Smoothies Smoothies Smoothies! This has been by far the biggest change for me. I drink my fruits and veggies! My large blender is packed away in a storage unit in Chicago so I picked up a Magic Bullet and started blending! This is the perfect size for one person and comes with blending cups so you can blend and go. I don't have set recipes, it's all about experimenting! I usually start the day with a banana, almond butter, raw cacao shake and have at least one green smoothie a day. A green smoothie for me contains spinach and some fruit. I have had a couple of pure green smoothies/juices that I like but they are few and far between. I find that the fruit component really makes them more tasty for me. I always use almond milk as the base, you can make your own or to save time and use the store bought stuff. And there are PLENTY of recipes on Pinterest to give you a start, check out some of my pinned recipes here... http://pinterest.com/thewidowedyogi/healthy-eats/
Apple Cider Vinegar Yum! I know sounds gross right? But it's not I promise! I drink a teaspoon in a full glass of cold water every morning. This leaves you with a slight hint of the sweet vinegar in your morning hydration. This can also be used to make dressing which I have yet to try but plan to. There are a ton of benefits that can be attributed to drinking apple cider vinegar and you can find the evidence all over the internet. Here is a good article that sums it all up... http://tinyurl.com/c3b94bf. This stuff is cheap so at about $2 a bottle, I am more than willing to give this diet trick a chance!
Eating close to the source! My cart at the grocery store is pretty much filled up by the time I leave the produce section. By the time I hit the bean aisle I am almost done aside for a few spices or specialty ingredients. I really wish I go to the farmer's market but spring hasn't quite sprung here in the midwest so that will have to wait. I cannot wait to shop all the Farmer's Markets in SD but I digress. Most of the recipes I have been trying since I have gotten back are vegan and include a lot of food processing. One of the greatest discoveries... making this simple healthy food isn't that difficult because there aren't a lot of ingredients or fancy cooking techniques, just letting the fresh food stand for itself.
Soaking Seeds/Beans/Legumes is Cool! Since most of my recipes include beans or legumes, I have been buying a lot of them. In my course, the teacher discussed soaking before preparing. I was a little leery about the additional prep time but knew I was always grossed out by the cans and what the aluminum sides were leaking into my healthy meal. It takes a little pre-planning but even a quick soak can do the trick. So why do we soak? Per the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, when our digestive tracts are weak it will not be able to break dow the phytic acid found in grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Soaking removes the enzyme inhibitor. Every effort should be made to eat grain-like-seed meal each day. This adds fiber and helps stops cravings for carbs and provide vital nutrients. I don't know about all the scientific stuff but I do know beans make me feel fuller and if I soak them I can cook them withough the gooey stuff leaking from the can.
I am a proud Choiceotarian! In an age where everyone has to label themselves as something, I am a Choiceotarian! When at home I typically eat vegetarian/vegan but cheese adds so much flavor that I just can't cut it out completely. I occasionally eat meat and find that I operate better eating meat every once in awhile. I typically try to eat meats that are organic farm raised and I like to know the source but that isn't always possible either. There are some restaurants that I will eat meat from and some that I will not. A quick five minute analysis of the place can determine that for me. I don't want to be stressed out when I go out to eat. I will make the best choice that I can but not stress about it if I eat something that I normally wouldn't. This takes all the fun out of dining with friends which I love! The other day I was craving pizza, so I ordered a veggie pizza and then the next morning got back on track with some apple cider vinegar water and smoothies. It's all about moderation and not depriving yourself of anything and making the best choices you can at that moment!
Right now I am reading the Body Ecology Diet which was quoted earlier in this post. This book discusses how to restore and maintain your body's ecology needed to function properly and eliminate or control the symptoms that can wreak havoc on your life. I don't quite understand it all yet so I don't want to make any comments on it but I have already picked up a few new tricks including those mentioned above and hope to start incorporating fermented foods (besides Apple Cider Vinegar) into my diet. Another book I would recommend is AntiCancer. I read this awhile ago and it's also packed up in the storage unit so can't quote specifics but as you can guess, discusses how the foods we eat cause cancer. I read this while Matt was ill and it made a lot of sense to me. I encouraged Matt to read this book as well but he was really a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Which is another odd concept to me, I would never be eating like this if I was still cooking for Matt and myself. I found a lot of joy in cooking for us as a new family. After his death, I rarely cooked as it was too painful and depressing to prepare a meal for one. Finding a new way of eating and cooking has sparked the interest in me again while not digging through the recipes of my past.
I hope this post gives you some new ideas to incorporate into your diet or at least something to look into. It's all about experimenting... seeing what foods upset your stomach or make you feel great! Try something new everyday!