But this year, the husband's been struggling with some back pain and would like to lose weight, and I wouldn't mind tightening up my diet either. So we're making small strides to incorporate sustainable changes in our eating. I believe that any steps you take toward adjusting your diet should be gradual in order to avoid the deprivation-binging cycle that defeats most of us.
Here are a few steps we've taken that have been easy to stick with so far.
1. Green smoothies every weekday morning.
When I realized that I could add handfuls of raw spinach or kale to a fruit smoothie and taste virtually no difference, I was completely sold. I like spinach salads and kale chips, but most savory methods for making greens take longer and are less palatable than a fruit smoothie. I love hiding my greens in something that tastes delicious. It's nutrition magic. Anyway, we have been making smoothies every weekday morning. They taste fresh, keep digestion moving smoothly, and pack a huge nutritional punch. The ingredients vary daily, but my staples are usually the following:
- Frozen fruit: bananas, peaches, berries, pineapple/melon blend
- Plain low-fat Greek yogurt (I love Cabot)
- Juice: orange (usually Florida's Natural; I also occasionally buy something more exotic like organic mango juice for flavor)
- Almond milk
- Spinach or kale
- Milled flaxseed (so many health benefits)
* Image used from twopeasandtheirpod.com
2. Adding vegetables in unlikely ways.
We're trying to consume fewer grains, but I really, really wanted some pasta tonight. I got the plain, white-flour tortellini out of the freezer and decided to compensate by amping up my pasta sauce with nutritious ingredients. I grated a carrot and soaked it in very hot tap water for 5-10 minutes. I poured organic pasta sauce into my blender and added the drained, grated carrot and two handfuls of fresh spinach and pureed everything. I heated the sauce on the stove with some extra garlic, and then served it over the tortellini and homemade meatballs. Couldn't taste the carrots or spinach, but they were there all the same!
3. Apple cider vinegar.
This is the most controversial item on our list, as I assume many people would scoff at the idea of ACV being the magic tonic that some claim it to be. I do not happen to believe that it is a magic tonic, but I've read enough to persuade myself that it can only do good. It was also recommended by the holistic chiropractor that my husband has been seeing.
I also think it's worth mentioning that my husband had been taking eight Advil a day for his back pain. The chiropractor suggested a natural alternative called OsteoMove Joint Care, a formula that works to decrease inflammation and restore cartilage. He's only been taking it for three days, so I'll report back if/when we see results, but I'm in favor of anything that reduces the need to take potentially harmful drugs. I will say that since starting to see the chiropractor, who uses heat therapy as well as typical adjustments, and incorporating these healthy changes, my husband has been able to decrease the number of Advil he's been taking--in fact, he just told me that he didn't take any today. Small strides can lead to success!