Completely changing the way you eat to start the healing process in your body sounds like such a daunting task.
January is usually filled with ambitious goals, lofty ideas, and grand schemes of making healthy lifestyle changes, only to get to February 1st feeling total despair at all of the empty promises we made to ourselves just 30 days ago.
Let’s do this up the right way this year.
As much of an “all or nothing” kind of a person that I am, when it came to learning about real food and trying to make changes in my kitchen, I found that more of a small steps approach was easier to stick with. For starters, I had *no idea* how to cook! I’m being for real! No one ever taught me how to cook. It was definitely a learning process for me! And making the change to real food was a completely different way of thinking than I had done up until that point. Changing over my kitchen happened in the course of a year or 2. Small changes here and there.
So I’m going to propose changing *ONE* meal of the day to a real food style meal per MONTH. You choose what meal you want to start out with. You don’t have to start with breakfast if dinner sounds like something more do-able to try first. You could even start with overhauling your snack ideas before you do big meals if you wish.
Keep me posted how it’s going! I want to help, and it is so do-able!
Month 1: BREAKFAST
- I know everyone is gonna hate me for bringing this up – but boxed cereal is toxic. (I know that sounds harsh. I promise it will help you understand why we need to think “outside the box” when it comes to breakfast.)
- So no cereal…what can we have?! If you absolutely can’t stand to not have cereal for breakfast, try this quinoa granola cereal, or this oat based granola cereal. When you make a large batch of it, say on a weekend when you have some time, it will last you a month or longer!
- I honestly don’t know how I lived on cold breakfasts my whole life. Once I started having hot breakfasts every day, I just felt better! It doesn’t take more than an extra 5 minutes to fry up some eggs and/or bacon and serve it with a side of sautéed veggies, or squash, or potatoes! Not only will you be eating better, but you will be MUCH fuller longer. Usually when I eat a breakfast like that I don’t have to eat again until lunch. Make up a large squash or batch of fried potatoes on the weekend and just warm them over the stove in the morning while you are frying your eggs. (Be sure you are doing all of your frying in friendly fats like butter, coconut oil (available on Amazon) , or pastured lard.)
- Smoothies are a great option as well. I prefer starting my day with more of a “meal” than a smoothie, but some days this just works better. You can get so many great things like egg yolks, coconut oil, pea protein or gelatin, and probiotics when you build a great meal smoothie.
- Soaked oatmeal goes a long way too when you do it right. You can make a large batch on Sunday for breakfast and just warm up the leftovers throughout the week. I send my husband to work most days of the week with warmed up oatmeal with butter, nuts, raisins, pure maple syrup and cinnamon and a travel mug of raw milk. Here are some other oatmeal ideas: banana bread oatmeal, applesauce oatmeal, pumpkin pie oatmeal and you can even make a baked oatmeal for variety.
- My last suggestion is having gluten-free or soaked grain muffins/quick breads/pancakes on hand. This kind of baking goes really fast, and if you double or triple batch you can store them in the freezer for quick pull out additions to breakfast. Throw some gluten-free pancakes in the toaster while you fry up some eggs and top the pancakes with coconut butter or a nut butter. Spread some butter on a gluten or grain free muffin, and have a side of hard-boiled eggs you batched up for the week.
MONTH 2: LUNCH
- I have one word for you. SOUP! It’s such a great nourishing idea for meals and is easy to make yourself. Make large pots of soup purees or hearty meat soups and store them in single serving containers if you are on the go to work. They will thaw out by lunch time! (Here are some soup recipe ideas we have.)
- If you are a sandwich person, just watch your bread ingredients. Sourdough is the best way to go if you can tolerate gluten. If you are gluten-free there are some GF breads and tortillas out there. I can’t always afford that and so I opt for other lunch ideas.
- Rice bowls. Make a large pot of rice and sauté a combo of great veggies in lots of butter or coconut oil, garlic, and onions! You can re-heat throughout the week! Besides soup, this is one of my favorite lunches we have most days of the week. You can add some leftover shredded chicken from your dinner to it, or sprouted beans if you have some around.
