Sweet & Salty Tuna Salad

As some of my readers already know, I have been hosting a Whole30 challenge this month through my business Back 2 Basics Cooking . Many of the participants have stated how much the support has helped them to change their eating habits, but it has also taught me a lot in return! As I said in another post, I have learned tons of awesome whole food recipes. This recipe was inspired by something one of the participants posted. (I am not sure if she wants me to give her name, so if now I am going to leave it out.)

I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for her recipe, so I had to improvise. As is almost always, my improvising was a success!  I discovered another cheap meal that requires no heat for cooking, so it is super quick to throw together. It is also great to take for a lunch since it doesn’t need to be warmed up. I thought I would share my new go to meal with all of my awesome readers.

It is the perfect balance of sweet and salty that has the crunch that you crave, while leaving you satisfied for several hours!

Make sure your tuna doesn't have soy listed as an ingredient.

Make sure your tuna doesn’t have soy listed as an ingredient.

Sweet and Salty Tuna Salad

Serves 1

1 Can of Wild-Caught Tuna in Olive Oil or Water (Check Label for Soy!)

1 Sweet Apple Cut into Chunks, Fuji or Honeycrisp Work Great

1 Cucumber, Cut into Chunks

1 Ripe Avocado, Mashed

1/4 Yellow Onion Diced Small

A Large Pinch of Sea Salt

Mix together and enjoy!

Yum Yum Yum!

Yum Yum Yum!

What I Have Learned After The 1st Week Of Hosting a Whole30 Challenge

On October 1, 2014, me and 25 other people started out on a Whole30 challenge, which my business Back 2 Basics Cooking is hosting. Even though I have been eating (95%) Paleo since April of this year, this will be the first Whole30 program that I personally have completed, as well as the first time I have hosted a challenge. I put a lot of effort and time into organizing this event, and was worried that no one would sign up or that no one would complete the challenge.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and rasiasns.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and raisins.

While it has given my business some positive exposure, I did not organize this challenge to raise profits. Therefore, it would have been quite the bummer if no one signed up, or if everyone only participated half heartedly. Not only have many of the participants continued to participate, many of them are taking extra time out of their day to help support each other!

Chicken sautéed with some spinach and coconut oil and tomatoes with roasted brussel sprouts-all covered with fresh lemon juice~Submitted by Jessica

Chicken sautéed with some spinach and coconut oil and tomatoes with roasted brussel sprouts-all covered with fresh lemon juice~Submitted by Jessica

On top of that, I have been learning a lot myself from hosting the challenge. I am already figuring out ways to make the next challenge more helpful. Considering that about a week before the challenge I was very down and ready to throw in the towel, this is very exciting to me! A few people have dropped out of the challenge, but I am still very happy that they even attempted it. I hope that the time they participated helped open their eyes to how food affects them, which will help them to make more whole food choices in the future. There are even people who have asked to follow the group, so that they can learn more!

Apples, almond butter, and kombucha~Submitted by Jen

Apples, almond butter, and kombucha~Submitted by Jen

Since we have officially made it through the one week mark, I thought I would take a moment to write a quick post about some of the things participating and hosting this challenge has taught me:

Hamburger mixed with carrots, zucchini, and onions ~Submitted by Ambra

Hamburger mixed with carrots, zucchini, and onions ~Submitted by Ambra

1. Support is CRUCIAL for some when it comes to change. I am one of those someones. If I had not put together this challenge I know I would have given up on this already, even though I am 100% aware of how much it will help my health. But it would be kind of messed up of me to give up now though, since I am encouraging everyone else to continue. haha

Batch cooking some roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions~Submitted by Jessica

Batch cooking some roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions~Submitted by Jessica

2.I thought that since  I have been grain, soy, dairy (with the exception of grass-fed butter), and food-dye free since April, that I would not have much to learn from participating in the program….silly me! Sugar is a hard habit to kick, and just because you are eating honey instead of table sugar it still doesn’t mean you aren’t still addicted to sugar.

