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Welcome to Get Real 2012: January – The Great Pantry Purge

**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.

Welcome to the start of a new chapter in your life! We are so happy to have you join us in this journey and we hope to provide you with information, tools and resources to keep you going throughout the year! First stop by and make the pledge to Get Real with us! By making this pledge you are not only making a commitment for success, but you are entered to win fun prizes each month that you participate!

What do we mean by fun prizes? This month’s Get Real brand sponsor is ZipList who can help you with our mission this month, taking inventory of our pantries and freezers! To help you even further ZipList will be giving one January pledged Get Real participant a $200 Visa Gift Card to assist them in restocking their pantry!

January is the beginning of a new year and is full of buzz words like resolutions, goals, milestones, and big plans. Although it seems like by the time April comes around, everything we’ve set back in January has fallen to the wayside and given in to life’s realities. That is not our plan for this series! Having the series last through the entire year helps this become a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).

Let's help each other on this journey! (photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons brainpop_uk)

This first month in the series we will be providing you with a list of resources that will help you research why changing to a more whole foods lifestyle can only improve your health and quality of life. We’ll be hosting a movie week and discussion! If you are too excited and want to get ahead of the group, head over to our Get Real Amazon store for our list of books and DVDs that will expand your knowledge! I would also encourage you to check our your local library for these books and DVDs, since checking them out is FREE, positive for the local economy, and your fuel tank.

With all the resolution talk this past week, I am sure you have heard the saying, “It takes six weeks to make a new or break an old habit.” Right? I truly believe that it takes WORK and DEDICATION to create new or break old habits. We will go over what are some of the hardest habits to break while transitioning. We will talk about what brand loyalty means for you and how it can effect your buying habits through the transition.

And with the help of  Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food, we will be focusing on purging your pantry and also ridding yourself of things that can tempt you down the road. While it is true that everything is fine in moderation, we need to first start with a clean and fresh slate. There are also resources out there that will provide you with a cleansing diet to start your plan, however I believe this transformation is gradual and doesn’t need to be a shock to your system. (Plus you still have a freezer full of OAMM meals to go through right?)

January Week 1 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. Next week  Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food will be getting into the finer details of peeking into your pantry but for this week we want you to do some reflecting, committing and sharing.
  1. Leave us a comment on our Get Real Facebook Fan Page or below, and let us know what is driving you towards a more whole foods lifestyle and the goals you hope to achieve through this series.
  2. Time to take inventory! Go through your pantries, cupboards, and freezer and mark down all of the pre-packaged foods, highly processed meals, and processed ingredients that you wouldn’t consider for whole foods. Mark your list with what you feel is a whole food and what you feel is real. It will be great to compare with our guest post next week Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food and what she has in store for us!
  3. Plan your purge. Once you’ve made your list, make plans to use what you can of these foods and get rid of them for good! Now we don’t like to throw out perfectly good food. You can go to ZipList and enter in the ingredients of what you have and they’ll help to show you recipes that will use what you have on hand! Using a weekly or monthly meal plan can help you to get through what you have so we can begin to restock with more whole and real foods in your home. You can also donate non-perishable items to your local food pantry, church, or shelters if you feel inclined

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 Amazon Affiliate links. 

99 Responses to “Welcome to Get Real 2012: January – The Great Pantry Purge”

  1. Alissabeth says:

    I love this! We are starting a purge, mostly because my son has been so hyped on sugar over the holidays (basically since Halloween – it’s going to be thrown out). However, it is also to get us back to the healthy eating we were doing before I was pregnant with our twins and got lazy! We all could use some healthier foods for increasing our immunity and health, providing the nutrition I’m passing to the girls, as well as losing weight and assisting in getting back to shape after these babies.

    The SMART so reminds me of classes I took while working at the hospital. The meaning for this purpose is way more appealing!

    • Bianca says:

      Wow! Congratulations on the babies! When was the birthday? I just had a baby girl on 11/11/11 and my older girl turned 3 on11/25. I want to be sure that my youngest grows right into eating healthy and my 3 year old learns to love healthy food.
      My youngest daughters name actually means awakening because I wanted her birth to be the beginning of a better life for my family – spiritually, physically, fiscally, and in relationships.
      Baby weight needs to go too! I hope this helps!

  2. Lauren D. says:

    There are several factors behind my desire to Get Real this year. First and foremost is my weight and health. My 4th child is now 1 yo and I still have about 20 pounds and 2 sizes I would like to shed. Second is the health of my children. While they eat much better than I do there is still room for improvement. I want them to develop correct food choices now so it becomes a lifestyle for them. I’m excited about the layout of Get Real and believe the baby steps and resources being provided will help my family eat better and live healthier for life!

  3. jan says:

    What has got me wanting to start with a real food diet is FINALLY a diet that makes sense! I believe God is leading the way to Get Real. Also, I have late stage Lyme disease and a junk food junkie. I so want to get away from that, but need help that I am hoping this Get Real will give me. Also, I don’t want all of these chemicals.

