New Diet Breakdown

9:00:00 AM

After finding out that I have a high cholesterol problem, like most people in my family, I made some life changes. I have mentioned some parts of it a few times, but I am so proud of my success and how well I have done that I wanted to document it in a little more detail. I have also had a lot of friends and family ask me questions, and hopefully this will answer some of those.

image via; graphic by me
First of all, I just want to make it clear that I am not doing this because I feel like I need to loose weight. I am doing it because I see a scary trend in my family medical history, on both sides. I have watched as people with the same medical history either take care of themselves or use their medical history as an excuse to have medical problems. I decided to take care of myself and increase my overall health and hopefully put some years on my life. One of my dearest friends (who happens to be a dietitian, super convenient) told me when I started that my effort into my health means a lot to the people closest to me in my life, and Brett has seconded her words so many times to me. So that is my motivation.

I got my results back from my doctor on January 6th, and since then I have not had any red meat, dairy (milk, cheese, butter, etc), or eggs (actually, I can have egg whites). These were the biggest things that the doctor and my friend told me I needed to completely cut, at least for now. So that is what I did. I knew from the start that if I tried to ease my way in telling myself to only cut one thing a week I would never get there, so I cut them all cold turkey. It also worked out that we had to go grocery shopping the next day anyway so I really got to start from a clean slate. I found that it is a lot easier to keep my goals about my diet if bad options are removed in the first place. 

I also started to really limit my salt intake, and look at the overall healthiness of my food. For the first couple weeks I tracked all my meals on just to get an understanding of where I stood, if my changes were effective, and how I was progressing and getting used to cooking this way. Tracking it like this was extremely helpful for me at first, but since I don't have a smart phone it was a huge pain to have to track it all. Now I only do it when I feel myself relaxing a little and need to get back on track. 

So what does a typical day look like then? Actually I eat so much more now than I used to. One reason for this is that now I have to actually plan what I will be eating. That has made the biggest difference in my meal planning, our budgeting, knowing what I can eat for lunch and what I can't, and just overall organization. Another reason is that I eat a lot more vegetables now, and those tend to not keep you full as long. That being the case, I usually pack a pretty big lunch but eat it one piece at a time throughout the day, most of the time between 11 and 3.

Here is a day we had last week that actually repeats itself every 5-7 days. We really like it. (Keep in mind, all these things are extremely clean, so I usually don't limit my portion sizes too much. I know my body and know when I should save something for leftovers the next day and when I really need to keep eating. For the sake of this outline here I didn't include my portion sizes since they very so much, but just know they are often quite large!)

  • Breakfast
    • oatmeal with some almond milk and brown sugar mixed in. Love it.
  • Lunch
    • Nature Valley granola bar
    • snack bag full of each (I usually pick 2)
      • cucumber slices with pepper
      • carrots
      • celery
    • snack packaged unsweetened apple sauce
    • snack bag full of reduced fat Wheat Thins
    • Turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion, and whole wheat bread.
    • When we have them I also really like to take natural almonds, but they get a little pricey so we only get them once a month and I try to make them stretch.
  • Dinner
    • chicken breast cooked up in some olive oil with only lemon-pepper mix
    • whole wheat angel hair spaghetti
    • the garlic and oil sauce I posted before
    • whole wheat (or half whole half white) rolls
    • topped with green onions and chopped tomatoes
  • Dessert/treat/snack (when I have one)
    • a package of skittles (no cholesterol, my doctor loves me, my dentist hates me), OR
    • Healthy Pop kettle corn (this is my favorite!)
So there you have it. None of this is really that large of a change to make! Most of these things I would eat anyway, just not as regularly. 

Overall, I can actually say that I am now to the point where I love my new diet. At first I thought that not having cheese was going to kill me, and if I sit down and think about it then it does, but I actually taste so much more now. For example, in the picture below you can see what I had on taco night. You can see my corn tortillas on the small plate, but the large plate is full of (working from top clockwise) olives, shredded lettuce, cilantro-lime rice, seasoned black beans, red bell peppers, green onions, green bell peppers, and tomatoes, and chicken in the center. Without smothering the whole thing with cheese I can actually taste all these components and it is wonderful!

Wow! Sorry this is the world's longest post, but I feel like all of it is relevant. Hopefully it made sense, but if not, feel free to ask me in the comments below!

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