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A positive, tasty NON-DIET approach to healthy eating. Anyone want to join me?

(72 Posts)
fuzzpig Thu 09-May-13 12:37:14

Due to health issues (I have CFS/ME among other things) I have decided that I need to eat more healthily. Not that it's a cure, and I know no food is magic, but I know that having a healthier diet will be one less stress for my body to deal with. I also feel that due to our hectic and exhausting lives we haven't been feeding our DCs as well as we should.

I am not interested in crash diets etc so I decided, rather than banning myself from 'bad' foods, to instead focus on including lots of lovely nutrient rich food to make it a positive experience rather than a chore of self-deprivation. I'm not going to be weighing myself BTW, any weightloss is secondary to me as I really just want to focus on nutrition (also due to my health, heavy exercise is not possible ATM).

Unfortunately due to aforementioned illness cooking is very hard for me so I have to keep it simple and I am only making small gradual changes. So far it is easy as I actually love a lot of these foods, but often didn't prioritise them, instead going for cheaper/more convenience/quick fixes etc.

First off I decided to add berries and nuts, as these are two things that are supposedly rich in nutrients (vitamin C and protein/vitamin E respectively) and I love them - but generally didn't indulge due to price. However I found bags of mixed whole nuts in Tesco and they are going down very well, I put them in an airtight tub and 5yo DD even asks for them when she is hungry for a snack, instead of her previous requests for biscuits/crisps etc! shock We are all enjoying the berries too.

Although I am deliberately not banning myself from junk food, I am already finding I don't crave it quite so much because I am enjoying the berries and nuts and they feel like a treat in themselves. My taste for processed food is decreasing too, and now when I do eat some it often doesn't satisfy me at all and/or makes me feel a bit sick.

Two other things I really want to increase is oily fish (good source of long-chain omega 3) and pulses (protein and fibre). I think this is going to be more difficult as the DCs aren't keen on either (except tuna and, erm, baked beans).

I'm sure I can't be the only person wanting to eat more healthily so would anyone like to join me and share support, ideas and advice? smile

buildingmycorestrength Thu 09-May-13 13:43:15

Fuzzpig, hello! I'm over on the paleo thread in weight loss. None of us talk about weight loss very much, though, we all just bang on about how much we love our food. grin

Main first step for me was stopping wheat, then other grains, and now most sugar (with allowances for social using and the odd slipup, of course). I maximise protein and veg. I love salmon and salad, eggs for breakfast, chicken and roast veg for dinner. Dark choc after lunch. Fruit for snacks.

Lots of great ideas over there, but also great idea to start your own thread. Hope you find something that works for you.

Grockle Thu 09-May-13 22:23:59

Hi Fuzz, I need to do this too. I keep thinking that I should go back to my 10/10 thing... 10 mins of exercise a day plus 10 portions of fruit & veg. It means there is little room for meat/ processed crap. I desperately want to try to get better - to have more energy & to feel fitter & I really hope that eating better food will help. I bought a bag full of vitamins & supplements etc that I have begun to take.

buildingmycorestrength Fri 10-May-13 09:37:14

Yesterday was eggs for breakfast, salad and cottage cheese for lunch (with dressing and olives and other yummy flavours), dessicated coconut, seeds, vegetable crisps and a pear for massive snack, and a load of salmon, broccoli and cauliflower with lime and black pepper for dinner.


ATJabberwocky Fri 10-May-13 09:43:28

Finally a thread that's not raving about the 5:2 thing. Making small changes is definitely the best way and reducing sugar and fatty stuff without limiting yourself seems like a much better way to eat.

Grockle: 10 portions of fruit and veg seems a bit excessive, along with taking supplements rather than just eating a balanced diet. Does this genuinely make you feel better?

Grockle Fri 10-May-13 11:59:28

When I did the 10/10 thing, I didn't take any supplements. It's based on research that suggests we need to eat at least 8 portions of F&V. I don't know if it's true but apparently the government decided that 8 a day was off-putting and went with 5-a day as a more attainable target. By aiming for 10, I was guaranteed to meet the 5-a-day quota and usually 8+. It meant that I became more aware of what I was consuming and made healthier choices. I never stopped eating cake/ crisps etc, but I certainly had a better balance.

Today I have eaten a croissant (with butter & marmalade), 4 chocolate fingers, a thornton's chocolate (rich, buttery truffle) and a handful of hula hoops. I'm not doing well grin

slug Fri 10-May-13 12:21:04

fuzzpig, do you have a slow cooker? Pulses or lentils cooked slowly are much less likely to give you the more err, explosive side effects. DD is a massive lentil fan and will eat them in preference to just about anything else.