    Get Real is coming at such a good time for me as last yr. I experienced some real improvement in my health & energy – not perfect, but I think will be enough to get started and then let the diet improve my health & energy more.

    jan

    PS One of the things that led me to being a junk food diet was all the diets out there that contradict one another (and didn’t make sense). I threw up my hands and ate junk.

  4. Laura says:

    I have been working towards a whole foods lifestyle, but it has been hard. It seems at every turn I am bombarded with processed foods, as are my family members. I have been looking for recipes that fit my needs, but it is difficult to find. (my needs being little meat and no soy) I have finally found some vegan and vegetarian blogs that don’t use soy in everything! I am so excited to try all of the new recipes that are out there.
    We are doing this as a family to increase our health and energy.

  5. Rachel H says:

    My son is the reason we are making the switch to a whole foods lifestyle. I don’t want him to grow up eating the same junk that my husband and I grew up on. We’ve always struggled with our weight and we don’t want that to be his future too. We would also like to improve our health and well being as well.

  6. I’m a little uncomfortable with the purging part of this but as we’re using up foods, we’re replacing them with the “whole” version. I’ve taken some chips and stuff that we haven’t eaten in a while and given them to coworkers to finish off but I’d have to get rid of practically everything in my pantry to conform to the whole foods standards. That doesn’t work with our budget right now so we’re just going to be replacing as we go along.

    • Kelly says:

      Amy we’re not saying to toss out anything or everything! Just simply take inventory of what you have and work towards getting rid of the biggest processed items first, whether through cooking/eating now and replacing with more real and whole foods once it’s gone. I suggested donating food as well for those who want to purge, but in this day and economy, if you read through the post we’re advocating that you use what you have to eat what you can and next week learn about what to replace them with!

  7. Stacy says:

    We are making the switch over to whole foods because I am determined to eat healthy! Even though I’ve been losing weight, it’s only been because of counting calories, not from eating healthy. I want to be able to eat what the family eats for dinner and start my kids on healthy eating habits while they are still young (3 and 8 mos). I started cooking more around September and I feel that if I can cook meals with processed foods, I can cook meals with whole foods. It’s a win-win. Trying new meals and finding what works for our family is a fun and interesting new hobby of mine :) It will probably take a while for our house to be completely free of processed foods just because I tend to keep a fully stocked pantry and cabinet. But we will get there soon. We move to Hawaii in April so I guess whatever is left by then will be gone anyways and we can start from scratch! I’m excited to start this journey and I already have a few friends on board with me too. Good luck to everyone else as well!! Thanks for starting this series!

  8. Shannon says:

    Ok. I think I’ve got it. Total honesty? Had to look up the definition of real food (blushing)but Lisa has a great description on her site. :) http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/real-food-defined-a-k-a-the-rules/ thank you!

    When I was pregnant I only ate real food. I felt amazing! I want that feeling back and I want it for my family! (without being pregnant again lol)

    My goal is to shed 20 pounds and 2 sizes. No worries… I am patient! I am also starting a “dance style” excercise class this Wed.

    Off to make my list. Should be easy as we just moved across the country and have not done a Costco run yet!

    I am ALL IN!

  9. Jodi says:

    I think that the main reason I am trying to “Get Real” is health. I have noticed that my energy is very low and it is because of what I eat. When I am lazy, we eat bad foods (mostly takeout) and then become more tired. It is a cycle that we are ready to break! Another reason that is driving me is my daughter. It is weird to see her food choices…she wants fruits and veggies. We go out to eat and she would rather have an apple over fries. I think that this is the way we are suppose to eat and I am going to make it easier for her to eat that way!!! Thanks so much for everything you do!!!

  10. Debbie says:

    I love this challenge! We have slowly been adapting to more whole foods and this website will be a wonderful tool as we continue on this journey. Thanks for all that you do!!!

  11. Sara D in MT says:

    I have been in process trying to change our diet for about 2 years, starting not long after our son’d autism dx. We’ve had bumps and I’ve meet resistance by the kids (and hubby). I keep making consessions and taking short cuts and I’m sick of it. One of my big goals for the year is “use what we have”, and the pantry definatly could use a purge to start us off right :)

  12. Jenn says:

    We have gotten rid of almost all but I can’t (or won’t) get rid of cereals (and these are the 5 ingredients or less, sugar isn’t even on the list cereals) and crackers. But all in all we are doing well.

    I’m going to figure out what else we can get rid of because it’s important to my health and my families health as well.

  13. katie says:

    I’m trying to make the switch for my boys, both the two little ones and the big one too. I want my husband and I to be around for a long time to see them grow into wonderful men and I want them to grow up with healthy eating habits.

  14. Stephanie says:

    My family and I are on our way to whole foods. We want to do this for the health standpoint, but really, we’re overhauling our whole lives to a more healthy way of living.

