Kiran’s (Realistic) Quest to Cut Out Processed Foods

By blog team member, Kiran. To learn more about Kiran, check out our team page!

Before you read this, I’m asking you to do me a favor: Please don’t judge.

I started working with Lisa two years ago, but I actually have known her for years. I watched her start this blog, kept up with the original 100-Day pledge, and prior to working with her, took in little bits and pieces of her input. But to be honest, I thought that I was pretty healthy already, and I thought she may have been taking this a little further than I would (again, I’m being totally honest). Flash forward to 2012 when I started to work with her at 100 Days of Real Food.

Two Years Ago

As I mentioned, I thought my family was already eating healthy. I cooked many nights of the week, and by that I don’t mean I was just opening a bag of chicken nuggets. But like many, I was using some processed foods such as store bought white tortillas, and I certainly wasn’t shredding my own cheese. I even (gasp!) had a can or two of cream of mushroom soup in my pantry.

Kiran's (Realistic) Quest to Cut Out Processed Foods at 100 Days of #RealFood

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Kiran and Her Family

After getting better acclimated to Lisa’s real food rules, I did decide to start making some changes. This didn’t happen overnight, however. Now, jump back to today, two years after not only being a solid follower but a member of the team.

Where We are Today

I have the most respect for Lisa and her family, and I try my darndest to eat and feed my family as best I can when it comes to following the rules. But we are not 100%. No, in all honesty, I’m going to say that we are probably 85-90%. But that’s just realistic for us. I almost said “unfortunately,” but really, it is what it is. I can’t make it to the farmer’s market each week, and honestly, feeding a family of six, we can’t afford to buy every single thing organic. Everyone’s situation is different and some changes were easier for us to make than others.

Our successes include the following:

  1. Switching over to whole wheat.
    I ditched the white tortillas, the so-called wheat bread (with 15+ processed ingredients), and swapped out my flour to whole-wheat (or white whole-wheat) flour. I went on a huge bread baking kick and honestly didn’t do too badly with it. But time and dishes got the best of me; so these days, I do occasionally bake our whole-wheat bread, but otherwise I get it from Great Harvest.
  2. Opting for organic.
    I got smarter about where I was buying our food (i.e. ditching one grocery store in favor of another) and aim to buy organic whenever possible, keeping the dirty dozen chart in mind. I also always choose organic milk now, which I was not doing before.
  3. Minimizing the meat.
    Especially since I am feeding a family of six, I don’t buy all organic/local meats. Instead, I opt to not offer as much meat as we were eating two years ago (which was a lot). This will forever be a challenge for my husband, but eating less meat means that I can fill our plates up with more veggies and/or fruit.
  4. Swapping out (and reducing) sugar.
    This was actually much easier than I thought, and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had one complaint from my kids on this one. They tend to favor maple syrup over honey, and I also use dates sometimes in baking.
  5. Purging the packaged goods.
    Personally speaking, this was the most difficult for us. I was a huge Wheat Thin addict. I loved them and had them multiple times each day. I thought I was doing well by switching over to Special K crackers (remember your promise to not judge?). No lie—it took me 12-18 months to get them out of our pantry. But I’m happy to report that I’m a recovering addict. My kids were the same with Goldfish. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for them, I just stopped buying them. And I’m also happy to report that if they are served Goldfish at Girl Scouts (don’t get me started) or elsewhere, they actually say they don’t really like them. Tastebuds do change!

The Other 15%

I mentioned that we eat about 85% real food. So where does that extra 15% lie? Well, remember that I don’t buy everything organic. I don’t make my own tortillas all the time, but I do opt for the ones with the least ingredients. I also have a sweet tooth, and I don’t always (ok, almost never) choose the better dark chocolate. We go out to eat maybe once a week, and I’m the only one in my family who would have any desire whatsoever to find a restaurant that serves local food (I’d love a vegetarian one, at that). No, my family prefers a favorite pizza place that we’ve been frequenting for 10+ years. And no matter how hard I try to convert my kids over to 1-ingredient peanut or almond butter, they just won’t leave their beloved Jif (albeit the “natural” version – though I’m not sure how much better that makes me feel!).

I have to pick my battles, though. And for me, settling for 85% is just the best that I’m going to be able to do at this point in time. Looking back, I realize all the positive changes that Lisa has helped my family make. And I know that there are so many more that we can make in the future.

Positive Changes in Our Health

A lot of times I read a story about someone or some family making changes, and I wonder, did this really change them? Or after hearing their story, even though it sounds like a success story, I wonder, should I try it? And why?

