I spent all of 2008 developing 12 Steps to Whole Foods, in response to many readers discovering GreenSmoothieGirl.com and asking for a step-by-step plan to learn the lifestyle I was advocating for.
In the 1990’s, my little boy had nearly died of severe asthma and allergies. In eliminating sugar and dairy, and converting to a whole-foods, 60-80% raw diet, we eliminated all-night wheezing and suffering. We eliminated steroids and bronchodilators and antibiotics. In the process, I lost 50 lbs. and regained my deteriorated eyesight. I regained my ability to run and play sports, dropped my cholesterol to 100 and blood pressure to 98/56, and eliminated eczema and allergies. I never again had debilitating migraines or TIA (mini-strokes) that plagued me in my 20’s.
I became preoccupied with wanting others to be able to do what I’d done, but without all the frustrating bumps along the way. I’d made countless recipes that no one in my family liked. I’d bought hundreds of dollars of ingredients that were hard to find and expensive, with limited or one-time uses.
I’d made recipes that took several hours in the kitchen. I’d wasted time chasing down nutritional bunny hills with little or no gain, and I’d read a lot of useless books about food cults. Along the way, I did find many invaluable nuggets of information and good practices that enormously impacted my family’s life for the better, and others’ as well, when I taught them.
I like the free-form nature of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. You can eat whatever salads, whatever dressings, whatever main dishes you want. Feeling free to explore new foods, learn new habits, try new recipes, anytime you want.
However, in working with thousands of people the past few years, we found that many were trained in how to “diet.” I resist the idea that 12 Steps is a diet. The word itself connotes “temporary” and “restrictive.” What I am teaching here is a lifestyle that I intend to bless your life and minimize your disease risk, forever. It’s about abundance, since the world of plant foods has nearly infinite colors, textures, tastes, and combining potential.
However, there is value to making things simple and easily planned, and as a planner and list-maker myself, I understand the value of living from lists!
Our just-released Menu Planner tool was highly requested, so we’ve spent well over a year developing it!
It is an effort to help your initial foray into the whole-foods lifestyle be as predictable as possible! Many thanks to Desiree Ward and Tina Huntsman, who assisted in developing the menu plans and shopping lists and counted every penny to give you budget predictions. They found that feeding a family of 4 with these menu plans cost $100/week.
According to my research, that’s what families spend who budget very strictly and have to live on a young, single-earner income.
Anything new can be frustrating in the beginning. There are a number of habits to change, and at first, you may feel out of your depth, like you have no idea what to eat. (Especially for the overachievers, who try to do 6 steps at a time!)
Before now, you may have eaten prepared and processed foods, or fast foods, but you had a routine, you knew where to buy everything, and how to get or make it. Now that you’ve committed to a change, of course, you have to re-learn those things. Keep in mind when I suggest Costco as a source, and you don’t have a Costco membership, there are other places to obtain the same item in your hometown. Having a health food store, a buying club, an Asian market, and a regular grocery store with a good produce section, you’ll be just fine. Even if you’re missing one or even two of those, you can definitely do this!
If you stay the course, your new habits will become as easy and habitual as your old ones were. Those new habits have the power to nourish you, energize you, and endow you with health, lovely skin and hair, and ideal weight. Your old habits were likely clogging your digestive system, draining your energy, and causing your weight to gradually creep upwards.
To the end of nourishing you well and providing the benefits you seek, I hope the plans and lists in our new Menu Planner are helpful on your journey to amazing health!