PART IV in this series outlined the first step in changing from an unhealthy sugar and processed food filled diet to a healthy one. Simply adding in some healthy food.
Let us say that you follow those guidelines for a week or two. You feel pretty good about yourself cause your starting to dig that salad before supper just a bit, and your eating an apple at work most every day and a few less bags of Doritos. The eggs at breakfast don’t taste that bad at all, and you have eaten way less pop tarts lately.
Well, that’s a great start, but you should still be pissed. Cause if you are like many people I know, you still drink a big glass of orange juice in the morning and think its good for you. You still buy low fat yogurt with 30 grams of sugar added and think you are doing yourself a favor. You are probably still picking up lunch at Taco Hell or a McDonalds here and there. And your kitchen is probably so filled with shit filled over processed “food” that supper and snacks at home and the weekends almost can’t help but be dominated by food that is pure crap.
But you have taken the first step, good for you.
What you buy at the grocery store is going to have more impact on how you eat than any other factor. There are a few things you can do right from the start to set yourself up for success. Only shop for or buy food from actual grocery stores. Like Safeway. Or Costco, or something like that. Do not buy food at 7-11 or other convenience stores. That right there, if you stick to that rule, makes it much easier to shop healthy. Go to the store on planned trips, once per week.
Now, when you actually get to the store, choose how much shit you are gonna put in your body for the next 7 days. Yeah, you are probably still eating Doritos. But do you really need 2 bags, or are you eating enough healthy food now that one will do the trick? What I am saying is to put a limit on it! You might be a frozen pizza junkie, but make the effort to cook and eat some healthy meals this week, and don’t buy so many of them. In general, just try to buy as little as possible from those center isles of the store, where all the over processed crap is. Shop around the outside, mostly the meat and the vegetable displays.
I can’t tell you exactly what to buy, because I don’t know what you like to eat. Or what you like to cook. But I can give you some ideas by telling you what I like. I like to buy some combination of red meat, chicken, and fish. Except when something is on sale, that is. If salmon is $3.99 a pound we are eating mostly fish for the next week, lol. But under normal circumstances, tri-tip (or sirloin or ribeye), chicken breasts, and salmon are the three meats i favor. i have favorite ways to prepare each. The red meat is usually either stand alone with a starchy side like potatoes or used in a stir-fry. Chicken is not my favorite, but I like it in a salad so that is how I use it, cut up and added to a salad. I mostly like to eat the salmon with a side of mixed vegetables.
But buy enough meat to cook your suppers for the next week, and make sure that you plan to have leftovers. Nothing keeps you from eating shit like having great leftovers sitting in the fridge just waiting to be heated up.
When it comes to the vegetables, again, you have to figure out what you like. Myself, I am big on salads. My favored salad is kale, baby spinach, romaine lettuce, onions, sun dried tomatoes, and of course dressing and black pepper. I can make it just like that to accompany a meal or even as a snack, or I can add chicken to it to make it a supper by itself.
The other way I like my veggies is in a stir fry. I buy the frozen packages of broccoli and cauliflower and make a simple stir fry with cut up tri-tip. Or I will try out other bags of mixed vegetables, all different combinations, whatever I can find, and make it with usually tri-tip, once in a while chicken.
I also try to make sure we always have baby red potatoes on hand, cause those are my favorite type of potatoes, and I like mashed potatoes with steak. Or smashed potatoes as my son says. My favorite way of making them is to boil them, then mash them, then stir in some heavy cream, a bit of butter with diced garlic that has been sauteed just a bit, and pesto sauce. Yes pesto sauce, put it in to taste, it makes smashed potatoes taste wonderful. And of course a bit of salt and pepper.
Does steak and potatoes ( and asparagus, I love to have asparagus with steak and potatoes) grilled chicken over a salad, or salmon and veggies sounds way too boring to you? Well, i agree. BDS (before Donny Shankle moved in) I used to cook a traditional home made pizza that was awesome. I also used to cook a pesto pizza topped with sun dried tomatoes, smoked mozzarella cheese, and chicken. I also used to make a mean spaghetti. And other various dishes. Just not too often. I figure if you stick with the meat and veggies theme about 3/4 of the time, an occasional treat won’t hurt you at all. Now, ADS (since Donny moved in) the treats are taken care of with good cajun dishes, like gumbo, and jambalaya. Both of which are composed of meat, a variety of veggies, and rice. Not too bad.
Now I am not too big on snacks. I simply don’t snack much. My son does, but he is happy with apples and oranges, squares of hard cheese, and the occasional yogurt. He also likes baby carrots with ranch dressing. If you do have the urge to snack, leftovers are the best snack ever, IMO.
Buy the ingredients to make these meals if they sound good to you, or others that are made with meat and veggies and good stuff. You are probably still going to eat some crap, and that’s ok. You are still going to make some bad decisions, buying what you think is healthy when it’s really not, but that’s ok. We are making steps in the right direction.
Next installment will talk about how to educate yourself a bit, and maybe we will talk about some ideas for breakfast or lunch.