We grow up eating what we’re given. Sometimes through our home and sometimes through some place outside like school or a day care. Then as we get to an age where we have some choice about what we eat, which I experienced in my teen years, we start to make habits and learn more about what food does, and how it can be used. Living with my father as a teen I learned a few basic cooking habits. Mostly simple foods, on your plate. Like the five food groups. I know we have advanced out nutritional charts now that people use to categorize our food, but honestly I always just return to the five basic food groups. It seems easier, and the newest of the charts (my plate) is very much like what we use to do to our plates with food in my youth. My dad kind of went though his midlife crisis when I was fifteen, and he had a total gym in our living room. I worked out a lot after school doing Fit TV aerobics exercises and Body by Jake. I also played soccer year round and would ride my bicycle all over town. I learned that complex carbohydrates like whole grains were great for long-lasting energy when I went to soccer games and simple carbs like Tootsie rolls were good for bursts of energy. However that was the extent of my nutritional knowledge. We ate pretty healthy, lots of fresh veggie trays and fruit in the house. Meat staples were salmon, boneless chicken breast, and steak with the occasional ground beef in burgers or spaghetti. As I grew to a young adult, I became more interested in health and wellness and took nutrition in college. Experimenting with foods from other cultures and always loving the fresh produce of the summer. My dad taught me to make berry jam each summer after we went to the local berry picking farm and picked up fresh strawberries and raspberries. So I’ve always preferred home-made berry jam to store-bought, and now that I am more aware of what goes into my food, it’s all that much more preferred to make my own.
It has been a journey, learning to eat right and taking a step at a time to change my diet over the years. I have never really liked the idea of a diet, because I cannot change my eating habits that quickly or drastically, so I’ve always taken it a step and a day at a time. That way if I back slide one day or one meal it does not derail my efforts. I tell myself if I indulge in something that I don’t want to eat any more or don’t want to eat as often, I can start over tomorrow instead of giving up. I do admit I tried one diet, the South Beach diet. After reading the book and understanding that it is a way of life, not a deprivation of enjoying food. I also learned more about the details of how food affects my body. I still endorse the diet, however now that I have rid my home of things that are not made to be food, it is and was much harder to follow the practice because I was constantly having to improvise in my meals. This is where my current habits came in.
Now I know that there are still things that I have bought and then later realized that I no longer wanted to consume them for health reasons, but at least I’m constantly altering my habits for the better as time goes. I am not more limited resulting in hunger, just more conscious of what I am buying and consuming. More fresh food, raw food, and whole foods.
I become board with my meals sometimes, and so I like to change it up every now and then. This is why I love learning new recipes from people from other countries and ethnic backgrounds. I love crossing flavors and combining ingredients in new ways too. I find that adding this or taking out that to another recipe makes it my own twist on an already yummy meal.
As I go through these habits and document them, I hope to not only change my nutrition habits permanently but also become healthier. I have already seen good changes in my body and health thus far.
A few examples:
- Very rarely if ever become constipated
- I have very regular bowel movement
- I do not have extreme drops in my energy through the day
- I feel fuller and eat smaller portions without feeling deprived
- I rarely have extreme cravings
These are a few things off the top of my head that I can say are very noticeable changes that have occurred over the last couple of years with my dietary changes.
I’m looking forward to reading a new book that I ordered that will further help me in learning more about natural healing and health, it is called The Great Physicians Rx, by Jordan Rubin. I will report on it when I am done and let you know what I learned.
So back to my routine. Lately I’ve made it a habit to either do a Pilates class at the gym while my daughter is in her gymnastics classes on Sat. which has been a great forced routine for me. I love Pilates and I always feel so good afterward. Mid week I am running or spinning during her swim classes, and I am glad to finally get back into a really regular and consistent routine of exercise. Since the my surgery and the holidays its taken a bit to get back into it, but I’m glad to report I am now looking forward to it every week. I am feeling stronger and though my immune system has been extremely week and I seem to catch every cold and flu that has come through this winter, It seem the worst is over. I am also hoping the herbal remedies that I am taking to help cleanse my body so that in the future as I get stronger my immune system will also become stronger.
Eating natural and healthy can be a lot of work sometimes. We make more from scratch and use simple ingredients to make the same foods we’ve always loved. Last night was taco night for us, and so we used my homemade taco seasoning. It is both frugal and tastes great so I recommend making your own if you are tired of having to run to the store for seasoning every time you feel like tacos like we used to.
1/4 C. chili powder
1/4 C. ground cumin
1/4 C. oregano
2 T. Cayenne pepper
1/4 C garlic powder
1/4 C onion powder
3 T Kosher salt
To use, add 1-2 tablespoons (depending on how spicy you like it) to a pound of ground meat when cooking.
Note: I got this recipe from a great book called Miserly Moms living well on less in a tough economy, by Jonni McCoy. I have learned so much from this book about how to live healthy on a budget.