When I took a serious look at my diet last December I had a bit of a wake-up call. I’ve always thought of myself has a pretty healthy eater, in fact, I prided myself on it! Plenty of my friends had worse diets than me, surely that made me healthy, right?!
Okay, that’s probably not the best way to gauge my level of healthiness, but if I’m being honest, it was my baseline for a long time. But the fact was, I still felt like crap, even if my diet was somewhat better than the girl next to me.
I’d also noticed that a lot more of the unhealthy stuff that left me feeling crappy had made its way back into our diets. More bread, pasta and cheese, and less fresh produce. Every day I felt sluggish and lethargic even if I’d gotten a full 8 hours of sleep. Every afternoon I’d fall into this weird fog that lasted several hours. My afternoons started becoming totally unproductive and all I wanted to do was go take a nap. By the time bedtime came, I’d be strangely awake and so full! The next day, I’d repeat the process all over again, not realizing that my diet and other lifestyle choices were the real reason I felt like a walking zombie.
Thankfully, something clicked and I finally decided to get serious about my health. One of the biggest changes I made (you can read more about them here) that I still focus on everyday, admittedly some days are better than others, is stabilizing my blood sugar. No, I’m no diabetic, but blood sugar affects all of us whether you realize it or not. I’d eat breakfast and then not eat again until 2-3. At that point I would be starving, sometimes to the point where I was shaking. My blood sugar had dropped in between there sending my body into a frenzy. As soon as I’d eat, it’d spike again. The yo-yoing pattern wasn’t doing my body any favors and was manifesting itself in a number of other symptoms—aka, the afternoon slump and evening energy burst. Now, I try to eat something every 3-3.5 hours and it’s made a world of difference!
Back when I first shared my health journey, a bunch of you reached out asking me what helped the most, and I have to say that for me, stabilizing my blood sugar has made the biggest difference in my everyday life. Of course, I also made some diet changes and wanted to share a few of the foods that I eat every single day! Ready? Here they are:
I’m a serious creature of habit in the morning and pretty much eat the same thing every day. I know, I know, it sounds boring and occasionally I do switch it up, but I like what I like! I always start with eggs, usually scrambled, but sometimes I’ll fry them in olive oil or make an omelet. I always make sure to add some veggies in there and my staples are red onion, bell pepper, and spinach or kale. I love starting my day with a big breakfast because it kicks my metabolism into gear and eggs are high in protein which give me an extra boost in the morning, which is good because I’m most definitely not a morning person!
I usually only eat eggs at breakfast, but lately I’ve been making them at lunch and dinner too! A fried egg on avocado toast or a veggie frittata paired with a side salad makes for a perfect light meal!
I have a serious sweet tooth and it’s my biggest weakness when it comes to cravings. I used to always buy candy at the store, but when I realized that the more sugar I was eating, the more my skin was breaking out, I really tried to cut back. It’s not easy and so many processed and packaged foods are made with tons of sugar so we naturally learn to crave it. Eating more fruit everyday has been a huge help in curbing my sugar cravings. Now when I get a hankering for something sweet (which is multiple times a day), I reach for apples, berries or dried mango. They make for a great snack and really hit the spot! Fruit also has fiber in it which is awesome, considering most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets. Tasty and good for you—love that!
3. Ground Flaxseed
Every morning, I eat a bowl of fruit with my eggs and I sprinkle it with ground flaxseed and chia seeds, if I have those on hand. Ground flaxseed adds a healthy dose of omega-3s and more fiber to my diet. It helps keep me full longer as well! I’ve even made a flaxseed egg for pancakes from this stuff when I was in a pinch. The pancakes tasted absolutely delicious and were that much better for me!
Collagen protein is hugely abundant in our bodies and is the glue of sorts that holds our bodies together. It gives our skin elasticity, helps our hair and skin look beautiful, strengthens or bones and joints and is overall just really good for you. Modern food processing has removed a lot of collagen from the things we eat, so earlier this year I started drinking, yes you read that right, collagen every day. I add Vital Proteins to my coffee in the morning and mix in their Beauty Water with my lunch. I love the Melon Mint & Lavender Lemon flavors, but it comes in a few more flavors too! I bet the Coconut Vanilla flavor would be yummy in coconut water! They have a really mild flavor, so don’t be turned off by the color! The unflavored Collagen Peptides completely dissolve in water (or coffee) making it a super easy addition to your wellness and beauty routine!
I always thought that I ate a fair amount of vegetables, but when I look back at my eating habits last year, I really only got a few veggies in the morning and some at night. I mean, I suppose it’s better than what some people eat, but the more veggies I added to my diet and the less processed white bread, pasta and rice that I ate, the better I felt. Vegetables are also packed with fiber and all that fiber keeps our systems running smoothly. Of course, if you go from eating very little fiber to a ton in a short time you might experience some other problems, so add more vegetables into your diet over a few weeks so your body gets used it!
There are so many micronutrients that vegetables provide, so we try to switch things up on a regular basis so that we’re getting a wide variety of those! Plus, variety is the spice of life, isn’t it!?
6. Good Fats
Sometime in the 90s the word ‘fats’ got a really bad rap when it comes to food. I fell for it! I felt healthier buying the low-fat options of everything, avoided butter, and used Pam cooking spray instead of real oil because fat was bad! My how have my opinions changed since then! I’ve since learned that our bodies need fat, good fats that is, and if we’re not getting enough. Good fats help fill you up, give you lots of energy and are heart-healthy, which is a big reason why I also eat avocado in the morning and usually at lunch or dinner (if not both!). Fat also helps us absorb vital nutrients and produce hormones that keep our bodies’ systems functioning like they should. So, if you were scared of fat like me, don’t be! Eat the avocado, use butter and olive oil! Just make sure that you’re eating high-quality products and avoiding things that have partially hydrogenated oils or lots of saturated fats.
Other ways to get good fats are adding these to your diet: seeds and nuts, salmon, nut butter (opt for a natural brand), tuna, dark chocolate, full-fat yogurt and milk, lean red meat and hard cheeses like Parmesan.
Do you eat any of these everyday? What other healthy foods do you try to get in each day?