**This post has been entered in Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries and Finer Things Fridays at Amy’s Finer Things!**
Welcome to the first post in the Baby Steps series! This series is intended for all those who want to make changes to their lifestyles but have no idea where to start. For those of you who are farther along in the journey, feel free to leave your ideal “first three steps” in the comment section. I’m sure many will have different opinions about what’s most important, so hearing from others would be great too!
With no further adieu (fun word, lol), here are my first three baby steps:
1. Buy organic, pastured eggs (instead of factory-farmed)
2. Buy some organic produce: whatever you can afford from the dirty dozen; starting with whatever you consume the most of (peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, grapes, carrots, pears; that is in order of most to least pesticides, but all are high in pesticides)
3. Start reading food labels and pick one “bad” food to avoid (I suggest high fructose corn syrup)
Okay, so, those are totally manageable! Why did I pick those? Let me explain.
Eggs — Eggs are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can buy for your money. They are cheaper ounce-for-ounce than almost any other nutrient-dense food, even when you buy them at $3 – $4/dozen (which you should expect to pay for really good eggs). They’re a fabulous source of good fats, and great for any women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or might get pregnant. They’re great for growing children. They’re easy to cook. And at $4 a dozen, you only need to increase your grocery bill a small amount to be able to afford them, so it’s a relatively affordable change, even for those on a strict budget. They’re also easy to find in many regular grocery stores (I know Kroger, Giant Eagle, and other major chains carry them).
Organic Produce — Pesticides aren’t good for us. Most of us know that (some deny it!). So reducing our exposure to pesticides is obviously a good thing. Many people tend to eat a lot of, say, lettuce and apples too. Replacing a few of these items with organic versions is doable because you won’t even notice the difference when you’re eating it. Also, the prices on many of these items (like apples) are about the same whether you’re buying conventional or organic (apples are around $1/lb here regardless). Organic produce is easy to find, reasonably priced in a lot of cases, and barely a noticeable switch. In fact, what most say they notice most is how much better the food tastes!
Food labels — Sometimes, we don’t want to know what’s in stuff. Especially if we’re sure it’s not good for us but it tastes so good. I used to love eating the Frito-Lay jalapeno cheese dip, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and Chef Boyardee Ravioli. Oh…it was great! But then I started reading the ingredients and over a period of months, I decided that it really was not worth it to buy and consume those “non-food” items. It was hard to let go…but I haven’t had any of those things in over 6 months now. (Just so you don’t think I don’t get it!) Once you start reading, you’ll feel like EVERYTHING is bad. But relax. Choose just one food item that you want to avoid. I suggest high fructose corn syrup because it’s been linked to everything from being overweight, diabetes, to hyperactivity. Mercury has been found in it, too. You can replace a lot of common food items (like ketchup) with organic versions, so they won’t contain HFCS. There is even soda and tomato sauce and the like that you can find without it, so you don’t have to change your eating habits much, and store brands of these items (like at Whole Foods) can be about the same price as many national brands. Another good food item to choose to avoid would be MSG, which might be a little easier because it’s not in as many foods and is equally bad. But right now, just pick ONE.
Those are the first three baby steps! Are they doable for you? If you’re further along in your real food journey, do you agree with these? If not, what are YOUR first three baby steps?
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