Belly & Food. Hmmm? This post could go in a million directions. Well if you haven’t learned by now I kinda love food. I think I may just be a big foodie. I love trying new things…. I love exploring cities and local hot spots… I love food events… I secretly have a love affair with fair food / food trucks (not a secret anymore!)… I love holidays because my family is centered around a meal that was homemade. I just love food.
I will let you in on another little secret. My belly sometimes does not have the same affection as I do to food. I know spare the details, but it all started a few years ago with agonizing pain in my gut that would cripple me for a few hours or so. I was certain it was a food allergy and made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist, but after a few tests… nothing. No Lactose intolerance, no Celiac disease, heck they even went as far to tell me that I didn’t even posses the gene that would make me develop Celiac disease. At that time, the doctor wrote something down on a piece of paper and said, “Read this. I guarantee if you make some changes to your diet you will notice some changes.” The piece of paper read… “The China Study.”
I picked up the book that week and read a little bit, putting it down only to engage in everything it said not to. I didn’t take it serious. It also overwhelmed me with the statistics and research facts. I mean some points were interesting and others, well they scared me more than living my current life. How could I cut out meats and dairy? I mean I married the son of a son of a farmer.
A few years went by since all of this occurred; however, my reoccurring growing stomach issues lingered. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I actually sat down and decided to give this whole diet thing another look. And, by diet I am not referring to what probably first pops in your mind, but instead my own personal diet… a lifestyle change.
Two words – Clean Eating. Three words – Eliminating processed foods.
That pretty much sums it up! Thinking before you eat. Choosing healthy and natural options vs processed options. It gets a bit deeper but on the surface this simple task alone makes a huge difference.
To go back to my early read, I think the reason “The China Study” scared me so much back then was that it does focus on a plant-based diet, which is something I was not ready for then or even now. I mean I love a hamburger or some BBQ during the summer and don’t you dare touch that bowl of my Grandma’s homemade chicken and wild rice soup. Co-Author, T. Colin Campbell will state that he doesn’t believe in using the words “vegan” or “vegetarian” but plant-based. And, while he doesn’t altogether state you must go 100% plant-based, the book does advocate for such a diet. I can’t give up my meat and dairy, but I can choose the quantity and quality of my food. That is why I have found “Clean Eating” to be much easier to chew on. (Pun 100% intended).
Pinterest has been a HUGE help in this effort. You can find great articles, helpful tips and amazing recipes. Check out my – “Lean, Green and Eat Clean” Board. I started this little journey almost two months ago, with baby steps, and I mean baby steps. The results so far have proven to be quite rewarding. I am hoping to use this Blog to continue to share my story, and hear from you.
Here are a few quick tips on starting to incorporate Clean Eating into your diet.
1) Start Small – I find things are most successful when I don’t put all my eggs in one basket or stop cold turkey. This has been super gradual for me. I still LOVE salty potato chips dipped in cheese and who can say no to an Oreo, but chose moderation and start finding out what is really behind your cravings. For example, for me I have found after a super stressful day I craved sweets and I would reach for a cookie in the cupboard, but now I have found that fruit is just as sweet. I will go for slices of pineapple over a cookie now. 80% of the time stick to the plan and 20% of the time allow yourself to indulge.
2) Add to your Diet… Load up on the veggies and fruits, lean meats and whole grains. At first it may be a challenge, but after about two-weeks I was craving fruits and veggies over sweets.
3) Avoid from your Diet… Processed foods, fast foods, soda and sugary drinks and refined sugars. This is a good starting point. Start making healthy decisions – Choose fresh fruit and veggies over canned, switch a coke for an ice water with lemon, and substitute sugar with some honey in your Hot Tea. Baby steps.
4) Drink Lots of Water – I cannot stress it enough. I drink water all day, but definitely make sure to drink as soon as you wake up, before a meal and before bed. It does wonders.
5) Plan, Plan, Plan – Have you read my Blog Name? Backwards N High Heels – I am busy! Eating clean won’t work unless you plan. Usually Sundays are reserved for week long meal plans followed by a Market Order. Not only does it #1 help me not stress out over dinner during the week, but #2 helps me stay focused so I try not to lose course.
I am not perfect and I am by no means a nutritionist, nor have any medical background. This is simply me sharing my experiences with you. I am also practicing in moderation. Please read that again, I am practicing in moderation. Don’t hold it against me if you see me out indulging in wings (oh, because I am a sucker for wings) or enjoying a few cold beers, but know that small, simple changes have made an impact on me and hopefully may help you. Enjoy!