Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eatin' it Real

Trish at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity is challenging us all to go natural for a month . . . in the food department that is.  During the month of March, Trish and her family will be eating no processed foods, and she's inviting everyone to give it a try along with them. There are no specific rules, you can individualize your "go natural" plan to fit your life.  Here are the guidelines Trish will be following, to give you a starting place:
1. We will not consume any pantry food that comes from a box or a can (the exception might be canned tomatoes or dry pasta).
2. We will not consume any processed fridge products other than dairy items.
3. If a recipe calls for a processed condiment (such as ketchup), we will carefully analyze the feasibility of making said condiment from scratch
4. We will limit our eating out together and alone but will not avoid social gatherings such as family dinners.
Everything else should be as natural and unprocessed as possible. Yup—we’ll even attempt to make our own bread. Though we will not be grinding the wheat to make the flour. 
 Since our household is currently on NutriSystem, we can't avoid all processed foods, but at least we are certain that the prepared meals we are eating are nutritionally balanced, low sodium and low fat.  With the provided meals, we add fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, etc.  That is where we will focus on "eatin' it real".  Here are my personal goals:

  • No canned fruits or veggies.  This is the majority of our discretionary diet at the moment, so it will get the most attention.  We will have to make more frequent stops at a Mega-Mart because our small-town store does not carry some fresh produce, such as green beans, year round, or adjust our menus to what fresh veggies are available.  This also means no packaged fruit cups in my lunch - especially the "parfait" type with some mysterious custard-like substance.  They are delicious, but of course they contain less actual fruit in order to keep the calorie count similar to a plain fruit cup.  Fresh fruits only.
  • No packaged pasta - what little we are eating I will make fresh from whole-wheat flour.
  • Homemade bread - again we're not consuming much right now, but I will make our own IF I can determine how it compares in calories/portion size to the ready-made stuff.  Tortillas will have to be an exception, but I already buy whole grain, low fat.
  • Dairy - Since I don't know how to make cheese, nor do I have a cow, that will have to come from the store, as will milk, obviously.  
  • Peanut butter - don't know how to make my own, so I will look for natural varieties in the store or just eliminate it all together since I don't eat much anyway.  
  • Salad dressing - I know there are tons of recipes out there to make it myself and regulate the fat/calories to boot.
  • Hummus - This is one of my favorite snacks, so I'll be looking for recipes to make my own.
As you can see, we aren't able to dive into the all natural challenge completely, but we'll take a dip where we can and, hopefully, develop better, healthier eating habits.  If you want to give it a try, visit Trish's blog (link at the top of the page) to sign up and see what others are doing.


  1. I saw Trish's post also. I always try to eat food in their natural state and to avoid sugar. We use honey alot. I also instead of margarine I have been mixing equal parts real butter and olive oil for years. It firms up like soft margarine in the fridge and taste delicious. Soften the butter and mix with an electic mixer and refrigerate. Here are a couple of links for good hummus!

    and my favorite at brown eyed baker Red Pepper Hummus

  2. I like your take on Trish's challenge. All I can say is good for you. Well, I was going to offer you my own hummus recipe but I remembered that it calls for a CAN of chickpeas. I've never tried using dried chickpeas. Not sure I've seen them for sale. I cook dried beans all the time and they are super easy. Now you have me thinking about dried chickpeas and I was just going to leave a quick comment saying Good Luck. I wonder where I can find dried chickpeas . . .

    1. For those who are interested - dry chickpeas were available at my local store in the section with other dried beans.

      Thanks for the recipes and ideas, Peggy Ann and Margot. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  3. Glad you're doing this as well!! We've had a few cheating moments but hope that as the month progresses we'll be a little bit better. So far, though, the dinner's that we've made from scratch have been wonderful! I might gain weight just because they taste so much better. ;)

    Good for you for taking it a step further and making pasta! I wish that I had a pasta maker (or are you doing completely by hand??)--I know that there's an attachment for my KitchenAid but it's $200. A little out of my price range for now...