An E-Book for Real People about Real Food

Normally I would be posting a meal plan today, but frankly my meal plan is all over the place. As so many of you are, we are entering an extended period of celebrating. The hitch for us is that we’ve been under siege of illness for over 2 weeks now. It looks like we’re nearly done, but many of our guests are iffy.  We’ve admitted to ourselves that a certain amount of flexibility is going to be required in the days to come. My larder is full of a variety of options and we’re just going to roll with it.

With that said, we fully intend to roll with it in style because we have a big reason to celebrate around here. A few years ago Bigg Sis and I started this whole crazy blog business as a way to get some practice writing, to write together and to each other, and to begin to consider how we could write a book that would help regular folks improve their health by eating real food. And at long last, we have reached that goal.

Our e-book, Baby Steps to Better Health: Winning the Battle with Junk Food for Families and Individualsis a labor of love, of effort, of humor, of cooperation, of irritation, and most of all of Bigg Sis’ dogged and relentless determination. We are so delighted to share our own food journeys with all of you and hope that you can find some inspiration, so guidance, some advice, some help, and the occasional laugh while you construct your own path. The book is based on our Baby Steps series from the blog, with expanded explanations, examples and stories. If you are ready for a change or if you know someone who is ready (or almost ready) for a change, check it out. What better time than the present to give the gift of better health in easy realistic steps from hilarious (okay, nice and amusing) sisters?

While you contemplate that, I’m sitting on the couch, big dog at my side, next to the glow of the lit Christmas tree taking this last little opportunity to rest before I finally get to see my sister again. We’ll start our holiday celebration feeding our families together, singing a bit, cooking a bit, taking a walk or two and laughing laughing laughing. I can’t wait. Here’s hoping your holidays are whatever you need them to be, that your company is warm and caring, and that your meals are delicious and satisfying. Eat well, be well friends.

Don’t Say Diet

OR…

A Real Change for the New Year.

So here we go.  The New Year approaches and the diet chatter is increasing.  Everybody’s choosing plans, making resolutions and getting ready to start measuring their bits and counting their stuff.  If you are one of these folks, I’m going to ask you to reconsider.  I’m going to ask you to do something completely radical. I’m going to ask you NOT to go on a diet.

When we decide to go on a diet, we are committing to a temporary state of restriction, usually in an attempt to achieve some sort of numerical change – a smaller waistline, a lower reading on the scale, a smaller clothing size.  When we commit to a temporary state of restriction, we are admitting to the foregone conclusion that the results of that restriction – the number drop – will also be a temporary phenomenon.

You cannot return to the way you normally eat and maintain those lower numbers.  It doesn’t work.  If you’ve made this particular resolution in the past, you already know this is true.  Simply restricting what you eat also doesn’t guarantee that the food that you DO eat will actually nourish you.

BSNewYearWhen we decide to change the way that we eat, we are committing to a higher level of consciousness about what we eat in an attempt to eat food that is more healthful, that provides our bodies with more of what they require; a body that is getting what it needs is far less likely to torment us with the cravings that often drive us to eat unhealthy foods.

When we decide to change the way we eat, we are committing to caring for our bodies and our health, and are therefore also committing to caring for those around us who love us and cherish us.  When we decide to change the way that we eat, we open ourselves to the joy of living healthfully and the adventure of eating new and abundant real foods.  And so I ask you, on this auspicious occasion, NOT to diet, but to change the way you eat.  Eat Food, Real Food.

Big Sis and I have spent a lot of time this year talking about Baby Steps to Better Health.  Maybe you missed it; maybe you weren’t ready; maybe you already think you eat well and weren’t interested in making a change.  But now it’s coming – that resolution moment – that moment when so many of us get a little honest about our habits and find a little motivation to make some change.  If that’s you, and you’re ready, we’d like to invite you to join us taking Baby Steps to Better Health.

We’ll do a recap of the steps we’ve already covered.  We’ll get you started.  We’ll help you figure out what to eat and show you how to make it super yum.  If you’re ready, we’ll help you take those steps that will get you eating and feeling great in a way that works for YOU, with changes that YOU choose according to YOUR timeframe.