  15. Jenn says:

    I started whole foods about 3 months ago, but I’m so excited to have another database to help with this process. I especially love the fact that it is a slow approach instead of a shock…thank you so much!!!

  16. Amy Tilson says:

    I’ve got a very picky 3 year old and just need to get good stuff into him and us. It may be tricky, and he may be hungry often for a while, but let’s see what happens. I’m hopeful. He ate a sticker tonight in the car so I told him he couldn’t refuse to eat other food now. No excuses. :)

  17. Julie says:

    I have a special needs child who is addicted to sugar so I started changing over our diet last summer. During the holidays junk returned to our house and I’m ready to get back on track. I felt so much better when eating whole foods.

    • Alissabeth says:

      Julie, my son asks for candy as food! It’s pretty sad that he thinks he can eat candy because he is hungry. It is driving me insane. Not sure how your child reacts to sugar, but mine gets mean…not necessarily hyper, but just mean and ugly and of course he misbehaves, and I know I’m to blame because I don’t keep it out of my house. It was hard during the holidays because you can’t control what everyone sneaks to them around your back! I’m so ready for him to calm down a bit.

  18. Laurie says:

    My youngest daughter has Prader Willi Syndrome; and I need to re-learn how to cook healthy foods instinctively. In a very real sense, food is now medicine for our family and we have no choice.

  19. Cindy says:

    I think all the junk in our foods are what causes so many of the health (both physical and mental) problems people suffer from. I’ve been slowly converting to more whole foods in an attempt to offer my children a better chance at life. There is resistance. A lot. I’m hoping following along with y’all will help me keep fighting that resistance!

  20. Dianna says:

    I actually cleaned, sorted and purged my pantry this morning. I found this site this evening so it is great to find mental support. Just before the holidays I actually defrosted, cleaned and purged the freezers and fridge. I am heading in to the new year with the goal of getting to a more healthy and real food life. The main reason for the change is family health. My youngest daughter developed a digestive issue in August, doctors have not been able to identify the problem or solve it. I am hoping that more healthful, natural food will be of benefit to her. I am a diabetic and working on controlling with diet at this point.

  21. janice says:

    I have been trying to change my eating habits for the past few years. I believe processed food is the cause of numerous health concerns. Thanks for providing information to make this transitition easier

  22. Christine says:

    I am new to this website and looking forward to exploring it further, in particular to try to transition to a gluten-free-cassein-free diet. We are already GF, but my daughter’s paediatrician has (again) suggested we take her CF as well. This will be tough though, as she loves cheese! I tried soy cheese and it’s just not the same. Also, my husband is strongly allergic to soy.

    Anyhow, one thing I did want to point out, while not meaning to be critical, I did take offence to the suggestion to donate unwanted (ie unhealthy) non-perishables to a local food pantry, church or shelter. I feel the need to point out that by donating these types of food to your food bank, you are making it that much more difficult for families in need to stay healthy. Having been a recipient of these services, I found it very discouraging to try to feed my family a healthy diet when just about everything we received in our food hampers was processed and full of sugar and chemicals. The stereotype of “poor people” choosing to eat junk food and generally not caring about their health and hygiene is not justified! Before I became a recipient of these services, whenever I donated food, I gave “treats” because I figured that someone who was struggling to make ends meet might appreciate something they would otherwise not be able to afford; however, having seen what it’s like on the other side, I now realize that if everybody does that, or gives food that they have “left over” because they will never use it, then people who need the healthy food the most, as they generally have difficulty affording medical services as well, will always be deprived of the healthy food they need. I now give only healthy (and preferably gluten free) food to my food bank. So please…if you would not eat it, why would you give it to someone who may not have the option of not eating it?

    • Kelly says:

      Christine – I did not mean to offend with my statement about donating. I wholeheartedly agree with your comment and thought it through before writing it. I myself am at a place in my life where I can donate non-processed non-perishable foods and I also donate to money for families to get farm shares who otherwise cannot afford to do so. Or I donate my farm share itself if my family can’t get through all the food. My thought in writing the statement was that if someone doesn’t want to make it part of their meal plan for the month, and it’s the difference between the trash or someone else’s home, I’d rather you choose to donate. Then as we all progress and are able, we can focus on donating healthier items! I can say also that people can ask friends, family or co-workers if they want the food first rather than donating. There are still people out there that are purposely not choosing this real and whole food path as we all are!

      It’s a great topic to think about and will get discussed further possibly in our budgeting month, although I do not want it do become debated.

  23. Holly says:

    Every year at this time, my husband and I talk about our goals from the past year, where we are, and where we would like to be. We started on a path to healthier eating last year and we did well, but got off track during our move. We’re ready to get back on track, so this is perfect timing!

  24. Lori says:

    I have been trying to eat a more whole foods diet for about 2 or 3 years. I am pregnant again and believe that at least some of my complications last time was due to my diet. I’m hoping for an uneventful pregnancy this time. And I’ve been craving whole foods, which is really exciting to me, except I want to just grab and go so its taking some work to get stuff in the fridge and freezer that I can grab and go.

