Somehow the CompostMaster and I got off track between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. We got lazy, ate whatever we wanted, and ignored our health. My blood sugars increased in tandem with his weight.
On December 30th, we watched In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan on PBS. It deeply affected both of us. If the new year has inspired you to set new dietary goals, I highly recommend you watch this program first. The only “rules” you really need to follow according to Pollan are
Not too much.
As we discussed our plans for the new year, the CompostMaster and I both knew we had to get serious about improving our diet. We talked about our goals and I agreed to come up with some guidelines for us to follow based on Pollan’s ideas, our doctor’s advice, and concepts we learned during Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10 Day Detox.
The reasons we want to eat healthy are simple: I want better control of my blood sugar and the CompostMaster wants to lose weight (and keep it off).
Eating well doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t necessarily need to count calories or track every bite of food you put in your body. (Although, I must admit, both techniques have helped me lose weight and successfully manage my diabetes in the past.) We boiled down our guidelines to these four things:
- Avoid processed food. I like Andrew Wilder’s definition of unprocessed food: Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients. Food from the produce section that doesn’t have a nutritional label, like an apple, is unprocessed. If you’re tempted to buy food that has a label, check the ingredients for items you’ve never heard of, can’t pronounce, or couldn’t procure to make the food yourself at home (e.g. monocalcium phosphate). If the food contains one of these ingredients, it’s processed.
- Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. Eat something green at least twice a day. Shoot for five colors each day (e.g. orange carrots, green spinach, red tomatoes, white cauliflower, purple blueberries).
- Limit eating out. A lot of restaurant food is processed. (See #1.)
- Eat more meatless meals. When we eat meat, treat it as a side dish instead of the main event.
Foods We Plan to Eat Often
- Leafy green vegetables
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Other non-starchy vegetables
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Extra-virgin coconut oil
- Organic poultry
- Wild-caught fish and seafood
- Fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc.)
- Sweet potatoes
Foods We Plan to Eat Occasionally
- Whole grains
- Grass-fed beef
Foods We Plan to Avoid
- High fructose corn syrup
- Trans fat
- Refined grains
- Excess omega-6 fatty acids (as in processed vegetable oils)
- Artificial sweeteners
We don’t know yet if this eating plan will help us meet our goals, but we’ll keep you posted. If you’ve set any dietary goals for 2016, we’d love to hear them.
Please note I am not a nutrition expert or a medical professional of any kind. These guidelines are based on reading I’ve done and consultations with my physician. They may or may not be appropriate for your situation. Please consult your health care team before making any dietary changes.