Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What is your diet?

First of all, let me just point out for those who haven't been keeping up with this food blog, that I am not dieting. I am working on finding delicious foods that contribute to my health. I also am not on a weight loss plan although I am losing weight, and will probably continue to do so for a while. Part of getting healthier is weight loss for me, tho not for everyone, and I certainly have no intention of ever being skinny or muscle bound. I would like to be a nice healthy weight and to improve my musculature, but I do not want to over do in any area.

Secondly, I will sum it up for you like this. I am eating twice as many vegetables, and half as many carbs with  at least 8 cups of water a day. Most days I drink 8 -10 cups of  water. Of course that is not the entirety of what I'm doing, but that's the simple description, and if that were the only thing I did, it would have improved my health. I am also avoiding most processed foods, and limiting those processed foods I do eat, to mostly things with as few ingredients as possible, and that those ingredients are things easily pronounced such as whole wheat, salt and water = egg free pasta or rice, basil, water as the ingredients on some simple crackers. Things made with whole foods are more likely to end up in my grocery cart than highly processed foods, and whole foods themselves are the most likely to end up there. This along with eliminating foods I am allergic to or intolerant of has made a huge difference in my health.

I use sparkpeople.com as a free food and exercise tracking device, and I also use their site for getting recipe ideas, networking with others who are working on their health. Sometimes I take a day or week off from tracking food, but during that time I still eat in the same basic manner. If I don't feel like measuring things out with actual measuring cups, I use this plate planning method: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/csi/obesity-plate-planner-13.pdf which is basically 1/2 a plate of vegetables, a fist sized portion of protein and a first sized portion of carbs. Sometimes I have a piece of fruit or glass of milk with it. Often I save my fruit for dessert.

Healthy fats. There are a lot of disagreements out there about what healthy fats are, but I have noticed that when I eat more plant based fats I lose more weight, and my cholesterol has been lower, so I've been sticking to that. If I want to eat something higher in carbs, I make sure it's combined with protein and healthy fats, as I learned from the Prevention Magazine titled DTOUR, and later in the DTOUR diet book. I do not follow the DTOUR diet and exercise plan 100%, but I have used it to help me plan my meals. The cook book is great,  so I'm hoping to get that in the future. Every recipe I've gotten from them is pretty easily altered to avoid allergens, and the cookbook has helpful lists of replacement foods for just such a situation. (I scan it every time I'm at a book store) it's really helped me to manage my diabetes and so far I've been able to get off 2 medications since starting to eat more vegetables, less carbs, and all the rest I said above.

Avoiding chemicals has also been really helpful to getting rid of my migraines and reducing my chronic pain. I'm still having a difficult time during Monsoon season, but other than that I have been seeing some great changes. Some are gradual, and some are almost instantaneous. For example the hives I have suffered multiple times a week for my entire life, haven't happened in quite some time. They stopped as soon as I eliminated all allergens and foods I'm intolerant of. Since then I have been able to add some foods from the intolerance list back in carefully bit by bit, but others I haven't been able to add back in. I've come down to a list of about 30 things to avoid. It used to be a much longer list. That, the addition of stretching and relaxation techniques, and avoiding flashing lights, I have greatly limited my migraines which used to be chronic cluster migraines which affected me daily for almost 2 years in a row, but now are much milder and happen much less frequently. I had a migraine the other day after accidentally eating some dehydrated meat with chemicals in it, and then seeing lightning. So they do sometimes still happen, but at least it was only a couple days of being sensitive to light and having a headache instead of months worth.

Two new things I've been trying are natural sweeteners with a lower glycemic index than fructose or sugar, and sprouting things to get higher nutrients from them. In 2 weeks I'll meet with a dietitian to discuss I will write separate posts about each of those as I come to some conclusions.

Hope that helps answer some of the questions people have had. :) Please keep asking questions, and I'll keep posting my experiences. And please feel free to share what has helped you to be more healthy! I'm just learning as I go.

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