This is YOUR plan; it’s YOUR body.  YOU should be the one to decide what to put in it, thoughtfully and consciously, using ingredients that aren’t invented in a lab.  And you will find that the food you put in that body can be both succulent and healthful, both sublime and invigorating, both yummy and nourishing.  Because real food is delish and it does your body good.  Don’t diet; Eat Food, Real Food.

Baby Step #3 – Pantry Perusal

Even a baby step moves you forward.  Look down and gaze at those lovely toes of yours and see how they are inching down the road to better health.  Even a little healthier is better than no healthier… and it’s a whole lot better than less healthy.

There are many reasons, both sensible and reprehensible, why the American diet is full of chemicals and other substances that seem to wreak havoc on our bodies.  Whatever the reasons, however, the result is the same – vastly increased rates of obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease and hypertension.  So what are we going to do about it?  Make the change towards real food one step at a time.  If you are new to this journey, you might want to skip back in the blog to Baby Step #1 and catch up, but you are welcome to ease on down the road with us from any junction.

Baby Step #2 suggested you make note of what you are eating so that you can become more aware of what you are eating.  Of course you know what you are putting into your mouth, but when you think a little bit more about it, there might be time for planning to make a change.

If a healthful meal happens one more time a week than it used to, then you are making progress.  I certainly couldn’t change the way I feed my family dinner every night of the week in one swell foop!  (What the heck IS a foop, anyhow?)  Baby Step #3 takes you into your pantry (or cupboard, fridge, freezer) for some more observations.

Baby Step #3: Pantry Perusal

Pantry perusal is taking a good look at what you keep on hand.  Little Sis and I both have a short list of items that we try to always have in the pantry because they are ‘go to’ items.  They are items that help us on the nights when there is no time, or there was no planning, or when the alternative is overpaying for some food that is bad for us.  Here’s a peek at a corner of my pantry.

Okay, I confess, this is one of the neater corners of my pantry…

Make a list of what’s in your pantry and give those items a little thought.

– What’s IN what’s in your pantry?

– Are the items in your pantry INGREDIENTS or are they things you need to warm up or simply unwrap to eat?

– Are you buying foods that you know you shouldn’t eat but can’t resist eating if they are in your house?

– Are you buying foods you would like to limit for your children?

– Are you buying convenience foods that are not really good, but “who has time to make that from scratch?”  (We’re going to help you with this one… I promise!)

Perhaps your pantry perusal brings you back to Baby Step #1 where you decided to switch something out. Maybe you’re ready to make another switch like brown rice in place of instant potatoes or stuffing.  Maybe you’re going to switch out dried fruit and nuts for candy.  Maybe you’re going to acquire some new grains like quinoa that are healthy and quick.

Little Sis and I are going to share our lists for what the ‘go to’ items are in our pantries and provide you with links to ideas for easy healthy meals using those items in a few days.  For now, just take that Baby Step towards being more aware of what kind of food is consistently present in your house.

Again, Baby Steps 2 & 3 are prep work.  You are preparing to be enlightened (in more ways than one, know what I’m saying?).  You are going to become more conscious of, and thoughtful about, your food choices.  Because they are choices.  They are often difficult choices, especially in light of the speed of our culture and the incredible advertising machine that profits the Prepared Foods industry at the cost of our health.  But you set yourself up for better choices if the stuff of better choices is readily available.

The wonderful thing about choices regarding food is that you get another chance at the food choices at least 3 times a day.  We’re right there with you making choices every day, so respond with questions or comments and come back in a few days for a peek inside my Sister’s pantry.  No, my Sister’s pantry.  No, my Sister’s pantry.  My Sister’s pantry.  Mom!  She’s bugging me!

This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

Baby Step #1 : The Old Switcheroo

Easing the progress of any change is the confidence that you can handle change.  You CAN handle the truth, right?  Unfortunately, for most of us, part of any change is remembering the times we failed to complete the intended change.  We all fail and we all sabotage future success by focusing, highlighting, dwelling on, gnawing over, and losing sleep over, our failures.  One reason the Sis sisters came up with our Baby Steps plan was to provide do-able changes that will not only reward you with the outcome of the change, but will provide you with a success.  And it doesn’t need to be a total smashing success, because food choices are not permanent.  We have many opportunities to get it right… everyday. Continue reading