Sunday, April 17, 2011

My latest journey

My New Year resolution was (like almost everyone) to loose weight. I am happy to say I have stuck with it, to date I have lost 20 pounds by exercising and cutting my calories to 1200. I still have 15 pounds to go, but what I care more about is just being healthy. I have no desire to wear a size 0, but I do desire a lean and tone body. I was so tired of feeling tired and weak. Someone posted a message on Facebook about the movie Food Inc. I watched it....knowing I would not be happy with what I learned. I have been well aware of the inhumane animal slaughter, but what really shocked me was the chemical meat wash, and nearly EVERYTHING in the supermarket is made from corn. Really??? I am seriously in the dark, but not any more. I am going to take charge of my eating. My husband is going to document our journey on his blog.  I have a copy of today's entry below. He is in the health insurance industry, so it directly relates to his business. One more thing about me, I am the worlds most picky eater. I will not eat vegetables and rarely eat fruit. This week I tried my first salad (no dressing....I have an issue with vinegar and mayo.....long story) I added fruit to it and did eat it. My main eating this week have been the green smoothies made with fruit and spinach. Amish Chicken and grass fed beef. Its baby steps for me, but NO FAST FOOD

The big switch - Going organic

People ask me all the time about how can I lower my healthcare premiums. Generally, it has to do to with pool of members who are filling claims at doctors and hospitals. Alot of people in these pools are sick or have height and weight issues. Some are healthy. The fact is as people get sicker in this country the rates of premiums are going to continue rise. They've already risen some 70% since 2004. This will be the same even with the new healthcare reform. The government will adjust their rates accordingly as long as obesity rates continue to rise. There is an alternative for decreasing these costs in those pools and reducing health costs overall -which is changing the mindset of the food we're eating. I decided to try to change this mindself for myself. So I decided to make the big switch - Go organic and blog it for six months and see if some of you will follow the lead.

I, like many other people, eat fast food quite a bit. So it's a huge challenge for me and fortunately I was never a big person. However, I've had stomach and digestive problems in the past so there is some incentive for me to make a change. For others, the numbers are staggering. 1 in 3 children in American are likely to get diabetes. The obesity problem in America is frightening and continous to get worse which contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and many forms of cancers. A high fat diet combined with the food industries chemical injections in our food is a disaster to all of us.

So my wife and I decided to design a strategy going into this organic diet. We decided to take small steps and incorporate organic items into our daily life. The first thing was to check out the farmer's market . The closest one we had was in Cincinnati. We also shopped at a whole foods market as well. Some of the Kroger superstores had some organic items. The strategy all along was to basically to switch to things we like to eat and change it to organic at the same time become price conscious.

Keep in mind in this process there would be several things we wouldn't like right away. However there were some things we did like- potato chips and popcorn- this was an easy one. Barbecue Popchips brand were delicious. The cost was about 50 cents more than a bag of ruffles.

But there should be main priorities going organic in the very beginning. One is the food category

1.) Switching from grain or corn fed beef to grass fed beef - What's the difference?- Well many cuts of grass fed beef have 1/2 the fat of corn fed beef, less saturated fats and more omega 3s, so if you're eating lean, grass-fed is a good way to go. Btw, it tastes better too.

2.) Switching from caged chicken to free range chicken -

Although caged chickens are heavily monitored by scientists, eating meat or eggs from free range chickens causes people to have more health benefits because they are not fed pesticide covered food, they are less likely to carry diseases and are full of natural nutrients.(More to come on this issue in following blogs)

3.) Eating green vegetables (not iceberg lettuce) with meals regularly can have many health benefits. They are one of the most natural foods and contain different vitamins, minerals and thousands of other plant chemicals known to provide health benefits. Along with all the many disease-reducing benefits, eating vegetables can also help control weight. My wife doesn't like vegetables at all so she'll make smoothies and include baby spinach in them. (I'll have her recipes up here soon. They're fantastic)

Second is the budget category.

1.) Trying to not spend $50 more than what you would spend at the grocery.

**Keep in mind the money you're spending at fast food restaurants will negate the 50 bucks in a week.

Third is the tasty meal category.

All three of these categories are important because your goal has to be to become healthier; being able to afford to stay healthy and enjoying the meals that are making you healthy.

Each week I'll post results of the experiment. How it affects my health and budget. In addition, to posting some recipes and food choices I think are delicious and a good alternative to fast food and processed food.

Week 1 - I can tell you right away I already feel better and have more energy by going to this organic diet.

For lunch on the first day:

Don Pablo's sounded great today for lunch but instead I ate at the Wholefood store cafe while I was shopping and enjoyed a Turkey pesto sandwich for $6.99 - it was delicious. Pablo's would've cost the same. The sandwich was fresh and the tomatoes were organic. This is not the same as a sandwich at your local grocery - they use processed meat; high fat dressing or mayo and it's not generally fresh or chemically clean. So, will have to find the recipe for the sandwich. It was awesome. Point here is try to find an alternative to high fat content foods.

For dinner we had fresh range chicken fajitas. We bought the chicken at whole foods but my wife and I discovered it is much cheaper to get fresh chicken at the farmer's market as well at the butcher shop. We bought four huge chicken breasts for about $10 bucks and it will last a while. (We froze alot of it for later meals in the week.)

For a good seasoning on the chicken fajitas use my wife's recipe:

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground coumin

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp oregano leaves

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Use baby spinach ($2 for a huge bag at farmer's market versus $3.99 at whole foods in a smaller container) in the fajitas. Use Drew's organic buttermilk ranch. (not cheap at $4.99 but it was the best ranch dressing I've ever tasted) and organic wheat tortillas. Use organic tomatoes as well. Grill your fajitas in a wok if you can't get outside and mix them with organic green peppers and onions. ( large green pepper at farmer's market was 50 cents)

Spent $104.00 at wholefoods market - not much lunch items unfortunately. mainly dinner portions and some very good cereals for breakfast. although instead of going out to eat we did buy two grass fed steaks which were $20 bucks - not bad.

Spent $15.00 at farmers market - have a ton of greens and lettuce. Don't know yet how to use all of it.

Stay tuned. The big issue now is not the dinner's or breakfast, but fixing lunches on daily basis without starving. Stay tuned.

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