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How I'm Learning to Eat Healthy

Updated on April 3, 2012
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I used to pay very little attention to what I ate. My main criteria for the food I bought while grocery shopping was simply that it must taste good, and be low in price. More often than not, I ended up buying substandard food that was loaded with unnatural chemicals and preservatives, and had very little nutritional value. But I didn't necessarily care about nutritional value, I just wanted something to fill my stomach at meal time.

I also ate out quite a bit. I'm not really much of a cook anyway, and I often didn't have the time to cook. Rarely did I even think twice about what I was eating. I just knew that Taco Bell tasted good, and the drive thru was quick.

I was in real trouble when I quit my job to pursue freelance writing full time. Working from home meant that I was sitting on my behind for ten hours a day, with the kitchen just a few steps away. In short, I ate constantly. Candy, pie, frozen meals, sugary snacks, etc. There was almost always some kind of food sitting next to me on my desk. Add all of that crap to three meals a day, and little to no daily exercise. Suddenly, my jeans wouldn't fit over my butt anymore! I had developed a very unhealthy relationship with food.

Goodbye, GUNK FOOD!
Goodbye, GUNK FOOD! | Source

The Turnaround

I can't really say that I just woke up one day and decided to change my eating habits, because it didn't happen like that. It was a rather slow progression that was kick started by a need to save money wherever possible. At first, that meant cutting down on the amount of food I bought. No more snack foods, candy, chips, or anything else that I didn't really need to be eating. This ultimately led to my eating less. There was no longer a bag of chips available for me to snack on when I was bored. I started eating what I needed; just breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was much better off, since I wasn't eating constantly. I was only eating the amount of food that I needed.

A Little Outside Influence

One night while perusing some documentary selections on Netflix, I came across one that was about the food we eat today. I was curious, and very bored, so I watched it. I was absolutely disgusted by what I learned. The documentary taught me how unhealthy processed foods are, and that there is some really nasty gunk that's added to seemingly "healthy" foods for no reason. After that I began watching more documentaries and reading books on the subject of healthy food. I learned a great deal about health and nutrition, and that I had been doing it all wrong.

Homemade beans vs. Ramen

Food
Cost
Value
1 bag pinto beans
$1.60
feeds 2 for 3 days
4 pouches of ramen noodles
$1.60
feeds 2 for 1 day
One bag of beans can go much further than buying convenience foods, like Ramen. It's a whole lot healthier, too. Plus, with a little seasoning and maybe some chicken broth, beans taste better.
A pot of cooked beans can go a long way when you need to eat for cheap.
A pot of cooked beans can go a long way when you need to eat for cheap. | Source

A Healthy Diet

I realized that cutting down on all of the unnecessary junk foods, there was room in the budget to start buying healthier food. But after doing a little shopping, I realized that the idea that healthy foods are expensive is a myth. I also found that healthier foods went a lot further than their quick and convenient counterparts. For example, just buying a bag of beans and cooking them in the crock pot can feed two people for three days, on as little as $1.60. Normally, I would have bought a bunch of Ramen, thinking that was the cheapest food I could buy. However, for the same price as that bag of beans, you can get about four pouches of Ramen noodles, which would only feed two people for one day, if even that. Do you see what I'm getting at? Making basic foods from scratch my not be convenient, but it is much easier on your budget and your health.

I recently heard someone say, "if you can't pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn't be in your food." After reading the ingredients of many of the store-bought products I was eating, I was alarmed at how little I knew about them. I came to the conclusion that the only way to truly know that what you're eating is healthy is to make it yourself. No longer did my grocery list call for prepackaged, ready to eat foods. Instead, it called for nothing but whole, fresh foods. Mostly that meant just milk, cheese, flour, herbs and seasonings, and fresh fruits and veggies. I was amazed at how much one can do with so little!

Good Habits

Now I can't imagine going back to the way I ate before. I am surprised to find that I have absolutely no cravings for junk food. In fact, I'm a little bit grossed out by it. I now find myself craving things like spinach, an apple, some fresh broccoli. My favorite snack used to be Cheetos, now it's sugar snap peas. Once in a great while, I will order a pizza, or have a cheeseburger. But I can't handle doing that often, because I end up feeling like crap afterward. My body is used to healthy foods now. I get the nutrients I need from the foods I eat, and I feel great and have a ton of energy because of it.

Not only that, but I'm also learning to make a ton of great foods. Just recently, I've learned to make bread and spaghetti sauce completely from scratch. Homemade foods taste so much better than store bought options, and they're cheaper in the long run. Learning to eat healthy has also driven me to take up growing my own vegetables and herbs!

Learning to eat a healthy diet really isn't as hard as it sounds, I promise! I encourage everyone to at least try it! And I am willing to bet that once you try it, you will love it and won't want to go back!

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    • Butch45 profile image

      Butch45 

      7 months ago

      Hi Kristen good to hear about your turn around of your diet. I understand I have been eating plant based whole foods for 8 months. It is a big change from what I was used to and you must have worked a lot to figure this all out. My main support person is Dr. Mcdougal. He has many youtube videos and health tips on healthy eating. Thank you for this information Kristen

    • lisasuniquevoice profile image

      Lisa Brown 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Kristen,

      I grown tomatoes several times, but I want to expand to include everything for a salad. I love that you just went outside and there you had something you needed to cook your meal. I plan on having fun for hours in my garden this year.

      Lisa

    • Kristen Haynie profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Haynie 

      5 years ago from Modesto, CA

      Lisa,

      Thank you for your comment! I love hearing from others who are doing this as well. It's really changing my life. I feel so much better, physically. As for gardening, just last night I needed some green onions for a recipe. Instead of running to the store, I simply went into the backyard and snipped a bit off from the ones I have growing out there. It was such a good feeling to know that I grew the ingredients for my dinner!

      I wish you luck with your veggie garden! Will this be your first time attempting to grow veggies?

    • lisasuniquevoice profile image

      Lisa Brown 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Kristen,

      I have been doing the same thing and I love it. I do cook more now but things taste better and are a lot lower in calories. Also, I am inspired to create my own veggie garden this year.

      Happy planting,

      Lisa

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      I totally agree with you! Fresh, natural, homemade foods do taste much better - and they make you feel much better after you eat them too. I found myself craving a cucumber or cantaloupe the other day and thought how odd because I used to crave Lays potato chips or Oreos... it's crazy how eating well can really change not only your body but your mind too!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      6 years ago from Wales

      This is what I am SUPPOSED to be doing.Maybe this hub will set me on the right track.

      Take care and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 

      6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great hub, and so true. Once you start, you can't go back. Oh, and I so agree with the beans. Cheap, and good for you. We grow much of our own food, and it makes a difference in health. I have only had one cold in two years. Be well!

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