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Get Real: Breaking the old and creating the new!

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

“Old habits die hard, and new habits are a pain to make.” Let’s throw that out the window this minute! Together in this series we can help make it through the tough times of letting go and sticking to our new found habits.

Now here is an inexpensive brand of organic spaghetti with a short list!

Here are some national brand "whole wheat" noodles, seem healthy but still look at the added ingredients!

One of the hardest parts for me while starting this transition and continuing is making the choice not to buy those tried and true brands I have known my whole life that are not whole foods. There are some grocery items you always turn to because you know how they taste, how they cook, their low price, and just like them overall. But as we have mentioned in the last few weeks, label reading and becoming an educated consumer can quickly break those rose colored glasses you have for your favorite brands.

While you were purging your pantry, did you notice that some of your boxed cereals have up to 45 different ingredients? Can you imagine making that cereal from scratch with all of those ingredients some of which you cannot even pronounce? How about everyone’s favorite blue box quick pasta meal? Is there cheese even on the list? Although it is hard to let go of what you know, what tastes good, and what is quick and easy, thinking of the consequences to these conveniences can make it the best decision you made for your family.

There are many brands out there which are conducive to whole foods diet. Just simply read the label! If there are ingredients listed you do not recognize or could not purchase for yourself easily, it is more than likely not a whole food. Even store brand items are going towards more organic, natural and non-processed. Therefore providing you with a savings compared to some of the bigger natural brands on the market today.

I am the first to admit even late in this pregnancy there have been moments I have been driving home and calling the local pizza guy to deliver because I didn’t plan ahead, forgot to turn on the crockpot, or just do not have the energy to make it through another 30 minutes without food! I just want my husband, toddler and I fed without hearing “Is it ready yet?” And I know the pizza is not a whole food, and that I’m making the conscious decision to eat out, and not know what is in the pizza ingredients. However this isn’t an everyday occurrence for us. It’s about once a month at the most. In our home we follow the Food Rules and typically we follow the rule of “If you want junk food, make it yourself”, but in the case of the 5:30 PM meltdown, we follow the “Treat treats as treats” rule for our nights eating out.

January Week 2 Action Item:

Each week we will try to give you some simple action steps to put this journey into practice. It is important that you start this journey by understanding yourself, your goals and perhaps your obstacles.
**If you missed week 1, please make sure you start there!
  1. Leave us a comment on our Facebook Fan Page or below, and let us know what you believe will be some of your hardest habits to break. Or if you have brand loyalty that you do not feel you can give up and why.
  2. Explore your habits and take small steps to change them. Take a few minutes this week to see what habits you have that lead you towards consuming or purchasing non real and whole foods. Is it the drive thru coffee on the way to work in the morning? How about purchasing fair trade organic coffee in bulk online? Grinding it at home and making your own fresh cup, and on average saving you up to $3/day? Are you need quick and easy meals ready at dinner time? Explore the Whole Foods Menu and pick out a few recipes that you know your family will enjoy and do some freezer cooking!

January Get Real:

Please take a moment to thank our guest authors and sponsors by clicking over to their sites and/or liking them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Guest Author – Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food
Sponsor: ZipListOne pledged Get Real participant will be winning a $200 Visa Gift Card to help them restock their pantry!
*This post contains affiliate links.

48 Responses to “Get Real: Breaking the old and creating the new!”

  1. Christy says:

    The hardest thing for me will be to plan ahead and not fall back on the box of frozen waffles or fish sticks, or any other easy (processed) meals for the kids.

    • IthacaNancy says:

      Ive found cooking and freezing extras makes fast easy meals I just make a big batch of whatever it is – my own waffles are at least as good as the store-bought kind, don’t take up any more room in the freezer than the store-bought kind, I know what’s on them, and my money goes directly to the local farmers who produced the grains and dairy products I use – and I’m lucky enough to have chickens who lay lovely eggs!
      My only problem is remembering what I have frozen or canned, so I try to keep a list on the inside of the cupboard to rind myself.
      Good ‘go-to’ fast foods for our house are frozen feta/potatoe/summer squash patties or canned chili .

    • Stacey says:

      Christy, I used to buy the boxed kind too, but I made homemade fish sticks for my kids for the first time last week. They were so delicious and easy. Make extra for your first batch and then you can freeze them, so the next time it’s just like pulling out the old boxed kind! But really, to make them from scratch took just a few minutes to prep – Preheat oven to 425 degrees, Cut a couple of white fish fillets into small chunks (so they look like the boxed kind), lightly beat one egg in a small bowl, in another bowl or in a ziploc bag combine 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the kind with fillers from the green jar though!). Simply dip the fish pieces into the egg and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Put into a casserole dish (with some olive oil so they don’t stick) and bake for about 20 minutes. Voila! You can do the same thing with chicken too to make homemade chicken nuggets. I haven’t tried that one yet, but I assume it’s just as easy. Good luck!

