In this fast paced world we live in, it is increasingly difficult to eat like we should. It requires careful planning, serious consideration, and that pesky thing that a lot of us just never have enough of: time. It’s so much easier to stop off somewhere and leave the cooking to someone else. But the problem I have with that is I’m never really sure what I’m eating! What additives aren’t disclosed on that menu? What is hiding underneath the fine print? What’s REALLY in my beef?
In the US, I had the little luxuries of drive thru’s and fast paced restaurants. For less than $15 (€12), hubby and I could have a full meal at a non-fast food joint. For $25-30 (€20-€25) we could have a sit down meal, which would probably include leftovers for lunch the next day. It was just easier to eat out than in most nights, especially when I was working 80+ hours a week!
Sure, it might’ve been easier, but what was I doing to my body? Even the healthy options in most places are packed full of preservatives and sodium and who knows what else in terms of unpronounceable ingredients. Your body is the one thing you were given in life for free, and it’s the one thing we take for granted the most!
That whole saying, “you are what you eat” isn’t far off! A year and a half ago I made a conscious health decision. I stopped eating out so much, stopped shopping inside the grocery store aisles, and started eating more whole and plant-based foods.
It was quite possibly one of the biggest challenges and yet single-most greatest things I’ve done for myself. The first grocery shop I went on I spent over $100 for less than a week of food for two. I quickly realised how much meal planning was needed to change my lifestyle without breaking the bank! My grocery shop focused only on the outer perimeter of the store, where the un-processed foods reside, focusing mostly on fruits, vegetables and healthy meat/fish combos. I attempted to cut out “bad carbs” (i.e. white bread) and tried to balance my diet.
Three days in to my reduced carb intake and low glycemic fruit/veg change, I was a vicious, unbearable witch with a capital B. I was constantly hungry–a reaction my body was having to adjusting its insulin levels rather than actual hunger; I was moody due to the hormone changes associated with the sugar/sodium detox.
Finally, after about ten days I felt great! The constant hunger was gone, and the sugar cravings subsiding. My body had adjusted to reduced glycemic foods, my blood sugar levels actually improving because of it and the energy levels rising because my body was forced to focus utilising energy from fat cells rather than over producing insulin from the carbs. It really is true, the less sugar you eat, the less you crave it. It’s a very difficult choice to make if you have said sweet tooth, but I’m so much happier all around!
I had my system down in the US, then we uprooted our lives and moved abroad. In Ireland those little luxuries of a cheap, quick, and easy meal prepared by someone else are gone. For a sit down restaurant it would cost about $80 (€50) with an hour and a half gone and the thought of eating at a chipper (fast food equivalent) while sober makes my stomach turn upside down even now! Even the takeaways (delivery service) are quite pricey, but I must admit they are quite handy!
All that said, It’s actually easier to keep in line with my health here than I expected because stores are smaller. Therefore, I have to carry EVERYTHING I BUY and foods are less processed in general (less selection for the record–the cereal aisle is a quarter of the size of one in the US!)
I spent a better part of my Sundays clipping coupons, meal planning for the week, grocery shopping, and advance prepping as much as possible in the beginning. It eventually takes less time and energy once you get into your rhythms–and I promise you finding that rhythm is tough. The first Sunday (in Ireland) I spent seven hours in my kitchen after an hour and a half long stent planning and grocery shopping and thought to myself NEVER again. But I figured it out after about two weeks and it’s gotten a lot easier. And my body thanks me!
I’m sharing all of this with you because I want you to know it CAN be done; Done well; and done in your budget, whatever that may be. You might think, “I don’t have time for that!” But wouldn’t it be nice to make time now to have more time later? I can promise you that you are already making time for the things that matter to you (weekend trips, kids soccer matches, whatever it is!) so why would you not make time for the you that matters most? Do you really want to look back in twenty years and think “what if”, or “if only”?
Will it be easy? Absolutely not. Will you want to throw your hands up? Probably. But are YOU WORTH IT? Absofuckinglutely. You only get one chance at life, and if your bucket list is as long as mine, isn’t it worth it to give your body what it deserves to seize those opportunities?
This is a three-part series, so stay tuned for the second part of this installment next week.
Until next time, XOXO – K