Friday, April 8, 2011

What does it mean to be healthy?

Ethan enjoys his green smoothie-yum!

Our family has been on a quest of sorts for about 3 years to become more healthy and physically fit. It all started when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with my third child.

At that time I was sent to a registered dietitian for a meal plan that was intended to help manage the diabetes without pharmaceutical intervention. The result of the appointment was me counting carbs and limiting all carbohydrates during my pregnancy. It didn't work, despite me following it religiously, and I became dependent upon self-injected insulin to manage my blood glucose levels.

Thankfully, everything worked out fine and Brady was born perfectly healthy with no ill effects whatsoever.

One positive result of this process was that I began doing a lot of research. A LOT a lot! I began to learn more and more about what it meant to be truly healthy.

News flash: the key is not a low-fat, low-carb, super restrictive diet. Sure you could lose weight that way, but would you really be HEALTHY? And who would want to?

My weight and dieting have been something with which I have always struggled. Shocking, I know. Even when I was skinny (yes, it's true-I should post some pictures sometime so you'll believe me) it was a constant struggle and a constant source of hardship and pain for me (think starving myself for a week at a time to get to where I thought I should be-yeah, not good). I used to think I had to count calories, eat a bunch of stuff I didn't like, deprive myself of foods I loved, and eat low-fat, low-calorie, low-flavor food.

However, over these past few years as I have learned more and more, my thinking on what it means to be healthy has changed. My basic, simple philosophy on food and diet now is this: the closer a food is to the way God created it, the better it is for you. That's it, in a nutshell. I figure God knew pretty well what He was doing-why mess with it?

So, how has that changed the way we eat? Well, no more fast food for one. The thought of a McDonald's hamburger totally disgusts me now. That one seems pretty obvious though-we all know fast food is bad for us right? RIGHT?

I also have cut out most forms of processed foods (I will buy the occasional box of healthy cereal for convenience sake). If I don't know what an ingredient is or I can't pronounce it, most likely it will not go in our shopping cart.

There is nothing low-fat about our diet, because most foods that carry that label are full of preservatives and man-made fillers and sweeteners that are way worse for you than natural fats. I REFUSE to count calories and fat grams. We simply eat good, wholesome, almost always made from scratch foods, and lots and lots of raw foods.

One way I have started helping my family increase their intake of fresh fruits and veggies (preferably organic, in-season, local produce) is by making smoothies. Smoothies are so awesome because you can put just about anything in them and they taste great.

Some of my favorite smoothie ingredients are bananas, mango, strawberries, blueberries (any kind of berry, really), clementines, grapes, apples, spinach, kale, avocado, carrots, tomatoes etc... Pretty much any combination that sounds good to you will work, but you want to get to the point where your veggie content makes up the majority of your smoothie.

You can make some pretty colorful, flavorful, interesting combinations. If your kids are particular about color, you probably want to go heavier on the berries as they tend to do a good job of masking the green/brown color of the veggies you want to add. I also add homemade yogurt and kefir (a natural probiotic).

I think he likes it!

Here is a link to The Green Smoothie Girl, who first got us started on this idea-well after a sweet friend referred me there. There are a lot of awesome resources on her site if you are interested in pursuing a more whole foods kind of diet.

I hope to blog about our food choices a lot more in the future. We are venturing into the world of gardening for the first time this summer-wish us luck!!! Hopefully, I can remember to blog about that adventure!

What about you? What do you think it means to be healthy? Have you been successful at making dietary changes in your family?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lisa, wish I would have thought of this when ours were younger. What a great way to sneak in vegetables. Your son is adorable.