What I’ve been eating these days…

29 Jul

Ok, so this is going to be a long post. I think a lot of about food. It’s a big part of my life.

Food – it should be simple right? Eat to live. Well, sadly, we’ve gone so far down an industrial path in this country that we’ve been able to produce just about anything and everything we can put on a shelf and then consequently put in our bodies. Hence, the obesity epidemic and the huge influx of diet-related diseases (type 2 diabetes in children?? So sad). Food is also cultural, social, and emotional – it’s just a huge part of our lives and our personalities. I don’t particularly like to deny myself things, nor do I like the word “diet.” It’s weird, though, when you are constantly aware of how things are raising/lowering your blood sugar levels, you tend to think about every bite that goes into your mouth. It’s a little bit (ok, very) annoying. “Hmmm…I see the cupcake, I want the cupcake, but then I have to take another shot.” It makes for a lot of injections, as well as a lot of ignored little “treats” on the side (and consequently chronically high sugars). Honestly, I don’t know if I would have ever come to change my eating habits if it weren’t for being constantly conscious of food, so for those that are able to, I commend you. These days, I’ve been pretty happy about things that raise my blood sugar very little, and don’t require constant injections. I’ve discovered a good way to navigate this is by following a meal plan similar to that described on Mark’s Daily Apple, or The Primal Blueprint. I’m not so much into the “let’s live like a caveman” thing as I am into the idea of how food is broken down and used for energy in our bodies. This plan/lifestyle is designed for less of an insulin reaction, so for me that means taking less insulin, so it’s a win-win situation. However, when one lowers the carbs/sugar, one must up the fat intake, or be constantly hungry. This was scary for me at first. Wait, my body WANTS to use fat as an energy source? After decades of trying to watch portion sizes and fat intake, now I load up my plate with bacon, avocado, olive oil, full fat yogurt, nuts, and coconut oil/milk (along with a large helping of veggies). Guess what, folks – up the fat and the sugar content automatically goes down. Full fat yogurt has half the sugar as fat free (since they’re trying to make it taste better). When I’m good at following this plan, it keeps me pretty even-steven, and for the occasional sugary dessert or slice of pizza, I try to accommodate with a shot, and I don’t beat myself up about it. I’m finding, however, that this is a little harder than I want it to be. My body responds to things differently now, and the older I get, the more insulin-resistant I get, so my old formulas of 1 unit for 15g carb don’t work so well anymore. That’s why eating less carbs and taking insulin via “the law of small numbers” works for me. Less carbs to cover = less margin of error.
A funny sidebar about how I got to the place I am now in eating is that I tried to go mostly vegetarian for a year, convinced that it was healthier and also better for the environment. Well, my blood sugar crept higher and higher, and my sugar cravings got out of control – this is a deathtrap for the diabetic. I was snacking all the time. It didn’t seem right. I Googled “lean proteins for vegetarians” in a desperate attempt to find a snack without sugar that would keep me full throughout the day, and guess where it led – Mark’s Daily Apple of all places. So here I am back in meat-eater land (gasp!). I still do my very best to buy clean, quality, organic (when possible), farm-raised meats and not support the terrible mass-produced CAFO meat that is getting so much of a bad rap these days (and yes, it’s bad). I also go for organic veggies, eggs, and dairy. My groceries might cost a little more, but I just go out to eat a little less, and it all works out. Plus, I eat less than I did before, since my food is richer in fat and energy, it keeps me full.
So, a typical day:
Breakfast: Protein-rich eggs or meat for breakfast, or maybe some unsweetened yogurt and few berries, and always, always coffee with cream
Lunch: Salad with chicken or some kind of protein, or leftovers from dinner the previous night (I have always found lunch very boring, so if you have great ideas that are not sandwiches, please toss them my way)
Dinner: Meat and vegetables (cooked in some kind of fabulous way) – hold the rice, hold the bread, hold the pasta
What I Avoid: bread, rice, white potatoes, grains, even “whole grains” – fiber doesn’t change the carb count for me, and I don’t believe in “net carbs.”
I find I need very few snacks when I’m eating this way, and also that my sugar cravings have all but disappeared. I try to only eat when I’m hungry and I no longer buy chips, cookies, or pretzels to satisfy me throughout the day. If I need a salty “fix,” a pickle, some salami or cheese might do the trick, sweet I’ll pick up a few blueberries, strawberries, or a square of dark chocolate.
Example of what I consider Good Fats: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, butter (NOT margarine), full fat Greek Yogurt, etc. Every recipe I post on here will follow the guidelines I’ve set for myself. (And yes, I do occasionally slide and go to Margie’s Ice Cream Parlor – I’m human after all.)
“But wait! What about all the cholesterol, fat, etc?? Is your heart OK??” My heart is dandy, thank you. There is a lot of research to support this, so I won’t recount it all here. Frankly, I’ve probably never been healthier. Also, I have learned to cook some really wonderful meals, and experiment with ingredients I hadn’t used in the past. There are a plethora of good websites for grain-free and low carb cooking out there. I’ve linked a bunch of my favorites on the sidebar.
Less deprivation = less guilt. Pile on the pasture-raised bacon, folks! Cook those veggies in Kerrygold Butter! Mmmm…grass fed cheese. I’ll skip that bread basket.
So, I say, do whatever makes you happy and makes you feel great. If you don’t feel so great right now, maybe try something similar to what I’m doing and see if you notice any changes? If not, that’s cool too. You only live once, and I’m trying to make the best out of it and keep it going as long as I can.

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5 Responses to “What I’ve been eating these days…”

  1. Michael Pace July 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Sarah, what a great blog! I’m not diabetic, but am definitely health- and food-conscious. I love your idea of sharing healthy recipes, and can’t wait to read more. Thanks for sharing!

  2. juliebnichols July 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Hey Sarah! Your diet is remarkably similar to mine (if I actually stuck to it!) I lost a lot of weight this year when I kept at it, and I’m getting back in the saddle again now. I’ll be following!

  3. Sarah July 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Thanks for the support and kind words, Julie and Michael! I look forward to keeping in touch with you through the “blogosphere”…woooooo (that was supposed to be a ghost-noise).

  4. Sara August 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    can’t wait to soak up all your knowledge and yummy recipes

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