It dawned on me recently that as much as I talk about being healthy and loving to cook and garden, I certainly don’t practice all that I preach.

{Want to hear a secret? I’m a bit of a Diet Coke addict. The ingredients on the side of the can scare me to the point I can’t read them. I sip my soda and think, “la la la la la! This sweet brown nectar of the Gods loves me and is NOT going to make me sick one day. La la la la la!”}

I also know after slowly losing weight during the last few months that any drastic changes I make to my workout or eating routines don’t stick. If I back away bit by bit, I see success. And so, I’m cutting out the artificial sweeteners in my home. No more pink packets with the morning oatmeal or over the greek yogurt. Or in the ice tea. Or over popcorn. Instead I’m learning to taste food again. Oatmeal with a bit of cinnamon and milk tastes nutty and is remarkably good. Greek yogurt is sour enough to make me pucker a bit, but delightful in its own way.

I still haven’t cut out the Diet Coke, but I’m thinking about it. I know caffeine will be next and that makes me want to curl up for a nap with a giant bottle of Excedrin just mulling it over. I am not a pleasant person without caffeine (or at least for the first week.) Little by little, I’m cutting out the preservatives and junk. Enjoying spending time in the kitchen greatly helps; I can’t imagine trying to eat this way otherwise. We had meatloaf sandwiches on whole wheat bread last night with baked tofu chips. The only preservative was on the low-sugar BBQ sauce we used on the chips.

My diet is far from perfect and weekends, or gatherings with the girls, are often a complete wreck. But it is getting a bit better. I know I’ll feel better without all the crazy chemicals. Soon enough I’ll be buying all natural shampoo and saving the grey water for the garden. Oh, hippie life, how you encourage me to be better.