Thursday, August 22, 2013

From That to This

Want to know how I went from that

Climbing 2Sep11 (24)
Rock climbing July 2011

to that

Climb Iowa (18)
Rock Climbing September 2012

to this

Horse Lessons 28Jun13- Da was there (5)
Horse lessons June 2013

in about two years?

Without regular exercise?

The quick and easy answer: I stopped eating crap.

The more in depth (much longer) answer?

It was a transition (one that is still happening). A transition made out of necessity for Emma, but one that has made a world of difference for all of us.

It started back when Emma was 4, but I have a post dedicated to that story. We eventually went gluten and dairy free (Emma and I did), but we didn't really get that started until the beginning of 2012. You can read about that here here, here, and here if your interested.

So basically, for the last year, we have been eating a lot of this,

CSA Share

and this,

Will Work For Food (12)

as well as any other grass-feed or pasture raised meat we can find. Oh, and wild caught fish.

I don't "diet", but I have changed my diet. As in, I made a lifestyle change.

For the most part I avoid anything with more than one or two ingredients. If I can't pronounce the ingredients, I don't buy it.

I don't count calories, I don't watch my fat intake, I don't even starve myself! That makes it easy.

Fried Summer Squash (1)
Frittata (eggs, breakfast sausage, swish chard, onions), fried summer squash (coconut flour for the batter and fried in coconut oil), and a strawberry, banana, pineapple smoothie. 

Well, easier. Eating "just" meats, veggies, fruits, and nuts is challenging. If anyone tells you differently, their lying to you. Convenience food got it's name for a reason.

Yummy Pached eggs and veggiew (3)
Poached eggs over potato and veggie scramble. 

A few things I've discovered along the way to make my life easier.

Eggs. Good quality eggs are worth their weight in gold. Appropriate for every meal, and useful in SO. MANY. WAYS. Scrambled, frittatas, poached, hard boiled, omelets. Eggs are a miracle food (not the cholesterol demons they're made out to be). 

Ground meat. When shelling out big bucks for grass-fed or pastured meat, ground meat is awesome. It's less expensive, freezes well, and thaws a lot quicker than a huge roast or a thick cut of meat. And just like with eggs, ground meat can be used in SO. MANY. WAYS. Meatballs (which there are thousands of different ways to make them), burgers, scrambles (i.e. tacos, keema, etc), meatloaves, meat sauce, sloppy joes, and so on. 

Yummy Supper (1)
Burger with avocado, carrots, lettuce and rice (which is a grain that we occasionally indulge in).

Emma's Meatballs (3)
Emma's famous meatballs

Whole Chickens. Less expensive per pound, and after being cooked up in the crockpot, just as versatile as ground meat. Shredded BBQ chicken, chicken salad, chicken soup, or straight from the fridge as a snack with a bag of veggies.

Chicken Salad Salad
Chicken salad salad (one of Emma's favorites).

And don't forget about that broth when cooking the chicken in the crockpot! 

Food Prep during school (2)
Saving the broth. 

Chicken broth is yummy as a warm drink on a cold day (and good for your joints) or as the base for soup. Also makes wonderful egg drop soup.

Egg Drop Soup (6)
Egg drop soup

SAVE THOSE CHICKEN BONES! When you have picked all the chicken off the bones, throw the bones into a freezer bag and toss them in the freezer. When you have the bones from two or three chickens, you can make bone broth.  The important thing with this is, the more naturally raised the chicken, the healthier the bone broth will be. If all you have is conventionally raised chicken, you may want to skip this. 

Both broth is super crazy good for you (a few good articles are here, here, and here). 

As far as veggies and fruit go, I typically only buy organic if they are one of the dirty dozen. Even then, the only ones I am super picky about getting organic are greens (lettuce, kale, etc.) and bell peppers (because Emma will eat them like an apple), and fruit. 

Yummy Root Veggie Roast
Beats, carrots, Brussels Sprouts, garlic scapes, and who knows what else!

A typical meal for us is 1/2 veggies and 1/2 meat, with fruit as dessert. I say typical because some days I am too lazy to make a decent meal and we'll have left over BBQ chicken with carrot sticks. But hey, I'm human. 

So, how do we afford to eat this way? 

We make our food budget more important than everything else (except rent and student loans). When I'm tempted to stop and get a "snack" from the gas station, I remember that the $3-5 dollars it would cost to indulge in junk could be spent on a dozen eggs or a pound of grass-fed beef. Not only do I not eat the junk, but I am feeding the three of us multiple meals for the same price. 

We don't have cable. The extra $50 bucks a month it would cost us (to still watch Netflix over cable anyway) will buy me 8-10 pounds of grass-fed or pastured meat (or 5 pounds of delicious pastured bacon- so worth it!). 

We don't have iphones or other gadgets that require monthly payments. I have no idea what those would cost us, but I know I am happier "eating" that money then being connected to the internet 24/7. 

We very rarely buy junk food or "convenience" food. Soda is out, we drink water or water kefir mixed with a little juice (4:1 kefir to juice). We skip the prepackaged cookies and make our own paleo versions. Basically, we stay away from the sections of the grocery store that aren't produce or the meat department. 

We drastically cut back on our meals out. We love to eat out, but eating out doesn't always love us. While we have a few gluten free options around here, we still sometimes manage to get "glutened" and end up feeling like crap. 

The benefits to eating this way?

The biggest benefit is that I just feel better. I sleep better, I am less cranky, I don't feel like I'm going to pass out around 2:00 in the afternoon, and I can see muscles that I thought were lost forever (without regular exercising!).

Bike Hike (6)
I'm able to run up this hill (and a steeper one) with no problems. 

After my BMX debut on Tuesday, I could barely walk up and down the bleachers. I was terrified of walking up the three flights of stairs to our apartment. By the time I got home, my legs felt a little sore, but the stairs were no problem. I even took the garbage out immediately after we got home, which meant a trip down and a second trip up. I actually ran up the stairs the second time. 

Tina's BMX Debut 20Aug13 (8)
Riding BMX is a killer for the quads!

I figured that on Wednesday, I wouldn't be able to walk. I was fine. My calves were a bit sore going up and down the stairs, but that was it. 

How can I recover this quickly from some pretty intense exercise that I just jumped into all willy-nilly? 

Because of what I eat. 

It's that simple. 

I'm not writing this to try to brow beat anyone, but at the same time, I really feel like eating as clean as possible would benefit everyone. If you have questions or want more info, please let me know. I promise to just provide you with resources for you to look at in your own time, and I promise not to hound you (or jump up on my soapbox). 

And just for making it this far, here is a fun picture of Emma. 

Emma Reading
Reading provides balance. 

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