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The Most Important Step

A few years back I posted these posts  and put them in order here on my blog.  They had been part of a Neighborhood Biggest Looser contest.  I have had many people go through the steps with excellent results!  They are telling me that they are loosing cravings for sugar and junk food, they are loosing weight and keeping it off, they are finding a new found freedom in a healthy lifestyle they never thought was possible!  They know they will never have to diet again!  As people have told me their experiences I have started noticing that maybe one very important step wasn't brought home quite good enough.  Most people have figured it out but have expressed the idea of maybe having it be a step all on it's own!

You'll see it in the step about Green Smoothies and I mention it should be a big part of dinner when I talk about the main dish salad in Less Meat;  really it's sprinkled throughout most every step but as I have thought about it and have gotten feedback from readers who have been doing it I feel like there should be a 9th step!  It's so important that I probably should have prefaced my steps with this important principle.  Well I am doing it now!  Those of you who have followed and implemented the 8 steps I hope you already find you are doing this but if not I HIGHLY suggest you take it to heart and do your best to implement this step also!  It is....

Always eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is very, very important, in fact I think that it is ESSENTIAL to long term health and sustained weight loss.  I have studied and read lots and lots of info about health, diets, etc. etc. etc.  One thing I have found in a lot of my studies is that I can always find some expert contradicting another expert.  A lot of times both view points make sense and I can see some truth in most of them.  Sorting it all out and deciding what works for you can sometimes be a little tricky. (Hopefully another subject for another post!)

I have noticed though that NEVER is there info stating that fresh fruits and vegetables are bad for you.  There are however many, many test and studies that sing their praises! (Note that these test are usually done with conventional produce, so to me that means organic is just going to be that much better!  Regardless of what kind, we should be eating lots and lots!) 

I don't think anyone is going to argue with me on this point!  We all know fruits and veggies are good for us!  We all know we should be eating more of them!  I'm sure you have also noticed that a lot of the recipes on this blog are cooked.  Made from whole foods but still cooked!  It's obvious that I don't push a 100% raw food diet.  I don't think one is necessarily bad, in fact I think depending on how it is implemented, can be quite good!  I even "go raw" myself for a week or two at a time once or twice a year, just to cleanse and sort of "refresh" my system.  I do think to always be 100% raw takes a HUGE commitment especially to feed a family that way!  (Again probably info for another post!)  I like having the ability to make really yummy healthified treats and a nice comforting healthy dinner with a cooked dish.  BUT just because that is most of the recipes you see here know that they are actually the smaller portion of what we eat.

I really like to keep things Simple and so there isn't a set amount of what we eat everyday.  But I do try to have some goals and guidelines.  In our family we try to always eat at LEAST half of our food in it's fresh raw state.  The goal is 80-90% but we usually only achieve that in Summer and Fall!  I think we average between 60-70% raw.  And we try to eat some enzymes with EVERY meal so it can help to better digest and absorb the nutrients in our food.  For a look at what we eat on a typical day see my eBook Simply Scheduled: 2011 Chapter 4 - A Typical Day the Simple, Healthy, Tasty Way!

Here are some things that has helped us to achieve these goals and guidelines:
  • Smoothies Especially Green ones (Leafy greens are the highest concentrated nutrient foods on the planet!)  Blendtec Total Blender Wildeside is my favorite blender for easily making smoothies for the whole fam!  It blends everything super smooth and the large jar holds over 96 ounces!
  • Growing our own garden and planting fruit trees, berry bushes, etc.  Eating lots of it fresh then freezing or drying (so it still preserves the nutrients and some enzymes) the excess to use during the winter when we don't have a garden.
  • Using Bountiful Baskets (We love this we use a large variety this way and enjoy trying new things!  Plus it saves us money!)
  • Buying a share in our Local CSA!  We love Jacob's Cove which is our local CSA!  I think it's super important to support your local farmers!  To find one near you try Local Harvest.  You never know when gas prices may get so high that we can't afford shipped food.  If that time ever comes I hope we all know and support our local farmers and know how to grow a good garden ourselves!
  • Sprouting!  We like to be sprouting on a regular basis!  Sprouts are an easy thing to add to most anything and they are FULL of enzymes!  We have put sprouts on granola, on sandwiches, or even a dinner dish!  A very cheap, easy way to always have fresh food!
  • Main Dish Salad!  We try really hard to have a big salad every night!  Usually it's a simple green salad with leafy greens, sprouts and whatever else we have on hand.  Sometimes though it might be a big cabbage salad,  veggie tray or even and cucumber and tomato salad.  The point is to have a large helping of a fresh raw salad before or with the cooked dish.  Start to always think of your salad as the main dish and anything else the side!  Look in my Soups and Salads category for yummy salad and dressing ideas!