Tuna, celery, and raisins over spinach ~Submitted by Jen

Tuna, celery, and raisins over spinach ~Submitted by Jen

3. I need to have my own kitchen by the time I have the next challenge, so that I can have the support meetings there. Then I could give small demonstrations also. I also want to have a meeting either the day before or the first day of the next challenge. My sister was in from Canada and I had to take her to the airport in KC on Oct 1, so that just wasn’t an option this time.

Baked sweet potato chips with cinnamon and ginger~Submitted by Jerale

Baked sweet potato chips with cinnamon and ginger~Submitted by Jerale

4.Having a support group on Facebook, has really helped some of us out. For example, I was not aware that we couldn’t have any extracts on this program (even though I am the “leader”), but because of the facebook group I was able to find out before we were too far in. Others have thought they needed to be low carb, but I was able to explain that isn’t necessary. You CAN be low carb, but you do not have to be. Simply eat the RIGHT carbs. It has also helped out with people asking me the same questions. This way I can just refer them to the post instead of saying the same thing over and over.

Baked pears, coconut milk, and walnuts ~Submitted by Cassandra

Baked pears, coconut milk, and walnuts ~Submitted by Cassandra

5.Being able to share recipes and meal ideas is also great! I would have never thought to put apples, tuna, and cucumbers together on my own. Someone else shared the idea so I gave it a shot and wow!  I was already aware of what a wide range of meals and snacks would be available, I talked about it in this post. But I believe sharing ideas with each other has helped to speed up everyone’s learning curve. As you can see by all of the food pictures that I took from our Facebook group, we haven’t had a shortage of meal ideas. 🙂

Tuna mixed with cucumbers, onions, apples, olive oil, and avocado.

Tuna mixed with cucumbers, onions, apples, olive oil, and avocado.

6.Food can be very addictive and we should not downplay that. In my opinion, it is like a drug for many of us and should be treated as such. (Only drugs don’t line the shelves of every gas station and grocery store around!)

Chicken topped with mango and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes ~Submitted by Jessa

Chicken topped with mango and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes ~Submitted by Jessa

7.People are noticing how much better they are feeling, how they are staying full longer, and how amazing whole foods taste when you clean up your body much faster than I had anticipated. This is awesome to me!

Hamburger with greeen beans, onions, and green peppers with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries~Submitted by Kara

Hamburger with green beans, onions, and green peppers with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries~Submitted by Kara

For all of my Whole 30ers who are reading this: Please take a moment and comment below. Give a short explanation of how the first week has went for you. what you have learned and why you are continuing with the challenge. It is ok to add the good and the bad. I am hoping to help motivate others to start eating more whole foods and your feedback will help tons!

Ground turkey, marinara sauce & spaghetti squash ~Submitted by Jessica

Ground turkey, marinara sauce & spaghetti squash ~Submitted by Jessica

(If you are not part of our challenge, but have completed a Whole30 Program before, please feel free to comment as well.)

Frozen Grapes

Frozen Grapes

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

I wanted to try the Paleo diet for many months before I actually went “all in” and gave it a shot. Looking back I realize that it was my fear of failure, not my fear of giving up bread, that kept me from really trying for all those months. Now I understand that, that same fear is probably keeping many of my readers from giving Paleo eating a “real” shot. (And possibly a little bit of fear that it might actually make you feel amazing!) It was the same reason I waited so many years to quit smoking. It took me four or five tries, but I did quit (it has been several years, I have actually lost count)–and you can too!

Fear of failing has kept me from doing a lot of things in my life, but in my recent years I have been learning to let go of that fear. It has been amazing, despite the fact that I have actually failed at times. But you know what? I was ok. Actually, I am quickly learning that failure is something that we should embrace, not fear.

