The most immediate thing we could control was our diet, and of course exercise. Mike had already started going to the gym 3 days a week so he had a head start. I struggled with fitting in the exercise but tried to do fast walks more with Kaelyn or Kingston at night.
On March 29th, I did a juice cleanse at a local juicing shop. It's run by a guy who fought his way back from stage 4 cancer through juicing organic veggies and fruits. This cleanse was 3 days and on each day I had a different juice combo to drink (a whole half gallon). For dinner I ate a sensible meal - salmon and veggies. On April 1st, we did the following:
-Completely gave up all refined sugars and processed flours.
-We decided to give up dairy for a month just to get it out of our systems (dairy has a big impact on our immune systems), but we wouldn't give up the cheese on a salad or random dairy in small doses, provided it was organic, to avoid making us intolerant of dairy.
-We decided not to give up meat completely, but we would eat no more than 15% meat with any meal, and all meat has to be organic.
-We only eat whole grains - so our bread is made from 100% whole grains and natural ingredients, it's organic, and we only eat 1-2 pieces of bread each day. We were pretty much already doing that, so it wasn't a change really.
-No more coffee (well, I decided to allow it only once on Sunday!)
-Most importantly, we had to stick with 60-80% veggies/fruits at each meal.
-Furthermore, we'd eat one (completely organic) egg for breakfast every day and take a new supplement made from whole foods (we are currently trying the JuicePlus brand and will probably try Pure Synergy next - it's a LOT of research!).
-We would try to get most of our food from the farmer's market each Sunday. Luckly we have 3 healthfood stores within 2 miles of our house, so supplementing is not a problem. But it is still better to buy from local "organic" farmers because you are more likely to eat seasonally - which is better for the environment as well as for our health.
We also have an alkaline/acidity chart up on our fridge so we can see when we are eating something that is acidic or alkaline. Basically, our bodies need to be in an alkaline state. When we eat something acidic, our body has to fight to get it back to the alkaline state. With all the acidic food in our American diets, our bodies are so busy maintaining the appropriate PH that it can't fight of infections and diseases such as cancer. Pretty eye-opening and very motivating.
I will tell you that the first week or so was difficult only because we were finding new routines with our food. Eating so many vegetables/fruits takes a lot of time and this is exactly why Americans have gotten so far away from eating fresh veggies. But we never found ourselves hungry. Actually, we were always stuffed. After a few weeks, I figured out that I was taking our regular meal and adding veggies trying to get the 60-80% veggie goal at each meal. We made ourselves start by eating the veggies and always had a hard time eating the meat or meal part. So our meals were getting tossed into leftovers which was fine (and helping to stretch the budget), but I finally decided to start filling the plate with veggies and then adding a little portion of a meal (about the size of my palm). This worked much better, so we weren't quite so stuffed. And our budget should be leveling off soon b/c we're just trading one thing for another. The budget did go up for the first few weeks because we were trying new things and buying a LOT of stuff. But I will tell you that we never wasted a single item - I couldn't believe the lack of waste.