Real Food, Clean Eating, Whole Foods–I’m Confused!

March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

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A lot of people ask me what I eat

And to be honest I haven’t talked much on the subject

I’ve gotten lots of emails with people wanting to know my food plan

And I can understand why

I’ve lost 225 pounds so far and it seems I must be doing something right

But I still hesitate to talk a lot about my food

How I eat and what I eat….and here is why

Am I doing something right??…YES

But am I doing it ALL right??…NO

 

I’m still learning and because of that I hesitate to really tell people what I eat

Because I am not “there” yet….wherever THERE is

I can tell you what I’ve done so far and what I plan to do in the future

But I’m not to a point yet with food where I really feel like I’ve figured it all out

That is why I like the term “weight loss JOURNEY”

Because it truly has been that for me

A journey of experimenting and learning

Constantly evolving my ideas as I become stronger

 

You see in the very beginning I was utterly lost in a maze

Just totally bewildered by food and it’s hold over me

I weighed 417 pounds

One heart attack away from the graveyard

Every day, I drank a case of Pepsi

I ate a gallon of ice cream

I ate multiple bags of candy

Boxes of snack cakes

I ate fast food almost daily—Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, Burritos, Tacos

Onion Rings, French Fries, Apple Pies and milkshakes

Donuts and more donuts and more donuts

That’s what I ate

Every day

 

I did it for multiple reasons

Sugar Addiction

Depression and Anxiety

But it took me awhile to figure that out

To unravel the reasons why I couldn’t stop

 

Discovering that sugar is addictive

Is one of the most important things I’ve ever learned in my entire life

I could never adequately tell you what this discovery meant to me

Suddenly I understood why most diets had never worked for me

Any diet that allowed me to eat sugar and white flour was a diet I failed on

It was like bringing a drug addict into rehab

And then serving that drug to them at every meal

But still expecting them to get better

Once I cut the sugar and white flour out of my life

Everything changed

 

So I became a detective

Spending the past 20 months switching almost everything I ate

To no sugar or sugar free

I didn’t care if it had artificial sweeteners in it

So long as they didn’t trigger my cravings to overeat

I knew somewhere in the back of my mind

They probably weren’t good for me either

But at the time I wasn’t ready to conquer every single food issue out there

I just wanted to find a way

To get off the 5 bags of Kit Kats

And 2 gallons of ice cream I was eating every day

Whatever way I could

 

If you had told me I could find a way out of that pit by eating cardboard

I probably would have done it

I mean come on…

I had done everything else from wearing magnetic bracelets

To prescription pills and surgery

Eating cardboard wouldn’t be any big deal

I didn’t really care just so long as I lost weight

And could breathe again

Walk across the room

Without getting lightheaded from the pain

 

I found that simplifying food really helped

Doing too much food combining or complicated recipes

Seemed to take me back into food obsession

Keep it simple has been my motto

Stay with the safe foods

The ones that you can eat without obsessing over later

The ones that don’t make you want to overeat them

 

By  eliminating sugar and sticking with these “safe” foods

I have found peace

And that is what I’ve always wanted with food

PEACE

Just to be able to eat when I’m hungry

TRULY hungry

Instead of thinking about it all day

 

Living this way has been AMAZING

Quitting sugar relieved me of the giant appetite

That I mistakenly believed I’d been born with

That gave me peace

Staying with safe foods that I know I can eat without any problems

That gave me security

Security of knowing I wasn’t going to go crazy with the food in the cabinet

Like I had so many times in the past

When Captain Crunch and Frosted Flakes lived in there

 

It has been literally one of the greatest periods of my entire life

To be able to live this way has been miraculous

Eliminating sugar and white flour

Relieved the merciless hunger that used to plague me

And when you’re not hungry all the time

You don’t have to worry as much about overeating

 

We’ve all heard this phrase

“If it ‘aint broke…don’t fix it”

And that’s how I’ve felt about my food plan for a long time

Why would I change what works?

