March 16, 2013

Sharing Saturday - Our Food Journey

About 6-7 weeks ago we completely changed our diet.  I mentioned it HERE, but I wanted to give you a full report on what we've done.  I'm really excited about how it's gone and the way it's working for all of us.

I thought it might be easiest to break it down into questions.   

What did we change?

We threw out all our processed food and focused on a diet of veggies, fruit, and whole grains.  There are no more crackers, cereals, or cookies in the house.  I'm not using refined sugar or white flour either.  We have a little bit of candy in the house for our kids (because I don't want to restrict them too much and have it come back to bite me in the end).

We are still eating meat, dairy, and wheat flour.  However, we use very little meat and we've cut down our dairy foods a LOT.  We use minimal cheese, but we aren't eliminating that entirely either.  We drink soy or coconut milk.   I don't plan to cut out wheat flour or whole grains.  

What are the GOOD things that have happened since then?

- In the past 7 weeks I have NEVER had that gross feeling of "I can't believe I ate that" or "I feel a little sick now."  I think I used to overeat more and it's harder to do that with real wholesome food.

- I don't feel as controlled by food.  I see it more as eating to live rather than living to eat.  It's less of an indulgence for me now.

- After 2-3 weeks I stopped craving sugar so much.  The first couple of weeks were hard that way, but now things that didn't taste very sweet to me taste super sweet.  I think I've retrained my tastebuds or something.  I can't say a giant piece of chocolate cake isn't tempting, but I can say no to it.

- The boys have eaten a lot more veggies than ever before.  (It hasn't been totally easy with them, but they are branching out a lot more now.)

- I've lost weight.  I waffled on whether or not to share that info with you.  I am pregnant and it's not a time you think of loosing weight or wanting to, but because it's been a matter of becoming healthy I have not been concerned about it nor has my doctor.  My belly is still growing, but the rest of my body has slimmed down a lot.  That wasn't my reason for changing our diet, but it's a nice side effect.  I started this pregnancy a lot heavier than my other two.

- My husband and I are seriously enjoying a new hobby together.  We don't have a ton of common interests naturally, but we've been been very engaged with these changes and it's been so fun to cook and research together.

- I feel awesome mentally.  I think that when you make good choices, you feel so much happier in your mind.  I feel really good about truly taking care of my body.

- I'm learning to use creativity in the kitchen.  I have never considered myself to be a good cook/baker, etc.  It's never been something I've even enjoyed.  That has changed a lot.  I'm making homemade salsa, trying new recipes, and dedicating way more time to the kitchen than ever before.  I feel like I'm learning a new language.

- We have way less garbage.  We buy a lot of grains in bulk and nothing with lots of packaging.  Our garbage can is almost empty even after a week.

- We are also wasting a lot less.  Even if our fruit or veggies start to get a little older, we will juice them and drink it.  I've also found that healthy leftovers keep well.  It's the unhealthy stuff like mac and cheese that you have to throw out because it's nasty on round two.

What have been the struggles to make this happen?

I can't say it's all been easy.  Here are some of the struggles we've faced.

- We are spending a little more money on groceries.  It's not a LOT different, but it is more.

- There have been frustrating moments with the boys not liking what we make.  However, it's getting better.

- I'm spending more time in the kitchen.  I also listed that as a plus, but it's hard to fit in another thing in life.  This healthy stuff does take time.

- I'm running the dishwasher about 4 times a day and I used to run it 1.5 times a day.  We just use way  more pots and pans.

- I'm still trying to find winning recipes that we all like and sometimes I feel like a hit a wall.  It's tricky to find things on the internet because you're looking for someone at the same healthy level as you.  Sometimes I find things pinned as healthy that aren't healthy at all and sometimes I find things that are so complicated and healthy that it's just too much for me.

Do you have more energy?

There are a few things that I wanted to have happen that I don't feel like I can really gauge right now.  I have been more tired during this pregnancy than ever in my life, so it's hard to judge whether or not I have "more energy."  I figure I will be able to tell more clearly after the baby.

What do you and your kids eat for breakfast?

We used to eat cereal 6 out of 7 days.  We don't ever now, which was kind of tricky at first.  We do a lot of homemade oatmeal.  (My husband has a recipe for that he loves.)  We might do some hearty wheat toast with fruit.  We do smoothies.  My husband might juice for us and we might have eggs with that.  If I've baked something recently that's really helpful.  Then I can just pull out that banana bread or those muffins.  We might have fruit and cottage cheese.  The boys love yogurt, so we do plain Greek yogurt with some agave nectar on it and I sprinkle chia seeds on it.  We call them "Batman sprinkles" and the boys like them.


