February 22, 2010

Switching to a Natural Foods Diet

This post is the final part of my natural foods diet series. If you missed the beginning sections, I talked about the importance of natural foods as well as what I consider to be “real” food.

Below I’m going to share my experience with switching over to the diet, a few tips to help you out, as well as the results I have experienced from eating real food.

The Transition Phase

Just like with any diet, there is definitely a transition phase that you need to make it through. Your body will take its time getting used to real foods, especially fruits and vegetables. I can tell you right now that eating tons of vegetables is difficult in the beginning. I’m not even going to explain why…

Besides your body getting used to the foods, you also have to get your mind used to it. For me, the hardest part was fighting through the cravings for junk food. I’ve gone so long eating different foods that it was really hard to say goodbye to some of them.

Below are the foods that were the hardest for me to give up along with some useful tips I used to beat my cravings:


I’ve been kicking back soda since middle school. I still remember late nights where I would consume an entire 12 pack of Sundrop (it’s a delicious soda). That’s well over a thousand calories worth of sugar alone. Not to mention a huge amount of preservatives and caffeine.

So how did I kick the habit? I started drinking seltzer water. The only ingredient is carbonated water and it’s also much cheaper than soda. I usually add a dash of lemon or lime juice and a little stevia to sweeten it. It tastes just like a citrus type soda and never fails to satisfy my soda craving.

It also works for mix drinks and it  helped me kick my rum and Coke habit.


I’m not going to lie, I love margaritas. They are my favorite drink on the planet, especially when summer rolls around. However, the store bought mixes are packed with sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Instead of using the mix, I have started using pure lime juice, stevia, and a dash of agave nectar. With a good tequila the margaritas taste amazing. Far better than the mix type ones and I do not feel guilty about them at all.


Pizza is one of my favorite foods and something that I could never give up. Luckily all-natural pizzas are not that bad for you. The key is to avoid frozen ones that use a lot of artificial ingredients.

A few times a month my girlfriend and I make a delicious pizza at home using whole wheat crust, marinara sauce, and a variety of toppings including spinach, garlic, and basic. I don’t miss the cheese at all.

Transition Tips To Help You Out

As you can see, adapting to the diet does take some time and effort. Here are a few tips to help make it as easy as possible for you:

Transition Slowly

In other words, don’t toss out every bad food you have in the house right now. Instead, slowly eat them and get rid of them. Start implementing healthy foods into your diet and replace the bad ones. Over time, you will get used to the non-processed foods and learn to love them.

Find Healthy Alternatives

As I mentioned above, I had a hard time with a few foods. Instead of banishing them from your diet forever, find some healthy alternatives. That way you can still enjoy it and not feel guilty about it once you are finished. This works wonders and will make sticking with your healthy eating plan much, much easier.

Cook At Home

This one is a life-saver. Cooking at home is the easiest solution of all to eating healthy. When you go out to a restaurant, you really have no clue what they use to prepare your food. They might be marinating your steak in MSG and frying it with hydrogenated oils. Who knows what happens behind the kitchen doors.

Instead, try to make the majority of your meals at home. You’ll start to notice it is a hell of a lot cheaper as well, which allows you to spend a little more on groceries.

Make Stuff From Scratch

One of the most powerful changes you can make to your diet is to start making everything from scratch. A great example is making your own hummus and crackers. Both foods require only a handful of ingredients and are much easier to make than you would think.

You’ll also start to notice how little ingredients you actually need to make stuff. It’s crazy when you make something yourself and realize you used 20 less ingredients than the store bought version. Plus you can save a lot of money since both raw ingredients are super cheap.

Stop Impulse Buying

It’s really easy to grab a package of cookies off the shelf and throw them in the cart. I know this from a personal experience involving monkey bread from the grocery store bakery. Before I knew it, my girlfriend and I had consumed the entire thing.

The key to stopping the impulse buys is to force yourself to leave the grocery store and go home. If you really want something, you will get back in the car and drive right back to the grocery store to get it. However, I have found that this almost never happens because your cravings disappear once you get out of the store.

The Results

As far as results go, I must say that I am very impressed with the changes I have seen. I have lost around 15 pounds by simply eating healthy and running 4 days a week. My body-fat has hit an all-time low and I feel great.

And added bonus is that I haven’t been sick in what seems like forever. I guess eating healthy really does boost your immune system.

After going through the entire process, I would highly recommend making the switch to real, unprocessed foods. The results are well worth the effort and you will feel great knowing you are eating foods the way they were meant to be consumed.

Photo: slynndesign’s

15 thoughts on “Switching to a Natural Foods Diet

  1. Pingback: Natural Foods Diet - Part 2

  2. James Schipper

    You find the Saturday Morning Market downtown there, yet? Lot of good local farmers down there every weekend. We have missed it the past few weeks due to travels and such, but we stock up on our fruits and veggies regularly there.

