By Nikki Hughes, Contributing Writer
When I first started my “real food” journey, I was all in! I committed to more than I could handle and tried to completely transform our life all at once.
As I explained in my post “Why I Continue on my Real Food Journey”, there are many reasons why I believe this
diet lifestyle is the best for my family. What I need to address, however, is that I don’t stick to all aspects of “real fooding” (yes, I just made that up!).
I began fermenting, sprouting, dehydrating, soaking, freezing, preserving and I am sure there are more processes that I am forgetting. The problem? I didn’t know much about any of these things. I had two little ones at home (both under the age of two) and I was dealing with health problems of my own.
Learning curve to say the least. Everyday I would spend hours in the kitchen and on the computer. Trying to learn new styles of preparing foods. Trying to learn about new foods. Trying to get all of the unhealthy foods out of my house.
I was heading down a sleep slope to burnout-ville. My husband knew it, and I knew it. It was too much at one time. You can probably find “baby steps” to a real food journey all over the blogosphere. I won’t delve into that process here. I will however tell you what I started and what I stick with.
This is by no means “the ultimate list of what you should do as a real foodie” it is merely what works for me. I do consider myself a real foodie (there is truly no question about that) but I don’t let it rule my life.
My kids, my husband, my God and my laundry is far too important for that.
Here are 5 big changes I made (and if I am still sticking with it). These happen to be the biggest changes I made, but I believe everyone should decide what is most important for their family:
- Change #1: Homemade cereal/hot cereal instead of boxed, store bought cereal
- Process: I didn’t toss all of my cereal (that would be wasteful). I did however, opt to not replace it. I began making my own homemade cereal.
- Still sticking with it?: Yes! This is (in my opinion) one of the easiest changes to make. If you take one thing away and add several things that taste better, how is it not a win win? Better for you and better tasting! No, I do not always make my own cereal (as I say, “Life happens”) but I do serve oatmeal, steel cut oats or rice for breakfast as alternatives.
- Change #2: Cut out margarine, canola oil, spray oils and Crisco
- Process: I did toss these. I felt like they were so bad for me that I just had to. And honestly, they weren’t that expensive (unlike boxed cereal that is through the roof!). The amount I saved by not buying boxed cereal could be put into my new oils: butter, coconut oil, olive oil (already used that but wanted to include anyway), and palm shortening, beef tallow, and chicken fat (to name a few).
- Still sticking with it?: You betcha. These make a huge difference in my skin, my energy level and my weight! Oh, and they taste SO MUCH BETTER.
- Change #3: Lacto-fermented veggies instead of store bought (pickles, sauerkraut, etc.)
- Process: They are so much better for you! I made sauerkraut, pickles, eggs, chutney, salsa, and so much more. It is more nutritious than eating raw or cooked veggies. It is also nice to be able to grab quick bites out of the fridge.
- Still sticking with it?: Um, no. This adds a lot of extra time to my kitchen routine. “Something’s gotta give” and this is what it was for me. It was a lot of work and to be honest, we didn’t “love” most of it. I DO love the sauerkraut though…I stick with that!
- Change #4: Stop buying bread and stop buying store-bought flour
- Process: I finished what I had in the way of store bought so I wasn’t wasteful. I bought a grain mill so I could grind my own flour.
- Still sticking with it?: Yes and no. My husband loves sandwiches and I haven’t had a chance to always make a recipe and stock up in the freezer. I keep some sandwich bread in the freezer just in case. I have not been making homemade bread lately because my daughter and I have a gluten allergy and intolerance (me intolerance and she has an allergy) so we do a lot of GF cooking. I do however always grind my own flour when using regular flour.
- Change #5: Sourdough instead of regular uses for flour
- Process: Instead of regular homemade wheat bread, I opted for sourdough bread. Much easier to digest and it was even healthier than just soaking my grains. I also love sourdough pancakes, english muffins, and tortillas! Oh, and donut holes!
- Still sticking with it?: No. As I mentioned with change #4, we have cut back on the grains in our house. Oh, and the real reason? I always kill my starter. Always. I should not be allowed to be a mommy for a sourdough starter. Bad mommy.
Those are just a few…trust me there are more (I really threw myself in!).