The premise of this post is to not only open your eyes to the current obesity and food epidemic in our country, but to also show you how healthy eating can be so much easier when you are homesteading, growing your own foods, participating in a local co-op, etc!
“More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese” (CDC 2014).
Diet. That word is so restraining, and honestly, it kills any kind of good mood you’re in. When you pursue the thought of going on a diet, doesn’t it just ruin your motivation from the get-go?
Excuses for not starting are countless and inevitable.
“I still have all this junk in the house! I’ll wait for it to be gone and THEN I’ll start.”
“Ugh! But it’s Friday. I’ll start on Monday- AFTER the weekend.”
“So-and-so’s birthday is in 2 weeks! I don’t want to be on a diet for that!”
“I can’t eat ice cream (or nachos, or cake, or cookies, or soda) if I’m on diet!”
Do these sound familiar?
I know I was always guilty of pushing the start date of my diet farther and farther for whatever reason I could come up with. But, in the back of my mind, I felt SO guilty and just fell into a deeper hole of bad eating, bad relationships with food, and bad self-esteem. I KNEW what I was supposed to do- eat healthier, cleaner foods, exercise on a regular basis, and drink more water. I KNEW I would feel so much better by doing the above things, however, the thought of being on a diet just killed my motivation before I even got started, yet, I was so upset with myself and how I felt and looked.
So, let’s get rid of the word DIET and replace it with EATING.
Now, does the word eating sound so bad? Nope! Why? Because, we HAVE to eat to sustain and nourish ourselves. Next, let’s throw in the word HEALTHY to that equation which will now become HEALTHY EATING. Okay, so it’s a little more daunting because it requires some effort on your part, but, bear with me and keep reading- you’ll thank me, promise.
When you make a lifestyle change in how you view and consume food, your entire attitude will change for the better.
My view and my husband’s view on food COMPLETELY changed after watching ‘Hungry for Change’ (you can find it through Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix, etc.). A lot of the movie had information we already knew, but, the way it was presented was so different. The reality of our food habits hit us like a ton of bricks. To be honest, we aren’t a household that stocks the cabinets with chips, cookies, candy, and other junk. We try to eat healthy, but, we weren’t trying hard enough. We were still going out to eat, eating fast food, and buying more sugar-laden snacks than I’d like to admit.
Now, back to eating- healthy eating. What if I told you that you could eat plenty of healthy, nutritionally dense foods and be completely satisfied and not be hungry 20 minutes later!? What if I told you that if you don’t consume sugar, you won’t crave sugar? What if I told you that eating healthy, natural food doesn’t have to break the bank?
By now, you’re thinking “Okay, lady. You are crazy if you think I can do that and not fork over hundreds of extra dollars a month, year, what have you!”
Well, guess what!? It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat healthy and in the long run, you will be glad you did. You are INVESTING in your current body by providing it with healthy foods that it needs to function with!
Did you know that “there are over 300 chemicals used in processed foods today and statistics show that the average American household spends about 90 percent of their food budget on such foods?” (Hungry for Change, 2012)
“We’re over-fed and starving to death” (Hungry for Change, 2012).
Imagine what you could buy with that 90% of your food budget that is going towards processed foods and beverages? You could be buying nutritious foods that will keep you full (and fuller longer), give your body the nutrients it needs, and help your body perform at its optimal level!
Once we changed our eating habits at the start of January, the following things happened in a matter of a couple days:
– My daily bouts with heartburn completely vanished
– I started sleeping better and stayed asleep, feeling rested in the morning
– My chronic back pain decreased immensely
– My body started purging the toxins it had ingested for so many months prior
-I didn’t crave sugar
-My milk supply for breastfeeding increased
– I lost 4 lbs and 8.5 inches from changing my diet alone
– I ate adequate nutritionally dense foods and was satisfied and never felt ‘starved’
With how I felt after those first couple days, I felt like an idiot for making myself suffer for so long before committing to better eating.
So, what does this all have to do with homesteading you ask?
Growing your own produce is a huge part of homesteading, along with raising your own chickens for eggs, goats or cows for milk, and other animals of choice for meat. When you grow and produce your own food, you are guaranteeing that it will be free from preservatives and other additives. It will not be genetically modified or created in a lab. It will not trick your brain into craving it like processed sugar does (research done on sugar has shown that it is as addictive, if not more so, than cocaine (PubMed, 2012). It will also not have an absurd shelf-life!
Even if you are not a homesteader or able to grow your own food, you can follow the tips below to ensure your body is getting the right foods!
- When grocery shopping:
- Choose organic/grass-fed/free range as MUCH as possible- this applies to produce, meats, and eggs
- Shop the perimeter of the store- only venture into the center aisles when necessary for things like rice, oatmeal, healthy grains, etc.
- READ labels- if you can’t pronounce the ingredients list and it is chock full of preservatives and weird additives, don’t buy it
- Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry- you will be tempted to buy things you don’t really need and you will most likely end up buying junk and ready-to-go meals
- Plan ahead for your meals- by doing this, you will waste less food and it also helps to avoid those dreaded nights of “What’s for dinner?” “I don’t know! I don’t feel like cooking!
- At home:
- Buy a water bottle that you can refill during the day- stay hydrated! You will be surprised by how much better you will feel when you are properly hydrated (for reference, it is recommended that you drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water A DAY- at least! Ex. If you weigh 200 lbs, you should be drinking no less than 100 oz. of water a day)
- Prep your meals and snacks at the start of the week- portion your snacks into baggies or containers so you can easily grab them and not over-snack! Prepping your food ahead of time also makes cooking a breeze (i.e. cutting up veggies, cooking multiple pieces of meat to last a few days, etc.)
- Avoid sugary snacks, processed foods, and prepackaged foods/meals- these foods are a trap, seriously. They are made with chemicals and additives that purposely trick your brain into thinking it is full while also triggering your brain to crave even more. Rid your house of these and don’t buy them at the store. If someone in your household absolutely “needs” (and I say “needs” with an insane amount of sarcasm), put them in a separate cabinet or drawer where you will not see them and be tempted to consume them.
- Get CREATIVE- cooking and eating is supposed to be enjoyable and it is crazy how much flavor you can get with nutritious foods and seasonings (and if you must use salt, use Himalayan Pink Salt- just limit your intake since it’s still salt)
- Join a local co-op!
- Our family participates in Bountiful Baskets which offers produce and other add-ons (breads, granola, herbs, oils, etc.) You contribute every other week typically and you go pick up your goods!
- Finding a totally local co-op would be even better because you’d most likely be getting produce and other goods from farmers and merchants in your area
- Find a local butcher/meat shop
- Not only will the quality usually be much higher, you will have someone who is knowledgeable about certain cuts and types of meat. You will probably be paying more BUT the quality is much better than any store bought meat you will find
The tips above are just several ways to help you succeed in leading a healthier lifestyle. Besides, when you’re healthy, it will make your daily activities much easier (especially if you are homesteading and have lots of tasks around the property!)
If you’d like more info about getting healthier and leading a healthy lifestyle, please check out one of my good friends, Kelley (I’ve known her since middle school!) at The Fit Wife + Navy Life. She is my go-to person for all things health and fitness related. She has had many of the same struggles I have had and she has kicked bad habits in the butt. She lost over 100 lbs. and has become so knowledgeable (and certified) in all things health! Check out her story at Fit Wife + Navy Life– you will be inspired.