Thursday, January 06, 2011

Processed Foods.

I really, really like challenging myself with diets, meaning lifestyle changes in the way I eat more so than fads. I'm not sure if it's the rules I appreciate, or pushing myself to my limits and reaching a set goal. The only problem... is they're hard to stick with forever. Unless of course you are surrounded by a few good friends or family members who have a similar diet. It definitely takes support.

The only exception for me has been vegetarianism. I was a vegetarian for about 7 years, and I recently started eating meat again because 1. It was really hard being the only vegetarian in my group of friends and immediate family, and 2. I was eating a lot of processed foods. It became really easy to cut meat products out of my lifestyle, because there were so many things to substitute it with.... mainly carbs and 'fake meat'. I was {and still am} very much into animal rights and doing everything I can for the planet, and this eating style fit into my own belief system pretty perfectly. Honestly, I do miss this lifestyle... but I enjoy sharing a meal with my husband when we go out, or eating the same thing for dinner. That's the only reason I eat meat.

Before I became a vegetarian, I was vegan for one and a half months. I was going to school in a small, rural town and it was impossible. I was just learning about the benefits of removing animal products from my diet, however I didn't have any kind of mentor or person to show me the way. I basically lived off of potatoes and salad {no cheese!!!} and I got bored very quickly. I love the idea of veganism, but it just wasn't for me.

Last year I tried again, but this time my focus was macrobiotics on top of vegetarianism. I like the idea of eating foods that are in season and naturally come from your area... but this diet was nearly impossible and didn't last very long at all. I wanted it to work, but I couldn't understand all of the rules and most of the things I could eat were a mystery to me. My first shopping experience was stressful, as I kept looking down at a list of foods that I had never seen or heard of before in my entire life. When I don't understand things, I get frustrated and cheat. So that's what I did.

I have always always always been careful about dairy products, and only buy organic brands from companies that refuse to give their cows hormones. I took a class in college that discussed this one year, and have been extra careful ever since. One thing that I would really like to improve upon, is buying meat products that are local and also fed a diet of grass rather than corn. If you haven't seen this documentary yet, you should go ahead and watch it immediately! It will change the way you think about food forever.

My latest plan is to limit the processed foods that I consume. Here is a really simple way to slowly cut these foods out of your diet. My husband has family living in Canada, and I remember spending a week there one summer a few years ago. They have a live-in chef {I know....loadedddd!} and she only cooks foods that are organic and un-processed. Even their shampoo was organic. I remember coming home and feeling so clean inside out. Both my husband and I talked about how we felt soo good. More energy, better mood, satisfied.

I think everyone can benefit from limiting processed foods from your diet, even if you aren't trying to lose weight. Here are some of the top reason's that I think {with a lot of hard work and effort} this lifestyle can stick:

[01] I will have to start making food from scratch, meaning I will have to learn to cook. The benefit of making things from scratch is that you know exactly what you're eating. Rule of thumb: If you can't pronounce an ingredient and it looks like a science experiment rather than food, it probably is.

[02] In order to make food from scratch, I'll need to start planning out weekly meals. Sean & I have been meaning to do this for a while now... as it's a great way to save money and not waste food.

[03] Slowly, my addictions to soda and fried foods will dissapear. My body will stop craving 'fake' foods and learn to appreciate real fruits and vegetables. I will feel satisfied when I finish a meal, rather than bloated and tired.

[04] This is a great excuse to get into the habit of only buying foods when they are in season. And staying away from frozen meats and veggies. This is also a great way to get into the habit of buying local meats and shopping organic.

[05] I love a good challenge, especially one that my husband and I can enjoy together.

I won't be starting this 'diet' until we need to go back to the grocery store. But my plan is to eat this way for 30 days {except for meals that we eat out or with family members, which is rare} and to document it here. Anyone wanna join me in eating healthier and starting this year off with a bang?!


  1. Planning menus can get expensive so you have to be creative to stretch the meals out a bit. For example... a taco soup can double for a taco salad topping! This week we're roasting a chicken and having fresh corn on the cob and a baked potato. As a second meal with the chicken, we're having chicken and vegetable pita pockets!

    Weight watchers comes out with some really awesome cooking magazines. If I can get mine back before SS, I will lend it to you! (I lent it to my boss).

    Also, check out! It has a TON of yummy, healthy recipes!

    You've got my support, like always! Please let me know if you need any help making menus! :) Love you!!!

  2. I am down and you have my full support and cook book collection as always. Also if you need any cooking help i might work a ton during the week but i can lend a hand in the kitchen on weekends! :-D I think cooking is fun and relaxing. Especially with friends and a glass of wine.

    Denise - i have the Cookinglight takes all the magazine recipes over the year and stuff from their website and puts it in a book with a whole lot of extra. GREAT stuff and it divides it by season!


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