Take parenting and owning a business as two examples. I have not been doing either for much time, but I have already “failed” at both many, many times. These “failures” though, have actually proved to be very important lessons. Had I never experienced the failures, then the lessons would have been lost.

Some of the things I was successful at, because I faced my fear of failure:

I negotiated the price of my last used car.

I gave birth without any pain medicine.

I started a business. (I wouldn’t call this a “success just yet, but it isn’t a failure yet either.)

All three of these experiences were more empowering than I could ever fit into this computer screen. I most certainly would not be the person that I am today if I had not swallow my fear and took that first step towards facing my fear.

So if fear of failure is keeping you from really giving Paleo (or something else) a shot, please stand up and look your fear in the face!  And if you can’t do it 100% hard core right away that is ok. The point is to do something though.

If I would have counted, I probably failed at Paleo at least 50 times since I have started. That does not keep me from trying to eat my next meal Paleo though. If you are brave enough, give the Whole30 challenge a try with us (check out my post about it here). I promise it will change your life. Even if you go back to eating some unhealthy foods I am confident that you will have a much larger awareness of what you are eating, which will help you to make better choices.

 

Blog Pics

The W’s of the Upcoming Whole30 Challenge in Columbia, MO

 

 The Whole30 Challenge-Columbia, MO 

Hosted By:

Back2BasicsCooking-Final_3

 

Back2Basics-Whole30-Flyer-FINAL2_Page_1     Back2Basics-Whole30-Flyer-FINAL2_Page_2
If you have heard about the upcoming Whole30 challenge that Back 2 Basics Cooking is hosting then you might have a few questions. So in case you missed the meetings or are out-of-town and will be participating only online (forfeiting all gift bags and prizes), here are some answers to the w’s of the upcoming challenge. If you haven’t already, check out my webpage about the challenge.

Who is this challenge for? Anyone who wishes to follow the Whole30 Program for 30 days with the rest of the group.

What will people be doing? Short version-Eliminating inflammatory food groups such as dairy, grains, legumes, sugar, and alcohol. So they will be eating meat, lots of vegetables and healthy fats and some nuts, seeds, and fruits. There will be support groups, as well as online support, and a party at the end where everyone who participated for the full 30 days and follows the rules will receive a gift bag. There will also be drawings for grand prizes. Best of all, thanks to all the wonderful sponsors, this event is FREE!

Where will the support groups and the party be located? Ingredient in Columbia, Missouri. It is located downtown so parking isn’t the greatest, but you can park in the parking garage to the east of the building. Dates and times to be announced.

When will this event take place? October 1,2014-October, 30, 2014-Support groups and party dates TBA

Why on earth would people want to give up their pizza? Well I don’t think very many people actually want to give up their pizza, but many find that when they do, they feel better. For some people, whatever medical condition or symptom they are suffering from is enough to motive them to ditch their favorite slice. For me it was migraines (horrible, horrible migraines) and my entire body was constantly itchy. A dairy allergy was to blame. We took our son off of grains when he tested low on iron despite the fact that he got plenty of iron in his diet. A month later (and with no other changes) his levels were normal again.

Still have questions? Of coarse you do. Read all 8 steps here. Please note on step four that we will be each others support network. I would suggest to find a “buddy” for the challenge. One person to help support you. Preferably someone in your household, but if not possible, then that’s ok too. If you can not find a buddy, send me an email and I can help with that.

So why can’t you just give up things slowly instead? Great Question! You can do that, but don’t you think if you were going to do that you would be doing it already? (If you are doing it already then good for you! Keep it up, you probably don’t need to do this challenge. If you want free and discounted stuff then feel free to join in, I mean it is only 30 days.) I completely understand and support that this is not the way for everyone. There is a reason I recommend that everyone at least consider the idea though.

