Principles of Healthy Diets

Principles of Healthy Diets.

This is really fascinating stuff. I’ve been thinking more and more lately about my diet (and Trevor’s and Sadie’s), and while I think we are generally doing really well, I think there’s still room for improvement. I’ve become increasingly bothered by my cravings for sugary foods (I’m not even sure if “cravings” is a strong enough word), and I wonder if some of it might have to do with my overall nutrition. Another thing that has recently occurred to me is that, while I felt like I fed myself decently during my pregnancy with Sadie, I’d like to be in an even better place nutritionally whenever I become pregnant again.

So, I think I’m going to make this a challenge for myself. As the primary meal-preparer in the house, this will obviously affect our entire family. Maybe I’ll tackle one of the guidelines a week (of those we don’t already follow). I think the biggest challenges will be that I really do rely on the online meal planner I use (though I think the recipes are mostly adaptable to this kind of eating, I may just have to get creative), this will likely cost more money than we’re already spending on groceries, and I know I’ll have to cut out a lot of the “convenience” snacks we’ve been using for Sadie (while the graham cracker sticks and bunny crackers are natural/organic/etc., they’re still way processed and contain white flour and sugar) and replace them with snacks I’ll have to make myself.

I’m a Monday-starter for projects, so I think I’ll get going next week. The first guideline (“Eat whole, unprocessed foods.” ) is a bit too general. So I’ll start with number two, “Eat beef, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry and eggs from pasture-fed animals.” Obviously we eat the eggs our chickens lay, so that’s a gimme. But we don’t eat game pasture-fed meat every week. In fact, sometimes we’ll go quite a while without cooking meat at all. But we might eat meat while dining out–and we can pretty much guarantee that’s not healthy meat.

So the change for week #1 is to prepare and eat our chickens’ eggs at least three times a week (we go in and out of this pattern anyway), to prepare and eat at least two meals with game or pasture-fed animal meats, to entirely quit eating meat from unknown sources (of course, I’m not going to MAKE Trevor do this one, but hopefully he’ll consider it), and to quit feeding Sadie the lunchmeat I’ve been feeding her (it is free of additives and preservatives, but it’s a far cry from what I should be feeding her).

Potential roadblocks for this first challenge–getting sick of eggs; the cost of adding pastured meats to our grocery list (this is usually more of a treat); the temptation provided by things like Purple Cow’s chicken salad sandwich or my Aunt Margie’s pot roast; my inability to prepare our dinner while caring for Sadie–I almost always have to fix her a quick dinner (mostly steamed veggies, cheese, fruit, etc.) and then do the more labor-intensive cooking after she’s asleep; and the common problem of not having any meat left over from our previous night’s meal to give to Sadie, which led me to the lunch meat in the first place.

Otherwise, this should be plenty of fun. We enjoy eating meat. We like good meat.

13 thoughts on “Principles of Healthy Diets

  1. carrie w

    Go Edwardses!
    I can’t imagine how crazy life is with a little one (especially a go-go-goer like Sadie), but it sounds like a great plan. We consciously stopped eating industrial meat a few months ago except in cases where we’d potentially be rude when invited to a friend’s house. It’s been pretty easy. What we miss: Fantastic China’s moo shu chicken and Whole Hog.
    This might help with your processed sugar cravings (it has with ours): eat salad last and put fruit in it–the natural sugars make your brain happier even though it’s been tricked!

    Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      I think that Whole Hog will go on my list of misses, too! Not that I eat it very much. But it is soooo good. The issue I seem to have with trying to sub fruit for dessert is that I always want sugar + fat.

      Reply
  2. TMae

    Last night I was thinking about the sugar cravings I’ve been having. Throughout my life I’ve never had a sweet tooth. I was always the kid who would ask for a second serving of vegetables and forgo whatever dessert was being offered. (Though, to be fair, I didn’t not grow up in a dessert-every-night family.) Anyway, two years ago, when I got pregnant my sweet tooth blossomed. It hasn’t died back since. And I’ve been noticing that when I consciously avoid sweets, I start to get twitchy. Literally, have a physical, almost anxious response to it.

