01/01/2012 by Farmer K's Kitchen
I get a lot of messages asking me how to make the change from eating mediocre to eating in a way that you are providing for your body the best you possibly can. I’ll attempt to address your questions over a couple of posts.
If you have any other questions you would like an answer for, leave it in the comment section and I’ll give them a go!
Q: How did you change the way you eat?
A: The very first thing I did was get my hands on Cyndi O’Meara’s ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ book that a friend had kindly lent me. Cyndi talks about making small changes slowly over time, which is exactly how my husband and I approached it…slooooowly. If you do it too fast, it all becomes overwhelming and you may give up on something that could have forever improved your life! We are still going through the changes and it is still an exciting process, not a frustrating one. Cyndi’s book is packed full of common sense and her approach to eating is simple and straight forward – my kinda book! I highly recommend it!
The next step was to get rid of the margarine and only buy butter. There has been so much confusion over the butter vs. margarine debate and there is a LOT to understand to see why butter is best. I am just going to scratch the surface to give you a bit of an idea: in the old days everyone ate butter but it got too expensive so they designed a substance that was originally meant to fatten turkeys…but killed them. The manufacturers didn’t want to waste money so they tweaked it, coloured it yellow so it looked like butter and all of a sudden they had a cheaper version of butter (margarine was known as the butter substitute for the poor). Hmmm….appetising.
Both have the same amount of calories. Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats, at 8 grams compared to 5 grams. Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a Harvard Medical School study.
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods. Butter has many nutritional benefits, where margarine has only a few, because they are added. Butter tastes much better than margarine, and it can enhance the flavors of other foods. Butter has been around for centuries, where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.
And now, for margarine, which…
- Is very high in trans-fatty acids.
- Triples the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Increases total cholesterol and LDL (the bad cholesterol), and lowers HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
- Increases the risk of cancers up to fivefold.
- Lowers the quality of breast milk.
- Decreases the immune response.
- Decreases the insulin response.
And here’s the most disturbing fact…
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC. This fact alone is enough to make you want to avoid margarine for life, as well as anything else that is hydrogenated. (This means that hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance.) – From NaturoDoc.
Then we made sure that any oil we bought was cold pressed. This means that the oil has had the least done to it and was extracted from the source (nut, olive) without the use of heat. It is a chemical-free process using only pressure which results in a higher quality oil, with less acidity. We then bought some organic, cold pressed coconut oil (Yandina Markets, Health Food Shops, etc) which is one of the very best oils to cook with. It can withstand very high heats and has exceptional health benefits (more on this in another post)!
After these two big changes, we then we started to read the ingredients list on our food. Who cares about calories, fat, etc. They should not be what we look at first. The most important information on the label is the ingredients. We make sure that everything on there we understood. To help us do this we downloaded the Chemical Maze app for the iPhone (you can also buy it as a book at most Health Food Stores). It is so handy to have while shopping because sometimes good foods are given tricky, sciency names and they can be misunderstood for chemicals when they are not. We also try to only eat foods that have 5 ingredients or less. Anything more and it has had too much tampering. We like to eat food that is closest to the way God created it. He knows what our bodies need.
We then bit the bullet and bought a Thermomix. You don’t NEED a Thermomix to eat healthy, but it sure cuts down the time and cost! Since buying our Thermomix we have been able to make our own butter, sauces, dips, crackers, rice flours and rice milk, almond meal and almond milk, doughs, the majority of our meals, ice creams, yogurts, sorbets, etc. All from scratch using ingredients I understand. I feel like I have so much more control over what we put in our mouths now.
We stopped worrying about fats. This was the funnest part! Counting calories and eating a low-calorie diet is a load of rubbish! Everyone’s body needs fats – fats from nature! You should never stop your body from having good fats. We drink full fat milk, yogurt, cream, cheese, etc. We eat avocados, bacon, meat, butter, salmon, nuts, oils, etc. All the things in those foods our bodies require to function properly. Fats in refined sugar, cakes, pastries, breads, breakfast cereals, etc are not what our body needs and are bad for you. They have a whole other heap of junk in there and it is just not worth eating for your quality of life.
Something very misleading is calling good foods “full fat”, like “full fat milk” . People straight away think they are consuming something bad as the word FAT has been attached to so much negative, let alone FULL of fat. It just isn’t right. Instead, full-fat milk should be called….milk. It is the way milk was in the past. You drank milk straight from the cow. There was never a need to label foods ‘organic’, ‘raw’, ‘clean’, ‘full fat’. Food used to be just those things. In our modern-day, we need to categorise what is still in its basic element, compared to what has been added to and morphed into something else.
Finally, we are relaxed. We eat at friend’s places, restaurants, birthday parties, and love it! We let people know we are gluten-free (otherwise my body will suffer for days and days) and if that is a problem we offer to bring our own or contribute to the food. I thought the peer thing would be the hardest part of all, but it isn’t.
So making the change requires time and patience. It shouldn’t happen over night or in a week. My advice is to focus on one thing (butter for instance). Learn about the topic and make the change based on what you have found out. Once that is done, move on to the next area. Any change is a move in the right direction!
Hope that helps!