At least 5 times every day I am telling people to change their diet. The most common request I make to people by far is “stop eating gluten!” Other changes could include, just to “clean up your diet,” or avoiding excess sugar. Some people are “hungry” (so to speak) for ideas on how to better their diet, and on the other end of the spectrum are people who are very resistant to change.
The best way to start a diet change is at the grocery store!
Here is my approach to grocery shopping and what I get on a typical visit to the grocery store:
On this particular trip to the store, it was winter, so root vegetables like sweet potatoes and onions are in-season, as well as apples and broccoli. In my head, I am planning to cook a stir-fry with broccoli and tofu; baked sweet potatoes with hamburgers; and a dish with coconut milk, onion, green beans, and chicken. In the summer, I may plan a salad with cucumber and tomatoes or a stir-fry with bell peppers.
For my 5-year-old son, a picky eater, I get bananas to freeze and make smoothies. He also will eat avocado or carrots, so I pick up some of those too. Avocados I don’t usually get organic, just because they have a thicker skin so pesticides are not as likely to sink into the part that you eat.
I am not a vegetarian, so most of my dinners include some type of meat. It is always organic meaning hormone-free meat. I like a variety including chicken, red meat like beef, buffalo, or lamb, and Atlantic (not farmed) salmon.
I sometimes like to cook with tofu, too. Again, always organic. (Regular soy products tend to be GMO or grown with yucky pesticides or fertilizers.)
Other things I may get: wine, chocolate (always dark cacao), protein bars and a nut mix to snack on at work. I like to drink a glass of wine in the evenings, and chocolate is a good occasional treat. Dark chocolate (high cacao content) is good for easing signs of PMS, and it’s good for your libido!
Again, for my son, the picky eater, I get a pizza (organic, Amy’s frozen cheese pizza).
4. Condiments and Extras
Depending on what I’ve decided to cook, I may pick up:
- coconut milk
- stir-fry sauce (always read the label and make sure the ingredients pass the purity test)
- salad dressing (ditto on the “read the label” part)
- rice noodles or rice
- organic corn chips
- spaghetti sauce
- chili and beans
- fair trade coffee
- coconut oil for cooking
- sprouted grain bread for the occasional (maybe once a week) toast or sandwich
I like plain Greek yogurt with granola for breakfast most days. On other days, I cook free-range eggs, usually adding a little avocado and salsa on top. I cook with real, hormone-free butter and also get a little bit of organic cream for my coffee. I get full-fat milk for my son.
I think eating healthy is easier than people imagine; it’s usually just the change that’s difficult. Most of what my family eats is low-carbohydrate and low-sugar. And you know what? It’s pretty easy to do. We get into food habits and those are hard to break. Our taste buds get corrupted with sugar and processed food.
Vegetable-based recipes are the best places to start. Eating with the vegetables as the central part of the meal and not just a forgettable side-dish will ensure that you are eating pretty healthy. Learn how to cook vegetables! In my experience, even most restaurants don’t know how to cook vegetables so that they taste delicious. Many of us (myself included) never learned how to cook veggies growing up! Find some good recipes and don’t be afraid of the butter and salt. Those make everything taste good!