So what's to come?

I still feel like I have a lot to learn.  I want to make good choices, but I don't always know what's best.  We have a neighbor who's an expert who is going to come over and help us out a little next week.  I'm excited to learn from her.  I also just need to keep trying recipes out until I feel like we have a huge sea of recipes to choose from.  I purchased a binder that I'm trying to use to copy our "approved" recipes into it so they can all be easy to reach.

And that's the report for now.  If you have questions or want to link recipes you'd recommend both are more than welcome in the comment section.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Thanks for the post! So informational and helpful. Have you ever seen the clean eating magazine? It has lots of great recipes. I've found it to be very helpful in trying to find, healthy good food. See what you think!

  2. I take my hat off to you, I want to do something similar but I just can't find the time to give it all I've got.


    We love this recipe. I leave out the peppers and use just one carton of broth. It's amazing with perfect textures and the sweet butternut squash. My 3 yr old is currently raised a vegetarian like me, so he's used to eating mostly like you mentioned. I also make a crock pot vegetable soup from different frozen veggies dumped in w some broth and tomato sauce and chick peas. Super easy but tastes great. I applaud your efforts and love that it's working for you!! :)

  4. Good for you! I wish I was brave enough to make a switch like that. I would love to see a few recipes of your favorite meals you've tried. I'm a risky going to try the no bake snack balls today- they look so good!

  5. Actually, not a risky... Silly auto correct!

  6. I applaud your efforts and your success. I raised three children without processed foods of any kind. No meat, sugar, eggs or dairy, either, and they are all very healthy adults. Keep doing what you are doing. It's much easier if the people you and your children hang with are eating similarly, but I know that's a tall order. Best wishes!

  7. As I read your blog I was thinking how hard it is to do what you are doing especially with children. You are doing something that will be life changing for you and your boys so hats off to you! One thing that might be helpful is to invest in a food saver system that can be purchased for around $100.00. Leftovers can be frozen with this system and when opened months later they taste just as fresh as the the day they were prepared. Keep up the good work!

  8. One of my favorite blogs for clean eating is . Her recipes are filling, easy, and most of all delicious. My kids even really like most of them.

  9. You've made some amazing changes in a short time, you should be proud of what you've done to help your family! A life-changing book that I read during my own similar transition was "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck. Getting the processed food out of the house is such a huge change for your health. Well done!

  10. Cheri,

    I am so glad for you! No, it's not easy but well worth it. My family keeps trying and we keep failing but I certainly admire those that can stick with it. As for recipes, I recommend you check out Susan Powter. She did the Stop the Insanity infomercial in the late eighties and nineties. She has a website/blog and over the years has published books that are very interesting reading. The first one is called "Food" and talks about food! I know, real surprise there, but in with the commentary are really good recipes that we have all enjoyed at my house. Later Ms. Powter wrote two cookbooks. The first is "Come on America, Let Eat" and the second is "Hey Mom, I'm Hungry." The first book I had to buy another copy because I stained and wore it out. I didn't use as many from the second book but still good ideas. These book are available on Amazon or through Inter Library Loan. Another book I recommend is called "The Higher Taste". It is an Indian cookbook and strickly vegetarian. The philosophies, with which you may not agree, I found interesting but the recipes are definitely worth a look. If you are looking to make the cooking and clean up itself easier I also recommend a book called "Dinner's in the Freezer" by Jill Bond also available at Amoazon and through the library. She teaches buying in bulk, processing, dividing and freezing your food. It is an awesome system and completely revolutionized my cooking strategies. I know that you have very little going on right now in your life and you plenty of time to spend sitting and reading so you are going to run right out and check all this out today. LOL!!! But seriously, if you can adopt some of the "Dinner's in the Freezer" concepts and adapt them into your life, you will be able to have more time and after the baby arrives you will need all the extra time you can get. Personnally, I ended up sick and couldn't walk on many days or my hands didn't work right but I was able to still feed my family and not have to spend all day doing so or hours in the kitchen cleaning up afterwards. I have taught these concepts in Relief Society in the different Wards we have lived in and many ladies liked these ideas. I hope this helps and if I could I would love to teach you.
    Love the blog and read everyday and I appreciate you sharing your life.


