It would be so nice to close our eyes and pretend that all the food stocking our grocery stores nationwide is safe for us and not harmful for our bodies. That’s what we are told to believe, right? I get it! I would LOVE to believe that. Oh would I love it. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… Ignorance Is Bliss!!
I don’t want to believe there are harmful chemicals in our food supply. I don’t want to believe that additives, contaminants, and antibiotics in our food could make us sick. I hate thinking that the cute, colorful box of cereal I’d like to ‘treat’ my kids with could ultimately harm their health in the long run.
But as more and more studies come out about what is in our food, the truth is really REALLY hard to ignore.1
I don’t want to convince you there is a problem… my guess is that if you’re here, you already know there is a problem with our food. But here is where most people get stuck… they want to make a change, but they have no idea where to start. It all feels so overwhelming that they can’t get themselves to even take the first step in the right direction to eating cleaner.
Ultimately, eating unprocessed food the way nature intended it is our best bet if we want to start getting additives, chemicals, and the like out of our pantries. So how do you start?!
Easiest Way to Start – Make One Single Change
The easiest way to start is by literally making one single change. If you make one simple change this week, you have taken the first step! Don’t try to clear out your entire pantry and fridge tonight… you will get overwhelmed and you will want to quit before you even start! If you are having a hard time coming up with something to change this week, choose ONE of these ideas below as the FIRST STEP you can take today.
- If you’re not used to making dinner from whole, unprocessed foods, find and make one dinner from scratch this week, without the use of packaged food that contains additives.
- If you eat a lot of food out of packages, start looking at the ingredients. Enter a few of your packaged foods into EWG’s Food Scores to see how they rate, paying close attention to the Ingredient Concerns and Processing Concerns, and choose ONE item to be replaced with a healthier alternative. Maybe replace the cheese fish crackers you use in your kids’ lunches with a cleaner, organic version, or better yet replace it with a fruit or veggie.
- If you eat out a lot, eat out one day less this week, and make a dinner made with whole foods instead.
- Find an egg farmer selling pastured eggs this week! You will be shocked at how yellow the yolks are! Ask around or visit Eat Wild to find a farmer in your area.
- Find a source of grass-fed meat or free-range poultry this week! You can visit Eat Wild to find a nearby source, or you can even check your grocery store! Many major grocery stores are now carrying grass-feed, organic meats and free-range poultry.
The above are just a few ideas you can choose from to get started. Again, just pick one to start with this week. And then next week move to another thing, and so on. Know what you’re putting into your body. Make a small shift to a better choice. Repeat.
Can I Be Honest?!
If I’m being totally honest with you, I don’t think this process ever ends! My family has been eating relatively clean for probably 4 years now, and I am still making changes. It’s all about progress, not perfection. When we started, I had LOTS of food in boxes and bags in my pantry, and now I don’t. I’d call that progress for us, but we are certainly not perfect… nor do we desire to be!
Our 80/20 Rule
We kind of live by this 80/20 rule… we try to eat clean at least 80% of the time, and we don’t freak out about the other 20% that we may not eat clean. Many times we do really well and it’s probably closer to 90/10, and sometimes we don’t do so great and it’s closer to 70/30.
I always say that what I keep in my house, the things we eat regularly, are pretty clean. I have spent the last 4 years finding healthy meats and organic veggies and vetting out any packaged products I buy for convenience. This has certainly been a process, but the food I keep in my home is pretty clean.
However, we DO go out for dinner at least once a week. We take the kids out for ice cream. We don’t skip birthday parties just because there will be cake with who-knows-what in it – we will still eat cake. And we don’t feel guilty when we do!
Don’t let this process be overwhelming. Make one shift this week. Then repeat. Every little change counts! I would absolutely LOVE to see what changes you are making. Tag your photos #knowshiftrepeat on Instagram so I can see what you are up to and can cheer you on!