So you made it your resolution a while back that 2014 was going to be a healthy year? And how is that working for you? Restricting ourselves in any way never sounds tempting. I’ll give you a few hints though on how to be able to stick to it.
When we first started our journey towards a healthier lifestyle, we used the guidelines of the Paleo / Primal diet. This is similar to what is called Low Carb High Fat diet. We cut out all grains and anything containing processed sugar, and followed the rule of only buying “one ingredient food”. We also cut out all milk products with the exception of natural yoghurt and butter. I have to admit – it was not just difficult, it was brutal! We started questioning our whole lives. Could we really live like this, limiting our lives this much?
What kept us going though were mainly three things.
- First, the results! It took only a few days before we noticed having more energy, loosing belly fat and feeling great.
- The second was that we had a good friend and mentor answering all our questions. She gave us tips and suggestions and sent us links to great Internet pages filled with information about this diet. Find someone you trust to keep you on track. Or join an online community where people follow the same diet as you. Reading blogs about other people doing Paleo helped me a lot!
- And third – and maybe most important – we learned to concentrate on all the things we COULD eat instead of what we could not eat.
OK, so sweets are out of the question – but how about fruits, berries and nuts? Which ones are your favorites? Go crazy on them for now. We also cut out bread, croissants and regular baked goods – anything that was made with grains (flour). Bummer – yeah – but instead I bake regularly with nut flours and coconut, using fruit (and honey) as sweetener.
Cutting out pasta, potatoes and rice – inconvenient in the beginning but there is an abundance of really lovely vegetables to cook with as substitutes. For example thinly slice carrots and zucchini. Boil for 3-4 minutes in salted water, and serve with your favorite (home made!) pasta sauce. It’s colorful, tasty, and won’t give you the famous carb-energy-crash an hour later.
When soda, juice and other sweet drinks are out of the question – go buy yourself some nice teas and make jugs of ice tea. (Tea, ice cubes and a few slices of lemon). Find nice glasses (or mason jars), drink out of a cute straw.Add some frozen berries. Spoil yourself!
And lastly: the Primal community often speaks about something called the 80:20 rule. Meaning you should stick strictly to the diet at least 80% of the time and can make exceptions up to 20% of the time. What your exceptions should be is up to you. We are all different. Mine are:
- Dark chocolate. I buy 80-90% dark chocolate, meaning this still contains a small amount of sugar. I indulge in small pieces every now and then without bad conscience.
- I also regularly bake and cook with milk products such as fresh cream, crème fraiche and cream cheese.
- And – in addition to water and tea I like to drink a glass of red wine every now and then.
The trick is to define a few exceptions that will really make a difference to your life (a piece of dark chocolate melting on your tongue), but won’t leave you feeling sick or feeling bad about yourself (like munching down a whole bag of sweets).
Don’t worry – it takes time to change a whole life style. But stick to it and you will soon find a balance! Today I never feel I “miss out” on any food. Quite the opposite actually – I enjoy food so much more these days!
People often point out that it must be expensive to eat only REAL food and not bulk up on cheap pasta, rice and bread. And yes – that could easily get very pricey in the long run. In the next post, I’ll let you in on a few tricks on how to keep food costs down while eating healthy.
Text and photos by Lisa Fuchs, February 2014.
Lisa normally writes about healthy and creative baking, under the name Liesel on her blog: lieselathome.com. You will never find sugar or gluten in any of her recipes and most of them are also lactose free.