My favorite cuz and I skyped last night. I am so proud of all the healthy changes she is making.
Our conversation got me thinking about the challenges that so many of us face. Mainly, how and what do we replace our beloved snacks with? Can something that is satisfying and taste good, really be good for you? Think about it. In our modern standard american diet (SAD) we are bombarded by “the eat this not that” mentality. Diet food and weight loss products / services are a $55 billion dollar a year (2010) industry. Could it be, perhaps, that the SAD promoted isn’t what will actually help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Healthy TIPS for Snackage
If you are trying to replace foods or food groups, only pick 1 thing a month to ditch. It helps your body catch up. 1) getting “x” out of your system 2) replacing it with a healthy alternative 3) deciding if you really do need an alternative.
Ask your self . . . What am I missing? Do I just want the crunch? If so, great ways to get a needed crunch are: cut up vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, apples. These are great snacks to add that zesty crunch to your snack. If you need a little more zip, try parmesean crisps or kale chips. YUM!
Make Good Food Accessible!!!
Gosh this is a biggie. If good whole food is not readily available in your cupboards, freezers and fridges, sticking to even your best laid plans will be DOOMED.
Prep your veggies and fruits the day you bring them home. I turn on my music and have a chop fest on the days that Rob shops. Lettuce is cleaned and made ready for salads, peppers and onions chopped and put into separate containers. Strawberries are cleaned and prepped for easy grabbing.
Do you actually need a snack?
Seriously, you need to ask yourself if you are bored or does your body need fuel? My mindful about how your body is feeling. If fuel is the answer, think about what you really do need. Is it protein, carbohydrates or healthy fat? Mindfulness of how your body is feeling is key to feeling both satisfied and addressing cravings you have.
Ditch the Grain
Last year when I started the first part of my journey, I followed every single normal conventional wisdom (CW) approach out there. I religiously counted every single calorie. I used splenda or sweetener instead of real sugar. Kaschi and Special K Bars were my afternoon friend. Low fat meant that it was OK! I could go on and on.
Part of my journey I dedicated to reading about “successful” former fat people. How did they overcome their weight. What did they do differently? The more I read, the more I learned that there was mounting evidence and research that grains, soy and wheat are not a healthy partner in my desired healthy lifestyle. For me, when I read some of these things, it was like a light bulb going off in my head, “Oh!” Could that be an integral part of what is making me feel icky (yeah a technical term)???”.
I read papers, lurked on forums, asked questions. Finally, I decided I didn’t have anything to lose (well except you know what). I decided to give up grains COLD TURKEY. After all, why not make an experiment out of it.
Oh MY GOD!!! When I think back to January 2011, I still can’t believe I mad it through the process. Week 1 was so hard. But, I think sheer will-power got me through. I kept thinking, I am on a diet, those things are now off my diet. I can do this. Week 2, I remember going out to dinner with Rob and the bread tray was delivered. Rob started questioning me about my diet changes. Back then, it was so hard to describe to people “what” I was trying to do. The best way for me to talk about it as an experiment. I am cutting out grains and processed foods to see what happens and if it will make a difference! Weeks 3 and 4, when ever we were going to be in a social setting, I planned ahead how I would handle the “food”. I researched the restaurant for what was good to eat and planned accordingly. I started asking our Server to replace certain foods, with a salad or just not put in the plate. When we went to friends houses, I brought snacks or dishes that I knew I would be comfortable eating. NOTE – My body did start to change. Week 5 and 6 – Two of the biggest things I noticed was that I didn’t need antacids any more and my tummy was way less gurgly (yup my IBS was going away).
By the end of February 2011, I decided that this was no longer an experiment for me, but that I would truly search out a grain free way of life. Rob and I look back and I quote him “yeah, you were pretty much a born again food nut” after that. An apt description, but yes, I’d say it’s correct.
1 Year Later? For me, I’ve tried a couple of the gluten free chips and other things. A bite is not bad, but anything more makes my tummy feel soooooo icky. I have invested in several gluten free cook books and find opportunities to try new recipes using almond or coconut flour. Asking for substitutions is normal. When I go into the lunch room at work, I don’t mind looking at all the food options that people have. I know that if I eat it, I’ll be sicker than a dog later and no piece of cake is worth that.
Life has gotten easier, but you still have to be vigilant. Read te Label! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is in a dish. Make your own healthy INFORMED decisions. Based on everything you have read, ask your self if you think it will fit into your new healthy lifestyle. If yes, give it a whirl! Your body will tell you right away if it’s a no-go.
Afterall, it is your body and health that is at stake.
NOW, go play out side already!
I pulled a couple of articles on Wheat for you.
Kressers 9 steps series is a must read: http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-1-dont-eat-toxins
MDA is one of my favorite daily haunts: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-grains-are-unhealthy/
Mercola is cool, but sometimes he can be a little alarmist / “out there” with his articles. That being said, unfortunately, most of the research points that wheat and grain products REALLY ARE doing more harm and creating inflammation to our bodies. They are not the panacea of healthy eating.