The most important thing to do is KEEP READING about health, keep SEARCHING for TRUTH and little by little the change will come. Sometimes we forget the "why is eating this way important"...just keep reading and the change will come naturally. With knowledge comes power over "the bad stuff".
For me, truth began with eliminating all refined sugars, flours and packaged goods. Diabetes and Celiac Disease are both Auto Immune Diseases. It is incredible to me how millions of people all over the world have developed the SAME auto immune disease. Don't see it as something as BAD. See it as something good. Something that should give us a clue about what it is we are feeding ourselves.
A salmon can be put into water the size of four Olympic sized swimming pools and can recognize the equivalent of one spoonful of water in the 4 Olympic sized swimming pools of water.
Now comparing that to a Celiac's body...
It's incredible to me how my body can recognize gluten if the product I eat has been contaminated with it on a conveyor belt somewhere along the processing line, in a container, on a cutting board, or even on a spatula if someone uses it in my gluten-free meal after it's been dipped in something that is not gluten free. My body has determined that gluten is the enemy and diabetics have determined that sugar is the enemy. Both diseases attack the "foreign substance" to the point of damaging its own tissue and or organs. My body knows what real food should be like. It's not tolerating any substitutes at all.
Instead of looking at the body as the bad guy, I look at my body and others who have auto immune diseases and see how our body is trying its very best to save us from what it recognizes as "un-safe". Some people’s bodies may coat the intruder with fat and store it somewhere. Some people may become sick and throw it up. Other people may get rashes as the skin tries to get rid of the toxins. The big hello should be "our bodies are telling us that there is something wrong with the food we are eating".
Isn't it funny to think that the flour and sugar have such an amazingly long shelf life that scavengers won't touch it? The story I heard was that mice were ruining the grain that was stored/shipped. To solve this problem, the grain (the nutritious part) was removed so that the rats and mice wouldn't eat it.
Hummmmmm, rats and mice won't eat it, but we feed it to our children and to ourselves? I recommend removing HIGHLY REFINED sugar and refined flour first. That may be hard for a lot of people but this is what you will be getting instead.
Remember though that wheat has 500 x's more gluten than it did in the times of Pharoah. Kamut is what wheat should be. Kamut (the original wheat) was found in the tombs of pharoah in Egypt. Kamut, and Spelt is a fabulous replacement for wheat or should I say it is what wheat was meant to be like.
Here's the thing. Our ancestors fermented grains before eating them. They would soak the grains, or grind them and then let them soak and ferment. Instead of yeast, they would add whey to the ground grain and water mixture to help with fermentation. This fermentation or breaking down of the grain helps with better absorption. There are some fabulous whole grain sprouted breads on the market.
Sally Fallon has an incredible book called "Nourishing Traditions" where she teaches the reader how to cook again using grains, breads, cereals, preserving vegetables etc. like they did in the 1900's.
Other wonderful grains are quinoa, millet, spelt, brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice etc.
Nuts and seeds are a wonderful snack and are great on salads! If you soak the nuts for 6-8 hours in a water/salt solution and then drain and dehydrate them, they make a wonderful, very nutritious snack. If you don't have a dehydrator, try placing them on a cookie sheet and place them on the lowest setting in the oven to dry. Some of my favorite nuts and seeds to soak and dry are Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds.
Sprouting: You can read several books on sprouting. For the sake of time I'll just say it is very easy and much more affordable to make your own sprouts and they are REALLY nutritious for your kids. If you can't afford to buy whole foods vitamins and minerals for your kids and you know they aren't getting enough fruits and veggies, please try incorporating sprouts in their diet. You can Google sprouts and find some creative ways that people are getting their kids to eat sprouts. My kids eat them without a problem, but I've been feeding them this way for 4 years now.
