Seriously, today just kicked my butt. We didn't get up for our workout this morning, I rushed to get ready for work, I forgot my parking pass (thankfully that worked out okay), I wasn't excited about my food, and some of my classes were just a little more exhausting than usual.
Another area in life where I'm finally gaining some perspective is with whole foods. For about two years now, I've been trying to subscribe to a "real food" lifestyle, as defined by 100 Days of Real Food and Michael Pollan. We've made some really positive changes:
- Cooking almost everything from scratch and avoiding packaged foods as much as possible, especially those with ingredients I can't pronounce.
- Switching to whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta (only one ingredient), whole wheat pizza crust, and 5-ingredient whole wheat bread from Great Harvest.
- Focusing on mostly natural sweeteners (honey and pure maple syrup) instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners (but see below for an exception).
- Switching to grass fed beef, free-range poultry and eggs, and other organic meats.
Foods I really miss that I rarely indulge in now:
- Non-real-food cereals
- Snack crackers
- Store-bought ketchup
- Movie popcorn
- Chicken McNuggets
- Hot dogs
- Miscellaneous fried foods/fast food
But I'm far from perfect:
- I still bake with white and brown sugar--and sometimes white flour--when I'm making sweets.
- When we don't have time to go to Great Harvest (the closest location is 45 minutes away, and our freezer only has so much space for bread), we buy bread with some non-real ingredients.
- We don't shop at the farmer's market nearly as much as we could. Local ingredients are always better!
- We still use Pam most of the time when cooking eggs, etc.
- We have our regular indulgences, like M&Ms, chips, etc.
- Until recently, we still drank 2% milk and ate other low-fat dairy products.
So over the last several months we've been slowly transitioning. First it was buying full-fat cream cheese, sour cream, ice cream, and cheese. Then we tried out whole milk for our tea, baking, and scrambled eggs. And this week, finally, we went all the way: There are officially NO low-fat or non-fat dairy products in our house.
I'll be completely honest here: It's not easy to switch. I definitely grew up reading food labels--but only to look at the number of calories or the amount of fat. Seeing those high numbers on milk, yogurt, and cheese made me super hesitant at first (hence the long time it's taken to switch), but we're ready now.
It's all about moderation...
100 Days of Real Food has a fantastic post all about low-fat, lite, and nonfat food products, and Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food describes it all in a way that helped me decide that full-fat is the way to go. What it comes down to is:
- We're better off eating full-fat products in moderation than overdoing it on low-fat stuff.
- Often, companies take out the fat but then add sweeteners (often artificial) to boost flavor.
Interestingly, 100 Days of Real Food blogger Lisa recently asked her Facebook followers whether switching to full-fat products has actually helped them LOSE weight. (Check out her page and scroll to January 26 to see.) The response? An overwhelming (800+ comments) YES! If that doesn't convince you to at least consider it, what will?
Some reading for you:
If any of this post interests you, I strongly encourage you to try out the 10-Day Challenge. It changed my life!
And now I'm off to enjoy some (whole) milk and cookies! Happy February!
What are your thoughts on full-fat vs. low-fat/lite/nonfat products?