  25. Amanda says:

    Making the change for my families health and because i don’t want my kids growing up on junk. i have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and i wannt them to be healthy.

  26. Jen R says:

    My youngest is two and I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant. While diabetes runs in my family and my doctor was pretty positive of it going away after, it really has not so things really need to change in our house. I want my children to not have issues with weight, and we all need to start eating better. While we have done a good job with making more dinners at home, there is always room for improvement and I would love the effects that a real food diet provides.

  27. Deb Harris says:

    Thank you so much-I need to do this for health reasons & knowing there is a whole group of people doing it with me makes it seem more doable(?) I love the idea of doing it together thank you for putting this together

  28. Milica Carter says:

    I am determined to make some real changes in my family’s overall lifestyle with healthy whole foods eating being at the top of the list! I figure if I keep feeding my kids the right kind of foods and not the processed variety, eventually they will learn to like it! (at least I am really, really, really hoping this is true!)

  29. Erica says:

    I am slightly confused does the Traditional menu plan not conform to the Whole food standard? Meaning I should follow the Whole food plan?

    • Kelly says:

      Erica – The Traditional Menu is mostly real food, however the Traditional Menu uses a few more convenience items that tend to be processed foods and not considered whole food.

  30. Katie in AZ says:

    I’ve been on a weight-reduction diet since August and am doing well with it. However, the food is different from what the rest of my family is eating. In the next few months I’ll reach my goal weight and transition back to eating the same food my family eats. I’ve learned what proper portion sizes look like, how much of each nutrient I should eat, and I want to bring that to my family as well.

  31. Kelli says:

    We have followed Nourishing Traditions in the past, yet withthis year I have fallen short. I began purchasing bread again instead of grinding my own wheat and soaking, then making my bread. We decided to start eating better again, and to me that meant back to Nourishing Traditions and real food as much as we can. I know that most of our meals are made from scratch, and I do not use box type of meals, I just need to get back in the groove of making my bread and doing fermented food. I have already started this, as for purging my pantry, really there isn’t much to purge in the way of processed food. I do have some cereal bars and small packages of cookies in there, my 16yr old throws these in his backpack. I do make homemade snacks, as in cookies and date balls. Hopefully this will go well, get me fully back on track….I know we feel better when we eat better.

  32. Genny says:

    I desire to get myself and my family healthier. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, now I’m seeing health/behavior issues in our kids and I feel our food is (in part at least) to blame. We’ve made great strides in 2011 but still have much to improve!

  33. Vicki says:

    My family and I are making the switch for overall health reasons. I want my boys to have better food choices, my husband and I to have more energy and hopefully lose weight in the process, and to simplify our lives in the process. I took a picture of my pantry this morning after doing inventory and plan on doing the same once my pantry has been purged (we will use what we have and replace as we go along). i dream of a well organized pantry with healthy foods and can’t wait to see the “finished product”. Looking forward to the next post. Thanks!

  34. Roxie says:

    This is so awesome! Me and my family have been looking to make healthier food choices so we can be good examples for our son and future children. Last year we made the pledge to stop eating out so often, which we got down to once a month. But this is going to be an exciting challenge and opportunity for renewal! Yay!

  35. Alyssa says:

    I have been working towards this for a few year and while we mostly eat real food I sometimes get busy and fall into bad habbits. I want my 3 girls to learn about how food helps us to be healthy and not to obsess about food but rather know how making good choices helps us to feel and look our best (without obsessing about weight).

  36. Enid says:

    I’m totally excited about this! My hubby and I have tried multiple times to go all real food and it lasts for a bit but then bad habits creep back in. All in all we do a pretty good job but I’d love to show my three little guys how to be 100% real!

  37. Marilyn says:

    We’re a homeschool family of eight. Most of us have health issues requiring special diets like gluten free, etc. My husband and I are really struggling, health-wise, and it’s very difficult for me to cope on a day to day basis. I know that if we can just get our kitchen “clean”, we will start to function better. And with six kids at home, several of whom have disabilities, I NEED to function!

  38. Francie says:

    This is great!! My oldest daughter has been doing whole food for a while now, but I love the idea of transitioning in phases. Since I’m a diabetic, I think this will help keep me on a healthy diet and improve my numbers. Also hope to get my extended family involved. Thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity!!

  39. jennifer says:

    I’ve been on a roller coaster of healthy/non-healthy eating for a while now! This is just the motivation I need to get it consistent!

  40. Greenie says:

    We have been on the road to whole foods for a while, but holidays and hectic lives keep us from making the full switch. With our first baby due in April, I’d like to make the change over for good. While junk food, excess sugar and artificial ingredients may not affect a 100+ lb person, I don’t like wondering what the might do to someone much smaller! Plus I’d love to start off on the right foot with food for the newest member of our family!

