Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eating Well, Feeling Great

Last month I posted about how Andy & I took the plunge and bought a cow! A grass fed, California raised cow. We won't actually be welcoming her into our family freezer until June, but I thought I'd share a few "eating healthy"insights that I've learned this past month.

When we bought the cow, it suddenly felt very silly to me to do this eating healthy thing half way. So, I became quite motivated (AKA consumed) with learning more about whole foods over night. I have gotten most of my info from the 100 Days of Real Food blog that I mentioned in the cow post, but I am slowly branching out to other sources as well.

First of all, I've always found healthy eating to be slightly confusing. There are so many different diets out there saying we should avoid carbs or eat a ton of protein or eat whatever you want as long as you land within a certain calorie/point range. Eating healthy has become more and more of a priority to me through the years, and overall I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But I realized, after reading this blog, that I've still been eating plenty of highly processed food.

Here are a few things that have changed for me this month...

  1. One of the biggest initial decisions I made was to stop drinking Diet Coke. Andy (& Filipe) have been giving me a hard time about drinking Diet Coke for a long time, but I just was never motivated to stop. However, something just felt wrong about buying a grass-fed cow to avoid all the hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals, and then kicking back some Diet Cancer every day. So, I finally gave it up. A couple nights ago, we went out to a pizza place and I thought Andy & I could share a Diet Coke since it just seems to go so well with pizza. It was surprising to both of us that neither one of us liked it. After not drinking it for over a month, it didn't taste good to us anymore.
  2. I stopped buying "fat-free" and "light" food items. Even though I always thought I was doing the right thing in buying things with less fat, I realized that many of these items are sweetened with artificial sweeteners and have to be more processed in order to take the fat out. And, surprisingly, in milk, for example, the vitamins/nutrients are in the cream. So when the cream is skimmed off to make nonfat milk (which I've been drinking for probably 25 years), the vitamins/nutrients are skimmed off too. They have to artificially add the vitamins back in, so I switched to buying 2%. And it actually does taste a world better. :-)
  3. I read the label of any prepackaged food that I buy. If I can't pronounced ingredients and/or there's more than 5 or 6 ingredients in the food, I try not to buy it. I don't hold to this 100% of the time yet because I still can't find a good whole wheat bread that is simply made, but I'm working on it.
  4. I'm using the meal plans that are provided on the 100 Days of Real Food blog. She has created 5 different menu plans that include breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for 7 days each. They also include a grocery list and estimated price for each item. These have been HUGELY helpful for me to come up with ideas of how to start cooking with more whole foods. And, can I just say, these have been REALLY tasty meals. Andy has literally groaned on multiple occasions after taking the first bite. I'll share some of our favorites over time, but seriously we have not come across a dud yet. Even the meatless meals (which I never thought would fly in our house with my meat lovin' man) have been a success. 
  5. I've pretty much stopped using sweeteners besides honey and 100% maple syrup. I still use one teaspoon of sugar in raw in my tea each morning, but I'm trying to get away from white sugar, brown sugar, and artificial sweeteners as much as possible. One change that I thought would be tough that ended up being great was with yogurt. Most yogurt is stuffed full with sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. So I started buying plain, whole-milk yogurt in the big carton. It tastes pretty gross if you eat it by itself, but if you put a touch of honey and some frozen blueberries in it, it's actually fantastic. 
The biggest change I've noticed for myself physically is that I've dropped my afternoon lull. Every afternoon when I put Sammy down for a nap, I used to feel sleepy and incredibly envious that he got to sleep and I needed to keep working. But this month I've noticed that my energy level is staying much more consistent without the same highs and lows that I used to have. 

This is one recipe from her blog that I made this week and have been enjoying at lunch time...

Caprese Pasta Salad

Inspired by Deliciously Organic


  • 8 oz dry whole-wheat pasta like penne, rigatoni, or macaroni
  • 1 recipe caprese salad with the following quantities:
    • 1 ½ cup tomatoes (any variety), diced
    • 1 cup mozzarella, diced
    • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Pepper and balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • 1 recipe pesto with extra olive oil as follows:
    • 1 loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves, removed from stem
    • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
    • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 whole clove fresh garlic, loosely chopped
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Let them cool in fridge.
  2. Chop and mix caprese salad ingredients. Combine and blend pesto ingredients together in mini chopper or food processor.
  3. Mix everything together with noodles. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Yield: 6 side servings


Tine said...

Proud of you Stacie! I think as moms it's so tempting for us to just go with the easy and fast, but it is so bad for our family's health. You know, this kind of recipe/meal is what most brazilian are used to making everyday, for lunch and dinner. So when I came here, this temptation of using processed/frozen/easy food was so big for me. I think sometimes we rush so much in life that we end up leaving eating and meals as a last minute priority and poisoning ourselves and our families. So taking the time to reasearch,buy, and cook healthy meals is actually something that should not be looked at as a last priority because we are too busy, it should be one if the thigs that make us busy, like how you're doing! It's a love expression towards our family! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jessica said...

I LOOOOVE it!! And this post is correct. It is so easy to just be lazy!! To get something premade which seems nice and even cheaper at times. But in the end it is not at all. Not either of those things. Stacie this has been an encouragement. Our family is constantly trying to be more healthy and you are so right about so many of these elements in our diets that people pay no attention to. It is important for our children and for our bodies to digest natural food. And you are so right about the energy level. When you don't have that sugar high you don't get the sugar low!! Good for you and thanks for the reminder!! And awesome on the P90X. I only do certain dvd's from that series but I especially love the kempo one!! I love me some Billy Blanks Tae Bo!! So glad all is well with you and your men!!

Emily said...

Great post Stacie! Thanks for sharing this website - good stuff. There are so many nutrition fads out there (vegetarian/vegan, Paleo, etc...) but when it comes down to it, I truly believe that whole, unprocessed foods and a balance between carbs and protein is the only way to go.