I've been trying to get my family to eat healthier for awhile now and I am completely overwhelmed. I'm reading Real Food , In Defense of Food and Food Rules, I did the 10 Days of Real Food diet and I get so excited to start feeding my family fresh, local, healthy food. I end up trying to do too much at once, get overwhelmed and terrified that my nonorganic skim milk (the only milk I can drink and not gag) is killing my kids and end up binging on Oreos, which completely ruins what I was doing. Can someone please help me relise that every little bit helps and give me some advice on how to stay sane while trying to eat healthier?
Whatever you do, do it slow. And if you can't make it through my whole post, at the end I suggest finding healthy foods that taste good (to you.)
We recently went gluten free (it helped our daughter's speech) and I am LOVING how much healthier our diet is. Then, to get rid of her persistent diarrhea, we experimented with dairy free and I am LOVING that as well. However, these were changes that we were required to make for her benefit. It's a whole lot easier to make those changes when your child's immediate health needs it (and you see the results in front of your eyes.)
Someone else I know that is trying to go gluten free said she read somewhere to start by going gluten free at breakfast. It's relatively easy for most people. There are lots of options, eggs, smoothies, gluten free cereals, apples over quinoa, etc. Once you've got that down, then go gluten free for dinner. Most people don't have a problem with that. Then go gluten free at lunch. That's harder for most people so should be done last.
So use that format as your example.
That slow method is kind of what worked for me with going dairy free. I am a vegetarian and have wanted to be dairy free for years, but dairy free just seemed so hard. Lots of people suggested our daughter's diarrhea might be caused by dairy, but I just couldn't cope with how to do that. Then someone said their kids did fine on cheese, it was just milk, ice cream, etc. that was the problem. Okay, I figured I could just eliminate the milk from her diet (and mine. She and I eat the same diet, though my son and husband aren't as restricted as we are.) So I bought her rice milk without carageenan (Rice Dream and Trader Joe's brands) for dinners and cooking and coconut milk to use in the supplementer when I nurse her to sleep (she's adopted so I needed something without sediment to flow through the fine tube.) We did that for a few days and it went well. She accepted the rice milk, my son accepted smoothies made with rice milk (not that I told him, he just drank them.) And there wasn't a huge change in her diarrhea. Then someone said she gets the runs when she eats cheese so I decided I would just try it for a week. I make a weekly menu and shop based on that. I could make one week's worth of dinners without cheese. And in a few days she was better. I am now happily committed to remaining dairy free.
SO, what is your top priority for eating healthier? What can you do for one meal each day? Or what one item can you change in your diet? Choose that one thing and do it for a week. Then add your second priority the next week and keep making one change each week. And if that's too fast, make one change every other week or once a month.
And for each change you make, research all your options--one at a time. So, for me going gluten free my first challenge was finding a replacement for Better than Bouillon that is made with soy sauce. (Soy sauce has wheat.) I looked in every grocery store and online for a bouillon without gluten or MSG. Doesn't exist. I posted on here for suggestions. Everyone suggested I make my own broth. So I posted here for recipe suggestions and searched the internet for broth recipes. I decided on a combo of various recipes I read. Then I had to figure out storage--freezing in ice cube trays then putting the cubes in plastic bags seemed like a good idea. But I worried about BPA, so I had to research that (sterilite brand ice cube trays sold at Target are BPA and phthalate free and Ziplock brand bags are as well.) Now I have tons of broth cubes in my freezer and I feel great. Tonight my son wanted a little sauce for his noodles and I microwaved one cube. What a feeling of accomplishment!!! The next step for gluten free was to find a tasty tortilla you can fold. Doesn't exist. But I kept on searching and found someone who makes them out of mung beans. http://spiceandmore.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/an-exciting-discovery/ Now my freezer has a couple dozen homemade, yummy tortillas. Tonight we had egg burritos with avocado and black beans (and cheese and salsa for my husband) in mung bean tortillas. Then I had to search for fast, easy foods for the kids...I freeze leftover rice on a wax paper covered cookie sheet then transfer to a ziplock bag. Heat in microwave fast. Same for leftover Tinkyada pasta (though it needs a little water when heated.) So...one step at a time. (Then there were the coconut flour and almond flour cookbooks.)
Now I am doing the same search with dairy free. In this forum I found a dairy free pudding made with avocado and banana. I have a thread going about dairy free lasagna and another about cashew cheeze and another about teese cheese. One step at a time.
BTW, I like the recipes at www.elanaspantry.com.
I highly recommend going gluten free as a MAJOR step towards a healthy diet. As long as you don't buy all the gluten free substitutes that are out there. Gluten free pretzels, bagels, cupcakes, etc. They have very little fiber. But gluten is in so many processed foods (including most drive thru french fries.) It forces you to find healthier foods. Or at least it did me. As I said, check out www.elanaspantry.com. I really like her bread 2.0, her crackers, her dairy free mousse and ice cream. I bought her almond flour book and made her vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting OMG!!! My kids wolf them down. Most gluten free cakes are gross, these are delicious.
I guess that's the other suggestion. Find healthy foods that taste good.
Hey you might find some of the things in my posts here http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1321919/reasons-to-go-organic-and-tips-to-make-it-affordable helpful, and there is some very good info.