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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
I know you’ve heard it before. Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu was right on. Often when we come to the beginning of a long journey in our life the path to the end goal seems impossible. Breaking the journey into one small step at a time makes it manageable. Celebrating the small steps we take makes them rewarding. Sometimes taking your eye off of the end result and focusing on what’s good in the moment will help you to press on and avoid feeling defeated when the target seems so far away.
This was my approach to achieving a real food lifestyle. A year ago I knew that our diet had to change. A year ago we were not in a place financially to throw away everything in the pantry and replace it all with the best of the best. A year ago we were not very fond of some of the best foods anyway! (A year ago I refused to cut back on (much less give up!) wheat and sugar even though I had a suspicion that they were killing me.)
A year ago I searched for a local source of raw milk and we made one small change. I stopped buying store-bought, industrial-dairy milk. That’s it. I was paying $3.00 per gallon for milk and, on our budget at the time, that was hard enough. I knew that I could cut out a few processed snacks each week and that would pay for the difference in the cost of store-bought milk and local raw milk. (Ours is $7 per gallon.)
A year before that I nixed the idea of following a real food diet altogether because we couldn’t afford to do it perfectly and my family wouldn’t have eaten many real foods anyway. Why would they start snacking on pastured hard boiled eggs when Cheetos used to be an option?! I wasn’t ready to tackle that. But last year I realized that I didn’t have to do it all at once. Slow and steady was the key to transitioning to a real food diet.
We introduced one food every few weeks. That gave me time to figure out how to work it into our budget if the item was currently outside of our budget and it gave my family a chance to adjust to the changes slowly.
I know that many of you feel hopeless that you’ll ever be able to eat a perfect real food diet. Guess what? You don’t have to. I don’t! And that’s by choice. (I really like Five Guys burgers, y’all! The bacon, the grilled mushrooms . . . not having to make it myself . . .)
For example, if you can’t afford organic meat, don’t buy organic meat! Buy the least processed form of meat you can afford and know that you are doing the best you can. Look for other ways to increase your income or locate less expensive sources of real food. Buying organic, pastured meat from local farmers has always been less expensive for me than the industrial-farm meat at the grocery store. (Frankly, the organic label on store-bought meat means nothing to me and doesn’t guarantee that the animal ate what nature designed it to eat or that it lived the way nature intended.)
So, pick one thing and start there. Instead of being overwhelmed by the vast number of changes you have to make to live a real food lifestyle, be grateful that you have so many options to choose from when deciding what you’ll do first.
Start somewhere. Start TODAY.