Is it possible to heal what ails us with food? In this blog post we will chat about the possibilities. I will share my very successful personal experience with you. We will discuss some of the challenges and the rewards. I will share how eating clean saves money and also is “green”. Read on and see why, Clean Real Food Doesn’t Have To Be Hard – 8 Simple Tips to Get Started.
WHAT IS CLEAN FOOD?
Clean food is a healthy and basic approach to food. Going back to our roots if you will. Not surprisingly, as our grandparents knew, knowing where your food comes from is apparently what is best for us.
Choosing clean food means avoiding chemicals, antibiotic laden food, food coloring and additives. You have probably have heard the term “shop the perimeters of the grocery store” The perimeter would include fruits and vegetables, meats and proteins in most stores. Most interior isles are filled with processed foods.
The best thing you can do for you and your family is to read labels. Honestly if you cannot pronounce the ingredients, or if the ingredient list is lengthy you should probably pass on that item. It breaks my heart when I see a mom with her children at the checkout isle and the cart is filled with blue drinks and highly processed sugary foods. I have to bite my tongue to stop myself.
When people are ready, when the pain is bad enough, only then are we ready to make changes. I am proof of this.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
As an artist and writer when arthritis starting attacking my hands it was a BIG wakeup call. Extreme pain is a powerful motivator! While my food choices were good most of the time…I was making way too many bad choices. Yes I sometimes ate fast food, I snacked too much. I had way too much sugar in my diet.
A few years ago after eating a bowl of freshly picked asparagus with a bit of butter I awoke the next morning to a new kind of pain. My thumb felt like little razor blades were stabbing at it. It was red and swollen. After a chat with my naturopath and a lot of research, I learned that asparagus (a favorite food) has purines, they are known to increase uric acid in your body and can cause gout. Yes, I had a gout attack! Then another shortly after that. That was the beginning of my arthritis.
After trying paleo and seeing some improvement, I became obsessed with the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) It is a step beyond paleo. Lots of things to NOT eat, while leaving just simple and clean food on the OK to eat list. I have never stuck to a program before like this.
The phrase “Autoimmune Disease” certainly sounds scary. The explanation would need another post to itself. There is a long list of them: Hashimotos, IBS, Arthritis, Lupus, MS, Graves Disease and more! The short and non scientific explanation is that our immune systems are attacking our bodies when these diseases and syndromes appear.
WOW! For me the results have been amazing! In about 40 days on AIP, my arthritis pain is virtually GONE! The deformity in the joints of my pinkies is still there, but thankfully the pain is not. Prior to this just a little bump on my pinky would bring on pain that was unbearable. I refused to just take pain pills to mask the cause and treat the symptom.
While sometimes “pills” might help, medication is a very last resort for me.
- There is a learning curve, I did lots of reading and watched many videos on youtube. One of my favorite Youtube channels is: RealWorldAIP Stacy has been so helpful!
- Eating out is hard in the beginning. The first place I went was a steakhouse. Ordering a steak without seasonings, a baked sweet potato and steamed veggies without butter was my first eating out meal.
- Purging unwanted food from your shelves at home. I donated a bunch to the local food pantry.
- The What to eat question? Having frozen or leftover options is critical for my success.
A TRUE AND PERSONAL STORY I HAVE TO SHARE – IHop and the Disconnect from Real Food
“This morning while out doing errands a friend and I stopped at IHop for breakfast. This was the only choice for breakfast in the area on this sunny and fine day. As per usual there are a lot of questions I usually ask while ordering. Questions like: Do you use REAL eggs? Do you have REAL butter? How about REAL maple syrup?
Our waitress Jackie was attentive and patient. We ordered and when Jackie brought back our coffee she asked me a question. I think she had picked up on a trend with all of the questions about REAL food. She said “This might seem like a funny question but I would like to ask you what is butter made from? Isn’t Country Crock real butter?
WOW! I found out that she had been brought up in the city, but still….WOW! I asked if she has children, and she said yes. I commented that she could do a great thing for her family and introduce REAL food to them.”
This really happened to me. I stayed at the restaurant for a while explaining about labels and ingredients. I gave Jackie my phone number and let her know she could call and ask me anything. I am so troubled by the fact that anyone truly thinks Country Crock is real butter!
Many restaurants use liquid eggs that have additives and chemicals. I never thought I would have to ask “Do you serve real eggs?”
BENEFITS TO EATING CLEAN LOCAL FOOD
If you shop at your local farmers market your money stays in your community and improves the livelihood of many. Your food stays fresher longer since it did not spend days on a truck and then in a distribution center before hitting the shelves of your grocery store. You get to build a relationship with your local farmer. Often they can offer recipes and methods to prepare your food.
Of course one huge benefit is that your food will be free from chemicals and additives.
Buying local means WAY less fossil fuels than flying in and trucking in our food from distant places.
Does all of this goodness cost more? Well, sometimes. However you probably have a long list of things you would no longer be purchasing. My local farmers market matches dollar for dollar for shoppers on food stamps. So, if you buy $30. Worth of tokens, they give you $60. In tokens to spend. Many markets have programs like this.
MY TOP 8 TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED
- Be kind to yourself. This is a major change that can overwhelm anyone. Start with one change at a time. It is not a race, find your stride.
- The freezer is your friend. I always have smoothies with collagen protein frozen. If I am in a rush to get out the door, I can grab one for a healthy snack when it thaws. This helped me a lot and saved me from making poor choices while out doing errands.
- If possible find a buddy or family member to come on board on your journey.
- Take walks, gentle movement is best at this time of transition, nothing too strenuous.
- Know that even if you try something like AIP, there is light at the end of the tunnel, after the elimination phase comes the reintroduction phase!
- One of my favorite cheats! Place a bed of frozen organic spinach or kale in the bottom of a bowl, set leftover meat and veggies on top, drizzle with a bit of butter/ghee/or Olive Oil and heat in toaster oven.
Always cook more than you need. Leftovers are the BEST thing to have on hand for quick and easy healthy meals.
- I alway have my favorite olives on hand and I alway try to have a bag of cassava or plantain chips on hand for those crunchy cravings. Keep your favorites on hand.
- Shop as local as possible. When you do shop at the grocery store, shop the perimeters of the store. Notice that most of the isles have processed foods.
Yes, it works. Everyone’s experience will be different. It might take more or less than my 40 days. You may see partial improvement and need to explore other possibilities. Eating clean can save you money on healthcare in the future, and improve your daily life. I wish you health and happiness on your journey.
If you found this helpful please share with your friends.
RESOURCES FOR YOU:
As I offered Jackie the waitress, feel free to write and ask me anything. If I do not have the answer I will do my best to find it. I have been on a natural path (with a few detours) for many years. I would love to help if I can.
Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo: https://amzn.to/2KqpPEF (a personal favorite)
The Paleo approach by Sarah Ballantyne : https://amzn.to/2OEI7Fu
The Autoimmune Wellness Cookbook by Mickey Trescott: https://amzn.to/2M5d4o5
Animal Vegetable Miracle : Barbara Kingsolver: https://amzn.to/2OEKS9O ( a wonderful story of one family’s experience homesteading)
*Paleo Principles by Sarah Ballantyne: https://amzn.to/2LRWAQw
*This last book explains in amazing detail the science of what is happening in our bodies and why the Autoimmune Protocol can help, it also has many recipes and helpful tips.
One product that has worked really well for me is Collagen Peptides. It is GREAT to add to smoothies for protein. It is great for hair, joints and nails too! I have tried many of them, most taste icky….In my opinion this is the best one out there. It is tasteless and dissolves wonderfully: https://amzn.to/2BvFH9S