Our Move to Healthier Living | Clean Eating, GMOs and Life

Our Move to Healthier Living | Clean Eating, GMOs and Life

DSC_0139About a year and a half ago, I decided to try the 30 day no meat challenge. My oldest daughter and husband had been vegetarians for some time at that point and I figured if they could do it, I could do it. The 30 days flew by and it really wasn’t a huge challenge for me as I had both of them to help guide me through with food choices and for support. I continued to eat 95% vegetarian with an occasional meal out with the kidlets to McDonalds where I would indulge in a cheeseburger and small fry. I honestly thought that I was doing well… I was eating tons of fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, but I was also consuming processed foods on a daily basis. Well, to be honest… almost at every meal.

A friend of mine had been eating clean for about a year and would post tidbits every day about different aspects of our food supply. One aspect that really peaked my interest was GMOs. I honestly had no clue what they were, why they were bad to eat and why I would grow to be strong enough to say “No thank you” to big companies swinging wads of cash in my face because they opposed GMO labeling. My husband and I watched a few movies including Genetic Roulette and my eyes were finally opened to what was happening to our food supply.

I became angry. Then I was scared.

Angry because I had been feeding this chemically laden, genetically altered junk to my family thinking it was healthy and good for them. Instead… I was feeding them plates of “stuff” that theirs bodies could not recognize as food. I was scared because I wasn’t sure where to go from this point in regards to feeding my family.

I started going through my cabinets and was appalled at the amount of “food” that I had purchased that contained GMOs and other “stuff”. I decided that I was going to try to change the way I buy, prepare and serve food to my family starting with removing heavily processed foods from our diet. This was the beginning of clean eating for me.

So…what do I mean by processed foods? I mean, foods that are not in their natural state. They have been processed into something else, genetically altered and/or contain chemicals that are not “natural” to our food supply. I threw out things like granulated sugar and high fructose corn syrup and replaced it with raw honey, artificial sweeteners and replaced them with Stevia, non-dairy coffee creamers with whole fresh cream, tubs of margarine with real butter, white flour and replaced it with other flours like brown rice flour, almond flour, quinoa flour and other whole grains (with the occasional whole wheat). My husband purchased a grain mill so that I could have these flours on hand as I needed them.

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Because I could not find pre-packaged things like granola bars, loaves of bread, bagels and chocolate syrup that fit my new requirements I began making my own from home with whole/clean ingredients. I started converting old recipes to “clean” recipes with this simple “how to” guide.

It’s been a little over a month and I am still replacing items from my cupboards, but we have done well with clean eating up to this point. We are sleeping better, feel like our minds are more clear, I have more patience with my children, I don’t feel drug out or like I need a nap after I eat and I am enjoying food. Things taste incredibly good to me right now… like my pallet has been cleansed and everything I am eating is new and exciting.

No-Diet-Coke-e1357913984606I am eating 6 small meals a day, eating lots of fruits and vegetables (like before) but now many are organic, I’m still avoiding meat but we are eating multiple types of beans, a wide variety of nuts and drinking a lot of water. Yes, water. I gave up my 6 cans of Diet Coke a day for water. I am still enjoying grains, but I am making sure they are whole grains in their natural state and not genetically altered GMOs or processed flours like “wheat flour”. I still purchase pre-made items, but they have to only have ingredients that I recognize on the label. I try to stick with items made with 3-6 items on the ingredients list and avoid the ones with mystery ingredients like “natural flavors”. If I am truly interested in it, I email the company to find out what exactly those natural flavors are. For a quick reference of 8 items you don’t want to see on an ingredients list check out wakeup-world.com.

I’m not saying this process has been incredibly easy for me, because that would be a lie. It takes some planning to eat this way. But the satisfaction that comes out of preparing your meal from raw ingredients knowing that it is going to nourish your loved ones is incredible.

I’m still learning and do not feel qualified to try to educate people about the dangers of GMOs or what is happening to our food supply. I highly encourage people to seek out this knowledge though. It’s really simple to find it, but many people just don’t want to know because they are scared of the “what next” when they find out. My go-to references right now are Simply Clean Cuisine, The Gracious Pantry, The Keeper of the Home and Beyond Diet.

If you have an hour to spare I highly recommend watching Genetic Roulette. Right now it’s free to view on YouTube (embedded video below). When they decide to pull it, you can rent it for 7 days on Amazon for $1.99.

Our families are our future. Let’s make it a healthy future!

 

Comments

  1. I’ve been a vegetarian for 15 years, but I really wish we could afford to shop more organic. Like you t the GMO scares me, and especially the fact that so much of our feed have been genetically modified without us even knowing it.

