12 More Baby Steps We’ve Taken to Eat Real Food

12 Baby Steps We've Taken to Eat HealthierAt the beginning of the year I started overhauling our diet.

I wrote about the first thirteen steps we took towards a real food diet, and today I wanted to take some time to review the goals I made last time, document the new changes we’ve made in our diet, and write a few goals for the future.

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My Previous Goals:

  • Find a source for grass-fed dairy. Nope. I did find a source for grass-fed dairy, but since the farm is an hour away I just haven’t made the time to pick up the milk yet. So, no, I haven’t accomplished this goal.
  • Split a quarter of a grass-fed cow with someone so we don’t have to buy questionable grocery store meat. Done! We bought an 1/8 of a cow, and that was one of the best decisions we’ve made! We’ve spent the summer enjoying steaks, hamburgers, meatballs, and more! This meat is not only incredibly flavorful, but also I feel good about its source.
  • Eat liver or other organ meats once a week.  Done! I never thought I would actually make this a reality, but with the help of my Mom’s recipe (her secret DOES make all the difference!). We’ve been eating liver once a week, and I’ve even, sort of, began to enjoy it. Just don’t ever try liver tacos. Not good y’all. Not good at all.
  • Get a juicer so we can make our own veggie/fruit juice. Nope. We’ve eased ourselves away from drinking juices (except for fresh lemonade), and this isn’t really a priority right now. I still wouldn’t mind a juicer, but this isn’t a goal I am actively pursuing at the moment.
  • Make gummies to get more gelatin in our diets. Nope. I DID buy these super duper cute lego molds AND bear molds to make adorable little gummies. But did I buy the gelatin to fill the molds? No, no I did not.
  • Grow veggies in buckets on our balcony this summer. Done! We took this a step further, and actually tilled a garden. We have eaten lettuce, spinach, peppers, squash, basil, rosemary, onions, green onions, and even a couple of tomatoes from our garden so far.

    12 More Baby Steps We've Taken to Eat Real Food
    These veggies were not grown in our garden, but I just love taking pictures of food. Food is a beautiful thing.

12 More Steps We’ve Taken to Eat Real Food

  1. I make homemade granola bars every week. I found this 5 ingredient granola bar recipe in a post of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s. I took her advice: I use coconut oil, omit the chocolate, and use only 2 tsp of honey. I have also added chia seeds, and ground flaxseed as well. These granola bars are fast, and delicious. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and keep a bowl of them in the fridge. Hubs and I have gotten used to grabbing them as a snack to take to work every day. We eat a batch a week. So delicious.
  2. We ate home grown salad at every meal. Growing lettuce and spinach in our garden has made a BIG difference in our salad-eating. We hardly ever ate salad beforehand, but when it started popping up in our garden we both valued it so much more. We ate salad at every meal while it lasted, and I have a new crop of lettuce started in the garden.
  3. I started drinking fruit-infused water. I used to never drink water. Only coffee. I am not sure how I survived. Then I got hooked on slicing up any fruit I had on hand into my mason jar full of water. Somehow, adding fruit makes me drink the water. I have gotten into the habit of bringing my Ello water bottle to work every day, and I drain it by the end of the afternoon.
  4. We started buying a few convenience meals. We realized that we had to have a few fast meals on hand for those days when we get home late, and don’t want to thaw some beef or chicken for supper. I started buying two or three frozen items at Aldi (such as shredded barbecue chicken or frozen burritos) to keep on hand. These items aren’t perfect (it would be better if I took the time to make and freeze a few meals), but they have kept us from going to McDonald’s which I still consider a win!
  5. I froze basil for the winter. I harvested some of my basil, blended it with some olive oil, and froze it in ice cubes for future use. I have gotten so used to having basil in my meals that I really want to continue using it this winter!
  6. I started freezing homemade chicken broth into ice cubes. I began making homemade bone broth every week a few months ago, but I realized we just didn’t always get through all that broth. So I began cooking the broth down into a very concentrated, thick broth and freezing it in ice cubes. Now when I need broth I just pull out my bag of broth cubes (is that a thing?) and throw them in the skillet, slow cooker, or saucepan. This method works so much better for me than three jars of broth sitting in the fridge.
  7. I make homemade hummus every other week. It was on a trip to Texas that hubs and I discovered our love for hummus. However, a hummus habit can quickly bankrupt you if you aren’t careful. A tiny bowl can run four or five dollars. I was so happy to discover that I can make tahini-less (because we don’t keep tahini on hand) hummus WITH roasted red peppers for a fraction of the price.
  8. We eat Nutritional Yeast on our popcorn instead of cheese powder. Hubs loves cheesy popcorn. I knew that buying popcorn with a fake cheese coating at the grocery store wasn’t the best choice. I introduced him to eating nutritional yeast (which tastes like cheese) on home-popped popcorn instead, and he went crazy for it. He doesn’t miss those bags of popcorn from the store, and he’s getting a good dose of antioxidants to boot!
  9. I stopped buying commercial pizza sauce, and began making my own. I always used to buy pizza sauce, but I have started just cooking garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes together into a sauce, and I love it so much more than the canned stuff!
  10. We’ve cut down our fast food habit. A few months ago we realized, with a shock, how much we were spending on eating out. Since then, we’ve cut our budget down to a quarter of what it used to be. This has not only changed our budget favorably, but also our health. We’ve discovered that if we always keep some sort of leftovers in the fridge we aren’t tempted to eat out when we’re hungry.
  11. We stopped using soy sauce, and started using liquid aminos. Liquid aminos tastes like soy sauce (it is made from soy beans, after all), but is non-GMO and is a good source of naturally occurring amino acids. We do want to switch to coconut aminos in the future, but for now we are using up the last of our bottle of liquid aminos.
  12. We started taking probiotics and omega-3 oil every day. We began taking these two supplements every day to help our gut health, and keep inflammation at bay.

