Menu Planning and Food Shopping
I honestly have to say, the biggest challenge about cleaning up my diet and converting to a "real food" lifestyle, was relearning how and when I should be cooking. I couldn't just pick out what I wanted to eat anymore without being at the supermarket. Some of the ingredients I had previously used were no longer suitable. I was shocked to see how many chemicals and preservatives I was eating!
I had to do some shopping around to find the best products to use. I had to decide whether I should just eliminate the product or try to make it from scratch. I didn't know if I was up for that challenge!
Arriving to the supermarket and selecting my food became a whole different ball game. I spent two hours at Whole Foods the first time I got there. It was there that I discovered that labels are truly misleading. Natural and organic did not mean what I thought they meant anymore! I had already gone through my pantry and tossed out a lot. I felt the food industry truly led me astray. What was left?
Menu planning got tossed out the window and it still is. After food shopping "clean" since September 2011, I sort of have a routine. I have basic products that fit my criteria and I replace them as I need to. I began to plan my meals based around what was in season, local and available to me in the supermarket. This meant some of meals that I wanted, I couldn't have at! Back to the drawing board. Luckily I had already been reading the blog, "100daysofrealfood.com" by Lisa Leake and was able to draw some ideas from that.
Now, I buy what's in season and quality produce (more details on my criteria in an upcoming post). I try to think of what I could prepare with it while standing in the supermarket. Sometimes I buy extra produce to freeze. I'm learning as I go. I'm trying new produce and recipes. I have some recipes that are my go to recipes that I do buy when I'm at a lost for ideas at the store.
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf (Jon Kabat-Zinn).