Way back in January after an autumn full of weird illnesses, doctor's appointments, laboratory tests and even a surgical gall bladder removal Craig was hit with a fairly serious diagnosis - Type II Diabetes, or Adult Onset Diabetes. Part of his diagnosis is genetic - his dad was diagnosed at an early age as well, but part of it is also his diet - apparently Sonic Jr. hamburgers aren't a "snack."
But in all seriousness, his initial diagnosis wasn't terribly severe - no insulin shots or anything crazy like that, instead just a change of diet and an all around healthier lifestyle. So the day he found out we headed to Barnes and Noble for a Diabetic cook book and I cleaned out the fridge and pantry. It's not like we were eating HORRIBLY - not a whole bunch of chips and cookies just hanging around, but I did have to modify the dishes I was preparing for dinner by eliminating carbs, butter and salt.
The cook book was most definitely helpful in the beginning because I had no idea what a diabetic diet even looked like so the recipes were able to get me started in the right direction. Over the past few months that we've been eating and living this way, not only have both Craig and I lost weight but I've found myself paying much more attention to labels and ingredients when researching new recipes to try out. I can read through a Pinterest recipe and decipher for myself whether or not it really is healthy or decide what I need to substitute or cut in order to make it healthier. Our pantry and fridge is also chock full of fresh fruits and veggies and when grocery shopping I also have found that most of my list is found on the outer edges of the store - I hardly ever venture down the inner aisles because that's where the more processed and less healthy foods are located.
I think for most people the hardest part of implementing a new diet regime is actually getting started and making it a routine. Here are some tips that I've found work for my family.
1. Designate a shopping day. For us it's on Sundays around noon and we purchase the food that we will need for the week. I also try to keep a running list of things that we've run out of over the course of the week (laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc.) so that we can get those things as well. Having a designated day keeps us on a routine and helps us stay on target with the diet - I can tell when we skip a shopping day because those are the weeks that I'm swinging by Chick Fil-A or heading to Chili's.
2. Plan your meals, make a list and stick to it. Every week I glance at our family calendar for the week to see what nights we will be home or what commitments we might have throughout the week. This allows me to figure out which evenings I will be cooking dinner, when we'll have leftovers and even what kinds of meals to fix (something easy if I have volleyball or something more involved if I have more time). Once I have decided when we'll be home, I go through cook books and peruse Pinterest to plan the actual meals and from there I write down all the ingredients I will need to buy. I also check the fridge and pantry to see if we need more snacks, lunch stuff and other odds and ends. Having my list handy at the store actually cuts down the amount of time I spend shopping because I know exactly what to get and where it is - it also eliminates extraneous purchases and helps keep the cost down.
3. Buy fresh foods, but not necessarily organic. I absolutely hate wasting food and so I'm much more apt to cook and eat the healthy food if I know that the broccoli is going to go bad if I don't cut it up and throw it in the oven with dinner. When it's fresh food with a spoilage date, there is a greater chance of it being cooked and eaten in my house. I also know that some people swear by organic foods but I don't think they are required in order to have a healthy lifestyle - plus they can be a little on the expensive side. I think if you're getting plenty of green veggies on your plate with dinner (that aren't loaded down with butter and cheese) then you're doing alright.
4. Be creative and adventurous. There have been items on my grocery list that I didn't even know what the food looked like. There have been recipes that seemed practically impossible to put together but once I got in the kitchen and broke it down, the meal came together pretty nicely. But the truth remains, anytime you are going to change up your eating habits it's going to require you stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. It will be scary and there will be hits and misses...but like I tell Craig, if it's not good...just order pizza.
5. Remember - sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. Craig's first big switch after his diagnosis was cutting out his sweet teas from Chick Fil-A and Sonic. And even though it was a minor change (putting in his own low-cal sweetener instead of sugar), it had a tremendous effect on his caloric intake and ultimately, his waistline. Or substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream, olive oil for vegetable oil...the list goes on and on. I even found a recipe on Pinterest for a cake that is made without milk, eggs or butter!
Here are a few Pinterest recipes that I've found delicious, easy and healthy (or healthier)!
And if you want to see more of these great recipes, click the button below to follow me on Pinterest!
Pinterest - Laura