So here is my proof; here are some positive changes that I and/or we have experienced:

  • Change in tastebuds/cravings. I now crave raw, cut vegetables instead of my former beloved Wheat Thins.
  • Satisfaction. A feeling of satisfaction after meals instead of hunger that used to ensue 20-30 minutes after a meal.
  • Regularity. Not one of my kids has any issue with this, which I attribute to the natural fibers they consume on a daily basis.
  • Regularity of a different form. I had irregular menstrual periods for years. They are now like clockwork.
  • Decreased sickness.
  • Increased energy.

So now that I’ve shared my realistic journey, please share some of your successes and potential goals for the future with me. How has Lisa helped you change? Are you 100%? 90%? 50%? No matter where you are on this journey, let this serve as a reminder that when it comes to cutting out highly processed foods, any small changes are encouraging and far better than none!

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329 thoughts on “Kiran’s (Realistic) Quest to Cut Out Processed Foods”

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  1. Lindsay Untherbergus

    As a college student, all I can say is that I do my best! I eat a lot of plain Greek yogurt, almond butter sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, and raw fruits and veggies. When I am home for the night and can cook dinner for myself, I always make a real food meal, usually using lentils, beans, chicken, chickpeas, and/or farro. When I have to grab dinner out, I try and stick to as many real food rules as I can!

  2. We’re definitely not 100%! But we’re at least 70%. Crackers are whole grain and with few ingredients (kids lunch carb of choice is SunRice brown rice thins), lots of fruit and vegetables, home cooked meals with mostly natural ingredients (not organic) and takeaways are vegetable-full thai, indian or our amazing local pizza chain which make vegetable heavy delights! The biggest thing holding me back is IBS as I can’t do whole grains. Low-fibre plain white bread is the best I can do, along with white rice and regular pasta as the effects of whole grain are too painful! But I figure if we’re doing our best with fruit, vegetables and not using highly processed foods in other areas, that it’s better than nothing :) I also can’t eat dark chocolate (sob! I love dark chocolate, but IBS…) so it’s milk chocolate at our house. Another local company makes the most amazing, not too sweet, milk chocolate, so I try to keep myself to a few small squares a day :) Loved reading your thoughts, and I love this website in general!

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Thanks so much, Clare. Sounds like you are doing a great job, even with your limitations. Do they ever anticipate you being able to eat some of the foods that you currently cannot? Regardless – keep up the great work! :)

  3. Kiran, thank you so much for this article! Your honesty is greatly appreciated. It’s so nice to know that I’m not failing if I can’t be 100% with this lifestyle and it’s okay to keep taking it one day at a time. :)

  4. I think everyone does their best. When l first started eating the way we do now, it was definitely baby steps. l never imagined we would be where we are now. I follow a lot of what the 100 Days of real food ways are along with some others. We use stuff like sourdough bread since it is easier digestible ( l get the WholeFoods brand since it is soy free). I never planned to go gluten free, just sort of happened and helped out a lot of my digestion problems. As for peanut butter, try the Wholefoods 365 creamy sugar free but with salt. I have tried many and it’s the only one I have found that is like the peanut butter we are all use too. My mom also prefers their brand of almond butter over all the ones she has tried. Good luck, sounds like you are doing great.

  5. We’ve been following 100 Days for about a year. I would say we average about 75%. Sometimes we do much better and sometimes, well, not so much. The biggest help has been the recipes here; we haven’t found one we don’t like. Even more so, we haven’t found one we don’t love. That helps a lot. When I’m struggling what to cook I know I can come here to find a good recipe. I would say we struggle in 3 areas 1. Organic – we don’t have a good source for organic produce in our area. When I buy organic I end up throwing about half of it away. We just don’t have the market for it in our area, so the supply is not good. So, I opt for local as a secondary choice. 2. Snacks – we are evening snackers. And, we like it. While we don’t crave them like we used to, sometimes it is just nice to have a snack. I haven’t successfully found a good set of replacements. We do popcorn, larabars, fruit, greek yogurt, homemade granola. When I just want some chips I almost always resort to plain. If I really feel a craving for another flavor all I have to do is compare the ingredient list and know that I can’t bring myself to eat any of those ‘yummy’ flavors. And since plain are kind of boring I don’t eat that many. BTW – Lisa’s brownie recipe is to die for! 3. Eating out – we do enjoy dining out with friends. It’s a very social part of our life. So, we don’t beat ourselves up about it. We do the best we can when dining out. But, we enjoy our sushi night and pizza night and eat well when we are at home. I would say one of the other struggles has been the ‘inconvenience’ of cooking for yourself. Processed food has been made so convenient that home cooking has been made to feel inconvenient. It is definitely a change in mindset. But, it is worth it. If it were convenient and easy we would eat ‘real’ all the time. So, we continue to work on changing our habits and get better.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. You are so right; no need to beat yourself up. Do the best that you can, but don’t forget to enjoy.


