Last weekend, Mr. Foodie and I committed to revamping our food lifestyle. We made this commitment after I had a bit of a scare at my annual primary care checkup. It wasn’t anything serious or life-threatening. Basically, the nurse took my blood pressure and it was 142/86. Yikes! They took it again of course after telling me to relax because I get incredibly nervous at the doctor’s office. It didn’t go down so I was instructed to buy a blood pressure cuff and measure my blood pressure twice a day for two weeks and then report back to my doctor.
Luckily, at home, where I’m not sitting naked on a table covered by a tiny paper sheet, my blood pressure readings have been about 110/80 on average. But, before I bought that cuff and started measuring, the idea that I could have high blood pressure made Mr. Foodie and I take pause and reevaluate our lifestyle. We already practice a pescetarian lifestyle but we do like to eat out at restaurants, and we definitely like sweets. Add to that the fact that living in the city only fosters those bad habits. In our neighborhood alone we have 2, what I refer to as “junk” grocery stores and 5 dedicated dessert places and a gazillion restaurants within walking or delivery distance. And if, like us, you are prone to utilitze said restaurants then this can lead to poor health.
I’m a realistic person though. I don’t claim to “have no control” or that “I don’t know it’s bad for me”. I know exactly what I”m doing when I eat a cupcake or a slice of pizza. It’s my choice to do so. Just like it’s Mr. Foodie’s choice. I have read a lot about food and nutrition so I also know how addicting salt, fat, and sugar are and how it can be extremely difficult to give those things up. Similar to a smoker quitting cigarettes. Even if it is an addiction, how or why did we let ourselves become addicted in the first place?
Well, similarly to how I’ve made the choice to never try a cigarette, I have chosen to eat fatty, salty, sugary foods. So this weekend we started reading Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He advocates for a “nutritarian” food lifestyle. That is the term he uses for a diet high in nutrients and low in calories. If you know anything about food and food research, then it will not surprise you to learn that this diet is highly plant based. Basically, we can eat as much fresh vegetables and fruit as we want. Other things like nuts, avocado, tofu and starchy foods, such as sweet potatoes, can be eaten in moderation. He advocates doing away with any animal products because per calorie they have low nutrients compared to plant foods. Other no-nos include oils because again, oil has a lot of calories and fat with no other nutritional content to account for its high calorie content. Are you starting to get the picture?
We haven’t finished reading the book yet but we did start down the road to a revamped foodie lifestyle. And we don’t expect ourselves to be perfect. For example, this weekend I made a cheese-less, vegan, tomato pizza. I topped it with these absolutely to-die-for roasted tomatoes that are sold at a new cheese shop in Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia – Evergreen Cheese. But they are packed in olive oil. And that’s okay. This isn’t about scolding yourself or yelling “I quit!” and downing a box of donuts.
Notice that throughout this post, I’ve been using the term “lifestyle” over “diet”. That’s because I don’t believe in diets. A diet implies a short term commitment to eating a certain way. A lifestyle is forever. Even in his book, Dr. Furhman states that while he advocates total elimination of high calorie, low nutrient foods, he also states that it is okay to be slightly less strict and incorporate a small amount of meat, fish, dairy, or oils. Think along the lines of your food lifestyle being 90% high nutrient, low calorie foods (i.e. plants) and 10% low nutrient, high calorie foods (i.e. oils, animal products).
I’ve already touched on the thing that I love about this book and others that I’ve read in the past. Eating this way is not an all or nothing diet. It is literally a lifestyle. Mr. Foodie and I have wobbled between being pescetarian and vegetarian for over 7 years. It is a lifestyle. Going forward, my posts will be more health and foodie oriented. I’m going to be trying meals and recipes from around the web that fit with our new high nutrient, low calorie lifestyle.
I hope that you enjoy reading about our revamp and maybe you can find some inspiration to incorporate more plants into your diet. 🙂