When it comes to taking the first step in a major diet and lifestyle overhaul it can often be a daunting task. We throw it in the “too hard basket” and the age old “I’ll start next moth” is a sentence that circulates our thoughts way too often. For many of us we just need to take the plunge, but where do you start? Where do you go? What do you buy? It’s Okay, don’t fret, I’m here to help and give you some tips that will hopefully make the first steps of your wellness journey a little less daunting.
First things first! It’s time for a complete pantry overhaul. The key to eating a balanced healthy diet is all in the organisation. If you are organised, have the fridge and pantry always stocked with healthy fresh produce and nourishing staples, you will always have something to eat on hand or to quickly throw together without having to resort to those stale muesli bars or packet food that is doing you so much more harm than good. I’ve outlined my top tips below to get you started. It may be a little costly at the start to get organised but spending money on your health only saves you money on long term medical and health expenses. What you would rather? Invest in your health, because you’re worth it!
Where to start
– Clear out your fridge, freezer and pantry of any processed, refined foods. Pretty much anything that is in a package needs to go. Just think, if it doesn’t come from the ground, a tree, the land or the sea – bin it!
– There are exceptions to this rule when you are buying real, whole foods like your pantry staples; almond meal, quinoa etc. I will let you know what you can reintroduce further down in this post.
– Condiments; To start with throw anything out that has a sugar content of more than 5G per 100ML or more. Excess sugar is in everything, read your labels and recognise sugar filled products. Especially look out for “low fat” and “skinny” products, these are the worst culprits.
– Get organised; Stock up on air tight jars and containers to clearly store your goods in. I keep all my super foods, powders, alternate flours, grains, nuts, spices, oats etc in good quality air tight jars. This enables me to clearly see when i’m running low on products, it looks pretty so it makes me want to keep being organised and of course it keeps your products fresher for longer. Just remember to seal them back up each time!
Where to shop?
– Shoping locally at independently own green grocers, farmers markets and butchers is your best port of call. Not only are you helping your community and local economy, the goods are fresher and last longer as they haven’t been sitting in distribution centres waiting to be shipped to the giant supermarket chain stores. Think ‘Farm to Table’ for best quality as well as hormone and preservative free.
– Health food stores are the best places to stock up on your pantry staples, do your research though, look for places that sell bulk whole foods or have seriously competitive rates. If you live in Melbourne check out Terra Madre, they have the best prices and quality stock!
– I understanding everyone is on a budget and it may not be economical to shop organic, local or at health food stores so try your local supermarket. To avoid marketing gimmicks and advertising giants sucking you into buying the latest “fat free” wonder bread; shop the perimeters This is where you will find all your fresh produce, meats, eggs etc.
What to buy?
Fresh produce and lots of it! Organic, where possible and aim for more vegetables than fruit.
Here is a list of my staples to get you started. If you are starting from scratch, slowly introduce things a week at a time to make the task a little less daunting. Feel free to print out the above list, stick it on your fridge and cross off the foods as you go to help you on your path to your lifestyle overhaul.
Gluten Free Oats
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Aple Cider Vinegar
Pure Maple Syrup
Raw Manuka Honey
Rice Malt Syrup
Stevia / Natvia
Raw Cacao Powder
Super Green Blend
Tamari (gluten free soy)
Himalayan Pink Salt