A Journey to Healthier Eating

  • We need food to survive. 
  • We cannot stop eating when we want to lose weight.
  • We cannot stop eating while focusing on healing.
  • We cannot stop eating because we are in pain.

 

We cannot stop eating.

 

We need food, nourishment, energy. And yet for many people, food is the source of physical pain, mental anguish and soul-crushing anxiety. 

(Photo by  Travis Yewell )

(Photo by Travis Yewell)

 

We were created with nutritional needs - namely, we need food and water to survive. Jesus even recognized this physical need when He gave us the bread and the wine to nourish us spiritually. We can’t escape the need.

 

There is much debate on the topic of nutrition. 

 

Some think we need to eat as close to what the cavemen ate (meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds); others believe we need to lump different food groups together (fats with fats; energy with energy); some believe we need to consume only non-animal products (ie, vegetarian & vegan diets), yet others people believe we need solely to restrict our fat intake, or our sugar intake, or our salt intake, or our caloric intake…

 

In reality, none of these things is inherently wrong. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each person has the capability to feel strong and healthy depending on the food they eat.

 

Remember, I am not a registered dietician, clinician or medical professional. If you are in pain, seek medical attention. If you have specific medical conditions, please don’t drastically shift your diet without consulting your doctor.

 

There are a few significant dietary changes that you may want to consider on your journey to healthier eating.

 

1. Reduce Sugar Consumption

As Americans, we consume too much sugar. Period.  Did you know that most jarred pasta sauces include sugar? Peanut butter too. Also, bacon. WHY DO THESE THINGS NEED SUGAR???

 

Sugar is addictive. When we eat it, we want more. Several studies have pointed to the idea that the same parts of our brain are stimulated with sugar as with illicit drugs.*1 

 

Sugar is also responsible for the sharp rise in diseases like diabetes and the obesity epidemic we have in the US. If you are interested in reading more about this, articles such as http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/4/950 are very insightful.

 

2. Reduce Wheat/Grain Consumption

There are two main reasons to consider eliminating or reducing your wheat/grain consumption.

 

A. You have Celiac Disease. If you have Celiac, your body cannot process gluten which is in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale and oats. (Oats on their own do not contain gluten but are frequently processed along side gluten-containing grains) 

 

Symptoms of Celiac Disease include diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count (anemia), and osteoporosis. If you think you may have Celiac, please see your doctor. There are tests that can be run to confirm this diagnosis.

 

B. Grains, especially refined grains, are too often consumed in larger quantities than our body needs. They are empty carbohydrates that offer little in the way of long-term satiety and may actually increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and raised cholesterol levels.

 

Whole grains, when properly prepared, can be an important to a well-balanced diet, in moderation.

 

3. Increase Water Consumption

(Photo by  Melissa Walker Horn )

Most people know they need to drink more water. But do you know why? A human body is approximately 60% water. Our bodies use water to help deliver oxygen through out our bodies, lubricate our joints, regulate our body temperature, and is needed by the brain to manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters … just to name a few things.*2 

 

An adult woman should be drinking about 2.5 liters (or 10 cups) of water each day and an adult man should be drinking about 3 liters (or 12 cups) of water each day. That’s a lot of water!! To nail down exact amounts for you, most experts say to drink half of your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 180 lbs., you should be drinking about 90 ounces of hydrating liquids a day.

 

The good news is that all hydrating fluids count toward your daily intake, not just water. Things like milk, tea and juice all contribute to your total. It is wise to consider drinking things like fruit-infused water, unsweetened tea and sparkling water to avoid unnecessary calories and sugar. 

 

4. Increase Vegetable/Fruit Consumption

We’ve all heard the childhood saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The World Health Organization recognizes this: Current evidence indicates that fruits and vegetables consumed as part of the daily diet can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.*3

 

Fruits and vegetables contain water, fiber, which our body needs for digestion and elimination, potassium, which we need to help regulate our blood pressure, along with many other phytochemicals such as antioxidants that help our bodies in countless ways.

 

Adding more vegetables to your meals is a great way to save money too! Vegetables and fruits are more inexpensive than meats. Try implementing “Meatless Mondays” to your weekly meal rotation.

 

Corn & Tomato Pie 100 Days.png

If you’re looking for a great meatless summer recipe, this Corn and Tomato Pie made with a whole wheat crust is just the ticket!

