5 Apr 2012
Food for Thought is dedicated to thinking critically about the foods we eat and how that factors into healthy living as well as speaking with experts and friends to contribute to the conversation. We asked Julie from A Better Life with Burgers to share her story of how she became a passionate advocate for real foods.
I always figured that foods in a package or in the frozen aisle weren’t as healthy as those in the produce section, but I didn’t know why. I still ate processed foods and never really considered cutting them out. But one day, I ran across an article in a magazine that mentioned Lisa Leeke, a blogger who challenged herself and her family to eat only real food for 100 days. After visiting her blog and reading the book that started her journey, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, I was far more informed and ready to try a less intense version of the challenge: 10 days with only real food. (You can read about Lisa’s journey and take your own challenge here.)
The challenge and Michael Pollan’s book shed new light on my eating habits and our country’s entire food industry. It sounds cliché to say that a book changed my life, but this one really did! I learned how processed foods affect my body and why real food is so much better. My husband and I tentatively ventured into our ten days, armed with a few real food recipes and absolutely no processed foods. To be honest, it was far easier than I expected, and I immediately decided that we should make every effort to continue the real food challenge indefinitely.
Over the last year, here’s what I’ve observed about eating real foods:
- I lost a little weight without trying.
- My former stomach troubles virtually disappeared.
- The food I eat now tastes far more delicious than processed foods.
- It’s easier and less expensive than I expected!
- When I splurge and eat something processed, my body hates it. Stomach aches, acid reflux, uncomfortable fullness, you name it.
- I feel good about my dietary choices now.
So what do I eat now? And how do I know what’s “okay” to eat? Really, it’s all about finding everyday staples that I know are good for me and then building from there. We all know the foods that are undeniably good for us: whole fruits and vegetables, oats, nuts, whole wheat pasta, eggs, brown rice, olive oil, lots of water. So I started finding ways to combine all those healthy foods to create recipes that my husband and I love.
There are plenty of healthy, real food snacks out there, too. I’m a BIG snacker, so I’ve found several real food options that keep me satisfied. Attune Foods makes some delicious snacks, including real food cereals and crackers!
Switching to real food has changed my life for the better, and we won’t go back. As much as I thought it would be difficult, expensive, and frustrating to give up the foods I used to think I loved, I now know that true love just requires a little sacrifice, a little patience, and a lot of delicious meals. My blog has plenty of recipes that qualify as real foods if you’re interested in changing your eating habits! Stop by for a visit soon!
Julie authors A Better Life With Burgers and is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She now lives with her husband Terry in Los Angeles. Julie loves creating new, healthy, real food recipes and finding fun ways to stay active. Her rules about health are no excuses, no counting calories, no scales, just real food and hard work. Julie’s blog focuses on holistic health, including reduced stress and a positive attitude. Health is a journey, and she documents hers through real foods, easy homemade recipes, tough workouts, and honest insights. Balance, moderation, and variety help her lead a better life!