February 06, 2013

What I Love Wednesday - hungry for change

In my marriage my husband tends to be the one who is most health conscience.  He is a cyclist and he has always loved taking care of his body - eating as healthy as possible.  On the flip side, I grew up in Wisconsin eating lots of things covered in cheese and fried.  I love chocolate cake and almost any form of dessert.  

Over the years I feel like we've met in the middle pretty well.  We eat a fairly healthy - with a little wiggle room.  However, last week I watched something that changed my thoughts completely.  It was this documentary that I watched (via Netflix streaming).  If you ever needed some ammunition to change your eating habits, this will do it.  It's called "Hungry for Change."

I understand not wanting to watch something like this and wanting to be just be content with where you're at, but I promise it's worth your time.  It explains a lot of things about processed food and today's way of life that I didn't really know.

So, my husband and I completely cleaned out our pantry last Saturday and filled it with all sorts of real food.  We got rid of all crackers, cereals, and junk (though you might see a couple of things in there that we are slowly phasing out for the boys.)  It's actually been really fun.  It gives us a common hobby and we're even cooking together.  I don't want to claim that I'm perfect at this or that I'm so healthy now that I suddenly feel like I'm 18 again, because it's only been half a week.  However, I will keep you updated if you'd like.  

I even revamped my pinterest food board and started pinning healthy options - even homemade salad dressing recipes.  I'm also trying to pin things I've tried and loved there so it can be my virtual recipe box to come back to.

And the kids?  Rex has whined a bit about getting rid of sugar, but they both eat what we give them pretty well.

Here are some things I'm hoping will change for us:

- I want to have more energy and a clearer complexion.
- I want the boys to need snacks less often, since they'll be eating foods that actually fill them.  (I don't starve my kids.  They just think they need snacks every ten minutes.)
- I want to be able to be really active with my kids - especially after this pregnancy.
- I want this to be a continued hobby and sense of enjoyment for my husband and I.

So, that's where we're at for now.  So have any of you watched this documentary?  Have any of you made big changes in your food?  Did you make the changes gradually or all at once?  Do you have any awesome healthy recipes you want to recommend?  I'd love to hear your status and input on all of it.

Thanks for reading.


  1. I'm reading Crazy, Sexy, Diet (it's not a diet book but a nutrition book) and it is wrecking me! She explains a lot about processed foods, but mostly talks about our pH levels and how the American Diet has very high acidic foods and our cells need and alkaline environment. She has great, doable tips to get more oxygen to our cells.

    I'm a little bit sad because she suggests toning out coffee and I have a *slight* coffee addiction! I'm going to go watch that documentary. Sounds awesome!

  2. This is something that has been on m mind a lot. I've really wanted to cut processed foods from our diet. I will watch the film today, thanks!

  3. i watched that and then immediately ordered the book, hoping for some more insight and recipes and such. my kids are the same. constant goldfish consumption... we are phasing out some of their stuff. not sure how to phase in some of the good stuff, since they are super picky. i'm excited for me and my husband. i was fairly health conscious - to the best of my knowledge - until i had kids. this will be different, but hopefully lifechanging....

    i hope you'll keep us updated. would love tips/tricks/ideas...

  4. I've watched that documentary and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which is pretty similar. I did a 3 day juice cleanse and it was the hardest thing I've ever done! I've now started eating better and less processed foods. If you are interested you can read about my juice cleanse... http://www.youngandcrafty.com/2013/01/3-day-juice-cleanse-final-thoughts.html

    Good luck! It's so hard to eat clean when there is SO much junk around!


  5. My girlfriend is doing an elimination diet for 1 month to find sensitivities and she makes a delicious, dairy free, natural ice cream. Coconut milk, frozen berries and dates all blended until smooth and then frozen. Then just scoop like ice cream. Totally natural and she swears it's the perfect substitute for ice cream! Great way to get the boys eating healthy, but still are excited to be eating :)

    I've seen that documentary and reluctantly gave up Diet Coke. I still sneak it in sometimes, but I don't keep it in the house. It's amazing to me how truly addicted to it I am. Good luck with the clean eating! We're working towards it more and more everyday!

