I may be a nutcase, but a health nut I am not. I totally want to be though. The reasons I’m not is because:
1. Old habits die hard. Real hard.
2. It takes time.
3. It’s stinkin’ expensive.
About 8-weeks ago Corey and I made a 30-day commitment to eat better (you may remember my post about it here). Better, to us, basically meant we would not eat fake food (fake food is anything that has a shelf-life of over a week or so due to the extra “two dozen” ingredients that have been added (you know the kind I’m talking about)). Better meant salads and good meat, eggs and bacon, lots of fruits and veggies, good fats, raw peanut and almond butter, a bit of whole grain bread and a bit of other miscellaneous things like full-fat, Greek yogurt and raw honey. I have continued to eat a bit of dark chocolate every night along with some beer or wine and Corey has continued to drink his one-night-a-beer.
To get started I put everything in our kitchen that would not align to our new way of eating in a box. Think sugar-filled peanut butter, pretzels, cereal, cookies, etc. I would definitely consider us pretty healthy eaters, but once I filled the box there wasn’t one thing left in our pantry. Nothing.
So, I headed to Whole Foods and this is where things get really depressing around here. Real food is expensive. Like for real expensive. It’s tragic that our country is dying from cheap, shitty foods (mark that as the first time I’ve ever cussed on this blog, but there’s no better word) and for those of us wishing to eat healthy it means making some intense sacrifices elsewhere. Moving on …
80% of the food I bought was produce, all organic, if possible. Then, whole grain bread (Ezekial bread), raw (not roasted) peanut and almond butter, raw (not roasted) nuts, bacon (nitrate free), eggs (free range, grain fed), whole milk (for cooking and my coffee), Stevia, dried fruit, organic, dark chocolate (80% or more cacao) and organic, grass-fed meats.
200+ dollars and a passed out baby later …
We are, what I’d like to think, blessed to live in the city where Kroger is headquartered. The Kroger across the street from our house had every single thing I got from Whole Foods and more. Honestly, I was quite surprised to see how much was not organic at Whole Foods. It’s deceiving so you’ve gotta look out.
I quickly realized that week just how time consuming it is to really be conscience of everything you are eating. And, I don’t mean because we were keeping up with calories or writing things down. I just mean prepping salads (as opposed to whatever they offer you at work), cutting up fruit and veggies for a snack (as opposed to grabbing a handful of pretzels or chips), making a smoothie (as opposed to eating a bowl of cereal), etc.
Also that first week my body was taking a beating with the detox and my stomach taking a beating with all the fiber. It definitely took some time to get used to. Maybe a solid 3-4 weeks to be honest.
After the 2nd week I found myself feeling incredibly sluggish. Like depressingly sluggish. Our nanny is an organic farmer on the days she doesn’t work for us so she is always a great person to chat with. I shared with her how I was feeling and she suggested I incorporate some dairy back into my diet. This reminded me of something I had read in this book. In it, the author, explains that everyone is different and everyone’s bodies are different. There are certain foods that may make one person feel energetic, while making another person feel lethargic. I started to think that maybe I was a dairy person. The interesting thing is I’m not huge into dairy. I did though have milk every morning with my cereal and cheese made it’s way into most of our dinners.
That day Charley and I went to Target and I decided to get a latte with whole milk from Starbucks. Literally, no exaggeration, I felt like a totally different person that night. Although I got decaf, I wasn’t totally sure that it wasn’t the little bit of caffeine that is left behind, but after days of incorporating a bit of dairy back into my diet my depressing sluggishness went away. So so fascinating …
We decided that one day a week we would forgo our new way of eating to simply take a break, eat out and eat anything we may have been craving through the week. On our first free night out not one single thing on the menu sounded good. Thinking of eating a giant bun on a burger made me want to barf. Call me Lame Lucy but I ordered a beet salad on my night OFF. But, I did drink Diet Coke which I had not had in a week (I usually drank about 1 a day) and had a very delicious caramel brownie for dessert.
That night, again not exaggerating in the least, I was miserable. I got up multiple times convinced I was running a temperature. My stomach was cramping so bad I had a terrible time sleeping. I assumed it was sugar and told Corey that that brownie was not worth the pain I had hours after eating it.
Fast forward the following weekend and on our night off we went out for Mexican with friends. I clearly got amnesia and ordered a sugar-filled margarita. I knew that night was going to be hellatious, but you know what … it wasn’t. Hmmmmm ….. taking notes ….
Fast forward and sparing you the ever so boring details I have now discovered after the 3rd time (I told you, old habits die hard) that aspartame is the enemy. Oh how I love me some Diet Coke, but 3 times now I have drank it – the 2nd time not much at all, the 3rd time too much – and have had incredible stomach pain for hours after. I did a quick Google search and found that this is quite common. Aspartame is no longer part of my life. I think that’s one relationship I can live without.
Now, if I could only have the same problems with sugar I’d be the hottest girl in town. ; )
And, so here we are. You’ve been reading for 10 minutes and we’ve been trying to eat better for 8-weeks. I’ll wrap this up so that you can carry on with your life, but real fast, this is what I’ve learned:
1. Eating well takes time, but prepping smoothies and salads the night before may not be all that time consuming after all. When you think about having to go out to get something to eat that in itself can be time consuming.
2. Eating well costs money, but maybe eating well will save us money in the long run on health care … ?
3. When I eat foods that treat my body well my mood is better. It just is. So, I do believe we are what we eat, emotions and all.
4. At night I make our smoothies* and then throw them in 2 tumblers like these and stick them in the fridge. That way the next morning when we’re heading out the door or I’m stumbling into Charley’s room to get her out of her crib half asleep we have our breakfasts ready to go.
5. Yes, I cheat and when I do it I don’t feel bad about it. If I change even 50% of my diet that is a HUGE difference. I am striving for closer to 80%, but it’s baby steps, right?
6. Organic and hormone-free foods, although more expensive, are a non-negotiable for Charley. I do not want her growing boobs at the age of 8, if you know what I mean.
7. When you cut out processed sugar, fruit, specifically fruit like pineapple and Honey Crisp apples, become insanely sweet.
8. The key is adding good fat. Without it you will constantly feel hungry, as will your body. Every smoothie I make has 1/2 of an avocado. We try and eat lots of protein, nuts, peanut butter, etc. as well. The more protein and fat we eat the less sugar we crave. Both of us have intense sweet tooths and truly our cravings have changed in a huge way. We will get candy on our free days now and eat it because we can, not because we even want to.
9. All I want for myself and my family is to quit eating antibiotic-filled, hormone-injected meats, a million pounds of sugar and a bajillion different chemicals no one can pronounce. It really is that simple. I just wanna treat my body like our grandparents treated theirs. The processed foods that are available (specifically the fat free and sugar free ones!) are leaving our country fat and sick.
And, that is the (world’s longest) update. I feel confident that any of you interested will enjoy reading this. The rest of you may have read the first line and then joined us back right here. That’s perfectly okay. We’re all free to do what we feel we need to do. For us, we feel we need to give just a little bit more TLC to our bodies. That’s it.
I’m no expert, but am happy to answer any questions you may have.
*Our morning smoothies always consist of a bit of water, frozen berries (I buy non-frozen berries typically and then stick them in their plastic casing right in the freezer), 1/2 of an avocado, a bit of kale and a whole bunch of spinach. And, then along with those ingredients is whatever we have on hand: pineapple, apple, pear, carrots (surprisingly sweet), banana, etc. Some people add a bit of raw honey or Stevia for sweetness. I don’t do either. I think the fruit makes it plenty sweet.