  2. Nicole says:

    I think my biggest challenge will be my husband! He is big into boxed cereal and crackers. I know if I didn’t buy those things for him, I would not miss them, but he definitely would. And because we have them on hand, everyone eats them.

  3. Jodi says:

    I have two big problems that I see happening…1 – not being prepared with something to make and 2 – my husband wanting to go out to eat. we r making sides though…we went to our winter farmers market yesterday for the first time ever. I realized that I need to have a meal plan before going there so I know what to buy. really looking forward to this!!!

  4. Francie says:

    I think my biggest problem will be my unconventional work schedule. I never know the time or place of the deposition until the day before, and sometimes I may be working until 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00 at night. These are the nights I usually pick up some time of fast food, which may be a hard habit for me to break.

  5. Bev says:

    Under the photos of the two boxes of wheat pasta, it warns of the list of additional ingredients on one of the boxes. Those additional ingredients are vitamins. Folic acid (vitamin B9), Thiamin (vitamin B1), Iron, Riboflavin(vitamin B2), Niacin (vitamin B3),etc.

    • Kelly says:

      Yes Bev they are vitamins, but they are added ingredients that aren’t there naturally. They are just added vitamins to sell “healthier” pasta.

    • Bridget says:

      I agree with Bev. Yes they are additives and don’t make the product “natural” but they are all natural ingredients and very beneficial ingredients especially for those whose diets lack or who don’t take a multivitamin. Bad example, but it is still important to read labels and know what is a good ingredient and what is a bad ingredient.

      • Valerie says:

        I think the issue here is that not all vitamins are natural. There are a lot of “added nutrients” that are NOT naturally sourced (synthetics, etc.). It is widely accepted, even by the conventional food / medicine community, that the best source for vitamins and minerals is directly from the source, not from processed replacements, like vitamin supplements, or added nutrients in food. Your body can just absorb them better.

    • Stacey says:

      Bev, the reason that those ingredients are added back in is because the whole wheat flour is refined to begin with. Once refined, all the good nutrients are gone. So then, they have to add them back in. If you buy real 100% whole wheat that hasn’t been refined, those nutrients are there naturally. So the point she is making is that it is best to buy items in the most natural state you can. Lisa Leake has a nice resource page on this at http://www.100daysofrealfood.com. She explains it better than I can. Also, Michael Pollen’s book In Defense of Food also has a lot of interesting information about the history of processing grains and why vitamins then have to be added in after to ‘fortify’ the products.

  6. mandi says:

    We started on this journey last year and have made great progress, especially with dinners. My biggest struggle is snacks! Goldfish, crackers, granola bars, Graham crackers…I have yet to find recipes that are even close to what the kids like. Also, we are a big cold cereal family…even though we don’t buy sugary cereal, I know its not the best way for us to start our day!

    • Stephanie in AK says:

      There are several yummy cold cereals that are very natural, though they are sweetened they are sweetened with natural sources and the ingredient list is short AND all pronounceable! We try to vary our breakfast throughout the week so they’re not eating cold cereal everyday. Some of our favorites are:

      Kashi Strawberry Fields
      ingredients: Organic long grain rice, organic evaporated cane juice syrup, organic whole wheat, organic freeze-dried strawberries, sea salt, organic brown rice syrup , organic freeze dried raspberries

      Kashi Cinnamon Harvest
      Organic Whole Grain Wheat, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cinnamon, Natural Cinnamon flavor.

      Again, they are sweetened, but I feel better about serving them occasionally rather than the cereals with 25+ ingredients, many you can’t even pronounce.

      For snacks, check out weelicious.com she has some healthy cracker and other snack recipes in addition to lots of healthy kid-friendly recipes.

  7. Christa says:

    We generally try to eat whole foods, but I’m just now joining and hope to go through my pantry/freezer, to see if that is really true. The hardest thing to give up will be the frozen chicken nuggets. They are such an easy lunch/dinner for the kids, and we don’t eat them all the time so they are a treat, but still who knows what is in them. Snack will be another big issue. I don’t want to spend all of my limited free time in the kitchen making snacks, but I hope to find simple healthy recipes. I have pinned a gold fish cracker recipe, and several no bake granola bars, and granola recipes, so that is a start!

