Friday, January 28, 2011

Making Changes

Green Smoothie before...

Green Smoothie after!!!

I would be willing to bet that some of you are trying to change your diets for the better and that you are feeling really overwhelmed about it, so much that even the above pictures intimidate you!  I understand, I have been there too!  It can be very challenging to make significant changes to your life, whether those changes be dietary or otherwise!  Everything is new and different.  You're throwing a wrench into your routine and you're worried about lots of things.  Are we doing this right?  Are those ingredients safe?  Is this a good price?  What can I make with this....I've never eaten that before!?  Where do we get our protein?  What about calcium?  Is anything going to taste good?  What do you mean there's gluten in my shampoo?  Can we afford this?  My husband and kids will never go for it!  What's a superfood?  Agave what?  Where do I start???  Oh great, now it's dinner time.......aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh..........(yells to husband) just order a pizza and ask if they sell ice cream too!!!

Sound about right?  Deep IS going to be okay!  The best advice I could possibly give you is the same that someone gave me!  Change or eliminate one thing at a time!  You are in no hurry.  This is a lifestyle change, not a diet with a clear end. Any change that you make is a positive one and you can continue to make more when you and your body are ready!  If you want to get rid of dairy ok, get rid of dairy.  If you feel you want to start juicing, then do the juicing.  Need to rid yourself of gluten?  Do that and then move on to other things you may want to change.  Make sense?  Stick with it and don't get discouraged if you eat something that isn't good for you, your day isn't ruined....just eat something healthy at your next meal!  Most importantly, find positive support!  If your husband isn't that support (at least not yet) then find a friend, family member or even a great book or blog that can offer that support to you.  You would be surprised the encouragement you can get from someone you've never author or blogger for instance!  Sometimes re-reading that one inspirational page for the thousandth time is all the pick-me-up you will need! 

I am not a Registered Dietitian or Physician.  Though all of the information here is researched, please do your own research and consult a doctor before making any dietary changes.

Whether your goal is simply to learn more about whole foods or to become the next raw food chef, the easiest way to get started is to increase the fresh produce in your diet~ dramatically!!!  When we first started to change our diet I knew we had to give up dairy and soy because of my daughter's intolerance to those foods.  I had yet to learn much about raw foods, but I knew that increasing our produce was the best way to get the nutrients we needed while I dove into my research!  I thoroughly recommend doing your own research and educating yourself about the changes you want to make.  It will make your life easier if you understand what it is you are trying to do!  Ask tons of questions!  I always ask questions and it has been extremely helpful!  However, you may not know much about the foods you need or want to be eating yet, but everyone needs more produce in their life!  So, while you are reading and learning, why not get a jumpstart on your new health as well!  I will tell you a little bit about the books that I have read and recommend but there are loads of books and other materials that are available.  Most of them can be checked out of your local library!  I also enjoy Amazon for their reviews so I will try to link the books to their Amazon accounts in order for you to have a shortcut to reviews and some basic information if you would like to have it!  Right now, lets talk about how you can increase your produce!

First things first:  Beware the Dirty Dozen!  Familiarize yourself with this list and try to buy organic from it whenever you can!  If the organic option is simply unavailable, be sure to soak your produce in a diluted vinegar solution for up to ten minutes in order to rid your food of as much chemical residue as is possible!  If you are anything like we were, your produce goes bad before you get to eat it!  We don't have that problem now, but I am a firm believer in green bags.  They really do work and even though our greens don't last long, it always seems like they start to wilt as soon as I get them home.  If I put them in green bags, they last longer and stay fresh!  I like that!  One of the best things you can do to ensure you will actually eat the produce you buy is to wash and prep as soon as you get it home!  This is my least favorite job, but if I do it this way I have a lot more time the rest of the week and I eat more of it because it is easy to grab and go!  You are more likely to eat your grapes if all you have to do is reach into a green bag and get them!  If your kids are old enough, you can have them help with this and even turn it into a learning game!  For instance, after soaking your grapes have the kids help you take the good ones off of the stem and count them as they put them in a bag!  Kids love that sort of thing!  You can do the same with apples, celery, etc. 

