Before you give up processed food, here are five things you should know. Some of these are myths that I’m busting and others are just the facts to help you get over that initial hump of change. Either way, it’s the perfect time of year for change, and this is one change you will NOT regret!
5 Things To Know Before You Give Up Processed Food
- You will not starve.
Funny enough, that was a common response we got when we first told friends about our plan to cut out processed food. If you can only eat packaged food that has five or fewer whole ingredients, what is there left to eat? Plenty, I promise! It takes some time to figure out your new go-to meals and snacks, but this reaction just goes to show how dependent Americans have become on processed, packaged foods!
- You will not feel deprived (for the most part).
I honestly feel more spoiled getting to eat real, wholesome, made-from-scratch food compared to the alternative. How could a package of factory-made cookies taste better than the homemade version? How could a burger from the drive-through possibly be better tasting than one off your own grill? If you are concerned about missing your refined, white grains – I agree, that’s a valid one. But there’s plenty of hope when it comes to making the switch.
- Real food is more filling.
You oftentimes need less real food to fill up because it will stick with you longer than the processed stuff. Refined grains, sugar, and other processed foods are just empty calories that simply won’t fill you up like a dense, made-from-scratch piece of whole-wheat bread (for just one example!).
- Change is hard – including this.
Completely changing how you food shop and cook for your family is no easy task! Trust me, I’ve been there because we did a complete 180 ourselves when we first got started six years ago (sleepless nights included!). The point is, even though abandoning your current routine won’t be easy at first, don’t let it stop you.
- It can become your new normal.
It will take time, but eventually you can quickly grab your new go-to (whole grain!) crackers or flour or whatever it is off the shelf at the store and it won’t feel like such an insurmountable challenge to make the right choices anymore.
Despite all the unknown and the challenges ahead, the absolute best thing you can do is to not overthink any of this and just start. A great way to do that right now is with our Real Food Mini-Pledge Program, which we are offering for the next few weeks only. Check it out!
14 thoughts on “5 Things To Know Before You Give Up Processed Food”
We eat pretty clean but not non processed. I know my husband and I could do only whole foods but not sure about my kids. My youngest would be fine but I have a 10 year old that doesn’t like many fruits or vegetables. I have tried making baked goods with more whole wheat and less or little sugar and they usually don’t taste very good. Did anyone do this with older kids and how did they adapt? Thanks!
Hi. My kids were 6 and 10 when we got really serious about food. It does take time and trial and error. Their taste buds adapt to less sugar, to whole grains, and to whole foods, in general, with patience…sometimes a lot of patience. ;)
I have a white board where I lay out a week’s worth of meals. Than I rotate around and add in a new recipe when I have time. Eating less processed foods gives me more energy, improves my mood, and enhances my overall well-being. So, the extra planning is welcomed when you feel the benefits. Thanks for sharing these tips. I certainly adopted many of these when I started years ago. Like you say in #5, it is the new normal. Can not imagine eating processed foods after living and eating the real-deal!
I wouldn’t be able to maintain our whole food lifestyle without the Plan to Eat online menu planner. It takes me less than 30 minutes to plan and make a list for all of our meals/snacks for the week. I highly recommend it for anyone starting this journey!
The headaches! Oh the headaches! When will they go away??!??
My husband had terrible headaches, chills, aches for about two weeks after cutting out all refined sugar and processed foods. I didn’t have many side effects. But we’re almost a year into our whole food journey and we feel amazing! You can do it!
First two comments explain my experience perfectly. Processed food and eating at fast food restaurants give me a tummy ache.
Whole Foods & green smoothies fill one up with less and you don’t eat as much. Weight control is sooo much easier!
I Agree!!!! I’ve been on a whole foods binge for quite a while.
LIFE IS BETTER.
Getting past the detox, cravings & sugar addiction is the hardest part.
I honestly can’t imagine ever going back to processed foods. When I do have something processed now (on occasion), it just tastes like chemicals to me.
I agree with all of this, but (no pun intended!) I don’t want to “sugar coat” that it is a challenge! A challenge that’s worth it, to be sure, but I remember for at least a few weeks feeling “hangry.” I hadn’t started to see the benefits yet in terms of overall health, weight loss, end of headaches, improved digestion, energy levels, etc, but was just feeling the difficulty of the changes. If we hadn’t had some significant health incentives to keep going, I definitely might have quit. Once I got over that initial hump, it was incredible to see the improvement in how I felt! And after a few too many days of holiday junk recently, I can feel that I need to get back on the wagon!
I think the hardest thing I have experienced by cutting out processed food is how sensitive I’ve become to preservatives and processed sugars. There are very few “fast-food” places I can eat anymore without getting sick. I found this crazy – but the way I feel makes it totally worth it. I feel so much better!
I often find myself with a stomach ache after eating out or having other processed foods. Additionally, since switching to a mostly whole foods diet, I can’t believe how often I taste something (such as a drink) and can’t take another sip because it is waaaaay too sweet.
Planning and prepping ahead will be crucial to my success. So, I got your new cookbook for Christmas, and I love it-Already made the fish tacos! As a busy working mom, I really love the shopping lists!
I totally agree, Maureen. I spend about 4 hours cooking ahead on Sundays and an additional hour or two writing a plan throughout the week, but it’s SO worth it for mine and my family’s health.