Monday, March 17, 2014

Giving Up Processed and Low Fat Foods

Since October or November I have been reading up on this radical idea  to eat only 'real' food.  Some people might call it 'clean' eating.  Or even 'non-processed'.

It started with watching Food, Inc awhile back.  This movie takes a deep look as to where the food in our supermarkets come from.  That was the first veil lifted.  It really opened our eyes to things we never thought much about.

Then I started reading a blog called 100 Days of Real Food where a family of 4 challenged themselves to eat only real food for 100 days.  That lifted another veil on our views of 'healthy' food.

Next I read Food Rules.  I LOVE this book.  I started reading this book wen my husband got in the shower one day and by time he was done, so was I.  I thought it would be all mumbo jumbo-ish with science but quite the opposite.  It gives simple, practical(as in, 'Duh, why didn't I ever think of that') rules on what we should be eating.  It isn't some diet fad, its common sense.  I want to buy it and give  it to every person I know.

We started making making some switches in December.  We chose more foods that are in it's natural state( not a box of food like substances that is laden with chemicals I can't even pronounce and have no idea what it is.)  And in January we jumped in with both feet.  We have had some hits and misses for sure.  Some meals or snacks have been a hit, others induced gagging. ;)

So how exactly have our eating habits changed at home?

1. We only eat whole grains( pasta, rice, grains, bread, etc).  White flour has had all the nutrients stripped out so your body sees it as sugar.  Click on  'whole grains' above to get a more indepth look at how whole wheat goes to white flour and why.

2.We stay away from products with ingredients I can't pronounce( which are chemicals linked to tumors and illness), along with some I can but are still bad(high fructose corn syrup, 'natural flavors', etc).  If I wouldn't normally find the ingredient in my pantry then I I try not to buy a product with that in it. 

3. That means a lot more fresh fruit( some frozen) and veggies.  And we have never been veggie people, so that was super scary for all of us.  But we are doing good and really branching out =)  Who knew snowpeas in ranch were yummy!

4. We are also buying organic( no pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, GMO's, grass fed cows, etc). That includes dairy products since, just as in human breast milk, what goes into the bodies can be passed through the milk. It cost more to buy organic but we are buying less.  Strangely enough, when you eat real food, it fills you up faster!! So less is actually needed =) If you can't buy everything organic( and there are some things I do not, then check out the top 13 things you should buy organic.

There have been proven links between pesticides and cancers and birth defects. Why are we trusting a company that made Agent Orange to put chemicals on our food supply??  See what even years after using Agent Orange has done to children in Vietnam.  

5. We also have cut out refined sugar.  We use more natural sources like honey and pure maple syrup as a substitute.  Sugar is ok every now and then but sugar is just in EVERYTHING now a days.  And large amounts at that.  I have no idea why we have a diabetes epidemic ;)

That was scary for me because I LOVE sweets!  But my palate has been refined now.  It's kind of like I took it back to the baseline.  Things I am sure would have tasted blah to me now has the perfect sweetness( or saltiness).  I use to only be able to eat a grilled cheese with chips.  I decided to break the rules one day and have some chips with my sandwich.  I spat them out.  I felt like a deer licking a salt lick!  Crazy.  When I eat refined sugar now, I instantly feel dizzy and usually get sick to my stomach.  Just one cookie will do that to me, where as before I could eat 6 at a time with no effect. And be wary of sugar substitutes.

6. And get this, I use to eat low fat or fat free everything.  Now I eat full fat stuff after reading this  and  If you struggle with high cholesterol this is a must read!!  Mind blowing.

And since I cut out white flour, highly processed foods and refined sugar 10 weeks ago, I have lost 11-12 pounds.  7 of those pounds were in the 1st week! I swear was eating 'healthy' before.  And I have only done my 20 minute work out about 5 times during these past 10 weeks.  At the age of 33, it had become hard for me to lose weight by changing my eating habits alone.  My metabolism just slooooowed down.  But as I said, I have lost 11-12 pounds, eating what I always considered 'fatty foods'.  That goes against everything I have been taught. 

That means whole milk, butter and full fat dairy too(yikes!).  Most packaged foods that are low fat or fat free substitute other chemicals in to make up for that fat loss.  I am personally more scared of chemicals that cause cancers in rats than of a few more fat grams. 

7. I stopped reading the nutrition label.  The only thing I look at now is the ingredients label.    

8. We eat all the junk food we long as it is made at home from scratch.  Making homemade french fries is a little more time consuming than swinging by he local drive thru.  Hence, you will likely eat french fries less often.  But even at that, when you make 'junk food' at home, you can control the ingredient you are putting into it and how it is being made.  Much better than what you buy in the stores or at fast food places.

Ok sorry, I could go on forever about all this because there are so many different facets.  It is truly a lifestyle switch.  For me it is mainly about not giving cancer or disease causing chemicals to my children.  I would never hand them a cigarette because it can cause cancer and lots of illnesses later in life. So why would I let them eat things with pesticides, additives,preservatives,GMO's, etc that are also linked to cancer and diseases?  

The kids were a little resistant to our eating habit change but after i explained it to them like that they totally got it.  

If you are still not sure where to start but are thinking about trying to cut out some highly processed foods go here for some basic tips.  There is even a 10 day challenge you can try.  Personally I think ten days is harder than say, 30 because in 10 days you are still figuring a lot out.

And let me say, if you feed your kids processed foods, I do not think bad of you!  I have fed my kids pudding cups, granola bars, etc for years because they were healthier snacks. And they are healthier compared to a bag of chips(according to the nutrition label)! 

 I just can't un-know what I now know and had to make the change for our family.  I would never want my kids to get ill later in life and wonder if I caused it by what I fed our family.  I couldn't live with that.  Maybe they would never get sick, but what if they would??  They could get sick for many reasons with out cause but at least I could find comfort in saying I did everything I knew how to in order to prevent it.

I'll have more posts about how my meal planning has changed and what tips and sources I use to help spend minimal time in the kitchen( since we have cut out those convenient boxed items).

Many Blessings,
The Mama

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