- Nourishing dips. We love guacamole, hummus, and refried beans! You can take brown rice tortillas and fry them in butter to make “chips” to dip. Or veggies sticks. You can spread it on tomato slices, or to be honest, just scoop it up with a spoon and eat it plain!
- Loaded up salads. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge salad person in the winter, but if you love salads here are some ideas for you. Add filling toppings like avocado, soaked nuts and/or seeds, hard-boiled eggs, and/or raw cheeses. If you take advantage of making a whole chicken every week or 2, you can freeze up the leftover meat in shreds and it makes for great salad toppings! Also make sure to make your own dressings in order to stay away from unwanted ingredients. (Ranch, Italian, Thousand Island)
- Smoothies work well for lunches as well and if you’re on the go, an insulated thermos will help keep them cold. See the breakfast section for more info on making these.
MONTH 3 : DINNER
- Crockpot chicken! It is my secret weapon to planned out meals every week. It is as simple as putting the whole chicken in the crockpot with some water before you head to work and letting it go on low all day. The chicken will be great that night for dinner with a side of veggies or salad, and the leftover meat will be used for the rest of your dinners (and/or lunches!) that week.
- Veggie sautés. The possibilities are endless here. My advice is to always start with heating through some onions in lots of butter or coconut oil and some sea salt, add garlic and then pour in whatever veggies you wish. Add some of the leftover chicken from your crockpotted chicken if you wish! Or add in some sprouted beans. I usually keep bags of sprouted beans laying flat in freezer bags in my freezer for quick pull out dinner additions. Serve it over a baked potato, squash puree, or rice if you wish!
- Similarly to lunch, I like to do a soup dinner a couple of nights per week. I make these soups a little heartier and/or meatier, but you get the idea. Here are some dinner soups to try, and again, make batches for your freezer so you have quick pull out dinners on crazy nights:
- For fun weekend meals here is my suggestion. We all like to have a “treat” or something special on the weekends right?! It is important not to let yourself feel deprived of enjoying fun food! So here are some ideas on how to real foodify some common take out type dinners: Chinese beef teryaki, sweet and sour chicken, gluten-free pizza, quick thin crust pizza, gluten-free chicken nuggets
MONTH 4: SNACKS
- I honestly don’t snack very much. When you eat nutrient dense meals you really will be full enough to go most of the day without snacks. I do tend to have a mid afternoon snack some days of the week though, so here are some ideas. Keep this part SIMPLE. Spend the majority of your time on meals – don’t make snacks labor intensive!
- Soaked nuts, seeds, and fruit or dried fruit. If you keep a “trail mix” like this around you won’t be tempted at other packaged “quick snacks”.
- Raw cheese and fermented pickles or other fermented veggies.
- Hard boiled eggs. These keep a good 4-5 days in their shell, so make some up for the work week and these too can be quick snacks.
- Hot cocoa or carob. Warm some raw milk or coconut milk over the stove slowly and blend it up in a Magic Bullet or blender with raw cacao or carob and some raw honey, maple syrup, stevia, sucanat. You can add a splash of coconut oil and/or gelatin for more nourishment too!
MONTH 5: TREATS
- Unless you are on a sugar detox and/or temporarily avoiding sweets for a while during a gut healing time, there is a time and place for treats using real ingredients. Don’t deprive yourself. It only leads to binging.
- Air popped popcorn with melted butter and/or coconut oil and sea salt. Be sure the popcorn is organic or labeled non GMO – corn is the worst offenders in this area.
- Try these flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!
*A note on types of milk, meat, eggs, cheese, and veggies. I do tend to stick to organic pastured animal products and raw dairy. These are non negotiable in my house and despite our (very) tight budget, I cut corners in other arenas to make this work. For instance I don’t buy all organic fruits and veggies. Unless it is on the dirty dozen, I buy conventional produce to save money. I also make my pastured meats “stretch” to last longer by putting the meat in soups and stir fries vs eating them plain.
So! Tell me what you are going to start with. Keep me posted how it’s going!
Also, Beth Ricci’s new ebook on Amazon, The Breakfast Revolution: Recipes From Outside the Cereal Box, has over 40 recipes for non-boxed breakfasts!