5 common mistakes when making the switch to real food

5 common mistakes when making the switch to real food

Making the transition from a Standard American Diet to a real, whole foods diet was not easy for me. Sure, once I got my bearings I was so glad to see the changes I was making… but that’s not to say that I didn’t have my moments of “what am I doing?” and “how can I continue to do this?”

I was (and still am) grateful for the online world and support that helped me slowly navigate through all the information available, but I definitely made some mistakes along the way that made my transition much more difficult than it needed to be. And that’s why I’m here today: To hopefully help someone from making the same mistakes I did. Whether you are new to real food or know someone who is, I hope these five little reminders can make real food easier and more enjoyable.

5 Newbie Mistakes to Real Food

1. Throwing everything in your pantry and fridge away.

It’s a common story: You read some of the horrific information behind processed foods, additives, artificial ingredients, etc. and in your fury to “make a change” you toss your entire pantry and fridge contents in the trash.

“No HFCS for me, thankyouverymuch.”

At first the thrill of cleansing your home of processed garbage is exhilarating. You have vowed to make a change. Be better. Eat well.

And then sometime in the very near future you go to your fridge to eat and panic. There’s no food left. You have no clue what to eat.

This is a common rookie mistake that can put a wrench in all your good intentions quickly. We need food to survive. And if your pantry is bare you may resort to a drive-thru run or rummaging through your trash can. Not the best option.

The solution: Rather than feeling like you have to get rid of everything right away, start by adding lots and lots of good foods. Get rid of the bad by suffocating it with the good. Eventually the bad stuff will be gone and you won’t have to starve in the process.

5 common mistakes when making the switch to real food2. Not having a plan.

Similar to #1, not having a plan can leave you in a tight spot. Maybe you bought lots of quality organic produce but you don’t know how to cook it. Maybe you told the family “we’re going to start eating better” but have no clue where to start.

You need more than just a mentality that says “I’m never going to buy _____ again.” Plan your changes. Maybe start by replacing one “bad” meal with a good one until it feels natural. Maybe your plan is to make a collection of real food recipes or quick and easy real food meals. Maybe your plan is to really plan your weekly menus so that there is no chance of “not knowing what to cook” and ending up at the golden arches.

The solution: Have a real food plan. Make it realistic. Follow through.

3. Trusting food labels and health claims.

It’s easy to tell the obvious fake food offenders from the real stuff. Diet soda? No way. Doughnuts for breakfast. I’ll pass.

The trouble comes when you believe the “health food” claims that are plastered all over still-very-processed-and-not-so-good-for-you foods. Did you know that things like MSG can still be labeled “all natural”? Or that “no sugar added” means it’s probably full of artificial sweeteners?

The solution: Don’t just read labels, know what they mean. And the best advice: Buy food that doesn’t require labeling. It’s usually a whole lot better for you.

4. Reading every nutrition book, blog, or article that you can get your hands on.

This was my total down fall. I love research. I love learning. And I found myself sucked into a world of dietary dogma and nutritional overload. At first it was fascinating and helped motivate me to make changes, but slowly it started to destroy my relationship with food. Every food was bad according to someone. I was scared to eat.

That’s not a healthy way to live.

The solution: It’s important to be informed, but don’t forget to listen to your body and trust common sense. Don’t be so afraid of food that you can’t enjoy life. And remember: Most “scientific studies” are funded by someone with a specific agenda or are too limited in their scope to provide real perspective. Real food should be simple: Did it exist two hundred years ago (you know, before man came in an industrialized everything)? Then it’s probably okay… as long as it agrees with your body.

5 common mistakes when making the switch to real food

5. Not spending more time in my kitchen

I really hated to cook. Well, that’s no entirely true. I hated the idea of cooking. The truth is I did very little cooking to really know whether I liked it or not. Whenever I tried to eat better I’d look to packages, prepared meals, and other “convenience health foods” to get me through the day. I only began to see real change when I started spending more time in my kitchen dealing with whole, real foods.

The solution: You don’t have to spend hours in your kitchen to eat well. But real food should be more than just peeling back a corner and popping something in the microwave. Learning the basics and being creative in the kitchen has many rewards including better health.

What I wish I had when I started

When I look back at my mistakes, what I wish I really had was some practical guidance. Something to help me decipher the food system/labels, to get better acquainted with choosing and preparing real food, and some simple tips and techniques to help me through the transition.

And that’s why I wrote the ebook Processed Free.

5 common mistakes when making the switch to real foodThis is the resource I wish I had had when I first started. It’s an ebook designed for those making the transition to real food. It’s meant to help you navigate through all the nutritional “stuff” that gets people frustrated or overwhelmed.

And it’s meant to be stress-free.

Food doesn’t need to be complicated. Good health doesn’t require a nutrition degree. Some education and common sense will take you very far in making life-long changes that will improve your health and help you enjoy your food.

I’m so excited about my new ebook. Go check it out. Share it with your friends and family who want a practical solution to the real food maze.

Good news!
You can get Processed Free and my other two ebooks: Toxic Free and Pain Free for a special packaged price. Don’t miss this great opportunity to: Eat real food. Move your body. Live toxic free. (And save some money!)

Learn more here.

NOTE: Due to an never-ending cesspool of spam, I have made the tough decision to close comments 14 days after the original posting of all posts. If you have a burning question or are looking for support in your journey to healthy living, please join the Thank Your Body Friends facebook page here.

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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie


  1. Rachael Alsbury

    Great tips! It can be really overwhelming to make the switch. I used the “replacement” method with my pantry…we went ahead and finished our unhealthy food and then replaced it with a healthy/organic one.

  2. Jill

    Thanks for the great tips! I’m working on this and am currently doing a lot of these tips already. I great quote that I read in The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris that applies in situations like these “The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit” SOOO TRUE!

    I feel in some ways food labels try to trick people. My mom was showing me the new kind of yogurt she started buying, the label said “gelatin free” and I looked at the ingredients and sure enough, there was rice and cornstarch in it – what they heck is that doing in yogurt (besides thickening it, obviously!)

  3. Lauren

    this is a lovely list! keeping things in perspective is totally necessary– even two years into my transition, i sometimes get a little overwhelmed at the vigilance that is necessary to maintain my commitment.

  4. Robin P

    Thank you , this helps me from the overwhelmed feeling ! I know I do this one step at a time now

  5. Sid

    Great post! There’s also the Food Bank for unwanted items. We drop things off regularily – healthy foods, now! :D

  6. Donna Elliott

    I’m new to the whole food concept & stumbled onto this post through Pinterest. Sounds like I need to open my eyes & mind to the crud I’ve been eating & feeding my family. At least SOME research & reading is required, right ;)

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