    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Yep I went and scoped it out a few weeks ago. Planning on checking it out again this weekend. I just need to remember my camera this time so I can blog about it : )

      We’ve been stocking up at Grahams Produce over on 54th St. lately. They seem to be the cheapest we’ve found so far.

  3. Ryan


    Lemons and limes are life savers for those who are bored with water. I use these regularly as well.

    That margarita recipe sounds awesome! Nothing better than a good rita. How much of each ingredient do you use?

    Do think the fact that you haven’t been sick in a while might have something to do with living in a warm climate? Although it is not the actual cold that makes us sick, it is the amount of time that we are forced to spend indoors and not outside.

    I’m getting the winter blues, but spring is right around the corner! Whoo Hooo.

    A little word of advice for some of your readers. When trying to stop a habit, such as drinking soda or eating candy, use the 3 day rule. After 3 days, it is all downhill from their and becomes much easier to say no to cravings. However those first 3 days are rough.

    Good work


    1. Justin Wright Post author

      Yeah lemons and limes are amazing. You can do just about anything with them. As far as the margarita’s go, here is the recipe (though I tend to change it up a bit):

      – 1 1/2 oz Tequila (100% Agave)
      – 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
      – 2 oz Water
      – 1 1/4 oz Lime Juice
      – Add stevia for taste

      And yeah, the warm climate helps a lot in staying healthy. I always got sick in the winter when I lived in Wisconsin. Main reason why I left in the first place.

  4. Bulk Natural Food

    I’m going to try your margarita recipe, only I’m going to make it strawberry instead of lime! Great idea!

    I love cooking from scratch, and honestly believe that natural foods taste much, much better than junk food. Never had a problem with fat in my life (well, except when I was pregnant! – lol)

  5. Gym Equipment

    This is all great advice, My particular vice is Ice cream, but i make sure i only have it as a small treat every now and then. I think the most important thing is changing slowely and not punishing yourself for the occasional treat.

  6. Aaron at Healthy Foods

    Pizza is a tough one for me because I try to cut out all the grains in my diet. But for the cheese, I sprinkle on some raw cheese (unpasteurized) after its been cooked. Raw cheese has many health benefits and if eaten in moderation, won’t make you fat 🙂

  7. JordanI

    What about an all-natural gourmet root beer made with pure cane sugar? I work at a gourmet soda shop and one of my favorite sodas (Boylan’s creamy red birch beer) is not terrible as far as sodas go.

    The ingredients are as follows: carbonated water, cane sugar, pure birch oils, natural flavors, vanilla, natural yucca extract, vanillin, citric acid, caramel color, red 40, and sodium benzoate. It is also kosher pareve. While the red 40 and the sodium benzoate might make you a little wary, if you do a bit of research you’ll find that while some of the ingredients for these chemicals might be a little nasty (bugs! ew!) there are no conclusive studies linking them to any harmful impact on the human body. Some scientists have found a correlation between the sodium benzoate-red 40 combo and hyperactivity in children, but that also probably has something to do with the sodas that the kids drank. It should be consumed infrequently but it’s not going to kill you.

    Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?

  8. Yeast Infection Medication

    Great post! I will surely try to do most of your tips here especially the one that we must not rely on restaurant foods. I myself prefer to eat home-cooked foods, because they are healthier and tastier.

  9. mia

    I used to have tiramisu for my breakfast years ago until I was diagnosed with tumour… I had no choice but change my lifestyle completely – body cleanse, natural diet, gym. Now I do not even craving for cakes at the local Whole Foods store… I have some… kefir instead

  10. ch.k

    I really love the idea of getting to enjoy only natural food. All these tips are so practical and easy to apply. It just need to be form to be a habit and life-long health will be assured.
    And I love your site. It is nice and simple.

  11. nicole in paris

    Hi, Just found your blog. So far, so great! Your writing is easy breezy but also meaningful. I moved from Oregon to Florida with my boyfriend – and hiked the same places as you and your girlfriend enroute, funny huh?

    Anyway, now I live in Paris with husband and 1.5 year old daughter. And just wanted to point out how sugar is even pushed on the smallest of the small. It is bizarre to me. My daughter has never eaten refined anything, but girl loves herself some pears, strawberries, cherry tomatos, etc etc. People are often offering her cookies and candy. I feel so mean as she reaches out for it and then I have to say, no she doesn’t eat (like I want to say) that. It is like people really think processed sugars are harmless, even for a young toddler. So, of course, adults consume consume consume it themselves.

    Anyway, going to subscribe now. 🙂


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