  41. Elizabeth Pierce says:

    I have been wanting to make a switch to real foods for a while now, but like many of the previous posts, become overwhelmed with all the junk. My own energy is completely gone and my kids show an incredible difference in their behavior when they are hyped up on sugar and fat. Thank you for creating this series and I look forward to all the baby steps to take that will help me to be successful!

  42. debbie T says:

    We’ve slowly transitioned into eating healthy whole foods for the past 2.5 years, but I’m still looking to grow and learn from others. I’d like to really increase my plant intake, and concentrate on more local foods.

    I wish everyone luck! It’s a slow process, but in the end, it’s so worth it!

  43. S. Moore says:

    We have been moving towards more traditional foods for about a year, but seem to be staying more on the “safe edge” than diving in and doing the tough stuff. We can all use a healthier diet, and although we don’t suffer from any obvious allergies, I often wonder if that runny nose or upset stomach was caused by what we ate. I have a lot of questions and am looking forward to continuing this journey in great company!

  44. Kristen says:

    I could say for about five months we have cut 75% of processed foods out of my family’s diet. We are starting a garden this year to tie into my daughter’s home schooling and the local school’s project of teaching the kids whole foods and gardening. I’m feeding a family of six on a receptionist salary and that has what has kept me from fully going real, whole foods. I’m looking forward to this series and I’m hoping I will learn everything I need to keep my kids healthy and food smart! Thank You so much Tricia! My family loves the recipes I make from your site and every one has been my kids “keeper”!

  45. Nicole says:

    We have been on a slow transition to more whole foods, replacing as we go – though this last grocery trip was supposed to introduce sucanat into our pantry, I caved to budget pressure and grabbed a bag of brown sugar instead. My husband is semi-resistant to the changes I’m suggesting, but has been willing to go on a diet with me that cuts out processed foods, so that’s a start ;) This journey started for us when I had to find a healthy alternative to cows milk for our son. My research opened up a whole new world of food to me. I even got my mom to start soaking her grains! And I found a lovely local goat farmer who was willing to sell us goats milk “straight from the tap”. Excited to see where this series will take our family!

  46. Jen says:

    I have been coming to Once a Month Mom for a long time–whether to follow the freezer plan or just for ideas–it has been such a great help. I am beyond excited about this series and love that a lot of the blogs/writers I follow are contributing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  47. Margaret says:

    We have been eliminating More and more processed foods for awhile now after watching numerous documentaries and movies about our food and how grown, processed, raised, etc… We have even begun to purchase expensive blenders and new cookware to get us in the kitchen more. Jamie Oliver was the kicker for my husband to get on board and he has now surpassed me in excitement for eating healthier…with me having to do most of the cooking :). I have been wanting to try OAMC for awhile now and you are combing the two…PERFECT. So far I am a little overwhelmed by your website but may just need to look around further to find my niche and hope I am not commiting over my head. But worth a shot. I did try one of the prepare and freeze storefronts which has reinforced my desire to try this at home. Trusting the food can only taste better since they use processed, non-organic, gmo, etc food in preparation. Not to mention the flavors. We wouldn’t eat the leftovers if that tells you anything. Thanks for your time, effort and sharing your knowledge, recipes, expertise with the rest of us.

    Also, my ipad doesn’t let me change the number of people cooking for… any suggestions? Do use flash?

  48. Margaret says:

    Oh ya, my husband, also, found http://blog.fooducate.com/ that has an app for his android phone that has been interesting and helping us to pass on the processed foods by giving a grade to the product and then giving warning reasons for the grade it was given. We are going to go thru the house this weekend and check out everything. Think this is going to be a great tool as we purge our pantry and to keep us from going back to our brand loyalty providers.

    • Kelly says:

      HI Margaret! I just found that app the other day myself. I love it!!! Going to share a few other apps here in the next week or so.

  49. Kendra says:

    Some may laugh or balk, but I am a true food addict (i.e. compulsive over-eater). April 25, 2010 I gave up refined white sugar and sugar substitutes (except Stevia)with the help of a 12 step group. October 2010 I gave up all forms of flour, wheat and even Stevia because I was still wanting to eat hordes of things made with these foods. I only eat whole foods now and have so for 8 months. I am doing well and am at the point where I am ready to integrate this into my family’s diet. I have six children and a husband. I have changed a lot for them, but I get lazy and turn to meals that are not the healthiest for them. I am exciting to have a place to come to for learning and support. Thanks for sponsoring this wonderful challenge! 2012 will not only be REAL but be GREAT!

  50. Jill says:

    I had a physical in June of this past year. My blood work revealed that I was severely anemic and was pre-diabetic. Since then, I started eating organic and taking supplements. After 3 months, my iron levels are still low, but normal. My blood sugar remains the same for now. However, I feel so good & I know it’s due to the change in my diet. While I have been trying to buy less processed foods over the past few months, I still have lots to learn.
    Additionally, my husband who is allergic to wheat, but never really watched what he ate, is now eating gluten free and is feeling great!
    I’m excited to get some support from this group.

