I thought I’d go ahead and post here about it for all of you inquiring minds.
Without further ado, here are some changes I made that I believe have drastically helped my health.
I say “greatly reduced” and not “Eliminated” because, let’s be real, I have a major sweet tooth, and I like joining in with others at celebrations and such, so sugar/treats will likely never be completely eliminated, but it is LARGELY eliminated. I don’t drink my coffee with sweetener in it anymore (sometimes some Stevia, but hardly ever), I eat plain yogurt if I’m having yogurt, I check the labels on any bread, sauces, salsas, cereals, ANYTHING that I buy and 99% of the time won’t buy it if it has sugar added to it. Seriously. It’s in everything. Your mustard for crying out loud. Start paying attention to this.
Sugar is a HUGE source of inflammation in our bodies which is thought to be the cause behind MOST of our ailments. And mostly I’m talking about white processed sugar or all the many varieties of corn syrup. There are natural sweeteners that I think are okay, but even these should be consumed in moderation. DEFINITELY eliminate artificial sweeteners. These are not only killing any chance at weight loss (the reason we usually use them) but they can be damaging as well. Read more on those here. (I was sad to give up my diet Coke at the movies…but I make up for it in dark chocolate covered almonds- see sugar is not eliminated)…
Largely eliminating processed and artificial sweetener does not mean I’m eating two cups of honey a day either. I’m retraining my brain to not need EVERYTHING to be sweet. One great help in that was completing a Whole30.
Again, if you know me, you know I eat sweets. But they are not an every day thing and I’ve learned that not EVERYTHING has to be sweet.
2. I Drink WATER.
This one really goes back to number one. I mean, we all know that our bodies need water, and that most people are dehydrated. In addition to this, most beverages we would drink are full of….sugar. Soda is about the worst thing you can put in your body. Did you know in a regular 12 oz can of Coke there are THIRTY-NINE grams of sugar?! And most people aren’t drinking a can, they’re drinking the gas station/fast food place 24 oz plus…Bottled/Canned Teas, Juices, Fancy Coffee drinks are not a lot better. Check out this site for some comparisons. I basically drink water, carbonated water, or coffee with a bit of butter or half-and-half. NO sugar of any kind added. (Don’t even get me started on what’s hiding in most creamers you buy at the store….)
3. I Eat REAL Food.
We buy very few packaged/ready made foods. If we do buy something packaged we read labels and check for chemicals, weird preservatives, ingredients that we are not sure of what they are. We often make our own sauces (pizza, pasta, curry, etc) and at times even our own mayonnaise. Thankfully there are starting to be more and more options for things like mayonnaise and salsa that have nothing but FOOD in it. Seriously, start reading your labels, you’ll be shocked at how rarely you read something has just a few ingredients in it, and how often there’s weird stuff added into something that should be simple. Like yogurt.
Here’s an example: We like to eat pizza once a week usually. Instead of buying out or getting a frozen pizza, we make it at home- and we love it. We make a quick sauce in the blender rather than buying one (bc it’s so hard to find one without sugar/weird chemicals in it), we cut up a ton of veggies, and we shred cheese for the top because the blocks of cheese don’t have weird additives in it, but shredded cheese does (that’s how they keep the shredded cheese from turning into a big clump). I try to find a pizza base that has all natural ingredients. This can be hard to find but we do have a brand here in our health food section called Ezekial bread that offers all natural bread/pita bread/etc.
I eat at least three servings a day (like that’s the bare minimum), including a lot of dark greens because those act as anti-inflammatories in your body and pack a TON of nutrients. The easiest way for us to do this is by drinking green smoothies. Ben, CJ and I all have one almost every day. I literally stuff my blender full of spinach and kale and blend that with water, then add a half a banana and a handful of frozen fruit. That’s it! No juice, no milk, no honey, whatever. You might be a salad person, but I find that I don’t have the patience to make myself a salad every day and I dislike salad without dressing and I don’t like making my own dressing very often! I’m willing to put the work in for pizza…but salad? And again, it is REALLY hard to find a dressing that doesn’t have added sugar, weird oils and chemicals in it…
5. Cut Back on Dairy.
People have varying opinions on dairy, my decision is based on my personal experience. I just noticed that if I drink a lot of milk I tend to have more sinus problems. Milk can be inflammatory, and also increase phlegm in our bodies. About the WORST thing I could do to myself is to drink a bunch of chocolate milk or a milkshake. Of course that does not mean I never do it, but just usually if I do I can immediately feel the difference in my sinuses (pressure in my head! For me it’s usually in the front around my eyes). I know you’re thinking “you JUST told me you put cheese on your pizza”. Yeah. I do. A little bit (Ben gets more on his). But that doesn’t seem to bother me like straight milk does. (So get off my back. Jk.)
Here’s an example of a day of eating for me:
Breakfast- (drink a glass of water first since it’s been all night since I last had some)…Coffee and Slice of Ezekial Bread toasted with (natural- no weird stuff in it) PB and 2 scrambled eggs.
Snack- Green Smoothie
Post Workout- Almonds and Raisins
Lunch- (often these are leftovers) Taco Meat salad (taco meat cooked up with bell peppers and onions, on top of a bed of spinach, topped with salsa and a spoon of Greek Yogurt).
Snack- Shakeology (before Shakeology this might have been Carrots and hummus or a protein shake. In fact, Shakeology now sometimes serves as my lunch and then I keep this snack as carrots and hummus or even turkey and hummus rolls).
Dinner- Homemade Chili
Snack- Greek PLAIN yogurt with a bit of flaxseed or granola on top
When I am DYING for some chocolate at night I like to make no bake clean cookies– a mix of cacao powder, coconut oil, pb, honey, oats, and whatever else we feel like tossing in there- chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, etc. And I usually halve the recipe so I don’t have them hanging around too long…
Changing my eating has changed my life. I continue to tweak little things, fight for moderation, and read up on new information, recipe ideas, etc.
What have you changed in your eating? Or are there any of these ideas you might try?