Well, I’ve been working on the real food thing for a little while now – I think I’ve grocery shopped 3 times (translate it’s been six weeks). We were pretty healthy eaters to begin with but it has been surprising to me how many of our normal food items actually fell within the loose parameters have set (5 or less ingredients, all of which should be a naturally occurring food – if you can’t pronounce it I don’t want it). I have also been surprised by some of the foods that I used to feel good about eating only to discover that they weren’t so awesome because of the sugars and chemicals they contain (yogurt would fall into this category).
As you can imagine, I’ve been reading labels MUCH differently than in the past. I’m actually looking at the ingredients on the label as opposed to just the caloric content. In the past I looked for caloric content per serving and tried to buy “figure friendly” foods. This isn’t the greatest way to go though as these foods may be “low in fat” but they taste like crap because they’re full of chemicals and fillers to reduce the calories. Really if you go by the claims on the nutritional labels a package of Skittles could be considered “healthy” as according to the packaging they are “fat free”. While they may not contain any true fat you’ll fill your sugar quota for a couple days in one serving (1/4c Skittles, 140 calories, more sugar than you want to know).
As far as meals go the appearance hasn’t changed much. I’m still cooking our favourite recipes’ and continually experimenting with new ones I’m just using cleaner ingredients. Truthfully some preservatives are still making their way into our food because I am not willing to just empty my cupboards and start over. I will replace items with cleaner foods as we use them, but I do not believe in throwing perfectly good food out – we have a toddler, there is already more than enough food waste happening here without needlessly emptying the cupboards!
There have been a few items that I have looked for but so far not been able to buy. I’ve downloaded a few different granola recipe’s that include a number of different seeds (all of which are ok, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.) but I have not been able to find them prepackaged without a nut/peanut warning on the label. The bulk aisle is absolutely out for me as the cross contamination that happens there is scary. I was also semi-surprised to see a nut warning on the label of a tub of Medjool dates I was going to buy, replaced that with some dried dates, not quite the same I’m sure but seems to have served it’s purpose well and we don’t really know what we’re missing.
So have I seen a change, well yes and no if that makes sense. I’ve been able to cut E’s medication in half which is awesome and she hasn’t had any major problems, but she’s definitely not as regular so at this point that still gets a we’ll see. I’m not concerned enough to up the dose again so I would call that some progress. I’d like to be able to eliminate the meds but halving them in a six week period is a pretty big improvement. I find that I am eating less and feeling full longer. I have always been a light eater and fairly portion conscious but would allow myself to cheat a little more by increasing the portion size with the “lighter foods” I often ate. I don’t feel like I need to do that with the whole foods. The scale doesn’t lie and it has stayed the exact same, not budging AT ALL, so that’s a good sign.
Will I continue down this path? Yes, as much as possible. I am finding it to be a bit of a budget stretch sometimes but am working towards minimizing that as much as possible by doing things like having one or two meat-free meals in a week, and halving recipes that I know make really large portions allowing me to stretch the ingredients farther. There are only three of us here and a lot of the everyday recipe’s I use are meant for a larger crowd so cutting them in half is sometimes a pain but results in cramming fewer left-overs into my tiny above fridge freezer so that’s a good thing! All in all I would say the food that makes it to the table now is not much different than it was before to the extent that when I asked my hubby how he felt about it he said “what’s really changed?” I would count that as a success!