    • I can’t afford to purchase everything organic. I definitely look for things like corn and soy in organic form if we choose to eat them that week. Things like bananas and oranges where we toss the peel we buy non-organic if money is tight that week. If you have a Costco near you stop by for a free look around. They are tons of fresh/frozen organic veggies at a very reasonable price. I was totally surprised!

  2. GMOs are some really scary stuff. It’s so hard to find foods that don’t contain GMOs because the US doesn’t require that we label our foods whether they are GMO free or not.

    I try to eat better, but it’s really a challenge. This post was quite inspiring.

  3. Sonya Morris says:

    Great job on trying to live a healthier lifestyle! I am appalled every time I read labels at the store because of the “fake” ingredients and all the sugar! Making things from scratch is cheaper and the way to go. I just wish I had more time to do it!

  4. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    Those are some great tips for “cleaning up” our diets! We have made a lot of progress the past few years ourselves. This year I am particularly focusing on reducing sugar–very difficult for someone with a sweet tooth as insistent as mine! I’m glad to read about substituting by weight rather than volume.
    About grains–We don’t have celiac disease nor a particular gluten sensitivity, but I am reading and trying out Gluten Free recipes simply in order to diversify our diet and not rely so heavily on just one or two foods. I am doing the same with Paleo, Vegetarian, and Raw recipes, trying to eat a larger variety of clean foods.

  5. Belinda says:

    Thanks for the link to wakeup-world.com. That gives me a good place to start with making changes!

  6. Holly S. says:

    I’m also just starting to learn about GMOs and the hazards of processed foods. Thanks for this article, and especially for the links.

  7. Jennifer Holovack says:

    Awesome post!! I am about to go through the same process. It’s scary and a little confusing but well worth it.

  8. Jennifer Hedden says:

    I would love to start eating clean, but I am not sure what I can eat and what I can’t. Thank you for sharing these references. I will definitely check them out to learn more about clean eating. I also plan on watching Genetic Roulette. Thank you for the inspiring posts. I hope I will have the willpower to make this change.

  9. That’s awesome! Really excited to see more and more people wake up to the realities of our food supply every day! We started the same journey 4 .5 years ago when I was pregnant with my first and we’ve definitely come a lllooonnng way from our frozen lunches heated in a microwave and thinking that Nutella on store-bought French bread is a healthy dessert 🙂 lol We’re still learning every day and actually it’s been one month since we’re on a Traditional Foods diet (basically eating like your ancestors would some 200 years ago). We did it in order to save our daughter’s teeth to reverse her tooth decay, so we cut out grains and going really really low on any sweets (just 1 fruit/day and I bake with tiny amount of honey and coconut flour). We bought local grass fed meat from a farmer for the first time ever, it tastes AMAZING and looks/tastes nothing like store bought. Which makes me wonder what we’ve been eating all this time. Sheesh. It’s an interesting journey and so different for every family, I really like reading your posts about it! 🙂

  10. Kim says:

    I am so glad you shared your story about this! People just don’t know what is really in their food and when companies confuse you with healthy claims then fill the products with chemicals it can really be a hard area to navigate.

    Sharing your story and your tips will help other people realize that while it’s not easy, it’s totally worth it for your health and the health of your family.

    I am still learning new things every day, it’s a process but we feel so much better and I know that my kids are getting the best start possible.

    I rented Genetic Roulette (I hadn’t seen it until after you recommended it), it’s incredible…mind numbing. Definitely worth the watch, my 9 year old even watched it and was inspired to write a paper about organic foods.

  11. Christine Mayfield says:

    We have watched a lot of the videos they have out on netflix and have changed our way of eating. Less meats, more produce and we now have a love for farmer’s markets. I am hoping this year to start a garden and cut back on even MORE processed foods.

  12. Kari H says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now and it’s just so hard to make the necessary changes.

  13. Cassandra Eastman says:

    Wow, what a fantastic change you’ve made for your family! Thanks for this great information… You just automatically think if they sell it, it’s got to be ok right? But you’re right… no it’s not! Thanks for the eye opener!

  14. Bianca says:

    We have also made the switch to non-GMO (where we can, but it’s so hard to figure it out sometimes) and organic produce.

  15. GMO is very scary! I am sure it is very hard making the changes and even harder on the ones who have no idea how to grow and make most of their foods that they eat. Thanks for the information, it has been a real eye opener.

  16. Carolyn K says:

    This is incredibly interesting! You have inspired me to look into this more.

