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10 Baby Steps to a Healthier Diet

Creative Commons License photo credit: Maryalena

Moving Your Family Toward Weston A. Price Diet

by Kimberly Hartke, Publicist Weston A. Price Foundation

After speaking at a farm this weekend, I got a call today from a mom who wants to improve her family’s diet. She asked for advice on baby steps her busy family can take to begin following the Weston A. Price Foundation dietary guidelines .

Here is what I came up with (just off the top of my head), but I would love to have reader comments on this, because I hope she will check out the blog!

Ten Baby Steps to a Healthier Family Diet

Step 1: Nix cereal and switch to eggs, Canadian bacon or homemade lamb sausage for breakfast

Step 2: Soaked granola, oatmeal, pancakes on occasion for variety (extra pancake batter makes wonderful homemade crackers)

Step 3: Find a source for unhomogenized whole milk and butter (you are looking for a local product here, sometimes farmers markets will have this) or, better yet, raw milk

Step 4:  Make your own salad dressings using olive oil, ditch the store-bought

Step 5: Everywhere you go pack healthy snacks, such as, raw cheese, crispy nuts, beef sticks, fresh fruit-no more fast food drive thru’s!

Step 6: Substitute herbal ice teas for sodas -make in large quantities and put in bottles for travel

Step 7: Don’t allow any more processed foods in the front door

Step 8: Clean out your pantry, trash or donate to a food shelter all the things you know are on the Foods to Avoid list

Step 9: Cook all meals from scratch using whole ingredients-your crockpot will be your best friend!

Step 10: Subscribe to (or follow on facebook or twitter) http://realfoodmedia.com, the traditional foods blogging network.

Realfoodmedia.com, of which Hartke is Online! is a founding member, now has 18 featured bloggers. Each of these enthusiastic men and women are teaching our readers how to go more WAPFy with their diet! We offer online courses, and our advertisers and resources are carefully selected to be acceptable to our high standards of health, too.

Fall in love with these blogs! They will be a good source of info!

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Westonaprice.org and realmilk.com websites. Find more information about a healthy diet on these two groundbreaking and myth busting nutrition websites!

See her related post, How Nourishing Traditions Has Changed Me.

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  1. Obtain a kombucha scoby and add this fizzy, cultured drink to your diet. You won’t miss soda and you’ll feel great!

  2. Try where possible to buy veg that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.

  3. Include more grass fed animal products into your daily meals and eat wild fish

  4. Meal planning is key.
    Create a plan on a Sunday, including any items you need to buy this week, then the week’s menus are planned & a lot of the stress is taken away by removing the ‘Oh no what’s for dinner?’
    I plan to make bolognese sauce & then I can use that to make spaghetti or cottage pie, or add chilli & make chilli con carne with soaked rice. I often make dinner after breakfast & use my slow cooker.

  5. make sure you are eating enough at each meal so you aren’t hungry in between - eat your biggest meal around noon. Avoid eating within 2 hours of bedtime so you can fully digest your food. According to the philosophy of Ayurveda you should minimize or avoid drinking ice cold fluids (which will “put your fire out) and try to drink warm or room temperature drinks. And if you have any trouble digesting or don’t feel hungry at mealtime, slice up some fresh ginger and soak the slices in lemon juice. before each meal, add a pinch of natural salt and eat.

  6. Katja Moos says:

    Cooking everything from scratch and zero processed foods is very tough for a busy family with (small) children! Baby steps first, so they don’t get discouraged. It must be achievable steps, and once these have been accomplished, big changes will follow. For example, I completely trust my local co-op. The prepared foods, breads, etc. that I purchase there, are truly made from scratch on site, with full disclosure of ingredients. They use organic and locally grown foods. It’s priced fairly, tastes yummy, and saves my family some time. I do make many things from scratch, of course.