  11. I love this and am "trying" to do the same but hitting roadblocks here and there. I'd love it if you occasionally post a recipe or idea for a meal with the kids. I'm constantly trying to come up with snacks that are wholesome and easy (even if I have to prepare them in advance). If you have tips, please share!!

  12. I think it's pretty awesome that you're making these changes! I've tried a couple times, but my fam is just not on board and I think that makes a huge difference. I have convinced my husband that we need a juicer, but we want to get a good one, but not a super expensive one. Can I be totally nosy and ask what kind you guys have, or what your recommendations are? Love your blog btw! :)

    1. I bought a Cuisinart one that was about $150. I didn't want to buy one that was too cheap because I knew we'd use it a lot and I wanted it to last, but I also didn't want to buy one crazy expensive because we were just getting into the whole clean eating thing. It was my husband's b-day present. Luckily he loved it.


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  14. Takes a lot of courage to do what you are doing! Yay! Love the batman sprinkles idea...of course they would not be pink and frilly sprinkles from batman! ; )

    What do you use for bread? That's our biggest challenge right now...we used to buy bread sold by Costco, t(hey recently changed names so I can't recall the maker, ) but it had like 5 ingredients in it. However they only sell it in Utah, and we haven't lived there in years, so we stock up when we pass through which isn't often enough!
    .thinking of making my own now. So I'd love to hear what you use!

  15. Love your post! I changed my diet in a similar way due to problems with my health a few years ago. Most of the time, when I follow through, I feel really great and have experienced some of the things you shared also: I love how eating is not such a 'big thing' anymore, I don't have to think so much about my food since it is more restricted. My change was mostly getting rid of dairy since I have lactose intolerance, but I also changed to a partly TCM oriented diet (traditional Chinese Medicine). I had a doctor here in Austria who helped me with it, but I am sure you can find TCM cookbooks or 5 Elements cookbooks anywhere. You can adapt it quite easily to a more "western" taste, but I actually enjoy the Asian components a lot. Hot soup for breakfast? I love it now! I also eat a lot of porridge, with different grains - millet is fantastic, also quinoa, buckwheat, couscous... plus fruit, nuts and a little rice milk to make it sweeter. I don't even miss cafe latte anymore (which i loooved), since coffee with rice milk is also very tasty ;)
    Of course there are times, where it gets hard to stick to this diet: parties, holidays... but I try to get back to it and not stick to unhealthy habits, although it is sometimes hard, e.g. when we go out and my friends can order chocolate cake and sweets and I have to stick to a salad or soup ;) ah, well, the benefits are feeling better, fitter, having more energy and I also lost some weight, which is nice.
    I am totally impressed by you doing this with your whole family - I find it hard enough on my own! I wish you and yours all the best and hope you enjoy this journey toward a healthier life even more the farther you go. It's so worth it!!

    Greetings from Vienna and take care,

  16. This is so awesome. My family and I are doing much of the same things. We do eat cereal though but it's all organic whole grain. but we don't do dairy products. i'm learning to re work my recipes and "re train" my brain and way of thinking about food has been hard at times but worth it. i'd love to see a sample shopping list for what you guys buy most. i think that would be helpful.

  17. I want the oatmeal recipe!

  18. Anonymous16.3.13

    My husband and I are switching to a plant-based diet (ie, vegan) April 1st. The documentary "Forks over Knives" has motivated us to quit eating meat & dairy for health reasons. I hope we mostly cut out processes foods as well, but we'll take baby steps. (Our kids will still have dairy & what tiny amount of meat they currently least for the time being.)

  19. Oh my- so admire what you guys are doing! We've been trying move into a whole foods life, but have gotten slowed down! :P. Looking back, their are so many excuses...but none of them really good. Thanks so much for leading by example- going to rework the grocery list & check out some of the awesome info others have left! :)

  20. Cheri,
    We, too, are trying to eat healthier. One of our favorite healthy recipes is: This is one of the only things my four year old will ask for seconds on. We love it and every time I make it my husband always comments about how we should have it more often.

    Another healthy recipe that is always a winner at our house is:

    I had baby #3 a few months ago, but I felt like the weight just was not coming off. I cut out sugar (except for our weekly DQ blizzard run) and cut way down on the carbs. I started incorporating a lot more veggies into our diet as well as buying more fruit and nuts for snacking. That combined with exercising three times a week has got me within a few pounds of my target weight.

