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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!