Let’s be real, lifestyle changes are HARD. They are hard for many reasons. First of all, it’s new and different. You are fighting against habits that you have formed over the course of however many years. At first, you have to put in a lot more thought and effort into your food choices because, unfortunately, chowing down on ho-hos and ding dongs may be second nature to you right now. But have no fear, after some time good food choices will become second nature to you and those ding dongs will be a thing of the past. Here are 5 quick tips to help you along your way to a real food lifestyle. You got this!
Tip #1: Take Your Time
Major lifestyle changes are even harder if you expect them to happen overnight. Not possible. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up here and there or if you are grasping on to the Oreos like your life depended on it. Pick one thing to start with and stick to it. Once you have that down, move on to something else. Leave your really challenging vices for the end that way you aren’t resenting the process. This should be an uplifting and cleansing experience. Maybe you are super rushed in the morning and out and about all day? Well, then just start by focusing on a whole food dinner. And this doesn’t have to be a difficult dish. The rule I follow for a quick meal is 50/50 meat and veg. Stock your fridge for the week with your favorite vegetables and choice of protein so you always have real foods on hand. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll want to and will be able to mix it up more and get more creative with your food. After you have your one healthy meal per day under your belt, try increasing it to two, three and so on.
Tip #2: Find Real Foods you LOVE
Real, whole foods are not only good for you, they can also taste really good too. I swear it. Fresh, high quality foods have so much flavor. Healthy eating is often associated with bland eating. But, I think those folks are just doing it wrong. Try thinking of some of your favorite foods that do not come in packages and made out of processed, fake ingredients. Maybe you love sweet potatoes? Grilled chicken? Brussels sprouts with bacon? Mmm. Eat ’em up! Adding fresh herbs and spices can boost the flavor of your favorite foods even more while also adding some great health benefits and nutrients. Oregano, garlic and black pepper have great anti-inflammatory properties. Mint soothes the colon to help with digestion. And ginger is an adaptogenic which means it supports your adrenals to help you adapt to stress. And, if you are having trouble coming up with real foods you enjoy, well, that just leads nicely into tip number 3!
Tip #3: Be Open-Minded
We all have foods we dislike just because they sound strange, look funky, or maybe have had one bad experience with them. Sometimes these are foods we have never even tried but just assume we don’t like them. But, there is honestly no harm in just trying new foods out (unless you have an allergy or intolerance – that could get ugly). Especially if you end up loving this new food and it comes with loads of nutrients to boot! Try incorporating new fruits and vegetables and even different varieties of meats that you’ve never had before. You may be pleasantly surprised! Liver and sardines both rank pretty high on people’s ick factor, but they are some of the most nutrient dense options out there (and I highly recommend them!) and definitely something to consider once you get comfortable. Also, as mentioned earlier, adding herbs and spices to these foods can makes the tastes more palatable for you. Win-win!
Tip #4: Get to Cooking!
Michael Pollan (swoon) wrote that one sure fire way to eat less is to cook all of your own food. Well, I would argue that cooking your own food is also a sure fire way to eat better. Which, in my humble opinion, is much more important. Cooking allows you to be fully aware of what is going into your food and thusly into your body. It also gives you the chance to form a relationship with your food. You will have a connection and be proud of what you produce. As a result, you will more than likely want to eat good quality food. It may sound strange, but trust me, it’s a beautiful thing. If you have trouble coming up with new and yummy things to cook, you can always check back here for easy recipes as well as follow other food bloggers on sites such as Instagram and Pinterest for some
inspo inspiration (I tried, not cool enough for that).
Tip #5: Educate yourself
I’m sure you have heard just about a gazillion ways to eat “healthy.” It is extremely hard to know right off the bat what is true, and, most importantly, what is best for you. Diet (as in the way you eat) is an extremely personal thing and is definitely not a stretchy, one size fits all spandex suit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying out different ways of eating and seeing what works best for you. Many things impact diet – such as genetics and body composition, activity level, and also just personal tastes and beliefs. However, there are also hard food facts out there and also masses of skewed information. One great go-to for determining whether it’s real food or not is to only eat what your great-great-great grandparents would recognize as food (thanks again, Mr. Pollan).
Leave a comment if you have any other tips that helped you switch to a real food lifestyle!