Getting every family member on board with making dietary changes may be the most difficult task on your journey to better health. There are plenty of delicious recipes using healthy foods. I believe that people's objections to healthy foods have less to do with the true taste of good food and more to do with their expectations of taste. They may expect food to taste like it always has (due to salt, sugar, artificial flavors, MSG, and fat) and in addition to that, they expect that healthy foods will taste yucky.
Over time, we get used to the flavors and textures of the foods we eat. Most people are used to processed foods which have been stripped of flavor and nutrition (such as bleached, enriched white flour). Then those processed foods receive added ingredients such as salt, sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors, fillers, MSG and unhealthy fat. We get used to eating this way; we get used to the flavors and textures. We crave those foods and shun foods that don't feel or taste the same.
Please don't make the mistake of thinking that you'll be able to replace everything unhealthy in your diet with healthy foods that taste exactly the same. Sometimes this does happen, but it is not the norm. As you change your diet over to healthy foods, your tastes will adjust, over time, to different flavors and you'll begin to enjoy and be satisfied by the real taste of foods. Those healthy foods are now thought to taste yucky and bland, but what they really taste is different — because they retain their natural flavor and are unpolluted by salt, sugar, artificial ingredients, fillers, MSG and unhealthy fats. Given a chance and given time, you will enjoy healthy foods.
For your family members that are resisting the change to healthy foods, I suggest you be truthful with them. Encourage them to allow time for the adjustment. They will come to enjoy the healthful foods. I encourage you to discuss, as a family, the issues surrounding healthful eating. You can discuss God's word, what He says about food, discuss GNOWFGLINS, how each family member desires to honor and serve Him, and also how and why to eat for better health. I believe that almost every person would agree that to eat healthfully is a good choice and should be pursued.
Most importantly, mom and dad must be on the same page. Perhaps they're not equally excited about eating healthfully, but they should agree together to pursue healthful eating. For the children, it would be nice if they believed in the changes, but if they don't, that is okay. Most children will adjust over time. For everyone involved, you can expect a transition period where taste buds and cravings have to adjust. Don't expect to love all the food right away — although if you're following my simple recipes, I have a feeling that there will be more swallowing-with-joy than spitting-out-with-disgust happening.
Once you've decided to eat healthfully for God's glory, you will need to decide how to proceed. As I see it, there are generally two options — making the changes all at once, or making the changes gradually. That is up to you. Every person, every family has different dynamics. You know what would work best for the group of people God has put together to make your family.
If you decide to go the all at once route, much like we did, the first place to start is by cleaning out your pantry. Get rid of everything processed. Really. If you haven't been eating healthfully, I can almost guarantee that every item in your pantry is probably not good for you. Then you should go to the health food store or the health food section of your grocery store and purchase quality ingredients. The bulk section will have the best prices. This process is not quite so simple, but the recipes I share on my site will give you an idea of the raw ingredients you could bring home.
Whether you are changing your eating habits all at once, or you prefer to make the changes gradually, here are some suggestions for what must be changed. Choose where you want to start, and implement one or two items on the list over time. These are not in order. Read the list and start where you think you can, and go from there.
1. Choose whole, organic, non-GMO grains instead of refined grains. Purchase or make whole grain bread, crackers, and baked goods. Read the ingredients — avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, sugar, and ingredients you can't pronounce. Look for the words “whole” in front of the grain flours. In your main dishes, substitute brown rice or millet or quinoa for the white rice in main dishes. Use whole wheat tortillas. Make whole wheat or other whole grain pancakes. Make whole grain porridges for breakfast. Did you know that one cup of most cooked whole grain breakfast porridge provides 50 to 75 percent of one's daily requirements for fiber? That is tremendous! I suggest you peruse my recipes for specific instructions.
2. Choose organic, dry beans (instead of canned) and eat more of them for the fiber. Purchase in bulk from the health food store or health food section for significant cost savings. See How to Cook Dry Beans and the Recipes for specific cooking instructions.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fresh, organic, local and in season are best. Consider sprouting to add an inexpensive, easy nutrition boost.
4. Replace commercial animal foods (red meat, poultry, game, fish, eggs, dairy) with pastured animal foods. For beef and other game, choose grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free. Choose pastured poultry, preferably not fed GMO corn or soy. For fish, choose wild (such as wild salmon or wild sardines). For eggs, choose your own or from a local farmer, preferably from chickens not fed GMO corn or soy. For dairy, choose raw, hormone-free, antibiotic-free (more info on milk choices here). Be prepared for a different flavor when switching your animal foods — this is not unpleasant, but different because these meats can taste more grassy and more seasoned. After a time, these new flavors will be delicious to your palate, as they are to ours. Due to the more flavored and developed muscle content, many cuts of natural meat benefit from slow cooking at low temperatures.
5. Replace prepared seasonings with herbs and spices. So many commercial seasonings contain sugar, MSG, and too much salt. Search out homemade seasoning mix recipes, such as taco and chili seasoning mixes, barbecue and teriyaki sauces, etc. Many of my recipes rely on simple herbs and spices and boast excellent flavor.
6. Cut back on sweet treats, and instead choose natural sweeteners, such as raw honey, fruit purees, and/or date sugar for your family's use. Search out recipes that use these sweeteners instead of white or brown sugars. Use these sweeteners on your porridge, in your tea, in your baked goods, and in your homemade seasonings and sauces. Cut back on sweet treats in general — encourage your family members to eat more fruit instead.
7. Eliminate the “bad stuff” — sodas, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and ingredients you can't pronounce. Many of these things can be replaced or substituted with other items in this list. Sodas can be replaced by homemade fruit smoothies and water or fermented beverages like water kefir or Kombucha. Instead of coffee, try Teeccino, a delicious coffee substitute made from roasted grains and nuts. Either do without the artificial sweetening or turn to natural sweeteners.
8. Use traditional fats such as butter, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, tallow, lard, and coconut oil. Highly processed veggie oils are a new thing, and traditional raised saturated fats are not the enemy! More information here.
Because each change can seem enormous and overwhelming, I encourage you to make them prayerfully. Explain and explain again to your family the reasons for why these choices are best. Get them involved in praising the Lord for the foods He designed — help them get to know their Creator better through eating His foods. Show them through your thankfulness how to be thankful for the sustenance and nutrition He provides.
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