WHAT ARE YOU EATING?

I wrote this “diet plan” a while ago for a non-preggo friend.  About as non-preggo as you can get actually: a guy.  But there’s no reason a pregnant woman can’t do it.  Really.  Don’t consult your doctor, etc.  It’s common-sense and not at all extreme.  Just some habits to drop, some to pick up, some adjustments to make.

I think it’s a pretty doable way of eating, and definitely healthy.  Tell me what you think!

PLAN TO HEALTHY EATING HABITS:

The short and sweet:  Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.  Much of them raw.  Go organic (here’s why (preggos, take a good look at #2 and #5), and especially if you’re pregnant).  Go non-GMO; here’s why (especially if you have had infertility issues.)

By “food” I mean stuff that doesn’t come in a box or can.  Stuff that is kept in the “walls” of the grocery store, not in the inner aisles.  Skip the aisles altogether.  If it can be stored outside of the refrigerator longer than a few days, avoid it.

By “not too much” I simply mean eat when hungry and not when you’re tired, bored, depressed, etc. (which is what many people do).

By “mostly plants” I mean cut out much of your dairy, meat, and grain consumption.  Most of your plate should be fresh vegetables and fruit.

The other terms are self-explanatory.

What I would recommend to someone on the Standard American Diet (SAD) is to progressively, taking as long as you need to:

1)      Work on becoming aware of, and thankful for, every meal and snack no matter what it is or how healthy/unhealthy.  Food, plentiful food, is such a gift and a pleasure.  Maintain attitude of gratitude and joy throughout each subsequent step, and through challenges and setbacks and “cheats.”

2)      Cut out all soft drinks, whether diet or not.  Replace with fizzy water + fruit juice or lemon, or, even better, with Kombucha (available at Whole Foods, etc.) or Kefir Water (homemade).

3)      Add as many fresh vegetables and fruits to your day as possible.  Also add nuts, especially raw nuts.

4)      Cut out all wheat.  That means most breads, pastas, couscous, cakes, brownies, donuts, many breakfast cereals… You can replace some favorite items with wheat-free/gluten-free versions (e.g. wheat-free pancakes or brownies once in a while) but don’t go replacing every item with the gluten-free version.  Replace the wheat items with veggies instead.  E.g. spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti, sliced zucchini instead of lasagna, extra fruit and nuts in the morning instead of toast, a square of dark chocolate instead of a brownie.

5)      Banish high-fructose corn syrup.  If it’s listed on a label, don’t eat/drink the product.

6)      Add wild-caught, sustainably harvested fish to your diet.  Ideal is 2-3 times a week.

7)      Switch to organic meats, dairy and eggs while reducing overall consumption of these items.  (The average American consumes way too much protein.)  About 2 eggs a day plus meat or chicken 2-3 times a week is plenty.  Best dairy is plain, organic, full-fat yoghurt (to which you can add honey or fruit jam), plus cheese (no Kraft singles please, that’s not cheese!)  Start the “Meatless Monday” tradition.

8)      Switch to organic vegetables and fruits while rediscovering your local farmers’ markets.

9)     Cut down consumption of sugar as much as possible.  When you do need a sweetener, use raw honey.  Some prefer agave but I think raw honey has benefits agave doesn’t.

10)      Instead of white rice, eat brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, and other “unusual” grains like amaranth.

11)    Cut out corn and corn products (there are a lot) except for the occasional fresh corn.

12)    Make it a habit to eat raw veggies.

13)    Discover the joys of making your own fermented products, especially sauerkraut, yoghurt, Kombucha, and Kefir.  It’s kind of like having a chemestry set, kind of like cooking, and kind of like gardening.

14)    Move to a cave and live off lichen and insects.

Just kidding.  14) is only for when the zombies arrive.

I don’t do all these things all of the time but I try to keep them in mind when making food choices.  This is not a particular named diet that I know of.  It’s neither completely vegetarian nor completely Paleo.  I think it’s doable and moderate.  The most important item is #1.  If sticking to a particular diet becomes a  source of great stress, I think the negatives start to outweigh the benefits.

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