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A Beginner’s Guide to Wholefood Living

A Beginner’s Guide to Wholefood Living

ISSUE 4 | LIFESTYLE

Nikki Fisher is the author of popular blog, The Wholefood Mama. She takes a very down-to-earth, common sense approach to living and feeding her family. In this article she talks about easy and simple steps you can take to wholefood living.

STORY BY:

NIKKI FISHER, THE WHOLEFOOD MAMA

STYLING BY:

KAREN LOCKE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY:

INSIGHT CREATIVE

DESIGN & LAYOUT BY:

VERVE DESIGN

My great-grandmother Emily Rowe gave me a tremendous gift when I was a child, she gave me her time in the kitchen and garden. Grandma taught me to cook from scratch – pastry, soup, stew, pies, jams and desserts – and she took me into her garden to plant and pick fruit, vegetables and herbs. These memories are etched in my mind and heart, her legacy to me is a deep appreciation for real food, cooking and bringing people together at the table.

Fast forward 35 years I have two young children of my own, together with my husband we have made a very conscious decision to go against the tide of convenience food and powerful marketing forces to lay a real food foundation for our family. For many people the mere thought of adopting a wholefood diet can be overwhelming, not knowing where to start.

Here’s a little guide to help you see a way forward.

Step 1 – Begin with your heart and your mind

Get clear emotionally and mentally about why you want to stop eating processed food and get back to real, wholefoods. Perhaps it’s because you are tired of feeling tired, or your family keeps getting colds or is overweight, or because you think the food you are eating is affecting the behaviour and moods of your children and you. Whatever your reason, the clearer you are the more inspired and motivated you will be to stick with your new choices. See it as a gift rather than a burden that you have the opportunity to nourish your family and at the same time tread more lightly on our precious environment.

Step 2 – Aim for progress not perfection

If you have it in your mind to overhaul your whole way of eating overnight you’ll have a panic attack. The aim is progress not perfection. It has taken you many years to establish the eating habits that you and your family have now, go one step at a time and be proud of yourself for learning more and refining as you go. Slow change means lasting change.

Step 3 – Get back to basics

Wholefoods are not about exotic superfoods or going to extremes eliminating major food groups. In my house wholefoods is about eating fresh, in-season, fruit and vegetables that are locally grown (many in my own backyard!), organic meat, sustainable seafood, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and organic dairy. Having said that, every person has unique and specific needs. Some people will do better with little or no dairy in their diet, others with little or no meat. By switching out processed and packaged foods and replacing them with natural wholefoods you will be in a good place to find out what fuels your body best.

Step 4 – Cook once, eat twice

If you think you don’t have time to cook from scratch this little tip will make a big difference: cook more than you need! When cooking dinner cook enough for lunch the next day or make an extra big batch of whatever you are cooking and portion a few meals to freeze. That way when you are going to be late home from work or after-school activities, or you are just too tired to cook, you won’t opt for take-away because you will have home-cooked convenience food in your freezer – cheaper and more nourishing! Plan ahead and place a meal from the freezer into the fridge in the morning to defrost and when you get home reheat in the oven.

Step 5 – School up

There’s no shortage of books and blogs to help you learn more about wholefood cooking. Australian wholefood queen Jude Blereau’s books are a wonderful place to start.

I particularly like Jude’s books Wholefood for Children and Coming Home to Eat– Wholefood for the Family.

Online, Sydney mums and wholefood lovers Natalie Trusler’s blog Digestible Kitchen and Alexx Stuart’s blog will provide you with insightful information about wholefood as well as nourishing, easy recipes.

Step 6 – Grow your own

One of the best ways to reconnect with nature and the seasons and to get children to eat more fruit and vegetables is to grow some! Even if it is just strawberries in pots or some herbs, it’s a good start. My grandma always said “Dirt is good for the soul” and I have to agree. The veggie garden is a place where memories are made, the anticipation of the next ripening crop, plucking the first cherry tomato of the season from the vine. You can’t buy that.

Step 7 – Go organic

Four excellent reasons to go organic are:
- to reduce your exposure to chemicals
- to eat food grown in soil that is rich in nutrients
- to avoid genetically modified foods
- to preserve the environment by eliminating the use of chemicals.

The trick with keeping the cost down when transitioning to organic is to go a few items at a time. It takes a while to find the best places to buy well-priced organic fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy. Stock up when fruits and vegetables are in season and prices are lower, or when you see meat on special load up your freezer, search online.

Beware though of processed foods labelled organic – read the ingredients – just because it is organic does not mean it is good for you. Some organic processed ‘convenience’ foods contain a lot of sugar, salt and undesirable fats (vegetable or seed oils that become damaged when they are heated).

Most of all enjoy and savour your wholefood life; it is about more than just what you eat. It is about slowing down and reconnecting to the seasons and about the people you share it with: meet the people who grow your food, make chutney for your neighbours, cook with your children’s school class. A wholefood life should nourish you body, mind and spirit. Happy cooking! x

About the Author: Nikki Fisher takes a very down-to-earth, common sense approach to food over on her blog, The Wholefood Mama. Her mantra is ‘education not deprivation’ and she believes in teaching that real food from nature is truly nourishing and much better for human health and our planet than fake food from packets. She is passionate about real food and the good health and joy it brings to our lives.