Boxed cereal, canned vegetables, margarine, seasoning mixes, and all kinds of prepacked processed foods used to fill my pantry and fridge. Not any more. Was I able to replace them after one shopping trip to the health food store? Of course not!
Swapping over to a real food kitchen all at once was not practical for me. It would be too expensive for my budget and overwhelming to my current kitchen habits. Also, one important note is that not all items at the health food store are real food. They still sell processed and undesirable products. So you have to know what you do need and what you don’t need. You also have to have a plan on how to integrated those good and needed real foods into your kitchen and cooking.
My first step in transitioning out of the standard American diet and into a wise traditional one was to allow myself to go at my own pace. I selected one item or product at a time and give it a couple weeks focus. First steps with that item was research and finding answers to questions. What is wrong with the processed version? What is better about the whole, real food version? Where can I buy it. What is the cost difference? Can I make this myself? All these questions could be too much for you. Trust me, it sounds more daunting than it is.
I found that the majority of the transition is mental. Like any habit that must be broken, it is a mental game. I had to change my mind about certain things. For example, the sugar I replace conventional white sugar with is Sucanat. I can only find it at Whole Foods, at my local health food store or on line. So now I have to make more than one shopping trip and put forth this huge effort to get it. At first, I hated the idea. But I had to ask myself if it was worth having the product. If it is, then it is worth the trip. You already know that sugar is not a weekly purchase so a trip to that particular store is not weekly. No big deal. A big part of this mental game is changing the way you get your food.
When I started shopping for organic produce, I also shopped around for the best resource to get the produce from. The health food store is not economic. For me, it is not an option on a regular basis. There are many co-ops in my area, but none seemed obvious how to join or get into. By talking with other people who wanted real food diets, I gained much needed access to local resources. I found a co-op and joined. This particular one has a pick up every other week. It is $49.00 for two weeks worth of organic fruits and vegetables. This was less than what I was spending on non-organic produce. To locate organic retailers, check this site. To locate a co-op, look here. My old shopping habit was to make one big and long stop at at big box store. Switching over to a co-op pickup slipped right in as an easy change.
A by product of joining the co-op was that my grocery shopping frequency was reduced! I no longer had to get to the store as often as before. This is a major plus! I go to the co-op pick up, get my bags of goodies, go home and I don’t have to deal with a line or a parking lot! This also helped out with the idea that going to the health food store was a chore. It wasn’t!
Here is an example of how my last produce pick up day went and how it differs from the grocery store. I left work. Drove 3 miles to the produce pickup. I got my two large bags full of organic fruits and vegetables for $49.00. Then I drove five miles down the road to the Farmers Market. I picked up a half gallon of raw cows milk and one dozen cage free chicken eggs, $9.00. Then I went across the street to the grocery store. I picked up the non-perishables items needed, $56.00. When I got home, my husband saw all the bags to be unloaded and asked, ” You must have dropped at least $200.00 or more today didn’t you?” No Way! I only spent $114.00 dollars! AND I only spent one hour of my time!! It took LESS time for me to go to the multiple stops for the better quality food. My husband was amazed, and so was I.
Each week or month, I focus my attention on one item at a time. When I get comfortable that the new real food is integrated into my routine, I move onto another item. Sugars, cooking oils, organic produce, raw dairy, fermented sides and beverages, and so on. Slowly, my routine grocery shopping and cooking style is changing shape into a wiser more tradition one. Why is a traditional diet good for you? Check out this article. Click here to read about eliminating meat from your diet.
What steps are you taking to bring real food into your kitchen? Let me know by leaving a comment!