I believe the Whole30 is a great way to kick start a healthier eating campaign, because it will allow people to do what has taken me 2 years to do, in just 30 days. To be honest, even taking it slowly, I still need to do a Whole30. I eat mostly a Paleo diet; I have eliminated grains and diary (except grass-fed butter), I don’t eat most legumes or processed foods. But I am far from perfect still. I have a horrible addiction to dark chocolate almond milk and larabars. I do not think larabars are a problem in moderation; however, four of them in one hour is a different story.

So I believe you could compare it to getting into a swimming pool.

You can:

A)Ease your way in slowly and draw out the torture of the cold water feeling.

Or

B)You can jump right in, experiencing an intense but much quicker burst of the cold water feeling.

Consider the Whole30 as option B.

Whether you choose option A or option B, I hope you choose one of them. Your body will thank you!

So for those of you who are still with me and wanting to participate in the upcoming Whole30 challenge, here are the rules:

1)Follow all of the Whole30 rules, which again can be read here. Yes, even the no weighing yourself rule!

2)Request to join the “Whole30 Challenge-Columbia, MO October 2014” group on Facebook. Once accepted, make a post in this group saying why you are doing the challenge. *

3)There will be one support group each week. You must attend at least one, but are welcome at all. Dates and times are to be announced soon.

4)You must sign up no later than midnight on September 30, 2014.

5) You must attend the party. If you know you can not at least 2 weeks ahead of time and you e-mail me, it is possible we could work around this. No last-minute cancellation will be allowed. The date and time will be announced soon.

6)You must take at least one picture of a meal you are eating and post it to the Back 2 Basics Cooking Facebook page during the challenge. Feel free to say how you are feeling, what you are missing, what you are loving, etc…*

*If you do not have a facebook account, please send me an e-mail.  ashley@back2basicscooking.net

What can you do between now and then to prepare?
1)Clean out your kitchen, car, desk, etc…. If there are members of your household who are not participating try to designate cabinets so you don’t have to look at all of their off limit foods each time you open the cabinet. The fridge/freezer area is a little harder, but you can designate an area “yours”, where “off-limit” foods are off-limits.

2)Adjust your mindset. If you say you can’t do this then you can’t. Check out my blog about this here. It is about losing weight, but you can apply it to diet changes also.

3)Start “practicing” eating Paleo meals. For example, Eat some pork chops, eggs and veggies for breakfast. Have a big salad with homemade dressing for lunch. Have some homemade soup for dinner.

4)Find one or two good take out dishes and 5-10 go to meals for the Challenge. Seriously. Knowing what you can eat before you are starving can mean the difference between success and failure. Those of you who are super organized could actually plan out the entire month of meals and snacks. Personally I am nowhere near that organized, but kiddos to those who are!

5)Getting a chiropractic adjustment is highly recommended. I got one the day I gave up soda and never got a caffeine headache! (My head was a little sore, but nothing like the normal headache that I usually get from stopping Dr. Pepper cold turkey.)

6)If you are on regular medication, see your doctor and let him know about you upcoming diet change. If you are on blood pressure medicine for example and your blood pressure gets too low you will get very dizzy and this can be dangerous. Check out this post about talking to your doctor about a Whole30.

7)Get others to join! I started this challenge to help people so the more the merrier!!

8)Consider subscribing to the Whole30 Daily, just remember to set your start day as October 1. It is $14.95 and not required; however I feel it will be invaluable for those of you making major diet adjustments. (Please note: I do not recieve any money if you do sign-up, I just really think it is a good resource.) Read more here.

Still have questions?

No problem, just post them below. Or feel free to shoot me an email: ashley@back2basicscooking.net

Chicken Fried Paleo Rice

What Will I Eat If I Don’t Use “Regular” Flour?-A Short Guide to Grain Free Flours

Grain free flours can be confusing, especially when you are used to “regular” all-purpose flours or even whole wheat flours. Have no fear though, because this post will go over the basics with you. After a little experimenting (but not too much because grain free flours are expensive!) you will know your way around grain free flours in no time…

