Since eating tends to be the center of most of our lives, I have decided to start off in that direction. We all love to eat, unless it causes pain, and there are certain things that we love to eat more than others. With all the choices out there how do we know what is good or not good for you? If it tastes good, it doesn’t mean it is good for you. But then again there are also a lot of things that do taste good that are good for you. So how do you choose what to eat and not to eat? I hate having to look at the ingredients every time I go to the store to stock up on food for the week. So I make it very simple. I buy fresh. No packages, no labels, no ingredients but the one I’m holding in my hand. Just simple fruits, vegetables, and meats.
We live in a society where it is less than feasible for everyone to eat fresh foods. That’s why companies create processed foods that take little to no preparation prior to cooking. We all see them as we walk down the grocery store isles. Boxed and bagged meals that just need a few fresh ingredients added as you cook them such as milk, butter, and meat. Frozen meals in the freezer section that include everything, just warm it up and eat. But have you looked at the ingredients on those meals? There are so many different things on there and who knows what may or may not be good for our bodies from that list. Instead of trying to determine what is good or not good to consume, I just made it simple to stop eating all of those processed foods altogether. Well, mostly anyway.
What does my normal trip to the grocery store look like then? Around where I live, all grocery stores tend to have their layout fairly the same. You walk in and there’s a lot of fresh produce. Then once past that there’s a line of many different isles with different types of food. Then you’ll have a fresh meat area with different types of cuts of meats and then the processed sandwich meats as well as store made dishes. Then there’s the frozen and refrigerated sections. I tend to spend the majority of my time in the produce section. I collect all the fruits and vegetables I need for the week. I then move on to the meats to grab what I want to cook with the vegetables throughout the week. After that is done, I head to the dairy section and grab some milk, eggs, and cheese. Then I’m on my way to checkout. Wait! Where’s the canned items? Where’s the bread, noodles, or meals that are already prepared? I already have what I need so I don’t bother with those. Plus most of those items give me problems with my digestive issues anyways, so I have learned how to prepare and cook fresh foods rather than pre-processed pre-prepared foods.
I usually don’t have a grocery list when I go in, and yes I do sometimes need to go back mid-week to pick up something I may have forgotten. The only thing I have on my mind is what types of meats I want to eat throughout the week. I always get fish and chicken and then fill in with different cuts of pork and beef for the rest of the meals. I eat an 80/20 Paleo lifestyle which comes down to 80% of the things I eat are considered Paleo, while 20% are not. Seasonings and condiments create the majority of items that I consume which are probably not Paleo. But they don’t give me any problems so I continue to use them. I have been doing this for about half a year now so I know what vegetables to get and which ones to stay away from and the same for fruit. I also have an idea of how much to pick up without having to throw anything out. One thing I hate is having to throw food out because I couldn’t use it in time or not everything was eaten.
Generally when I prepare the food, I will prepare enough to feed me, my wife, my two kids, and have enough left over for lunch the next day at work. I would say about 95% of the time it works out and no food is wasted. There was more waste in the beginning as I didn’t know how much to prepare, but I learned and adjusted. And the best part of it all, my food bill has not went up. Some weeks it is actually less. So this is a good thing as well. In the beginning it was a little hard managing my time with doing the food preparation as I was used to having more time to watch tv or do other things, so trying to fit in 30-45 minutes of food prep to my normal schedule was really difficult. I decided to adjust my schedule and learned that eating healthy was more important than watching some tv shows, so in the end, healthy eating took precedence.
In addition to preparing dinner every night when I get home from work, I also need to prepare fruits for my mid-afternoon snack at work. So every couple of days I’ll cup up different fruits and store them in large containers, which I then transfer to a small container every night to be ready to take to work the next day. I will admit that all of the food preparation is a bit much, but in the end I am happy I stuck with it because I feel a lot better. I would say this is the main reason I was able to reduce my medication.
For those of you who are having troubles with your health, I challenge you to think about what you eat and if you think those things may be causing some of the problems. Try to change your eating habits for a couple of weeks or so and see if you start to notice a difference. In future posts I’ll explain the benefits of different foods and why I tend to stay away from others. I don’t eat pasta anymore, but it’s not because it’s not part of the Paleo lifestyle. I always reason out why I eat certain foods and not others. I’m not going to say what you should or should not eat, but give you something to think about. In the end, you should be able to eat whatever makes you happy. It’s just nice to have things to eat that don’t cause any problems that you enjoy eating.
Let me know how you have changed your eating habits to create a lifestyle that works better for you.
Thanks and have a wonderful day!