I don't share lots of personal stuff here on the blog- typically I like to stick to just posting creative inspiration but back in June, I wrote about some of the changes that I made to my eating habits and I received a pretty big response. I had been struggling with some bad headaches everyday and seriously low energy. I have always eaten a fairly balanced diet but the last couple of years my body literally felt deprived and I was craving better choices and healthier fuel. I know that I never completely eliminate anything from my diet- I love food, I love to eat and I am not trying to loose weight but some simple changes have really made a big difference for me. After about 10 months of living with those small changes in my food choices, I thought I would share an update of how I am feeling and things I have learned:
CUT BACK ON SUGAR. I still have a MAJOR sweet tooth but initially, I was able to eliminate sweets for about 3 months and I felt fabulous but I also felt deprived of things that I really enjoy. I finally decided that a little treat here and there was not going to hurt me. I know the sugar issue is different for everyone but for me, I feel happy and healthy indulging in small ways. I have been able to keep this up for the last ten months and I have really seen a big difference in my energy level. If I stay away from lots of sugar, my energy and mood seems to be pretty even throughout the day.
CUT BACK ON CARBS: I love carbs but like sugar, I knew I was experiencing a lot of dips in my energy when I was eating a carb heavy diet. I know that I will never be able to go 100% paleo but over the last 10 months I have noticed when I eat meals that are protein and plant based, I feel better and have a lot more energy than when I eat lots of carbohydrates. While I have "fallen off the wagon" with carbs here and there over the last 10 months (I love bread and french fries more than anything), overall I have stuck to a diet that is more protein based. I've found if I allow myself a small portion of carbohydrates- like a piece of toast with my eggs in the morning or a small potato with a salad I am less likely to binge on a bag of potato chips!
ELIMINATE PROCESSED FOOD: Around the time I changed my diet, our microwave broke and it ended up being a blessing in disguise! We actually decided to hold off on replacing it which meant we were not able to eat anything cooked in the microwave. This was really hard for me at first- I used to eat a lot of frozen microwave meals because they were a fast way to get food into my body. I immediately noticed a change in the way that I felt once all those frozen, sodium high, processed microwave meals were eliminated. Last month we finally replaced our microwave but I no longer eat anything from the frozen food section of the grocery store. Bottom line- my body feels better when I eat fresh homemade meals.
DRINK WATER: As I have gotten older, I've noticed that drinking water and a lot of it is key to my daily survival. I feel better, my skin looks healthier and I am able to keep my headaches away if I stay hydrated. I always have a bottle of water on me no matter where I am so that I can sip on H2O all day long. I typically drink about 4- 33oz bottles of water a day.
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGIS: I've always loved fruits and vegetables but I know I was not eating enough of what my body needed. When I changed up my diet and added TONS of vegetables to all of my meals, I felt better, like a million times better! Over the last 10 months, this has been the one things that has really stuck. All my meals have something green in them. Typically I prepare what I like to call a "happy bowl" where my meal is piled on top of a bowl of spinach or greens or vegetables. Instead of just having eggs with a slice of bacon, I add it to a bowl of vegetables. These happy bowls keep me nurished and feeling and energetic all day long.
MY FAVORITE THINGS:
Spinach: I add spinach to everything- my scrambled eggs, my salads, my smoothies, even muffins and cookies can get a handful of spinach thrown into the batter!
Chick peas (or garbonzo beans): I love these little guys! They are a great source of protein. I bake them in the oven until crispy and they satisfy my potato chip craving.
Avodacos: I eat a ridiculous amount of avocado! They are high in protein, fiber and packed with vitamin E, B6, potassium and magnesium. I always put them in salads, throw them in a smoothie and spread them on a sandwich.
Edmame (green soybeans): packed with protein I love adding a handful of edamame to my salads.
Brussel sprouts: Up until about 5 years ago I had never tried brussel sprouts and once I did I was hooked. I literately crave them! I like to roast a big batch in the morning, sprinkle them with a little parmesan cheese and munch on them as a snack throughout the day.
The only way I can stay consistent and on track with healthy eating is by doing a lot of food prep and cooking. Last minute meals and eating out are typically the times when I give in to unhealthy choices so I really try hard to always have fresh food options on hand, prepped and ready to go.
Making my own salad dressing keeps me away from high sodium/sugary dressings from the store.
If I am too busy or don't have time to prep and make healthy salad bowls, I drink a smoothie to at least get my vegetable and fruit intake for the day.
I love using hot sauce, herbs and spices to add a little extra zest to my meals.
We almost always roast vegetables in the oven instead of frying them.
I love using my vegetable julienne peeler to make zucchini noodles- this seems to satisfy my carb/noodle cravings.
This food journey for me was never about loosing weight, it was about getting my body feeling better and I am happy to say that after 10 months of making good choices with food, my body is feeling so much better! My headaches are gone but they will come back if I make bad food choices or go overboard with sugar. I continue to have more energy throughout the entire day and gone is the crashing. I am not always perfect with my choices but I am so happy to be feeling better!