Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baby Steps to Better Eating

So, there is this movement and I've known friends who adopted it long before it was the fad it is today... but it is a GOOD fad and I'm glad I'm a part of it now... although it is overwhelming.  Let me explain.

Do you know how much absolute CRAP is in our food?  I thought I knew.  I really did.  I used to run with a friend named Kristi and we would have long talks about this.  I stopped drinking diet drinks and then cokes altogether. I cut out all fake sweeteners and I knew what to look for (sucralose, for example). I started reading labels and cutting out all "partially hydrogenated" oils even when the label said "No trans fat."  I did a few other things she and I talked about, but the more I learn and the more I read... I wasn't even scratching the surface!

There are hormones in meat and milk and cheese.  Bad hormones that can make little girls develop much faster than we mothers would prefer... among other things.  Preservatives are awful and do awful things to the body.  MSG has 40 (slight exaggeration) different names so if you are LOOKING for MSG in the label, be warned, it can be labeled as, "autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, mono-potassium glutamate, and textured protein." (What is MSG).  Good grief.  I don't know about you, but I thought yeast extract sounded sort of natural.  Ha! 

If something is "light" or "fat free" chances are they took out something bad and put in something WORSE.  It would be better if we ate in moderation than to consume more of a lighter or fat free version.  This goes for butter, coffee creamer, and basically any food item out there (I'm focusing on the ones I use often). 

Basically, any food item that has been processed is bad.  In a nutshell.  No lie.  They even have DRUGS to combat the bad stuff in our food.  What?  Yes!  It cracks me up that New York is going to limit the amount of coke you can drink, but we are going to allow poison in our foods to make them look prettier and last longer.  Way to get us healthy, New York.

Now.  Deep breath.  I am starting to make more small changes in addition to the ones I've already made.  I'm hoping they add up to massive changes, but I have to start with little steps or I am overwhelmed.  First of all, I'm trying to be thrifty and the better you eat, the more expensive it is.  I HATE that, but there it is.  I buy a LOT of fruits and veggies and make my own desserts.  I make peach cobbler, blueberry crisp, apple crisp and Jason makes homemade cookies.  This cuts out a lot of junk in our junk food (ha).  I'm still looking for an acceptable frozen yogurt.  Right now we are using Purity, but that has things on the label I can't pronounce... always a bad sign.

I'm going to start shredding my own cheese.  Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent (as do many spices) in it that is not good... among other things.  I learned this at a Proverbs 31 Woman class a friend has started.  She's not only talking about cooking, food, and health, but many other things women do to run a home, but I've honed in on the food part (although I probably could seriously benefit from the sowing lessons).  Check her out here: Fussy Monkey Business

I stopped buying light butter, much to Jason's chagrin, but I think it would be better to cut back on butter than to put chemicals into our bodies.  I buy the more expensive meats from the grocery store because they are hormone free.  When Eloise starts drinking milk, we will go organic on that.  For now, we drink so little of it that I'm not going there yet (we are looking at a $3.00 price increase when I do, same goes for organic half and half).  I'm not throwing out white flour altogether, but if I can make it with whole wheat flour, I will.  It's a little more grainy, but with many foods that works just fine.

I'm going to stop buying many things from the center aisles of the grocery store.  I still buy cereal and tomato sauce... things like that.  But not without serious label reading (and lots of research on what in the world those unpronounceable ingredients are).  It is frustrating because it means I can't buy a lot of things like crackers (do any exist without preservatives?), certain sauces, etc.  It is maddening that of ALL the useless things our government focuses on... taking poisons out of our food isn't one of them.  It is stressful because I'm trying to buy groceries on a budget and cutting out the crap means spending more money.  But I guess in the end, my health and the health of my little family is worth it to me.  At the very least, we will save money on medical bills.

And I'm going to keep running and sweating and hoping this poor body that I've filled with chemicals for so long can rid itself of some of it that way.  Baby steps.  That's what I'm taking.  I'm hoping that I can protect Eloise from a lot of the junk in our foods and that I can make Jason and I healthier than we have ever been.


  1. I'm with YOU! I know I will never give up Diet Cokes (they are my one guilty pleasure in life), but we started shredding our own cheese last year and also using real butter. The cheese tastes so much better, as well as the butter. We found that it takes less, because the flavor is so much better!

  2. I LOVE THIS!!! :-) You write with the same passion that I have in my voice when I talk about these things!! It can be a little overwhelming, but if you take it one item at a time, then that is one more thing you are doing better than before with. Hormone free meats can certainly be expensive in the stores, one pound at a time. If you are ever interested in ordering in bulk, I have found that it comes out cheaper per pound, even with the huge shipping cost for dry ice packaging. I could send you a link to the grass-fed meat farmer I order from. You really can't put a price on good health for you and your family. I'm so happy to read about what all you are discovering, and thank you for putting it out there for others to learn from as well.


  3. I 100% agree with you. I've had to think about all of this a lot since I went gluten-free. Lots of label reading! And I'm trying to stay on a budget as well. I think I spend more on groceries than a family of four, and we're only two! But what can you do? I look for coupons and buy things on sale. I'd love some tips on how to save money without sacrificing our health.

  4. check out's blog...i've learned lots about the crazy things in our food from that...and watched food, inc. i've been on a crash course for the last week or two learning more details about things i suspected or "generally" knew....a C.S.A. is also a good way to get tons of fresh veggies and is a good serach site for those. joshua and i used the c.s.a. program last year and are doing it again this summer. -beth