How the Food Industry is Destroying Your Health & What YOU Can Do About It

accentIn the video presentation below, I explain many of the sneaky tactics used by the food industry to disguise toxic chemicals in our food.

I also explain how such additives in food cause and exacerbate a wide variety of health problems, and I share a little bit about my own personal struggle with chronic pain and fatigue (i.e., Fibromyalgia).

If you are living in more pain or with less energy than you would like, please take the time to watch this video and share it with anyone it may help!

You will learn why food additives matter and how to avoid them when shopping at the grocery store!

(If you’d like some help getting started, here’s our “Eating Additive-Free” book that I mention in the video. Our online community is also jammed packed with natural recipes, grocery shopping guidance and the much-needed fellowship that helps keep us all going!)

And for even MORE great tips about living a “Completely Nourished” lifestyle, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our site, and we’ll send you a message when we post new goodies here! :)

5 Simple Strategies for Ditching Processed Foods

IMG_5537Are you a little freaked out that all of the processed foods you’re eating might be less-than-wonderful for your health?

Do you feel overwhelmed about what on Earth to eat instead, so you don’t do anything about it?

Sometimes the hardest things about making a change are simply deciding where to start and realizing that you don’t have to know everything before you take your first step.

Sure you could flip your entire diet upside-down all at once and embrace the “cold turkey” strategy for ditching processed foods. (That’s what I did, but I’m also a wee bit nuts!) But I’m guessing that you don’t find that idea very appealing, so I’m giving you five simpler strategies here that will help you start ditching processed foods without losing your sanity.

What are “Real Foods”?

No matter which strategy you choose, you’ll need a way to figure out which foods are “real” and which foods are too processed to keep in your diet.

Follow this simple rule: Read the ingredients label on everything you purchase. If you can easily identify every ingredient as having come from a plant or animal in nature, then it’s a keeper. If not, then leave it on the shelf. Sure, you can research even deeper than this with food additives information and animal welfare issues (which won’t necessarily be represented on food labels), but we’re just taking our first step here, remember? So let’s just start with this one simple rule. Cool?

Pick Your Strategy

Strategy #1 – One Enemy at a Time

One popular way to start ditching processed foods is to target one food additive or chemical ingredient to avoid. You choose one additive (e.g., MSG, high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, natural flavor), and you stop purchasing anything that contains that ingredient. Once you’ve mastered that ingredient, you move on to another one. You don’t have to know everything about every food additive that exists; you just find one that you feel may be harming your family’s health and then refuse to purchase it any more.

Strategy #2 – Weekly Recipe Make-Over

One of the most overwhelming things about ditching processed food is that you likely don’t know how to cook anything. Well, there’s only one way that is going to change – start practicing!

Force yourself to practice by cooking one new recipe each week. And once you’ve mastered an additive-free version of a dish, avoid the old processed version of that dish from that point forward. Before you know it, you’ll have built an entire additive-free recipe portfolio of delicious meals!

And don’t think that you have to create any recipes yourself. Just search the Internet for things like “additive-free recipes,” and you’ll find all sorts of yummy ideas.

Strategy #3 – Start Sweet

Looking for a fun way to get started? Why not start with dessert? Homemade treats are a great way to build your confidence and win over the hearts and support of your family members. Choose this strategy if you’d like to build up your additive-free desserts arsenal (and your confidence) before conquering entire meals and worrying that everyone is going to turn their nose up at the dinner you worked so hard to prepare.

Strategy #4 – Master a Meal

Feeling a bit more advanced? Choose one meal and commit to eating an additive-free version of that meal every day. Once you’ve mastered that meal, and it no longer overwhelms you in any way, move onto the next meal.

Start with whichever meal is most convenient for you to prepare. Maybe breakfast time is always rushed for you, so you choose dinner as your meal to master. Or maybe dinner sounds the most overwhelming to you, so you choose breakfast because those menu items seem simpler to tackle (e.g., fried eggs or oatmeal). Or maybe you choose lunch because you’re fine with taking a salad to work every day, and that feels pretty do-able for you to figure out.

It really makes no difference which meal you choose. Just pick one and commit to making that one meal from scratch every single day.

Strategy #5 – Run Out & Replace

A very popular strategy for getting started with an additive-free diet is to simply convert your pantry to more natural products as you run out of the processed versions you have on hand. Commit to no longer purchasing chemical additives, but don’t throw anything away. As you notice that you’re getting low on an item (e.g. pancake syrup or peanut butter), start researching how you can select an additive-free version of the item when you run out.

Don’t reinvent the wheel here. You can search the Internet for “additive-free grocery guides,” and you’ll discover that others have already done all of the research to help you find additive-free products at the grocery store.

