Step One, continued

In Step One, I talked about changing some buying habits. When The Hubs (then boyfriend) and I went vegan, we quit animal products cold, ahem, turkey. We threw out butter, cheese, milk, etc., substituted faux meats and cheeses for the real stuff, and ended up really hungry and at a loss for what to do with most meals. Many loaves of bread and meat-cheats later, we landed on something that worked. Changing your entire way of shopping can be overwhelming, so here is a bit more about how to transition successfully (and not necessarily to a vegan diet, just a healthier one):

1. Don’t clean out all of your “old” foods at once unless that is a method that has worked for you in the past. I’m definitely an All or None kind of person, so it works for me to jump in with both feet. But you may find that restrictive and unmotivating.

2. Instead, try changing one item (or a few items) per week. Where to start?

  • If you’re not already buying organic produce, begin there, especially with The Dirty Dozen.
  • Try switching to a non-dairy milk, preferably organic. Soy milk is the closest in viscosity to cow’s milk.(PLEASE buy organic! GMO-laden soybeans should not be part of your plan!) Almond milk is a close second. I prefer Hemp milk but it is an acquired (nutty) taste. I don’t believe that cow’s milk is a necessary part of a human’s diet, but if you disagree, do yourself a favor and research the company that processes your milk—and choose wisely.
  • Next, I’d focus on processed snacks and other items. Try to buy the version with least amount  of ingredients, with recognizable ingredients, and preferably organic. Ultimately, try not to buy many processed goods at all.
  • Buy only grass-fed, pastured beef, organic, pastured chicken and pastured pork. You’ll find that these items are more expensive and you may convert to more meatless meals!
  • Eventually, you should start recognizing the good ingredients from the bad and choose products based on what’s important to you– organic dairy items, like yogurt, for example.

3. Be sure your cabinets are stocked for cooking. I really like this reference and help guide from goodcheapeats.com

4. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. When we transitioned to veganism, it took two years for us to figure it all out and get to a balanced diet. I don’t think it has to take that long, but if it does, so be it!

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5 Responses to Step One, continued

  1. Sarah White August 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I can honestly say I’m not going vegan, but I think all your suggestions are do-able. I think the one I need to work on the most is the Organic, Grass-fed Meat thing. I’ve been doing a lot more meatless meals, but am still looking for an affordable but healthy meat option. Looking into buying a cow. . .

    • HealthfulMama August 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Sarah! I suppose, since I mentioned our previous veganism, this post may have seemed like I was advocating that everyone go vegan. While I do think it’s worth a try sometimes (especially if you need to cleanse your system), I know that it’s not, and shouldn’t be, for everyone. We’re no longer vegan and I know that I personally had to give it up to balance my system. The payoff from a couple of years of strict eating was that we know how to cook and enjoy things beyond the traditional!

  2. Kayla W November 5, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    I’m making my way through your blog, and really enjoy it! I just have a question about yogurt. I’m cutting dairy out of our diet; mine and my 3 yr old’s. Milk is no problem, we use almond milk, cheese is a challenge (I won’t lie), but what about yogurt? I could make my own using goat milk, or make kefir instead but they are all based on diary. Raw milk is illegal in Canada (even if given away), so I’m curious to hear, firstly whether you eat yogurt, and secondly any changes you’ve made in the type you buy. I do take probiotics, but I find yogurt is essential for breakfast, especially when we can’t have milk.

    • HealthfulMama November 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Kayla! In a perfect world, I would buy and use raw milk (when necessary), as I believe whole foods are the best for our bodies. However, raw milk is unavailable in my area and I have only one source for raw milk cheese. I do eat yogurt because the benefits are too good to pass by. I currently buy whole milk, plain organic yogurt, but I’d like to buy some from a local creamery to see the difference.

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