Tuesday, June 17, 2014

a big bowl of happy

Lately I have been struggling with headaches and low energy and while I eat fairly healthy, something in my gut (literally) was telling me that it might be time to cut back on refined carbs, sugars and processed foods. I did a lot of research on a number of recipes and ways of eating- the Whole 30 Program, paleo, gluten free, etc but in the end I know that I will never completely eliminate anything from my diet. I love to eat, I don't want to lose weight or diet, I don't weigh myself or count calories, I love cheese, meat, bread and sweets BUT lately I know that I haven't feeding my body what it needs. 

So I set out to change some things:
  • The biggest change is that I have drastically cut back on sugar. I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth and if I'm gonna be honest, I was eating lots of sweets and crashing from the sugar throughout the day. While the first couple of days without my treats (Oreos, doughnuts, candy) was tough, I felt so much better and had energy all day- there was no crashing. While I haven't eliminated sugar completely, I have been making better choices like having a handful of trail mix instead of candy or only eating one s'more instead of six (yes, I would eat six).
  • The other big change I made was cutting back on carbs. Like sugar, I LOVE my carbohydrates! I love bread, I love pasta, I love just about anything made with flour and I eat a lot of it! From waffles to potato chips to a big ol' sandwich on thick pieces of bread, I have been eating a carb heavy diet for years and suffering from low energy and crashing throughout the day. This change was HARD because I have pretty high metabolism and I am always hungry, like ALWAYS! Eating carbs makes me feel "full so when I cut back on certain foods (like bread and pasta) and replaced them with lots of vegetables and protein I spend about 4 days feeling like I was hungry around the clock. But after those four days, that feeling went away and the good stuff I was putting into my body (like TONS of fresh vegi's) filled me up with no crashing and way more energy! I still eat carbohydrates but in moderation.
  • The best change I made, which I felt immediately, was adding a ridiculous amount of fresh vegetables into my meals. While I have been eating a pretty balanced diet, my body was craving more fruits and vegi's. So I have made anything green the foundation of every meal- fresh lettuce from the garden, avocado, zucchini, brussel sprouts, spinach,etc. is a part of every single meal that I eat. After the first day, I felt better- like I wasn't just filling my belly but I was feeding my body what it needed.


A few things that have helped me stick with it:
  • I like to fill up a giant bowl- what I like to call a "big bowl of love"- with all kinds of good stuff! I allow myself to stuff that bowl with all fruits, vegis and protein. I eat about 4-5 of these bowls per day and then throw in snacks in between. 


  • Salad dressing is easy and delicious to make. We make our own dressing with simple ingredients and and always keep it on hand. 
  • I try to prepare things ahead of time so all I have to do is grab food. My biggest downfall when eating healthy is laziness. If it is not accessible or prepared I get lazy and will grab a bag of chips instead of taking time to cook.  



Overall I am feeling FABULOUS! I have way more energy, I haven't been crashing and haven't had any headaches since changing my diet. The best part is that feeling this good makes me want to keep eating this way which is the best incentive and reward for staying healthy!




30 comments:

Tineke said...

Great post! I suffered the same problems as you, plus the added discomfort of IBS, which it turned out was mostly triggered by starchy foods. I can actually say that cutting down the carbs has changed my life.

One tip I could add: if you're getting fewer calories from carbs, then you can safely add more fat to your diet. It fills you up for longer, and there is more and more evidence stacking up to show that the 1980s fear of fat was pretty much unfounded. So don't be afraid to throw some more eggs, fatty fish, cheese, and fatty dressings on those delicious looking salads!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Yes indeed, if only more folks would make these changes. I actually changed my eating completely 9 years ago, stopped eating meat 6 years ago and have been mostly vegan for about a year. I eat whole foods, rarely use sugar, lots of fruits and veges and feel better than ever. :) Have a great week. Tammy

moois van me said...

thanks for the inspiration ! i'm gonna try to add the roasted chicken peas in a salad, never tought of it before!

livethegoldenrule said...

I thank you so much for your honesty, and your very informative post. I really need to do something different. So tired of being tired. You have given me a lot of useful information, confidence and hope that it can be better. You have helped me more than you can imagine. ;D

HollyM said...

I love your dressings, I've saved them. I make a fresh one everyday.
I too have done lots of research. We were vegetarian for awhile, have three in the family who are, and a daughter who eats paleo. I have weight and health issues but I too am convinced I need to eat just as you are. That's what I strive for. I heard a show where the doctor said it isn't healthy to completely cut out one type of food. Saying that we can all eat less sugar, grains and meats and eat more fresh.
Just a nite. I also saw on a cbc program last week that the preservative free sliced meets at the grocers really do have preservatives. The laws are loose around this. If it has something with the word celeriac in it supposedly that's a preservative. I haven't had time to research this yet.

Lynda said...

I need to get in the ball and do this. My hubby has been hard core healthy since January. I've tried cutting carbs but I get a migraine every time I do. I have to drink lots and lots of water to prevent this. Green smoothies are a great option for snacks. I love them. When I add coconut oil it really suppresses the appetite. Google "nourish bowl" and you'll see a vegan version of this same option. You ahold do a post on food storage/prep. I never remember how long stuff lasts and since I'm lazy and like things "ready to grab" I'd love to know how you organize! Great post.

Nancy said...

Good post! The salads look delicious and thanks for the dressing recipes. A very good direction for meals.

Ariadne Skyrianidou said...

