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.