In Evergreen, Everyday Life, Food

10 Easy Steps to Real Food

Eating healthy shouldn’t cause overwhelm. Just take it one step at a time. And remember grace…give yourself lots of grace!

Eat this, don’t eat that. Limit this, eat tons of that. Does anyone else feel overwhelmed simply trying to feed yourself or your family HEALTHY FOOD?

Honestly, it shouldn’t be as difficult as we sometimes make it. I’m listing ten simple steps we follow to keep eating a healthy diet manageable…without the overwhelm!

But like we’ve shared before, we always try to keep in mind our 80/20 rule. When life happens and our goals are unattainable, we don’t sweat the small stuff! Instead, we pick back up when we’re able and continue moving forward with our Good, Better, Best motto!

10 Steps to Real Food

Just take it one at a time!

STEP 1: Ditch the Processed, Refined & Artificial Foods

The easiest way to do this is by becoming a label reader. Read the ingredients listed, then ask yourself, “would I use this ingredient in my own kitchen?”

Also consider the amount of processing that’s been done to that ingredient from its natural state. How many hands (or machines) have touched that ingredient?

STEP 2: Say “YES” to Fats

I know we’ve all been trained to think fats are bad. But the truth is, only bad fats are bad. Butter is our friend, canola oil isn’t. Steer clear of foods labelled “low-fat” or “reduced fat” as these products typically have added chemicals to recreate the texture that fat naturally gives to food.

When cooking, reach for good fats like unrefined extra virgin coconut oil, raw pastured butter, avocado oil and unrefined extra virgin olive oil. For more on fats, read this post.

STEP 3: Say “YES” to Salt, Too!

But not just any salt, be sure it’s unrefined sea salt (like Redmond’s Real Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt or Celtic Sea Salt). Salt adds flavor to food, which means artificial flavors aren’t necessary. Furthermore, by eating unrefined salts (not iodized table salt) you’re getting more minerals in your diet. When picking salt, color is better. If your salt is white, there’s a good chance it’s been stripped of naturally occurring minerals. More on salt here.

STEP 4: Ditch Sugar

Here’s another example of the color white not being our friend. White sugar has been refined and stripped of all minerals. While it’s best to keep sweets to special occasions, it’s also best if we can stick to sweeteners in their most natural state. Think local raw honey, pure maple syrup, dates and stevia leaf. More on sugar here.

STEP 5: Bone Broth

If you’re new to the traditional lifestyle and way of eating, you’ll soon realize how incredible bone broth is for our bodies. But not just any old bone broth. That chicken flavored water from the grocery store isn’t going to give you the same benefits as slow-cooked broth.

This healing nectar is not only incredible for repairing our gut health, but it’s also amazing for joint, bone, skin, hair and nail health. The best news is, if you’re not too keen on making your own bone broth, there are fantastic sources for the real deal. Check out Kettle & Fire for bone broth that’s delivered right to your door.

If you’re not a fan of broth, there are still ways to get the incredible benefits broth contains. You can add collagen to your beverages (hot or cold). It’s tasteless and you won’t even know it’s there! You can also make delicious treats with grass-fed gelatin.

Click here for our homemade bone broth recipe, and here for more on the benefits of bone broth.

STEP 6: Shop Local

We get this isn’t always possible, but when it is, check out who’s selling locally. Get in touch with the closest Weston A. Price Chapter Leader and ask for a list of all local vendors. They’ll likely have a list where you can purchase raw milk, local honey or pastured meats and produce farmed without the use of harmful farming practices, nasty chemicals, hormones or antibiotics. For more info, click here.

STEP 7: Check out the Farmer’s Market or a CSA

This step goes along with Step 6, but if you have a local Farmer’s Market, it’s worth your time to shop there before your grocery store. Oftentimes you can find amazing organic produce for a steal!

Also ask around to see if there are any CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area. CSA’s and Farmer’s Markets are great because you can chat directly with the grower, learning about their growing practices and you’ll often get boatloads of produce at a fraction of the cost. You can’t do that at the grocery store!

STEP 8: Be Prepared

It’s bound to happen, we all get hangry sometimes and need to grab the quickest, closest thing resembling food. When this happens, do yourself a favor and drink a big glass of water before reaching for the snacks…oftentimes, thirst/dehydration is confused for hunger. But when it is TRUE hunger, be prepared with some healthy snacks stashed in your fridge, bag, or desk drawer. We’re lucky to live in a time where the grocery store actually does offer some decent choices. But be sure to check those labels first! Some great options are cut up veggies with hummus, hard-boiled eggs, homemade trail mix, cheese or homemade yogurt.

STEP 9: Meal Plan

You know the saying, “If you don’t have a plan, you’re planning to fail”. So make a plan! Not only does meal planning save your sanity on busy weeknights, but it also helps your pocket book by only shopping for ingredients that will actually be used during the week!

I’m preaching to the choir on this one…on weeks when I don’t have a meal plan, life is much more chaotic, and typically, not the healthiest! I also find our budget increases and impulse buys at the grocery store are much more common.

STEP 10: Remember to Breathe!

This is a journey we’re on, it’s not easily perfected overnight. Change can be difficult and not everyone welcomes it with open arms. In our home, we embrace the 80/20 rule as I mentioned before. This is where we do our best to follow these basic principles 80% of the time, and when life happens, we exhale and don’t fret the other 20% of time we can’t follow these rules to a T.

Another method we adopted is called “Good, Better, Best”. This is a system we follow to help us realize the healthy changes and progress we are making! When you can see progress, it can be extremely motivating to keep with it.

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Showing 7 comments
  • Avatar
    Megan Stevens

    Love #8. Man, that one is SO true. Have teenagers, MUST have snacks=no/less compromise! 🙂

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Absolutely 100% true Megan!

  • Avatar
    Raia Todd

    Yes to all of it! I agree 100%. 🙂

  • Avatar
    linda spiker

    haha that last tip! Breathing is important…but so are the other tips!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Cause I mean…without breathing…what’s the point of all the rest!? 😉

  • Avatar
    Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    I need to work on step 2 more … I don’t get enough fats into my diet and I really need to. Thanks for sharing all of these great tips.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Of course Emily! Healthy fats are so good for so many things!! But HEALTHY fats is the key, right? 😉

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