How to sprout... I put about a tablespoon of sprouts in a mason jar (I have a sprouting box, but I prefer the Mason jar). I soak the seeds overnight and drain the next day and each day for several days until the sprouts appear and are growing. Once the spouts are an inch or so high, I place the sprout directly in the sunlight. I leave it there a day or two to increase the nutritional content. I use sprouts on salads, sandwiches (my rice paper wrap sandwiches or sea weed wraps). The kids love them on their pita sandwiches consisting of hummus, olives, tomatoes, avocado and sprouts. Make your own mixture. I've heard some people mix them into peanut butter sandwiches... I haven't tried it, but I guess it worked.
Meats: Our motto is "make sure to buy the meat that was from a happy animal". We try to assure that the meat we buy is from a cow that was "pasture fed". It is much more affordable if you can go in with someone on a "quarter cow" if you are a big meat eater. The cows fed grains are much more acidic than cows fed on grass. We do buy organic, but it is pricey unless you buy it in bulk from a local rancher. Some friends of ours go in with several others to buy organic buffalo. I love the taste of buffalo, but we don't eat meat enough to buy that much in bulk.
Eggs: If you can get "cage free" eggs from a local farmer consider yourself blessed. You know it's a high quality egg when the yolk is more orange colored than light yellow; the more orange, the higher the nutritional content.
Fish: Don't buy farmed fish. I made the mistake thinking that farmed fish would be better, but it's not. I buy it sparingly but try to assure that it's wild caught and as organic as possible. You never know, right? We try the best we can for our families, but sometimes organic isn't really organic anyway.
Fruits and Veggies: I'm grateful my Mom had a garden when we were growing up - A REALLY BIG garden. I can still remember when I was a kid, how it felt to walk through the long rows of vegetables in the garden. The peas were SO yummy, the berries, the apricots, the kohlrabi, the cucumbers...yummmmmy! I remember dusting off cherry tomatoes, popping it into my mouth and feeling my taste buds burst at the incredible flavor. I think the reason a lot of people say they "don't like vegetables or don't like fruit" is because it's far from what God intended it to taste like. The real stuff from farmers, friends or neighbors that they grow in their own yards (hopefully pesticide free) is the good stuff. Look for the good stuff wherever you can find it. Keep your eyes open and you will be led to the good people who are growing it.
Milk: If you don't have access to raw milk (from a dairy that only uses grass fed cows, milks the cows in an extremely clean environment, and transports it to the store in a refrigerated unit) do NOT buy milk. The thought of the milk in the stores and the dairy products that come from it make me ill. Choose to go dairy free if you don't have access to organic or raw milk. I myself limit the milk intake and feel much better when I'm off dairy. However, when I was recovering from "symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis" I CRAVED raw milk. I remember one day taking off the lid of the milk quickly after getting it home from the store and I literally drank the raw milk/ mostly cream right from the container. I remember gulping down SO much of the cream on the top of the milk and could feel my body shiver with the ecstasy of the experience. It was as if every cell in my body was opening up and screaming out "come to me, come to me...oh how we've needed healthy fat for YEARS!!!" Being a "wanna-be-anorexic looking dancer" my whole life had put me on a no fat diet for TOO many years. There is a book out now called "Eat fat, loose fat". It wasn't the fat that was keeping weight on me (I was thin, but not thin enough. Unhealthy carbs were spiking my sugar levels and keeping the unwanted weight on.
Sweeteners: Replace your sugar for honey, molasses, stevia and Xylitol. It's taken me awhile to like the taste of stevia, but I like Xylitol in my herbal teas mixed with a bit of stevia. Many people advocate agave, just as I did also many years ago. Due to Sally Fallon (president of the Weston A. Price Associate) and Dr. Mercola being against agave consumption, I do not buy it regularly. There is some in my pantry right now, but we use it sparingly. The research Sally Fallon and Dr. Mercola show says that agave should have a miscarriage warning on it. I had a miscarriage about 4 years ago during the time I consumed a large amount of agave. Agave, because of the way it's produced has a constituent in it (see my post on agave) that causes blood to flood the uterus. I stopped using agave especially when I became pregnant with my baby a couple years after my miscarriage. I'll never know if it was or was not the agave that caused the miscarriage, but I wasn't taking a risk with my last baby. Little Sarah was delivered happy and healthy.