Get Your Mind Right

Once you start reading ingredient labels, you’re probably going to discover that much of what you’re eating really isn’t even food. It’s a bunch of mysterious ingredients whipped up in a chemistry lab somewhere. And if you are truly convinced that you shouldn’t be ingesting this stuff, then it’s time to suck it up and start making some serious changes.

No matter which of these strategies you choose, you’re only going to be as successful as your attitude will allow. So before embarking on any changes, it’s worth taking a little time to get your mind right. You simply cannot sit around having a pity party for yourself because you “wish you had a personal chef” or because “it’s not fair that you have so many dishes to wash now” or because “it’s so hard to make these changes.” Sure, these things may be true; but concentrating on your struggles isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Take a bit of time to mourn these things if you must, but then ditch the pity party and get on with the business of focusing on your strategies. Be grateful that you care for yourself (and your family) enough to go through the trouble it takes to nourish your body to the best of your ability. Start viewing shopping, cooking and doing dishes as acts of love rather than burdensome chores; and you’ll be amazed at how much happier you’ll feel.

REAL Food “On-the-Go”

Whether you’re running errands for the day or heading out for a day of fun, sticking to a REAL food diet when you’re away from home can definitely be a challenge! Here’s some tips to make things easier…

Below are the 4 links to all of the recipes and tips I mentioned in the video above. If you enjoyed this video, be sure to FOLLOW ME here, and I’ll send you more great natural health and happiness tips for FREE!

1. Grilled Chicken Thighs recipe

2. How to find “additive-free” meats

3. My Book – –  “Eating Additive-Free: Grocery Shopping Guide & Cookbook

4. Homemade Kombucha recipe

How I cured my own auto-immune disease with natural lifestyle changes

This guest post below comes to us from one of our Completely Nourished readers, Angelia. I’m so honored that she took the time to share her personal story with us here, and I hope many of you find inspiration in her journey. Please comment below to let Angelia know if her journey resonates with you in any way; and feel free to forward this critical info about the importance of being our own health advocates to anyone who may find it useful! (And if you have relieved or eliminated your own health condition through natural dietary and lifestyle changes, please submit your story to us here so we can consider sharing your journey with our readers!)

Disclaimer: All information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your medications or other treatment plans. Please do your own additional research regarding any of the information shared here on our site.        

before

Pain ruled my life back in May 2013 when this photo was taken

Angelia writes…

“My story starts when my mother passed away in 2010. Although this was an extremely painful part of my life, one good thing did happen during that time – I met up with my mother’s lifelong best friend. During my brief visit with her, she taught me two life-altering lessons about the importance of real food for our health:

  • Lesson #1:  Waste not, want not. This lesson included how to can fresh foods to preserve them for later.
  • Lesson #2:  Food and herbs (and even some wild plants) = medicine. This lesson also included being mindful of what we eat.

However, there was also a bad thing that happened as a result of my mother’s passing. The grief shattered my world, and I ended up drowning my sorrows for the entire next year – so I didn’t put her wise friend’s words into practice until later on.

As the months of 2011 went by, I started to realize that the alcohol which I was drinking every day was doing damage to my heart. Determined to get back to taking care of myself, I sought the help of the local mental health clinic. The doctor also diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. I also had thick brain fog. The doctor prescribed 2 different drugs, which didn’t work; and I gave up hope for their help for a year and a half.

(On a side note…when I had lost my husband in ’95, doctors prescribed two different antidepressant drugs for me, which made my behavior worse and also made my body sick back then, as well.)

I quit drinking, but I noticed that my body didn’t feel better. I was overweight, but I had always attributed that to my low thyroid. I found out about that problem when I couldn’t get my period after my son was born. It was also the cause of the preeclampsia I had at the end of the pregnancy. Come to find out that this happens to a lot of women during pregnancy, and I feel it is one of many diseases that is preventable with proper diet. The doctors told me I would always have hypothyroidism and have to take thyroxine for the rest of my life, and so I blindly believed that. I was also fatigued, yet I didn’t sleep well; and I started feeling arthritic.

medsIn 2012, a traumatic event at work had me seeking help at the mental health center again. This time, I was ready to take their help seriously and get healthy. The doctor, who already had 4 drugs on his list that he couldn’t prescribe me, tried 4 more drugs with me in the next 6 months. After 6 months of sickness from the pharmaceuticals, I told him to give me just an “as-needed” pill for the anxiety because practicing meditation at home and receiving therapy services from the mental health center had started to really help me.

