March 15, 2008

Health and Wellness Series 1-Diets

Well, it has been a very tiring day, but I've taken time to rest and relax, and my mind keeps wandering to this health series you guys asked me about. For the first 'installment', I thought I would expound a bit about my 'journey' to getting healthier. Let us begin.

Sometime after Thanksgiving of 2001, I happened on a random website explaining all about a way of eating that would make me lose weight and have great health. I showed it to my new husband, we talked about it, then we decided to take the plunge and fork over the dough for the ebook, "Living Well". Up until this point I knew very little about nutrition other than you were supposed to eat vegetables and not so many sweets. Whatever they taught you in school was what I knew.

So I eagerly devoured the book's contents. I was shocked at what I was reading, and very excited about changing my eating habits. This is basically what it said:

1. 70% of our diet should be raw, as in raw fruits and veggies. The fruits are to be eaten in the morning, spread out- not all at once. Fruit is cleansing to the body, and when eaten on an empty stomach is easily assimilated and digested into our blood stream. This stimulates the peristaltic action of our guts and makes them move. No more constipation! The vegetables help to build our body's reserves of vitamins and minerals. So, by eating your raw fruits and veggies, you are cleaning and rebuilding the cells in your body.

2. Food combining. Supposedly, and I don't know if this is really true or not, proteins and carbohydrates are digested differently and require different enzymes. Carbs begin the digestion process in your mouth while chewing, whereas proteins begin the actual digestion process in the stomach. The idea is that if you eat a protein and a carbohydrate at the same meal, the acids needed to digest them will neutralize and 'cancel' each other out, thus your food sits and rots in your gut until it can be removed. This meant that I ate either vegetables and meat/eggs or vegetables and carbohydrates. (beans, grains etc,)

I also eliminated all refined sugar and flours and oils, drank only water and occasional coffee or tea, and I did cheat on the weekend. I usually ate a regular breakfast on Saturday morning and on Sunday I ate dinner with my parents. I did this diet from November to May, with a week or two of a break for vacation and Christmas. I lost approximately 40lbs starting at like 216 or something and ending at 175lbs. I was a size 18/20 and went down to 12/14. So what happened after May? I was in the early stages of pregnancy and very sick :) Diet went out the window.

This diet was very healing though. I felt absolutely great and really loved our way of eating. Our grocery budget was $60 per week or less for the two of us. I had fun experimenting with recipes to exclude meat or something. After I had Leiah it was very hard for me to get motivated to going back on this plan. I had become accustomed to 'regular' meals and was addicted to sugar again. Then I conceived Alexa and so on...

This plan isn't really really child friendly. It would also be quite expensive now. Here is a list of food I would eat on a typical work day:
Breakfast: water, apple, water, banana, lots of water
Lunch: good sized salad, dressing, leftover soup or pasta, or a veggie sandwich with some corn chips and salsa
Snack-baby carrots or some extra chips
Dinner: salad the size of a dinner plate, spicy beans and rice with fresh salsa OR grilled chicken, green bean salad, leafy green salad

Some of my favorite salad dressing recipes I learned on this plan. Going to restaurants wasn't hard either- you can adjust things to your diet.

So, after Alexa I tried Weight Watchers. It worked some, but wasn't very healthy. I tried another diet called the Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman. It is very strict, but you are supposed to lose up to 14lbs of fat in two weeks or something like that. I didn't stay with it-too strict! I tried another diet plan called Physique Transformation and it was geared towards body builders. But, I stayed with it for about 6 weeks-didn't do much since I was working out 3 hours a day. I gave up after that, then had two pregnancies. When Sarah was about 6 months old I tried the South Beach Diet. This is what you do:
For two weeks-meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and vegetables- and some sugar free jello
Then you slowly add some carbs like oats.
After 5 days I adjusted and didn't miss potatoes and rice very much. After 8 days of having diarrhea, I called it quits. Apparently my body doesn't like the no-carb plan.

Then I began learning more and more about healthy fats and came across Nourishing Traditions on a message board. I finally ordered it for myself and started reading it. There is so much information that it is very overwhelming. But it made a lot of sense. I highly recommend it. Slowly over the past two years I've adopted many of the methods of cooking. It is definitely a process, and is second nature to me now.

Well, that's it for now. If anyone has questions about anything I will do my best to answer them- remember, I'm no expert :)

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