Are you in the ‘get healthier’ movement bandwagon yet? If you’re not, have you at least thought about it? Have you been repetitively hearing phrases and terms like ‘clean eating’, ‘Paleo diet’, ‘cross fit’, and locavore’?
You are not alone!
With the increase in heart disease, diabetes, cancer, eczema, and other ailments that were either uncommon or inexistent a few generations ago, I believe there is a huge worldwide movement, made of both young and old, with the purpose of taking control of their own health.
How I Came to Learn About Clean and Healthy Eating
I personally started my journey into learning -and loving- all things well being when I was pregnant with my firstborn son. I’m sure I’m not the only Cheetos-eating, Coca-Cola-indulging 20-something who gets pregnant and finally comes out of denial mode and accepts that, really, not one body can thrive on soda and cheese sticks as part of a regular diet.
Now that I was in charge of the well being of another life forming inside me, I started Googling terms like ‘healthy diet for pregnant women’ and ‘morning sickness relief’ (ugh!) This started what is now an 8-year journey into healthy habits research and practice, and I now have a wealth of information in my brain (and learning everyday!) on what integral well being is all about. It all starts with this: Listen to your body. But that’s another blog post in itself.
What Works for Me (In Regards to Staying Healthy)
Anyway, for me, among other things, eating a 70% Paleo diet, taking supplements, and doing mild but consistent exercise has been what’s sustaining me and giving me the energy and mind power I need to work, homeschool, and chase after two very, VERY active kids.
I notice every time I go back to my old bad eating and passive living habits, my brain starts to fog, I get easily fatigued, my back hurts, and it’s even harder for me to breathe. That said, I can’t afford not to eat well and stay active.
If you’re just getting started and are looking for ways to improve your health, for whatever reason, here are a few suggestions:
- Listen to your OWN body: what works for the neighbor might not work for you,
- Read your labels! Avoid boxed food, but if you must, read the labels. If it has more that 5 ingredients, it most likely has unnecessary fillers, artificial colors and flavors that you could avoid if you cook the same thing from scratch,
- If you can’t pronounce half the ingredients, put the item back in the shelf,
- Eat a balanced meal. For me, that is mostly quality meats and vegetables, fruits, and nuts. This, of course will change for each person based on your diet restrictions and belief system,
- Eat less grains, avoid GMOs if possible, buy organic as much as possible,
- Exercise, walk, and move, at least 30 minutes 5 days a week,
- Most importantly, keep it simple so it can be sustainable and you won’t get discouraged…remember…take it one step at a time!
Us. Now we try to exercise as a family on a regular basis to stay health and instill good habits on the kids.
My Secret to Incorporating Healthy Dishes Into my VERY Busy Life
I’ve noticed that, once I try a new healthy recipe, it’s always hardest the first time. I may not have an ingredient that I don’t normally buy but that the recipe calls for it, and I’ve just never practiced making that dish before. However, after that first time, if the recipe is simple enough, it can become a staple item on our dinner table and I can make it quickly without much effort.
This is the way that I have been able to include new dishes and eventually change our whole diet, but always done one step at a time, one recipe at a time.
My Easy 20-Minute Semi-Paleo Dinner
Here’s a very simple dinner I put together the other night in less than 20 minutes. I call it semi-Paleo because it includes corn on the cob, which is not Paleo. In fact, I’m not so sure mushrooms are too Paleo either, so, there you go. That dark ‘thing’ you see in the picture is actually a pan-fried mushroom dish. Here’s what I made:
- Mashed cauliflower
- Herbed mushrooms
- Grilled shrimp with herbs
- Corn on the cob
My simple I-don’t-have-time semi-Paleo dinner
This dinner is so simple to make you’ll want to make this tonight! I’m not even going to type detailed recipes with ingredients lists for each dish because this is too easy to put together. I’ll just tell you below how I did it all in about 15-20 minutes. For your reference and ease of read, I will underline the ingredients:
First, I deveined and cleaned the shrimp (or better yet, buy them already deveined, cleaning shrimp is torture!), boiled water in a big pot, and boiled the corn. While the corn was boiling, I seasoned the shrimp with a little sesame oil, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Let the shrimp soak all that goodness in for 5 minutes or so. I also seasoned the cut mushrooms with, well, pretty much the same thing, plus dried rosemary.
I then took the corn out of the water, and added the cut cauliflower florets in the same water to boil. While that boils, I put the mushrooms in my hot stove-top, oiled iron grill. Turned them a few times and cooked for about 7 minutes total. Off the grill they go. Now it’s the shrimp’s turn to get on the same grill. Turn over after a few minutes, making sure they are well cooked on both sides. Off the grill they go.
Finally, I blend the drained cauliflower florets with 3 garlic cloves, a dash of salt, and 2 tablespoons of almond milk, for about 2 minutes. Serve and voila!
Now I dare you to put your apron on and try it! You’ll be glad if you have leftovers to enjoy later too.
The cauliflower mash is such a clever and tasty alternative to mashed potatoes and with a LOT more nutritional value. But again, that’s a whole other blog post in itself.
And here is Little Girl munching away.
P.S.: If you’re wondering about my Christmas placemats under my food, yes, that’s what it is and yes, I know it’s August. Why save them for Christmas? I’m simple like that.
P.S.S.: I like to keep it REAL. If you notice my photos are not too ‘professional’, it is because, well, they are not. I’m no photographer nor am I trying to pretend I live the perfect life that a lot of bloggers want to make you believe they live. The pictures were taken on the go with my iPhone 4S (hey, I was busy cooking.) This is a blog for real people from a real person. Hope the pics are clear enough for you to see what I want to show you. Who knows, maybe I’ll get my good camera out of the closet and go through all the editing trouble. Now that I have some the extra time from not worrying about my blog pictures looking perfect, let me go play Scrabble with my kiddos.
P.S.S.S.: If you try this quick semi-Paleo dinner, let me know how you did! I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below.