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Baby Steps: Kick the Packaged Junk (and a giveaway!)

I don't normally do giveaways, but this one was so perfect and so fitting I couldn't resist!  But more on that in a moment, first let's get to the baby step...

This week's baby step is to get rid of JUST ONE processed packaged food you regularly buy.  Just one.  That's all.  Find a whole foods replacement or see if you can just go without, but ditch it.

Over they years before I changed (gradually) to a whole foods diet I would frequently go on health kicks, and the result was always that I would throw away/donate a whole bunch of packaged foods from my pantry.  And inevitably, within a month, I would be buying most of them again.  That is because changing overnight is SO SO hard, and during the change all you can think about is how easy and yummy the packaged stuff was, and how much you miss it, and inevitably your will is going to break.  Because no one ever sticks to any healthy change because of will power- they stick to it because it is doable, because it fits into their lifestyle, and most importantly because it makes them feel better.

The first thing to go for me was the Helpers- you know, hamburger, tuna (we were big fans of all tuna varieties...), chicken.  Then one by one I let the others go, so I can barely remember them all now.  I stopped buying processed chicken nuggets and strips, canned soups, seasoning mixes, processed cheese "food" (although there's nothing food about that crap), cereal,  frozen meals...

Most were easy.  I stopped buying each one at a time and either learned to live without them or found a suitable real food replacement.  But one was really, really hard for me.  American cheese.

Homemade bun, homemade pickles, grass fed beef... and American cheese.

You see, American cheese is not really cheese.  It is processed and full of ingredients that neither I or my children should be eating.  But it is so. darn. yummy.  I couldn't picture a grilled cheese without the creamy, salty, blandness.  And a cheeseburger?  Yes please.  I love cheddar, don't get me wrong, but there are certain applications where I couldn't picture it stepping in for American.

So even though I had doubts that it would last, I just stopped buying it to see how long I would last, how much I would miss it.

Surprisingly, I didn't really.  I learned to appreciate cheddar on grilled cheese (and usually skipped the cheese on my burgers).  And otherwise it didn't affect my life at all.  In the past three years I've bought two packages of American cheese.

Because what we forget is that food doesn't have to rule our lives, and that if done in a way that doesn't fool us into thinking about it day in and day out the way that giving it all up at once does we will hardly notice dietary changes.  I promise.

Now is the time to start.  Choose the thing you think you will miss the least or that you feel you can replace the most easily stop buying first.   And don't throw anything away or do anything drastic- just finish what you have and make the effort (or non effort...) to NOT buy more next time you shop.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the giveaway!  Not really, I'm too excited to forget:)  In order to help you out I'm going to give away an electronic copy of Katie Kimball's Better than a Box!  If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, it covers simple, doable ways to replace packaged foods in your family's diet.  Many of my changes over the years have been partially due to Katie's baby steps, articles, and recipes on her blog, Kitchen Stewardship, so I can attest to the quality of her work!

How to win? 
  • Leave ONE comment (don't leave more than one comment, please, if you do I'll just have to delete it... if you have a question about this please contact me on facebook) either about what you have given up that was the most difficult OR what you would like to give up.  
  • Then "like" Wild Oaks Poultry on Facebook (in the sidebar to the left of this page) OR follow by RSS (to the left).  
Comment + "like" OR follow = one entry.  I'll close commenting on Monday, February 11th at 10pm Central time and announce the winner the next morning.
In order to win you must have an email address.  You don't have to have a kindle or any fancy e-reader, but you may have to create an amazon account in order to redeem the prize.  If you don't have an e-reader you will be able to view the book in the amazon cloud reader on your computer.  Keep in mind you can also open kindle books on any smart phone- the kindle app is free in both the apple app store and the google play store.  If you have any issue with 1) giving me your email, 2) creating an amazon account, or 3) don't have regular access to a computer then do everyone a favor and skip this one.

Who can't enter?  Brianna- you already own this book, don't enter.  Heather- you won last time (possibly the last two times, I can't remember...), give someone else a chance!  That's pretty much it!

This post has been shared at Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday and GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday.


Dorothy said...

Sorry about a second post. I didn't read the directions carefully enough in the first one... I have since liked you on FB. In terms of what had been hard to give up is the cream of soups... It takes forethought to make it from scratch, which adds steps to casseroles. Thanks for your blog, I enjoy reading :-)

Kendra Meek said...

The hardest thing for me to give up would be granola bars and other similar snacks. They're just so easy to grab when there's no time to think about it, and Dallas is always running out the door in a hurry in the mornings. Although I have some homemade options, I need to find more easy, healthy options that he'd be willing to take with him as he's running out the door.

Jill D. said...

I was trying to think of something processed that we buy regularly and find hard to give up. I struggled a little due to being 3 yrs gluten and dairy free and being committed to finding whole, natural foods myself. But, there is always something. For me, chips are harder to give up at times. I love, love, love BBQ, Salt & Vinegar, Dill Pickle, etc. flavors. We don't eat them often anymore, but they are HARD to resist sometimes. Good thing there are lots of recipes for homemade sweet potato chips and wedges that come in a variety of flavors!

mika said...

First off, so glad I found your blog (via a fb friend)! Second, while I don't want to make you "go back to Egypt" (ha!)-- I recently found a recipe for homemade american cheese that uses (mostly, depending on your opinion of gelatin) real ingredients. Might be fun to try sometime. Find it here:

And finally, in general, we have abandoned many processed foods: soups, sauces, snack foods. My problem is that when I get pinched for time, I still fall back to some things -- especially snacks, like a previous commenter said.

Kathy J said...

I too have tried give up processed foods on and off for years. The problem is my husband truly enjoys the junk so I really need to be clever about swapping out the junk for better choices. My biggest struggle is Oreo cookies. I don't usually keep them in my house, but when I do, I eat the entire package in a day! The book you are giving away sounds terrific! It would be a great resources for cleverly transitioning away for the junk.

Brandislee said...

COMMENTS FOR GIVEAWAY CLOSED! I'll announce the winner in the morning!

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