One of the newbies. So sweet! Photography by yours truly.
I guess you’ve probably noticed that it’s been awhile since any of us posted. Well, we’ve all been pretty busy these last couple of months. The biggest news is the arrival of three new babies! Congrats to my three sisters! Babies and mothers are doing well.
I myself have been working on a website for my photography and getting a real business going. More on that later.
What I really wanted to talk about today was my little family’s very recent and earth shattering goal to GET HEALTHY. I really don’t want to call it a “diet” because there’s a lot of connotations associated with that word. Let’s call it a lifestyle change. It all started 4 or 5 months ago when my husband decided to write an argumentative research paper for English class about health in the U.S. It started out being about the obesity epidemic and it turned into an expose of the entire food industry and the government’s involvement. Wow. Needless to say, we both got pretty passionate about the whole thing. So then I found this book called The Blood Sugar Solution.
Now, for the past few years I’ve been getting more and more concerned about the health of my growing family. And what with all the corruption and marketing targeting my children, I really wanted to be able to make smart decisions in the grocery store and keep the really bad stuff out of my house. But I’ve always been a big believer in “moderation” and the older I’ve gotten, the less inclined I am to be an “extremist”. So I just did the basic things. We cut way down on soda- we maybe bought it once a month. I only bought the whole wheat bread and tortillas and our breakfast cereal had to have at least 3 grams of fiber and contain whole grains (unless there was a sale on Captain Crunch- Yum!) We had salads daily (complete with ranch) and we cut back on our ice cream and candy intake- but we did splurge regularly. I also had a habit of keeping processed food around for those 3 or 4 nights a week when I just didn’t feel like cooking. And we ate a lot of sandwiches.
Sounds pretty normal, right? It’s not like we ate fast food all the time. In fact, we avoided it like the plague. So why did I feel like a skinny fat person with constant sugar cravings and why was my husband 80 lbs overweight? He also had symptoms that pointed to a possible food sensitivity and inflammation and a family history of dementia and diabetes. I knew I had to do something more and I didn’t want to wait around until my husband was diagnosed with pre-diabetes or worse, hit with a heart attack! And so I got this book from the library on CD so my husband and I could listen to it together because I knew nothing would happen unless we were completely united.
The first half of the book described exactly what we had found when my husband wrote his research paper- why heart disease is the leading cause of death and why there is a growing plague of type 2 diabetes. The 2nd half of the book describes basic health needs and nutrition and includes quizzes to help you determine areas in which you may have problems. The back of the book has recipes and meal planning for two weeks. That was really what made the entire process realistic to me.
The thing I love about Blood Sugar Solution is that it just makes sense. It’s almost intuitive. It’s also very personal. There are no gimmicks, no special weight loss pills or shakes, no severe calorie cutting- no calorie counting at all, in fact. It’s all about eating whole, real foods, moderate exercise, and relaxation. A good multivitamin is recommended but that’s nothing unusual these days. The healthy eating at first seemed strict and restrictive, but since we made the change we’re eating a greater variety of delicious food than we ever have before! It’s a pretty simple program to follow when you’re really committed. We quit eating all processed food. If it had more than four ingredients or any latin named compounds, we threw it out. We stopped eating sweet things. High fructose corn syrup especially, but also sugar and any type of sweetener. The idea is to break the “sweets” addiction (it really was an addiction for me). The exception to this was a square of 70% dark chocolate a day and the occasional serving of honey. We also stopped eating red meat- beef and pork mainly. We also cut out dairy and gluten for 6 weeks to see if we had sensitivities to either of them. We also avoid flour of any kind- it is quickly absorbed and can drive up your blood sugar.
So what do we eat, you may ask? Vegetables and fruit– we do avoid citrus and potatoes but everything else is fair game! Beans beans beans! I love beans. Meat! Chicken, wild caught fish, turkey, lamb. Rice! Brown, wild, or black. Nuts! Lots of nuts and seeds. With fruit. Whole grains– quinoa, millet, flax…. And lots of spices and seasonings– basil, parsley, oregano, olive oil, vinegars, sea salt, etc.
The results? We feel great! Our digestive systems have never worked so well! We have more consistent energy and we sleep more soundly. and my husband’s dry, ichy skin on his hands has virtually disappeared! We eat until we are full and carb and sugar cravings have no power over us! Oh, and did I mention our clothes don’t fit anymore? I lost 10 lbs and my husband lost 30 lbs. It’s nice to know that our weight loss is sustainable and healthy and that it won’t just skyrocket back up because we’ve made the change and we’re sticking to it.
Sorry this post is so long- if you made it to the end, congratulations!
Future posts: Photography, Weight loss- before and after, healthy recipes, and my latest craftiness
How is your family being healthy? I’d love to swap recipes if anyone has some healthy favorites!