You see, I’m afraid to step outside of that

But while I know that the way I eat has given me peace with food

And has allowed me to lose 225 pounds so far

I also know that it’s not the “healthiest” possible way a person could eat

I know that my Atkins shakes which comprise about 50% of my daily diet

May not be the healthiest possible protein shakes a person could drink

I know a lot of what I eat and drink contains artificial sweeteners

So while I recognize that I’m a lot better off now

Than I was 20 months ago

I also know that I haven’t fully arrived

 

So many times in my life I’ve been overwhelmed

By what it really means to eat “healthy”

At over 400 pounds, I wanted to change how I ate

But I’d get confused about where to start

I’d try to change everything all at once and then give up

It was the same way I felt about exercise

I felt that if I didn’t walk a whole mile on the first day

Then there was no point at all

That “all or nothing” thinking

Got me every time

 

But then I changed my philosophy

And stopped trying to do it all at once

I started exercising 30 seconds at a time

Not tackling it all in one day

5 months later, I had gone 5 miles

Proving small changes really do add up

 

After 20 months on my food plan

It’s time for me to move to the next level

I’m proud of the work I’ve done so far

But I want to keep progressing

I’m not going to try and  change it all in one day

Instead I will do this  a little bit at a time

As long as I am moving in a positive direction

Then all my tomorrows will be better than my yesterdays

 

I’ve hesitated to talk about what I eat on here

Because I don’t want to give out wrong information

And because I don’t want to tell people ‘this is the way’  

I believe we all should find what works for us on an individual basis

I’ve found myself frustrated when I tried to follow someone else’s diet

Because not everything that works for one person works for another

For me, freedom was found

When I stopped letting other people tell me what to eat

And gave myself permission to do what works for me

What I’ve been doing does work

And it’s gotten me to this point on the journey

But it’s not my final answer on how to eat

 

You see, I want to learn more

But it’s scary

It’s scary for me to possibly introduce new foods into my life

Because I’ve lost 225 pounds doing THIS

So it feels dangerous to tamper with what works

And try something new

 

When you’ve had a volatile and destructive relationship with food

But finally found your way out of the darkness

Then you’re not too eager to screw that up

By playing around with it too much

I’m wary to step outside of that

But I think it’s time

 

I watched a documentary the other day on Netflix

And it affected me more than almost anything I’ve seen in a very long time

It was called “Hungry for A Change”

And it confirmed some things I’d already figured out on my own

Like the fact that sugar is addictive

The same with white flour

I’ve stayed away from both for the past 20 months

And it has completely changed my life for the better

 

But there were other things in that documentary

That they recommended people avoid

Artificial sweeteners and chemicals they put in food

Things that I know I eat

My atkins shakes for example

Often comprise 50% of my diet

And once I looked on the back

I saw a list of ingredients I could barely pronounce

That are probably not something I want in my body

Now that it’s been brought to my attention

 

If there is a better alternative

Maybe it’s time I explore it

But now the confusion comes in

Real Foods, Whole Foods, Clean Eating…..

I’ve heard these terms thrown around for awhile

I’ve researched it and still find myself a bit lost

And now I’m back in the maze

A scary place to be

 

So I’m embarking on an adventure

I’m not going to try and change everything all at once

That would be like tackling 5 miles at 417 pounds

So I’m just going to try this

Adding new things a little bit at a time

And I think I’m going to start with my salad dressing

 

I already eat salad regularly

And I know my dressing has no sugar

But it contains a lot of ingredients I can’t even pronounce

So I think I’ll start there

I find a lot of the information out there to be conflicting and confusing

So I’m going to just do what I feel is right for me

And I’ll share it along the way

 

First the salad dressings….

Then the Atkins shakes….

Looking for alternatives to add in one day at a time

I hope by doing this I will fear food less

Learn to eliminate more poisons from my life

And teach my children a better way to live

 

I’m collecting blogs and websites that can help me along the way

If you have information or good sources, please leave them in the comments section

This is going to be a new adventure for me

But one thing I’ve learned

Is that we never stop learning and growing in this journey

One step at a time

We’ll get there!

 

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Patty kinsella March 26, 2013 at 4:03 am

What an inspiring and amazing story, thank you so much for putting yourself out there & sharing! I drink a product called Shakeology. It is all natural & is like making 7 trips to the salad bar. I would love to send you some to try. It provides a lot of added energy too. Send me an email with your address if you would like to try it. If you would like to read more about it here is a link to my Shakeology page. http://myshakeology.com/Coachpattyk. 🙂

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Jessica March 26, 2013 at 4:05 am

Holly, I think you are totally amazing! I read your blog so faithfully and you have always been so kind when you respond. The “real food” eating can be so confusing! I cut out a lot of processed foods and I can tell how horrible I feel when I eat something that isn’t good. Some websites I like are 100 days if real food, and the gracious pantry. I love 100 days because I too have small children and she gives great ideas for kid friendly goods. Good luck and I have faith you will figure this out!