The first thing to remember, is that grain free and gluten free are not the same thing. So anything made from oats, corn and rice, for example, are out. You can use beans flours or quinoa flour; however, if you eat Paleo like I do these are not good options. (Some in the Paleo/Primal communities believe buckwheat flour is ok to use, others avoid it.) Let’s look at what some good options are.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Flours

Almond Flour

Almond Flour/Meal- Thanks to more people giving up grains for various reasons, you can purchase almond flour from the health food section in many grocery stores. At around $10-$15 per 16 oz bag, it can get very pricey. You can purchase almond meal (which is slightly less ground than almond flour) from the bulk bins at some stores; however, those who have celiac or high sensitivity to gluten should not use this option due to cross-contamination.

It is much cheaper to make it yourself. Check out this video about how to make your own almond meal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

I would offer a word of caution about almond flour/meal though, I believe it should be used in moderation only. I personally do not feel my best if I eat too many nuts, so I looked into this and found this post about why to avoid almond flour. While I do think it is ok from time to time, I do think it is easy to go overboard. So as I said moderation (as with many things) is key.

 

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour

Coconut Flour-Coconuts are amazing! Not only  is there milk, water, and oil, but you can also use the meat to make flour. Again you can buy it from the health food section of many grocery stores already ground up or make it yourself. Check out this video for a step by step how to guide:

Coconut flour is a lot different than regular flour and it may take you a few times working with it to get the hang of it. This post  from Nourished Kitchen tells you what you need to know.  It does not substitute the same as grain based flours, so check out her post before attempting to cook with it.

It also has a different taste. Personally, it took my taste buds a few times eating it before I got used to it. Now I love it!

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot Starch

Arrowroot Starch/Powder/Flour-Referred to as starch, powder and flour, this is my go-to thickener. It will replace cornstarch 1:1. Read more here.

Sunflower Seed Flour

Sunflower Seed Flour

Seed Flours-Seed Flours can be made the same way as the nut flours. Sunflowers are probably the most commonly used; however, pumpkin and flax seeds are another option. This can be a great option for some people with tree nut and peanut allergies (some people with peanut allergies can not tolerate sunflower seed either). Here is a great recipe for Gluten Free Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites that you can try out using sunflower seed flour.

Sweet Potato Starch

Sweet Potato Starch

Other Alternative Flours-There are tons of other alternative flours out there-plantain flour, hazelnut flour, sweet potato starch, tapioca start, other ground nuts and seeds, and plenty more. I personally never used any of these options though, so I do not feel comfortable advising the internet world on them. I just wanted to let you know there are other options if you are the adventurous type.

Peanut Free Flour– Those who follow a Paleo/Primal Diet like me probably already know that peanuts are not actually a nut, but rather a legume; therefore, they do not eat any peanuts. I know there people who read this blog that do not eat a Paleo diet and I also know there are plenty of people out there who simply CAN NOT have peanuts. If they do their airway will close up and they will stop breathing. If that happens, how will they come back to read my blog? (In all seriousness though, my boyfriend gets anaphylaxis to certain types of fish and it is nothing to mess around with. So if this is you, play it safe please!)

Some of these people also can not have seeds. While this recipe does contain buckwheat flour, it is the best option I am aware of for anyone with a peanut/seed allergy trying to eat as close to grain free as they can. (Please note that it also has coconut, which can be an allergen for some people with peanut allergies.)

A Few Final Thoughts

I find that using a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and/or arrowroot starch works the best for most things for me. Play around and try different combinations to see what tastes and cooks the best for you. Remember to use more liquid than normal if you are using coconut flour.

I believe making things such as pancakes, bread, cookies, and even donuts with Paleo/Primal approved ingredients is ok in moderation. Of course, this does not mean that I believe this to be “health” food. I am one of the people who can not have “cheat” days while eating Paleo, because I am so sensitive to many non-Paleo foods that I end up fairly sick. So to have the option to make some pancakes that won’t leave me feeling miserable for hours afterwards is awesome!

