Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Recommitting to healthy eating

This Fall I lost 20 pounds by committing to a pretty basic healthy food regime.  And then the Holiday season hit.  I've gained at least half of the weight back and I still haven't gotten back on the band wagon, really.

The colder months make eating the way I want to relatively difficult, but I know that I will not only drop weight but that I'll feel better if I go back to some form of the plan I was on this Fall.  There's no book or web site that codifies the way that I want to eat.  The plan that probably comes closest is The Paleo Diet.  However, I do plan on eating some of the things that they eschew like some whole grains, legumes, potatoes, and salt.  And while I'll choose organic and local when it's available, I'm not going to spiral into a mega guilt trip whenever I order something at a restaurant because the meal's ingredients aren't organic and local.

The Plan

Here are the basic precepts of the plan I'm going to baby step my way back into (just like I did in the Fall), in order of priority/frequency when considering what to eat:

Fresh fruits and vegetables will provide the bulk of my diet.  Lightly cooked or (preferably) raw.

Fresh-frozen fruits and vegetables (especially in colder months).  Frozen is actually preferred when the food is not locally grown, since frozen produce is picked ripe and frozen close to the source sealing in more of the nutrients than 'fresh' produce that is trucked or flown hundreds or thousands of miles.  In order to maintain the 'freshness' of the produce, it is often sprayed with all sorts of chemicals.

Wild-caught seafood.  Farmed seafood is usually fed processed/unnatural junk and is also highly exposed to pesticides and other chemicals.

Nuts and seeds.

Unprocessed (dry whole) grains and beans.

Eggs.  Preferably from free-range chickens who are not fed a "vegetarian diet".  Chickens naturally eat bugs and grubs.  If they're fed a "vegetarian diet" their food is usually some sort of processed meal not only unnatural to the birds but also usually soaked in pesticides and other chemicals from the growing to the processing of the junk.

Free-range poultry.

Grass-fed meat.

Raw-milk based dairy products.

Cold-pressed oils (primarily Olive and coconut)

Things that I will be avoiding (whenever possible - at the very least, they will not be in my pantry):

  • Processed foods (anything in a box, can, or bag with more than one or two ingredients - especially if the ingredients listed are not the names of whole foods)
  • Refined sugars
  • Flour, of any kind (baked goods are not natural ...  I may treat myself to a whole grain product once in a very great while).
  • Mass-produced dairy products
  • Canned tomatoes.  (Organic-based jarred tomato sauces will be o.k. in moderation)
  • The hardest thing for me to give up will be the diet soda that I've again let myself become addicted to again. Part of that is the caffeine, part of it is the taste, but the biggest attraction is the bubbles which help breakdown the postnasal drip that I'm always fighting. I will probably go back to using my Soda Stream to make seltzers that I'll flavor with a little juice as a means of weaning myself off the other crud. I do plan on allowing myself some morning caffeine via hot tea.

    My sweetener of choice has been some form of stevia. However, after doing some research on that I'm going to switch from the powdered version which is highly processed with suspicious chemicals and is usually combined with some form of actual sugar. SweetLeaf makes a liquid version that is closer to pure stevia. But come Spring, I may actually try my hand at growing my own stevia and making my own suspension. Here's a great article about commercially available stevia which also contains a recipe for making your own liquid stevia suspension: Food Babe Investigates Stevia
    If this type of plan appeals to you, I would like to recommend 100 Days of Real Food and Slim Palate.   Both are closer to a pure Paleo diet than I am embarking on, but they're close enough for government work, as the saying goes.

    My employer has a program through WebMD to help you manage your health goals. I decided to let them coach me. I may also visit a local Naturopath. I previously worked with one who I really liked, but his office was thirty minutes from my house, so it was a hassle getting to him especially when his only evening with office hours overlapped with a lot of activities that I am committed to. Hopefully I can find someone closer with some of the same sensibilities to help me better manage my health.

    Wish me luck and especially health!