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it’s about to get real

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The push to learn more about how the food we eat affects our bodies started a couple years ago for me.  I was dragged down and self conscious after almost a year of dealing with Chronic Urticaria – hives that covered most of my body and reoccurred daily for no apparent reason.  A friend of a friend suggested that I watch the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, which tells the story of a man with Chronic Urticaria (among other issues) who set out to restore his health by changing the way he was eating.  He saw his Urticaria completely disappear.  And that was enough to get my attention.

Over the last year or so, we’ve taken some steps in the right direction: switching to whole grains, trying to incorporate more veggies, and choosing less-processed versions of packaged foods.  As a result, I haven’t had hives in almost a year.  (Hallelujah.)

But we make (a LOT) of exceptions for ourselves, still.  Every time we go out to eat, we seem to come home feeling stuffed to the brim and a bit ill, which usually means we then sit on couch and watch (approximately) 500 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy rather than getting in our workout.  And the next morning, we wake up feeling less than motivated to do better.  It’s a vicious cycle.

So we are finally ready to go all in.  To see what it would be like if we treated food as the fuel for our bodies that it is meant to be.  31 days of real food for the month of May.  In short, this means we are eating (borrowing from 100 Days of Real Food):

+ Whole Foods that are more of a product of nature than a product of industry
+ Lots of fruits and vegetables
+ Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
+ 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains
+ Seafood
+ Pork, beef, & chicken in moderation
+ Beverages limited to water, milk, all natural juices, unsweetened coffee & tea, and, to help us keep our sanity, wine & beer
+ Snacks like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and popcorn
+ All natural sweeteners like honey, 100% maple syrup, and fruit juice concentrates in moderation

but we’re not eating:

refined grains such as white flour or white rice
refined sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup, cane juice, or artificial sweeteners like Splenda
packaged food with more than 5 ingredients
deep fried foods
“fast foods”

We also have a goal of getting in a 30-minute workout at least four times a week.

Lord knows we will mess up a few (/many?) times, but I know that we will learn a lot!  Keep an eye on our journey by following me on Instagram (@photosbyhayley), checking out the hashtag #paintersgetreal, and subscribing to the blog via e-mail!  Now, I’m off to do some meal planning.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what led us here, check out these awesome resources:

Documentaries (mostly available on Netflix):
+ Food, Inc.
+ Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
+ Food Matters
+ Super Size Me
+ Fed Up (Coming out May 9)

Blogs with Great Recipes:
+ 100 Days of Real Food
+ Eating Whole with Lauren Brimley

Inspiring Instagram Accounts:
+ @eating_whole
+ @marcicooks
+ @tara_eats_whole

**Note: Ryan will drink his coffee black but isn’t making any promises about changing his go-to salad dressing.  😉

What is your favorite real food recipe?