Giving up processed foods is an essential part of The Daniel Plan. Prior to starting the plan, I believed that we ate healthy. Now two weeks into the plan, I see that we had our blinders on in regards to some of the foods we were putting in our bodies. Essentially, we were living in ignorance.
Changing to whole natural foods is a process. Some changes have been easy – ex. throwing out vegetable oil and cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead. Others have been more difficult. Adding some breaded chicken strips to a salad is a lot faster than cooking organic chicken or turkey.
The most noticeable change has been in our fridge; it’s over-flowing with vegetables. Some vegetables have made their first debut in our house such as cabbage and avocado. Chickpeas have graced our pantry shelves for the first time too. Our pantry is becoming less full, except for a variety of beans that have been added to our diet. Since I’m not eating pasta, bread or potatoes right now, we are eating beans way more often.
In some regards, I feel like I’m learning to cook all over again. I am being forced to be creative with vegetables. I used to think that the Food Guide’s recommendation of 7+ vegetables and fruits per day was craazy, a lofty barely attainable goal. By eliminating processed foods, we are now eating 7+ servings of vegetables and fruits per day, easily.
Essentially, our new diet consists of the following: Eggs (we purchase them from a farmer for $2.50 for 35 eggs!), Nuts, Beans, lean Meat (turkey, chicken, fish – organic ideally), Vegetables, Fruit and low-fat Dairy.
Some may think about going processed foods free and think that it’s too hard. It certainly is a lifestyle change. Some may feel that they’d rather eat junk food and work out more. Dr. Hyman (one of the consulting doctors in the Daniel Plan) states that the best way to be healthy is through your fork (Your Fork is Most Important).
While the goal here is to be healthy on the inside rather than just trying to be skinny, it is the processed foods that are famous for giving us belly fat. Belly fat puts a person at health risk of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
What’s the short term gain of eating natural foods? I’ve noticed that my cravings have decreased without constant sugar in my diet. I no longer have that “stuffed” feeling of eating too much. I enjoy food more and actually crave vegetables.
If you’d like to learn more, here’s a video of Rick Warren speaking with TIME about The Daniel Plan: Inspiration for the Daniel Plan