I personally look forward to New Years Day. There is something about being able to start over with a clean slate. This probably has something to do with me being a teacher and really liking September too. I like the concept of getting organized, getting back into a routine, and reevaluating my personal goals. Since switching over to a whole food way of eating in September 2011, my diet only needs periodic tweaking. The holidays come around and I drink more wine and consume more gluten-free treats than usual. When not in the holiday season, my diet is 90-95% paleo. I do not feel well when I consume grains (gluten-free or gluten full), legumes, and dairy (even high quality unfortunately). I do well dense carbs like rice, potatoes, & squashes. How do I know all this about myself? Well, it’s because I’ve done several nutrition challenges over the past 4 years where I have eliminated certain foods that are known to be problematic. For some people, the learning happens during a challenge because once certain foods are eliminated the person feels much better. Sometimes chronic conditions like acne, bloating, constipation, IBS, insomnia, keratosis pilaris, etc. go away during a challenge. For others, myself included, the learning happens after a challenge when the eliminated foods are reintroduced one at a time. When I ate foods that contained gluten, dairy, or legumes after my first challenge ended right before Thanksgiving 2011 I got very sick. It wasn’t hard to give up those foods at all.
If you want to try a whole food/paleo way of eating but the idea of giving up so many foods all at once is daunting, then I encourage you to try out my Ease Your Way into Paleo Plan. It’s a 15 week plan where inflammatory foods are eliminated slowly, one meal at a time. I created it because not everyone can handle a challenge where you eliminate grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, & alcohol all at once.
What I am focusing on in 2016:
Eating more vegetables-I am trying to get to 10 servings a day. With all the hype about meat & bacon causing cancer that the WHO published a few months ago, it came down to not so much the consumption of meat and bacon, but the lack of vegetables. There are a few really good articles dissecting the science behind the studies. Dr. Sarah Ballentyne of the Paleo Mom says: “the link the link between meat and cancer tends to disappear once the studies adjust for vegetable intake.” All I know is that it’s never a bad idea to eat more vegetables and I am doing this in the form of green smoothies. I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast and the girls from Simple Green Smoothies were on. I thought this would be a great way to get more veggies into my kids at breakfast. They are pretty good at eating veggies, but I’ve been wanting to expand their horizons past carrots, mixed veggies, and green beans. Recently I’ve been able to get them to eat more salad. I make my own Caesar dressing and we have chicken Caesar at least once a week. It’s a quick & easy meal that guarantees to get at least 3 servings of veggies into the kids. I just sauté some chicken in Wildtree Herb Grilling Marinade, and serve it over romaine lettuce, gluten-free croutons, and Cabot cheese that I shred at the table. Sometimes I can get the kids to add tomatoes or black olives to their salad. My dude really like Bubbies Pickles so he adds them. I’m all set with the shredded cheese from the store. Did you know there is cellulose powder in shredded cheese to prevent it from sticking together? Cellulose as in wood, yup. It’s not that hard to shove a piece of cheese into a shredder thing and have it fresh (and cheaper) for your family.
Not sure if you’ve been following my journey as an insomniac, but I’ve been experiencing on-and-off boughts of insomnia since I had my ACL repaired last year. I wrote a whole post on my experience with it and what I did to get myself into a normal sleeping pattern again. Naturally since I am on school vacation my insomnia is back. I am back to experiencing anxiety when I get into bed and it taking hours to fall asleep. Half a 5mg Ambian and Benadryl have become my friends at night and I am not too pleased about it. When I went to my doctor they decided to check my thyroid and it came back as me having a sub-clinical hypothyroidism. I’ve been doing some research and come to find out I may be inadvertently eating too low carbohydrate. Because I don’t feel well when I eat grains, even gluten-free grains, I eat predominantly veggies and fruit which are low in carbohydrate. So now I am tracking my food using MyFitnessPal to see exactly how many grams of carbs I am eating. I guess being too low carb affects our hormones and the conversion of T4 into T3 in the liver. I am also increasing my iodine intake. The sea salt I’ve been using is non-iodized. Combine that with the fact that I eat very little processed food (so no added iodine) and I think it’s safe to say that I’m probably not getting enough. All I am doing is swapping out my regular sea salt for one with iodine in the form of sea vegetables. Sea vegetables are good for us anyway because they provide us with minerals & vitamins, bioavailable iron, iodine, & calcium to name a few.
So there you have it. Not a long list but it’s what I’m focusing on. I prefer to focus on things I can add into my life to improve it rather than what I need to remove or take away. Focusing on the positive generally has the side effect of removing negative. Like focusing on eating more veggies, quality protein, and healthy fats results in not eating as much processed food and therefore health improves and weight decreases (if that’s what your after.)
I hope that 2016 is a great year for you!