Guilt, Popsicles, and Real Food

I’m a hypocrite. Let’s go ahead and get that out of the way. For as we type I am licking my lips of the smudges of not only one but TWO Breyers Caramel Chip Popsicle somethings. I bought them a long time ago, and I’ve had a really long day. So I am chalking this one up to frugality and desperation. But it brings me to my next point. With this post I am supposed to tell you about all of the changes we’re making in our diet and lifestyle. Well, here’s the thing. Two things. One: it takes time. And two: sometimes, there are caramel popsicles in the freezer, and you are going to eat them.
As I am reminded frequently by those who squash my goals/bring me back to reality, we live in the real world. So I’m just not going to tell you I’m never going to eat a Wendy’s Single and accidentally on purpose make it a combo, or have soft ice cream even though soft ice cream is the devil, or enjoy only whole wheat pasta for the rest of my lasagna, ziti, and chicken tettrazini-eating days. People, I’m just not. I am too weak.
But I am grateful to the man who wrote “In Defense of Food,” whose name escapes me right now, and to others you’ve heard from. Because of them I have clarified in myself the things that I can REALLY do, that will really help. These things I am doing. And I genuinely feel better when I do these things. Much better than, say, eating two processed 30+ ingredient ice cream mystery treats. Really.
1. Eat more vegetables. (We already eat a lot of fruit.) This is actually easier than I thought. Whatever you are making can easily include more vegetables. I eat more salads and put more veggies on them, add carrots, celery, beans, peas, etc to anything I cook, choose meals in which vegetables are the main part. It really is easy and still gets you some delicious meals. You just have to buy (and use) more vegetables than you’ve been used to doing.
2. One thing he talks about in the book is to “eat food.” Totally revolutionary, but when I am tired, in a hurry, low on ingredients, and generally not feeling like chopping a cabbage, tomato and vinegar salad for lunch, I eat what I am hungry for. And then I think, what REAL FOOD do I have that I could also eat? These are not the ideal days, but even if you had a cheese quesadilla, you could always have a tomato with EVOO on the side, an apple/banana/handful of carrots, etc. It’s better than nothing.
3. No more low-sugar, low-fat, processed garbage they make you think is healthy. I am determined to use real butter, whole wheat flour (half/half in recipes), honey instead of sugar whenever possible, only vanilla or plain yogurt, no more delicious but what-the-heck-is-in-this coffee creamer, wheat breads with only ingredients I can pronounce, organic or local eggs, olive oil or canola instead of vegetable oil, small serving of pure chocolate if I want a dessert, oil and vinegar instead of mayo, only homemade dressings, no weird meal mixes with ingredients I’ve never heard of. Basically, real food. Only real, live food.
So that’s that. My changes are small, but I am sticking to them. In the meantime, I am struggling to think of some good, convenient satisfying snacks. When I am about to faint and it is 3:45pm I do not want to wash the spinach, make a vinaigrette, and toast some wheat toast. I want a snack. Now. Yet I also deep in my heart of hearts do not want Cheez-its or snickers or a pudding cup anymore. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Thanks!

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3 thoughts on “Guilt, Popsicles, and Real Food

  1. Very cool posts, Jessica – I learned a lot from them and am encouraged to keep trying harder to eat healthy. We're missing so much of life by not doing that… one thing I have found encouraging is that over time, I'm finding that I actually like the taste of the real food better. It takes discipline at first, but eventually your body begins to recognize what it does better with and determines that it actually likes it better. Like wheat pasta vs. white – I actually prefer the wheat now. I can't believe it, but it's true. Same with bread and many other things… especially vegetables – there are SO many good vegetables that I actually look forward to eating. It's just hard to break the cycle… hard to give up those yummy, easy snacks – but we'll get there eventually. One step at a time. Thanks for posting all of these tips!

  2. healthy snacks ideas:apple with peanut butter & raisins or cranberryblue corn tortilla chips with homemade salsa (one like mom & aunt marci make with all kinds of bean, corn, red pepper)whole wheat pita with hummusHomemade applesauce. Freeze it in individual sized portions, warm & add cinnamon when you want to eat.Make some nut-free trail mix with peanuts or sunflower seeds, dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, cherries, banana chips), mini dark chocolate chips, and Kashi Crunch cereal.Homemade granola bars. I have an EASY recipe for Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Squares – sweetened with honey. You could leave out the chocolate if you wanted to be really healthy.

  3. My favorite recent snack and I always have in a little cooler so I can grab it and carry it with me in the car is… sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon then a dip made from mixing:- Plain nonfat greek yogurt- Pumpkin pie spice- Pumpkin butter- Couple drips of Almond extractIt's crunchy, sweet, and packs a protein punch with the greek yogurt!

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