Real food mistakes: They happen. 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 Real Food Mistakes
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 to this real food mistake: 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.
2. 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 to this real food mistake: 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 to this real food mistake: 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. 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 to this real food mistake: 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.
This 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.
All my books are now available on Amazon. Processed Free is just $2.99. Go check it out. Share it with your friends and family who want a practical solution to the real food maze.