    I agree that eating this way does take more time. I feel, though, that I have more energy and I don't get hungry nearly as often. And I agree with you about things tasting sweeter.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

  21. If you're looking for some healthy, wholesome recipes, well, I will do a little plug for my dear friend's blog, Mint Green Apron: She's pepped up my own recipe repertoire with everything from preserved lemons to homemade refried beans to leftover rice salads to spelt risotto to quinoa cupcakes to stinging nettle energy balls. I can highly recommend her power balls, made with dates and other dried fruits and nuts -- my kids love them in their lunches. And they love making them together...Anyhow, hope it all continues to go well. Best wishes.

  22. Wow, I am so impressed that you are tackling this, ESP while pregnant! I would like to head my family more in this direction... We're already incorporating more veggies into meals and more fruit as snack and trying to buy fruit snacks with no artificial food coloring. I just don't have enough time to cook and bake to the degree it would take to feed all five of us on purely whole foods. We'll just take the changes slowly... I'm planning on buying brown rice, quinoa, and ww flour starting this upcoming week. I would love the loosing weight side effect, but need to balance that with the higher grocery bill ;op

  23. It is a huge process! We've been doing that for a few years now and finding recipes is still hard. The key is to not be intimidated and don't be afraid to try anything. I was very skeptical about some of my family's 'now' favorite recipes. Just experiment and soon you will have a good amount to rotate through. My kids love rice and beans, so now we have about 15 different recipes so we don't have to do the same thing every time. It get's easier. And you nailed the key to it all. DON'T buy the junk. If it is in your house, it will get eaten. Good luck! What a perfect time to begin this change. Your baby will thank you.

  24. I'm glad that what you're doing is working for your family! Nobody else has said this so I will. Way to go for losing weight while being pregnant! If you feel better and the baby's doing great, that's fantastic!

  25. Follow @git_fit_mama on instagram, if you aren't already. Awesome motivation for cleaner eating and exercise, (after baby arrives). :)

  26. Love the post! That's great that you and your family are sticking with this. It's so nice to see healthy benefits and feel better - great positive reinforcement :) One thing I would say, though, is that if you're trying to cut out junk and processed food, you should stay FAR, far away from agave nectar. It is a highly processed sugar that is basically all fructose. While fructose is lower down on the glycemic index than other sugars (cane sugar, honey, etc), it also can only be properly processed by your body in conjunction with lots of fiber - hence the reason that eating whole fruits is great for you, but fruit juice is not so great. Again, it is also highly processed, and goes through an awful lot of questionable refining. If you can find raw, local honey, that is excellent with yogurt - my kids adore it. Great idea calling the chia seeds Batman seeds! I'll have to try that one. Hope that info about agave nectar helps!

  27. Good for you! I am trying to change our eating habits, but it is so hard! My husband agrees in theory (we talk about it and how bad certain ingredients are)..then he goes and buys junk. Anyway, since I am still learning all this stuff, I wanted to share what I learned... stay away from agave and soy ( - both aren't exactly health foods they claim to be ~ soy can wreak havoc on your thyroid and agave is just as processed as high fructose corn syrup.

    I look forward to reading more about your journey!! Good luck!

  28. Hi! I'm a relatively new reader to your blog. It was so nice to find this post in my reader and hear about your journey. We are doing something similar in our family. We are starting a new eating plan called GAPS and it is a somewhat similar plan to yours. It's encouraging to hear that you are reaping a lot of benefits. My biggest struggle right now is affording it! It's definitely costing us more but as I've heard others say, you pay now or pay later (ie doctor's bills, etc).
    All the best to you and your family! xo

  29. So amazing!!! I want to do the same thing...not sure the husband and small ones would be on the same page. I'm sure it takes a large amount of support from your husband and boys. Maybe when fruit and veggies are less expensive this summer, i'll give it a shot. I'd love for you to have a section on your blog for all the future yummy recipes that you'll try. Best of luck to you on this new life changing adventure. Haven't commentd on your blog before but I do read it every day. Congrats on the baby girl as well!!!

  30. I had to laugh about food pinned as healthy.Those are usually the recipes with cream of processed soup!!!????

    Nothing is easy with two kids and one on the way. Be patient and kind....with yourself.
    You have a lot on your plate Momma.You are inspiring.;)

  31. We are making a lot of the same changes in our house. I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old and it's definitely tricky to find recipes that they like, esp bc they always compare everything to our former foods. I am obsessed with I also agree w you about having a hard time finding recipes online, I'm going to try to make a binder with ones we like as you did. Keep up the good work and I'd love to hear some of your favorite recipes sometime!