  7. Start cooking with whole foods. If you have to read ingredients, it’s not food. Use full fat dairy products (raw if possible). Pull out your great grandmother’s cookbook. Grow a garden. Put meat in your freezer from a local farmer.

  8. Katja Moos says:

    I wanted to add that it is important to avoid stabilizers, preservatives, and fillers - all of which isn’t in the “processes” foods that I purchase, i.e. their shelf life is the same as when I prepare foods. It is also very important to me to support a local business and area farmers whenever possible.

  9. Make chciken stock, Fish stock or beef stock (see recipes in Nourishing Traditshions Cook Book by Sally Fallon) and make a large batch of soup/stew. Freeze a portion for. Quick meal. Also, use stock in any dish where you use water. Replace the water with stock. Like rice for instance. Yummy and easy!

  10. Make a meal plan! Before you shop decide what meals - that means breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - you will make that week, then organize your shopping list from there. Breaking it down this way and having a set plan will make the whole thing less daunting and keep you on track in those incredibly busy times (when we are more inclined to reach for somthing unhealthy).
    Then, take a look at your meal plan and figure out what can be made in advance for the upcoming week. For example, on Sundays I always make a huge pot of soup and homemade bread, which then is used for a couple of lunches. If I am soaking beans or grains, I always double the amounts for future dishes (that I have already planned out).
    Not only is your crockpot your friend, so is your freezer! I’ll set aside a day when I make a couple of double batches of stews or stocks or entree’s that freeze well. Then I know I have a healthy homecooked meal, or the makings of one, waiting - which is such a blessing in busy times.
    If you have children - no matter the age - include them in the meal planning and preparation! Children love to be in the kitchen! Give them simple jobs to do so you won’t have to be keeping a constant eye on them. You’ll be instilling a love of food and healthy eating in them too. Teens can help even more so - many hands make light work and it’s another way to connect with family members.
    Contact your local Weston Price chapter for support, inspiration and like minded people. You could start a meal group - where you each cook one meal, enough for every family. Depending on how many people are in the group you could end up with three meals done for the week if not more - and again, it’s a great way to connect with people.
    Get to know farmers in your area. Find a health food co-op. Join a community garden or CSA.
    It may be overwhelming at first - but don’t get discouraged! In no time at all it will become routine and before you know it you’ll be making your own cheese and kimchi! 🙂

  11. I think for a beginner a simpler approach is better, Stop shopping on the inside of the grocery store,ie. No processed food just meats dairy & veggies/fruits. Shop at Whole foods or the like for best quality during the winter & farmers markets in the spring & summer.
    We could not stop bread all together so went with Sourdough as it is easier on digestion and helps glycemic index.
    Stop all processed sugar no sodas etc.
    Stop all corn products unless certified organic.
    Learn to soak all grains and nuts before using.
    Add fermented foods and kefir daily.
    Add Coconut oil to cooking & smoothies.
    Once you fall in with these pretty basic changes the rest comes fairly easy & with education.

  12. Jill Chapin says:

    I recently wrote about this for a friend - it was four pages (!) so I’ll just do the highlights.

    15 easy dietary changes to improve your health

    1. Exchange regular salt for Celtic sea salt
    2. Exchange bad processed fats (vegetable oils, margarine, crisco) for real fats - butter, lard, palm oil, coconut oil, schmalz (chicken fat), EVOO, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, flax or sunflower seed oil. All oils should be cold processed.
    3. Refocus on whole foods. The closer to how it was when it grew from the earth or was butchered, the better.
    4. Switch to whole-fat dairy products. Use raw as much as is possible.
    5. Avoid soy.
    6. Add lacto-fermented foods to your diet.
    7. Eliminate fake sweeteners, change your sugars out for less refined ones.
    8. Drink more water. Helps eliminate toxins from your body.
    9. Add Cod Liver Oil to your diet. Sorry. But it works!
    10. Stop feeling guilty about eating food. Hunger is there for a purpose, it’s okay to listen.
    11. Eliminate MSG
    12. Avoid extruded grains
    13. Soak your grains in an acid medium
    14. Make bone broth
    15. Switch to whole grains.

