Welcome, friends! Today I want to share with you some thoughts on healthy cooking and eating.
I Thought I Was Doing Alright…
I’ve generally thought of myself as a pretty healthy person when it comes to food. I don’t overeat very often, don’t eat a lot of junk food, and I like vegetables. I don’t fry foods very often, don’t usually butter my bread, and eat salads with almost every dinner. But then I started getting more interested in nutrition. I had been counting calories to lose weight for about 6 months, but I knew there was more to it. I tried out low calorie, low carb, and pre-packaged diets. Everything worked for a while, but it was hard to be consistent, and to feel good consistently on any of those diets. And there was a constant fear that if I went off even by a little bit, I’d feel horrible or gain back weight.
Then I started taking classes online in nutrition. I learned about our bodies’ processes, how they really use the food we give them. And that made me think that what I ate was so much more than just a flavor or a texture. I continued to study, learning about macro- and micro-nutrients, about sources and functions of vitamins and minerals, about the relationship of nutrition to chronic disease, and I was even more sold on healthy eating. I felt like I really had it down now. But still, I didn’t feel much different, and didn’t notice any change in my weight loss efforts.
And Now For Something Completely Different…
It was then that I read the book Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman. I won’t attempt to summarize the whole book here (you really should just check it out for yourself), but after reading through the results of thousands of scientific studies and medical journals, Dr. Fuhrman came to the conclusion that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in grains, low in fats (especially saturated fats) and added sugars, and practically free of meat, eggs, or dairy was the most likely to help people avoid chronic disease and reach or maintain a healthy weight. It was a big jump for me. I like meat, and I love dairy. I can do lots of vegetables, but fruit is not my favorite. Oh, and I love grains. All of them. Gluten full, gluten free, doesn’t really matter to me! Giving all this up didn’t sound that appealing.
I wanted to dismiss it all as a fad, as some meditation and yoga-induced silliness. But the science was right there. It was not a flower-power leader in the Adirondacks telling me to only eat one color of food at a time, or to only drink at certain times of the day, or that I could only eat food groups in a certain order. It was just basic biological science, backed up by literally thousands of accepted studies. And then I got to thinking, if I could really avoid or even reverse diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, and obesity, why wouldn’t I? Then I thought, well, this is how God created us to eat, therefore it must be good.
So I jumped on the so-called bandwagon. Yes, it’s been a bit of an adjustment. I love cooking, and I love eating, so I am still experimenting to find the best balance between an optimal diet and good taste. I am not rabid about any of this, and really, neither is Dr. Fuhrman. Not the raw part (I would probably rather die than never cook anything), not the vegan part (I have no idealogical objection to ethically produced meat or dairy), but I am very, very excited about becoming a healthier version of myself. I’m not above a little cheat here and there, especially when it is for the convenience of others, and I definitely don’t plan on having a raw, vegan Thanksgiving (although that could be a fun experiment!), but overall, I feel so much better after just two weeks. I have more energy, I have lost about 10 pounds, and the best part is that I am not craving any of the foods that I have eliminated from my diet. I haven’t been sitting around dreaming of a burger and a milkshake, or wishing I could just go and deep fry something. I have candy and cookies still sitting around from before “the change” and they haven’t even tempted me.
Don’t Take My Word For It…
If you are looking for a better way to fuel and nourish your body, I highly recommend you check out Eat to Live. It’s different from just going vegetarian or vegan, because even people who fall into those camps can fall into nutritional traps (such as living solely on toast and peanut butter). Tomorrow, I will be posting on some tricks and tips I have found to be helpful in following a healthy, plant-based diet, and in making it enjoyable.