Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's Been Three Months . . .

It's been three months since we began the new way of eating. More whole foods, less processed. More local food, less purchased from supermarkets. I made friends at the farmer's market this year and grew much of what we ate in my back yard.

We made slow changes to our diet that we can live with. I started buying raw milk from grass-fed cows and fresh eggs from free range chickens. Our meat is from free range, grass-fed animals too. I switched from vegetable oils to beef tallow from grass-fed cows--which is better for you. I still use a lot of extra virgin Olive Oil. We stopped using white flour as much as possible and I almost quit using sugar, with only the occasional dessert. Bob—he still likes the sugar, and the vending machine at work is willing to oblige his cravings.

At the time we implemented the changes, Bob's cholesterol count was 250 and triglycerides were nearly 200. We got his blood work done last week and received the results this week, and his numbers have changed significantly. Yay, God!

His cholesterol is now 169, his triglycerides are down to 120. He's lost a few pounds—which he didn't need to do. I have lost a very few—and I need to, but I am optimistic that more will come off as I stay with this way of eating. My cholesterol and triglycerides are all under normal too at my last checkup about two months ago.

Since the weather is getting cooler, I hope to get some more exercise and sunshine. I did test drastically low on vitamin d and take a large dose of that once a week.

Now we have Samuel living here and hence, another test specimen. It is wonderful to have our Sam here and we've waited to try to change much for him since he's adjusting to such changes. It is a different world from Italy, where he lived for the past six years. He loved the pasta and the bread there. He loved the food. The changes are going to be slow and I will be patient with him as he adjusts, because that is what love does.

I'll post more when I have something new to report. Thank you for your interest.

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Did I Get Here From There?

When I was a child, I was so skinny that my mom took me to doctors to find out what was wrong. "Is she undernourished?" No. "Is there a creature inside her eating all the food she packed away?" No. No creatures—just a high metabolism and a love for food. Other than German measles that broke out on the inside instead of on my skin, and appendicitis when I was fifteen, I was healthy. I stayed slim all through high school. In fact, to my shame, some of the boys in school sang Joe Tex's song, Skinny Legs and All, each time I entered the room my sophomore year. Yeah. I was that skinny.

Then I got pregnant with my first daughter. Though I threw-up until afternoon each day for the first six months of that pregnancy, I gained forty pounds. An over-achiever, I've never stopped gaining.

I've tried almost every diet plan out there. I would lose five or ten pounds slowly, and then gain back fifteen when I quit the plan. I tried exercise and, at one point, did aerobics three times a day for more than a year—along with a minimalist diet and lost forty pounds, but gained it all back plus some more when I stopped the diet.

During the seventies, when I raised my children, the diet advice was to stay away from animal fats and use the "light" oils for cooking. Low fat milk and margarine made from vegetable oils replaced whole milk and butter. So we ate many dry, no-skin chicken breast and tuna and vegetables without the flavor of fats. To give us some flavor and satisfaction, I made desserts.

Comfort foods consisted of starchy white flour, stimulating white sugar and (often) hydrogenated oils. We ate our dry as toast meals with the understanding that our reward would come while we sat in front of the TV, watching sitcoms. Glutted with pastries we allowed the television to lull us into a stupor by bedtime.

I honestly thought I was cooking healthy. I honestly did. Everyone except my husband Bob, gained weight. My daughters and I still wrestle with being overweight.

When the children left home, I lost the desire to cook. We ate a lot of fast-food and manufactured foods—chicken nuggets, scalloped potatoes in the box, all foods mixed and tossed in the oven, I preferred to making my own. I was a busy person; I didn't feel I had the time to invest in slaving over a hot stove. The food was not thrilling, but it was quick and easy and Bob didn't seem to notice I didn't seal it with my "cooked with love and affection" stamp on it anymore. All was well as long as we had our ice-cream in the freezer for when we watched our evening television shows.

Then his doctor checked his cholesterol, and it was high—and the meds the doctors put him on just weren't doing the trick. He needs to change his diet—and so do I. My weight has reached an all-time-high. We're both sluggish. He's foggy and achy in the morning when he wakes, and I don't have the energy I used to have. It is time for a change.

I begin this new journey—as I do every journey—by first, studying every book I can get my hands on to see the direction I want to take. Interestingly enough, I discovered the way of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Eat Fat Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, Real Food by Nina Planck. All point towards the way my mom cooked while I was growing up (and was skinny!) with chicken that included skin and bread made with the whole grain.

Last week I learned my grandson; Sammy will come and live the next year with us. He too, needs to lose weight and so we three will embark on this new lifestyle together.

I intend to use this blog to share the journey with those who may want to see the results before they begin, and to record what we learn along the way.