  8. Susan says:

    My biggest challenge is making the time to plan for the right food and not fall back on the quick convenience food…

  9. I’m with Mandi…my biggest struggle is snacks. Especially non-perishables to send with my son to school. Lisa has a great list on 100 Days of Real Food that I keep consulting, though. It’s been really helpful.

    As I’m purging our pantry (it’s a process around here…I have issues, LOL) I’m reading the ingredients and I’m just amazed that I’ve never noticed all these unnecessary additives before. It’s scary! I looked at the chocolate chips we had in there…they didn’t even have chocolate in them!!! No chocolate in a chocolate chip. Seriously.

  10. Shannon says:

    School lunches!!!!

  11. Kelli says:

    I think snacks will be the hardest. With a 16 yr old, he is a grab and go kid for school snacks. We homeschool part time, and he goes to high school in the morning. I can keep lunch healty (usually leftovers from dinner), but he loves his cereal bars and cappuccino. I did find some all natural bars from the company Boomi. I ordered those from our co-op, so maybe those will replace the cereal bars. With a peanut allergies and other food allergies I find it very hard to give up the few “treats” the family is allowed.

  12. Michele says:

    Breakfast is my challenge. I leave for work before the kids get up and if I don’t have an easy quick item for them/daddy to prepare – they will eat the school breakfast of who knows what. Their fav is cereal and even though I don’t buy the sugary types, I’m afraid to go home and read the labels. Haha. Thanks for the Kashi suggestions!

    • Stacey says:

      Michele, go to the guest author Lisa Leake’s website – http://www.100daysofrealfood.com – she has a great Whole Wheat Waffle recipe that my kids love. I make a big batch every other weekend and freeze the leftovers. We pull them out in the middle of the week and pop them in the toaster/microwave (my oldest likes them soft, not crunchy) just like an Eggo. Serve with 100% pure maple syrup and some fresh fruit and you have a great whole food breakfast that takes literally seconds to prepare. I also sometimes make a batch of plain oatmeal (we use Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Quick Cook Oats) the evening before and put it in the fridge. Next morning, just reheat in the microwave and then top with their favorite toppings – maple syrup, raisins, cinnamon with a little milk, whatever they like. Good luck!

  13. vicki says:

    One thing for myself is breakfast. I buy a frozen turkey, sausage, egg and cheese on a whole wheat muffin sandwich. I just pop it in the microwave and breakfast is done. I know I can make my own, but have not found/looked for a recipe. My son (a 12 yo VERY picky eater)is a little underweight and the doctor suggested those instant breakfast drinks. That is the one thing he will finish. I have left cereal for him to eat and I have come home from work with a full bowl of cereal on the table. So now I nuke my breakfast and whip up his drink before I leave for work. This is one area that will be a challenge for me.

  14. Felicia Little says:

    Our family has been transitioning to real food since about August, but still making changes. The hardest thing I deal with is (1) not planning ahead and eating out and (2) our 3 year old daughter, who only wants to eat crackers and cereal, which is the main reason we started making the change to real food. I started making crackers, snacks, bread, muffins, and pancakes/waffles, but she rarely eats them…ugh!! My husband and I are enjoying the foods, but she is very strong willed and won’t eat it unless it comes out of a box or wrapper. I’ve tried to enforce the “take at least 1 bite rule”, but she will fall asleep in her chair before she will take a bite. I’m not sure what to do at this point.

    • SarahM says:

      You’re not alone. My 3 year old daughter only wants to eat crackers, cereal, bread and mac n’ cheese. But not what I make, it has to be from a box :(
      The only fruits she’ll eat are peeled apples, slightly green bananas, and oranges but only if I peel every single bit of skin from the sections. Only veggie she’ll eat is broccoli. To get her to eat anything else is truly a struggle.
      We want her to have good eating habits so we keep at the “take one bite” rule with hopes she’ll begin to enjoy different and healthier foods.
      Her doc said to offer her foods she says she doesn’t like at least 12 times before we stop trying to make her eat it. Makes sense to me so that’s what we are doing.

  15. Sarah says:

    I think the worst for me will be snacks. I love my chocolate! I am going to seriously limit the amount of unhealthy, sugary snacks in the house! The 2nd thing that will be hard is getting hubby onboard. He keeps saying “we need to eat healthier, we need to lose weight, etc.” But if I mention trying new recipies he won’t have any of it! He’s addicted to food and it is an emotional thing for him…baby steps…

  16. Livinglessmom says:

    Oh so many challenges! Planning, convenience foods, cereal at breakfast, and things like brownies! This has been several years in the making for me and I have been working my way up to this point so I am ready to dive in and make the necessary changes to really get us on Real food and away from processed junk!

