Last week I wrote about Five Baby Steps to Real Food, and the positive feedback was overwhelming! Eating real food is a process, and it isn’t one that occurs overnight. To help you continue your real food journey, here are five more (slightly larger) baby steps:
1. Start reading labels!
If you don’t already, read the labels on all of your food. Don’t look at the fat, calories, or carbs, but instead look at the ingredient list. Can you pronounce everything on the list? Do you know what everything on the list is and where it originated? A good rule of thumb for products with labels is that the answer to those should be “yes”. Also, real food products will tend to have a small number of ingredients (say, five or less).
Editor’s Note: The above image is not real food. I repeat, it is not real food!
2. One meal, once a week.
Each week when you are meal planning (because obviously you are meal planning, right?), challenge yourself to make one meal that is completely real food. If you order pizza every Wednesday night, this week make a homemade pizza with this pizza dough and load it up with your favorite veggies and cheese. You enjoy frozen pancakes or waffles for breakfast? Try one of the real food pancake and waffle recipes instead. Once you get the hang of one meal a week, add another, and another, until it becomes second nature to you.
Soaked German Pancakes from Riddlelove
Oatmeal Sour Cream Pancakes from The Blue House Blog
Whole Wheat Pancakes from This Chick Cooks
Buckwheat Pancakes from Retro Momma, Vintage Wife
Coconut Flour Pancakes from Storms Stories
3. Try a new fruit or vegetable.
August is a great time for farmer’s markets all over the country. Take advantage of the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables by loading up on your old favorites, as well as something new. Examples of less popular but equally delicious produce are beets, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kohlrabi, and parsnips. If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved! Take a trip to the farmer’s market and have them pick out a new item to try. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:
Kohlrabi Fries from Riddlelove
Beet and Strawberry Smoothie from This Chick Cooks
Beet Brownie Cake from Sharing My Simple Dreams
Parsnip Fries with Lambs Quarter Pesto from Riddlelove
4. Replace vegetable oil with coconut oil.
Vegetable oils – including canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed – are much like margarine. These vegetable oils almost always originate from a GMO and are created using high heat processing and chemical treatment. Some form of vegetable oil is found in almost all processed foods. Virgin coconut oil, however, is the oil from the meat of mature coconuts. It is extracted through a quick-drying or wet-milling process, with no chemicals added in. Coconut oil is very heat stable and can be used for frying, sautéing, or baking, and can be replaced in recipes 1:1 for vegetable oils. I find that coconut oil is becoming more widely available, which is great! However, I have noticed a lack of quality in certain brands. My favorite quality brand is Tropical Traditions, and you can buy some through my affiliate link here.
5. If it falls on the Dirty Dozen list, buy organic!
Yes, organic produce can be expensive. But not all fruits and vegetables have to be organic to be consumed safely. On Tuesday, Beverly explained the Dirty Dozen list and the Clean 15 to help you decipher which veggies need to be organic. If you find you eat a lot of the Dirty Dozen, seek other sources than your local market. For example, I love blueberries, but the organic ones are very expensive at my local grocery store ($3.99+/pint). When blueberry season hit, I googled and called local blueberry farms to see if they spray their blueberries (they don’t) and was able to get a lot of blueberries for only $2 per pound. Many of the foods on the Dirty Dozen list can be easily frozen (peaches, strawberries, blueberries, peppers), and others are super easy to grow on your own! Peppers, cucumbers, and lettuce tend to thrive wherever they are planted, so cut your costs significantly by guaranteeing that your produce is organic and safe to eat!
Are you already doing any of these baby steps? Which baby steps will you implement first?