    1. I can attest to that! My 2-year old is allergic to a number of things including dairy but we make very yummy ice cream just as you described - coconut milk, frozen berries and a ripe banana, blend it all and freeze. Sometimes I add a little Agave syrup for a bit of sweetness.

      I also started making coconut "yogurt" for him and he loves it. I use a fresh coconut, take out the coconut water (drink half of it and use the other half for the yogurt) scoop out the white coconut "meat" inside and blend it with the coconut water until it's completely smooth. He LOVES it.

  6. Good luck on your journey! It will be hard at times, but you'll also be surprised at how good foods taste as your palate readjusts to eating fresh, unprocessed foods. I've nearly cut out all dairy from my diet, refined sugars and flours, tried out new recipes and am constantly rewarded with delicious tasting food :) There are great replacements for the snacks and foods that you are used to eating, but not for all, and that's what will make it hard.

    I'll be diving in to a cleanse myself as I struggle with yeast overgrowth in my body, so cutting out all carbs (including fruit and whole grains) will be a tough blow, but I know it will lead to a healthier balanced body and mind! Keep at it, and seriously, tons of good alternatives and tasty recipes are to be had!

  7. Good job lady! We love that documentary! During January we participated in Whole 30 and tranistioned the kids to Paleo. There is still some wiggle room when it comes to parties or gatherings, but I've noticed an immense change in my energy level and the boys emotions seem to be more balanced. Keep us updated on your journey, I'm sure you will be a source of inspiration to everyone who pops in here!

  8. I really wanna watch that documentary...thanks for the recommendation! I heart Netflix streaming :)

    I am the healthy one at my house and I feel like I'm pulling everyone else along :) I think it (elimating all processed foods) would be easier w/o kids. My kids are 5, 3, & 1 and are fairly good to eat what I give them. But, they still love the bad stuff. I just don't buy it. The one thing I find hard is having "good food" for them on hand for meals, snacks, etc...takes time & prep on my part. It is easier to just pour them a bowl a cereal :) But, I see that it is totally worth it. I do like the idea of less snacking...thats a prob at our house too.
    I have 3 favorite healthy food blogs that have consistenly good recipes:

    Also, my life has been changed (a bit overdramatic, but I love it) by NuNaturals NuStevia. It comes in flavored drops & powder and it seriously has ZERO aftertaste! And it is all natural! I use it in my smoothies, plain greek yogurt, hot tea & ice water (the flavored ones) and in some healthy baking for the kids. You can order it online from their website or Amazon. The closest Whole Foods is 4+ hrs away so I just order online. www.nunaturals.com

    Last week, I made my own Greek yogurt for the 1st time! I felt like such a rock star! And it was SUPER easy! I used the tutorial on this blog: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2013/01/diy-homemade-yogurt.html. I didn't put mine in the oven overnight. Just put it on a heating pad on low on the kitchen counter. It is seriously delicious & creamy! I add it to my smoothies, eat as a snack w/ lemon stevia drops & sunflower seeds and use it in healthy baking too. And it was SUPER cheap compared to what I was paying at the store. I got 4 lbs of yogurt from 1 gallon of 1% milk! For the kids, I mix it w/ honey & they dip fruit in it....yummy!
    Keep us updated on your food journey! I'm always on the lookout for inspriation!
    I have a "healthy eats" food board w/ tons of pins.....I'm pharmgal22 on pinterest.

  9. Freeze dried fruit is a fun healthy alternative to fruit snacks (way more expensive then fresh fruit, BUT easier to take along and give to kids at church or in the car. When you condider each packet of candy fruit snacks only has 5-10 pieces freeze dried fruit actually costs about the same as full priced fruit snacks. I like Nuts.com and honeyville farms for my freeze dried fruit. I also dehydrate my own banannas. My kids like strawberries and mango. I bought pineapple and I love it but 2 out of 3 kids won't eat it. Easy go to healthy and portable really helps. I have not and will not do total removal of processed food, but I believe in balance and try and keep more healthy than bad overall.