  6. Thank you for your honesty. We eat a lot like your family. I’m glad to see we aren’t the only ones ok with less than 100%. I think when people try to do 100%, not only is it unrealistic, but stressful. Which might take the joy out of the wonderful food. I started out that way and, for me, it seemed to turn into a obsession. So I took the advice of Kelly the Kitchen Kop and adopted the 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time, and try not to stress over the other 20%. It has worked well for our family.

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      It’s not worth getting stressed over or obsessing about it, right? All we can do is the best that we can do. 80/20 or 90/10 is a great way to go. Kudos to you and your family!

  7. Thank you for sharing! I love this site and the wisdom and information that comes from all the tips and articles. We are slowly making changes but are sitting around 75% switched over. We go through seasons. Summer is always more of a win for us, eating more fresh foods and salads with winter being a bigger challenge! We love our comfort food and while one figured out how to make some of it 100% real others are more challenging. Baby steps! I’m proud of my kids though! Last year I cut out all snacks that weren’t real and they are rock starts! I was wondering if you could share some meal ideas you use that don’t have meat? We love our meat and are blessed to have a freezer full of elk from hunting season but I would love to change it up and have is eating more veggies and creating a better balance! Thanks again for your openness! It’s encouraging!

  8. Great post! I have 3 boys, 12, 14 and 16 and am a single parent. I did not grow up eating anything processed, so I have not had to make any big changes while raising my own kids as I just have done what I know. However, with 3 boys and how much they eat, I am struggling! I am in the kitchen constantly trying to make healthy snacks. There just isn’t enough time to make all that food. I have given myself permission to buy pretzels , granola bars and yogurts for on the run. They are great about grabbing fruit, and veggies eating hard boiled eggs, or home baked muffins but it is nearly impossible to keep up with making healthy snacks and lunches. Unfortunately too, teen boys only take paper sack lunches so it limits what can you can put in there that will still be edible at lunchtime. I’ve learned to do the best that I can !

    1. Maureen~
      It sounds like you are doing an awesome job. So kudos to you! I absolutely agree that you have to just do what you can. And again – sounds like you are doing great. They are some lucky boys!!:)

  9. I have been following Lisa on FB for a while now and have been learning a lot. My youngest daughter has crohnes disease and I started looking at our food a few years ago and trying to eat better; but, the biggest change has been taking care of my 85 year old aunt who was very sick. When I moved here to take care of her 6 months ago she was on 20 different medications! She is a type 2 diabetic and was taking oral medication plus insulin and her blood sugar was all over the place. She spent some time in rehab and the food they gave her was awful! Within a week of her coming home we had her blood sugar managed with food! No shots, no pills and I have bullied the doctors into cutting out all but 3 medications for her heart. Physically she is doing very well and has lost about 25 lbs. She struggles with super high anxiety that was brought on by one medication that she was given in rehab. We are eating so clean that today when we grabbed CF sandwiches it made us both feel sick after eating them. I have noticed that I feel awful after eating any bread other than our good bread at home! I am working on my grown kids to try eating cleaner and hopefully they will jump on the bandwagon soon. Thank you to all of you at 100 Days of Real Food for educating us about what is in manufactured food and how we can eat healthier!!

  10. I gave up sugar and flour 4.5 years ago. Before then I was all about flour, sugar, processed foods, and quantities. My tastes have COMPLETELY changed. I love beets, olives, squash… All things I hated before! I also realize that different kinds of apples have different ‘flavors’. It’s amazing. I’ve also list and kept off 100 pounds… That’s been nice too. ☺️

  11. Mrs. Smith,
    Babysitting for you this summer got me interested in 100 Days of Real Food. Especially when I noticed how well your kids ate! I subscribed to the blog this year when I moved into my first apartment at school. I have you to thank for indirectly showing me how important it is to eat as clean as possible. My budget is limited so, I’m not always buying organic but, I follow the 5 ingredients or less rule by heart. I too have had reduced cravings and don’t crave sugar like I used to! Not to mention losing a little weight, that’s always a welcome side effect! Some of my college friends have noticed my eating habits and have started eating cleaner as well. I loved reading this article about your family! I’m interning in a 4th grade classroom about 16 hours a week and, switching from processed foods has greatly increased my energy! I’m so thankful you helped introduce me to 100 Days of Real Food!

