets only being weekly.
I find Woolworths is far exceeding Coles these days with dried organic goods (sultanas, figs, nuts, seeds, organic flours etc) whilst Coles does better in the organic produce department (for eg: Coles is the only place I can personally find organic Corn which is the only way I will let my family consume corn due to the GMO factors).
In this post I want to focus on Wheat/gluten, sugar, caffeine and dairy cconsidering the majority of western society addicted to these 4 items. There are some small fairly easy changes to make that your body will thank you for!
(I personally can put my hand up to say I was completely wheat addicted to the point I craved it daily but I am no more. Taking part in a 21 day wheat/gluten free diet I did in September (part of an elimination we all did with Lachlan) showed me how much i relied on bread especially in my diet, I no longer do and consume bread quite rarely now and if I do it's organic spelt sourdough. It's been very liberating actually and opened my eyes to so many other options!)
Small changes to make - swap normal white bread or even your wholemeal/multi grain bread to a sourdough bread (spelt is easier to digest than regular wheat flour).
Pastas there are a whole range of gluten free rice, corn (check they are GMO free), buckwheat, millet pastas out there and of course rice, quinoa, and all the other great grains that are all gluten/wheat free meaning you will have less bloating and that heavy full feeling that you get after eating wheat based breads/pastas. We like to change it up (and yes we still consume normal pasta on occasions) but with all the other varieties available we get a good mix in our diets.
For sugar use rapadura, honey, coconut sugars, pure maple syrup (stevia or agave if you wish - I personally am still a bit up in the air about these two) etc as opposed to over processed white sugar which is highly addictive.
Coffee/Caffinated soft drinks
Now coffee I'm told is a different story, I can't go from personal experience here as I've never consumed it - the smell alone makes me sick and I don't consume Coca Cola or any other form of caffinated drink purely because if it can clean a toilet I refuse to put it in my body so I cannot personally understand the addition people have to a drink.
(I have my mum to thank for this, soft drinks where banned from our home as kids and hey I turned out alright and wasn't deprived nor do I have a mouthful of fillings!). Thanks Mum!
Anyway back to the coffee/caffinated soft drinks - I'm sure it will be hard but cutting back for starters will do you wonders in the long run, so if you are a 2, 3, 4 cup a day coffee drinker take baby steps and replace 1 coffee with some tea or water or a juice/coconut water based smoothie and keep going from there. Your body will thank you!
We as Western society consume far too much dairy. I've never been a milk drinker and neither have my children, (regardless the fact that Lachlan's has a dairy allergy, Riley my eldest never drank milk after he weaned from breastmilk and he is a thriving 4 year old who has never had an ear infection either. It's well documented that dairy consumption leads to many ENT issues and in my opinion many children have had unnecessary surgeries when trialling a dairy free diet could have been one of the steps taken to see if the reoccurring infections could be eradicated - surgery should be the last option we are taking.
I personally don't believe drinking milk is essential it's what we have been "taught" to believe by the dairy industry. It's also no secret that a very large percentage of Western society is actually to some degree lactose intolerant and don't even know it.
I personally believe there are far too many children out there filling up on milk and not eating real foods of which their bodies need the nutrients, vitamins and proteins from simply because they are having huge amounts of milk each day giving their tummies a full feeling. I know if I had 500mls (the average a child would drink in my research 2 glasses/bottles a day roughly) I wouldn't be all that hungry for food either! So many people look at me in shock and ask but where are they going to get their calcium from? and when I start to give them options they look at me stunned as they never knew you could get calcium from any other source other than dairy products.
So if you must consume milk switch to organic milk (once again very easy to find in supermarkets these days) or if you are lucky enough to have "raw" milk available to you then this is a better option. There are many other types of milks once again now more readily available goats milk , sheep's milk (harder to get) or you can do as we do and not consume any animal milk and have rice, oat and almond milks which are a great alternative. You can substitute creams for coconut milks in cooking and "ice creams" (we make our Fruity dreams in the Thermomix using coconut cream or milk) and use coconut milk /cream in many recipes giving the food a nice taste which kids love.
We still use cheese in our house (a habit I will never break for my husband) and that's fine, I try and buy organic cheeses or the least processed cheese I can find.For me cheese hasn't really been all that hard to give up (I went dairy free (amongst other things) to breastfeed Lachlan as a baby so I don't really "miss" these things now. I will have cheese maybe once a week if I do a pizza and use only a little. Riley still consumes cheese a few times a week but once again he could go without it one week and not worry at all.
Yoghurt is a little harder to give up I understand (especially in my morning CADA) but we now buy Organic (sometimes Biodynamic organic) yoghurts and use them sparingly. Once again these are becoming so much easier to find in supermarkets in fact Woolworths has 4 brands including their own Macro brand in the organic range in the majority of stores. They are generally $1-2 more than the non organic yoghurts.
Take time to have a closer look at this chart and see what small changes you can make to your diet to make it that much better for you.
For us the picture below is how our weekly shop (from the farmers markets) starts and then we build from here with grains, pastas, proteins (animal and legumes).
If your home is full of wonderful produce like this you will eat it - I promise!
Especially if you take the time to chop up a few carrots (bonus of buying organic - no peeling!) and some cucumbers, baby tomatoes etc and have them in the fridge for snacks served on their own or with a homemade dip (which can be as simple as a guacamole - (avocado, lemon juice and some seasoning and mash not really that hard is it!)
So try it, one thing a week and you will start to see a difference in the way you feel and look.
Remember BABY STEPS!
Once again I have my mum to thank for this as my father had some health issues whilst I was growing up and a complete change in our diet (which was a very healthy Mediterranean diet to start with) saw my Dad healed and never to touch another medication again when all the Dr's where trying to give him drugs for conditions he didn't even have. I personally question and research everything especially when I have a "health professional" telling me I should be using steroids and drugs on my child daily when in reality I have no need to and am controlling it with diet and the assistance of probiotics and vitamins.