Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw Vegan, HFLC, GAPS - the list goes on and on! There are so many new healthy eating regimes out there, it all gets a bit confusing as to what is the best choice.

All of these regimes (I call them eating regimes, not diets. I don't like to use the word diet as it brings with it the preconception of yet another quick-fix, weight-loss fad which I definitely don't support) have so many benefits associated with them, so how is an individual to know which one to adhere to in order to gain and retain optimal health?  Ask 5 different people this question and you're likely to get 5 different answers, but here's my humble opinion: It doesn't really matter which one! Well, not at first anyway. If you are keen to make some positive changes to the way you eat, begin with making every effort to JERF and the rest will naturally follow.

Not sure what I mean? Let me elaborate... when I began taking an interest in clean-eating, I felt overwhelmed and unsure. There was just so much information out there that I didn't know what to believe, or more importantly, what option was best for me and my family. So instead of giving in to my thoughts of This is all too hard and confusing - I'll look into it later, I decided to just keep it simple.  I figured if I started off with a basic philosophy and built it up from there, I'd be more likely to make sustainable, realistic changes. So I started with the strategy of asking myself questions like these when looking at certain foods and products:

  • Can I recognise and pronounce all of the ingredients?
  • Is the ingredients list free of chemical-representing numbers?
  • Is this something I could make in my own kitchen?
  • Is this food close to it's natural source with little or no alteration or manipulation?
If I didn't come up with a Yes! for all of my questions, I wouldn't buy or eat it. Basically, if it's not real food that humans were eating 100+ years ago, it's probably not worth putting in your mouth!

I found this to be a great starting point which enabled me to make some positive changes to our diet without having to have a heap of knowledge or have done a heap of research.  From there, as I became more educated about food and more aware of what effects certain foods were having on us, I was able to make more specific choices about what to cut out and what to leave in. 

Simply begin by swapping to real food; throw away your margarine and buy some good quality butter.  Ditch the soft drink for a bottle of cold fresh water, a herbal tea or home-made fruit water. Leave the chocolate biscuits on the supermarket shelf and make up some easy date and cacao balls instead. Rather than that packet of quick noodles for dinner, whisk up a couple of eggs (organic free-range if possible) for a fresh omelette and top it with chopped tomato and basil; it will take no longer than the noodles but will be chemical-free, taste better, give you more energy and keep you fuller for longer!

These days, as a family, we take on board different principles from all of the regimes I mentioned above.  We do what works for us without letting it rule our lives or make things too hard.  For example, we may have a day at home where we eat a paleo diet without really intending to, just due to the fact that we've reduced our grain intake, use dairy alternatives sometimes and eat mostly unprocessed foods. On the other hand, we could be described as followers of the LCHF (low carb, high fat) diet because lowering our carbohydrate intake (grains, sugars, starchy foods etc.) and increasing our intake of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils, quality dairy etc.) has aided in increased feelings of wellness and satiation, and has also allowed my post-baby body to naturally find it's happy and healthy weight without the need for deprivation, calorie-counting or expensive weight-loss programs and products.  We now mostly make what we eat and have come across some fantastic and delicious recipes using real and whole foods!

Below is a recipe for a green smoothy which we consume regularly at our place. The kids just scoff it down! Whilst we've tried many different ingredients in our smoothies and my husband and I have liked them all, this is the one that the kids really love too. It is probably a bit high on the fruit content, and therefore on the sweet side, but it's real food and a much better way to start the day than the plethora of highly processed, additive and sugar-loaded breakfast cereals on the market. We also have it occasionally as a quick lunch or dinner option as it's filling, full of nutrients, yummy, and fun to consume out of a funky Mason jar and straw! It's the first Life's Pantry recipe I'm sharing so I really hope you like it! I'd love to hear what you think...

