Soaking cashews for cashew milk
This year has been great so far. I feel good, physically and mentally and a lot of that, I credit to healthy eating. In the beginning of the year, I completed the Whole 30 challenge and learned so much from it. Much of that was from research, but most of it was from how my body responded to eating wholesome, unprocessed foods. Towards the end, we learned that Bob had high cholesterol so we had to transition to meals that were more heart-healthy and less focused on animal products and by-products. Also, diabetes runs on both sides of my family, and as I get older I’m more aware of the fact that I may be susceptible. I’ve seen what relatives have gone through, particularly my grandfather, whose health deteriorated in such a painful way from the disease. At the time, I was young and couldn’t process or understand all that was happpening, but looking back, I realize that it’s not something I’m eager to put myself through. I want to live a long and healthy life.
HOW I EAT (the main points)
For the record, I’m not Paleo or vegan or vegetarian or on any kind of fad diet, although I do like to take some principles from certain diets and incorporate them into my own. I eat according to what I know I like and what I know is good for my body. Simple as that.
I use nutritional yeast—which is rich in vitamin B12, zinc and protein—as a sub for cheese in some dishes. It’s particularly delicious in this vegan mac and “cheese” variation or even on veggies with olive oil and then roasted in the oven. As for sprinkling on pasta? Admittedly, nothing beats Parm.
I don’t buy or cook red meat anymore. As a person who lives with someone who has high cholesterol and has a family history of it, it’s best to only eat it sparingly. I am more lenient with myself on the weekend, though consuming it isn’t a regular thing, even then. My weakness is more for dairy than meat anyway.
I try to include at least one veggie in every dinner. At least!
I avoid cow milk because it’s high in sugar, cholesterol and saturated fat (even the low-fat kind!). However, I will make an exception for eating out, particularly if I’m ordering a coffee. Nut milk is a delicious, nutrient-rich substitute and it’s incredibly easy to make at home. I like the flavor in my coffee so much that I don’t even need to add sugar.
I avoid refined white/wheat flours when I can. Not only do they provide little nutritional value, but the flour causes blood sugar levels to spike considerably. It’s in standard store-bought bread, which are also usually filled with other ingredients to avoid like additives, preservatives, artifical flavoring and extra sugar. I’ve instead replaced it with sprouted grain bread which is a mix of spelt, barley, wheat, beans, millet and lentils. It has no added sugar or refined wheat. It tastes just like whole wheat bread, only more nutty and dense.
I plan at least 4-5 meals for the week. I make it fun by perusing new recipes to try on food blogs. I always look at the recipe first to see if it’s 1.) fairly simple, 2.) fairly quick, 3.) doesn’t use too many ingredients.
I give myself wiggle room on the weekends. I like fudgy brownies. I like beer and wine. I like buttermilk fried chicken. I like the warm French bread with butter that’s served at restaurants before your meal comes out. I love cheese. These things won’t change so I allow myself those indulgences, just in moderation.
There’s another purpose to this post besides updating you on how I’ve been since the Whole 30, and that’s to provide some backstory to what will be the start of a new series on this blog. I’ll share my healthy meal plans here, along with the recipes and my notes on each. I like try a few new meals every week, so if nothing else, you’ll have some fresh suggestions all tried and tested by me! And of course, I’ll include Bob’s opinions just to provide you with a more fair review.
I’m unsure whether this will be a bi-weekly or a monthly thing, but I think I’ll just go with the flow and see what works!