I was recently asked this very question; exactly how do you do it. How do I do my research. How did I know where to start and what to look for. It occurred to me, after being asked this question, that whilst it was obvious to me where to start and what to do, that that is not the case for everybody and some people might need a little helping hand to get started. So hopefully this post will help those of you out there that need a little help to get started.
I find the best starting point when it comes to changing what we are consuming is to know what you’re looking for. I am cutting out artificial sweeteners. But what do they look like? Where do you find them? What is it you’re looking for?
Food labels are a wealth of information if you know what you are looking for. A list of ingredients most of the time looks like a lot of gibberish. Whilst aspartame might be part of most peoples lexicons nowadays things like acesulfame K is probably less so. I had certainly never heard of it before I started doing research.
Research is definitely the key thing here. Celtic Earth Spirit are currently working on their e-numbers page and haven’t quite gotten to the sweeteners section yet but it is coming in the near future. When it is here that would be my advice for first port of call for researching what it is you are looking for. For now google will have to be your friend.
After you have established what nasties it is that you are looking for on food labels I found it helpful to first look at products in my house. Not only did it help me learn what it is I am looking for on a label, it meant that I could quite happily sit and google in peace anything on there that I did not understand. Checking products you have at home also gives you an indication of exactly how much you need to change, if anything at all. If you fall in to the latter category of having nothing you need to change already, you are starting off better than I, although there was not as much as I thought.
Once you’re comfortable looking at food labels in your home and know the names of the things you are looking for then its time to hit up your local supermarket and study the packaging as you go. And this gets easier as time goes on as well. The words you are looking for start to jump out at you, making the search quicker and easier.
To start with my partner was a little annoyed (never said, but I could tell) that I would repeatedly stop to look at labels before deciding whether it was a product that I wanted to be putting in to my body. Before long though he was joining me in my quest to cut out the nasty things that are consistently being put in our food and drink.
Check out the What’s Really in Our Food page
How do you do it? – a step by step guide:
- Research the thing you want to cut out of your diet. In this instance it was artificial sweeteners so you would research those.
- From that list pick just 1 of those things to cut out to start with i.e. aspartame.
- Have a look in your house for anything you might be already buying on a regular basis that contains aspartame. You then know which things you need to replace with alternatives.
- When you go shopping check the labels of everything before putting it in your trolley. Leave out anything that contains the thing you do not want to be in there and look at alternatives that are on offer.
- Once you are comfortable with what you are doing and feel you have a grasp, add in another one from the list, i.e. acesulfame K
I think when undertaking this journey one of the most important things to remember is that it is okay to make mistakes. Learn from them, remember them and move on. It is also okay to slip up, it is not the end of the world! There is a reason this is a journey. Embrace it, live it and most importantly have fun with it!