The reason I like things simple is because then they are easy to maintain in the long term. I remember when we first started being aware of what we were eating, about 12 years ago. I couldn’t make a meal without having a book beside me and following the detailed instructions. Menu planning took forever and shopping took 3 times longer, while I read every single piece of information on each item’s packaging. We had serious illness to contend with, so we had to take drastic measures. But if life isn’t serious, then it’s best to keep it simple. Here’s some tips that I suggest make good healthy options easily sustainable:
1. Keep it as close to it’s natural form as possible. Set a goal to eat raw veges once a day, and a piece of fruit once or twice. It’s a good start, and it’s easily done. I do things like munching on a carrot while I’m cooking dinner (I know.. most people drink a glass of wine, but, hey, it works for me!) If a product is in a box, think about if you really need it. Sometimes you do, but sometimes you can discover an alternative. I don’t buy gluten free flour anymore.. it’s mostly full of starches. I buy simple buckwheat or besan or coconut flours.. too easy. I have heaps of examples of these alternatives.. email me if you want some ideas. Imagine the process that went into making that food.. sometimes that’s enough to stop you from ‘needing’ it and heading the trolley in a different direction.
2. Shop less in supermarkets. (Don’t tell them I said that!!) Surprisingly, this works really well. Shop in places that only sell the types of food you want yourself to eat and don’t have aisles full of food you wish to avoid. In your lunchbreak, take a trip to a health food or organic shop and take the time to browse.. find something new. Refuse to buy your veges at the supermarket, but go to the markets or roadside stalls, or find an alternative. It’s called ‘immersion': surround yourself with the change you want, and soon, you’ll change.
3. Make it a family affair. I get my kids to do the menu planning; either with some trusty recipe books, or with the ingredients I have on hand. Kids are much more willing to try new things if they’re given some control over the situation (this may work just as well with partners, too..). You can provide the criteria you want to meet and let them do the creating, adding in a few criteria of their own that you can all agree to. I have been doing this for years and it works well with any ages.
It should never be a battle to do something good for yourself and your family. If it feels like one, stop and look at what is making it unpleasant and make some adjustments. Have friends or people like us, at Natural Grow, who’ll encourage you, and help you find solutions. If it’s too hard, something is wrong. Enjoy the change to simple.. and sustainable.