It isn't hard to incorporate lots of yummy raw foods into your healthy lifestyle.  In fact I think it's the only way to have a truly nourishing and healthy lifestyle!  You can make it fit your tastes and it can be a lot of fun!  For those picky eaters who think they will never like lots of fresh stuff;  When I first married Ryan he would get mad at me if I put one, yes ONE little tiny alfalfa sprout on his sandwich.  He said he hated sprouts!  I started learning how to sprout because he started craving them and asking me for them.  He still on a regular basis will pick up some micro-green sprouts from the health food store!  He loves them and eats them all the time!  When you give your body what it needs it starts to crave it.  I promise tastes will change if given a chance.  Find what you like and use green smoothies to disguise some of what you don't like.  As you continue learning about a Simple. Healthy. Tasty. Lifestyle I hope you will understand a large part of it is..............



Kim said...

So please post some of your fav salads and the dressings you make them with for those of us without a clue. :)
I know you probably "throw" them together, but I seriously need help in the salad department.

Tammie said...

Kim: I do mostly throw them together but I do have quite a few in my Soups and Salads Category. I will also pay attention to how I throw them together and post even more as I go! Hopefully that will help!

Brandi said...

Thanks for this great post. I just wanted to share what my 10 year old son said to me today. We just finished spring break and were on vacation and away from our blender, so no green smoothies all week. Today he said,"You know mom, I miss our green smoothies because now it seems like all I want to eat is sweets, but when we are having our smoothies I don't even want sweet stuff." And that's from a 10 year old! I am trying to do better eating raw foods more regularly in our family, but green smoothies are a lifesaver until we all master the raw stuff!!

Tammie said...

Brandi: Thant is the cutest thing! And so, so true! Tell him I'm going to be quoting him lots! Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

My family sets up a salad bar nearly every dinner. We have at least 6 items and a couple salad dressings in addition to the greens that my family can choose from. It is amazing the raw foods the kids (ages 5-17) will eat if it is offered to them. They like that they have the choice of what to put on their salad.

Emily said...


So perfect, you put this in such a way that its easy to apply, and inspiring to get into the adventure and joy of health! Well done, and thank you so much! Sorry I've not read sooner, with moving my head was in another world for a couple months!

Shelley said...

I can't seem the find the posts containing your 8 steps to health. I remember looking at them a while back, before my husband was concerned about his weight. Now he's ready to make changes and I'd love to follow your steps! I've already got him drinking lots of water, but I don't know what comes next!

Tammie said...

Shelly: The link is in the Categories list on the side bar. Or you can go to http://www.simplehealthytasty.com/search/label/8%20Simple%20Steps%20to%20Health

Unknown said...

Hey Tammie!

I really want to join a csa but I'm concerned about how it will interfere with my meal plans Or the ones i'm about to purchase from you, since you can't pick what you get if you join a csa that comes in a box. There are some in my area that do fall and some winter shares but any way do you plan your meals after you find out whats in the box?

Tammie said...

Sherrie: That's pretty simple. Once you get to know your CSA you will find that most of them let you know what will be in your box about a week before and if not they it tends to be pretty predictable with something odd every once in a while. My monthly menu plan has become a template for ideas depending on time of year harvest etc. For example this time of year I will sit down with this months menu plan...but since we and getting so much fresh food from ours and grandpa's garden and fruit trees that there is no need to go grocery shopping. So I plan a week using ideas from this months plan but changing it to fit with all the food we are getting from harvest. Although this does make it so I have to plan a little each week it keeps me from having to do much if any grocery shopping. Which saves me more time and of course money in the long run!