  10. You should watch "Forks Over Knives", it made the biggest difference for me in wanting to eat more whole foods, and there is another one on netflix that is about people who tried going vegan foe 6 weeks that was good, it reminded me why I don't want to eat mass produced animal products.

  11. We have a dehydrator and often make banana or apple chips as a healthy snack for us and our kids. We also keep ziploc baggies of almonds and walnuts in the door of our fridge, open and easy to grab a handful of those when you find yourself suddenly starving and needing a quick snack. My favorite healthy meal is a grain-based salad, here's the recipe: http://www.eating-for-england.com/quinoa-salad-beans-avocado/. Another easy and healthy recipe is this cauliflower that my family loves: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/balsamic_parmesan_roasted_cauliflower.html
    Good luck and have fun!! Oh, also if you make smoothies you can always pour those into popsicle molds and give those to your boys as a treat. If they still complain of it not being sweet enough don't be afraid to use a little bit of honey.

  12. Just moved the documentary to slot 1 in my instant queue. Thank you for the recommendation. Maybe if I can get my husband to watch, he'll be on board!

  13. You should check out 100 days of real food, she has great info - especially for the littles! http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

  14. I haven't watched this video (yet! thanks for sharing!) but I've been reading a lot about this kind of lifestyle, giving up processed foods, etc. We haven't made the plunge yet- partly because my husband isn't convinced yet :) Also, we live in Tanzania, so while that makes it easier sometimes (fresh fruit/veggie market on my way home from work!), it also makes it sometimes more difficult because some of the supplemental things to replace what you're cutting out aren't available here, and also I'm not always sure where things are coming from here! But I'm definitely going to keep reading about it and trying to head that direction.
    Some good websites to check out are the Modern Alternative Mama family of sites (www.modernalternativekitchen.com), they are usually pretty helpful.
    Congrats on deciding to make the change! I hope I get there soon- little by little :)

  15. Oh man, we have been working toward this. I've toyed with throwing everything out and have had a hard time doing it. I am going to watch the video...will it push me over the edge? :)

    I'd LOVE to hear updates on how it is going. My husband is also the more health minded of the 2 of us and I think the kids and I will have more trouble with the transition!

  16. I am a big fan of moderation. I think some of the "healthy" ideas about eating out there are a little far fetched and not necessarily based on sound principles--cutting out entire food groups altogether. I think we've been blessed with all sorts of foods on the earth for a reason and our bodies do their best when we eat things that are closest to their natural state and also when we have variety--but I think we should avoid extremes. It's a double-edged sword living in such a great country where we have a huge variety of foods available at all times and in huge quantities. I think eating until I'm full but not stuffed is important. I think paying attention to how different foods make me feel is important. I know some people feel that refined sugar is pure evil, but I don't think a little is the end of the world (It does come from sugar cane which is plant, after all--the way some people talk about it makes it sound like it's poison!). I try to cook most things from scratch so there aren't a lot of preservatives and who-knows-what ingredients in there and feel like that makes a lot of what I cook better for my family than if it came out of a jar, but I do use some convenience foods (thank you Campbell's cream of chicken soup). I think it's great that you are working on making healthy changes. Good luck! I hope you get the benefits you are looking for.

  17. I had a second baby girl just over 3 months ago. During the end of the pregnancy I was left exhausted between home needs, working full time and chasing after our two-year old daughter. I happened to get some blood work completed for my annual physical the day before I delivered, while my husband did his two weeks later. Both of our cholesterol levels came back very high, especially compared to the year before. As soon as I was back up and at it, I started menu planning our lunches and dinners every week, and grocery shopping for those meals on the weekend. We also tend to follow the South Beach Diet/Way of life when we eat healthy. Not only have we both lost the baby weight we gained, but yesterday I went in for a re-check on my cholesterol and I am please to say I dropped it into a very healthy range. Besides the South Beach Quick & Easy and Super Quick & Easy cookbooks, I get a lot of my recipes ideas from the web site Skinnytaste.com.

