by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer
Today is my 31st birthday. I have NOT been eating real food for 31 years. In fact, I very much still consider myself a real food newbie—just like many of you.
A newlywed friend recently asked me about some simple steps she could take to start eating better. I went back to my newlywed days—almost 7 years ago—to remember how we ate then compared to how we eat now.
And I came up with 31 baby steps to give to the newest of real foodies! I hope this helps those readers just starting out! And if you’re an old pro, feel free to pass this list along to your newbie friends and family.
1. Switch from white rice to brown.
3. Switch from instant to homemade mashed potatoes. Again, it’s not hard, and any extra time it tastes will be well worth the much improved taste! I’ve tried some fancy versions, but my hubby’s favorite is still the simple potatoes+milk+butter+salt version.
4. Switch from canned to frozen fruit and veggies. Feeling extra daring? Switch to fresh, in-season produce! (You’ll get bonus points if it’s local and organic!)
5. Switch from white sugar to a healthier sweetener, like sucanat, honey or real maple syrup.
6. Switch from white flour to whole wheat flour. (Later, try out other flours like spelt, almond, coconut or even try grinding your own and sprouting your flour!)
7. Switch from processed meats to unprocessed meats.
8. Switch from enriched pasta to whole wheat or brown rice pasta.
9. Start reading ingredient labels! Avoid any ingredients you can’t pronounce or understand. If you can’t picture the ingredient itself, that’s a bad sign.
10. Avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague. It’s BAD. See #5 for alternate sweeteners.
13. And your own pizza sauce.
15. Stop drinking all sodas and processed beverages. Drink water instead! Hey—it’s free!
16. Switch from skim to whole milk. Get bonus points if it’s organic—and even better if it’s raw!
17. Start avoiding GMO foods, like corn, canola, soy, cottonseed oils, etc.
18. Miss using canned creamed soups in your favorite casserole dishes? Just make your own!
19. Make your own spice blends.
20. Make your own baking mixes.
21. Start buying cage-free eggs. (Even better? Buy them from a local farmer!)
22. Start using in-season produce, so you don’t have to rely on canned or frozen selections.
23. Make homemade applesauce. Most store-bought versions contain HFCS (and you want to avoid that like the plague, remember?). I make my own in the crock pot. Easy peasy!
25. Thanksgiving’s coming up. Why not try making your own pumpkin puree—using your crock pot!
26. Switch to plain yogurt. You can sweeten it yourself with fresh or frozen fruit or honey. Feeling extra daring? Make your own.
29. Read Kate’s Real Food Basics—and start implementing her tips!
30. Read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s got a TON of info. (not all of which I implement), but it’s worth the read.
31. Read Healthy Homemaking by Keeper of the Home’s Stephanie Langford.
I hope these baby steps will help get you started!