Our grapes, celery and apples being washed as soon as they get home!  FYI:  You can buy bags of organic apples for 2.99 at Trader Joe's and Kroger!  They don't need to be soaked in a vinegar bath but I still wash them so they are ready for juices and snacks when I need them!

Be sure to wash and dry your greens when you get home as well!  You will be more likely to use them for green smoothies and juices if you don't have to wash them first!  Green Smoothies are a wonderful way to get started eating more fruits and veggies and kids love smoothies!  It is also a good idea to keep some fruits and vegetables readily accessible to have for you and your family as snacks!  That could be in a bowl on the table or in a reachable bin in the fridge!
Lacinato Kale washed and ready to be juiced!

Lemons in a bowl on the counter!  Ready to use for juices and other recipes!

Be creative and try to eat some produce with every meal or snack!  You will find it becomes second nature!  Here are the books I recommend along with some really great blog posts on this subject as well!  First, if you are reading this then you are already on the let's start with some credible blog information!  This post from 'Choosing Raw' is really great when it comes to plant-based food!  It's informative, easy to read and legitimate!  I recommend you peruse her blog for other information as well.  She also has a great and easy to understand post about food combining!  I also enjoy 'The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen'.  The website has a good story about how they started their gluten free journey and they talk a lot about whole foods.  There are some great, simple recipes and a helpful FAQ section.  They also have a book!  If you are interested in learning more about the healing power of food, you should check out The Hallelujah Diet.  This is a great reference and they also have a book!  More and more people with long term illness and cancer are turning to the foods I believe God designed our bodies to eat in the state they were meant to be eaten!  I recommend this is quite interesting and has helped me tremendously!  Especially the section about green and carrot juice!  Moving on to books!

Again, I cannot recommend this book enough!  'The Juicing Bible' is a fantastic reference for getting started with juices and has a section for smoothies.  This book also has the most incredible reference for fruit/veggie nutritional and storage information, I use it all the time!  I also like the section in the beginning that lists different ailments, such as allergies and cancer, and what to eat/avoid if you suffer from them.  Again, you can get all of these books at the library if you like to try before you buy!  I also recommend 'The Raw Food Detox Diet'   by Natalia Rose.  I have not read her other books but I hear they are good.  The only trouble I have with a lot of the reading materials on this subject is that I am a Christian and I disagree with a lot of the philisophical views in these books but I just filter through the junk to the nutritional information because it is sound!  This book also has recipes for meat or 'flesh' eaters.  I also love 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Raw' it is a great reference as well!  There is a lot of technique and nutritional information that is easy to understand.  They also have some really great recipes!  I enjoy Sarma Melngailis' books as well, though if you are a beginner...her recipes are intimidating.  Don't worry though, we have only been at this for 8 months ourselves and it gets much easier!  Ani Phyo is a wonderful reference and her recipes are not quite as intimidating!  Whether or not you feel that going gluten free could help MUST read 'The G Free Diet!'  We have only been gluten free for a little over a month so my knowledge in this area is limited but this book is amazing!  It is quite the interesting read and I highly recommend it!  I have yet to read 'In Defense of Food,' but I have friends (both meat eaters and vegans) that have enjoyed it thoroughly!

Well, this is certainly not a comprehensive list of reading material as there is so much information available but it will get you started and I really encourage you to delve into this with an open mind and the attitude that you CAN do this and it will get much easier, much easier! 

Please stay tuned for posts in the near future on how to get your kids and/or spouse to eat this 'stuff,' including lots of yummy recipes and a green smoothie tutorial!  Don't fret, you'll get it...and the 'whole foods' world is here to help!  Have a wonderful weekend!

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