    1. Abbie!
      You absolutely made my day. I am so, so happy that you are enjoying real food. Thank you so much for this comment.
      Please keep me posted and come see us soon!!

  12. Thanks for the post, I am struggling to cut out the processed foods, with two young kids, we have a lot of it. Any tips or example breakfasts/lunches/dinner for the kids? Mine are so picky right now, its mostly PB&J or turkey sandwiches and tons of cereal bars and frozen waffles for breakfast. goldfish and pretzels for snacks. The only veggies my kids will touch are snap peas or sometimes spinach hidden in their smoothies, Help! Do I just go cold turkey and not offer it at all anymore? It feels so daunting that I just haven’t taken the leap to do it, but we’re having a lot of behavior problems, sleep problems and chronic cough all winter so I know something needs to change!

    1. Just start offering them more variety. That’s how we started. Don’t announce it or ask for an opinion. Offer raisins or a banana instead of goldfish. Offer yogurt and fruit instead of frozen waffles. At dinner if you need help adding another veggie, do raw baby carrots or celery with nut butter. These are super easy to incorporate into daily use.

  13. Do you have any tips on cutting out meat? I’ve cut out so many things that my husband is going nuts. I’ve mentioned trying to consume less meat, but he’s not going for it. We’ve had to cut out most grains for health reasons and try to limit our milk intake, and of course we’re always trying to kick sugar. The man is super unwilling to give up meat (even a few days a week). What are your favorite meatless dinners?

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      heh heh heh … I feel your pain, Danielle! My husband is the same way. So I make meat for him. I can’t force him to change so I don’t try. Personally, I’ve REALLY enjoyed doing the non-meat thing. I love lentils and beans and make lots of vegetable soups and salads. I actually love eating greens so a lot of times I’ll do a large salad and lots of nuts or even nut butters with it. I’m about to OD on nut butters, actually;). And I will do occasional fish or shrimp or even a hard boiled egg or two. A lot of times I’ll make the meat for him (and one of my kids who really likes it, and frankly any of the other 3 who want it) and they make sides out of the meatless sides. HTH!

  14. Kiran, your family sounds EXACTLY like mine! Your trouble spots are ours, down to the Goldfish, bread type, and tortillas! I wanted to ask you what you give your children for snacks? Mine eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but they do love their goldfish. What have you found to replace that favorite treat? And do you have a favorite recipe for your own tortillas??

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Hi Mir,
      The snacks have gotten much better over the past year! I now give them fruits/veggies with something else – like a homemade muffin/piece of banana bread/granola bar/popcorn or something like that. Occasionally I’ll do something “fun” like tortilla chips and salsa with veggies just to change it up.
      For the favorite treat, I can honestly say that the less sweets you eat, the less that you crave. This has been a life changer for me! If you haven’t seen this post ( you’ll see what changes we have made in 1 year. Keep up the good work! :)

  15. I love your honesty Kiran and believe that this will motivate more people to eat more real food knowing that they don’t have to be perfect and 100% to improve their diet. As an instructor in holistic nutrition, I always stress balance and this article is a great example of making better, realistic changes and how they will improve your health.
    Thank you for sharing.

  16. Wooow… Where to begin??? You don’t know how helpful has being this post for me. Weeks ago I bought Lisa’s book and it is Amazing, as I wrote in Amazon “Everything you need to know about healthy food, in a Mom-language” . I’ve learned so much from it, and understood many concerns. But like you, I haven’t done a 100% change…
    With a craving junk husband lover of ice cream and chips and a super picky 7 year old daughter, plus a big moving state with a very tight budget I’m so worried about how our family is going to start 2015 in a “New Healthy way/ Habits” Thanks for sharing, now I feel that I’m not the only one with less possibilities, and that no matters where to start the change, The point is to start with something. As Lisa Says: “A little change is better than none” I feel less guilty. :)

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Good for you for realizing that you want to make a change. That is a huge first step! I tell everyone that it won’t happen overnight, but as you said, little changes do add up. Good luck to you!