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Jessica March 26, 2013 at 4:32 am
AD March 26, 2013 at 4:24 am

Sugar is also very triggering for me: I would/could not touch that stuff with a ten-foot pole.

Sugar = Crack. It’s the same lethal white powder to my brain.
AD recently posted..Food Journal – March 24My Profile

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Caron March 26, 2013 at 5:27 am

I’ve been trying to replace the bad bottled salad dressings with 19 ingredients. Even the one that is made with yogurt is not acceptable anymore. So my latest dressing is either two tablespoons of fresh salsa (like Wholly Salsa) mixed with a tablespoon of plain yogurt. I was mixing it with a tablespoon of light mayo which is not good. The second dressing I like is just a teaspoon of olive oil mixed with two teaspoons of a flavored vinegar like balsamic or even apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. These are easy to make and “clean” and healthy.

You’re doing great! 🙂
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Sheila March 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I, too was hesitant to “share” what I eat for the very exact same reasons that you have. But I do find that it helps keep ME accountable to me, when I document what I eat. So every now and again I will post photos or my food journal on my blog. I always worry that someone will blast me with a “you shouldn’t eat___________” or “you’re not doing it the right way because___________” but so far no one has attempted that. I figure it might spark an idea for someone who had never thought of a recipe I’ll share, etc. By sharing I become open to criticism. But I will take my chances… 🙂
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Cindy R March 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Hi-Thank you for your wonderful posts, you really inspire me to keep going 30 seconds at a time! Google Tosca Reno and check out the eatcleandiet.com website, while on it, click on the Community tab, and then the Kitchentable tab. It is people like yourself and myself that talk about their day to life and journey with clean eating. Also her book is in Target, The Eat-Clean Diet® Recharged, or at local bookstores. She started her journey around age 40 and has her before picture in the book. What a difference and what an inspiration! I don’t eat clean 100% but now I really think about what I feed myself and my children and try to make much better choices.

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Courtney March 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I’m proud of you for the way you continue to step out of your comfort zone; I think that–and by tackling things a little bit at a time–is a big part of why you’ve been so successful. On the topic of salad dressing here are some combos that I enjoy:

For creamy I like to use greek yogurt with salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon and usually a fresh herb or two like dill/rosemary/thyme.

For oil based I go with a good quality olive oil (if you can find a specialty olive oil/vinegar store nearby you can discover all sort of wonderful flavors), salt, pepper, a citrus juice of some sort, and possibly some flavor of vinegar.

Jamie Oliver is my salad dressing guru with his jam jar dressings. You might consider checking him out. Also, Allie Krieger’s book “The Food You Crave” is a nice one; she’s a dietician and cook. Good luck as you venture out into new foods!
Courtney recently posted..Month 1My Profile

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Deb March 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I, too, struggle with these things and for the EXACT same reasons, stopped with the shakes we all used to drink, cut out all artificial sweeteners, etc. What has helped me and worked for me is a book called “Practical Paleo” – not perfect but a good place to start! I started simplifying things, too… little things… like making home made mayonnaise with olive oil (so easy!!!!), juicing with dark green veggies, etc. This is a great conversation because so many of us sleevers fall into the “FF, SF routine” and eat way too much of those things. Also, the book, “Wheat Belly” is another GREAT resource!!!!

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jennxaz March 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm

totally agree. I started out very similar and I started cooking more and using less things that are frozen or canned..more fresh and from scratch. It was baby steps…

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Amanda March 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I love this! Too often when “dieting” or trying to be healthy, we immediately go to the food labeled fat-free or low-calorie, etc. and it’s always over processed truly UNhealthy junk. I try to truly cook everything I eat using real food–whole fruits, vegetables, and grains, local dairy and protein. But you have the right idea: start where you are with what you have. Good for you!

By the way, my blog does have a bunch of the recipes I use, and I’m constantly adding new ones (like the peanut butter granola listed here–I use all-natural peanut butter and local honey to sweeten). The blog is MandaKayMakesIt.com 🙂
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Anna March 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

GREAT post, Holly! You have a way of getting right to the heart of an issue and tackling it head on. I absolutely agree that we learn as we go….always learning, always changing for the better. Just want to give you kudos for taking another scary step….God is with you, and will be with you every step of the way. Thank you for being such an encouragement!!