Serves 4-5
1-2 chopped frozen bananas
1/2 cup chopped frozen mango
1/3 cup chopped frozen strawberries (or mixed berries)
1 cup spinach leaves
1/3 cup coconut water
1- 1.5 cups water
1/3 cup pure coconut milk or cream
1/2 an avocado
1/2 an apple
Optional extras (I always put these extra goodies in for added nutrients but the smoothy is still great without it):
1 tsp Changing Habits Camu Camu
1 tsp Changing Habits Supreme Green Powder
1 tsp Changing Habits Probiotics
1 tbs Changing Habits Colloidal Minerals
Put everything in a good blender (we have the George Foreman Mix & Go Pro which is under $100 and does an excellent job!) with the spinach leaves at the bottom. Blend till smooth. Pour into glasses and drink. Yum!
~I usually don't measure the quantities exactly. Smoothies are fun like that - you don't have to be too precise so the kids can help out with no problems!
~I sometimes add in cucumber or other extra greens without the kids noticing.
~If you don't have frozen bananas, mangoes and strawberries, just use fresh. It will still be yummy but maybe not quite as creamy or as cold.
~I love the Changing Habits supplements and products as they are made from real organic food - not synthetic vitamins produced in a lab somewhere. I am very familiar with Changing Habits founder Cyndi O'Meara's philosophies and ideals so I know that I can trust completely all of her products.

Miss 2.5 loves helping make her green 'smoovy'!
 Enjoy the smoothy if you give it a whirl and if you're just starting out with cleaner and healthier eating, remember- begin small! Once you have made a few little improvements and are feeling proud and happy that you've been able to implement and maintain them (not to mention you'll be feeling better!), you will have more courage and inclination to start tackling the bigger changes. Also remember to be kind to yourself - if you fall off the wagon (as I still do at times), just get back on. You have your whole life to get it right and there will always be things we can do better. It's just a matter of taking the first step.

Thanks for reading!


24/02/2015 2:04pm

Beautifully said. Lovely read and so simple. Looking fwd to giving recipe a go. Xo

13/01/2016 2:11am

Nutrition education seems to be the rave these days. Organic is more preferred because it is healthy. While studies and papers show that organic cleanses the body, organic does not necessarily mean it is not preserved. Nutritionists are likely to advise to also be cautious of organic food that creates reaction to the body because it is too...organic. Organic therefore becomes no better than processed food. Scholars will still have to debate this argument eventually.

24/02/2015 11:14pm

A great read, I really enjoyed this Leah. I will be sure to try the recipe.

10/07/2017 8:20pm

JERF is a really funny sounding acronym, but nevertheless the message that it wants to get across is a good one. I want to try out all of these eating regime before I stick to the one I want, but the problem with it is that the majority of the ingredients required for these diets are often hard to find or are expensive. A nice healthy eating regime should be something that is easy to follow and something you can continue on the long run. Another thing is that you should feel comfortable and happy with what you are eating. Healthy eating should not make you miserable.

25/02/2015 11:52am

K.I.S.S. - I agree there is so much controversy online, when I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, Fibromyalgia, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue late 2013 I got myself into a right royal pickle (excuse the pun) one blogger says this, another says that, everyone is a so called guru. I came to the decision just like you have beautifully put it Leah ... think about what Grandma ate, does it come from Mother Nature or is from a laboratory. Great post, and one of my favourite smoothies :D cheers

25/02/2015 1:02pm

Great read Leah. Just what I need to read as I juggle my way through the Hunter gather doing the best I can with what I've got. Trish

Trina kelly
05/03/2015 10:44am

Loved it, great read, certainly looking Frwd to re producing these smoothies, I think after having children myself I have relooked at things like yourself on a whole and will definitely be a keen follower of LP. Great work

30/09/2015 1:00am

I just say to become more educated about food, you have to know engineering concepts of agricultural and food scientists through chemistry, microbiology and other best ways to create processed healthy and safe foods.

07/10/2015 7:14pm

I am researching on healthy foods and I just say that eating right as well as doing exercise daily can help you keep away from intemperance weight gain along with retains a physically fit.

21/01/2016 12:10pm

It doesn't really matter which one! Well, not at first anyway.

04/02/2016 10:27pm

I'm trying to eat real food))

23/04/2016 12:23am

I always like healthy food so i read full content of this blog for find some new food.

16/06/2016 10:50pm

It is good for everyone to eat real food for getting healthy life. The best real food are in vegetables and fruits, which are good for our dietary plan and remove the cholesterol quantity from our body.

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Hi there I just thought I would tell you that I enjoyed reading your site and to wish you the best of luck with it in the future - Zariah Algorfa

20/07/2016 1:23am

Great read Leah.

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After reading this post i come to know that eat real food means which make food in home and avoid the food which is selling outside. Thanks for giving me knowledge about real food

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Great and nice blog sir. It helps me a lot that how important is the food in our lives. So keep sharing these types of posts

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