March is National Nutrition Month® and, if you didn’t know by now, good nutrition is very important to me and my family. We are very passionate about natural health and wellness and I thought this would be a great time to share our nutrition journey. (We didn’t always eat as well as we do today).
Also, throughout the month of March I will be sharing our favorite healthy recipes. As you know, the Healthy Living series I started earlier this year is well under way and future articles will share even more information about living a healthy lifestyle, including more information about why we made these changes – and how you can too.
10 Years Ago
Ten years ago we didn’t eat as healthy as we eat now, but of course we thought what we ate was fine. (Don’t most people think they eat healthy when asked?) I am trying to remember what we ate then, and here is what I came up with:
- Breakfast: Cold (boxed) cereal with milk
- Lunch: Deli meat sandwich
- Dinner: Various things, but vegetables played a minor role on our plate
I specifically remember a time when we ordered pizza almost every week and I drank Mountain Dew with it. And I remember going to fast food restaurants and not thinking anything of it. We used our microwave a lot, too, even for cooking frozen vegetables (which seems so odd to me now). I am pretty sure I sometimes ate cookies for breakfast, too, because I was an adult and COULD do it – HA! 🙂
I also remember that being a time when I had my percentage body fat measured and was surprised to find it rather high. I also got sick a lot (colds) and went immediately to the doctor where I was given some useless drug, which I happily took.
I don’t remember exactly how we got started with our healthy eating overhaul; perhaps it was the conversations my husband had with our chiropractor that gave us the spark. The information he gave us was interesting, and we followed it up with some research. Slowly, we decided to change the way we ate.
While we were doing our initial change, I remember eating some interesting things, for breakfast especially. We were following a cookbook called Back to the House of Health and eating the “Zippy Breakfast”, which was a bowl of brown rice with lemon juice, olive oil, liquid aminos, avocado, and tomato. Or alternately we would make a big salad (yes, green salad for breakfast)! We would pile it with various greens including sprouts and top it with our homemade salad dressing.
We started shopping at Whole Foods Market, a natural and organic grocery store. We looked for new recipes and kept with it.
We increased our veggie portions on our plate and added more fresh vegetables. We started eating hot rice cereal for breakfast, as well as eggs. We increased our healthy fats by including olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil into our diets. We switched to deli meats from Whole Foods (without nitrites and other preservatives) and then eventually switched to cooking regular chicken breasts and cutting them up for sandwiches.
We did feel completely tired as our body started cleansing, and this was good. Out with the toxins and in with the real food and nutrition.
What We Do Now
I won’t go through all the changes we made, because there were many and it covered the span of YEARS. My biggest advice if you want to really make a lifestyle change is to make health a hobby. Put time into research. Ask questions. Try new recipes. Change one thing at a time. Always yearn to grow and change and learn more.
Trying to compare and contrast what we do now compared to how we used to eat, here are just a few snippets:
- Breakfast: We eat oatmeal with ground flax seed, coconut oil, and fruit. We also sprinkle cinnamon on top; my husband adds turmeric, too. We eat eggs almost every morning, too.
- Lunch: I cook a bunch of organic chicken (usually thighs, but sometime breasts) in a glass pan, with plenty of organic seasonings. I cut into serving portions (which are smaller than they used to be) and freeze all in a big container. Each day for lunch, I pull out some chicken and warm it up in a saucepan on the stove top. We put it on a sprouted grain wrap with various veggies.
- Dinner: Various meals but with organic and better ingredients. Vegetables now take up half or more of our plate.
Here are a few other things we do now:
- Eat real foods
- Eat organic (fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, butter, etc.)
- Low dairy (no more milk)
- Eat 75% vegetarian
- The meat we do eat is mainly chicken, turkey, bison, or whatever game my dad gives us. We eat very little beef; we do not eat any pork at all.
- Low processed foods/snacks and what we do buy is natural or organic
- Absolutely none of these ingredients in food: hydrogenated oils, MSG (in any name/form), food colorings, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, hormones
- Low/no sugar
- We only drink filtered water; no juice, soda, etc. (we installed a reverse osmosis unit under our sink, which makes it SO easy)
- Absolutely no fast food, and reduced our restaurant visits to those that have better ingredients (we love Jason’s Deli)
- We do not use our microwave at all; food is cooked or reheated on the stove top or in the oven.
- We only cook with stainless steel or glass; no aluminum or plastic. Same with food storage.
Here are a few places we learned about nutrition:
- We talked to our chiropractor, who also was a clinical nutritionist. You can search out healthy professionals in your own life. Information can be varied and contradicting, though, so listen smartly.
- Dr. Mercola’s Total Health Cookbook & Program
- Weston A. Price
What Can You Do?
When you decide to eat healthier, all the information can be overwhelming. My advice is to make changes slowly; change one thing at a time. Incorporate that change into your life until it becomes a habit. Then change something else – and keep going. Like anything, if you try to do everything at once, it may be too hard to maintain, and you end up not changing anything!
A good start is to follow my blog, or other health blogs, to learn about healthy options. Find the people who are the most vibrant and see what they do.
You may be wondering why we made the changes we did; why certain things are ‘bad’ and certain things are ‘good’. I will go into detail in future articles about the ‘why’ for most of those things so that you can decide for yourself if you want to embrace that change, too. For now, keep reading and learning – and enjoy this month of healthy recipes!
Wendy – ParentingTips365.com