I also started studying herbs to find alternatives to the pharmaceuticals. None of this made my heart feel better – I would have palpitations and weak, fluttery feelings, especially in the evening or whenever I didn’t eat. I was having increased pain in my neck, which I knew was from inflammation, that made it feel as if my neck was made of pea gravel. I was also having trouble with my arms from the base of the neck to my fingertips. There would be burning pain some days, pins and needles other days – pain, nerve impingements, or a combination of any of those. I was taking 12 to 16 Ibuprofen pills per day in order to function, and I took Tylenol on top of that if I had a headache – which was often.

By February 2013, I was in such pain I couldn’t hold back tears. I was losing range of motion in my shoulders, arms, and neck; and I had constant back pain. I gave up and found a clinic. The physician’s assistant was probably horrified by how much medicine I was taking. She did an x-ray, which showed minor degenerative changes. That was scary. She gave me Aleve. I went back the following month because, while the Aleve would help the pain somewhat, it didn’t work well; and I was still suffering the nerve impingements. She did an MRI and saw the inflammation. She gave me Vicodin to take as needed, and she sent me to physical therapy.

exerciseHere was when I really started getting a clue. I realized at this point that exercise, oddly enough, relieved my pain. I got the “okay” from the physician’s assistant to exercise at home. I noticed that on days I did exercise, between that and the drugs, I was pain-free. I could even have good days where I could break the Aleve tablet in half and get by. When I got the nerve impingements, I only took the Vicodin in half-tablet doses because I was afraid of it, and it made me constipated – I didn’t like taking Milk of Magnesia for that. I was happy that I was taking less medication overall, but I was also sad because I realized that this was like a band-aid, and not the real solution.

I began to research natural solutions to inflammatory problems through herbs. I noticed that from a lot of sources there were foods on the list that reduced inflammation, and there was another list of foods that increased inflammation.

monstersmoothieYou can imagine my shock at the realization that I was poisoning myself with food! My body literally attacked me every time I ate. That’s what my mom’s wise friend was talking about! I was super excited about the idea of curing myself through food. I read Bob Harper’s book, The Skinny Rules, after which I started drinking a lot of water. Man, did that help. It seemed to make my energy more efficient. Also, the smoothies in his book kick-started my replacing processed food with real fruit and veggie smoothies made from things like kale, spinach, apples, and blueberries. I researched macrobiotics and a few other nutrition books (some of which I dismissed), and then I read The China Study.

It was now June 2013. I had lost 10 pounds, and my pain didn’t plague me quite as much. As I read The China Study, I figured out my body may be affected by the GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), hormones, drugs, and other things in meat.

food labelI was becoming mindful of my eating, reading ingredient labels, and looking out for GMOs; but there were 2 more times I ate bad foods and noticed the pain and inflammation, and that really drove home the lesson that I could never eat processed food with additives again. One time was within 30 minutes of eating bacon, and the other time was right after eating a small order of French fries at a fast food place. That small fry had me in agony for 2 days! I never ate fast food after that. I also stopped eating meat, and as soon as I did, my pain was 40% less within the first week. I was now eating a whole foods vegetarian diet. My skin looked better, and I had lost 20 pounds by August, but I was not 100% better yet. I was still plagued by nerve impingements, and I was relying on the Aleve, night and day.

One day in August, I shared a cheese pizza with my sons, and I had to go to bed early that night. I had fiery pain in my shoulders, and I felt sluggish the next day. I realized it was either the cheese or the crust, so I became vegan. When I did, I noticed a jump in my energy and a significant drop in my weight, and the level of pain dropped in those last 4 months of 2013.

In 2013, I went from 200 pounds to 160 pounds. I’m only 5’3″, so at the start of the year I was obese. By October, I dropped down into the overweight category.

photo (1)

Here I am feeling GREAT in 2014!

I have continued eating a whole foods vegan diet and researching nutrition, and I am now free of all drugs for pain and anxiety since February 2014. I have now lost 55 pounds, and I’m in the average weight category. I am down from a size 20 to a size 10. I still exercise every morning, and I’m in better health now than I was when I was 16 years old. (Of course, I was a rebellious and repressed teenager back then who just needed to express herself. Unfortunately, it was in negative ways that affected my health like caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.)

I have enrolled in college to become a dietician, so I can have a career helping people become more mindful of their food, remove processed foods from their diet, restore their health, prevent disease, and relieve their pain. I want to help others in the same way I helped myself – with real food. I also took up the banner for real food by signing petitions, spreading awareness over social media, supporting the farmer’s market, and I am on the lookout for other ways I can help.

I hope my story helps someone today.

Blessings to all who read this,

Angelia”