Fruit Juices: I use to be a huge fruit juice drinker. That was until I found out that it changes the PH in your body just like soda pop would. The body is constantly trying to keep the body in an alkaline state and so whenever we introduce foods that are acidic our body will draw from the teeth, hair, bones etc. calcium to join with the acidic foods to make them alkaline. We try to buy juice every once in a while and when we do juice it is usually a ton of greens that are added to the fruit juices.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not be afraid of juices. Dr. Christopher in his "Un-Curables Program" recommends a juice fast rotating each week apple juice, carrot juice, grape juice. I LOVE juice and know that it is really healthy for you. I just think our family was over dosing on juice and we needed to do more green drinks instead. If you calorie count, like I did at one time, I was absolutely amazed that I was adding a 1000 calories to my diet a day by drinking juice. I'd dilute it, but it was still WAY too much juice. That's embarrassing to admit, but if you can drop 1000 calories a day by replacing juice with water the extra pounds drop very quickly.
RAW FOODs: The key to raw foods is that they have the enzymes in them (as long as they are not killed during the cooking process) to help with digestion- the more raw foods the better. I suggest people try going on a 100% raw food diet. Then the amount of processed and cooked food they sneak in will most likely be the 20% they should have. I also suggest eating a no meat, no dairy diet. Then when the individual or individuals sneak meat or dairy, they will most likely be eating it 1 to 2 times a week like they should.
Many people say they feel like there aren't a lot of options with fruits and vegetables - that they eat the same thing over and over. It takes time to incorporate new foods into the cooking habits, but don't give up. Think of the alphabet and the 26 letters. Think of all the amazing words that are in the dictionary with those 26 letters. Now think of all the fruits and vegetables that are out there. Do you know the taste of them? Do you know how they could be used? Experiment with a new vegetable dish every now and then. Try a new recipe. Some raw food recipes can be way to bland for someone recently transitioning from processed food to raw food. Take your time, make it gradual. Let your taste buds heal. They need to adjust to all the flavor enhancer damage that has occurred. With time you'll learn to crave the good.
Try a new recipe here and there. Start replacing the bad grains, with good ones. Make sure to buy only the things in the quantity that you know you will be able to use. The health food stores have a bulk section that you can scoop out as little or as much as you'd like. Try out a new thing a week.
In Sally Fallon's book she has a section for budget eating. She tells you what vegetables etc. are the most cost effective and how to start out. I actually typed the entire article at one time which is several pages long and then lost it before it was saved. If someone needs the information let me know. I'll be happy to type it again if it means someone will benefit from my efforts.
Here is a breakfast recommendation. Try out CHIA SEEDS. Some ultra-marathon runners put them in their water to help with stamina. I soak them in water, they swell and I keep adding water and stirring until they are the consistency of tapioca pudding. Try adding some brown cow yogurt, or coconut yogurt or cream. Add a sweetener like maple syrup or a little stevia. Add some berries, or banana to it. I've seen friends add pineapple and hemp seed (nutritious) to it as well. This is one of my absolutely favorite breakfast meals. I've discovered the delicious coconut yogurt during my dairy fast and am in LOVE with coconut yogurt. It's a little pricey and so I have coconut yogurt only a couple times a month.
Little by little you will begin to uncover the food that you are eating currently and you will begin to see what God meant the food to look and taste like. I know it will be a wonderful journey. When times get hard- think about your posterity. The reason I do what I do is for my kids. I don't want them to suffer the hell that my father experienced with his depression and I don't want their lives to end in the tragic way that his did. I want them to have all the happiness and life that God meant for them to have. Here's to your success!