On Choosing Real Food First

Asparagus Pea Soup

{asparagus pea soup}

Today, the Real Food First program is open for registration. Sign up before midnight PST, April 7th, and have a friend join you for free! Read below for full details on how I learned to choose real food first and how you can learn to, too. 

I don’t like dieting and I really don’t like restricting myself from my favorite foods (maybe you’ve noticed my chocolate obsession?). But it wasn’t always this way. I used to go on diets on the regular and I was never satisfied with that number on the scale. The diet would start on Monday, so Sunday I would eat all the junk food in my house so it wouldn’t tempt me come Monday morning. I used to turn down any Monday night social activity because I was supposed to be “good” on Monday after a “bad” weekend filled with too much eating and drinking. So much emphasis was put on eating perfectly, that when I didn’t eat perfectly, I’d throw in the towel, give up healthy eating all together, and go all out on whatever I wanted.

Seed and Nut Granola

{seed & nut granola}

And now? If I feel like it, I eat chocolate on a Monday, a burger and fries for lunch on a Tuesday, drink wine on a Wednesday, and eat pizza on a Thursday. Generally, I eat whatever I feel like eating, whenever I feel like it. But you know what I do differently than before? I listen to what my body wants. And my body wants to eat mostly real food. Food from the earth, not from the middle aisles of the grocery store, or takeout delivered to my door. That’s because I feel better when I’m eating mostly real food. Because I have energy to do the things I want to do when I eat mostly real food. Because I am confident in my body and self when I eat mostly real food. But when I crave that burger, I have it! Because allowing myself the freedom to eat what I want allows me to make better choices the rest of the time. I stopped restricting all the bad foods, and realized that I wanted real food more often than junk food! Why the heck did it take me so long to figure this out?

Vietnamese Salad

{vietnamese salad}

Probably because I was stuck in the diet trap. I truly believed that dieting and calorie counting were the only ways to lose weight. I thought I’d be drinking diet soda and eating skinny cow ice cream sandwiches for the rest of my life. Who knew I’d actually prefer water to any other beverage one day? Who knew my favorite dinner would be salmon and roasted broccoli? And that I’d choose 85% dark chocolate over milk chocolate any day of the week? You might be wondering, how the heck did that happen?!
Let me tell you.
After giving up the restrictions, I got excited by food again and started making absolutely delicious food at home. Real food, healthy food, tasty food. These days, after a week of vacation, I’m sooo ready to get back in my kitchen and whip up my favorite good-for-me foods. And my meat-and-potatoes loving husband surprisingly feels the same way. Because “healthy eating” doesn’t have to lack flavor. It also doesn’t come prepackaged in a perfectly portioned frozen dinner, or contain added chemicals to make it taste good after taking out the fat. It’s good ‘ole real food that is home cooked, and made with love.

Salmon Sushi-rito-2

{salmon sushi-rito}

So you see? I’ve been there. I’ve tried the diets. I’ve stepped on the scale one too many times. Strict diets don’t work for me, and I have a feeling if you’ve read this far into the post, they don’t work for you either.
Now I’ve created something that I believe works, and want to share it with the world! I want to help you stop restricting foods, stop dieting, start cooking, and start learning to love real food, so much so that you will eventually prefer it and choose it over processed food. I’ve created healthy meal plans, so you can start eating real food first, which will leave you less room to crave junk. You will start feeling so good and energized that you will know why you are eating this way and want to continue. I give you recipes that simply taste good. I make it easy for you with shopping lists and tips on how to prep and reduce your time in the kitchen. I send you daily weekday emails to keep you motivated and have a platform to connect with others that will do the same.

Vitamin C Boost Smoothie

{vitamin c boost smoothie}

This is not an overnight process, my friends. Even the 28 days I have to offer you probably won’t be enough for a complete health overhaul.*** But in 28 days, I can help you create new habits. And if you choose to maintain and practice those new healthy habits, they will lead you on the road to health, happiness, and a newfound love of real food. Without ever having to go on a suck-the-fun-out-of-life diet again.

So what’s in this Real Food First program anyways?
  • 4 weekly meals plans & shopping lists, filled with 30+ simple and delicious recipes that are naturally gluten, dairy, and processed sugar free.
  • A kitchen staples guide to help you detox and re-stock your kitchen for healthy living success.
  • Daily weekday emails, each discussing a different healthy habits topic, including a practical challenge to get you incorporating these habits into everyday life. Worksheets and videos included. 
  • Access to the group support page on Facebook to connect with other program attendees.
  • Optional buddy pairing for extra support throughout the program.
  • Personal email support related to the program, including a weekly check-in.
  • Prizes for facebook support participation!
Is this the right fit for you?
  • You are tired of strict diets! Why spend the rest of your time restricting yourself when you can be indulging in a happy life?
  • You’re craving a “normal” relationship with food. One that involves eating what you want, when you want it, without having to overthink it…while maintaining a figure you love.
  • You know how you “should” eat and exercise, but need support and accountability to achieve your goals.
  • You don’t want to count calories! Or feel guilty about your food choices.
  • You lack energy, and don’t want to rely on caffeine to get you through the day. 
  • You want to stop bingeing all weekend and crash dieting Monday through Wednesday to make up for it.
  • You can’t stop the sugar cravings. Chocolate all day erryday.
  • You want ideas on how to make healthy and delicious meals at home without spending hours in the kitchen.
  • You can never find the perfect time to start that 21-day cleanse. And the last thing you want is to be stuck at home because of a diet while your friends are out having fun.
  • You like the idea of working with others that are working towards the same goal of health and happiness.
Will my partner and children like the food?