I sometimes cook a large batch of lentils overnight with a few herbs, a bit of garlic, onion and water. This then gets left in the fridge and added to salads for protein. I take a lunch to work of tomatoes, lentils and spring onions.

TheConstantLurker Fri 10-May-13 12:30:37

Ooh excellent. Marking my place for more ideas. Anyone got any for uncooked healthier breakfasts?

Grockle Fri 10-May-13 12:57:41

I will start this properly on Monday. My mum is here for the weekend so we're having takeaway tonight, afternoon tea tomorrow & breakfast out on Sunday. I menu plan each month so will look at the rest of this month & June & try to have a better range of meals.

Tinned pulses & beans are good too. Much more expensive than dried but on the days when I am too ill to cook (every day!), I know I can open a tin of bean salad or add lentils to shepherd's pie without much effort.

Also, frozen berries are fab. For lunch, I sometimes put some fat free greek yoghurt in a pot & add a handful of frozen berries before I leave the house in the morning. By lunchtime, the berries have defrosted but are still cold and it makes a good, filling lunch. And porridge for breakfast.

Grockle Fri 10-May-13 12:58:58

Also, other easy changes to make - only have wholemeal bread & pasta in the house (again, more expensive) to increase your fibre intake without any effort.

Thingymajigs Fri 10-May-13 13:17:57

I'm doing this too. I lost a lot of weight last year and became much healthier after I gave up smoking and cut back drinking to once a month. I'm hoping to maintain the loss healthily without counting calories.
I've come off the omega 3 capsules because I'm now eating 2-3 portions of oilly fish a week but I'm sticking with the multi-vitamin because I'm TTC (another reason to be as healthy as possible).
Since making our own bread and cobs I've stopped eating it as much. I simply don't want to waste the bread unnecessarily. I've also cut back massively on rice and potatoes which used to be a daily indulgence. Chocolate and treats are limited to the weekend and a small treat on Weds.
Typical day is frozen fruit with low fat natural yoghurt and toasted oats for breakfast. Homemade veg, lentil or chicken soup or some sort of salad for lunch. Dinner varies hugely but fish and veg in a spring onion sauce is pretty common. I'm trying to add more fruit but I'm always aware of the carb and sugar content so I rarely go over 4 pieces of fruit a day.

Dahlialover Fri 10-May-13 16:31:21

Hi - I've been doing this to reduce cholesterol

Looking for more ways to eat fruit (I don't like it!)

I use brown rice (cook for 35 mins using absorption method) and puy lentils, or the waitrose cheaper equivalent as they cook in 20 minutes.

Every so often, I get fed up and eat cheese and chocolate biscuits, but they are never as good as I was hoping :D

buildingmycorestrength Fri 10-May-13 18:09:23

Just had a lush salad for dinner...tuna, salad leaves, grated carrot, bits of antipasti (artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers) and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Yum.

And a lump of cheese

Will prob have some fruit in front of the telly later.

TheConstantLurker Sat 11-May-13 12:40:33

Gah! why is healthy so expensive?
last night in the interests of non-wheat eating I had a whole big packet of crisps and half a packet of dark chocolate. Will I lose weight?


buildingmycorestrength Sat 11-May-13 12:54:25

grin oh, definitely! Almost certainly!

I had another omelette for breakfast, another salad for lunch and cottage cheese with seeds, and some dark choc after....

forevergreek Sat 11-May-13 14:31:36

A super quick 'fast food' meal here is : a tin of mixed beans/ pulses rinsed, add to large bowl, mix in tin of tuna and tin of sweetcorn. That is basically it as a quick bean salad. We then either eat alone or add anything else in fridge ie green beans, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes etc etc...
Even the kids prefer it than Tuna pasta. It's perfect for 5 min meal, and handy if no energy to prep etc..

You have the right idea to food. The next thing I would say is wheat and sugar.

Simple changes would be dark choc instead of milk, oat based cereals instead of wheat, rye breads etc.. Or baked potato instead of bread at lunch maybe

infamouspoo Sat 11-May-13 14:40:17

I'll join. i've cut wheat and grains and am gradually upping the veg and fruit and nuts

Grockle Sat 11-May-13 21:00:06

Please talk to me about reducing wheat & sugar. I know its not good for me but it's what I fall back on. I am unable to cook atm & don't eat hot food.

Bean salad is one of our faves too.

buildingmycorestrength Sat 11-May-13 21:08:53

I decided not to worry too much about 'giving up wheat' but just to try not eating it for a bit as an experiment.