 

CORN AND TOMATO PIE RECIPE

 

I’d love to know if you’ve tried any of these ideas. What works for you? What doesn’t?

 

Have an awesome week,

Karin S.

 

SOURCES:

Healthy Eating Habits Part 2: Choosing Wisely Without Breaking the Bank

So how’s it been taking these first few Baby Steps? If you’ve started planning your menus, shopping the perimeter of the store and reading some labels, you’re off to a good start. Now you may be wondering what else you can do on your journey toward Healthy Eating Habits.

 

We know that healthy eating is good for us. But it can also seem to be more expensive. And in reality, it is a bit more expensive. And it takes a bit more time. However, if you take a longterm view of your health, as you would a longterm view of your financial investments...

 

The longterm benefits outweigh the short-term drawbacks. 

 

(Photo by  Johnny Martínez  on  Unsplash )

(Photo by Johnny Martínez on Unsplash)

A 2013 study by Harvard School of Public Health found that replacing junk food with healthier fare would increase the price of food by $1.50 per person per day - that’s $6 per day for a family of four. When added up, that isn’t pocket change for many people struggling to get by.

 

What this study doesn’t take into account are the longterm effects of cheaper, processed, preservative and chemical-laden foods that are the norm in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are at epidemic proportions in this country thanks to the cheaper SAD diet. This ends up costing THOUSANDS more to everyone.

 

So let’s take a look at a few ways you can choose healthy food wisely without breaking the bank.

 

1.  Eat Seasonally

What is seasonal food?  Seasonal food is produce that is purchased and consumed around the time that it is harvested. For example, purchasing fresh strawberries in season in Middle Tennessee means buying them in the spring when they’re growing.

 

Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than food consumed out of season. Take those great Tennessee strawberries, for example. Have you ever craved a beautiful bowl of strawberry shortcake in September, gone to the store to get your strawberries and realized that not only do they look kinda green and awful but they’re EXPENSIVE? That’s because they’re not in season - they’ve been grown in a greenhouse somewhere far away and shipped in.

 

Food that is in season is usually plentiful, and as a result, less expensive than when it is out of season.

 

How do you know what is in season?

Take a trip to your local farmer’s market. See what they’re selling? That’s what’s in season. Buy a few things while you’re there - support those local farmers! They’re doing a good thing helping to build your local economy and maintaining the farmland around you.

 

You can also use a website like SeasonalFoodGuide.org to help you find out what’s being grown in any season in your state!

 

2. Make more plant-based meals

One of the most expensive ingredients to source organically is meat. When making the leap into purchasing fully-pastured meat, it’s an even bigger hit financially. 

 

Why not try making more plant-based meals, allowing meat to take the back seat. 

  • Think pasta with roasted veggies, some olive oil and parmesan cheese; 
  • Think a chili made with sweet potatoes and lentils (recipe included at the end of the post!); 
  • Think of a classic southern tomato pie (when tomatoes are in season, of course!). 

 

All of these are meatless main dishes but you won’t miss the meat.

 

When you do cook with meat, consider cutting your meat portion down. Instead of serving a 6oz chicken breast for dinner, serve a 3oz portion along with a hefty side of steamed broccoli. Bumping up your veggie intake is a great way to lower your cost per meal!

 

3. Coupons - Are they worth it?

Let me take just a minute to talk about coupons. What better way to save money, right??

 

Unfortunately, according to a recent study which looked at more than 1,000 online coupons offered by six major grocery store chains, the biggest chunk of discounts (25%, in fact) were for snack foods like chips, crackers and desserts and just 3% were for fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and veggies. What a disappointment!

 

Fortunately, if you google “organic coupons”, you’ll be lead to several sites that list individual manufacturers and the coupons they offer. It is a little bit of extra work and these coupons generally don’t come in the newspaper, but they are out there. You’ll just need to look a little deeper to find them.

 

I’d love to hear what you have to say! What changes have you made to eat more healthily? What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable to buy in season?

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As promised, here’s one of my favorite recipes: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Chili.

(Photo from Delightful Adventures)

(Photo from Delightful Adventures)

Perfect on a cool evening AND great on the warmer days because it doesn’t heat up your house!

 

Hope you have an awesome week!

Karin S.