Getting Started

Getting started with any new habit, diet or lifestyle is difficult. If you are committed to trying to clean up your diet I recommend lots of research and a slow approach to change. We made the transition over a year and it is a constant work in progress.

Try to involve everyone in your household in the process as much as possible. Planning and organizing will be more fun if it’s a team effort, and it will feel less like one person forcing their ideas on everyone else.

These are the general steps that I used, they might help to ease your transition:

  1. Do your research. Find at least 10 recipes each for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that fit your goals and organize them. Use Pinterest, a binder, index cards or a notebook to help you. I highly recommend a physical paper method of recipe organization but if you prefer to use your phone or tablet that is fine. I also recommend finding a few bloggers that you enjoy reading and following them on a regular basis. Try to focus on new foods you are going to try instead of things you will be giving up. Also if you don’t have a slow cooker buy one.
    • In your travels you are going to see a lot of acronyms and different types of diets referred to… try not to get overwhelmed. There’s lots of diet blueprints you can follow or loosely follow, don’t get too wrapped up in this at first the more you research the more which foods are legal in which diets will come naturally. It’s all about choosing healthier foods overall, there’s no one size fits everyone because everyone has different goals and food sensitivities.
    • GF (Gluten Free), Grain Free, AIP (Auto Immune Protocol), SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), 21DSD (21 Day Sugar Detox), Whole30, low FODMAPS and Paleo are just examples of these.
  2. Set up a system for meal planning. There are lots of different options and you need to find what works for you. We use a weekly calendar on our refrigerator that shows what we will have for dinner. Once a week I choose recipes I will make (usually 2 breakfasts 2 lunches and 3 dinners) I use an index card to write what recipes I will make on one side and what I need from the store to make them on the other side. Once you’ve done your shopping don’t throw the list away! Save it until you’ve made everything on the recipe list to make sure nothing goes to waste. It can save time if you write where to find the recipe next to the name if it’s from a book, pinned or bookmarked. Double and triple recipes as needed so you have leftovers.
    • If you want to try batch cooking or making freezer meals this is a great resource:
      • I tried this service and found it too difficult to cook so much in one day with children so I just prep slow cooker meals and keep them in bags in the freezer, but all the recipes on this site are free and they have lot of great ideas.
  3. The Pantry Purge.When you are ready take a weekend and go through your fridge, freezer and pantry and get rid of everything that does not fit your plan. Give it to a friend, family member, donate it or if you must, throw it out. I have done this 3 times over the past year. First it was gluten, 6 months later it was all grains and then 3 months after that it was everything with added sugar.
  4. Stay organized. The key to success with healthy eating is to stay ahead! Try to establish a routine and stick to it. If you let your fridge get empty you will have no choice but to order a pizza.
  5. Don’t get frustrated! This is the most important step and should be numbers one, two and five. When your fridge does get empty and you have to order pizza, on the way to pick up the pizza stop at the grocery store and pick up ingredients for tomorrow night’s healthy dinner. When you fall off the wagon (and you will and it’s ok!) just get back on as soon as you can.

For the record I ate a small bowl of ice cream while I wrote this. But it was organic.

And it really was small.

Here’s some more resources to get you started:

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