Hey innovative educators. It’s summertime and if we learned anything during this pandemic it’s that we must prioritize self-care. That means living in a way that leads to a long, healthy life, and looking fantastic while doing it.
While I’ve always prioritized health and fitness (belonging to several gyms and an avid beach volleyball player), pre-pandemic I found myself overweight. As schools, gyms, and volleyball courts shut down in the early days of the pandemic, I suddenly had free time and looked more deeply into not only exercise, but also diet and nutrition. I am someone who is health and cruelty conscious and I followed a mostly vegan (sometimes vegetarian) diet.
Though I was health and fitness conscious, I was overweight. This didn’t make much sense. I bought healthy brands and was not an overeater. As the pandemic gave me free time, my research began with two books: Mark Hyman’s “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” and “Genius Foods.” My eyes were opened to all the ways the food industry misrepresents food for profit. After following some very simple advice, I changed my diet, and today at 53 and after going through menopause, I find myself 25 lbs (or 20%) thinner with more muscle, without counting calories and with eating delicious food. An innovative educator at heart, I want to share what I learned with any of you who are interested.
Here’s a summary of some the ways I moved to more healthful eating.
I’m starting with oils because there are oils we should use regularly and others we should avoid. Use olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Stay away from the oils in the chart below. I’m starting with oils because these inflammatory oils are often found in food marketed as vegan and they are bad for you.
Food industry marketing
Speaking of marketing, the food industry markets food as vegan, but that typically does not mean it is healthy. It just doesn’t have animals. If it’s packaged, it often has unhealthy ingredients, additives, and oils. Remember french fries and onion rings can be vegan / plant-based.
Packaged / Processed foods
Avoid them and eat whole foods. If they are marketed as vegan or healthy, this is a red flag that they are likely unhealthy. Want examples? When I was eating mostly vegan (with sometimes vegetarian) I found Tattooed Chef’s plant-based foods. Packaged foods like this made up the majority of my diet. It was only after I learned to read the labels that I realized it was not healthy because their products contain high sodium, too much saturated fat, palm oil, and hazardous additives like disodium diphosphate, xanthan gum, and annatto.
Don’t drink your calories
Eliminate wheats and grains
tional American breakfast. They are also “vegan,” but they are terrible for us. Bread, muffins, croissants, pancakes, muffins, cereal, and even oatmeal are all a no. Instead start your day with a protein rich breakfast like eggs, avocado, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes. If you want something for a sandwich I like the Outer Aisle Cauliflower Sandwich Thins or the Egglife wraps.
Eliminate pasta & replace with these options
Wake Up & Read the Labels
Stop counting calories
While restricting calories can help to lose weight, you don’t need to do that. If you eat real, healthy foods, your body will be satiated and you will lose weight. I got fit by eating as much healthy and delicious food as I want. It just took some time to learn what those foods are, and they are usually not the ones the food industry markets to us as such.