First of all, thank you to the lovelies who had nice, uplifting things to say on my last post. I’m still completely overwhelmed by change and still not ready to talk about anything yet, so thanks for sticking by regardless of my flaky-demeanor.
Actually, I take that back. The point of today’s post IS, in fact, to talk about change – well, behavior modification if we’re being politically correct – but on a lighter note.. I’m keeping this food-related. I mean, I am a dietitian after all, what else would I talk about? Not food? Psh.
Anyway, so lately, with stress firing shots at me from all directions, I’ve found myself falling into this not-so-great-habit of reaching for comfort foods. For me, this basically means wine and cheese. And soup, lots of soup. Although my pants are still fitting the same and I probably look the same on the outside (or maybe I’m a little puffy from all the sodium, who knows), I can tell you one thing: I feel like crap on the inside.
My first instinct was to do some kind of cleanse or detox. Then my senses knocked me back to reality, reminding me that those things don’t work. Or, let me rephrase: they do for some people, but they can also be a recipe for disaster. With my personal and professional experience with disordered eating, I just know better than to combine any kind of drastic dietary changes with a vulnerable, stressful life situation.
Once I reminded myself of this, I took a more gentle approach by brainstorming some positive changes that I could make. While I don’t plan to make all of these changes starting ASAP, they are general guidelines that I’ll need to keep in the back of my mind, and think about when it comes to making my choices.
Here’s the list:
Less cheese, more healthy fats
Remember last year when I had my little dairy-free experiment? Well ever since then, I’ve kind of stuck with it. I no longer eat yogurt (what?! no Chobani?! Yes, it’s true). I use almond or soy milk instead. But I do still eat cheese. Like.. a lot of cheese. And while I’m all for “everything in moderation”, I also know that I have borderline high cholesterol thanks to my family genes. Goat cheese is here to stay, forever, but I could be a little less heavy-handed with the parm on my pasta and the feta on my salads and the cheddar in my eggs and.. you get the point. I eat cheese on everything. Instead, I’ll trade for healthier fats like nuts, nut butters, avocado, hummus/tahini, etc. See? Easy.
Watching my salt intake
It’s funny because when I’m giving a diet education for a patient with high blood pressure and talking about the DASH diet, the number one thing I tell them is to watch out for processed foods. Salt/sodium creeps in where you least expect it… it’s really only just the beginning by eliminating the salt shaker from the table. For me, the biggest culprit of salt in my diet is soup. The hospital cafe has two different soups every day of the week and more often than not, I’ll get a cup with lunch. I don’t have high blood pressure, in fact my BP is low sometimes, but I’m prone to water retention and soup leaves me feeling puffy and bloated the next day. And when I’m eating it everyday, well, that means I’m always puffy and bloated. I should probably limit my soup intake to once or twice a week.
Less wine, more water
Believe me, I thought long and hard about this one. I love wine, there’s no denying that.. and I love it for so many reasons. But rather than thinking that I want a glass of wine because it sounds tasty, I’ve started to feel like I need a glass of wine more often. And I never want to feel like I need wine (unless it’s Friday at happy hour, let’s be real here) because then it becomes something else, and that’s not healthy. Even if it’s just one glass, that shouldn’t be a consistent feeling. Like right now, I legitimately want a glass of wine – that’s great! But I don’t need it, and that’s even better. And I’m throwing in the “more water” thing just for good measure, because we could all drink a little more water right?
More vegetarian meals
This one has nothing to do with my physically feeling like crap. It’s because I made the (stupid) decision to watch the documentary Vegucated on Netflix. In short, it’s about 3 everyday-meateaters that volunteer to try veganism for 6 weeks, all while learning about animal agriculture (how their meat is produced in the slaughter-houses), in addition to the health benefits of going sans meat and dairy. While it didn’t turn me vegan, it did a sufficient job in grossing me out and making me think twice about my meat consumption. Such a technical review, I know, I should totally be a movie critic. Beans and tofu, here I come!
Have you made any healthy changes lately?