My husband/child is one and the same and let’s just say that he eats everything I make (except quinoa) and he keeps on coming back for more. He’s a vegetable hater, so I do everything I can to make them taste as delicious as possible. He even said, “mmm, this broccoli is really good,” two weeks ago. I’ve never heard those words come out of his mouth unless that vegetable was battered and deep-fried. So ya, I think they will get on board. (Though if you are feeding more than one, you may need to double some of the recipes in the meal plan as it is made for one, with extra.)

What delicious food will I be making?
  • Kiwi apple smoothie
  • Salad nicoise
  • Carrot ginger soup
  • Quinoa asparagus bake
  • Honey mustard chicken
  • Snap pea stir fry
  • Strawberry chia pudding
  • Sweet potato breakfast hash
  • Apple walnut breakfast bowl
  • Vitamin C boost smoothie
  • Thai chicken salad
  • Dill salmon
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Salmon Soup
  • Black lentil curry
  • Veggie tartar
  • Beet berry smoothie
  • Seed and nut granola
  • Samosa patties
  • Tahini lentils
  • Lamb hummus cups
  • Blueberry pepper sauce pork chops
  • Vietnamese chicken salad
  • White fish en papillote
  • Beet carrot salad
  • Asparagus pea soup
  • Lime siracha salmon
  • Salmon sushi-rito
  • …and more
Am I going to be stuck in the kitchen all week? 

I try to make it so you only cook about 3 hours/week. Much of the prep work can be done in one day too, if you prefer that way of cooking. I don’t want to be in the kitchen for hours each night, and neither do you, so I make it as simple as possible. The meal prep page helps you plan your time so you are efficient in the kitchen and can spend more time with your loved ones (or get them in the kitchen with you!).

What are the healthy habits you talk about in your daily email?

Each week has a separate theme so we can really take a deep dive into those subjects, and not totally overwhelm you with tons of new information. Week one is all about eating mindfully and creating awareness around food and your body. Week two is all about cooking and how to learn to love that kitchen of yours. Week three uncovers ways to take care of yourself outside of eating, which will inherently help you achieve your health goals. The fourth and final week is about incorporating all these healthy habits into your everyday life, so you aren’t left high and dry once the emails and meal plans stop coming!

Will I lose weight?

This is not a quick weight loss fix. This is a get-you-loving-real-food plan that will ultimately have you eating vegetables because you love them, not because you have to eat them to lose weight. And if you are eating more vegetables, less processed foods, less sugar/dairy/gluten, yes, you will most likely lose weight. I’ve found that participants tend to lose a few pounds during the program, and are able to keep it off unlike other diets. Plus, they are able to continue to lose more if they want because they have created a habit of eating healthy food on the regular.

Can I do this with allergies/food intolerance/as a vegetarian? 

For those with nut allergies, most of my recipes only use nuts in addition to whatever I’m making, so they are easy to leave out. For vegetarians, most meals have simple swaps, such as beans or tofu, and I can work with you personally to make those swaps. For those with food intolerances, there is such a variety of recipes on here that I have a feeling you will only have to skip a few. For more specifics, feel free to email me and ask!

Am I allowed to eat chocolate and drink coffee?

The short answer is yes, because no one should be told otherwise! The long answer is that this program is designed for you to get so much healthy food in your body first, that the cravings will slowly decrease and the need for chocolate and caffeine won’t be as prevalent.

What if I’m traveling or have fun celebrations where I want to enjoy myself this month?

Not a problem at all. If you are traveling, you don’t make everything on the plan that week. Spread out the meal plan over 5 weeks, and keep enjoying the recipes after the group program is over! If you have a birthday party over the weekend, you eat what you want to eat. There are no restrictions.

So, are you ready to dive in?

Go! Join me! Let’s do this thang!

***I offer private health coaching if you need more help after the program ends!

  1. Caitlin,
    This is such a great post and so inspiring especially because it’s all about getting healthy, but also loving the food you’re creating. Strict dieting is impossible for me and I’m definitely trying to eat healthy and drop the last of the baby weight before summer is officially here. I’m going to show this to my hubby since he’s the main cook in our family. 🙂

    So exciting you’re launching this!


    1. Thanks Dale! I just ran into Yvonne today and we were talking about you, hoping you are doing well in Texas! If you want do want to try it out, send me a quick email 😉

  2. Wishing you the best of luck with this venture. Healthy eating is definitely the way to go for a long happy, healthy life.

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Through easy and and delicious healthy recipes, meal plans, health tips, and real life ramblings, I hope to inspire you to find the right measurements to create your own happy and healthy life. One teaspoon at a time.

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