    Remember to enjoy the process and enjoy what you eat. Take it easy and make one change at a time. Salt is probably the easiest - it’s more expensive, but it’s salt, not like you use it in huge quantities, so it still won’t make a big dent in the grocery bill. In spite of what the so-called nutritionists tell us, food IS indeed an expression of love. It is what you create that flows through you to nourish your family’s bodies, minds and spirits.

  13. ” donate to a food shelter all the things you know are on the Foods to Avoid”
    Are you kidding? The poor are stuffed with pasta, bread, sweets, and kool-aid. Are you trying to kill them? Diabetes is rampant in the homeless and poor populations. Heart disease, osteoporosis and other diet-related illnesses. What are you trying to say? That the only people who deserve healthy food are the ones that are in the middle and top earners? If it’s poison for me, it’s poison for the poor.

  14. go to http://www.nourishingourchildren.org . There are .pdf sheets available to print out and post on your fridge on what real foods to eat. The website can be a little tricky to navigate, but it is full of information for making the transition to real food. It’s been a lifesaver for us!

  15. since you are looking for baby steps… choose one thing to focus on for one month (whether it’s replacing boxed cereal or avoiding a single harmful food ingredient like artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup or soy). When that month is over you will have incorporated a healthier alternative that is now a habit. For the next month pick another thing to focus on. At the end of the year you will have made major changes in the health of your family and how you eat, but they will have been in baby steps that were not so overwhelming because you just focused on one thing at a time.

  16. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Thanks everyone, and point well taken, Megan! I must confess, when I cleaned out my pantry, I not only donated my “foods to avoid” to the homeless, but also to my family who were not on the same “health kick”.

    So, I feel more than sufficiently chastised!

    By the way, I also updated Step 5 with feedback from my husband to give examples of healthy snacks. Does anyone else have examples?

  17. Jill Chapin says:

    Interesting points both Megan and Kim regarding giving food to the poor. I remember times I have had to use food shelves - once at thanksgiving time I remember many years ago looking with tears in my eyes wondering how I was going to put the two artificial pressed turkey loaves smothered in faux gravy on my “Thanksgiving” table, alongside all the other processed foods I had been given. Stove Top stuffing, fake mashed potatoes, a can of cranberry jelly…everything was boxed or canned. I vowed that if I ever had the money, I would make sure anyone I knew would never have to serve a cube-shaped turkey at Thanksgiving.
    Another time I had to go to the food shelf in the summer, when donations are typically low, and came home with a decade old box of cake mix, a can of cream of shrimp soup (Campbells!) and a few other high-processed flour and sugar items. That day I vowed that I would never put something in a food pantry that I wouldn’t eat myself, since someone was obviously too guilt-stricken to throw that “food” away, but not too guilt-stricken to know I might have to feed it to my family (I didn’t - but we went hungry).
    In our state, you can do fairly well with food stamps - if you are poor enough to receive them, you can eat pretty well. It’s the people who don’t qualify, who earn just a little too much, that suffer. In our state it is easy to be poor enough to eat well, but too poor to buy paper towels or toilet paper.
    Perhaps this is an issue WAPF should get more involved in - it is an issue that has as much to do with how far we have allowed ourselves to be taken from personal responsibility for raising our own food as it does with a simple lack of money. But when people had backyard chickens and a mini-cow staked out in the ditch (instead of paying a county employee to mow them!), the only ones that went hungry were the ones with lazy or drunk fathers or mothers, and usually someone would take pity on the children.
    There is nothing wrong with donating food you are not going to use to the food shelf. To be frank, most people don’t care, and will simply consume it between cigarettes (or worse) in front of episodes of reality television. But we have taken our foodways from our backyards, and passing over fences, to never having to look the woman or children who are receiving our charity in the eye. It makes a difference between whether you choose to pass on the slightly burnt pie or not. I am sure the woman who cleaned out her pantry and used mine for her landfill didn’t think twice about it, but I sure do, so God bless her.
    I am sorry Kimberly. I don’t mean to chastise you further - I just think an interesting point here has been brought up that could use some real thought about defining the problem, and some real solutions, that we people who want to nourish our bodies traditionally are better equipped to solve than others.
    I have long wanted to start some classes in my community to teach people easy and inexpensive ways to cook, a forgotten art. Once people get their feet wet, lean how to roast a chicken, how easy (and cheap!) it is to make their own yogurt rather than buy it in tiny containers filled with corn syrup or worse, they might pass on some of these skills and try something else new later.