Paleo Waffles

Paleo Waffles

If you eat these types of things everyday, please do not think you are eating healthy. While it is still loads better than eating a Standard American Diet, it is a far cry from having half your plate filled with vegetables. Please save them for now and agains if you want to feel your best! And don’t forget you can use it for things like coating chicken also….

What is your favorite grain free flour to cook with? What do you like to use your grain free flours for?

5 Items That Are Helpful to Have Around During a Whole30 Challenge

Since my business, Back 2 Basics Cooking, will be hosting a Whole30 challenge here in Columbia, Missouri, I thought it would be appropriate to write something related to the Whole30. So here are 5 items that I believe are helpful to have around in your kitchen during a Whole30 challenge.

1)Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

-Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has been more than just a staple in our home. Not only do we use it for our hair, skin, and teeth, but we also use a lot of it for cooking. It is a great choice for a cooking fat because unlike olive oil it does ok with high heat. It also adds a nice sweetness to your dish. If you are on a low budget you should either buy your coconut oil in bulk or use animals fats for cooking (that you render yourself), which are much cheaper.

2)Fire Roasted Tomatoes

-I always try to keep a few cans of organic fire roasted diced tomatoes in our cabinets. The deep, rich flavor is all I need to turn an okay meal into an extraordinary meal! Yum.

3)Avocados

-Yes, avocados are a high fat food; but, as this blog post by Hemi Weingarten states, “fear not the fat in avocados”. You can use them as a replacement for mayo, salad dressing, dip, or just as added flavor to things like your scrambled eggs.

4)Sweet Potatoes

-I never use to mess with sweet potatoes unless it was a holiday; however, switching to a Paleo diet has changed that. Now, I always try to keep some for around as a good source of carbs. Sweet Potatoes are a great addition to your diet, especially if you are a high energy athlete or are nursing or pregnant. You can make fries, chips, and baked potatoes with some ghee (clarified butter) and cinnamon just for starters. Stick some sweet potato chunks, cinnamon and ghee in a crockpot before work to have a super yummy side dish ready when you get home. (Which brings me to my next helpful item…)

5)Crockpot

-Where would I be without my crockpot? Probably hungry. Having a day job, running a business, and raising a two year old who does not go to daycare and is still in (cloth) diapers, does not leave a lot of extra time for cooking every meal from scratch and washing all of those dishes.

If I did not have two crockpots, I wouldn’t have the time to write this blog. Sometimes I only use it once a week, other times I use it for several days in a row. If you do not have at least one I suggest you invest in one. It is helpful to have a small one and a large one so you have the option to cook meals or just side dishes. Trying to cook a family potion size of a side dish in a large crockpot takes a lot longer.

There are plenty of other items that can be helpful during the upcoming Whole30, so I will be doing at least one more post similar to this one in the future. Until then, I hope this post helps you to prepare for October’s upcoming challenge! If you want to learn more about the challenge, please check out my webpage:

http://back2basicscooking.net/TheWhole30.html

Happy Cooking!

Have you completed a Whole30 program before? What item would you add to this list?

20 Simple Changes You Can Make Today To Start Eating Healthier

When I was first starting out on my journey to healthier eating, I was very overwhelmed. Just trying to figure out what “healthy” really meant was tricky. When I finally had some kind of idea what I felt was healthy, the thought of giving up most of the food that I had been eating for years was even more overwhelming. I knew I would feel better, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not walk away from these foods. I felt so WEAK! Why could I not just walk away? Afterall, it was just food. If I had known then what I know now, I would not have felt that way.

A large percentage of food that sits in our grocery stores is NOT food, but more of a food-like product.

These foods are made in labs and packed with refined sugar, bad fats, salt, food dyes and other additives. These ingredients are not like anything we would encounter in a human diet found in nature. It is important to realize that these ingredients make these food addictive.