Decided to just replace with other starchy carbs first...rice cakes and oat cakes are good as cold ready carbs. Rice and potatoes as hot carbs, and sweet potatoes which I love.

For breakfast I made sure I had protein, so I had three eggs cooked in coconut oil. I didn't feel hungry til lunchtime when normally I would want a snack between 9 and 10 blush . Not sure what a cold protein based breakfast would be, but frozen berries with full fat natural yoghurt and seeds might be good?

Then rice cakes and bagged salad with some protein for lunch (maybe cottage cheese or already boiled eggs or a tin of tuna?). And jacket potato (microwave?) and beans and cheese for dinner would do it.

I just found that without wheat I wasn't constantly hungry. And no wheat meant no biscuits, but I didn't try giving up sugar right away as that seemed too much. That came easily after a while but I didn't want to make promises I couldn't keep as I already felt like such a failure on the food and parenting and wife and house and work front.

Maybe try it for a couple of days and see if it has the same effect for you?

infamouspoo Sat 11-May-13 21:13:37

I discovered I had coeliacs which came as a bit of a blow. Further experimentation showed potatoes and sugar didnt agree either sad

NeedsTherapy Sat 11-May-13 21:26:18

just marking my place on here, I've been thinking about this for a while, I will come back later and read.

fuzzpig Sat 11-May-13 21:46:27

Wow thanks for all the replies! So glad I'm not on my own with this smile

I have actually cut down quite massively on wheat, but it wasn't really a conscious decision. I have just found that I don't really fancy it. For example looking at pasta just makes me think 'ugh' so I will now only have it rarely, and our bread has been going mouldy because it doesn't get used quickly anymore! As I said in my OP I don't want to explicitly 'give anything up' (I always just want to rebel! <childish>) but I am finding it happen naturally. I'm not sure if that is because the ME/CFS can lead to extra sensitivity to 'toxins'.

So many things have been making me feel a bit sick that I even wondered if I was pregnant hmm

Anyway I got some more lovely food delivered today. As well as the nuts I found a bag of mixed seeds - only four types, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and linseed but should be a start.

And bizarrely DH cooked some rainbow trout for us tonight, DCs had already eaten but DD had come back downstairs and asked to try it, she bloody LOVED it! I'm sure she would've complained if we'd served it to her at dinner. But she was ripping into it, even the skin.

Grockle Sun 12-May-13 03:19:27

Thanks for the advice. I'm a but funny about food but I know that when I stop eating for a day or two, I lose my feeling of hunger... I wonder if any of that is to do with wheat? Once I start on carbs (so, mainly wheat), I just can't stop.

fuzzpig Sun 12-May-13 06:35:54

Ah my browser crashed last night so I'm glad my post still appeared!

What I also wanted to ask was, grockle what supplements have you bought?

I've thought about trying some (I currently only take a multivitamin with iron) but they are all so expensive aren't they. I keep hearing about various things but then when I asked my ME consultant, he wasn't all that convinced. But my mum has offered to pay for private alternative therapy if I choose something and I did moot the idea of using that money for supplements instead, at least while I work on getting more nutrients via my food. I think the main problem with supplements is that often the nutrients aren't actually as 'bioavailable' (think that's the right word!) as those found naturally in food, so you don't get as much use out of them (or to quote Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, "what you're paying for is very expensive urine").

Also wanted to ask people, those of you with young DCs, what veg do they eat? My 2 (DD 5, DS 3) are ok with veg really (I remember a meal in Wetherspoons where the waitress brought the 99p side dish of steamed veg, and in unison they shouted YAY, VEGETABLES!!! so loud we got funny looks hmm grin) but I get quite bored serving the same stuff all the time - DD eats tomato, carrot, green beans, peas, broccoli, sweetcorn, cucumber, avocado and mushroom. DS only eats a fraction of that. I bought some sugar snaps and baby corn for them to try (again) this week.

fuzzpig Sun 12-May-13 06:43:06

Oh no infamouspoo (love the name grin) coeliac sucks, my DH and one of my DSDs have it. It is quite shocking how much food has gluten in, let alone how much has 'traces' or 'may contain' etc. I've had both DCs tested due to the genetic link (10 times as likely to get it if a parent has it) but thankfully negative. Apparently in Italy they test every child at 5.

Grockle I guess the carb craving could be because of the sugar crash - simple carbs act like sugar in the bloodstream I think? So blood sugar spikes quickly and then you feel worse and need another hit?

As sweet potato was mentioned upthread I just wanted to say - baked sweet potato, cut open and topped (no butter needed) with feta cheese and spring onion. Amazing.

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