Confession time: Healthy living

I’ve got a lot to catch you guys up on…
.
So a few months ago, I made the big announcement that John and I were going gluten-free with our eating. This new pact was based on the assumption that, after years of upset stomachs, a gluten allergy must be our culprit. Except for one blatant disregard for that new promise (as seen here), we were doing pretty well, even choosing to eat out only at restaurants that offered gluten-free options (for locals in the area, this meant Mangia and La Villa).
.
.
Then something pretty major happened that, in a way, helped us to explore the REAL root of the issue…John lost his job.
.
By no fault of his own, John was forced to reconsider goals, routines, finances and the direction he wanted to take in his life. In fact, what could have been the biggest let down of the year, ended up being a major blessing in disguise. Suddenly John had all the time in the world to really get to the bottom of the dietary issue, so he made the appointments and got tested for gluten allergies once and for all.
.
What we didn’t really anticipate though was the negative result…I think we were so stuck on the idea of a gluten allergy, that the sudden reality of it NOT being the case was a little bewildering. All-in-all, the real issue was nothing more than nutrition. (As a sidenote, I wasn’t able to undergo testing and doctor appointments, but John and I are pretty symmetrical in discomfort so I’m just following his lead.)
.
Enter Jessi Haggerty of Bee Rooted. Our second major God-send was a random message I got from Jessi, a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer and Movement Instructor from Boston, MA.
.
.
A blogger herself, Jessi approached me in the hopes of helping John and I out with finding better and healthier balance in our lives in terms of what we eat. Since then, I have learned the ins and outs (no pun intended) of good food and just how much of an impact diet has on our lives, moods and energy.
.
As I am by no means an expert on these things, and since Jessi is, I’ve gotten her permission to share some simple tips with you all here on DG-DIY to possibly help you along with your own nutritional journey. She started me off by listing some “do”s and “don’t”s for good digestive health:
..
Things to increase:
-Soluble fiber:  whole grains like oatmeal, barley, and brown rice, starchy vegetables
-Omega-3 fatty acids from whole plant sources: walnuts, flaxseed meal, small portions of fish
-Antioxidants: berries, green leafy vegetables, foods high in vitamin C & E like citrus fruits and strawberries
-Sprouted foods: sprouted quinoa, grains, beans, breads and tofu.  Sprouting is a process of soaking and rinsing the seed, grain, or bean for a number of days to literally ‘sprout’ it, and works to pre-digest it making it easier for your body to breakdown.  It also allows the nutrients to be more available to your body to use.
 .
.
Things to decrease:
-Large portions of concentrated fat: oils, butter, lard, most processed foods
-Concentrated sweets: juices, sugar/sugary foods like cake and cookies, large portions of dried fruits; can cause excess water to be drawn into your digestive tract
-Dairy: it just doesn’t do good things for the belly!
-Meat/animal products: stick to no more than 3 oz. portions of fish, meat, chicken, etc. per meal.
 
.
Quick Tip:
-When you are cooking beans and grains, try soaking them overnight, then drain them and cook as directed.  This helps pre-digest the fibers and prevents excess gas build up.
.
Who knew?! This first feedback email was incredibly eye-opening. I proceeded to print it out and race home to show John all of the fun new things I had learned. Not kidding. I literally ran inside, practically jumping up and down. In the course of my nutritional health journey up to that point, I had been told what not to eat but not really what TO eat. Well Jessi’s quick “Things to increase” list was only a taste of (again, no pun intended) of what she was to help me understand in terms of my future diet.
.
To begin the nitty gritty part of the process, Jessi asked me to keep track of what I ate with a food diary spanning the length of three days.
.
Source
(and no, that’s not me, but I’m all about the visuals today and wanted you to see how poised and focused I MIGHT have looked while keeping my food diary) 
.
After the three days were up, I had a pretty keen awareness of my normal diet, which is fairly consistent. This is (or was) my typical day’s worth of food:
  1. fried egg cooked over extra virgin olive oil
  2. piece of whole wheat toast (no butter)
  3. blueberry muffin
  4. cup of fresh fruit
  5. cup of plain cheerios
  6. 8 saltine and peanut butter cracker sandwiches (homemade/assembled, not packaged)
  7. brown rice with asparagus, almonds and soy sauce
  8. 3 Hershey’s kisses
  9. a few handfuls of lightly salted peanuts
  10. 1 oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie
  11. Homemade pizza subs (fresh French bread, mozzarella cheese, pepperonis, pizza sauce, shredded turkey lunch meat)
Right away, Jessi was able to point out the aspects of what I ate that might be giving me some trouble. Here’s a quick overview of her suggested “this-instead-of-that” changes:
.
  • Do away with the egg, toast and muffin since it’s heavy on the saturated fat and a little light on the fiber and plants
  • Instead eat a bowl of plain whole rolled oats (add things like fruit, nuts and a touch of honey for flavor)
.
  • Do away with the saltines in the peanut butter cracker equation because saltines tend to be more processed
  • Instead eat Triscuits with a bit of peanut butter since the only ingredient is wheat
.
  • Do away with salted peanuts
  • Instead eat an unsalted trail mix combo with an assortment of nuts and dried fruit rather than chocolate
.
  • Do away with lunches and dinners high in dairy and meat
  • Instead eat a whole grain wrap for lunch with things like hummus, avacado, lettuce and tomato; for dinners, focus on beans and grains (check out these recipes on Jessi’s blog for delicious-sounding and healthy alternatives to a meaty, cheesy, buttery dinner entree)
 .
Since reading over Jessi’s advice, I have been super focused on transforming my diet. I now start every morning with a bowl of plain oatmeal with honey, brown sugar, bananas and strawberries added to it. For the first time in years, I am able to get to work after breakfast without feeling sick. The other thing is that I’m actually full. I used to get to work at 8:30 a.m. after my fried egg breakfast and feel the need to start munching on snacks right away. Now though, I am able to stave off the hunger until around 10:30 a.m. – This feels like a small miracle to me. I’ve also worked hard to all but eliminate meat and dairy from my daily routine. So far, I don’t even miss it!
.
I think we are well on our way to regaining control over our food rather than allowing it to control us…
.
Stay tuned!! I hope to continue to get advice and guidance from Jessi as we work towards our health goals – We’d love to have you guys along for the ride! Also, feel free to provide your own input, advice and/or experiences with us in the comments section.
.
P.S. In case you were wondering, John is now happily employed and our routine and outlook on life is better than ever!
.
 
..
Want more information and advice from Jessi? Be sure to check out her blog, BeeRooted.com, for TONS of helpful thoughts on food, diet, exercise and general healthy living. In case you were curious, I am not being paid to talk about her blog – I am just so thankful and appreciative of her help and want to pay it forward. Maybe she could be the answer to your prayers as well!
.
Speaking of, if you DO need a some guidance, Jessi is offering her readers (and now mine!) a super sweet discount on her consult – Instead of $125 for an initial personalized consult, she’s only charging $50. The consult can be done via phone or skype. If you want to take the first step to a healthy lifestyle, then I highly recommend getting in touch with her. This is starting to sound like an infomercial (which I assure you, it’s not meant to be), so I’m going to stop here.
.
Have a GREAT weekend everyone!
.
Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Confession time: Healthy living

  1. Ainhoa

    Wow, this was such a interesting post, and really eye-opening. I’m glad to hear you guys were able to fix your health issues and that John got a new job!

    Reply

What do you think??

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s