Trying to eat healthy? Read these cautions…

A few years ago, I made the decision to transition our family to a (mostly) whole foods diet. No, it’s not perfect – my kids still sometimes eat food that comes in a box – but overall, we do a pretty decent job.

IMG_0258If you’re trying to eat healthier you’ll find that like any life change, this one has it ups and downs. You will make mistakes and find gaping holes in your knowledge. Unless, that is, you have someone like me willing to let untold thousands (I wish) read about my mistakes so you have more time to dice your produce.

Here are my guidelines for buying and serving healthy food:

  • Always check organic greens.  Yes, for critters. I’ve found all manner of creatures – large and small, alive and dead. That’s one of the trade-offs for pesticide-free food. Worms happen, you just want to spot them before the kids do. (Over a glass of wine sometime, ask me about the night I sautéed a large, green caterpillar.)
  • Learn to love imperfect produce. As much as I hate to admit it, engineered food looks better. When you buy organics, the green beans have spots. The beets and carrots are not all the same size. The tomatoes are a little warty. Just cut it in small enough pieces and no one can tell the difference.
  • Get comfortable with phrases like “Just a minute, I’m soaking my besan.” It takes some confidence to throw out a phrase like that.
  • Label your grains. You may not want to admit it, but there will be a day you cannot tell your millet from your quinoa. (I mean that in the nicest way.)
  • Try raw food. It’s way faster than actually cooking! Another tip – if your kids don’t like dressings and marinades, just lift some of the salad out before you dress it. At my house we call this by the sophisticated name “salad with no dressing”.
  • Find a family farm and buy your naturally-raised, grass-fed meat from them. I love my farm. They deliver to our area once a month in a south-metro parking lot from an unmarked, refrigerated van. You hand them a check and they hand you a box. It feels a little like making a drug buy, but the meat is great.
  • If you buy grains and other items in bulk, make sure you take a second look at the bulk price per pound before you fill up the bag or you could end up buying $15 worth of quinoa at one time. Oops. Which brings me to my final point…
  • Get out your checkbook (or payment method of choice). It’s expensive. I hate to say it, but it’s true. But being a person who is constantly looking to balance the value equation, I figure a healthy family means fewer missed school days, fewer doctor bills, and more energy to take on the things I need them to do. I’m all about the long-term outcomes, baby.

Since I inevitably wake up in the morning to the question, “What am I going to serve for dinner?” (OK, I’m a little obsessive) I’m contemplating what to sling on the table this evening. A nice kale salad? A hearty soup?

A ridiculous exercise. If your house is like mine, it will take me twice as long to decide, and about eight times as long to prepare it, as it will for them to scarf it down.

Share recipes? Share thoughts? Tell me I’m obsessive (as if I don’t already know)?

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24 thoughts on “Trying to eat healthy? Read these cautions…

  1. Thanks for the tips, Sarah! I have recently started working with a holistic nutrition coach and am making the transition to more raw foods. Actually, I just had my first trip to a Whole Foods Store a couple of days ago. I am enjoying the benefits of the new diet, but still fighting the cravings – specially for the sweets. Great post and saved as a favorite.

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  2. I would love recipes on your blog. I am trying to do this too. I cannot get my lil guy to eat much of it though. Any tricks for specific dishes is appreciated!.

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  3. I have found since changing to eating more raw healthier foods, my body doesn’t get6 sick like it once did. I’m all up for Recipes!!

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  4. It is worth the money, I believe! Good food is medicine..or something.
    We have a garden and the carrots that come out of there are the funniest looking carrots on earth. They also are nearly perfume in their taste! It’s made it impossible for me to enjoy a conventional carrot anymore. It’s like an empty food in comparison!
    Garden, you have ruined me from eating carrots from anywhere but earth!
    Which is I guess as it should be.

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    • My kids LOVE the carrots right out of the ground. Well, maybe with the dirt washed off 🙂 You can’t buy a carrot that tastes like that in any store.

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  5. We bought a farm share one summer and really enjoyed it, but it was expensive and we didn’t use all of it very well. Most weeks it was way too much. This summer, I’d like to really focus on growing our own veggies.

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    • I used to grow my own veggies but have grown tired of fighting the shade and the deer. We did a CSA last year which worked out well for us, especially since they had tons of heirloom tomatoes and I picked up extras to can. We’re still eating that yummy tomato sauce.

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  6. Okay, I do not know what millet nor a quinoa! We have rice everyday and guess what, we eat it with pasta and noodles too! Major carb overload! I’d love to shift my family to a whole foods diet but eating healthy is sooooo expensive in this part of the world. 😦

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  7. Love the “label your grains” – this will prevent the question “Is it linseed? Or lentils?” In the future. (They are not even grains, right?)

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    • I’ve only once returned something to a store because of “organic critters” – I’ll spare you the details. The rest of the time, I just rinse well.

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