To fail to plan is to plan to fail.

Superior health is definitely a “lifestyle change” in many different ways.

A healthy lifestyle requires constant learning and research about different cooking methods and open-mindedness about different styles of preparing the food that you might like only one way. Giving healthy food a fair chance is crucial to adapting this change into your way of eating. We must be willing to explore new tastes and methods if we are going to live a long and happy life away from the hospital as much as possible. The good news is that this stuff tastes INCREDIBLE, especially once you stop eating so much of that desensitizing garbage that dulls your taste buds. Healthy food is also beautiful. There are so many different shapes and colors to enjoy as you prepare plant-based/whole foods.

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If all you have time in your schedule for is take-out or pre-packaged freezer meals, being as healthy as you wish you could be will just not happen.  Unfortunately, there are times in all of our lives that we may stretch ourselves too thin. It is through wisdom by experience and through prayer that we can learn how to make health a priority in our lives, and begin with decisions that lead us to good health, even when times get busy. If that means taking a little easier of a load in school or work for a period of time, then by all means! We live in a fast-paced world, and it is our responsibility to fight against the current and stand up for our health, because the world is not going to make it convenient for us to do so.

To fail to plan is to plan to fail. Healthy eating is not just going to make itself available to you as easily as fast-food will. One thing that I like to do is to plan a half-day just for preparing food.

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Romaine lettuce, once chopped, keeps well in an insulated bag for about 4-5 days. I’ve read that by putting a paper towel in the bag with the lettuce can prolong the life of the lettuce, so I’ll have to give that a try.

Here I have chopped romaine mixed with baby spinach, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and green onions mixed with sunflower seeds in separate Ziploc baggies. For those of you who are worried about the environment, I recycled these bags when I was finished with them. You can get generic versions of these bags for really cheap at any grocery store. By separating these veggies, I prevent them from getting soggy, and my salad is fresh, crisp, and ready right when I want it!

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To save room in the refrigerator, I put the smaller bags inside of the lettuce bag for a grab-and-go-friendly method.

ENJOY!

Jumping In

So now my refrigerator was cleansed from all the tempting unhealthy foods and was filled with nutritious foods. I had dusted off my steamer and had purchased an amazing new blender. I had talked about the “Eat to Live” diet for two weeks now and my start date, July 1, 2012, had finally arrived. There were no more time outs left. It was time to jump in and do it.

Day One

That morning, Pam and I prepared a fruit and spinach smoothie like the one Pam blogged about earlier.

I was afraid that the smoothie would not fill me up or leave me satisfied, however I was pleasantly surprised. Now the smoothie did not leave me stuffed like I normally feel after eating a stack of pancakes, a couple of eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast and orange juice, but it did leave me satisfied. I did not feel bloated, groggy, or out of breath. It was like eating just the right amount. My hunger was gone and I felt nourished and energetic. It was enough but not overdone.

By the time lunch time rolled around I was getting hungry, so I pulled out my salad. It was HUGE!

It completely filled my large plate and was piled high. I had made a special dressing for it since I was now off oil. No more oil and vinegar dressings. Also, no more added salt (it took me a few weeks to realize that I should cut out the salt from diet.) I experimented quite a bit to come up with a good dressing without the oil or salt and I think I have come up with some pretty good ones.

This one has my dressing on it.

I will have to share some of these recipes in a future post. Yes, the dressing was a little more runny but it flavors the salad wonderfully. This is significant because I have always taken my salad dressings seriously. Basically, my dressings involve my favorite vinegar for the day, a little water, one squeezed lemon, all mixed with a pretty good dose of onion powder and garlic powder, and a dose of freshly ground black pepper, ground thyme, basil, oregano, and, for a bit of a kick, crushed red pepper flakes. My last batch also included a little bit of sage (this turned out to be a pretty potent dressing and I have quit using the sage in my dressing.) I put a little more of these spices (particularly the onion and garlic) than what you might find in the commercial brands, but I have to do SOMETHING to boost the flavor since I cut out the salt. Believe it or not, these dressings are filled with zest and do not have that bland no-salt flavor. By the way, I found that onion powder and garlic powder can remedy blandness on a variety of no-salt recipes.

In addition to the salad, I had a large bowl of fresh fruit.

This included a mango, blue berries, strawberries, and fresh pineapple. I also had a few Clementine or Mandarin oranges on standby just in case I started to get hungry. The combination of the large green salad and the assortment of fresh fruits left me feeling nourished and very satisfied, for a while at least.

After a few days of this, I began to feel some of what I have always felt in the past – cravings. But that will have to wait until my next post. 🙂