Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Healthy Eating Plan -- Here it is! 1, 2, 3, 4

My friends and family keep asking me what I eat -- how they can improve their eating. I highly recommend Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live book. (That link is for the hardcover book. There is a softcover you can get cheaper, especially if you buy it used). I'm currently reading his Eat for Health book and want to see what he's added to his former research over the past few years. I know from what I've read thus far that it's a gentler approach (and doesn't go to the maximum weight loss like ETL until phase 4).

I've also weaved some of my raw food habits into my eating and would love to share them with you. Sometimes it's hard for me to nail down just what I eat because I'm so spuradic. I'm like a toddler that likes eating one thing for awhile (and am happy eating it throughout the day), then I'll switch to something else. I'm not a Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner person. I'm more of a grazer. And if I see a suggested menu, I want to run! But I know that's not the case for most people. So I'll try to give the overall picture of what foods are essential to eat -- then some samples of how those meals could be set up, along with recipes. I want to give the menu options and some ideas of foods you can grab quickly if time is short.

Here's the big picture for each day. I'm going to spell it out in numbers (is that an oxymoron? :)) so it's easier to remember. Think 1, 2, 3, 4.

1 + 1 Beans & Grains (Starchy Vegetables like Corn & Potatoes fit in this grain category)
  • 1 cup of grains + 1 cup beans/lentils -- you can eat more beans if you want. Limit the grains to just 1 cup if you want to lose weight. Also, eat the grains in their fibrous form (not ground into flour) for fastest weight loss. I have a hard time getting myself to lose weight when I eat anything baked with wheat flour. Part of the problem is getting myself to stop at one piece. The other problem is that it just doesn't fill me up. Dr. Weil compares this to eating a potato without the skin. If you eat the potato with the skin (or grain with its kernal, hull, whatever that fiber is called) as nature intended, it is digested much more slowly and aids in keeping the colon clean. If you don't eat the skin or just have the flour, it's digested more quickly like a sugar and doesn't fill you up as much and causes more constipation (and for me, fat storage).
2 + 2 + 2 Leafy Greens, Fresh Vegetables, Cooked Vegetables
  • 2 cups of Dark Leafy Greens + 2 cups other fresh veggies + 2 cups cooked. (You can have the non-leafy greens all raw if you'd like -- but this allows for cooked soups, sauces, and simply roasted veggies too. This is like the beans -- where it's an amount to shoot for each day, but you can have more if you'd like. These are the most nutrient dense foods. This does not include potatoes or corn. They are starchy and fits in with the grains).
3 Fruits
  • 3 whole fruits or 3 cups (or any combination). You can eat more if you'd like, but shoot for at least 3. I'm sure I eat 10 some days.
4 + 4 Water
  • Drink 4 glasses of water in the morning and 4 throughout the day. You don't HAVE to drink them like I do, but I find this works for me since I exercise in the morning. The first think I do when I wake up is drink a glass of water. I feel like a wilting plant that just needs some water to stand up tall and strong. Then I drink 2 glasses of water throughout my workout and another after I shower. That seems to get me going for my day.
Not 4, but 1/4 c. raw nuts or seeds
  • Nuts and seeds are packed with essential fats and phytonutrients. Eat 1/4 c. a day if you're trying to lose weight. You can eat more (probably up to 1/2 cup or so) if you don't need to lose weight. I eat these plain or use them in recipes (like fudge, pie crusts, puddings). Coconuts are big seeds and fit in here too. I don't have a problem with drinking a cup of coconut water in a day. It's a fabulous boost to my afternoons.
Remember to focus on what you CAN eat and not on what you can't. It takes some time (and effort) to switch to this way of thinking, but it's extremely helpful (and powerful!) When I walk into my kitchen and think, "What can I eat next?" the possibilities are plentiful. If I walk in thinking, "Oh, I can't have that anymore . . . " *head hung low* (I used to walk through Costco like this), it's not a pleasant experience. So focus on all those wonderful foods listed above and you'll do great! (And if you can't eat them all at first, work up to it gradually -- the leafy greens are the most nutrient dense though -- try to get those every single day).

If you are thinking, "Yeah, I could probably do that," but can't see how it would work with your family. Start with yourself first. For them, just start changing how you shop. They may be fine eating bread 4x a day. But for you, it may be hinder your weight loss (or maintenance) goals. I'll give you some shopping tips -- red flags to look for on that Ingredient List. If you can start by avoiding certain ingredients, the healthier eating for your family will just fall into place.

I'm going to stop for now though. If I try to complete this in one day, I'll probably never even post it. So it will come in chunks. Such is the life of a mom! :)

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou SO much for this information! I am going to check out his book from the library. I wish I didn't have to have meat in my kitchen like beef,chicken,ect. But my husband likes it. Its funny because I call it bock-bock for chicken, cluck-cluck for turkey, oink-oink for pork and moo-moo for beef. lol
    I would much prefer fruits and salads and grains(except rice which I hate). And one thing Ilove is a steamed artichoke. So fun to eat too. I also love steamed squash.
    I like to make a big salad and build my meal "around" it.
    I love your suggestion on how you eat. Thanks for being such a great role model for me!