  18. We have been eating this way since 2009 due to food allergies. This has made my 8 yr old very aware of food. He had me watch this documentary with him. Now he tells people that diet sodas kill brain cells. :)

  19. Way to go! I'll have to watch this one. I read the book "In Defense of Food" and it really opened my eyes. I do my best to home-make as much as is reasonable and really just stick to whole foods. Pinterest is amazing for new recipes!

    As for the boys, I found that when I cut out processed foods (goldfish, crackers, etc) it took a little while but then my 2 (now 3) year old loves fruit, dried fruit, and other whole foods. As long as you keep good food in the house, you'll eat good food. Just be clear with grandparents and other family about your new lifestyle otherwise they'll bring all the junk in the house. At least, that's what happens with me. Good Luck!

  20. I love this documentary. We are phasing out processed foods and were planning to go grain free in the next couple of days. I would love to hear updates on how it is going for you!

  21. I have a different perspective on this, since my husband's company builds food plants. That's what they do. So a regular dinner conversation at our house is about what's going on at Kellogs or Frito Lay or Malt o Meal or Smuckers or almost any other major food producer you can think of, depending on what the hubs is working on at the time. As geeky and husband-loyal as I may sound, I find the whole thing quite interesting, and find myself generally defensive of the food industry as a whole.

    Having said that, I do respect your opinion, and will probably watch the documentary for another perspective. I can't deny though, that if the show demonizes the food industry, I'll definitely be pretty annoyed. Not at you, of course :), but the places we have lived have been towns whose entire economy survives on the food plants we have lived and worked (not me, the hubs--) at.

    My last thought I've said for years: let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. Preservatives are villified these days, but let's face it: in many ways, they are one of the best things that have ever happened to this world. It allows us to have food storage and feed people thousands of miles away.

    I'm just playing devil's advocate, here. :) Love ya.

    1. I will play devil's advocate a little too. While I absolutely agree that adding more whole grains, vegetables, good fats, and fruits into our diets is a goal we should all have, many of those Netflix documentaries that recommend drastic diet changes are based on dubious statistics, misinterpreted studies, and purely anecdotal experiences. Most food we eat is "processed"-just cooking food is processing it. Most of us just need to do the basics: limit calories and increase our vegetables and whole grains.

    2. I will play devil's advocate a little too. While I absolutely agree that adding more whole grains, vegetables, good fats, and fruits into our diets is a goal we should all have, many of those Netflix documentaries that recommend drastic diet changes are based on dubious statistics, misinterpreted studies, and purely anecdotal experiences. Most food we eat is "processed"-just cooking food is processing it. Most of us just need to do the basics: limit calories and increase our vegetables and whole grains.

  22. Jord and I are on the same page! We are cleaning out our cupboards and I've started using natural beauty products such as apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, corn starch and baking soda. I've recently gotten into essential oils from DoTerra as well... I'll have to hop on over to your pinterest to check out the recipes you've pinned. :)

  23. I came across the blog www.100daysofrealfood.com this week and have been thinking about it a lot and I'm starting to move more in that direction. If only we could all live on a farm!

  24. I've been thinking of this a lot lately in my continued struggles to lose weight. I will for sure be watching this. I had a goal in January to not eat out all month (my favorite thing to do ever!) and NO processed food. I did so great for 2 weeks and then one of our very best friends died and everything went out the window...because I eat when I'm stressed/sad. Food always has and always will comfort me and I am at a complete loss as to how to make those feelings go away. I too was into the 100 Day of Real Food blog, that's what I was following for those 2 weeks and the food was stuff even my kids would eat. I do however think she's a little extreme and crazy with some of the stuff she posts on facebook. I believe there is something to everything in moderation...I just have to figure out how to be disciplined. And I need to do all of this from a "I want to be healthy" stand point and not a "I wonder what it would like to be skinny" stand point. I've always been overweight and know if I could just see how nice it would be to wear cute clothes and not hate myself I could keep it off. I hate that I obsess over it and now I'll be thinking about it all night! BLAH! Off to watch me some netflix :)

  25. I think this sounds awesome. I would love to eat cleaner. I'm curious what it does for your budget. Will you share your thoughts on whether it is cheaper to eat this way? More expensive. I would love to see more posts on this topic. So interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  26. I'm going to add this to our Netflix list to watch. I want my husband to watch it with me!

