While I have plenty of friends in real life, online, and in the Gwyneth Made Me Do It Instagram community, who are supportive of me trying to eat better, and are even on board with trying to eat more “clean” themselves, it would be nearly impossible to have a unanimous consensus. Some comments range from mild and humorous heckling, telling me to go eat a cupcake, while others include statements that this way of life is too intimidating or overwhelming for them to even consider.
I get it, believe me I get it. While I make no claims that I have it all figured out, especially since I’ve only been at it for a few weeks, and while I will never ever claim to be perfect, seeing as how I ate a basket of fries and a shake last night alongside my dinner at the beach, I can tell you that making a general shift to clean eating can be easier than you think. With a bit of patience, time, and finding something or someone you can connect with to help guide you a bit on the journey - for me it’s the book - you can make a switch to clean eating, and it can be easier than you think. But first, let’s tackle the real and honest reasons why many people are afraid to make the switch.
Time – Lots of friends are concerned about the prep-work it takes for the meals, and the time it takes to go to specialty supermarkets and health food stores. Between making your own dressings and assembling wontons, I can certainly see how buying the bottled stuff seems a heck of a lot more convenient and less intimidating. However, if you’re already cooking many of your meals from scratch anyhow, clean eating meals in general don’t take any longer to pull together. If you’re used to heating up pre-made, packaged meals in the oven for dinner, then yes, the extra time you spend will be noticeable. But, if you already make a good portion of your family’s meals from scratch, that is, assembling a lasagna for instance, or cooking a separate protein/carb/vegetable item, clean eating meals don’t take any longer and it’s really just about a swap in ingredients.
Initially, you may spend a bit of extra time roaming the grocery food aisles and asking your grocery clerk where in the heck to find brown rice syrup, but after a few weeks, you’ll get the hang of it and few ingredients will stump you. I now do most of my grocery shopping exclusively at our local Sprouts, and do the big item shopping at Costco, which surprisingly has started carrying many clean eating food items, including Pure Maple Syrup, Almond Milk, and huge bags of Quinoa.
Money – Yes, my friends, you will spend more on your grocery bill some weeks, and some weeks you won’t. The weeks I have to buy a new jug of maple syrup and a couple of organic chickens set me back a bit more, but then other weeks when I’m just loading up on some fresh fruits and veggies and the few staples, I don’t see a big difference. I’ll be honest, I’m addicted to cheap, and it’s hard sometimes for me to spend $5 on a tiny tub of olive oil spread when I know I can buy a gallon vat of margarine. Spending all that extra money on clothes or a vacation is fun. Spending all that extra money on groceries isn’t really though. But I had to have a little heart-to-heart with myself, and this is what I tell myself, “You have no problem spending extra money on nice clothes for the kids, Andrea. Why should you have a problem spending extra money on good food for them?” Whenever I want to reach for the cheap stuff, that’s what I tell myself now. Guilt ridden? Yes. Effective though? Absolutely, yes.
Taste - I guess taste is all a matter of perspective, and very personal, but personally, I don’t find the clean eating food I’m preparing for myself lacking in taste or flavor at all. Of course there will always be french fries, and no amount of fab goop food will ever replace that, but I’ve found some good alternatives that can at least lure me away from my salt cravings for a bit. And no one says I have to deprive myself of french fries always and forever. If they did, I might have to slap them.
Willpower – The bottom line is, you have to be ready and willing to make a change, and until you are, all these previously mentioned roadblocks will seem insurmountable. There will always be an excuse or reason not to make your own dressing, to buy pre-packaged versus homemade, to buy that regular ol’ corn fed chicken that’s on sale for .69 cents per pound over the organic version. There will always be something. It’s not until you’re in a space in your head, and as cheesy as it sounds, in your heart, where you truly want to change, that you will find a way to do it. As the old adage goes; “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
So are any of these roadblocks on your list of why you can’t/won’t make a switch to eating differently? Or did I miss something?
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