Hello to you all!
Remember how I said that Ty and I weren’t following our typical routine? Well that meant less cooking this week and lots of raw veggies still sitting in our fridge over the weekend so I didn’t have to buy as much this week. I again only went to Mariano’s where I spent a total of $49.85. I usually make a trip to Mariano’s, Jewel, and Trader Joe’s, but after checking the ads for each, decided it wasn’t worth it to haul myself all around – aka, I was feeling lazy. But I’ve gotta tell you, it was super nice to get it all in one place! And I think it actually kept me under budget, especially since Trader Joe’s is where I buy our more expensive specialty items (read bacon and sprouted bread).
Speaking of bacon and sprouted bread, have you all figured out our eating habits by now? To be honest, I’m still trying to define them. As I’ve mentioned, Ty and I completed a Whole30 last January, which meant 30 days of no grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, or alcohol (basically really strict Paleo). Then we followed that by eating Paleo (no grains or legumes, limited dairy, only natural sugars like honey and pure maple syrup, and grain-free alcohol like hard cider, wine and tequila), but I found I hated being difficult when we would go out or would be at friends’ homes. Then over the past summer, Ty was gone for 2 months and I decided to experiment with a more inclusive real food diet and reintroduced whole grains, looking to Lisa Leake of 100 Days of Real Food for guidance. She’s a great resource for following a real food diet, especially if you have kids, but by adding grains back in, I found myself drawn to eating whole wheat pancakes instead of my meat and veggies.
Today, Ty and I tell people we eat a Paleo diet. In reality, we eat 90% Paleo at home, but when we are out, we may make different choices. We live in Chicago, so when we’re gonna have deep dish pizza, we’re gonna have deep dish pizza! But now instead of buying the large, we get the small, have a slice or two, and fill ourselves with salad and an oil/vinegar based dressing. When out, our drink of choice is a hard cider or glass of wine, unless there is just a reeeeeeally good beer special, because lots of times it’s still hard to choose between cheapest and healthiest. A way we’ve come to compromise this decision is by learning to share. I’ve realized that I’m usually satisfied with a smaller taste of something than eating the whole thing. Ty and I used to both be possessive over our food and I’m sure some of you can relate. The thought of splitting an entree and each getting our own side salads would never have been a thought before. Now we’ve learned to share, which I think has been a crucial change for us, from both a financial and health aspect. Happy wallets, happy stomachs!
So how do I define my diet? It’s all about eating natural, unprocessed foods – a real food diet. This means buying mostly fresh meats, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats like nuts, avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil. If the food I’m buying does come in a package, the first thing I do is scan the ingredients. I want to find all things I recognize, with a minimal list. For instance, my weekly unsweetened applesauce contains just three things: Apples, Water, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Our tortilla chips also contain only three ingredients, all of which we understand, but are definitely processed: Corn (a grain) Vegetable Oil (not a healthy oil – read why here), and Salt. Not the worst, but not that best, so that’s why we consider them a treat and still a better option than say, Doritos which has a list of at least 25 ingredients, most of which I don’t recognize. We do still leave room for making choices like the Chicago pizza, and I also have a jar of King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour in the fridge for the occasions when pancakes are calling our name. I’m slowly learning to not beat myself up whenever we decide to eat something like this, because after all, it’s a choice, and that’s what I have to remind myself. Mindlessly eating something is one thing, but when I have consciously decided to eat something not typical to our daily diet, that’s okay.
Example Daily Meal Plan:
- Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs + small apple + black coffee
- Lunch: Mexican Chowder Soup from Against All Grain made with homemade chicken stock, chicken breast, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and salsa + applesauce
- Dinner: Taco Salad made with ground beef, homemade taco seasoning, lettuce, onions, avocado, salsa, and Tabasco sauce
- Snacks: Other than water and black coffee, I don’t drink anything else. If I have a snack, it’s usually a homemade trail mix after work – equal parts raw cashews, raw almonds, and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Whether Paleo is the right way to eat or if whole grains are the way to go, all I know for sure is that eating fresh meats, veggies, and fruit can’t hurt.