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Nutrition 101: Part 2 – Five Tips for Good Nutrition

Nutrition 101
Hey everyone! Time for another Nutrition 101 post. Make sure you read Part One first if you haven’t already!
As I mentioned in part one, I am not a nutritionist or expert in this area by any means. I’m also not trying to say that I eat this healthy all of the time. My philosophy is to eat right when I can and not stress about when I can’t.

I suppose you could call me a “Traditional Foodie” (think Nourishing Traditions) – I believe that, as much as possible, we should cook and eat the way our great grandparents did. If a food has been “invented” in the last 50 years or so, you might wish to reconsider eating it.

Everyone has their own views on what foods are healthy and which aren’t. I’m sure some people aren’t concerned about the potential health benefits/risks of consuming certain foods, but most people have an inkling about good nutrition.

For example, most people would admit that fast food is not the wisest meal choice health-wise. Beyond the knowledge that junk food isn’t good for you, the waters can get pretty grey

If you’re just starting to try to make good food choices, it can be very overwhelming to know where to start. Here are my top five tips to begin your healthy journey.

5 Tips for Eating Well

1) Cook from scratch as much as possible.
It is my belief that even if you can’t afford the best ingredients in the world, if you are cooking the majority of your food from scratch you’re miles ahead of many people. Growing up we didn’t eat an organic diet, but my mom cooked almost everything from scratch. We had very few health problems. I’m not saying that this was the only reason we enjoyed good health, but I’m pretty sure that not consuming tons of soda and prepackaged food helped. We definitely had junk food for special occasions, but our meals were mostly homemade.

2) Avoid highly processed oils.
Most of the “vegetable oils” on the market today are not good choices. Polyunsaturated oils (oils that are liquid when cold) go rancid easily. They are unstable when heated.
Common polyunsaturated oils include: canola, corn, soy, sunflower, and “vegetable oil”. You can read more about the dangers of polyunsaturated oils HERE and HERE.
And of course everyone knows that trans fats are not good. Avoid all hydrogenated oils when possible.

3) Eat Organic/Local/Pastured When Possible
I know it’s not possible for everyone to afford an all organic diet (I know I can’t). I try to use the “Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen” list, especially when shopping for Helen. A great alternative to organic is to buy local food. If you talk to farmers, they’ll tell you what they used for fertilizer and if any pesticides were used.
It’s also important to try to buy quality meat. Beware of labels claiming to be “all natural.” Your best choice is local meat raised on pasture without the use of hormones. I can source pasture raised meat from our local farmers market and health food store. Organic would be my second choice.
The same goes for eggs and dairy products.

4) Avoid highly processed packaged food. 

This is probably the most obvious of the bunch. Everyone knows that store-bought cookies, crackers and candy are full of icky ingredients. Nearly every breakfast cereal contains extremely processed ingredients. Most chips are fried in unhealthy oils. I could write an entire post about prepackaged foods and healthy alternatives.
5) Embrace Healthy Fats
As I mentioned in Part One, as a teenager I followed the low-fat craze. It definitely made me skinny, but it didn’t make me healthy.
Please don’t be scared to consume plenty of healthy fats: butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. And by plenty, I don’t mean a thin scraping of butter across your toast. I make to sure add loads to oatmeal, rice dishes, pasta, and basically anything we eat. Yeah, you can call me the butter lady. Make sure to buy the highest quality butter you can afford (I really like Organic Valley Pasture Butter, Kerrygold, Rumiano, and Kalona Supernatural). Even if you can only afford conventional butter, it’s better than eating margarine or “vegetable oils.”
So those are my top five tips for eating well!
Let me know what you would like to see next in this series. 
I could do a Q&A, address individual food groups, etc.
Five Tips for Good Nutrition | Buttered Side Up
Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. I wouldn’t recommend something to you guys if I didn’t like it.


Wednesday 1st of October 2014

Good tips! How about a post in reference to #4 - prepackaged versus healthy alternatives :)I've taken some baby steps lately, but still have a long way to go. I think one of the easiest things to do at first is to just buy a healthier version of a convenience food. (Organic tortilla chips instead of Ruffles, etc! ) Keep the good tips coming!

Erica Lea

Wednesday 1st of October 2014

That's neat that you saw a definite change when you went on a high fat diet. Yay for healthy fats! Thanks for sharing. :)

Erica Lea

Wednesday 1st of October 2014

Good point, Sandy! Some things, like pickles or sauerkraut, could be labeled low-fat and still be healthy. :)

Erica Lea

Wednesday 1st of October 2014

Yes, I definitely think companies have to compensate for the flavor of fat with sugar and also with fillers to make the yogurt thicker. I always try to buy full fat yogurt (or Greek yogurt with extra cream!). :)


Wednesday 1st of October 2014

Absolutely! I avoid everything that is labeled no-fat or low-fat or reduced-fat! Of course, some companies put a "no-fat" label on things that never had fat in them just to draw the low-fatters to their product.