Alright, I’m very passionate about this topic. During my high school years I totally messed up my hormones and the health of my body with one simple mistake. I totally deprived my body of the amount of calories it needed to truly function well. I was eating very healthy foods! But not nearly enough of them.
When I got re-interested in healthy living after the birth of my son in 2013 my sister Theresa suggested that I could actually HEAL my chronic problems with my hormones with a real food diet. Even the thought of that makes me smile – when eating a real food, whole foods diet (non-processed, very healthy, mostly produce), you can either be left with some nutrient deficiencies and a major calorie deficit, or you can totally thrive! Well, having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I’m here to tell you what all the hype is about when it comes to eating good, wholesome food from the earth.
Clearly we all know that running through a fast food drive-through will give you an incredibly substantial amount of calories, but they are NOT the kind of calories your body needs to function at optimal levels. It takes a little more thought and purposeful intention to make sure you are getting enough calories in your whole foods diet on a daily basis so that you can thrive. Calories = energy. Remember that! Not enough of the right kind of calories will result in fatigue, lethargy, and moodiness, not to mention the harm it can do your body systems at large. (So will large amounts of the wrong calories, which most of us know, too!) We need to feel our best so we can BE our best!
Since 2013, my journey to discovering what life can be like living on whole foods has been incredible. Challenging, but worth it all, and it has landed me finally being able to make sense of my body (and still eager to learn more!). Making the switch to plant-based foods this summer has totally been where I really finally felt connected with my body, and I heard my body say “Alright, now you’re getting the hang of this.”
I do think that counting calories can be very beneficial to help people lose weight. I would never say it wasn’t, because so many of you have fabulous success stories. But the problem comes when you’ve counted calories and reached the perfect number for your goal, but they’ve all been the wrong calories that aren’t optimizing your body’s output. Not saying that’s you, but it’s a concern when counting calories. A couple meals of takeout will get you to a calorie goal, but be largely nutrient deficient.
Thankfully, there is a huge trend today for healthy eating. But there are so many different views and plans out there, and everyone thinks theirs is the right one, the only way to eat and be healthy. And most of them revolve around weight loss being a great result. True, being a healthy weight is extremely important. But so is the health of our mind and soul, and even the health of our earth, and how we treat our food- all of these things are affected by the choices we make regarding what we eat.
I chase around my kids all day, my husband and I are both on our feet all day for our jobs, we work out several times per week and burn 500-600 calories in a single cardio workout when we aren’t training for something. Plus, they tell me that breastfeeding burns another 500 calories or so, so bring it on! It’s very important to me that I get enough calories in my day (good calories!), if not, I’ll see my energy start to really drop mid day and my milk supply plummet.
I always start the day with a large jar of water with freshly squeezed lemon. I love this, it’s become my lovely habit to sip this since I gave up my coffee addiction. More on that later! Smoothies loaded with fruit and bananas, maybe some chia seeds or a vegan protein powder (if I feel I need the boost). I eat a good number of bananas per day because they are filling and nutritious, at about 100 calories per. I’ll make sure my hubby and I both have 5-7+ bananas in our morning or post workout smoothie. (Tip: A banana is FULLY RIPE when it is covered in brown spots. Not just a few brown spots and the tip is still green… no, LOTS of brown spots. That’s when it’s actually digestible. Most people think they can’t tolerate bananas, I was one of them, because they’re actually eating an unripe banana which is mostly dense, indigestible starch instead of easy to absorb sugars your body can readily use.)
The morning is mostly filled with fruit! Glorious beautiful fruit. (I’ll be posting in a later post on why fruit in the morning can be the best choice) At lunch and dinner it’s time to eat seasonal veggies, starches, lots of greens, and some gluten free grains. For dinner I love eating a massive salad the size of me… a massive bowl filled with greens, and whatever else I throw on top. Amazing…….
What we eat is SO simple, SO easy to prepare, and minimal cleanup. No scrubbing sticky pans. Yes! And it energizes us for our day. It’s also pretty darn affordable! See my post for how to eat plant based on a budget here. Check it out! I focus less on recipes, and more on meal assembly to save time and stress.
Looking to develop something similar to this plan in your home? It can’t and shouldn’t happen overnight, so to speak. Start with baby steps! What works for you? Maybe you eat pretty well already, but have let some processed foods slip back in. I can relate! Or maybe you need to start from scratch, what would be baby step number one? Maybe making sure you’re home at least one to two nights a week to make sure you can prepare your food at home and get the most out of your calories? It’s always healthier that way!
Connect with me on instagram to see more of what I eat and do in a day to support a healthy and active lifestyle @susan_restoringtheday