  51. Stephanie says:

    Several years ago dh and I stopped buying sodas and became intentional about our purchase of items with high fructose corn syrup. We’ve been careful now that we have kids but sometimes you just gotta eat;) We traveled a lot this summer and the kidlets got used to the UHT organic chocolate milk boxes. The good news is that the milk is organic and not produced with growth hormone and made from happy cows. The bad news – tons of sugar. So, right before Thanksgiving I bought nifty thermos’s so they could take regular milk to school and I’ve gotten them involved in making their own lunches.

    But there are more steps for us. I want to go beyond just a few ingredients in our meals, to our whole meals. I want to go beyond our meals, to the way we carry our meals, too. It’s a process, I realize and personally I like seeing everything come together.

  52. I’m so excited about this challenge!
    The reason I’m doing it, is that my family has been out of control with our poor eating and exercise habits. I feel like I’m being a really bad example for my two little girls. I don’t want they to turn into adults with bad eating habits, too.

  53. Jamila says:

    I would like to eat better foods and help my daughter develop her good eating skills and maybe both of us lose some weight. I think I will try to donate most of the foods we have in out pantry that’s not good for us, since we will be moving soon and don’t need to take it with us.
    My biggest struggle in our diet has been my laziness. I work some many hours at work and come home tired and feel fast food/take out is easier, but I really want to work on doing once a month cooking, so our budget and waistline are in better shape.

  54. Sheolby says:

    Our main motivation for this challenge is simply to eat better and feel better! I also want to teach my kids healthy life-long eating habits that we can all carry through to the future.
    Some members of our family have some minor health issues, such as chemical sensitivities and sensitive skin caused by allergies, and I figure eating real healthy food can only help us all stay healthy!
    I hope to learn more about how to eat a healthy, real foods diet we can all enjoy!

  55. Lisa says:

    My son is the main reason we started looking into what we were eating. He has several GI problems, among them having celiac disease. We do have a small farm and are currently planting a large enough garden to supply for the farmers market also. We have just become aware of the “junk” in our food from the store, and we really want to start eating healthier and using the food we either grow or raise. I hope to learn more about whole foods and how they can contribute to our health.

  56. Julia G says:

    I happened to come across your site today and I have recently been thinking about cutting out processed foods as much as possible. My Dad and I were just having this conversation at Christmas about cutting out processed foods. He was recently diagnosed with Cancer and has since had surgery and is doing well, but that has made me more aware of things that I have always known, but have just been too lazy to start. I want my family to be healthy and to teach my kids lifelong habits that will be good for them. I am so glad that you are doing this!!! I am going to pass this along to my parents as well.

  57. Heather says:

    My family and I have been slowly trying to eat more whole foods for our health and our weight. I’ve been slowly trying to eliminate *very* processed foods, but am really looking forward to making a bigger commitment to this area throughout this year (and years to come)! My girls are young and it’s really important to my husband and me that we teach them how to eat healthy so they can carry those good habits with them for the rest of their lives! Thank you so very much for doing this year long series!

  58. Heather says:

    WOW! So glad I found your blog I have been trying to figure out how to transition without sudden shock to my family. I am lucky in the fact that my daughters do enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables (I am the picky one). I have been slowly trying to add in more fruits and vegetables as well as plain organic yogurt with fresh fruit and so on. I have been wanting to do this for a while but was completely overwhelmed and then my 7yo dd was diagnosed with anxiety. That was my wake up call that it was time for a change! Thanks so much for all your helpful information…. I look forward to many positive changes this year!

  59. Andrea says:

    Awesome. I’ve been trying for a few years to get us on to more whole foods and less processed, and while we are doing a lot better, I am ready to take us to the next level! This is just what I needed!

  60. Micaela says:

    I’m so excited about this challenge and have already begun to transition our pantry, fridge and freezer to whole, real foods. I believe the benefits of more energy, weight loss, and improved health will far outweigh the extra effort put forth in meal planning and shopping. So excited to see and feel the result of only putting healthy foods into our bodies!!

  61. Dawn says:

    This is a great resource. I have rarely bought anything with processed food for the last 6 years. Almost all my meals are made from scratch. I am looking into cooking and freezing meals. What is frustrating is finding recipes that don’t call for soup or other processed foods as ingredients in the recipes. I have lots of sweets sitting in my cabinet from over the holidays that I am ready to throw out. I am looking forward to the coming months for more ideas and recipes.

  62. Megan says:

    Whole foods just make sense, processed foods don’t! But what’s really driving my love for this is Health. My husband is immune compromised and I have 2 children ages 3 and 5 weeks. I want my children to grow up understanding why mom opts for whole foods instead of processed foods. Thanks for walking through this next year with me!

  63. Pamela says:

    My motivating factor for moving to a real foods diet is my family and my health. I am 7 months pregnant and I started the pregnancy with the idea of eating real foods, but I became lazy and have not been eating that well. I have to do this for my child and my family. I am so excited for this! Thanks!

