Jan 27, 2011

Small Beginnings: Where Do I Start?

The following is written by Melissa, who shared her Real Food Resolutions a few weeks ago.

When my family began our real food journey we began very s.l.o.w.l.y. In fact, I don’t think my family knows they are on a journey, much less started one! That’s because I KNOW my family. And if I go home and announce we are now going to eat healthy and begin throwing away all unhealthy items, there’d be mutiny my friends.  Not to mention, I think I have to trick myself into believing that much isn’t really changing…or I might go over the edge as well.

So I began by changing things I knew would be applauded. 

Things like switching from margarine to butter. I had always used a spread on things like bread because it was always soft from the fridge.  When we visited a friend in Ohio who had switched her family to butter, my kids would say, “Mom, Stacy’s grilled cheese is so much better than YOURS!” (It was the butter.) SO I knew making the butter switch would be easy.  I immediately ordered a butter keeper for my friend and me and now I had soft butter to serve my family!

Then, I switched to real maple syrup.  I mean, come on…who doesn’t LOVE maple syrup over that high fructose corn syrup fake stuff?  My family raved!  Sure, the cost is prohibitive but we weren’t consuming that much syrup to begin with so I took it in stride knowing I couldn’t go back to the other stuff.

Next up?  Oil.  I bought myself a little jar of refined coconut oil from Whole Foods. I began with refined because A) I didn’t know better and B) Since it didn’t smell like coconuts I thought that might help it go undetected in our food. I used it in anything that called for oil and sure enough they never knew it was there. By the next purchase of oil I knew unrefined was best so I tried that with no one even noticing the difference. I now order it by the gallon as it is much more cost effective that way!

Probably the easiest thing of all to switch is salt. Buying Redmond’s Real Salt at Whole Foods (I now buy it from Azure) was not expensive and it tastes so much better than regular table salt.  My husband even stuck his finger in the container and was pleased with how it tasted straight!

Finally, I switched us to whole milk.  We had been drinking 1% mostly and I also bought a gallon of whole milk for the baby.  When the 1% would run out, my boys would grab the whole milk with little comment.  I finally just bought the whole milk.  My oldest son is a BIG milk drinker and he commented that he preferred whole milk so much more.  This was a hard switch for my husband and me.   Growing up in a world that tells you skim milk is healthy makes it really hard to drink the whole stuff. It feels so decadent and unhealthy!  It was an easier switch for me than Keith simply because I had been reading the research.  He was just taking my word for it.  He still is!

I want you to know something very honest about my food journey because I know there are those of you out there feeling great guilt and great stress about your family’s food choices.   I can still look in my pantry and see two worlds colliding.  It’s true.  Even though I KNOW certain foods or ingredients are not good for my family, I will find myself stumbling over the price of the healthier option or simply over a habit that is hard to break.  There are canned goods and boxed cereals in there.  There is some store bread alongside the homemade stuff and bottled juice alongside the raw milk and kombucha.  When I have to pack my boys lunch once a week for a class they take, I grab processed stuff (gasp, I hate confessing that) to make it easier for me.

My goal?  To slowly (remember that word from the beginning?) replace that stuff as I go through it…or even before.  I have the recipes and tools to replace a lot of canned items.  I love to bake so there is little reason to stuff processed foods into my kids’ lunches.  And as I remind myself more and more of the benefits of real food, I learn how to manage my budget to accommodate the higher prices.  I just wanted you to know I am NOT doing it all perfectly.  Sheesh, I am not even doing it all!  I am just doing what I can and knowing that this time next year I will be that much farther along on the journey!  You will too!

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  1. Wow, Melissa, I applaud these steps! What you are doing, and the way you are going about doing it is something you'll never regret. When those "two worlds collide" give yourself the grace to know that the seemingly small changes you are making will add up to huge gains for your family.
    Blessings for the journey!

  2. I just read that again, and want to make sure you know I didn't mean that your changes are small...just that they may SEEM small. :)

  3. Great post again, Melissa! Kind of wish I had been able to move more slowly. Some of my family are still not on board



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