What am I Doing?

As of weighing yesterday morning, I have lost 8 pounds.

I think I should post a bit more about how I have been eating since I decided to go flexitarian.  Here are the basic principles guiding my eating:

#1  Eat vegan as much as possible.

This is the number one rule I am most concerned with.  If I try to eat vegan when I can, then for those times I can't, it is okay because then it is a small part of my overall diet.  For instance, our neighbors had us over for dinner last week.  I was able to sit down to a big bowl of chili and even sprinkled shredded cheese on top without guilt.  I could socialize without concern because I knew that I was eating vegan at home the majority of the time.

#2  Avoid partially hydrogenated oils.

One of the big changes I made was purchasing a vegan, non-hydrogenated margarine to replace butter in our house.  I am checking any packaged food that we buy and avoiding hydrogenated oils.  They are insidious and in so many foods that you wouldn't imagine.  My girls were wanting cookies and I checked the ingredients.  Sure enough - partially hydrogenated oil.  (btw...they do this to increase shelf life on food products)  So, I purchased a bag of chocolate chips instead and we made our own cookies.... which also netted us the benefit of using a cup of whole wheat flour in the recipe as well.

#3  Eat more whole foods.

I am trying to avoid packaged foods as much as possible and stick to cooking from scratch.  This is something that we have mostly done, but one area that I am getting tough on is the snack foods.  I have a junk food loving husband who likes to keep bags of (Aldi's cheap versions) Dorito's and potato chips constantly stocked in the pantry.  I am happy to report, they are not in our pantry any more!  Fortunately, he is willing to compensate with munching on raw almonds instead. (though we are out and it is time for a trip to Costco!)  Another aspect of whole foods is eating "non-white" foods.  This means cut back or out, white bread, white rice, and white potatoes.  We have always been into whole wheat or whole grain pastas and wheat bread, so no biggie there for us.  Harder will be eliminating mashed potatoes.  For one, they are cheap!  For two, our kids love them. (as do we)  But again, once in awhile isn't a problem.  They just can't be a staple of our diet.

#4  Eat less.

This is a biggie.  I think we just get in the habit of eating a certain amount of food.  But the Healthy at 100 book clearly indicates that overeating is just not something that the long lived people groups do.  So I am paying attention to how much I am eating.  I make sure that I am stopping before I feel full, (my usual stopping point) and I am packaging up my kids leftovers and popping them in the fridge instead of cleaning up their plates for them.

#5  Cut back on refined sugar.

Huge step for me.  This isn't easy to admit, but I have become a sugar fiend.  Notice though, I said "cut back" not "eliminate."  I have still had some sugar treats (i.e. birthday cake, cookies, etc) but I am making them specific treats and avoiding excess. (specifically, I am finding more natural ways to sweeten foods, like maple syrup on my oatmeal, not purchasing sugary cereals, and avoiding constant sugary snacking)

#6  Keep motivated.

For me, I do this in a couple ways.  One is that I checked out a bunch of vegetarian/vegan cookbooks.  I enjoy looking through them to get ideas of how to incorporate vegan eating in my normal eating and copying down recipes that look too good to miss out on.  Another thing I am doing is watching shows that are motivating.  One is The Dr. Oz show in the mornings, and the other is The Biggest Loser.  Both of these help me maintain my motivation in getting healthy.  And, of course, I am always on the lookout for good internet articles or sites that will keep me focused on good health.

My next step will be to incorporate exercise into my daily life.  I have been sick this week, having caught the cold that Angelina and hubby had last week.  But I am very excited to initiate this into my routine.  Can't wait!  I brought our TotalGym into the living room where it can not be avoided. *grin*

Speaking of the TotalGym, I think I will sign off now and go peruse the exercise manual that came with it and start formulating a workout routine.

(for the "why" I went flexitarian, read this post)