Check out this blog from the Organic Authority about being addicted to processed foods:

http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/are-you-addicted-to-processed-food-new-research-says-you-might-be/

Another important thing to understand, is that it will take your taste buds a little time to adjust to your new way of eating, so things won’t necessarily taste fantastic right away. When I finally gave up Dr. Pepper it took a few weeks, but one day I remember drinking some cold ice water and for the first time, maybe in my entire life, it tasted good! I mean, there were always those times during softball or when I was out in the summer heat, that water was nice and refreshing. This was different though. I wasn’t in the heat, I was in the air conditioning. Even though I still mix up a smoothie or some lemonade from time to time, I truly enjoy water as a refreshment option, where I used to only find it boring and tasteless.

Check out this blog from The Nourishing Gourmet about adjusting your taste buds:

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/04/adjusting-your-tastebuds-part-one-2.html

So remember, many foods you are currently eating are unhealthy and addictive, but it can take your taste buds several days to adjust to a new way of eating.

Eating healthier when you have been eating a SAD (standard American diet) most, or maybe all, of your life is like pulling off a bandaid. Some people need to pull it off quickly, because pulling it off slowly is too painful to them. Other people want to pull it off very very slowly, knowing this will draw out the length of discomfort, however the pain level will never be as high. In the end, it does not matter HOW you went about it, the bandaid is still gone. So here are 20 examples of fairly simple changes you can start making today for those of you that pull your bandaids off slowly. You can do one a day, one a week, one every two weeks. Whatever works for YOU.

  • Buy Some Fresh Free Range Farm Eggs Eggs from chicken that have been allowed to eat grass and bugs and roam free are much healthier for you than conventional store eggs. Find someone local or hit up the farmer’s market. Some grocery stores carry local eggs, but beware of impostors from big corporation made to look like farm eggs.
  • Buy Local Buying local not only supports your community, but can also add health benefits when it comes to local food. The food is much fresher, because it did not have to travel long distances. Plus it tastes amazing!
  • Try New Herbs & Spices If variety is the spice of life, then you better have a wide selection in your kitchen cabinet. Be bold and try a new spice or herb every few grocery trips or so. You should be able to find fresh herbs & spices at your local farmer’s market.
  • Drink Some H20 Already drink water? Great! Drink some more. If you are a big time soda pop drinker, try drinking one glass of water for ever soda you have. As most of you probably know, adding squeezing some fresh lemon or orange juice into your water can get it a refreshing taste as well as give you some extra vitamin C.
  • Swap a serving of candy for a serving of fruit. This one seems easy to me now that  I haven’t had candy in so long. Fruit tastes so amazing now. It is so sweet! It is my candy. Start small, work your way bigger.
  • Cook one more meal than normal at home. Again whatever you can make work for you, one more a day, one more a week, one every two week. It can be simple. Just cook more, because you will never learn to cook if you do not practice. And as always, the more you practice, the better you WILL get! Remember the less of your food that comes from a box, the better.
  • Eat More Wild Caught Fish Fish is crazy good for you and tastes fantastic, so why not eat some more?! Fish is an excellent source of omega-3’s and if you are on a low budget you can take up fishing to keep costs low. Even one extra serving a week or even a month would be more than you are getting now. (Unless, of course, you suffer from an allergy.)
  • Pay attention to your thoughts and mindframe. Really! If you are trying to lose weight, and you are always saying, or even just thinking, that you are fat, then you probably will be. However, if you think instead that you are a healthy person who has a few pounds to lose, then you will be much more likely to keep the weight off when you do lose it, as well as being able to be happy once you reach a healthy weight. If you want to stop drinking soda, but are always saying that you can’t quit soda, then you are right and you probably can’t….
  • Cook Extra Even if you only cook once a week, if you double your recipe, then you will have 2 meals instead of one. Cooking extra saves time not only because you don’t have to cook another meal, but also because you do not have to clean up afterwards.
  • Swap out your industrially raised beef for some grass-fed, or better yet, grass-finished beef. Yes, it is more expensive, but if you can not afford it all the time, you will still receive health benefits from eating it once a week or even once a month.If this is the first time you have heard the term “grass-finished” beef, please check out the link below for an explanation from Altai Meadows, a local farm that I get most of my beef from:

http://altaimeadows.com/?page_id=20

  • Add another vegetable to your meal. If you do not eat any vegetables, then try adding one a day to your plate. If you eat some make sure you have one each meal. Or try for two each plate. Whatever your goal, just get more veggies! Keep in mind that corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and white potatoes are awesome, but don’t let that be the only “veggie” you are eating.
  • Try a new veggie or fruit. With so many different fruits and vegetables to try from, why are you eating the same ones over and over? Parsnips, Kiwi, Brussel Sprouts, Star Fruit, Cherries, Asparagus, Mangoes, Bok Choy, Peaches, Kohlrabi, Blueberries, Leeks, the list goes on and on….
  • Pick a recipe and perfect it. If you lack cooking skills like I use to, all you need is some practice. Pick one recipe you want to know how to cook. Make sure and cook it at least once a week until you feel like you could cook it in your sleep. Then move onto a new recipe. Before you know it you will have mastered an entire week’s worth of meals!
  • Swap your industrial seed oils for coconut oil, animal fat, and grass-fed butter. Not all fat is created equal. Instead of using vegetable and seed oils, try using extra-virgin coconut oil, some grass-fed butter, or some animal fat for your cooking. It will leave you much more satisfied and is much healthier than the industrial seed oils that are used in the Standard American Diet.
  • Add avocados to your regular diet. Avocados are an excellent source of good fat, plus they taste amazing! You can use them in place of mayonnaise in many recipes, add them to smoothies, eat them plain, make guacamole, make salad dressing, and lots of other ways. You do need to limit them if you are trying to lose weight, but that does not mean avoid completely. Remember, the fat in them will leave you feel full longer.
  • Start reading labels. Even if you are not ready to make any changes to your diet, this is something that is pretty easy to start doing today. It does, of course, require a little bit of time, but it will help make you more aware of what you are actually putting into your body. You might be surprised at how many times you see certain ingredients, such as milk and wheat. The huge selection of supermarket items are actually made up of mainly just milk, corn, wheat, and soy. If you do not know what an ingredient is then a quick google search will tell you.
  • Add cod liver oil to your regular diet. There are many sources that will confirm just how great cod liver oil is for you, probably including your grandma (or great-grandma depending on your age). It is not only an awesome source of long chain omega-3 fats EPA & DHA, but it is one of the highest dietary sources of vitamin A. It also has more vitamin D per unit weight than any other food. For generations, it was considered a sacred fertility and pregnancy food. If you like lemon, there is a kind we get from our local health food store Clover’s, which tastes just like lemon. I mix it into a coconut milk smoothie for my toddler and he loves it!
  • Swap out your table salt for unrefined sea salt. Ditch that iodized salt and get some unrefined sea salt. The correct salt is not only good for you but necessary. Don’t be afraid of salt! I prefer the pink sea salt myself, but only for taste.
  • Clean out your fridge often. If you currently cook at all, cleaning out your fridge often will help to ensure that you are eating your leftovers before they need to be thrown out.
  • Read, research, educate, and experiment. Never take anyone’s word for anything (even mine!). Always continue trying to learn and educate yourself about what is a healthy diet. Experiment for yourself, but just keep in mind that some foods, such as gluten, take up to 15 days to get out of your system. Until then it may be hard to tell how they are truly affecting your body. Have an educated conversation with other people about it. Keep an open mind and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone!

Please remember, these are just ideas to get you going. These are only meant to be examples, and this is in no way the complete list of things you can start changing. There are tons of other things you could do as well. It is not necessary to do everything on the list at once, (although the more you change the quicker you should see results). The point of this blog post is simply to show you that it does not have to be all or nothing.

Just take it one bite at a time….