  17. I think that Karin’s honesty is awesome and equally fantastic that she has made positive changes in her diet. Although my family ate somewhat healthy already, I thought, we can always do better, so why not! I read Lisa’s book and learned a lot about the way we ate and really was shocked by some of the things that I had been feeding my family. The change was easy for myself, husband and daughter, but my son…..that’s a different story. Both my son and I suffer from food allergies, so for him this was not only an unwelcome change but he was a food science experiment, so to speak. He had to test every new item a little at a time so see if he would react to the new food. It has been months now of getting rid of processed foods, sugar, trying to only buy organic meats, veggies and fruits and keeping ingredients in our food to a minimum. I would proudly say that we are 90% eating clean and still working on the last 10%. In saying this, my son’s allergies have gotten much better, so much better that he has not had to take his allergy medicine for over a month now. Both my husband’s and I health have greatly improved. I am really excited to work on the last 10% we have and feel even better. Thank you Lisa for the kick I have needed all along! :)

  18. This is so me! Some battles are just not worth fighting every time I sit down at the table. That being said, I’m the one that buys the groceries around here, so I just try to make good choices for everyone. :)

  19. One of the things I like the best about this site is the honestly. Because in reality it’s incredibly difficult to be 100%. My family and I switched over to whole/organic foods about 6 weeks ago. It was so hard to give up Pepsi (head hung in shame). I would say that my baby daughter and I am about 90%. My son has a harder time, but I’m so proud of all the effort he’s put into it. He loves to learn about healthy eating with me. He’s about 60 % now, with a goal of 80%. He does well at home but it’s hard for him when at friend’s houses and at school. My husband is very supportive, but let’s just say he’s still a work in progress! Positive changes that we’ve seen are more energy, better mental health, improved regularity, feeling more full and for longer, and behavior improvements. I am so happy to be on this journey. Thank you Lisa and your whole team for all your help!!

    1. My husband and I love Virgil’s Root Beer and Cream Sodas. It was hard for us to give up soda completely. But we went cold turkey and after we found Virgil’s brand, which is all natural and not flavored with Agave or Stevia (which I hate the flavor of), we treat ourselves sometimes.

  20. Thank you for your honesty! My goal would be for 100%, but I know that realistically it will end up being 70-80%. There are just some things my husband won’t give up, and our kids will ask for it because it’s in our house. We are on our way….the processed food has decreased, and healthier options are taking their place. One day at a time!

  21. When I met my fiancé, his cabinets wetter filled with processed foods. My kids and I had already been eating less processed food. I have gradually made the move to more real food but due to cost, we can’t go full bore organic yet. My kids finally told me that they want to eat less real food for a while. I spoke with my fiancé, and we decided it was time to back off just a bit. They took doritos in their lunch today. I plan to give it some time while continuing with the basics at least. Now that I’m going back to work, our grocery budget will get some breathing room and I will be able to start a gradual move once again to more organic or non-GMO.

  22. I loved reading this article! It makes me feel so much better! I am also feeding a family of 6 and wish we were better at times but with 4 kids, we do the best we can. I bought your 100 Days of Real Food cookbook and I really like it. I am hoping to make some more recipes from it. My family loved the crock pot pulled pork!

  23. I loved this article. I ate whole wheat for years, and then switched to multi-grain because the ww got to be so bitter tasting I just couldn’t bear to eat it. This was long before I had any clue neither were any good for me. Then we accidentally left a loaf in a cooler and months later found it, a tad stale but not molded. And I thought OH LORD we don’t need to be embalmed when we die, because we’re being slowly embalmed one bite at a time. I haven’t started this journey yet, not sure this is the path I’ll take, but I do know as much as I love my store bought Flax & Grain bread, it’s go more preservatives than mummies of old had infused into them. I love my carbs and I have a sweet tooth, but I learned during most of 2012-13, when I was fixing smoothies for myself and my adult special needs son daily, I didn’t crave sweets of any kind. Thank you for your honesty. I have to go with the family for that meal a week out, I just cannot imagine giving up pizza permanently. And JIF does rock, I haven’t tried the All Natural.

  24. Two years ago, I happened onto 100 Days of Real Food’s Facebook page. I am not sure what motivated me to try and improve my family’s diet, but I did. Foods that I have always liked and thought I would always like do not even interest me any more. Taste buds do change! I have always been healthy. However, about 10 years ago I was dealing with symptoms–headache, itchy skin, redness in my face, adult acne. Well, as I slowly began switching from processed to a real whole food diet I see and feel the results. My skin is clear, the redness in my face is gone, the itchy skin is gone, and the headaches less intense less common. I know for me, these symptoms correlate with the foods I eat. When I eat processed food, these symptoms come back. As I child I battled frequent headaches. My mother said they were hereditary. If I’d only know how much the processed foods I ate as a child affected me. Today, I am thankful for the knowledge and insight 100 Days of Real Food provides.