  27. I say good for you! We were (what's the right word?) sort of forced into very healthy eating after finding out about lots of food intolerances that my daughter has... with gluten, casein (dairy), corn, sugar, yeast, and forty-some-odd other things on the list. Artificial preservatives? Out. Anything with sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, yada, yada, yada? Out. It was quite an adjustment for our family. At first it was HARD (for me at least). Major cravings. And my new recipes took some "getting used to" (which is a polite way of saying the food was not very good). But now I'm really loving how the food makes me feel, how my kiddos love things that are actually good for them, and the benefits of cutting junk out of our diet.
    I don't know if you have a Bountiful Baskets in your area, but it's been a good way for us to get lots of fruits and veggies at a reasonable price. We have green smoothies about five or six times a week, so that's helpful! There are also lots of ways to cut costs.. we eat lots of beans, brown rice, stock up on meat when it's on sale, getting our bountiful basket.. anyway, good luck to you guys and thanks for sharing!

  28. We watched the same documentary. The Food Matter's one is great too. We totally switched the way we cook, eat, and blog now. I share a lot of my homemade recipes on my blog if you are looking for some yummy new recipes, especially where littles are involved. They are the toughest critics aren't they? I am excited for you and the change. We've been doing this about 3 months. It does get easier for the kids. Promise:> My kids actually love it all now:>


  29. Love this! Homemade and homegrown are the goals for us. It just tastes better. We also have a regular Farmer's Market nearby to access organic and local produce.

  30. Fat Sick and Nearly Dead was the one on Netflix that changed our diet. My husband lost over 90 lbs with a juice diet and we have both been having at least one juice a day and it has changed our eating habits because we don't like red meat anymore and we feel so much better when we are eating healthily and drinking juice.

    Check out the Engine 2 Diet book as well for some amazing recipes. :)

    I think all of these have to be taken as a change in lifestyle not as a diet, but I think they attract more attention with the word diet. We are loving them and the long lasting positive influence in our lives! I wish you Good luck and I can't wait to see what you do!

  31. Food Inc. is what did it for us! It's also on Netflix if you care to view it. It CHANGED MY LIFE! We follow a Paleo Diet lifestyle and have for 2 years. We "cheat" here and there (like this pregnancy for instance I crave carbs and I'll allow myself a tortilla!! and thin mints! help me, I'm out of control!) We cut out grains and sugar and dairy. It's a tough transition for the kiddos, I'm not gonna lie, but for my husband and I, amazing benefits. More energy, better sleep, happier, we even look better b/c we've lost our "wheat bellies" ;)

    Good luck! Please keep us updated on your progress/journey!

  32. I agree with Rebecca L. A lot of these documentaries are very agenda-driven and don't use solid science.

    I would also recommend Food Inc., but do keep in mind that not all of the science they report is solid. Also Supersize Me.

    However, that being said our family has drastically reduced the processed foods. If for no other reason, there is little nutrition to them and we are usually still hungry after eating them. We are 'best effort' environmentalist, meaning I do my best to reduce waste and recycle but, um, I could do a better job in this area. However, it just didn't seem right that we are being told to reduce our use of plastic, yet the organic veggies in my supermarket are almost always packaged in a lot of plastic. But what really tipped the scale for me is when I was looking for the expiration date on a bag of frozen veggies at my supermarket and saw "product of china". I almost dropped the bag! I'm on the east coast and holding veggies (green beans specifically) that were grown, processed, frozen, and shipped from thousands of miles away.

    I don't suspect we will ever eliminate these processed foods completely out of our diet, however we started shopping at our local farmers markets two years ago and now we do the majority of our shopping at our local farmers market, and it has made us a lot more aware of food and waste. (We are lucky to have a winter farmers market 20 minutes away from us). Although the food is more expensive and less convenient we have been able to maintain our same food budget - just have to be a little creative. My kitchen skills have improved considerably!


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