This is a guest post from Catt Houser.
In my quest to simplify my life, I have determined this must include the way I eat.
Eating simple and whole foods is about eating quality, real foods. I eat food that will nourish my body. The funny thing I have noticed is the purer my food, the less food I need to have energy and feel satisfied.
I eat a simple diet of whole food the way God made it. Food that is not "enhanced" with manufactured chemicals and preservatives. Turns out that eating simply has not been so simple.
There is a lot to learn about eating naturally in a world that is all about convenience food.
You have to learn about how to read labels, cook, plan, and where to shop for your food. Even something as easy as eating bread is not so simple. Bread has tons of preservatives in it.
Making your own bread is not hard, but takes time. There is a great (and easy) recipe for Ciabatta bread on YouTube that I use from Caitlin Cooks called "How to Make Ciabatta Bread from scratch - No Bread Machine Required!".
I have a whole new perspective about the food around me. I really see much of it as "poisoned". I know that sounds harsh, but food laced with hormones, chemicals, preservatives and who knows what, only creates sickness in the body and essentially poisons those who eat it.
I have stopped eating traditional convenience foods.
My junk food is actually whole food I make from scratch and could be something as simple as homemade french fries or toast with honey. When you make your food from scratch with natural ingredients you know exactly what is in it because it is made with ingredients you can find right in your kitchen.
When reading food labels, I must be able to identify the ingredients on the package, and the fewer ingredients, the better. I try to use natural sweeteners like honey, 100% maple syrup and fruit juice concentrates. With flour, I use organic products when I can and whole wheat products. I love vegetarian sushi and have found it is easy and fun to make.
Yolanda's tip: Nature's candy, i.e. fruit, can also fulfill your junk food cravings.
Simple eating becomes much easier as you learn to cook and plan your meals.
There's tons of food to eat and the internet is full of great recipes that are natural, quick, and easy. I mix up a pitcher of a smoothies so that I can grab a glass full as a meal or treat. A few of my favorite fruits, some almond milk and maybe even some organic peanut butter and bam, delicious!
Yolanda's note: I prefer smoothies to juicing. Smoothies are more filling and you consume the whole fruit or vegetable or most of it, so you're getting all the nutrients with less food waste.
Nuts are a great snack and natural peanut butter on some homemade bread tastes great and is filling. It is one of my "fast" foods. I also love a nice piece of crusty Italian bread with oil and herbs or even some coconut oil on it.
I eat a plant based diet to stay away from animal hormones and fats. I actually find that I really love what I eat now, even though at first I had to train my taste buds to appreciate real food. They were clogged up with tons of salt and high fructose corn syrup. Real food is simply wonderful and delicious.
The biggest challenge for me has been learning how to cook.
I'm living a simple life so I keep my cooking simple also. I have learned to pre-cook food so it is ready when I don't feel like cooking. I carry food that I can eat with me so I will always have nutritious food when I am hungry. I have also found cooking to feed my body can be a spiritual experience. I feel better and I feel more at peace.
I've learned to forgive myself when I get it all wrong and be patient with myself as I continue to transition into a new healthy and simple way of eating. I have found friends and resources online that support my lifestyle too.
Simple and whole eating is as much about mindset as it is about the food we eat.
Remember that there is freedom in simplicity and always approach your food and meals with an attitude of thankfulness. For me that means giving thanks to The LORD for my daily bread.
Summary tips for simple eating.
- Read labels. You should be able to identify the ingredients and the fewer ingredients, the better.
- Use natural sweeteners. Pure honey, maple syrup and agave nectar are good options.
- Smoothies are great as a snack or meal replacement.
- Have fruits and nuts on hand to snack on as alternatives to junk foods.
- Pre-cook and prepare foods for the days you're on the go or don't fee like cooking.
- Give it time. As you simplify your diet, it can take a while for your taste buds to adjust.
Here are some sites you can browse for simple meal ideas.
Catt is a spiritual foreigner and pilgrim seeking the peace of the LORD in a fallen world.