Now that I've been going at this "whole food lifestyle" for quite a few years now, I've come up with my suggested order of operations that you can start with TODAY to move on to your whole food lifestyle. The goal of these steps is to make your transition to a whole food life, as simple as possible.
Why Should I Change My Diet?
Maybe things seem to be going alright. Why would you be motivated to change anything up? It's easier to just keep on doing what we've always been doing, right? Here are the reasons I have made eating whole foods a major part of our lifestyle:
- Clearer Skin
- Reduce/Eliminate Headaches
- Reduce/Eliminate Bloating
- Better Sleep
- More Energy
- Clothes Fit Better
- Less Weight/Body Fat
- Handle Stress Better
- Improved Behavior in Children
- Increased Overall Well-Being
Step 1: Switch the Oils
Why should you switch your oils and fats? There are tons of great posts out there that get into the details but basically, not all fats are created equal and some just aren't great for your body. Especially in the large quantities that we consume them on a daily basis (via fast & processed foods, to be specific).
If you've been cooking with canola oil and cheap vegetable sprays for everything, go to just about any grocery store (or online, I've provided some links) and pick up some Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil and a bottle of Cold-pressed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Make sure the olive oil is in a dark, glass bottle and as local to you as possible (I try to get olive oil that was grown and cold-pressed in California).
The other oil/fat that I would suggest switching out is margarine or cheap butter for grass-fed butter. The increased health benefits of grass-fed butter compared to conventional butter is hard to argue with. My family's favorite is the Kerrygold Butter. My husband and kids will eat pretty big pieces of it straight... crazy, I know but it really is SO GOOD! It can also be found at most grocery stores and even Walmart for the 2nd best price (that I've found). I buy mine in a 3-pack at Costco for less than $6 since that is the cheapest I've been able to find it.
I cook most things in coconut oil (eggs, meat if it needs additional fat, a stir-fry, etc). Some things I cook in olive oil, especially roasted vegetables or in the Kerrygold Butter but I mostly use olive oil for my salad dressings. Take a look at the ingredients on your bottle of salad dressing at home. You'll typically find a lot of sugar and low quality oils in it, so this is a very worthwhile switch to make. Occasionally I'll make a little bit "fancier" dressing but most days I put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on my salads. The quality fat helps keep me full and rounds off the flavor really nicely with most of my salad combinations.
As for the grass-fed butter, use it as you would any other butter/margarine you used previously & enjoy the added health benefits and AMAZING taste it offers. You'll never go back, trust me.
That's it for Step 1. Start today, let me know how it goes and I'll see you at Step 2!