How My Husband & I De-Cluttered Our Diets
One of the side-effects that I've noticed about de-cluttering is that the more you commit to it, the more you are committing to a life of health and wellness. Think about it... When we de-clutter our homes we are actively removing the things that we no longer use and or benefit us. We are letting go of the junk. The same goes for when we detoxify or de-clutter our diets, we are taking a look at what we are putting in our bodies and how it then affects us. We all know that certain foods are more likely to cause weight gain and skin issues, as well as lead to poor gut health and diseases. We are also aware that we can sometimes spend a little too much money on food (particularly the wrong food) and that if we're not careful it can start to stock-pile it in our freezers and pantries. Just like our possessions, our diet can rob us of our money, time, and energy. It has been a winding journey for my husband and I to get where we are today in terms of our diets. Along the way, we've picked up a few tips and staples for maintaining a nutritious and cost-effective diet. We've discovered that rather than focus on calories and strict regimens, it is all about awareness and balance.
It wasn't until college that I began to have an interest in health, wellness and sustainability. I started to pay attention to what I was putting in and on my body and how it was affecting me. For the longest time I had been a passive participant, not paying any attention to what I was eating and how it was making me feel. The more I learned from research and personal experience the more I wanted to share with my husband (then boyfriend), who at the time was not exactly in a place of reception.. Like most college guys he was enjoying a life of hot wings, beer and late night Sheetz mozzarella sticks. It wasn't until he began to have some health issues later on, during our first year of marriage that he began to release some of his pre-conceived ideas of health and become more open to the idea of changing his diet. While our diets sill have a ways to go they are a lot better than they used to be. By minimizing the junk in our diets, such as processed foods and drinks, we have come to observe numerous health benefits such as: experiencing more focus and energy; having clearer skin and brighter eyes; a lack of bloating and getting sick; and even an easier time breathing. We are also more inclined to get outside and exercise! De-cluttering really is a cycle of health and wellness. It is a domino effect. You become encouraged to not just survive in the day to day but to thrive! So what does our diet consist of? I'm not going to lie it is far from perfect and is something that we are continually trying to improve however as you know: we all do the best that we can do. Our goal is for the food that we eat to be: cost-effective, filling, flavorful, and nutritious. We eat a mixture of whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. We drink coffee, tea, and alcohol in moderation; however most of the time drinking water. I more so than my husband have quite the sweet tooth, so I usually have a sweet treat a couple of times a week (i.e. cake or a pastry).
A Day On My Plate:
- I enjoy a nourishing breakfast with a mug of black coffee and water.
- Before enjoying my cup of coffee I make sure to drink at least one glass of water to awaken my body and to hydrate it.
- This is when I try to get my greens in for the day! I'll usually make a green smoothie that includes ingredients such as: Swiss Chard, Celery, Cucumber, Orange, Aloe Vera Juice, Ginger Powder, Macca Powder, Chia Seeds, and Flax Seeds. Along with this smoothie I'll have a small bowl of carrots and hummus. If I don't have a smoothie, I'll drink some kombucha.
- This meal is pivital for maintaining my blood sugar for the rest of the day so I make sure that it's filling. I tend to eat leftovers for lunch, which might include: roasted potatoes, and beets with lentils; along with a small side salad. I'll drink water or tea.
- Like most everyone, this is the time of day when I begin to get a little sleepy so I'll make a cup of tea and munch on some grapes, cheese, and nuts.
- We have a rotation of favorite dishes that we make for dinner that contain a mixture of vegetables, grains, and meat. One of our current favorites is ratatouille; which we'll have by it's self or with a small serving of meat (i.e. chicken or chicken sausage).
Throughout the day you can find me sipping on water. Sometimes I'll mix a little activated charcoal in (it's excellent for removing toxins!*). On my desk you'll always find at least two glasses - one filled with water and the other tea!
Our Go-To Meals:
- 2 slices of Ezekiel bread with organic peanut-butter, 1 banana, sprinkled with a chia seeds and flax seeds.
- 2 eggs and 2 slices of buttered Ezekiel bread toast (or instead of the toast: some roasted potatoes)
- Oatmeal with homemade granola
- Green juice with a side of carrots and hummus.
- Grapes, cheese, and nuts.
- Plain Greek Yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and honey; sprinkled with homemade granola and berries.
- Homemade pop-corn seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Dried banana chips, walnuts, and cashews.
- Salad with oven-baked chicken.
- Roasted potatoes, lentils and beets; with a side citrus salad.
- Barley, lentils, won-tons, and lightly-sauteed asparagus.
- Mushroom barley risotto.
- Ratatouille with a small serving of chicken sausage.
- Trader Joe's Margarita Pizza with a homemade salad.
Like I said, we're not perfect. I love having pizza once a week (...sometimes even twice if I'm being honest...) and my husband, the occasional beer. Its all about moderation and doing the best that we can. We're going to fall off of the health wagon every now and then. The important part though is getting back up and going! As I write this, I have to confess that I'm in that place of getting back up and going. I've been spending a lot of time in the office lately and as a consequence have been a bit lax with my diet. I've been consuming way too much sugar, coffee, and alcohol, and I'm starting to feel the effects. Instead of being hard on myself though, why not show myself a little love and grace? Whenever I get to this place I envision what it feels like when I'm eating clean and mindfully. Not only do I feel nourished but I feel energized and clear. I'm able to be much more present at work and at home. This motivation along with some of the tips below are helpful for getting back on the wagon and maintaining a nutritious and cost-effective diet.
Tips for Maintaining a Nutritious and Cost Effective Diet:
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store (produce, meat, dairy, and bakery) - avoid the center aisles which are filled with processed foods.
Buy in bulk whenever possible. Not only is this a sustainable practice but it also saves you money.
Drink lots of water! This has never been a problem for me but I know it is something that a lot of people struggle with. I recommend carrying around a stainless steel or glass water bottle with you, so that you can stay hydrated. Not only will this help flush things out but it also helps you to feel full. Sometimes at night after dinner when my husband and I may want a little snack we drink some water or herbal tea.
Make your own food. Whether its growing or simply cooking the food that you bough in bulk at the grocery store - when we make our own food we get to decide what goes in it. We are able to avoid nasty chemicals and preservatives.
Meal prep. Every Saturday or Sunday I get in the kitchen and do some meal prep for the week. I wash and cut up the fruits and veggies that we plan to eat and cook our grain and meat of the week; etc.
Have healthy snacks readily available. At home: we keep our dry snacks in clear, glass jars on a shelf; cut-up veggies in clear, glass jars in the refrigerator; and a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. When I'm out and about, I'll often bring a snack with me (i.e. fruit or a nut mix) so that I won't be tempted to purchase something that I don't need.
Our Pantry Staples:
Organic Nut Butter
Fresh spices and herbs
*If you think you might like to mix some activated charcoal in with your water too please make sure that you use the recommended amount (generally 1/2 TSP).