Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year a New Us

I've been thinking lately that we needed to make some changes for our health... and for the boys too. So we've decided to give clean eating a try... what does that mean exactly? For us, it will be a slow gradual change over time -- so I will share my plans for that as well...

Let me start by telling ya'll, I NEVER thought that I'd ever be headed down this path. For a long time, my sister has been following her own version of this plan -- and I thought she was nuts. Here is the thing, this is a plan where you can customize it for your own family every step of the way. So, I'm taking the plunge - and sharing it with you!

Let me share what I've learned so far from reading an excellent book! (the photos are links to the books on Amazon -- where I got them!) It's not often that I sit down with my iPad and a computer to take notes from a book, but I've gotten two pages of notes out of 2 chapters so far... and I'm enjoying it. I'm such a nerd!

I've also gotten this book to read next! (the photo is a link to the book on Amazon)

I have several others planned for purchase, but I'll share those as I read them and get going.

What I've gotten from the Dummies book has been amazing -- I know that I feel like a dork buying those books, but they are easy to read and typically have some great information in them -- so give it a try if you're interested.

The basics of the plan are:

Eat whole, unrefined, and unprocessed foods that are low on the food chain
Eat a wide variety of unprocessed foods
Avoid artificial substances: including artificial flavorings, colors, preservatives, and sweeteners
Cut back on sugars, especially processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners
Avoid trans fats and artificial fat substitutes
Choose low-fat, but not nonfat dairy products
Choose foods that are nutrient dense
Combine protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats at every meal for the most satisfaction
Drink LOTS of water
Eat 5-6 mini-meals a day rather than 3 large ones
Practice portion control, especially when you eat more than 3 meals a day

 These seem like simple changes to make - especially in the age of Pinterest - I've seen tons of recipes and things to try for meals, but also for spice mixes and even things like condensed soup alternatives. For us, I do think that there will still be some convenience items in the mix, but I'll try to use these guidelines for choosing the best options available: 

Choosing packaged foods:
Read the labels
Bread – make sure it only has 5-7 ingredients
If you can’t pronounce, spell, or understand ingredients – don’t buy it
Avoid foods with sugar, processed ingredients, or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label
Choose foods that are low on the food chain

Did you know that all of these additives we've been fed over the years are like addictive drugs? Literally, our bodies react to them like they would heroin... and I believe it too. I know that I've been programmed to prefer certain things over healthier options, but I'm here to tell you that I'm going to give all my effort to correcting that for my family. I want the boys to choose healthier options, but know reasonably that sometimes we're going to have slip ups. 

I'm not trying to deprive us of anything either - my philosophy is that if it's something we want -- I'll find a way to make it myself with whole ingredients. I'd much rather be able to control what is going into my family than just blindly taking what manufacturers offer us. I say that with a food manufacturer being our sole source of income... I know that John's company is not the evil food manufacturer that people often make them out to be, and I will continue to use their products -- mainly because they make rice - which is not as processed as one might think. I just plan to use more of their whole grain brown rice products.

I digress... 

Here is the plan for us -- 

6 Degrees of Clean Eating:
20% - Start by changing 1 meal in a 5 day week to a clean meal
40% - Add another clean meal a week to your plan
50% - Try to make the majority of your meals/food choices clean, but room for some slip ups
60% - Most foods are clean, but you still have processed foods 2-3 days a week
80% - The majority of your foods/meals are clean, but you have room for the occasional bottled pasta sauce or bakery bread
100% - Eating entirely clean

This week, I will be trying out three new clean eating recipes while I continue to do more research and planning. Next week, I'll add more.  My ultimate goal will likely be the 80% range... because I want to be realistic with myself that things will get busy and no one is perfect.

This week's focus is to drink more water, and eat more veggies/fruits. Next week, we'll add it something else. I'll be making green smoothies for the boys and I, and trying out a few items I found in the organic/health food section of our store.

I will be adding in exercise and other healthier things over time too. While weight loss is certainly a goal for me, I just want to make healthy choices and do things that I can keep up with over time. I am focusing on the choices more than numbers on a scale. My goals are bigger than that because mainly, I want to have the healthiest family that I can -- I want to stop my diabetes from controlling my body, and prevent the boys from ever having to worry about their blood sugars (if possible). I also want to make sure that I have the energy to keep up with two crazy boys, and hopefully a third child in the not to distant future. 

Stay tuned, and join in this journey with us -- if you want to join along, let me know... if you just want to read, that's great too!