  64. [...] a great coach (she even guest posted for me this summer!) .  Really I’m very optimistic! So, last week’s assignment of the Get Real Challenge was to take inventory and clean out the pantry of processed foods.  How [...]

  65. marybethtx says:

    I’m a little confused about something…there’s a challenge to purge all the processed foods from our pantries and then the very first OAMM recipe I pull up, Easy Pleasing Meatloaf, calls for a box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix and a portion of store-bought bbq sauce, both of which are processed foods. Not to mention that the recipe claims to be for 8 servings, which means 1 slice would have to equal 1 serving, which I think is completely unrealistic. 2 slices per person is more likely to be what is actually served and considering 1 serving has 610mg of sodium, 2 slices and you’re over half your daily recommended amount and if you’re over 51 or black, you only have 300mg left for your daily intake. Additionally, at 6g of sugar per slice, 2 slices would constitute half of your daily sugar allowance. I know this recipe wasn’t a part of your Whole Foods menu but even still, these figures seem excessive and very unhealthy for any menu.

    • Tricia says:

      That is true. And where that seems to be a bit of a controversial decision on are part we wrote a post about the choices we are making here: http://onceamonthmom.com/get-real/. Not EVERYONE wants to make this transition to whole foods, and first and foremost, this is a community of freezer cooks. Get Real is just a way to help those that are interested in transitioning, transition. It will still be a community that puts out easy to use recipes. If you want to concentrate on the whole foods recipes you can go here and filter – http://onceamonthmom.com/recipes/whole-foods. There are also an array of wonderful all whole foods websites out there for you to choose from – many of them are listed on that Get Real page, feel free to adopt one of them as your “home” community.

  66. Kelly says:

    I am really excited about watching how this progresses! I’ve been on a mostly whole foods diet since 2006. It all happened after I got really really sick after only eating boxed meals for about two years. My fiance and I were really poor and I was responsible for finding a way to get the meals on the table. We shopped at the 99 cent store for groceries which was really scary. I couldn’t afford to pay for health care either and as the time progressed I noticed that I wasn’t able to fight off illness. I ended up with some form of the flu and a cough that wouldn’t go away until it ended in a hernia. My fiances dad offered to pay for the surgery but in the end we were still in the same spot financially except that I was out of work for a month. At the time we lived in southern ca so I started gardening in pots outside our apartment. I actually got really good at it! It was our first real food experience. As I started learning how to cook I realized I was a really good cook! I’m sure many of you will realize that too! And I learned that things I thought were staples could actually be created from the simplest ingredients. No one tells you these things and I hope this becomes a place for people to learn these things! I agree with Dawn about finding less receipes with processed ingredients although if you google it you usually can find a replacement. Now we are living near our family and I have the space to have a real garden and this year plan to continue eating real food. This site has been amazingly helpful even if I can’t do a full months meal in one sitting. Good luck everyone and best wishes! It can be done!

  67. Mariah says:

    We are a mostly whole foods family to begin with. However, during the fall football and cheer season my husband does most of the cooking (it has to be UBER easy for him to do) or we eat out. This can be $$$ with a family of 6. Not to mention we (3 of the kids and I) are gone at least 6-8 hours a day due to massive drive and practice times. I take as much whole food snacks as I can ie. carrot and celery sticks, sunbutter sandwiches on sprouted grain bread, and fruit. But there is only so much room in our cooler on 99 degree days.
    So anyway the reason is we still have some of my hubbs easy foods around and I would love the motivation to get rid of them. And now that I have found this site, thanks to some friends, I can make the GF and DF meals that my hubbs can easily pull out of the fridge.

  68. Livinglessmom says:

    Looking forward to this, thank you. I want to provide the best I can for myself and my family so I am continuing my journey towards real food!

  69. Maggie says:

    Hi! We had ALCAT tests done and they indicated that we needed to make some diet changes including taking out all sugars, gluten, and some other itmes-coffee and garlic for me, chicken and oats for him. We have been heading this direction anyway-buying grass fed, local, organic and other things along those lines. We hardly eat out. Anyway-this sounds like a way to get some encouragement and support from others also striving to live this way.

  70. Michele says:

    I desire a better understanding of “what” exactly I’m feeding my children. After realizing that what I thought was a healthy snack was loaded with sugar (applesauce). I look forward to this year and really appreciate the gradual pace!

  71. Louisa Smith says:

    I can be such an all or nothing kind of person! But I realize how unrealistic it can be. I am looking forward to the gradual changes and learning along the way. My biggest challenge will be transitioning my son…he has severe autism and many sensory issues especially with food. Lately I have been craving simplicity, and eating real food fits into this simple lifestyle. Thanks and look forward to reading everyone’s adventures!

  72. Kirstin says:

    We have been moving towards a whole food diet for several years now. But we still have a ways to go. I am experiencing several health issues, I am hoping a better diet will help me to be healthier.