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Cat March 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I know cooking with fresh produce eliminates most preservatives and additives and I personally enjoy juicing, a personal fav of mine is carrot juice.
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Linda Sherwood March 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I find it very difficult to keep track of calories on food I cook at home. It seems I do the best with my weight loss when I rely more on shakes and protein bars. I know it isn’t the best choice, but I don’t do well when more than one of my meals is “real” food. I have started weighing portions at home, but it can still be difficult especially when some calorie estimates are things like “a plate” instead of an actual amount.
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Lori March 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I make my own salad dressings. I have a vita mix. There are recipes that came with it that I have tweaked to my personal preferences. I’m sure you could find something similar that will work for you.
Lori

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Denise March 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I read a website Marks Daily Apple. Mostly paleo but it helps cut out all the chemicals in your food. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

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AD March 26, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I think the thing about “Clean Eating” or “Paleo” or “Unprocessed” is just a continous journey of finding what’s right for YOU.

Personally I don’t tolerate starches or sugars of any kind well. But I know people who have shed considerable weight eating “paleo” – that is, unprocessed “whole” foods that our ancestors have evolved to eat – potatoes, yams, veggies, fruits, meat and game. For some of us we just have to go hardcore and cut out sugar of every kind; for some us, even the sugars in a relatively healthy apple is too much for our bodies to handle.

Anyways, just my little n=1. 🙂
AD recently posted..Food Journal – March 25My Profile

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Kim March 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Great blog, Holly! You have made amazing progress since you started the journey, and it’s not over yet. I’m glad you have found something that works for you, I agree that the sugar and white flour are addictive, I have to stay away from them too. But I”m glad you’re taking the clean eating principles in stride, making changes gradually. That will last long term instead of completely overhauling everything all at once , getting frustrated, adn then going back to previous bad habits. Gradual changes simply last longer. I’ve recently made a switch in protein powders. I was using whey protein but recently switched to Sunwarrior Brand Warrior Blend Protein Powder in chocolate flavor. I mix that with a cup of almond milk and 1 tbsp of almond butter for my breakfast smoothie. You could also probably add fruit such as a banana. I simply don’t because I”m diabetic and find my blood sugars stay better throughout the day if I dont have carbs at the morning meal. You can get the powder at Vitamin Shoppe and amazon. If you dont have a vs near you, you can order online, both they and amazon offer free shipping. It costs a little more than other powders(40 bucks plus tax) but there are 47 services so it’s under a buck per serving. I just checked the sunwarrior site the other day and they are running a deal where you can get 3 cannisters of the protein powder, free shipping, and 20 percent off, which works out to about 35 dollars per cannister. For clean salad dressings you could make your own using different oils and vineagars. There are plenty of recipes online you could try to make them. Or for the store bought ones I will use Bragg’s brand or Newman’s Own. Both of those brands have prounounceable ingredients. I also have a recipe for homemade sugar-free, artificial sweetner-free, lemonade that tastes good. You fill a 64 oz pitcher with one cup lemon juice, 1 cup stevia, and then fill to the top with water and add ice. Hope all this helps! Prayers and blessings to you!

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Ronda March 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

You’ll get there. I started out same as you with all the aritficial sweeteners. I didn’t care because it worked and I was losing weight.
Eventually I started getting rid of the fake stuff in my diet.
I occasionally have a premade shake but most of the time I make my own with lots of fruits and veggies, organic whenever possible.
We eat very little pre-packaged food in our house, but it wasn’t an overnight change.
You’re doing great, and I can’t wait to check out that documentary!
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Paule March 26, 2013 at 6:12 pm

about me: still struggling … for many years…to reduce my portions
low carb has rescued me…. but i still eat huge portions, its one of the nicest feelings to feel full. But they usually consist with large bowl of veggie soup, then big plate of steamed/baked veggies with a little bit of cheese, spices for flavor, piece of protein (fish/tofu, etc) and a small piece of chocolate afterwards…

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Mrs. Swan March 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm

When you find an acceptable quick and easy replacement for your atkin shake please share. I mostly eat unprocessed except for those darn shakes. They are my breakfast every day. I typically do not eat breakfast just because I kinda roll out of bed and am out the door in less than 10 minutes. The shakes are perfect for me.
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Babbalou March 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I make a fairly low carb shake with cottage cheese, try it if you eat dairy and even if you don’t like cottage cheese – it doesn’t resemble cottage cheese but is more like a cheesecake flavor – I use 1 cup low fat (2%) cottage cheese, 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries or strawberries, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, a small amount of vanilla, 1 teaspoon sweetener and 3 ice cubes.About 230 calories, 15 gr carb and 27 gr protein. Blend in blender. It’s a big serving, a smaller portion may work for you.

