Going Natural

Today I made the decision to go natural.

I know, you’re probably thinking I’m a waffler, since just a week ago I was waxing poetic about the Special K Challenge. I’m not completely giving that initiative up – I did spent over $20 on those products, so I’m going to finish them all before I go completely natural. But this is something I’ve been considering doing for a while now, and I figure now is as good a time as ever. I had a lunch with a friend of mine yesterday who herself lives a natural lifestyle (besides the loaded waffle fries and ice cream we had at Friendly’s – trying to keep the chain alive!), and listening to her rave about the benefits of such a diet change was the final push I needed to commit to going natural.

My dad was all about natural foods for most of his life. At 61, he’s been a vegetarian for almost 40 years. He was dedicated to eating only the purest, unadulterated foods and that lifestyle, along with a rigorous running regiment, has kept him in better shape than most sixty-year-olds I know. Thankfully this background gives him a little more sympathy in supporting this lifestyle change. My mom and brothers aren’t quite as ecstatic. They’ll let me do it – but I don’t think any of them are going to be indulging in any sprouted seven-grain bread any time soon.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not completely abandoning Special K. I still have half a box of granola and some meal bars left, so I’m going to try to use those up quickly in breakfasts this week. For the other two meals, however, I turned to Trader Joe’s. I picked up some basic foods I can use this week to transition slowly to the natural lifestyle:

As you can see, some of these products are fairly expensive – $4 for bread is immensely excessive. But $1.79 for peanut butter? That’s worlds less than any Jif or Skippy. Hopefully, if you too decide to go natural, you’ll find a plan that works for you. I’m not going to cut out all processed foods completely – given the fact that I’m a student with limited income, i simply can’t afford it.

My plan for this week, besides the Special K breakfasts, is to try a couple variations of sandwiches: peanut butter and banana (my favorite); peanut butter and strawberry spread; and hummus, cucumber and tomato. On my days I have class (Monday and Wednesday), I’ll have two, probably one peanut butter and one veggie. The other days I’ll be home for dinner, so I’ll be having whatever the family is having. Hopefully I’ll be able to find natural alternatives, and there aren’t too many Hamburger Helper nights this week! My boyfriend and I are also going to New Jersey/New York this weekend, so I’m hoping this healthy start will give me the motivation to make healthy choices when we eat out.

I found a couple sources to be incredibly helpful in figuring out how I’m going to approach this lifestyle change:

  • The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Living – I haven’t had the chance to read this site completely, but at first glance it gave me some ideas of what to look for when food shopping. I plan to refer to it often to find more tips as I’m making this transition.
  • You Are What You Eat – This site was very helpful when identifying which foods to avoid when looking to make the switch the natural. I especially found it useful as it gave multiple options, each with realistic price points for the budget conscious like myself!
  • 101 Cookbooks – This is an amazing resource for all sorts of natural recipes. She also offers advice on which foods to pick. Although this could be a bit intimidating for someone just starting out, I’m sure this will be an important resource for me as I move forward.

So there you have it – the beginning of switch to a natural lifestyle. I’ll check in later this week with an update on my progress.

Are any of you thinking of going natural? Have any sites you think I should check out?

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  1. Ellie, check out Good Health in Hanover. It’s on 53, just past the mall towards Pembroke. Go through the intersection with 139 and its right there on the right. They sell a lot of natural foods and I find better prices than trader joes on some of it. Especially peanut butter…you can get a bigger container for 2 bucks

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