My Latest Homemade Yogurt Concoction.

I cook, a lot, probably more than your average person, but it wasn’t always this way. There was a time I ate out more than I’d like to admit and lived off frozen dinners, ramen noodles and cans of soup. Yes, even when I was actively losing the weight.

My shift to eating less and less processed foods and cooking more and more has been a journey, and it’s far from over. My diet is constantly changing and evolving. It’s one of the reasons I get so upset when people give others a hard time about eating this or that.

Take yogurt for example. I’ve seen people get on a soapbox about eating flavored yogurt cups. Ok, we know they are full of sugar or sweeteners but maybe, just maybe, that yogurt replaced twinkies or a chocolate cookie the size of a human head —have you seen some of these cookies, my WORD? Anyway… my point is, the yogurt may be a good choice for someone just beginning to make changes to their food choices.

I started with yogurt cups. Eating whatever lite ones were on sale. After a while I decided I didn’t want all those artificial sweeteners in my system so I started to switch to ones with just plain old sugar. Then I turned to greek for higher protein. The flavored greek cups are great (like chobani and oikos,) but when I went to BlogHer Food this year I had my first plain greek yogurt parfait and fell in love. Now I buy tubs of the plain greek and top it with fruit, nuts, seeds, honey, whatever! Honestly, there’s no going back to light flavored yogurt cups for me ever again, but without them I would not be eating homemade greek yogurt parfaits today.

I have similar histories with some fruits and vegetables that I used to buy canned, frozen or not at all. Now I enjoy fresh beets, winter squashes, mushrooms, and kale. KALE! I mean really, I don’t think I even knew what kale was 2-3 years ago, and now not only do I eat it almost weekly but I can get all three of my boys to eat kale chips. All three!

However, those same three boys (well, at least the older 2) still eat boxed cupcakes, duplex cookies, candy, and chips. And sometimes, so do I. I also like to keep a box of fish sticks in the freezer for a quick midweek meal, cans of soup for a fast lunch, and recently I tried my first EggNCheese Vita Sandwich during a busy morning juggling work and 2 kids.

Vitalicious (we’ve worked together for some time) sent me the sandwiches to try and review last month but frankly, I didn’t feel comfortable eating and posting about them right after starting the Unprocessed October challenge.

Well, as you may have noticed my UNprocessed challenge has turned into a commitment to eat LESS processed almost immediately after I started, and I’ve been having a blast keeping my #lessprocessed #foodjournal on instagram these last couple of weeks.

Making the change from UN to LESS may seem like a ridiculous game of semantics, but it relieved so much of the perfection pressure I put on myself. You know, that little mental defect that says if I can’t do it perfectly then why bother to do it at all? It’s the same reason why I always failed at diets that gave me specific food lists or had a regimented workout routine. As soon as I ate something off the list or missed the workout I threw my hands up and walked away.

The truth is, for me, right now, eating completely UNprocessed is just not possible. I’m not ready. My family isn’t ready. I will continue to make the best decisions I can, striving for less and less processed, trying new things, and focusing on whole foods, but there will be times we enjoy fast food (yes, enjoy,) indulge in Halloween candy, and grab something quick for breakfast because we over slept.

And I refuse to feel guilty about this. We live in a world of compromise and convenience. All we can do is our best to navigate it, educating ourselves and striving to always to do a little better each day, because small changes equal big changes over time. Just look in my fridge.

Tubs of greek yogurt and bags of kale don’t lie, and they weren’t in there 5 years ago.

Disclosure/Notes: This is NOT a paid post but Vitalicious sponsors the Just Roni Newsletter and provides products for sampling. All opinions expressed in the post are my own. In case you are wondering the EggNCheese was delicious! Click here to check them out and be sure to use the code RonisWeigh for 10% off.

 
  • Sandy

    Someone in my house recently brought home a breakfast cereal that would never have seen the inside of my grocery cart. My youngest commented that he didn’t think it was healthy and wanted to know what I thought. He was honestly asking if this was okay to eat. I told him that the person who bought it had previously been skipping breakfast altogether. So, even a not-so-healthy choice was a step in the right direction. Whose choices are perfect, after all? Would we even want them to be? Where’s the fun in that? I told my son that this cereal might lead to a healthier cereal, then maybe some fruit, and then maybe something healthy besides cereal. In other words, we can trade up. I was so glad he was thinking about healthy choices and actually asking the question!

  • Marsh

    Thank you. I just tried committing to no added sugars or processed foods. But the desire for perfection of course caused me to stumble and stumble so more. Thank you for reminding me of the changes I have made that have stuck. This is a lifestyle change, and I didn’t gain my weight or bad habits overnight so I guess I just have to be patient.