Goals for the Future:

  • Complete the AIP (Auto Immune Paleo) diet
  • Start drinking raspberry leaf tea (has a lot of benefits for women’s health)
  • Cook with turmeric once a week
  • Buy an ice cream maker, and make dairy-free ice cream.
  • Make gummies to get more gelatin in our diets.

For the next couple of months we will eat only AIP-approved foods. We will be cutting out all grains, nightshade veggies (tomatoes, peppers, etc.), dairy, nuts and processed foods to try to address my hubby’s eczema. This diet means I will have to give up my daily date with coffee. Sob! Wish us luck!

What are your healthy eating tips? 

6 thoughts on “12 More Baby Steps We’ve Taken to Eat Real Food”

  1. This is amazing. I am encouraged by the steps you have been taking, and I know you will not regret it! I also eat nutritional yeast flakes on my popcorn (my husband hates it though), and I love liquid aminos as a soy sauce substitute!

  2. I need to start freezing some basil too since it about the only thing our fat grey squirrels have left alone! I love to make and freeze bone broth. I never thought about putting it into an ice cube tray–that’s a good idea! I also loved the idea of infused water. I bet Mitch would too. We should look into that. I often forget, but try to take probiotics every day. I also have a fabulous whole-food prenatal vitamin that I love and always take. 🙂 And I feel ya on the eating out. We are typically not too bad, but there was something about July, every year. We eat out WAY too much in July. Strange. Maybe the heat or travel? Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Bethie,
    What an inspiring post! I love the ice cube chicken broth idea, and also the frozen basil! Best of luck to you on the AIP: Amalia and I went on it for 10 weeks, and though her chronic condition didn’t change, neither of us got so much as a sniffle during that time, and we really fell in love with eating veg. Lots of veg. Also, if you stop drinking coffee, do it gradually, so you don’t go the withdrawal. It can be awful. I still drank my one cup of coffee every morning even on the AIP. It was my one cheat. 😉

    1. Mom,
      Thanks! The ice cube chicken broth thing is SO handy. No more stress about using up twenty cups of broth in a week any longer. 🙂 I am sort of looking forward to AIP. I know it will be tough, but it will also be an interesting experiment. We shall see! That is good to know that you allowed yourself some coffee…maybe I will take that tip as well. 🙂

  4. Bethany, I am very impressed! Especially with your ice cube chicken broth—that has been on my to-do list forever. It apparently feels at home there… 🙂

    I used to eat very strict Paleo, including the auto-immune protocol, but now follow more of a gluten-free lifestyle. My tips are to check out Against All Grain for some recipes, avoid the center isles at grocery stores, check out Thrive Market- it’s an online health store with Costco prices, and to also always have fresh fruit in the kitchen for a quick sweet snack. Fresh fruit helped me tame my processed sugar addiction.

    Also, it’s awesome that your hubby is on board with you. My husband is also very supportive and without his help in the kitchen, I’m positive I would not have as much success with real food. Thank God for men who can cook!

    1. Katie, your first paragraph made me laugh! I have a lot of items on my to-do list that also “feel at home” there. What a delightful way of putting it. 🙂

      I am so glad to meet someone else who has done the AIP diet. I just reserved Against All Grain at the library, so thank you for the tip! I will also check out Thrive Market. Thank you for all the encouragement! It is going to be quite a journey, that is for sure. We are just finishing up the last of our non-AIP groceries before we get started, and I am trying to savor all the iced coffee, homemade pizza, rice, and pasta I can.

      We are both lucky, it sounds like, to have hubbys that are flexible. Amen to the men who can cook thing!

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