In my quest to live a healthier life, I am feeling overwhelmed by the vast amounts of information that is out there on different ways of eating. What’s better…what’s best…Who knows? But, let’s face it. Anything that includes vegetables and is the exact opposite of how I ate and drank in November and December has to be an improvement.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that one of the food documentaries out there that changed my life was That Sugar Film. There are now two more documentaries on my must-see list that I learned about today at work. One is The Game Changers about athletes that gave up meat to eat a strictly plant based diet and how that turned their bodies into machines. I’m also interested in the medical science behind it and especially the measurable health results that came with changing the way they ate. I personally don’t see me giving up meat entirely but I have to admit that I’m curious – and I’m open. Watch the trailer below:
The other one I want to see is called The Magic Pill. This is a documentary that discusses the detriments of sugar and carbohydrates in our diets and embraces healthy fats as a source of fuel. It follows a variety of people suffering from conditions and illnesses that were significantly altered or completely changed by a shift in the way they eat. Some of the conditions/illnesses it focuses on are people who have coronary artery disease, asthma, type II diabetes, epilepsy, autism, high cholesterol, and cancer. This one has now become the top on my watch list. Check out the trailer and join me if you feel called to. I’d love to have a discussion about it.
It can be so easy to get gobbled up in all the information out there but I’m a research junkie so I like to learn as much as I can and I love the science behind nutrition — a new love of mine but a love all the same.
For now, I’m trying to eliminate and/or severely cut back on refined sugar, grains, and processed foods. I am already a firm believer in consuming healthy fats. My favorite food in the entire world is avocado and so being able to eat an avocado a day delights me.
I struggle the most on the weekends. My weeks are so planned out that it’s easy. My wife and I have always packed a lunch because we just feel it makes little financial sense to blow money getting lunch out every day. Two of us ordering lunch out every day of the workweek at a minimum would be $20.00 a day (and that’s if we stick to fast food). $20.00 x five days a week is $100 a week. That’s $400-$500 a month on eating ONE meal out a day. That’s not including breakfast, dinner, snacks…oh and then there’s feeding that cute, little, and growing human who lives with us. It doesn’t make sense for our family.
So, Monday through Friday, we do well as we pack breakfast, lunch, and snacks. It’s controlled and it’s all healthy. Breakfast might be a keto egg casserole filled with veggies, ground flaxseed, and half an avocado. This week, it’s a piece of 7 grain sprouted bread with half an avocado mashed on top and a sliced hard-boiled egg on top with a side of cherry tomatoes. Lunch is typically 6 oz of protein and veggies and the other half of the morning’s avocado.
Snacks are plain greek yogurt with blueberries and cinnamon, celery with nut butter, raw veggies, turkey and cheese roll-ups, and almonds. Dinner is also usually well planned with 6 oz of protein, a steamed or roasted veggie (roasted with olive or avocado oil), and half a sweet potato. We are eliminating evening snacking and we indulge in our favorite red wine once a week only.
On top of this, we are trying EXTRA hard to drink more than the suggested water intake. To make this challenge a little more fun, my wife surprised me with this amazing water bottle. It tells you where you should be at certain times of the day to help you reach your water goal by 6:00 PM. When you drink two of them, you’ve reached your suggested water intake for the day. It says “Oh For Fox Sake, Drink Your Effing Water”….and it is just the sort of thing that makes me smile when I’m getting that water in for the day. I try to average 3-4 of these babies.
But, those pesky weekends are what get in the way. We’re out having fun, running errands, and sometimes spending an entire day at Disney. Not only does it become tougher to stay on track with all the distractions, but it feels like a giant inconvenience to have to stop and think about food when we want to go, go, GO as we chase adventure and create memories. We are trying to be better planners when it comes to this while also acknowledging that life happens!
For example, this past Saturday was my wife’s birthday. Typically, there’d be a whole cake or a dozen cupcakes in the house to celebrate. This time, though, we let our daughter pick out a cupcake from Fresh Market and the three of us shared one cupcake rather than having our own followed by two or more additional days that also included the leftover cake or extra cupcakes.
I would love to lose the 20 pounds I’ve put on over the course of last year but right now, I’m focused on what fuels my body to work and feel its best and so far, that has been an absence of refined sugar in my life. My joints are already thanking me, my stomach fat is dwindling (slowly but surely), and I’m down 5 lbs which is an added bonus. At this point in my life, I care more about how my clothes fit and that my knees and other joints don’t feel like I’m 98 years old than what the scale says – but it’s still nice to see the five-pound loss.
For years in my thirties, my blood work at my annual physical with my primary care doctor had my fasting blood sugar at pre-diabetic levels. I smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day for almost twenty years. I over-indulged in alcohol. I was also very skinny. Today, at 44, my blood work is consistently great. There are no signs of diabetes (“pre” or otherwise) and my cholesterol levels couldn’t be better. This year will mark ten years since I quit smoking. I’m heavier than I should be by 20 pounds but that is not the only measure of health and success as far as I’m concerned and I celebrate how far I’ve come in my overall health.
What type of eating plan has helped you look and feel your healthiest? What has inspired you to make those dietary changes for the betterment of your personal health?
Also, for those of you who gave up meat for health reasons, I’d love to learn more about it before I watch The Game Changers. I’m open to learning about it all!