My husband and I got married in 2012 and just a few short months after we got married we began our real food journey. The cool thing is we didn’t start out or do this alone! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had two small children at that time and actually dove into it before us. We sat back and watched, listened, and asked tons(and tons) of questions. We knew we wanted to start a family in the near future as well and wanted to be in the best health possible. After really taking note and witnessing some of the positive changes they had made we really started questioning what we were putting into our bodies. We started noticing more and more how our bodies were reacting to certain types of foods.
Our Ah – Ha Moment
The first thing we discovered was how bad fast foods/less expensive take out places actually made us feel. We were never too keen on fast foods/chain restaurants because they never made us feel good and there never seemed to be truly healthy options when looking at menus. Ever just get in a slump after eating McDonald’s? Yep, that’s it. You see Matt was a huge Subway guy, and had Subway almost everyday for lunch. Before we dove into this he had always mentioned how bad he felt after eating lunch, he often felt lethargic and groggy. Neither one of us thought to connect the dots there. Soon after we dipped into the real food I started doing some research on Subway. Come to find out what we thought was “healthy” was loaded with artificial ingredients, preservatives, and chemicals such as carcinogens that are highly linked to cancer and gastrointestinal inflammation. Just their loaves of bread alone contained over 50 ingredients………that’s right 50! Funny, I thought it just took four or five ingredients to make bread?
So with our new knowledge of toxic ingredients & issues with fast food/chain restaurants, and old knowledge of how bad it made us feel we made a commitment to nix any and all fast food options. Five years later we have stayed true to our commitment and have never looked back! So now this is where the fun begins. Since fast food and take out were no longer options to us we were forced to do some home cooking, and lots of it! We sat down together, found some recipes that looked appetizing and made our first real food shopping list. The following day we went to the grocery store,loaded up our buggy with tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, a few meats and spices, and then headed to the check out counter. I will never forget that first time at the register when everything had been scanned, our grocery bill was half of what it normally was. I remember thinking oh no this isn’t enough, this is only going to last us half the week! Boy was I glad to be proven wrong. We were able to cook several dinners, have lunches, and breakfast too on half of what it normally cost us. I think one of the biggest scare factors for people when approaching real food is the perceived high cost. But I am here to show and prove to you that is simply not the case. Whenever you are buying real fruits and vegetables, and cooking with fresh ingredients your grocery bill will always be significantly less than when buying those highly processed packages of food(????).
How We Put It Into Action
Although we were pretty successful at our new food plan that first week we still didn’t go 100% just yet. We started by focusing on breakfast, then lunches, lastly dinner. It can get overwhelming in the beginning and to prevent going back to old ways, which just wasn’t an option we opted to ease into the new lifestyle. We started out focusing on breakfast and getting that down before moving onto lunches. We made smoothies just about every morning, or oatmeal, or scrambled eggs with fresh vegetables. Then started packing clean, healthy lunches to take to work. When we got comfortable with those two we moved onto dinner and home-cooked about every night! We would put on music, dance, have a good ol’ time together. This was obviously before kids. Dinner time is just pure craziness now but I absolutely love it! We also didn’t ditch everything we had in our pantry and/or fridge. When we ran out of something we would source a better alternative and replace it with a more healthy, cleaner option, maybe even an organic version! Within six months – a year our pantry and fridge were stocked with real food and real food staples. This lifestyle takes dedication and commitment, but I can promise you the rewards are endless! No step is too small and it is never too late to start. Our bodies deserve to look and feel great without all the additives and chemicals that are shoved in front of us daily. Most importantly, you deserve to feel the best you can!