Monday, August 20, 2012

Healthy Changes

Believe it or not, this blog is still active! "Missing In Action," has definitely been my status lately, but I am still here and I do still intend to write. It's hard to believe that I haven't written anything since the spring, but summer has been active and (crazy as it seems) even busier than last winter!  I'm back now and excited to share some of what I have been learning these last few months!

One big change my little family has made this summer is to switch our diet from consuming dairy and meat to one that is plant based and meat and dairy free. What's that you say?...This is crazy, drastic, and very strange? That is what I thought when I first began researching this kind of a diet change. Trust me, it took a lot to get this girl to give up her cheese and ice cream.

There are several reasons that caused us to decided to give this a try. The biggest reason was that I  struggled with a nauseous, unsettled, stomach for over a year and even after trying many different diet changes and natural remedies (some helping for a short time), still felt sick and drained of energy. I was ready to do almost anything to cure myself of this issue.
After reading many articles and watching several documentaries about meat protein verses plant protein and eating clean, natural food verses processed food, my husband and I felt that our family was ready for a change. A few documentaries that we watched were, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," (watch it free here) "Forks Over Knives," and "Food Inc." 

We took it really slow to begin with. Nothing too drastic. First we finished off all of our milk, meat, packaged foods and our little guy's (and my) personal favorite, cheese. After everything was gone, we replaced our cow's milk with almond milk and our meat with various types of beans and legumes. Once I realized how many EASY recipes there were that tasted good, but were healthy and plant based, I was hooked! The change has been simple and stress free. We all really love eating this way! Now my three year old eats spinach, beans, lentils and humus! I still can't believe how much better he has gotten about eating healthy food! He also enjoys a big cup of almond milk with his breakfast every morning which, I found, has more calcium than cow's milk.
Taste testing a new recipe. It's CRAZY good!

Besides our son eating better, I have finally started to feel normal! My stomach hardly ever becomes unsettled and my energy levels are much higher and more stable than in the past. This is a good thing because, as we all know, when mom is happy, everyone is happy!

As I said before, this change was a slow one for us and one that we made with no long term commitments. We simply wanted to see if we could eat a dairy free, meat free diet and how it would make us feel. After eating this way for about two months we sat down and talked about any changes that we might need to make. We decided to go ahead and include eggs and fish to our diet since both my husband and son are thin and very active and needed the added calories and protein that these foods afforded. Besides that change, we have decided to stick with this diet as much as possible. At least the meals that we make in our own home will be made as plant based and natural as possible.

I am learning so much about nutrition, cooking with spices and creating balanced meals and can't wait to share more! I may just have to follow this post up with more about cooking natural without blowing your budget and a few of my favorite recipes.

Here is a quick recipe for basil and green onion hummus that I love! This can be used as a yummy dip for crackers or as a spread in a tortilla with avocado and tomato. A little nutritional side note, hummus is a wonderful source of protein and fiber. If you eat hummus with a grain or rice it makes a complete protein (the same kind of protein found in meat). Another plus... it is healthy and tastes great!
Basil and Green Onion Hummus


1 can of Garbanzo beans (partly drained)
1 Tbs. of ground tahini
2 Tbs. of fresh, minced garlic
1/2 cup of fresh basil
2 green onions
salt to taste
1 tsp. lemon
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbs. olive oil

What to do:

 In your blender or food processor, add the partly drained beans, tahini, garlic, salt, onion powder and olive oil. Let it blend for a while until the beans become a smooth paste. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little bit of water. Lastly, add in the fresh basil and green onions and allow them to become thoroughly mixed into the humus.

Major rule of thumb...! Always taste test! If it needs more garlic, add it! If it needs more salt add that too! My creations never seem to follow exactly what the recipe says because I know what my family likes and doesn't like. Just go with it and live on the edge a bit!

God bless!


John Adams said...

Way to go on the healthy eating! I'm not sure I'm ready to go completely meat-free, but Amber and I have been trying to cut back on it--maybe someday. I know many of us would be a lot healthier if we followed your example.

Joy said...

Thanks, John! Cutting back, slowly, is exactly how we got started. Over the past couple of years we have been eating less and less meat until we felt ready to go for the "BIG" change. My motto is, "Eat as healthy as you can and see what God has for you next!"
God bless!

Sarah Choi said...

Another great post!:) And yet another mouth-watering photo~~~ I've actually cut out any foods made of flour and sugar (breads, sweets etc), although I will still eat some foods with sugar in the seasoning (as long as it's not too much). I was wondering if you could share your thoughts regarding what to do when you're invited to a friend's house or at a group get-together for a meal. How do you "avoid" unhealthy foods in a discreet way in these kinds of settings?

Joy said...

Thank you, Sarah! Hmm... as far as your question regarding what to do when someone invites you over for a meal, all I can say is that IS a great question! My husband and I have talked about this a few times and have come up with a few possible "right" answers. If it is a large gathering of people, it is easier to just pick what you know that you CAN eat and not draw attention to the fact that you aren't eating everything that is offered. I like to offer to bring a dish to a get together so that everyone gets to try what we eat and so there will be something that we can eat too (just in case). However, we do feel that our diet shouldn't be a hindrance to being able to get together with others. So, we try to use this rule of thumb... in our home we eat as healthy as we feel that we should, but we will not turn away a chance to visit with friends just because they are not eating what we eat. Friends are more important than food. Hope this was helpful! As I have said before, we are still praying and working through many of these questions ourselves. Best answer I can give is to just pray and see what God would want you to do in each circumstance. Blessings, Sarah!