Health and wellness are something you certainly take for granted when you’re healthy. I used to eat whatever, whenever and really saw no consequence from my habits and indulgences. But four years ago I was in a place that prompted a journey of better eating. From bladder issues to bad skin, I’ve searched for answers in all areas. What made the most sense for me was to question what I was putting into my body. I get asked quite frequently what I eat/how I maintain my body, and it’s been a long process of trial and error to get where I am today. I’m not currently working out, not necessarily proud of that but this season of life is very busy and I chalk up carrying a baby up and down stairs all day as definitely a work out. As far as nutrition, I’ve tried being plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo…you name it, I’ve probably tried it in the search to feel better and look better adult acne is the worst. And this is what works for me.
I want to start by saying that this is how I attempt to eat during the weekdays. I’ve been obsessive about food in the past, and I’ve found that stress has probably only made my skin worse. Now I take the approach that I want to get as many fruits and veggies into my body as I can, but if a donut or cookie slips in here or there it’s not the end of the world. Life is too short to be super restrictive and stressing about it seemed to only exasperate symptoms! I also didn’t go from eating sugary cereal every morning to kale overnight. I was a sugar addict in my former life, and figuring out how to overcome that addiction has been work. This has been a progression, and that’s what makes it a lifestyle change, not a diet. Nothing about this has been dramatic because I’ve slowly made small changes to get here.
A morning person I am not. Waking up is a slow process for me. Usually I get my older kids up and out the door before I have a chance to get anything in my system. We’ve been hearing for years now that it’s important to wake your metabolism with something when you first wake, and eat small meals every few hours. I used to do both of these things, but after reading some conflicting research and taking a look at my lifestyle, I decided to forgo that thinking. I won’t get into the why’s here today, but eating this way has given me lots of energy and kept my mood so much more level throughout the day.
I start off with lemon water. You can do warm water, but I keep a filtered pitcher on our counter and just use room temperature unless I’m in the mood for something warming. Lemon juice is good for so many reasons including digestion, skin, immunity…the list is long and it’s a great way to hydrate your body first thing. I’ve tried all sorts of juicers, but this one from OXO is definitely my favorite. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it keeps the seeds and pulp out of my water. Plus, it has markers for those recipes that call for a measurable amount of lemon juice.
Next I make my green smoothie. I really struggled to eat greens of any kind until recently. Now I love them! But it’s been a slow process to get to this point years! and the smoothie was how I managed to get them in before I liked eating them other ways. I started off with fruit smoothies a few years ago. One day I added some spinach. Over time I’ve taken out most of the fruit and added in more and more greens. If you’re wanting to get more greens into your own diet I can’t recommend this method enough. Give yourself and your palette time to adjust. You can change your taste! I make enough to last me three days, and it stores well in the fridge for that length of time.
I start with the greens and water. I use half a box of spinach, half a box of baby kale, and a head of romaine lettuce. Then I pour in filtered water until it reaches 3 cups. Blend. While that’s blending I cut up a green apple, two stalks of celery, and a lemon.
Put the celery pieces, apple minus the core and the whole lemon in and blend. Yes, the whole lemon. It sounds weird, but there is great benefit in the rind. You don’t necessarily need to take out the seeds, but I usually dig what I can out. As long as you’re using a high powered blender I used to buy a cheap one every few months and finally wised up that the splurge was worth it it will all blend up nicely. This usually makes about six to seven cups and I pour a third of it out to sip on all morning and put the rest in the fridge for the next few days. Domino is all about sharing and loves it too.
Lunch is my favorite meal of the day. It’s where I cook what I want because the only other person eating it is Domino. That girl will eat anything. I love breakfast food, so that’s often what you’ll find me making. Today it’s eggs, kale, and mushrooms.
I whisk up the eggs and soft scramble them. Soft scramble means you keep the eggs moving the whole time and then you pull them off when they’re still a little wet. This gives them a much creamier texture. I wait to season because I’ve heard that’s best with eggs. Once they’re plated I add salt, pepper, and a little green onion.
After the eggs I turn the heat up, add more oil to the pan, and slice up some garlic. I LOVE garlic. Micah loves when I eat it too. Opposite. It has wonderful health benefits, and really makes the kale great. But I’ve always hated peeling and chopping it. I’ve recently discovered two game-changers though: pre-peeled garlic at the grocery store and this OXO garlic slicer. Talk about time saving! It’s so easy to use, slices evenly and in seconds, and cleans up really quickly. I slice some up and add that to the pan of hot oil until it get’s fragrant. Then I add in a bunch of kale and salt and pepper it. I let it cook down and get a bit crispy.
While it’s cooking I quarter up some mushrooms. Mushrooms are my favorite thing ever, but no one else in my family will eat them! After I plate the kale I put some ghee in the pan and add in the mushrooms. I let them get a little brown before I move them. Mushrooms take time to cook to reach a nice texture and taste. Some more salt, pepper, and onion, and I’ve got a delicious, nutrient dense lunch that will keep me full for a while.
The afternoon used to bring a strong desire to eat all the sweets and take a nap. After finally learning what foods fuel my body instead of depleting it, I will have some dark chocolate if I’m craving something sweet. On days I’m feeling a little more hungry I’ll have gluten-free toast with nut butter, jelly, and hemp hearts sprinkled on top for extra nutrition and flavor. It’s so important to listen to what your body wants. Most days I give myself a bit of a pick me up with tea. I’ll never forget last year my postpartum specialist suggesting I have a cup of tea when I had a sweet craving in the afternoon and looking at her like she was nuts. But that’s exactly what I do now. Mint is my favorite and I love the routine of making it too. Sometimes I go for a bag, but there’s something great about loose leaf.
This tea ball from OXO makes loose leaf tea really easy. I just grab a scoop, twist, and submerge it in the hot water for a bit. Then dispose of the leaves and give it a rinse until next time.
I also like to add collagen to my tea this one is my favorite for the price. Collagen has so many benefits for joints, skin, and restoring your digestive system. I see a big difference in how I feel and how my skin looks when I take it. It has a bit of a flavor, but I started with just a little and slowly added more and more to my mint tea until I got to two heaping tablespoons.
In general, dinner is more relaxed. If I have some dairy or gluten, I have some dairy or gluten. Most nights I’m making some sort of protein and veggies. After we did Whole30 last year things just kind of stuck, and we all collectively feel best eating that way. But sometimes we have pizza or spaghetti or tacos. I don’t want to limit our wants, just push the good stuff most often. I remember playing a game with my mom once that asked the question “Would you rather give up dessert and live 10 years longer or have dessert every day and take 10 years off your life.” The answer at the time was undoubtably getting dessert every day, but at the time my health was something I totally took for granted. For me it’s not necessarily about how many years I’m here, but how I feel while I’m here. And eating this way makes me feel alive!
I’d love to hear about your own journey with food. Have you had a similar experience with health and your relationship with what you eat? What do you eat to feel good?
*This post is in partnership with OXO but all thoughts, opinions, and selections are my own.
Photos by Justin Salem Meyer.
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