It’s always fun when the new year comes around, people start making all sorts of resolutions. The one that always seems to be on top of everyone’s list is to “get in shape” and “lose weight.” I’m glad to say that isn’t on my list anymore, in fact it hasn’t been on my list in the last couple years, not since college. It may come as a huge surprise to some, but there is actually a very simple solution to losing weight (I’m sure this’ll ruffle several feathers), you are what you eat. Period. I’ve said this before and most everyone agrees that I talk to, but I find very few that are actually willing to do something about it.
For me it was a medical situation, it was when I realized we were having trouble getting pregnant with our first child. I figured out that I had an ovarian cyst and was told my only options were birth control and/or surgery. Neither of which I was happy with. I did some research and stumbled into the diet answer. When you put toxic stuff into your body your body doesn’t handle it well and can cause problems inside the body… I thought I was doing well with what I ate (which is what I hear from most people), we lived on the ranch, so we ate the own meat we raised and I cut back on all those “evil things” like butter and other fatty things. Yeah, we ate some processed foods (which was actually a lot more than I thought) and lots of canned products. I thought our diet was just fine! When I looked into deeper I started to realize the way we had been eating was very damaging.
I was truly convinced right then that if something was to change I needed to do some dramatic stuff, so I did. After changing our diet dramatically and starting to try new practices we saw a huge turn-around. Within a month of changing our diet we got pregnant with our first little one. I lost over 10 lbs within a short period of time and now maintain a healthy weight that I have had no problem keeping regardless of how much I’m “working out”.
What did we do? How did we do it? Well, it’s still an ongoing process, but everyday we realize that the change we made in our diet was the best thing that we could do for ourselves and our family. I will outline what we did and how you can do it in your life.
These changes are not rocket science, but it does take self-discipline and sometimes more money going towards you food budget, but believe us… IT’S WORTH IT!
1. Strip your cabinets of all processed foods.
This was a difficult one for us to do. We had just gotten home from town the day before I made this discovery about our health, so I had just restocked the pantry and now I was kissing all that “food” goodbye.
What is a processed food? Well, a processed food is basically anything that you didn’t make yourself. Cereals, nut bars, condiments, canned food, breads from the store, etc. Things that come in boxes and basically never have an expiration date just can’t be good for you. I’ve been told before if you can’t get it around the parameter of the grocery store then your probably shouldn’t be eating it. This is a tough step. I would err on the side of being too liberal in getting rid of things, instead of keeping it. I have found (maybe some people have better self-resistance than I do) that if the product is in my house… I will eat it. So it’s better off not being in my house.
Most people get thrown off by “healthy processed foods.” In my opinion it’s an oxymoron, because unless you are willing to pay a very high price for “higher quality” processed foods they are still going to be full of preservatives, sugars and hydrogenated oils… Not healthy by any standards in our books.
2. Say goodbye to white flour and white sugar.
I know, another blow to the stomach, but it must be done. Both white flour and white sugar are over-processed and have absolutely no health value to them. In fact they can hurt you and rob nutrients out of your body. Just chuck it, you won’t miss it over time, I promise.
When we first did this and switched to whole wheat flour and natural sweeteners like honey we didn’t really miss the white flour/ sugar. In fact when I eat things with white flour/sugar in them a lot of the time I’ll get a really bad stomach ache from them.
*note: we actually hardly eat any flour in our diet in general anymore, so if you are a huge pastry fan, even switching to whole wheat flour/ natural sweeteners are not going to necessarily help you lose weight, it’s just the “better of the two” options.
3. Embrace the butter.
Most people here will probably become really confused of my butter to weight ratio. The more butter we ate the more weight we lost. Now don’t take this to an extreme! Our culture has been lied to in so many ways and this is one of them. Animal saturated fats are good for you… Not only good for you, essential to us and our functioning.