    So I was talking with the husband the other day about how I think we should start trying to avoid refined sugar. HAHAHA. We’ll see. Worth thinking about though, right?
    TMae´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday – football season is upon us

    Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      Yes! I totally get that freakout I’VE GOT TO HAVE CANDY OR CAKE OR ICE CREAM kind of twitch when I try to just avoid sweets, without some sort of contingency plan. My hope is that, by improving my overall nutrition, I’ll be more satisfied and won’t crave unhealthy sweets. I definitely think avoiding refined sugar is a good, but very hard step. We’ve started with HFCS. We’re not 100 percent there yet, but it’s not actually been that hard for us.

      Reply
      1. TMae

        So, I’ve started brushing my teeth immediately after dinner in an effort to outsmart my sugar craving through laziness. I figure if I start thinking about sugar, and then start thinking that I’ve already brushed my teeth, and who wants to brush them again….It’s worked the last few nights.
        TMae´s last blog post ..Worldless Wednesday – Peek a boo!

        Reply
        1. Brooke Post author

          I have done that successfully a couple of times. The problem is that I always feel like I have to finish all of the sweets in the house before I can *really* be regimented about it. The problem is, before I even finish off the ice cream, something else has found its way into my kitchen. I think that’s one of the biggest issues I need to address…

          Reply
  3. Amira

    Hmm, I’ve always had a minor sweet tooth, definitely never been a desert-every-night kind of girl. BUT. Lately I’ve been craving, almost desperately needing, something sweet after I get time to myself at the end of the day.

    This is worrisome.

    The link was pretty interesting.
    Amira´s last blog post ..Mom Date

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  4. Ashley

    I’m always amazed at your discipline when it comes to eating and grocery shopping. I feel like we are both rather well-versed (and from similar sources) in what one SHOULD eat and WHY, but for some reason I have a hard time putting those bits of knowledge into practice. Particularly since Sadie arrived on the scene, I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into what you’re feeding your family. I guess I just need a little more conviction, a lot more determination, and perhaps a little less input from my better half (who doesn’t like a big grocery bill one bit!). More time would help too. Where do you find the time to do it?!

    So what I’m really saying is: Go Brooke!! You’re a supermom.

    Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      Thanks, love. I just hope I can walk the walk, instead of talking a big game. Carrie shared a link that I want to post about once I’ve done a bit more investigating. It might really help out.

      Reply
  5. cate

    Delurking to ask a question… I have a 13 month old and am really trying to feed him healthy food. I am very concientious of his dietary recommendations and I worry that he doesn’t get adequate protein from meat sources. Maybe this is a silly concern, but I would like to introduce a more diverse selection of foods and try to not get too stuck in a rut with what I feed him. We very infrequently eat meat (less than 1 time per week), he does not tolerate eggs (ie. projectile vomiting… no more eggs!), and he only has the 4 front teeth. What did you find worked well for your daughter?

    Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      First of all, I’m definitely NOT a nutritionist. Honestly, I kind of fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to what I feed Sadie. I feel like I do a lot of research up front, decide what goes on the list of foods that are okay, and then pick and choose from that list based on what I have on hand, what she seems interested in, etc. Sadie doesn’t eat much meat at all, because we don’t. But that’s something I’m going to work on. What she does eat a lot of is yogurt and cheese, beans, and a fair amount of peanut butter (natural). We’ve got chickens in our backyard, so Sadie eats eggs about three times a week, but that’s not an option for your boy. I can’t say with confidence that Sadie’s getting the recommended amount of protein. But I can say that she’s growing quite well, and her doctor has yet to complain. Oh, she’s also still nursing, so who knows what all she’s getting from that. My philosophy on feeding Sadie is basically this: I offer her almost only the healthiest foods available, local when I can, organic when I can; I try to offer her foods at each meal that are diverse in color and type; and then I trust her to eat what her body needs from what I offer. Sometimes that means fetching and testing different foods from the fridge or pantry until she’s full. It seems to be working so far. I keep a lot of frozen vegetables handy, and I steam them in small batches (this has been hugely successful), and I keep a lot of fresh fruit around. The only processed snack foods she gets are organic/natural crackers or cookie type things (like gluten-free arrowroot cookies or Annie’s graham bunnies or something) and sometimes cereal or granola.

      I have no idea if that helps at all. I think the key is: be informed, shop healthy, offer healthy options and then try not to worry.

      Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      Thanks! I’ll let you know if I publish a post on your menu planner–I’m really thinking of using one.

      Reply

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