As the new year rolls around, the blogs and channels are full of good resolutions, most of them include getting fitter and eating more healthily. Maybe this is due to the fact that we just emerged from a month of gluttonous indulgence in things that are not good for us. Maybe it’s the new calendar page started that fuels our need for change.
Over here in the Gudith house, we are also getting ready to eat more healthily. Healthy for us means cutting back on animal based foods and converging to a plant based, whole foods diet. We will not go full veggie, but something close. Some keys to healthy eating that worked for me have been:
- no or little processed foods: (your freezer should be full of frozen vegetables not TV dinners and hot pocket. Twinkies and other foods that would survive a nuclear meltdown, don’t belong in your body.)
- no calorie counting: one calorie is not like the other calorie, there are calories from foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and fibers, those are awesome. Then there are empty calories, those from let’s say a can of coke that just supply energy based on sugar without other nutrients. I also find calorie counting puts me under pressure and makes me think more about food. Also, calories are part of an input output equation. If you are a pro athlete 6000 calories a day might be normal, if you have a desk job and don’t work out 1500 might be sufficient.
- replace eating out with home cooked meals: being part of the food preparation process will change how you engage with food. You will be more aware of what is in your food (because you put it in there). It will also save you money! Taking lunch to work has saved my husband money, compared to eating at the cafeteria. I know you can get a $1 burger, but you are hungry again 20 minutes after you ate it, you don’t really know what’s in it and how it’s made, and I personally feel icky after I had fast food. Be suspicious of cheap ready made food!!!
- don’t prohibit yourself from anything: unless you have an alcohol addiction or other drug addiction, abstinence is really not necessary. The goal is to not WANT TO EAT a certain food. Don’t think of an elephant right now! And what just popped into your head, the image of an elephant…if you prohibit yourself from eating that snickers bar you will just start thinking about it more and more and you will want it more and more. Ask yourself Do I want to eat this now? How will it make me feel AFTER I ate it? Which brings me to the next point.
- If you do eat “unhealthy” foods, make it worth your while: get the best steak from the butcher, that is fresh and organic, go to the bakery that makes the best homemade cupcakes and pick your favorite…
- No no-fat, no sugar products that should have fat and sugar in it: especially sugar substitutes like aspartame are linked to cancer and are highly technically engineered. Always ask yourself What did they need to do to make this product fat free/sugar free and what did they add instead!? So, back to making it worth your while, if you want to have a coke have a coke not a diet coke.
- Small portion sizes: over the last decades the portion sizes in the Western world have grown immensely, yet the physical activity dropped (when was the last time you had to plow a field?! 😉 ). Just compare the size of plate of your grandma’s fine china with the size of plate you can get as a “dinner plate” today! Same with glass size! We do not need to super size, ever, we do not need to have a 2l cup of coke with our meal. You can eat what ever you want if you just eat a little of it, simple, right?!
We recently watched the documentary Forks over Knives which presents mind-blowing research on the correlation between animal protein and heart disease, cancer and [place wide spread illness that will kill you early here]. They also point out the link between “growing” animals and the burden on the planet. The grains grown to feed the animals we will eat would feed all 7 billion of us…
One line in particular I kept in mind, when looking at the ingredients! (not the “nutrition chart”, or front side claims) of any product you buy read them and if your grandma wouldn’t understand what’s in it, don’t buy it.
Anyways, since we have been in sort of a funk despite our circumstances being great, we needed to make some changes. Cold turkey (no pun intended) is not the way for us though, we have too many animal based items still in the fridge and freezer that I don’t want to waste. We will have meat once or twice a week at home.
Grocery shopping has changed a lot, I think I managed to get a 80/20 ratio. 80% plant based foods and 20% animal based foods. Not bad. Recipes will follow soon!