Ever try a low-fat diet and just crave sugar and flour all the time? Our body needs saturated fats and our culture has been tormented by the low-fat craze and has caused serious health problems for many people. A lot of people switched to hydrogenated fats, thinking that they were better for them, but can actually be seriously detrimental to people’s health. This includes: margarine, vegetable oil, canola oil, soy bean oil and shortening. It is very poorly processed and goes rancid on the selves, get rid of it! (check out this short article explaining it in better detail: Why are hydrogentated fats bad for you?.)
We need animal fats in our diet, so in our household we eat a lot of butter and lard. You can also cook with olive oil and coconut oil. We make our own butter and lard most of the time, so we just go with it more than olive/coconut oil.
4. Cook your own food.
I live out in the country, so I’m pretty bound to cooking my own food most of the time, but every time I return to the city I realize how easy it is to slip into the buying pre-made things or going out to eat. It seems like a basic request, but I know it’s one that people struggle with a lot.
There are very few restaurants that follow the 3 steps listed above. If they do follow the steps listed then they are typically extremely expensive and not friendly on your wallet. When I’m out if I have a choice between two different places like McDonalds and Chipotle, I’ll take Chipotle in a heart beat, but I’m also going to pay the difference for the quality of food I get. Remember just like a car or fancy appliance, you get what you pay for. If you buy confinement raised chicken eggs they are not the same egg as a pasture raised chicken and the whole make-up of the nutrients in the two eggs are completely different.
Stay at home and cook healthier.
You are what you eat and you get what you pay for.
Now we have a simple outline of all the things that are good/not good. Remember, this is a basic outline if you would like some more details, I can list them below on better eating choices, but you are going to be on a much better path just by listening to the first 4 things listed and most likely going to see a change in your health.
Eat at home with your family. Learn how to cook without processed foods, white flour and white sugar. There are plenty of websites with recipes for you and guides on how to cook if you haven’t the slightest clue how to cook without those things.
Here are the typical things we eat in our household
- meat (grass fed/ free range beef, chicken, lamb, pork)
- organ meats (liver, heart, I’m still working on getting used to these)
- cheese (we make most of our own, but buy some from the store)
- butter, lard and olive oil
- fresh vegetables in season (we sometimes freeze things from our own harvest, but try to eat within season as best as possible)
- rice (brown, variety rice, no white rice)
- beans (not from a can, but cooked from scratch)
- limited fruits
- limited whole wheat flour
We have been eating this way since 2010 and it doesn’t even phase us anymore. Not buying processed foods is not a struggle anymore and cooking everything from scratch, well, is still difficult but worth it every time. Following my first pregnancy I had no problem returning to my pre-baby weight (I was a full time nursing mother as well) and being pregnant with our second I still feel great (I don’t experience serious sickness at all).
Stop wasting money on weight loss programs that “make food for you” or tell you, you can’t eat saturated fats, they never work because your body naturally craves those things and you eventually will succumb to temptation.
You might be wondering where we learned all these things and it’s been a mixture of different places. You just need to do your own research to see what works best for you. We follow some of Westen A. Price‘s recommendations and I recently found out about the Palio diet, which I guess our diet kinda fits in that model, but we aren’t 100% all for it.
Finally, we don’t really like the word “diet.” It’s really the only word I can think of when describing what you eat, but in reality it’s a lifestyle change. We no longer worry about our “diet” because it’s just the way we eat on a daily basis. Once you accept it, see the result and love the lifestyle change, there really is no question of whether you want to continue or not, because that is the new normal for you.
More details on eating well:
- Buy pasture raised chicken eggs
- Buy grass finished beef, chicken, pork and lamb
- Buy fresh caught salmon (not farmed)
- Buy grass raised dairy products and if possible non-pastured raw milk
- Buy fresh vegetables/ fruits from a farmer you’ve gotten to know (I’m not a big fan of organic, b/c it’s so pricey and typically not the best practices on raising it, so find a farmer)
- If there is a dairy allergy try non-pastured products
- Make your own chicken/beef broth
- Grind your own flour
- Use natural sweeteners (honey, stevia, molasses)
Please let me know if you have any questions.
This is not to be taken as medical advice. Just our own personal experiences.