  • Dana

    Great post Roni. I’ve been pouring over my many books of various eating programs. I have the mentality of it being all or nothing. Your post has reminded me that it can start with small steps!

  • DA

    Count me among those that get tripped up by trying to be too perfect… in fact, it gave me an eating disorder that I never had before I lost the weight. After several years of struggling with post-goal-weight bulimia, I realized I had to relax a little. And by loosening up, I began to heal. I still eat mostly unprocessed whole foods, but I do have processed things on occasion (last week I even had a couple pieces of Halloween candy), and paradoxically, I’m healthier today because of it.

  • AneleatSuccessAlongtheWeigh

    EXCELLENT post! I can’t stand it when people are preachy about the whole unprocessed thing and love to point out “oh well THAT isn’t unprocessed so you’re not really eating that way!” I want to ask them if they go out to their meadow, milk their cows every morning, churn their own butter and harvest their wheat to bake their bread and make pasta. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/karenjaffe Karen Jaffe

    Good post Roni! Like you I have been on a journey only mine has been for 27 years! In that time I’ve gone from eating processed and comfort type foods to eating gluten-free. My initial response to being gluten-free was to not get caught up in all the gluten-free products, but now I occasionally allow myself to have a snack like soy crisps or gluten-free pretzels (I miss the crunch). Your post reminds me that it’s okay to bend the “rules” a little bit. When I look at where I was to where I am now, I sometimes can still not believe it!

  • Tami@NutmegNotebook

    I’m delighted to see this post Roni. Cleaning up the food plan is a process for most of us. I started out looking for the lowest points values foods without regards to good nutrition. Over time I moved towards eating more healthy food. It’s all too easy to become judge mental of what others are putting on their plate. Thank you for pointing out that its all relative to where we began!

  • LisaM

    Your comment about “that little mental defect that says if I can’t do it perfectly then why bother to do it at all” – oh my that one gets a lot of us! I have a corporate job, and one of the many slogans used in our current culture/productivity initiative is actually kind of great: “Don’t let the perfect stand in the way of the good.” I think this sums up your whole post today.

  • Andrea

    Yea yea yea for the voice of Roni-moderation!

  • Jessica W

    ** Throws her hands in the air and CHEERS!**
    Thank YOU!!
    I am enjoying watching the Less- Proccessed….well…PROCCESS! Its inspiration to pull a salmon fillet out of the freezer instead of a pizza.

  • Shannon

    Roni, I’ve been thinking so much about this post. I became a Lifetime WW member a bit over 10 years ago, in time for my wedding. At the time everything had points except vegetables. In the beginning I did use a lot of boxed meals, artificially sweetened yogurts in individual cups, etc. because it was so helpful when it came to portion control and . Fast forward five years, after the birth of my second and my weight not where I wanted it and back to WW I went. Only this time, there are multiple plans, list of foods to eat, etc. Talk about pressure to not screw up. Needless to say, I didn’t last long. Here we are five year further down the road and my weight is at an all time high. I hate that when I get the gumption to go back to the things that helped me loose weight there is such pressure (from where, I don’t know) to essentially avoid everything unless I’ve grown it, milked it, butchered it myself or it has a green triangle. Even at WW last week the ladies were talking about dried fruit being “bad”, and ground turkey being “bad” and yogurt cups being “bad”. . . . I walked out feeling, once again, overwhelmed by it all. Reading this though really helped me get a bit more control of how I felt. Yes, dried apricots are higher in sugar than fresh ones but they are a whole lot better than the Cheese Nips I could have chosen. Yes, I could have planned to add cherries to plain yogurt but that Chobani sure tasted good and filled me up and is keeping me out of the kitchen at the moment. Why is there so much pressure to belittle positive changes if they aren’t “perfect”?

    Thanks again for all that you do and your honest & touching words of wisdom.

  • http://www.worldclasslasik.com/ Lasik

    That’s right, you shouldn’t be guilty about it. Noone said it’s the one best diet and the others are even bad. Do what you feel confortable doing!

  • Gara Seagraves

    Roni, I’ve been a lurker for a long time, but I just had to say that this post is so right on. Once you get on the healthy eating train it is very easy to look at other’s choices as “less than” or “better than” yours. However, we all come from different starting points and have different roads to travel. I’m just happy to see kale becoming mainstream and fast food restaurants beginning to recognize that if they are to survive, they need to help keep their customers alive.

  • marina

    It is a pleasure to read you. You are a reasonable person. I found myself telling me “I agree” “she is completly right”. I really enjoy your blog Ronnie, thanks a lot for sharing! Marina from Spain.

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