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How To Effectively Change Your Diet For The New Year

Taking Baby Steps Towards Better Health

Taking Baby Steps Towards Better Health

I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again: Baby Steps.

Baby Steps are the key to any real, lasting change. Offended by the word “baby”? Then, call them whatever you want — small, tiny, rookie, newbie.

The point is to make changes in small, but effective increments. You start with where you’re at, and you look to see what you can change. You make it your goal to change that one thing.

Then, you give yourself grace. Lots of grace. Grace to break every other Real Food rule. You work on your one thing — and only that — until it’s habitual.

Every diet adjustment, even the most simple, takes time. It may be two, three, or even four weeks before you’re comfortable in your new eating habits — before they “fit” like an old pair of boots.

So, where to begin?

I present the first in a series of newbie tips for those of you only just starting on your journey towards being a Food Renegade.

Food Renegade Newbie Tip #1

Become a Label Nazi. Start reading labels. Avoid anything with:

  • Partially-hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Autolyzed anything
  • Hydrolyzed anything
  • MSG
  • Anything else you can’t pronounce or need a chemistry degree to understand

Notice, I didn’t say you had to give up all packaged foods — not yet, anyway.

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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11 Responses to How To Effectively Change Your Diet For The New Year
  1. Spinner
    January 6, 2009 | 2:56 pm

    This is perfect for me! And this gives me easy guidelines I can give Husband. Thanks!

  2. KristenM
    January 6, 2009 | 3:21 pm

    I’m glad it’s helpful! I’m hoping to somehow segregate these into their own part of the site once I have a few going. That way, they’ll all be in one handy place.

    Guess we’ll see what happens. :)

  3. Robin Plan
    January 6, 2009 | 6:30 pm

    Baby steps is the way to start. I know from experience that the more we cut the food stuff and eat real food – the more we love real food. My son and I have never been beef eaters – until we found 100% grass-fed beef. Now a good roast is top on our must have menu item.

    Keep up the work to help everyone know what real food. I love the term real food. Real food means a real person is making it. Cool.


  4. [...] you’ve become a Label Nazi, you’ve probably noticed the perniciously pervasive oils that saturate the Standard American [...]

  5. Katie
    March 27, 2009 | 9:13 pm

    I know that the fat in Triscuits (soybean oil) isn’t great, but what do you think about packaged crackers? Is there a lesser evil, or all they all rancid fats waiting to kill us? Thanks!


  6. KristenM
    March 27, 2009 | 10:33 pm

    Hi Katie — Packaged crackers have several bad things going for them. One is the bad fats. Another is the improperly prepared grains. In order for us to properly digest grains, they really need to be sprouted, soaked, or fermented first. I’m sure there is some obscure cracker manufacturer out there making crackers from coconut oil using sprouted grains, but they’re certainly not available at my local grocery store! And finally, packaged crackers usually contain all sorts of highly processed ingredients, additives, and preservatives (just look at the ingredients list!).

    So, to answer your question: Lesser evils would be crackers WITHOUT any of the stuff I mentioned in the blog post, but which also use palm or coconut oil instead.

  7. Rebekah Benimoff
    January 24, 2010 | 7:44 pm

    I have been on a journey towards greater wellness for myself and my family for two years now, after meeting a nutritionist whose guidance changed our lives after my son was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I am seeking out whole foods, all natural nutrition, as much as possible. My son is totally gluten free, and the rest of us are on ONLY whole grains.
    I am having a terrible time finding “safe” cheese, even at Sprouts and Whole Foods. Labels are confusing. I found some cheese today that touted “Amish milk” and “RBGH free”, and that sounds promising. But is it? We live in a suburb of Dallas and therefore cannot have our own chickens, nor a cow…so I would appreciate any suggestions anyone might have on decoding the labels.
    .-= Rebekah Benimoff´s last blog post …Lady Bekah =-.

  8. Tina Fisher
    May 6, 2010 | 8:15 pm

    I’m in!

    I’ve been peeking around your site for a couple of days now. I think I came from Kitchen Steward?

    We already have some great practices but am going to start doing even more.

    Thanks for the great site! I’ll be back for sure!

  9. Janine
    May 13, 2010 | 1:14 pm

    You are in a word…awesome!! We are on the path to changing our food to “real food”, and your website is inspirational. Now, when ever anyone asks why we are doing what we are doing, I can refer them to your site. You have it all, here, in easy to understand terms, that I can never seem to explain quite well enough. I am learning, and I can pass this knowledge along, thanks to people like you who are traveling on the same path as me, albeit maybe a mile or two ahead of me on said path!! Thank you thank you thank you!

  10. Leia Dingott
    December 19, 2012 | 1:29 pm

    I have a Chemistry degree. Does that affect the last item on the list for me, lol?

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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