  32. wow thank you for sharing! this was very informative. we have been making some changes too. thanks for the great tips!!

  33. Looking forward to hearing more of your progress and your fav family recipes!

    I think that when you make a change in your diet there usually is a dip in energy and you can get cranky...but once you get over that hump the energy does return as well as the mental alertness that you mentioned.

    Keep up the great work, we are all backing ya!

  34. I was very heavy with my third pregnancy and I strongly believe that that was the reason it was a difficult pregnancy. Yeah to losing some LBS. It will make it a better experience I'm sure. I'm now going to watch that netflix movie.

  35. I would love to do this, I have been feeling the need to 'detox' or something lately but I have absolutely no idea where to start. Do you have any tips? Also I've lost with both of my pregnancies, I tend to eat a lot healthier when I'm pregnant and listen more closely to my body and what it needs so I always end up loosing weight before I put any on. I'm excited for you!

  36. Hi Cheri. Kudos to you for your amazing diet transformation! That's awesome. I loved hearing about your inspiring journey. I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes that your boys (and you!) will probably like. It's a healthy snack. I'm not sure how closely it goes along with your diet, but maybe you can make some adaptations, if needed. It's really yummy!

  37. Thanks great! It really helps that your husband is on board. I want to make these changes too... but my husband just simply doesn't want to. I can't do it alone. We still do a lot of veggies and fruit as normal... but there's no way I can take away the meat... and I'm pretty sure I'm the bread/cracker-aholic around here. Maybe someday I can get him to rehaul it all with me... until then I'll just keep making little changes along the way.

  38. I went through this in the summer of 2010 and it has been WONDERFUL. I actually have a 2 week meal plan on my blog for eating whole foods (it's on the side bar FYI). My kids adore chia seeds on yogurt too, we just call them sprinkles and now they won't eat them without any. I figure if you eat well at home then life will take care of the treats. Ward parties, Birthdays, holidays... you still get plenty of treats but you don't have to provide them. Moderation in all things, because life without any sugar isn't real either. Like you said, you don't want kids with food/sugar issues, but you can eat well at home! Does that make sense? I'm so excited for you.

  39. I've been using a co-op & been trying to eat healthier as well. Here's a soup that I've found that is healthy and tastes good. Lots of protein to keep you full too!

  40. You must be doing something right as you look FANTASTIC! Kicking refined sugar is key in my opinion and I'm working on that aspect of our diet too.

  41. We are actually on a similar journey at our house! We aren't off of all processed foods quite yet, but we have cut back a lot on other yucky stuff that was in our house. we're trying to take it slowly so that we don't go into shock and then instantly hate ourselves for it. I feel so much better now though! I would love to have some of your approved recipes!

  42. You are lucky that your husband is on board! I wish mine was, but I'm still taking small steps here and there. Please post some recipes your family has liked! My kids complain about what I cook anyway, so that would not be a change, lol. Any little bit will help!

  43. I'd like to recommend

    I feel like her recipes are simple and delicious. I have her cookbook Well Fed and we love her hot plate concept which makes dinner less stressful when we forget to plan ahead.

  44. So awesome for you and your family! I began eating the vegan way about 5 months ago. My husband and two sons eat meat and dairy when we go out (maybe 4 times a month). The rest of the time they eat what I make at home which is a whole foods, plant based diet. I considered myself a healthy eater before the change, and all of my bloodwork was "normal." The biggest change that I've seen is that my triglycerides went from 137 to 58 in a matter of months. I applaud you and anyone willing to make healthier food choices. Keep it up and thanks for sharing.

  45. I did something similar to this, and I got really frustrated because suddenly all three of my kids needed root canals. It really did a number on our teeth. I've been reading about diet based ways to stop tooth decay, and I read this site: Basically it says that eating oatmeal every day can cause all sorts of teeth problems. Which of course was really annoying because we were eating it daily instead of sugared cereals and suddenly our teeth were WAY worse. Anyways, I adjusted my approach a little more, and I am sure I will have to wait another six months to see if it's working but hopefully you can be a little more careful then I was and avoid major tooth distress.

  46. We've been SLOWLY inching in this direction... but my family has a long way to go! Thanks for the encouragement that I can do it too!

  47. LOVE that you actually said you lost weight while being pregnant! I've been focusing on being healthier (i'm 7 months pregnant), even before finding out I was carrying a little one, and I've still lost some while being pregnant just because of being healthy. Thank you for sharing that! I've been devouring your healthy posts. :) Hope all is well with your new bundle of joy! :)


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