  25. I love this 100 day challenge. I am a mother of 4 kids and it is hard. I have been getting so depressed over how bad are food is getting, and how much our food is killing us. I resonantly read an articular about whole wheat. And I asked my mother in law about this articular. She is a chines herbalist of 40 years, and she said that she wrote an articular in the 80s about the same thing.

    Before I use to only buy what bread, becasue “it was so pose to be more healthy”. When I heard about this I dropped to my knees and started crying. How can I be feeding poison to my kids like that. I had no clue. Now I know and I am passing it on to you…

  26. Great story! If you want to try eating more meat (specifically beef) look for local beef suppliers in your area and buy a quarter or half a cow (or split with a friend) at a time. Saves $ and you get lots of delicious steaks as well as local great food.

  27. I really enjoyed reading this- It’s so true that implementing gradual and consistent changes are key to helping children and even adults to beginning a healthy lifestyle that will last. Just your article about why we shouldn’t reward children with junk food- I totally agree! One suggestion I wanted to make, you mentioned that you buy your bread from Great Harvest. While they are a wonderful company and the bread has minimal ingredients (I used to work as a baker there), you may want to inquire about the oil they spray their bread pans with- the one we used was a combo of soy, canola, and corn, along with TBHQ and coloring. I stopped bringing home the loaf bread for my kids because of this. It was my understanding that most the bakeries used this type. :)

  28. I’m just starting out with this journey too, but I’m already seeing positive changes. I too love my sugar. I use the syrups they use in the coffee shops in my morning coffee, which, when added to my cappuccino, adds up to a whopping 26 grams of sugar!! And I was getting into the habit of having another in the afternoon! So, needless to say, this is something I’m working on. It will be a gradual process for me, and I’ll probably never be at 100% either, but I hope to get to eating this way at least 90% of the time. I so appreciate this site and several other great sites that are so helpful in offering advice, encouragement, and great recipes. Thanks!!

  29. I am such a sugar and carb addict. I started this challenge over a week ago. It’s especially difficult because my boyfriend and I LOVE desserts. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have been true to the rules of either honey or pure maple syrup in moderation. Let me tell you, I used to be the girl eating spoonfuls of chocolate frosting out of the tub, but now? Meh, just thinking of it makes me a little ill. Instead I crave carrots, apples and other fruits. And the complete and utter carb addiction? I haven’t had bread in over a week. And when I crave that warm comforting plate of spaghetti, I have it in a guiltless form. Behold the Spaghetti squash! It’s just a retraining of your mind. You can all do it!

  30. I’m a single mom of one almost 9 year old daughter. We have recently begun this real foods journey. Like you, I don’t think we’ll get to 100% (with her at least). I can skip the tortilla altogether, but I buy the 100% whole wheat for her. But, I’m not going to interfere with what her dad feeds her and I’m not going to go crazy about what she eats with friends. She gets a popsicle after cheering practice – big deal. As long as the majority of what she gets is good, I’m happy! I guess I see this as a long-term process, sugar being the hardest thing to get rid of completely. :)

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Sounds like you are doing a great job. Keep up the good work; the sugar part will come in time. I love reading this post and seeing how I’ve made improvements even since I wrote this. Take every day at a time! :)

  31. Hi Kiran!

    I am a vegetarian in search for better tasting green smoothies and I came across your website. I love your blog, it’s well written and beautifully presented. I was just reading about your peanut butter comment and your kids love for Jif natural. We also loved Jif natural but I recently discovered Smuckers natural. The only ingredients listed are peanuts and 1% or less of salt. It does need to be stirred, but it does stir very easily. Thanks for all your smoothy ideas. I am excited to try them!

    1. Hi Falguni,
      Thank you so much for that suggestion!! I recently bought a few different variations of organic, etc. PB from Trader Joe’s and did taste tests with my kids … sadly they didn’t love any of them. I’m not giving up; it just seems like a long process. I will definitely check out Smuckers Natural – thank you for the suggestion! And re: smoothies, have you checked out Simple Green Smoothies ( They have great recipes, images, etc. Hope that helps and thanks again!

    1. Kiran Dodeja Smith

      Yes, thank you – that was what I meant. None of my kids have a problem with constipation. But I certainly don’t have perfect kids!! :)

  32. I am having a hard time to believe this “Not one of my kids has any issue with this, which I attribute to the natural fibers they consume on a daily basis.” You’re lucky to have perfect kids!