introducing: Easy Changes You Can Make Today, a series

Golly, why does it matter what I eat?

I used to think that a healthy diet was one that kept me at a healthy weight. I had no idea that the foods we eat can cause or prevent health problems other than weight gain. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thought that. Often, if I'm talking to someone and they say something about “getting healthy” they mean cutting back their calories enough to lose a little weight and fit back into their skinny jeans.

The real deal is that the way you eat is responsible for SO much of your health! Of course a healthy weight is important, but if you are achieving it simply by counting calories while eating processed junk food, you might be "solving" one problem while causing several more. I am not trying to say that you can completely control what happens to you by eating a certain way. I am not saying that if you eat well you will definitely avoid cancer or heart disease or diabetes or infertility. Ultimately, I trust God to take care of me no matter what happens - whether I am sick or well. But, if certain foods are known to cause health problems and I know that I just plain feel better when I eat a certain way, then I'm going to try to do it. (For more thoughts on why to eat real food, check out this post by Kimi of the Nourishing Gourmet. She posted that after I started writing this post, but I totally agree with her philosophy.)

Beyond physical health, I also want to eat real food because it's how God intended for us to eat. If I eat a hot pocket, I have no idea where it came from (except the freezer section at Meijer) and it in no way draws me to praise God for the goodness he has made. But when I go to the farmer's market and buy hierloom tomatoes from a real live farmer, I connect my food to a person and I see that I have a relationship with the earth. My food comes from somewhere, and I want to care about that place and the people who tend it.

So, why not?

You might have an answer to that question. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe cooking from scratch intimidates you. Maybe you think it’s going to be prohibitively expensive to eat healthy food.

I want to help you re-imagine food. So I’m starting a new series here at Plus Other Good Stuff, called “Easy Changes You Can Make Today.” Each week I’ll tell you about an ingredient, technique, or recipe that will help you take a tiny step towards better health.

But first, I need your feedback! Tell me in the comments: What intimidates you about real food cooking? What barriers have you run into in your attempts to nourish yourself and your family? What is something you wish you knew how to cook, but you’re afraid to try? What “unhealthy” recipe do you wish you had a real food version of? Do you wonder whether a certain food is good for you or not?

I make no promises to be able to fulfill all your requests, and I’m not a chef. :) But I’d love to help you with the things you need help with, as much as I can!

So tell me, what is stopping you from eating healthier?

This is part of Fight Back Friday.


  1. Hi Joanna. One of my biggest problems with eating healthier is lack of time. When I get extra busy it's super hard to be prepared to make a healthy meal like when I arrive home at 7pm and everybody is hungry. That's when we default to Kraft mac-and-cheese or frozen pizza. I need a better game plan. Help!


  2. Actually I was thinking about this some more, and another huge one for me is cost. Since I started GAPS, we have been spending way more money on groceries--and only some of our meat and dairy is organic. It has been really crazy. I think it is partially seasonal/job-related for us, and I also think it will change when I get further along in the process. But right now it's a lot of meat and veggies, and boy is it expensive! I'd love to hear more about your approach and get some tips.

  3. Hey Joanna...ok, so I've been reading your blog, and I was actually just going to send you an email asking you some of these exact questions! Crazy...so I'm really glad you are going to do this!
    Anyways...you have me intrigued! :) What intimidates me is worrying that it will be expensive and time-consuming. I'm afraid my husband won't eat it. But, I've been thinking more about why I am eating what I'm eating, and thinking that I could make much wiser decisions. Especially when I think that my body is a temple of the holy spirit...i should really treat it better than i do! ok, enough rambling...this is your blog! :)
    Thanks for starting this!

  4. Dear Diary...my husband is a vegetarian & I'm not. I love veggies & I've learned to be more creative in the kitchen (in fact, I would not be the cook that I am today if not for my husband's anti-meat lifestyle). I want more vegetarian recipes!!! I can't get enough :) And leave the olives & mushrooms OUT (both he & I can agree on those!), sorry sister. haha.

    Dare to Dream in Dallas

  5. Sarah, don't worry, there will be plenty of vegetarian recipes! We are meat-lovers around here, but also veggie and legume lovers! Unfortunately, we are ALSO olive and mushroom lovers. ;)

  6. So, it's been a while since you posted this, but I'm sure you'll still be willing to hear my highly embarrassing confession: The thing that keeps me from eating/cooking healthier is that I don't know what half the ingredients ARE! Real butter, check. Whole grain, check. Beyond that, my good-for-you food vocabulary is quite limited, and when I see recipes with ingredients I've never heard of, I'm likely to skip right over them in favor of things I am familiar with. To give you a picture: I felt ALL kinds of smart and fancy when I discovered feta cheese for the first time (last year), and I have NO idea what a legume is. Maybe something along the lines of a "Word of the Day" could build my confidence a bit...

    : )


  7. Jaimi, I forgot, you hate beans! that's why you don't know what a legume is! it's a bean! :) well, not just a bean, it includes things like lentils (they look like small beans) and peas, too. but a word of the day series would be great! i'll work on that. :)

    and give yourself a little more credit - we only know what we've been exposed to. i didn't know what all sorts of things were until the last couple years. one step at a time!