  17. Susan Broughton says:

    (elaineb1@ymail.com) I would give anything if things would go back to basics in food where the items in the package are things you know and can pronounce. We live in the country, which you would think would help with the organic. But in the winter months there is nothing organic I can buy, even in the store at any price. In the summer we can get fresh produce and that’s great. But the stores do not carry organic. That’s the down side to not living near a large city. I have to drive 2 hours to find a store that carries organic. I want to eat fish more often but all I can get is frozen catfish, which I do not like. My point is that they should make good food more accessible and reasonably priced. Its not right that all the bad food you shouldn’t eat is easy to get and cheap in price. While the good food is the opposite. With the economy the way it is people, including me, can not afford to eat the right way, and that is not right and very sad!!!!

  18. michelle oakley warner says:

    yes they put way to much of all kinds of stuff in our foods, its crazy, i am a vegan and im so healthy now, im trying to get my hubby into it, but im not having any luck,lol

  19. Jessica Lodge says:

    I loved this post! I’ve been slacking lately on buying non-GMO products. Thank you for reminding me to get back on track!

  20. Michelle Feliciano says:

    cool that you are making your own bread

  21. Andrea Anderson says:

    This was an excellent post and really gets me to wondering what the heck am I eating. It’s very important that we stay on top of stuff like this for our health. Thanks for this post because it’s really going to push me to look into this whole issue further. I had heard a few things before but I guess didn’t really want to pay attention, because as you mentioned in your post, I was probably one of the “what’s next” folks. It’s truly a shame that we have to do all of this work just to make sure we’re eating real food.

  22. Elena says:

    I don’t drink sodas and don’t eat boxed food for a few years. I try to eat organic as much as I can afford. Thanks for sharing this!

  23. Kelly Choma says:

    My husband and I are really lucky to live in a town with several grocery stores that supply a large volume of organic food. I especially love that I am able to provide organic food for my children, and make organic baby food for my youngest. My next goal is to become better about providing food as healthy for myself when I am rushing around like a manic 🙂

  24. Priscilla Benavides says:

    You post has really inspired me to start a 30 day meat free challenge too! I currently don’t eat any red meat but would like to go completely meat free including chicken!

  25. Mary Withrow says:

    I don’t have any problems with wheat, never had a reaction. I don’t buy junk, like chips or candy. I don’t eat much meat either, lol. I think most people grow up learning to cook around the meat they choose for dinner or planning there meal around the meat! So that makes it hard. They grew up this way and it is a habit. Its so important to start your children off healthy. I eat mostly vegetables, rices, pastas and beans. I have met people that have a entire freezer full of packaged food and eat nothing else. So Congrats and I hope your venture to eat healthy works out, your whole family will be better and healthier because of you!

  26. samantha s says:

    Since we’ve been on a really tight budget, it’s actually helped us move towards cleanier and healthier living/eating and I couldn’t be happier. Not only do we save so much money but we save a lot of calories too. I’ve been cooking 7x a week and my husband is preferring that over eating out a lot of the time. Thank goodness we live in Jersey and have access to lots of fresh veggies and fruits so we just snack on that everyday. I love it! Next month I’m going to really challenge myself to completely cutting out junk.

  27. marissa lee says:

    i always heard people talk about gmo’s but like you i didn’t know what it meant..i want to start eating better and also want to watch what i give to my daughter…thank you for sharing it has opened up my eyes to these gmo’s..

  28. Sherri Lewis says:

    I have been wanting to completely overhaul what we have been eating, but I have been putting it off. In part because I honestly don’t know where to even begin, and also money is a huge factor. I have cut out my coke obsession…. I was drink at least 1 liter a day…. so I guess that is a start.

  29. Kristin Welch says:

    My brother in-law has completely gone vegan and organic! I admire him and his self control because he used to be your typical male in his mid-twenties until about almost a year ago. I’m not sure what got into him, but he is so healthy now and he too, feel like his mind is so clear and his body is new! I’ve thought about doing it for myself and my family, I’m just not sure how my husband would respond, not to mention the tight budget we are on. Good to hear about your experience and how happy you are with your change. Thanks for sharing!

  30. judy gardner says:

    congratulations! that is a daunting task! i read something by Mike Huckabee (who lost about 100 pounds) say that if it wasnt in existance 100 years ago then he didnt eat it. pretty good rule of thumb i think,

  31. I would love to do this. I’ve been researching a lot and there are so many scary things we put into our bodies. Thank you for posting about your journey and helping those of us who are teetering in our decision making – the recipes and stories along the way definitely make things easier on your readers!!

  32. judy gardner says:

    i wish i could afford to buy organic products. GMOs scare me!

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