Diet Makeover

This week I am in California, visiting my sister and her family. She has asked me to give her family a “diet makeover” during my visit, and I’m going to try to share the journey with you while I’m here.
I’m posting from my iPhone, so please forgive any technical errors. 🙂

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Here’s a picture of my nephew, Mac. He was born last May, and has severe Spina Bifida, which has led to 10 surgeries and many other life saving measures in the last 10 months. Although he is too weak to nurse for all of his caloric needs, my sister is committed to continuing her breast milk supply for him since the immune factors in breast milk are so crucial for him. So a major goal is to boost her immunity for transfer to him.

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Mac just came home from the hospital (again) last Saturday, after a minor cold going through the family developed into meningitis in him.
I’ll introduce the rest of the family to you later, and journal our diet makeover for you.

12 Easy [Painful and Expensive] Steps to an Organic Diet!

OK, so the title of this post is a joke. Of course going completely organic (from a conventional diet) isn’t going to be easy. Yeah, painful and expensive might be more like it.

And overwhelming. I remembered wondering Where do I start? So to make it easi-er for you, I have put together a list of what to change first in your pantry and diet, as well as some tips on what to look for when you shop and where to get good prices.

What to Change First In Your Pantry

  1. Oils and Fats
  2. Dairy
  3. Eggs
  4. Meats and Fish
  5. Water and Beverages
  6. Flours and Grains
  7. Fruit
  8. Vegetables
  9. Sweeteners
  10. Nuts and Legumes
  11. Salt and Spices
  12. Vinegars and Condiments

I realize that some people may reorder these priorities, particularly the first 4, as they are all so important. But I’m fairly comfortable listing them in this order; I’ll explain as we dive into the details.

1

In each of these categories, the first principle is to eat only what is food. This may seem obvious, until we realize that non-foods are added to many items in the forms of:

  • MSG
  • fake sweeteners
  • synthetic food colorings
  • hydrogenated fats
  • hydrolyzed proteins
  • propylene glycol (antifreeze)
  • and probably anything you can’t pronounce

An easy way to begin changing from products with these additives is to begin your weekly marketing at a “health food” type store, such as Whole Foods or Trader Joes (my favorite), since they generally carry products made with only food. Wow, what a concept.

2

The second principle is to focus on what you consume the most of, and what is most toxic. That’s where these 12 steps really come into play.

3

The third principle is to begin the switch to whole and properly prepared rather than refined. We hear the term “whole” a lot in relation to food, but not enough emphasis is placed upon proper preparation, which can either enhance or destroy the nutritional value of the food.

I’ll be posting this introduction post in as a page at the top of the page, and then link on each category as I write so you can refer back at your leisure.

Healthy Habit Challenge, February 2010

One of my goals in 2010  is to make healthy living a habit, one step at a time. Join me as I post Healthy Habit Challenges each month this year in the following categories: Household Chemical Avoidance, Diet, Body Care, and Environment.

Included in italics are ways to take it to the next level, if you’ve already made a clean green start.

  • Household Chemical Avoidance: Remove the most dangerous plasticware from your kitchen; water bottles should be either glass or stainless inside. Learn which plastics are less of a concern, and how to treat them properly in my article Plastics: the Numbers Game.
    Next level: begin to collect better containers for food storage, such as glass. Canning jars are easily obtained, and fit well on pantry shelves and in the fridge.
  • Diet: Boost your immune system, heal your gut, and build your blood and bones with homemade bone broth. Read about my easy crock pot method for poultry and beef stocks in Bone Broth: Body Builder and related articles. Then treat your family with steaming bowls of French Onion Soup.
    Next level: research a local source for grass-fed beef; you will probably need to get in touch directly with the farmer, and coordinate the splitting of a half or quarter beef with several friends. The webite localharvest.org is a great place to search for a local farm, or contact your local chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation.
  • Body Care: Replace your deodorant with a non-toxic version. Read all my product reviews, and why this is one of the most important products for you to replace in Deodorant: Love-Hate Relationship.
    Next level: replace shower soap with a natural bar, check to see if your razor has a “lotion strip” with questionable ingredients, and suggest a better deodorant for your spouse. You can check ingredient lists against chemicals to avoid listed in my Consumer Wallet Guides (print, clip, and keep in your wallet for easy reference).
  • Environment: Rethink “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” in the article Thinking Like Grandma. Then make kitchen recycling a habit by Creating a Recycle Center like I did this month.
    Next level: in addition to recycling rather than throwing away, think of ways to Reduce and Reuse in your home. Leave a comment on the Thinking Like Grandma article with your ideas!

What I’m Working on Consistency In:

  • all of last month’s habits! (still need to locate a houseplant; I guess it’s best I didn’t get one before leaving town for 2.5 weeks!)
  • need to look through all my plastics again, and then organize my over-abundance of glass jars
  • replenishing my freezer-supply of bone broth
  • using my new recycle bin