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Janee March 27, 2013 at 4:27 am

Look up Trim and Healthy Mama. Great book that takes you step by step, full of great recipes, and tons of helpful information.

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Rebecca March 27, 2013 at 6:02 am

Hey! You talked about Sugar Addiction! 🙂 This was a great post (as usual.) I totally agree that not one thing works for everyone. I am currently in the process of weaning my husband off of Aspartame. There are worse things, but there are better things. You (any person) really can only do one thing at a time. This is not a resource, but the book “Rethinking Thin” by Gina Kolata had some interesting facts about the body’s response to food deprivation, and what type of food it gets. The book ends up being depressing as it basically says “yeah, you’re never gonna lose weight” (so I chose to ignore that) – but the information presented is VERY interesting, especially about the addictive nature of many processed foods and how the food companies deliberately put it in there. There was a whole study about how rats, once given these addictive processed foods – they would cross an electrified floor to get them again, even after they’d already been fed “normal, healthy” rat food. It goes to the nature of how our bodies react. Again, I’d totally ignore the message of hopelessness it gives, but it really is an interesting read.
Also: if you check out “The Abs Diet For Women” – David Zinczenko has a lot of recipes for protein smoothies with natural ingredients and you can alter them to fit what you need it. Those smoothies have been a lifesaver for me! 🙂
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Patti March 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Way to go! I love seeing your progress. You are so inspiring. I, too, have been educated by the movie Hungry for Change. If you liked that movie, here are some other titles that are along the same lines:
Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead
Beautiful Truth
Food Inc
The Future of Food
There are some others but I haven’t seen them yet. I like your philosophy about 1 change at a time. I think that’s the best way to make permanent change. So even after seeing these movies, I am not going overboard but am doing what I can and not freaking out about the rest. I will make the changes as I can. I think gaining the knowledge is an important step. It now makes sense to cut out pork(for me), so I am doing that a little at a time(bacon is REALLY hard to give up). I wish you continued success. You’re such an inspiration and really beautiful!

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Babbalou March 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I make a nice salad dressing that’s olive oil, balsmatic vinegar ( in whatever ratio you prefer), a spoon of dijon mustard, a spoon of undiluted frozen orange juice concentrate (straight from the freezer), a small amount of crumbled tarragon and a grinding of salt and pepper. It’s particularly good on a salad with a little fruit added – strawberries or green apple slices and walnuts. You have to let the tarragon soften in the dressing, so omit it if you’re having the dressing within 30 minutes.

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BEth March 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I just found your blog when searching around on the internet for running tips. You look amazing, and what you have done is amazing! I think that everything that you said is so true. Small steps really make a big impact! I think you are oing the right thing with tackling one thing at a time. You reminded me of how 2 years ago, I set out to be a runner but I went out for my first jog to jog 2 miles straight and failed…not only could I not run one mile, but I could hardly run 5 minutes straight. Now, I am starting small and for the last several weeks have been running 2 minutes and walking one minute, adding on a minute to my run each week and it has worked! Baby steps are the key, and what you are doing is clearly working! You are headed in the right direction. I’m glad to have come across your page and be reminded of this! You are gorgeous and you look terrific! Goodluck!!!

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Jodi March 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Good for you for breaking the sugar and flour habit! That’s a tough one. I see that there as many helpful comments here, at least they are trying to be helpful. There is so much misinformation out there and I have read it all. The best source for the REAL lowdown on food is Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He is the real deal. He is the one that doctors send their patients to when they are at the end of the road and he does heal them with sound nutrition and real studies, as on published researched in medical journals. Dr. Oz has him frequently in his show. EAT TO LIVE is the book to start with. It’s not about products or gimmicks (Atkins and Paleo) which are just telling people what they want to hear is okay to eat but really and truly the best for health and wellness. Dr. F has helped many a patient get off their med’s, reverse diabetes and even reverse heart disease. Like I said this is the holy grail of nutritional science. He busts all the myths much to the disapproval of the people trying to pick your pockets with products. I hope you will check him out. Best of luck on the new leg of your journey.
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Kristy March 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm

The answer is what you already know: if it comes packaged, or in a box, turf it. As an Australian I am horrified at the foods Americans are putting in their mouths. The divorce from real food is enormous.

Answer:
MEAT (from your local butcher. Better ethically raised and fed).
VEGETABLES (from your local vege shop. Also: got a backyard? PLANT YOUR OWN. Eat seasonal recipes)
EGGS (real eggs. Ethically fed and raised. No powder crap omg)
NUTS/SEEDS in moderation. Mix it up.
WHOLEGRAINS brown rice, multigrain bread, quinoa etc
FAT yep, “good fats” like avocado, coconut oil, avocado oil etc
FRUIT natures desert. Eat seasonal.

