If you would have met me 5 years ago, you would have found a girl who had an orange soda and candy bar for breakfast, mozzarella sticks and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner.
I’M NOT KIDDING.
Salads were rabbit food, water was gross, and I simply could NOT make it through the day without some caffeine – and a nap. Oh, and I was overweight too and it was not pretty.
So what changed? To be honest, I found a MLM nutritional/weight loss company that helped me lose 27lbs. I started hanging out with all of these health nuts who shared things on their Facebook about how bad sodas were for you and how many calories were actually in that order of fries. I was shocked! NO WONDER I had felt so horrible for so long!
— For the purpose of making this blog comfortable for everyone and NOT promoting one particular MLM over another, I’m not going to mention the company. I worked for/with them for over 3 years, made some friends, made some money and got some GREAT results, but life has taken me a different direction now and, while I still love the company, still get my discount and use their products daily, I am no longer promoting them, so don’t worry about that! —
Anyway, back to feeling like crap. So it started by just taking some vitamins and drinking a nutritional shake every day for breakfast instead of a soda and candy bar. I drank an herbal tea instead of soda and I drank a LOT more water. I FELT better. My skin looked better. I slept better at night. And I didn’t need naps anymore! It changed my life!
And sure enough when I started feeling that good, I had to ask myself “What else can I improve?” So I started with my eating habits. I ate less fried food. I chose healthy protein snacks instead of chips. I cut down on my portions. Then I found out that the margarine I had been using was a bad idea so I switched to butter. And I found out what a probiotic was and started taking that, and eating yogurt. I didn’t get sick as much. I honestly haven’t been sick in YEARS. And that’s not a claim to cure anything, that’s just me not putting crap in my body!
So there I am, drinking 8 glasses of water a day, taking vitamins, probiotics and other herbs, eating low fat, high protein, low sugar foods. Going for walks, eating fruit, trying out new recipes. Then I fell into a whole world of natural, whole foods! I read up on GMOs, organic food, power foods, the power of grass-fed beef and more!
When I wrapped my mind around just HOW IMPORTANT food is to us, I changed everything. I always thought of food in terms of calories, grams, and RDA. But then I discovered that there are things that aren’t on the labels. Things such as the health benefits that grass-fed beef offer compared to the damage that corn-fed beef produces. How there are certain foods that alkenize your body and trace minerals that don’t get recorded. And I have barely made a dent in the wealth of information that is out there!!
I hear people say all the time that they can’t afford to eat healthy/organically. And to be honest, I thought the same thing. I mean, GOSH, I can get chicken breast for $1.99/lb at Wal-mart but organic is $8/lb! That’s 4 times the price! But the more I read, the more I was CONVINCED that we needed to switch.
First step: we switched to organic veggies. This was the most painless step. Organic veggies are usually 1.5-2 times the cost of regular. But the difference wasn’t too bad on my grocery budget. And they taste so much better! We started with the “dirty dozen” (read more on that HERE) and then eventually replaced everything. We shop at Sprouts for our veggies and if you get the items on sale, you can get out pretty cheap!
Step two: avoiding high fructose corn syrup. I flipped over every box, can, jar, and bottle in my kitchen. If it had corn syrup, we found a replacement for it. I found it in spaghetti sauce, ketchup, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, breads, cereals and more! I wanted to remove HFCS because I’ve read so many articles on how it messes with your body. And its not necessary! Companies either add it or sugar so that the product becomes sweeter and more addicting (read more on that HERE) so you purchase more. I don’t know about you but that kinda irritates me! We also eliminated any items that had sugar in them that shouldn’t have sugar in them – like spaghetti sauce. Actually now I just add tomato sauce and a few seasonings and we love it!
Step three: avoiding artificial sweeteners, food dyes and partially hydrogenated oils. This takes as much work as step two. All these things are chemically toxic to our bodies and just make us feel yucky!! There are a dozen other things I could add to this list but you get the point. We use honey or actual sugar to sweeten things. Avoid food dyes whenever possible and Red 40 isn’t allowed in my house AT ALL! (Read more on food dyes HERE) The Partially hydrogenated oil was the hardest part because I used Crisco for frying and baking. And I couldn’t find anything to replace it with. But what I found was beef tallow! I will be posting an article on that soon! Its the best!
Step four: switching to organic meat. In our house we only eat grass fed, free range beef and pastured chickens and eggs. Does it c0st more? Yes. But it also tastes 100 times more delicious! I’m not kidding! What I did to offset the cost was start doing meatless dishes once or twice a week. Then I was able to spend the money on the meat. I also get all meat through a local co-op where I pay $5/lb for chicken breasts and $7/lb for ground beef. Ground beef at the grocery store is $4.50/lb anyway so its not that much more! And eggs! Oh, glorious pastured eggs! Once you try them, you’ll never go back to store-bought again!
Our next step is clean up all the odds and ends in the cabinet. Things like spaghetti, flour, dry beans. I also need to learn how to can so I can eliminate all of the nasty canned goods too! Its been a HUGE project but we feel so much better! The trick is to break it down into small chunks. Don’t try to switch to 100% organic tomorrow, you’ll go crazy. Just switch one thing. Every time you go to the store grab ONE organic item and then the next time grab TWO and so on. You may need to expand your grocery budget a little bit but YOU have control over it!
Feel free to share! What made you decide to eat healthier? What steps have you taken? How has it affected your budget? Do you feel better?