How I Started Eating Healthy Part 2

Alright, I’m back with more of the story of how I transitioned my diet from processed food to health food!

As I mentioned in the last post, I used to eat out a lot and I was generally very clueless about what food I was putting in my body. Once again, I’ll give credit to the Quantum Wellness Cleanse for spurring the healthy change because it was that cleanse that made me start to eat a Whole Foods Plants Based (WFPB) Diet. Now, a cleanse is not needed at all to make healthier choices, it’s just my path and my story. I don’t think a WFPB diet was even a thing back then (at least I had never heard of it) so I didn’t know that what I was doing had a name. I want to be clear though, cleansing is not necessary! But for me, when I removed sugar, wheat, animal products and caffeine from my diet I wasn’t left with much…ok, I wasn’t left with anything at all! I had to figure out what I could eat and I had to do it fast. So…I bought a cookbook! A revolutionary idea I know. This was in a time before instagram and pinterest and just being able to google “healthy recipes”. The first cookbook I bought was “Veganomicon” and through cooking the recipes in that cookbook I really learned how to make vegetables, beans, potatoes and quinoa delicious. In fact, I found all the recipes in that cookbook to be far more exciting and fun to cook than what I had been eating on my standard American diet! That was actually what got me so into cooking and creating food. I never enjoyed cooking until I started cooking healthier. I guess it was just part of getting more invested in my health.

So how did this go exactly? First I started making my own Pad Thai instead of going out for it. Easy enough. Then I started making potatoes. Also easy. I just started cooking recipes that looked healthy to me but that also sounded good. This up leveling took a long time because I had to start by incorporating only the vegetables I was comfortable eating like green beans and carrots. Eventually I tried more and more vegetables and learned the vegetable secret that would change my life: dice the vegetables up very, very small. This was a complete game changer! I still to this day do not like big chunks of onion or broccoli but if it’s diced up small it’s fine. This is a classic vegetable lentil soup that I actually ate every day last week. It’s full of vegetables but it actually tastes good and has good texture.

The last piece of advice I have for transitioning to a healthier diet is this: eat whole plant foods in abundance and do not stress over calories. I had been a calorie-counter on & off prior to switching up my diet so I was very used to having to limit serving sizes etc. Or I should say I was aware of serving sizes, haha! The thing I absolutely loved when I switched to eating whole plant foods is that I could eat and eat until I was satisfied and continued to lose weight until my body reached it’s natural weight.

If you are still not sure where to start, give this pesto pasta recipe a shot (that post is old and the photos are bad but don’t let that stop you). I have been making this pesto pasta for at least 10 years. It was actually the first thing I ever cooked for my husband and it is still his favorite! He’s having it for lunch this week actually. It’s easy, it’s delicious and it’s healthy.

Well I hope this information is helpful. I do have some new recipes I am excited to share.

Take care!

Laura

How I Started Eating Vegetables (as a veggie hater) + The Lean Green Smoothie

This week someone asked me how I first started eating healthy and I thought that was worthy of a blog post because it’s a great question! I started thinking back on what my diet was like in college and in my twenties. It was…not good.

In college I ate sugary breakfast cereal, huge bowls of pasta, pb& j’s, mac & cheese, pizza from the pizza place next door and the occasional apple with peanut butter. Mostly processed food for sure. After college I moved to Los Angeles where I was suddenly surrounded by fast food chains which I hadn’t really had in my small college town. On the weekends I loved going to the beach and on beach days my diet looked something like this:

  • Breakfast: White chocolate mocha + lemon loaf from Starbucks
  • Lunch: Cheeseburger and fries from In & Out
  • Dinner: Pad Thai from Pick Up Sticks or orange chicken from Panda Express

I enjoyed my time living in LA and I honestly wasn’t concerned with my diet or my weight at all. I guess at that time I didn’t see anything wrong with eating that way and I thought I felt fine. Plus I really enjoyed trying new restaurants and living via my taste buds. It wasn’t until I had been living in Utah for a few years that I really started to improve my diet. I was such a non-vegetable eater that I was the person who would say “plants are what cows eat”. I can’t underscore this enough, I did not eat vegetables.

So what sparked the change? It’s a good question and the first thing that comes to mind is the very first Quantum Cleanse I ever did back in ~2008. Even when I did that cleanse I just lived on potatoes, oatmeal, corn chips (!!) and fruit juice (!!!) and sadly that was an improvement over my standard diet and I lost 10 pounds. But once I started to get a little more into the swing of a plant based diet I finally took a huge giant leap and started making…wait for it…

FRUIT and KALE SMOOTHIES.

Very little kale at first but once I learned the kale was undetectable, I started adding more & more.

This is the original smoothie recipe that started it all:

Ingredients (I estimate everything)
1 frozen or fresh banana (hint: peel the banana, cut it up, then freeze it in a baggie. I learned that the hard way)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
1-3 stalks of kale, leafy part only, not the stalk (about 2 handfuls, more depending on brave you feel)
1/2 cup almond milk (whatever milk you want to use is fine, or use water)
1/2 – 1 cup water

Blend away!

That smoothie up-leveled my diet more than anything and gave me confidence to try more vegetables.

Let’s fast forward to 2021 and get into the smoothie I have for breakfast every day now. It’s the Lean Green Smoothie from http://www.hauteandhealthy.com (an amazing podcast too btw!).

Lean Green Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana (peel and cut up before freezing)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or 1/4 cup mango/pineapple or other fruit)
  • 1/2 an apple
  • 3 cups of spinach which ends up being a massive fist full
  • about 1 cup of water

This smoothie isn’t pretty by any means because the blueberries muddy up the color. If you want it to be bright green use mangoes instead of blueberries.

So, the two recipes are pretty similar so not much has changed in the last 13 years for my breakfast smoothie.

I will be back soon to share how I went from eating panda express to vegetables for dinner.

And now, because it’s been 8 million years since my last blog post I will leave you with a picture of Rocco who is now 6 years old and is (still) very, very cute. This is one of my favorite photos of him. Every blanket I buy for the house instantly becomes “his”.