  18. The simplest message I give people is, ” Eat like grandmother did…or great grandmother…if she lived on a farm.. ” Could she make soybean oil? No. Butter, Lard? yes.
    As one doctor said, “New fangled diseases dont come from old fashioned foods.”

    also, Buy Nourishing Traditions Cookbook. and check the list in the back. I am sure it is similar to Kim’s.

    janice curtin

  19. Kimberly Hartke says:

    By the way, if you put your cursor on the photo of the baby cartoon illustrating this post it says “d**m woman”. That is the name the person who uploaded this pix to flickr.com gave to the image, not something I wrote!

    Just so you know!

  20. I love that you posted this! Just today, while I was sitting at my desk at work, I was thinking about doing a similar blog post because many of my friends and family have been asking me what tips I can give them on how to eat better. So many people are intimidated by “real food”. They’re afraid they won’t know how to fix it, it will be too expensive, etc. I really want people to understand that making small changes can drastically improve their health and well being. It doesn’t have to be intimidating and overwhelming! Thanks again for a great post! 🙂

  21. Start with just taking out the following ingredients out of the home & diet:
    1- Hydrogenated oils
    2- MSG, and
    3- High fructose corn syrup (or corn syrup, which is the new name for it)

    That alone will take care of most all salad dressing, condiments, cereals, and other process foods. See what you’re missing and try to make it on your own (healthier version) OR seek out alternative (healthier options, certified organic, ie), until you don’t feel so overwhelmed, then you can move to the next step. Baby steps and everything will fall into place.

    Also don’t forget to look at all ingredients and understand what they are to include your personal care products (lotions, toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, etc).

  22. I wish there was a way to subscribe to real food media in my email … than I know I would read it! I forget when I just have it bookmarked.

    Great list. I’m a new mom to a 5 month old and I’m currently making big changes to mine and my husbands life … including moving toward a healthier, traditional, all whole food diet. I love these tips and guides. It helps me SOOO much. Sometimes I need little pushes of motivation like these!

    My husband has converted to all natural deodorant replacing his Axe … gross stuff! I couldn’t let my baby breathe that in! I switched him from hidden valley ranch to olive oil and parmesan cheese dressing that he loves. I make bone broths and use them in every recipe I can. I add veggies to almost every recipe and puree them and “hide” them …. lol. I can’t wait to start making the pancakes and turn them into crackers because he loves crackers.

    I am doing an overhaul on him! Mostly to start great habits for my son and improve all of our diet … even tho I’m mostly on an all natural whole foods diet … pregnancy changed my life! 🙂

    I am switching from store bought almond milk … which WHO KNEW its unhealthy??!! to raw milk … in the process of becoming a member at a local organic farm.

    I wish you would make a list on how a slow cooker is helpful and how to’s … I have one I just don’t know where to start. With a newborn it would be amazing to know!

  23. Thanks for the 10 tips. I particularly liked number 4 about avoiding store bought dressings and make home made ones. Easy to do and effective.


  1. […] to your health and well-being this year to make real food a daily part of your life. Start with baby steps to a healthier diet, then ramp up to trying a new nourishing traditions recipe each week. This Weekend Gourmet blog […]

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