This post was inspired by a friend on Facebook was venting about being fed up with trying to figure out what is best for her family. For many people it feels impossible to sift thru all of the information out there and even if you did, you’d probably do something wrong any way. Well, if you are one of those frustrated people, this post is for you. I have been trying to read everything I can for the last three years on food, diet, clean living, immune building, and stress/sleep. Here are my OPINIONS*. Now, since I already established that these are my opinions, you are not allowed to get mad at me. 🙂 This is simply the conclusions I have come up with for me and my family. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. Hopefully something in this post will resonate with you.

First things first: Relax, this doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t need to for most people. If you tried to over haul your household in one swoop you would spend way too much money and be overwhelmed. Take baby steps. Every time you run out of something ‘unhealthy’ just replace it with the better option. It took me 3 years to transform our lives and household and we still aren’t perfect.

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Real Food: Don’t over think food too much. It is not really as confusing as we all make it seem. I know that it seems like every time you turn around, they are changing their recommendations on what you should or should not be eating. This is true, but it is also mostly non-sense. If you are eating real food, food that grows out of the ground, food that comes from healthy animals, and eating to nourish your body, you are safe. If you eat these foods, you don’t need to worry about salt, sugar, and fat. If you eat these foods, you will never need to count calories again. These foods are vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, healthy fats, and nuts. You can’t go wrong.

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Fat: Don’t obsess over fat! If you follow the ‘real food’ guideline above, fat should not be a concern to you. Healthy fats are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado (fruit and oil), Omega 3 fatty acid, and butter from grass fed cows (Kerry Gold is a great brand). Avoid vegetable oils, transfat, and fake products like margarine. I actually started feeling better and losing weight when I added fat to my diet- true story.

Dairy: Okay, this is where it gets really tricky. People have a lot of opinions on dairy and we have a serious addiction to it here in the states. IF you can find raw milk to drink, that would be my first recommendation. Pasteurizing milk cooks out all of the good stuff. Raw milk is quite a bit healthier and totally safe from a reputable farmer. It is expensive and hard to source however. If you cannot drink raw milk, my next recommendation would be to avoid milk. We really don’t need it. Regular milk really doesn’t do anything for you. And, the whole ‘we need milk for calcium’ thing is not accurate. IF you are unwilling to give up milk, get organic and full fat milk. Skim milk is silly. It doesn’t help you lose weight, it is highly processed, and doesn’t fill you up. It is added calories for nothing in return. Unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are alternatives, but they have their issues too. Best bet is find the version that works for you, but limit it. If you like a little milk in your coffee, fine. If a few times a week you make a smoothie, great. If your kids love milk, limit them to 1 glass a day. When you limit the amount of milk your family drinks, it makes it easier to afford the higher quality options.

Processed foods: This term is thrown around so much lately that no one actually knows what it means anymore. In my mind, this is anything that doesn’t grow that way. There is not a Ketchup plant, there is a not a bread tree, there is not a cereal bush. Anything that comes out of a box on the shelf at the store is a processed food. Limit these to 1-2 times per week. I am not saying you can never have a potato chip, but it should not be something you have often. One time a week I let myself have what ever I want. Sometimes it is pizza, sometimes it is a giant sandwich, but I plan for it. I go out for it instead of having it in my house.

Kids food vs. grown-up food: We are the only place in the world that has this concept of ‘kid’s food’. There should be very little difference in the food that you eat and the food you feed your children. Don’t feed down to them. If you are having fish, give them fish. If you are having vegetables, feed them vegetables. Is this hard? YES. Do they hate it? YES. But, with all do respect, who cares? It is better for them in every possible way to eat real food. And, in the long run, easier for the parents. Repeat after me: “I’m done making 2 dinners”.

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Organic: Do the best you can. I absolutely cannot afford to buy everything organic. It is just not in our budget. You can google the clean 15 or the dirty dozen (something like that). It gives you the best and worst produce with regards to pesticides. The way I see it, even a non-organic apple is still better than a bag of pretzels. Don’t beat yourself up, but do what you can.

Sugar: Sugar is one area where I would say- worry a little. It is a big problem for our kids. There is sugar in everything and it is every where we go. We can’t control everything, and that is okay. But, you can control what is in your house and what your kids eat majority of the time. I’m sorry, but sugary cereal for breakfast is about the worst choice. Kids (and the grownups) should start their day with protein, fiber, and fat. Finish the cereal you have and then stop buying it. Cold turkey. Actually, ‘cold turkey’ would be a much healthier breakfast then cereal. No more juice, flavored oatmeal, and flavored yogurt. They are loaded with sugar! If your kids are dunkers, try to limit the ketchup and BBQ sauce- loaded with sugar. I know it’s a little scary and a little depressing, but sugar does crazy things to our brains- especially kids’ brains.

Chemicals: Chemicals are everywhere, they are in your homes, your food, calling from inside the house! Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife… Okay, I got carried away but you get what I am talking about. Between red #50 and pesticides and toxic cleaners, etc. it is a little over whelming. I switched out all of my household cleaners (sprays, floors, dish washer, laundry, etc.) to a green and clean brand last year and I’m so glad I did. They are so safe, my kids can use them without my concern. You spend a huge amount of time in your home, it is the air you breathe most of the time, and the only environment that you can control.
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Supplements: Even with a perfect diet, you will have holes in your nutrition. For kids I recommend Incredivites. For grown ups I recommend Vitalizer or at least Vitalea. For everybody in the whole entire world- I recommend a high quality probiotic like Optiflora. Probiotics are magical and can literally transform your health (immune system, digestion, even mental health).

Keep it simple stupid: Don’t stress too much and don’t over complicate. You don’t need to start searching for special recipes or start making home made granola bars (although you can and they are delicious). In the beginning, just stick to the basics. When you are shopping, ask your self these questions:
1. Did this grow out of the ground or does it have a mother?
2. Does this make me healthier or less healthy?
3. Is this going to temp me (mom or dad) if I buy it? (think ice cream, bread, snacks, etc.)
4. If Candy saw this is my pantry would she yell at me? Hahaha, don’t make me come over and start throwing stuff away. 🙂
5. Trust your gut. YOU are the mom or dad. YOU are the only one that truly can make these decisions for your family. Do the best you can, and remember that nobody has all the answers.

If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to ask. This is what I love to do and talk about. Either comment below or email me at creimholz@gmail.com.

*I am an independent distributor for Shaklee. I make money off sales from these links. I am not a doctor, nor am I trying to treat any medical conditions. This is from my personal experience.

***Work with me. Do you have a passion for clean living too? Email me at creimholz@gmail.com to see if this would be a good fit for you.

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