Can we change our dietary habits?
Would I say I grew up in a ‘wholefoods’ house? Not really. Comparing it to today’s standards it was your typical Australian household of pantry staples purchased from Woolworths, fruit and veg from the grocer and meat from the butcher.
80’s Food Revolution
Back in the mid 1980’s when you walked into a butcher as a child you were handed a slice of bung fritz, yep I grew up in Adelaide. I’m not exactly sure what fritz is, I think its like a crab stick or a chiko roll, it tasted good (well at the time) so knowing what it was made from was basically unnecessary.
On a Saturday morning Mum and I would visit the French patisserie for coffee eclairs, vanilla slices and the occasional vol-au-vent. Dinners would be eaten at the table with Sale of the Century playing in the background and our meals wouldn’t be complete without a slice of white bread smothered in butter.
Party food was white bread with 100’s & 1000’s, meat pies, sausage rolls, cocktail sausages dipped in tomato sauce, jatz biscuits with cheese, cabana and viennetta frozen dessert not to mention a massive bowl of lollies. There was always a plate of fruit cut up but you definitely gravitated to the toffee apples before the fresh apple slices got a look in.
The 80’s saw a revolution of frozen foods however despite the odd frozen McCain Pizza sub, the only frozen foods we ate on a regular basis was frozen peas. The food that was cooked in our household was made from scratch; corned beef with mashed potatoes and a cheesy sauce, roast lamb with mint sauce, chops and salad, schnitzel with melted cheese, mac and cheese and spaghetti bolognaise. Dessert was generally ice-cream with stewed cherries when they were in season or ice magic or milo.
Breakfast was cereal typically corn flakes or weetbix with milk, white toast with vegemite, promite, creamed honey or golden syrup. Lunch was rarely purchased from the tuck shop, instead we would have a ham and cheese or egg and lettuce double cut roll or sandwich.
In my early teens is where I started to see a change my dietary habits. After 14 years of struggling to eat meat I made the bold decision to cut meat from my diet focussing on plant-based proteins such as sanitarium nut loaf, tofu and lentils. Vegetables also started to play a major role in my diet however this was not before cheese, refined carbs such as pasta and bread took centre stage.
As my knowledge of a vegetarian diet started to expand so did my pallet. I discovered new foods, new grocers, new cafes/restaurants and new ways to cook; experimentation is the best form of learning and developing.
I was constantly challenging my taste buds; discovering I did actually like olives and capers, dark leafy greens went with almost everything and avocado could be blended to make a smooth and creamy chocolate mousse. I also discovered that adopting a vegan/vegetarian diet meant you didn’t need to rely on canned protein meat alternatives such as nut loaf and tofu did taste good when you marinated it with flavours such as tamari, garlic, ginger and miso.
Change certainly didn’t happen overnight but when I consciously become aware of how to change, everything seemed to flow in the right direction. One step at a time.
Our food choices can be one of the hardest habits to change; we are heavily marketed products which aren’t necessarily beneficial to our health and wellness and the environment around us can also have an effect on the foods that end up in our pantry which can decide the health of us as individuals. The Australian Dietary Guidelines gives us the basic outline for a lifestyle diet we need to adopt for sound health and wellbeing. Noting the guideline still very much states animal products; meat, dairy and eggs need to play a role in your diet although we beg to differ on that one.
In order to make changes to your diet that are going to contribute towards better health and longevity; the key is to consume a diet rich in wholefoods which include seasonal organic fruit & vegetables, wholegrains, plant-based proteins such as legumes, beans and tofu and reducing your intake of highly processed and refined foods.
My wholefood household
Food takes us on an incredible journey and we can choose to be adventurous, expand our pallet and change our ways or we can stay stagnant and eat the way we know finding comfort in our past and family traditions.
The journey to change my diet took around 8 years; from carnivore to herbivore, conventional to organic/biodynamic and from supermarket to farmers market. My dietary and shopping habits now are quite different to how I grew up. I was intrigued by change, I dove straight in and today I happily thrive on a 100% plant-based vegan diet rich in locally sourced and grown produce where my pantry staples are purchased from local grocers who sell with integrity and passion.
In answer to the question, can we change our dietary habits? Indeed, we can.
Take a look back
When you look back on the foods you grew up with, which foods do you think about the most? And how vastly different are your food choices now to when you were growing up? Have you evolved or stayed the same?
Make the change
In the words of Michael Jackson:
I’m gonna make a change,
For once I’m my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right……
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
Plant Positive Programs
If you find yourself staring at the wo(man) in the mirror looking to change your ways, sign up to one of our plant positive programs today.