  17. Sandy says:

    We are junk food junkies. Especially when it comes to snacks. Finding healthier alternatives for Soda and potato chips will be the hardest for our family.

  18. Heather says:

    My biggest problem will be getting my husband and kids on board and finding recipes and things to cook to replace the tried and true,but processed, things they love.

  19. Stacy says:

    I think the hardest part will be letting go of our fall back food items (blue box deliciousness and nitrate logs, quick frozen breakfasts for my daughter, and my white chocolate mocha from starbucks before I work an 8 hour shift on saturdays…). Also, convincing my husband-and 3 year old daughter-that even though it’s whole foods and healthier, doesn’t mean it tastes gross. Getting them to try new things will be difficult! But it’s for the best!!

  20. Esther says:

    Salad dressing is the hardest change for us. We haven’t liked any of the homemade recipes I’ve tried so far and I haven’t found a single brand (even in the “health food” store) without sugar, soy, corn syrup, canola oil, or all of the above.

  21. jan says:

    I have a few: 1. The fatigue of Lyme disease. 2. I like to graze on junk food (but made my 1st batch of homemade caramel popcorn, yummy). 3. Hubby. He thinks I am a mad scientist making kefir & kombucha (but sure went for the home caramel popcorn :oP ). Even eating health food store granola he said, “It’s bad”. It wasn’t, I haven’t a clue why he didn’t like it.

  22. [...] This week’s installment of the Get Real Challenge from Once A Month Mom is about breaking old habits. Making the decision to move from to a real food diet can be a shock. It’s difficult to give up anything cold turkey. I remember reading somewhere that if you can’t make something homemade than you shouldn’t be eating it.  For example french fries.  They’re tasty and so fast to open a bag frozen and toss them in oil or the oven.  Now, make french fries – from potatoes.  It takes a lot more time and probably isn’t something you’re going to do every night.  Is it hard to break that habit?  Yes.  Can you do it?  Yes!   [...]

  23. Sarah says:

    Two of the hardest things for my family to give up are going to be Rice-a-roni type boxes of rice and pasta along with canned vegetables. One of our most frequent dinners is baked chicken breast, boxed flavored pasta, and green beans. I want to find good, fast substitutes for both.

  24. Jessi M. says:

    I just finished my pantry purge, then moved onto my fridge. My hardest habit to break is going to be my soda habit. I always say “oh when this pack is finished, I won’t buy anymore and I’ll quit drinking them.” then a week later I have a caffeine headache and my husband goes to the store and returns with a 12 pack of my favorite cola. I’m excited to finally nix all the junk in my diet. I’m breastfeeding so I know the benefits will reach beyond my own body and I hope that my son will grow up eating a whole food diet.

    • Tricia says:

      Soda is a hard one for me too. I have been on a 3 week journey to kick the habit and have been so surprised at how dependent my body really is on caffeine. I will be taking the journey with you! (And I have found that only drinking half the can or a small amount from a fountain, instead of buying a case to have in my week moments is helping me.

      • Valerie says:

        This one is a problem for me too. I’ve got myself down to just one soda a day (it’s my “coffee” in the morning), and I at least have the kind that’s made with real sugar instead of HFCS. But that’s sill about 160 empty calories of sugar. I’m trying to learn to like tea, instead. Tea has health benefits and no calories unless I add them. We’ll see how it goes.

  25. Kristi says:

    My biggest challenge is going to be breakfast. Hubby and oldest just grab n go so finding creative filling breakfast items are going to be tough for me to not just fall back into the boxed breakfast foods.

  26. Milica says:

    My husband will be my biggest challenge! He embraces sugary, fatty, processed foods like a 2 year-old with a security blanket. So far he has not been very accepting of my substitutes and regularly brings home junk but I keep trying!

  27. SarahM says:

    Like so many others, snacks will be hard to replace in my house. But, I’m confident we can replace them.

    I’m not so confident we’ll be able to do without French’s french fried onions. My family LOVES those!

    • Tricia says:

      Mmm, we love those too! But you know, we had some fried fresh leeks at a local restaurant and you would be amazed at how similar and good they taste.

  28. Crystal says:

    My hardest will be lunches with the kids. I am a home school mom and it is easy to throw something (processes chicken nuggets and the infamous blue box). I know with a bit of good planning I can do this!

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