NNMC Getting Started: The Right Attitude

As the "Getting Started" portion of this challenge comes to a close, I wanted to send us off into the rest of the month with a little something about getting in the right mindset for the changes ahead. Whether you're following along to fine tune your habits or are looking to make a 180 degree turn around, remember that you may encounter barriers or struggles along the way. What makes all the difference is how you approach these obstacles. Rather than becoming discouraged, see these times as opportunities for growth. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The spirit of this challenge is to give you a kick-start in making healthy changes. So remember, no matter what happens, go forward with the big picture in mind. It's not the tough moments that define you, it's how you deal with them. With love,


NNMC Getting Started: Stock Your Pantry

One of the best strategies to improving your diet is to have a well stocked pantry. With the essentials on hand, you can whip up a quick, healthy meal in no time and will be better prepared when trying a new recipe. A long ingredient list seems much less daunting when you realize that you already have many of the items on hand. He's my list to give you a start, but you can obviously add and subtract things to fit your personal preferences and cooking style.

Oils and Vinegars

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Red Wine Vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

Sherry Vinegar

Rice Vinegar




Hot sauce


Nut butters

Fruit spreads

Sweet Stuff


Maple Syrup (the real deal)


Brown Sugar

Granulated Sugar

*Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruits





Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

Sunflower seeds




*make sure nuts and seeds are raw, unsalted


Whole-wheat flour

Whole-wheat pastry flour

Steel cut oats

Regular/Old fashioned oats (not "quick cooking")


Whole grain pasta (assorted shapes)

Brown Rice


Wheat berries

Whole-wheat couscous



Whole-wheat bread

Spice Rack

Baking powder

Baking soda

Cayenne pepper

Chili powder



Crushed red pepper flakes


Curry powder

Dried basil

Dried oregano

Dried rosemary

Dried thyme




Vanilla extract


Frozen shrimp

Canned/jarred tomatoes

Tomato paste



Yogurt (pastured)

Eggs (pastured)

Milk (pastured)

Butter (pastured)

NNMC Getting Started: Take Small Steps

When it comes to changing one's diet, it can often be overwhelming. You may feel like there is so much information and so many changes to make, you just can't get a handle on it. Today's tip, and the overarching theme of this challenge, is to take small steps, because, no matter how cliché it may sound, they really can add up to big results. It's not about the shake up where you change everything at once. When you tackle one issue at a time, you can master it and integrate the change into your lifestyle. Before you know it, you'll have made great strides. Throughout this challenge, I encourage you to take things at your own pace. If something has really got you stuck, take the extra time to iron out any problems and get the hang of it.

To illustrate this point, I want to share my own food journey with you. Four years ago, I was quite health conscious, but my idea of what was healthy to eat was very different from my philosophy today. Calories were my main concern so anything that cut calories was great in my book. My typical diet consisted of artificially sweetened yogurt and gum (5-10 sticks a day), processed meats, low-calorie canned soups, sugar-free Fudgesicles, frozen dinners, Flaming Hot Cheetos,  Diet Coke, and Fat-Free dressings. Now, I did still eat my fair share of fruits and veggies, but I was always focused on calories. Since then, my diet has changed dramatically. I don't eat any artificial sweeteners, I can't remember the last time I had a soda, and processed foods are not an option. I'm not saying I don't ever have a treat (say hello to the homemade chocolate trifle in my refrigerator), but I'm now focused on wholesome, real ingredients rather than a low-calorie product created in the lab. The point of all this is, I didn't make this change over night. It started with one small step: cutting out artificial sweeteners. Next, I switched to organic dairy. This went on and on until, four years later, I eat a whole foods diet that is a world away from my old style of eating.

I understand how daunting this may seem. Food and our eating habits are such an integral part of our lives. When I started tinkering with the idea of quitting artificial sweeteners I just couldn't imagine how I could live without them. But, by taking that first step and pushing myself, I began a journey that has truly changed my life. So join me in simply putting one foot in front of the other until, before we know it, we'll be miles away from where we started.

National Nutrition Month Challenge: Getting Started

Sometimes, just getting started can be the hardest part of any change. This week (3 days), we will focus on strategies to help set you up for success. When you have the understanding, tools, and skills needed to accomplish any task, it's all that much easier. And, while this isn't necessarily going to be easy, anything you can do to push you in the right direction will help. If you're still on the fence about committing to the challenge, I encourage you to leave all your fears and ideas about yourself behind and see this as an opportunity for growth. Embarking on something new can be scary. All kinds of questions may come up. Can I do this? What if I fail? What if I succeed? Just remember that those times when you step out of your idea of who you are and stretch yourself a little (or a lot) can be the ones you look back on as the most rewarding. Don't be afraid to shake things up and get a little uncomfortable. Trust me, you can do anything you set your mind to.