Nothing packaged.

You need to cook yourself. Cook recipes from food that is loose, unpackaged. Anyone that recommends shakes? They have chemicals in it.

The truth is, we already know that’s the way we should eat.

Go to farmers markets. Buy something large corporations haven’t tainted with Franken-chemicals. Support growers and small local specialised businesses like butchers and vege-shops. Don’t go to one-has-all plazas.

That’s my two cents! What’s served on the plate sure has changed since the 30s/40s/50s… For the worse.

Oh, and use your microwave sparingly. Don’t use plastic water bottles they leach chemicals into the water from the plastic. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle.

Jillian Michaels has a great podcast as well where she talks clean eating and champions better consumer choices when regarding chemicals in food.

Lots of love!

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Riversuzyq May 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Hi Holly!
Well I see that you’ve gotten lots and lots of great food advice (above), so I hesitate to give my input, BUT…I really believe I have good advice to share. Please check out a book called The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin (its on Kindle). I hate the title of this book because it sounds so gimmicy. Don’t be fooled by the name. JJ Virgin is a Phd. nutritionist who understands human physiology AND breaks it down so that you and I will understand it too! In a nutshell, she explains how our standard American diet has caused ”food intolerances”. She recommends a 21 day elimination phase removing the 7 most common ”reactive” foods. They are: gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, sugar & sugar substitutes, peanuts and corn. After the 21 days the foods are reintroduced one at a time weekly to test for reactivity. She says that the food intolerance causes inflammation in our bodies that cause weight gain (among other things). I have been on this plan for 117 days and lost 41lbs, regained my mobility, lost my cravings and compulsive overeating. I was very close to 400 lbs myself and a hard core food addict. I’m interested to hear from you if you will check out this book? If you say yes, I’d love to send you one as a gift. I believe in it this much and I believe in you. Please email me and say yes!

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Karen March 20, 2015 at 5:54 am

Wow! You’re such an inspiration! I’m very much in the place that you’re in regarding food…taking one little bite at a time with changes in foods that I eat. Thank you so much for this article. It’s a reminder to me to always find what works for me NOW. I’ve been weight training for about 2 years now, and while the scale hasn’t really shifted much, I’ve lost a dress size and in the past month I lost1 inch in my waste. I tried proteing shakes, but like you with your Atkins shakes, it’s hard to find something out there that isn’t full of questionable ingredients. My solution? Find simple homemade protein shake recipes or even come up with my own. I do use a couple of raw eggs (yes I know the safety concerns about raw eggs. There is a way to eat them safely). I include milk, berries and/or a banana, coconut water if I have it, and the eggs. Sometimes I substitute nuts or natural peanut butter for the eggs. Also, Trader Joe’s has PURE stevia extract. That’s a very safe sweetener when it’s pure. If you use any brand of Stevia, check the labels. Some brands still have chemicals and junk ingredients added. And it’s much healthier than pre-packaged shakes. Keep up the good work! You look amazing!

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Kenya March 29, 2016 at 9:58 pm

I am an online fitness coach for beachbody. I starting coaching last august, after losing 65 lbs. Since coaching and my life style change i hear a lot of clean eating vs whole foods. . . So today i googled it and found your story! By the Grace of God, you did an amazing thing and made huge changes! I am inspired and intrigued by your story! I would love to talk further via email or if you are on fb i am under Kenya Briggs. Look forward to hearing from you. I would love to talk foods!

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Tina June 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Holly, you are an inspiration! I hope you never tire of hearing that. Since you rely on protein shakes for nutrition and energy throughout the day, perhaps a whole food organic protein powder such as “Source Organics, Organic Whey Protein powder” added to a mixture of one banana, some frozen organic berries (with no added sugar or ingredients,) almond milk, organic vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon would be a wholesome, healthy, delicious alternative to your Atkins shakes. You could even put some spinach in there for greater nutritional value. (If you don’t have a Ninja, consider getting one. Indispensable!)

I am currently researching the “whole food” vs. “real food” vs. “clean food” lifestyles and my goodness, it is all quite daunting! I am fairly certain I will adapt your philosophy to eat what works best for me personally, while still adhering to a plan that is as simple, healthy and virtually unprocessed as possible. Thank you for sharing your incredible journey!

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