  73. Heather says:

    I decided to take the Get Real challenge because EVERY time I go grocery shopping I struggle with purchasing processed foods. I don’t want to put that junk in mine or my families bodies. But I keep buying it out of habit, cost, and convience. Hoping that through this challenge I will break old habits, realize how it can be cheaper (sometimes), and learn how to plan ahead to make eating healthy convient! :D

  74. Sally says:

    I’m taking the Get Real Challenge because I NEED to get healthy. I’ve been “on a health journey” for several years and have yo-yoed back and forth between good and bad choices in exercise and food. Looking forward to learning and employing what I learn from this OAMM Get Real Challenge.

  75. Michelle says:

    We’ve been transitioning to real whole foods over the last year but we aren’t there yet. there are something’s that it’s hard to give up without some sort of substitute and then there’s the time factor. I need quick meals that are still real. I’m hoping this will be what it takes to

  76. Kristi says:

    I have been attempting a better diet for my family for several years now but have been met with much resistance from both my hubby and kids (12,14,&17 yrs). However in the last 2 weeks of dec we lost a grandfather to health issues- diabetes & heart problems which were caused in large part by his eating choices and a grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer which we were told probably wouldn’t have progress so quickly if her diet would have been better. So this has opened the eyes of both my family and me in that we need to change.
    We are taking this challenge with the hopes of bettering our lives and setting an example for the rest of the family.

    • Tricia says:

      I am sad to hear of your recent losses and family health concerns but glad that it has led you hear to be a part of this with us. So glad you are starting the journey.

  77. SarahM says:

    This is great! I’m so excited to be a part of this! Over the past few months I’ve been eliminating processed foods from my family’s diet. I didn’t make a big announcement about it, I just slowly started to replace the processed foods we ate the most often. The first thing we replaced was store bought frozen pizza. We make our own dough and pizza sauce thanks to the awesome recipes I found here at OAMM! I admit I still grab processed foods while shopping and I REALLY want to stop doing that. Mainly it breads. I can’t for the life of me make a decent loaf of bread, tortilla, pita, biscuit…you get the idea.
    Thanks for this series! I can’t wait to get started!

  78. Emily says:

    I am so excited to have found Get Real! This has been a long time coming for me! Most recently I watched a video explaining what has happened to our food over the past 20 years, with scientists inventing things to help people make more money but causing serious health issues all the while. They told a story of pumping a cow with something to increase her milk production which resulted in ovarian cysts. I was immediately shocked and disgusted. I was diagnosed with poly cystic ovarian syndrome when I was in my early teens. I am convinced that this diagnosis is my bodies reaction to foriegn contaminants! I’m now 27 and deal daily with symptoms of my pcos. Seriously, no woman should have to deal with facial hair! But that is one of the things that I do deal with because in the 90′s someone was looking to make an extra buck.

    I’m very excited to learn along side you all how to do this effectively!

  79. Sheri Conant says:

    I am lookingforard to Getting Real this year. We have been making healthier choices, but I look forward to reading other ideas/encouragement about how to make it happen. We are a large family(9kids, ranging in age from 17 down to 7 months) that doesn’t buy a lot of prepackaged foods. I do buy a lot of pretzels, chips, crackers (cheap filler from Aldi’s) to stretch the food budget. I need snack ideas that won’t break the budget. :)

  80. Lisa says:

    I was so excited to find your site on Pinterest. I have been working towards whole food/clean eating for over a year now. I have always loved OAMC but found it hard to find whole food clean recipe plans. Your challenge is a blessing for this mom of two active teenagers and a hubby who just lost 30 lbs and avoided going on diabetes medication!

  81. Kayleen says:

    I hadn’t checked your website for awhile (obviously!) but did so today and found this. I am excited to join. I’ve been trying to get to less processed foods since last summer and we’ve had our ups and downs. My son has ADHD and we’re struggling with meds vs no meds vs the right kind of meds. I recently bought ‘Eating for Autism’ and I’m on step 1 right now, getting rid of artificial colors/preservatives. It’s been hard as my son is a total sugar-addict. I’m glad to have a place to get emotional support and ideas from others.

  82. Vienna says:

    Hi! How do I use Ziplist to inventory my pantry?

  83. [...] For week #1 they talk about cleaning out your pantry.  This is a good idea, to get rid of the bad and replace it with the good. Well at my place with the kids off for 2 weeks this is happening naturally. They are eating every snack that I have and scrounging up the old forgotten goodies in the pantry that they passed over but now are willing to eat. Now I am sure that there are going to be gems left over that need to be finding their way someplace else or that I need to quickly make and have available for my kids….. yes I know not the best mind set but I still have an aversion to waste and while I know I need to stay away from the sugary treats a few treats for my 2 sticks won’t hurt them too much. They both burn off any excess carbs in ways that amaze me. [...]

  84. Melissa says:

    I plan to do this Friday or Monday. I want to get healthier and lose a few pounds or at least a pants size before summer. Baby steps!

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