I had been feeling low every time I ate pasta and at some point I decided to follow my own rules. I eat two big bowls of salad every day with fruit as snacks in between. At first I needed bread to go with the salad and felt haungry but then that stopped! I am really feeling much better now. I toss fruit inside the greens and a spoonful of honey. It makes lots of difference!AriadnefromGreece!

favouriteworkofart said...

Hi, remember to drink at least 2l of water a day too...I keep a big jug in the fridge and make sure I drink it thtoughout the day...sometimes juet plain water, sometimes fruit/herb/ginger infused....

Natty said...

That looks delicious!

Jennifer RIchardson said...

Your posts always dazzle me a bit, inspire me a LOT and feed my spirit. This one feels like a life-saver. This excites me in a fresh way toward caring for this tired body of mine. I love your process....can feel each word.
BIG glad thanks,
Jennifer

Judy Wise said...

Thank you for the inspiration. Loved the photos and recipes! xo

curlygirlpress said...

Girl, you could be in my head (but you have a better metabolism!) - I used to eat an entire box of red vines for dinner (with popcorn - for fiber, right?) but now a few pieces give me a headache. I'm also trying to cut my sugar habit and pile on the veggies. I love these salad ideas. One of my favorites is mixed greens with quinoa, cooked sweet potato chunks, avocado, olives, and sunflower seeds - toss it together and the avocado provides the dressing. = )

Gabrielle Fabian said...

Another great post!! I changed my eating habits last September to {primarily} paleo, but I too love those carbs. I eat them in moderation, as you, and since I changed my eating I also really feel the difference. Good for you and your family too!!
xx
Gabrielle

studioGypsy said...

thankyou. you are pure inspiration.. i soo needed this.. carbs/sweets am i, too. :P xoxo

Gina Alyse said...

these look AMAZING! I love grabbing a big bowl and throwing a bunch of things in them. But these are awesome combinations and I can't wait to try some of them out -- especially the strawberries with zucchini noodles and lettuce. YUM!

xo, gina

Anonymous said...

yum, yum, yum! How do you make the zucchini spaghetti? I love your food posts, they are as colorful and fun as your art posts! xo

Mrs. C said...

Yum! I cut back on sweets and chips, etc... about two years ago now and I feel a HUGE difference! I don't buy( or have any desire for fast food like Wendy's at all anymore, I used to love their chicken nuggets, really...) I actually crave salads and veggies instead of fast food. I have also seen a huge difference in my health. Not that I was unhealthy, I wasn't but I literally had one cold this winter and that's it! That's epic since i teach and am surrounded daily by germ breeding elementary school children! I still love and crave my sweets at times but I find myself eating less than i would have in the past. Keep it up! :)

Sharon Stanley said...

how wonderful for you! your bowls look terrific and I hope your increased energy continues. I tried a similar change last summer and did, for a while feel better and have more energy. I think my body became a bit used to the change and then it didn't seem quite as energized so, unfortunately, I didn't stick to it. I must try again! let me recommend smoothies as a great way to eat a tasty treat made with lots of yummy goodness...yogurt, greens, frozen berries or peaches and a bit of milk or sweetener...then some ice all done up in the vitamix and you have something scrumptious!

Mary said...

Thanks for this inspiring post! My metabolism didn't just slow down after 40, it came to a screeching halt! And I too have had issues with energy. I have been stuck in a salad rut lately: greens, cucumber and tomatoes...boring! I will definitely be trying some of these.

Kara Monroe said...

Loved this post and love when you post recipes. I've made your roasted chickpeas and love them. Can you share the recipe you use for Sweet Potato tots or a link to it? I googled it and haven't found anything that looks close (or healthy for that matter).

Cynthia Lee said...

I see my diet becoming less complicated and this idea of nutrition bowls is so appealing to me! Thanks for sharing more ideas.

Ingrid Orens said...

Refined sugars always are a huge energy drain, how contradictory that sounds... But so difficult to cut back, if you have a sweet tooth (like me....)
But your recipes look terribly yummy, plus are great for "filling" energy levels with the good stuff !! I will be serving your ideas on my family table for sure !!

Vivyane Veka said...

They all look so yummy !
Thank you for sharing : )

Val S said...

I needed this kind of reminder right now. We're going through a lot of stress and need to be careful to eat better (damn, there are chocolate muffins in the house!). I'm going to follow your advice about having healthy things ready to grab so we don't always resort to potato chips or bread.

Sydney said...

Yummy! Looks like what I've been eating lately too. So healthy and makes you feel so good when you eat it. Pretty too!

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Unknown said...

Thank you for posting these. I've been looking for some easy & healthy recipes, and these look delicious. I can't wait to try them!

TJ said...

I love that you admit to eating 6 Smore's! I am so happy I'm not alone... Battling my sweet tooth is one of the biggest challenges of my life.
This last winter I starting juicing and am looking forward to using veg from my garden to keep at it. Cleaning the juicer is a pain but it's another easy way to get a lot of nutrients into your diet. Thanks for sharing your dressing recipes, I have a honey mustard one that has a couple Tablespoons Orange juice as well as a little bit of fresh ginger for some more zip. Yummo.

Marysu said...

If you find your headaches and low energy returning, get tested for Lymes Disease. I had those same symptoms last spring, thought it was my chronic migraine amping up, and treated that. Eased up for a couple of weeks, then came back again. After a bunch of other events (I won't bore you with all the details) I finally got tested for Lymes and got the correct treatment!! You seem to be pretty outdoorsy, like me, and those tiny little deer ticks could get on you and you'd never even notice them! It's great that you've changed your diet, and I'm glad it's working for you but just be aware if those symptoms return, it could be more than too much sugar and not enough veggies! Love your work, love your style so stay healthy!

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