If you really are what you eat, what does that say about you? Do you need to change the way you eat?
If you want to improve your nutrition, you need to eat more whole foods. Fill your fridge, freezer and cupboards with nutritious foods, and as you run out of the old processed products, avoid replacing them. At the grocery store, always do a last minute scan of your basket and use a surge of willpower to put unwanted items back on the shelf.
For me, the real change began when I learned to see this as a process. I read a book, “The Way to Eat” by Dr. Leo Katz—he helped me understand that I was not dieting, I was changing the entire way I eat. This was not a temporary restriction of what I could buy, it was an attempt to change my entire patterns of consumption.
Over time, I literally changed the way I eat; my taste buds learned to appreciate the new tastes and my health improved. As well as focusing on whole foods, I have also started to source my food as locally as possible for the added benefits to my community, environment and food security.
During the summer we shop weekly at the Farmer’s Market, and eat mostly fresh salads and raw foods, while blanching and freezing surplus for winter. In November, our chest freezer is full, and by spring it will be empty.
Cooking and processing whole foods is time consuming. To avoid having to cook every night and to provide lunches, I work in very large batches. I usually cook 3 or 4 nights a week, and we eat leftovers the rest of the week. My extra-large skillet-wok and my 10 quart stock pot are my tools for survival.
A sharp knife is essential for rapid processing and requires less force, therefore reducing the risk of cutting yourself. I also use a large wooden cutting board that can hold large piles of vegetables. Plastic cutting boards are preferred by some who like to bleach them, but glass cutting boards will destroy the edge of your knife.
I make a lot of soup, chili, curry and steam-fry. Soup is a great time saver and can be a nutritionally balanced meal. My basic recipe for soup is to empty leftovers from the fridge and freezer into the pot and add vegetables.
A marrow bone in the crock pot overnight makes a fabulous beef soup base, and soya sauce is a good replacement for Oxo. A small amount of balsamic or apple vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar will give your soup tang. Curry adds depth. Blended butternut squash thickens and cubed spaghetti squash adds texture. Experiment by throwing absolutely anything in—I promise, you will be surprised by what turns out to be delicious.
Try to eat a large variety of whole food: your body needs a wide spectrum of nutrients for growth and healing. The cells of your body are constantly replenishing themselves. Use this as an opportunity to literally change the stuff you’re made of.
Chris Semrick, B.Sc, RRT, CRE is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Certified Respiratory Educator and a Smoking Cessation Counselor.