The Novelist and I grew up on the Standard American Diet (SAD) and we continued eating that way through the first several years of our marriage. My husband was actually the major pusher for us to eat healthier. I can't even begin to tell you how I fought it ... for two YEARS at least. Finally, I decided to jump on in and give it a shot. We started by replacing white flour with whole wheat flour and white rice with brown rice. We still ate white flour in the processed foods we still bought ... and we still ate white rice if it was set in front of us at someone else's house or at a restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised to find out we loved whole wheat goods and brown rice. Much, much, MUCH better than the other stuff. Even when we bounced back and forth on whether we really wanted to eat healthy or not, those two things always stayed.
Really, we stayed at that level for quite awhile.
I'd say eating out was the next thing that was cut down drastically. VERY drastically. As in basically non-existent. In the past 8 months, we've only eaten out once. In the past year? We've eaten out about 10 times ... but most of that was during our 4 day cross-country move to the state we live in now.
Then I started concentrating on cutting out things with high-fructose corn syrup. Good golly, I had NO CLUE that stuff was in practically EVERYTHING!! Wowza!
This year we decided to not buy hardly any convenience foods at all. I say hardly because we still buy ice cream once a week ... but only until we get an ice cream maker (soon, VERY soon!) and make our own. If we can make it at home, we do try to.
We also make the decision to give up caffeine. Completely.
*gasp* What about coffee, you ask?
Well, I'm not a big coffee drinker anyway. I've always preferred teas over coffee for the most part.
My husband, however, is a HUGE coffee lover. HUGE. No fancy sugars or creamers for him. Straight up black, that's how he takes it.
So giving up conventional coffee was actually a BIG deal for him. And it was VERY hard for him to give up caffeine. Then I got him hooked on Teeccino, which is an all-natural herbal coffee. He's tried 2 different kinds now and has LOVED them both.
Caffeine wasn't as hard for me to give up. That wasn't my obstacle to overcome.
Mine was my huuuuuuuuuge sweet tooth.
I took this step slowly. First I cut out white sugar. Just quit buying it, simple as that. I now buy an organic dehydrated/evaporated cane juice sugar (basically, it's store brand Succant lol). We also found a source of local, raw honey several months ago and we're still working on the big tub we bought from him.
We also made the switch to REAL maple syrup, not the imitation stuff.
For my sweet tooth, I decided if I didn't make it at home, I just wouldn't have it. Oh my y'all, that was HARD at first. In this ONE instance, it's kind of good that I have my lazy days. Really helped me cut down that sweet tooth.
It took awhile, but I went from craving something sweet every single day (or several times a day) to really, truly wanting something sweet once a week, if that. I don't HAVE to have cookies in the house. I don't HAVE to even have the ice cream we get once a week (though it is a nice treat!). And most times? If I'm wanting something sweet, a nice orange or apple does just fine.
I never realized how sweet fruit really is before we made this change. And how sweet honey truly is. This is coming from a gal who used to make honey sandwiches when she was a teen. No joke.
I couldn't do that now!
Most recipes I make? I actually CUT the recommended sugar amount because it turns out too sweet for my tastes if I don't. THAT is saying something, folks!
Soda was another hard thing for me to let go of. In fact, I JUST bought some soda a week ago. Three 12 packs worth of caffeine soda, in fact. And guess where a little over half went? Yep, right down the drain. Seriously! My husband and I just could NOT tolerate it.
Then we watched Food, Inc. Not a whole lot of the info was new to me, since I'd been reading up on various topics brought up a LOT the past year or two. Didn't put it into practice ... but that's not the point ;-)
That movie REALLY sparked us. In a BIG way. Especially my husband, who wasn't aware of most of what was discussed to the extent it was discussed.
We recently found a source for grass-fed beef. It's more expensive than we're used to paying, but I do think we're going to go for it very soon here. I don't know if it'll met ALL of our meat needs, but if it meets at least some of it right now? It's worth it!
We can't do it right this second, but when we can, I also found a source for raw milk. And once I get off my rear, I know a lady I can call about some pastured eggs right in our own town.
I heard there's a farmer's market about an hour from here ... and for about a week, they hold a farmer's market here in town. Looking forward to checking out both this year. We also noticed a guy parked some sort of trailer at one of the busier intersections in town every weekend and he was selling fruits and veggies at decent prices. I'm thinking I'll stop by this summer and check out what he's offering.
We are most definitely going to start a garden this year. In containers. Don't know how much we'll actually be able to afford to grow, considering we have to get soil and pots and all that ... buuuuuut, every little bit will help.
And then, of course, there's sprouting to try. And sourdough to master. And we'll be getting water kefir grains probably next month, so we can try that (healthy soda-like drink? I'm ALL over that!). And staying on the stick making yogurt. We don't eat a whole lot of it, but it's nice to have around for the whey and yogurt cheese too!!
I say all of that just to encourage anyone who's overwhelmed or think they can't do it on just one income. Just take it slow. Take one or two things off your list, get those under your belt so you're good and comfortable, then add another one or two things. Under NO circumstances should you try to do it ALL at once, though ... you'll feel MAJORLY overwhelmed and want to give it ALL up (not that I know from experience or anything ROFL).