My Non-Diet Lifestyle

I do not claim to be in perfect health. I am in fact type 1 diabetic and have been for 44 years, one year less than I have been alive. Granted I probably was born with type 1 diabetes and it was only discovered when I was a year old, but either way, I have had it a long time. 

My weight stays fairly even, unless I go crazy and stop all efforts to stay on track with my non-diet lifestyle. I am in fact “overweight” for my height, but hey I can’t help that I have an athletic build and never grew past four foot three inches! 

Now, when I said I was not in perfect health, other than my diabetes I am somehow miraculous in good health. My husband and I just had our yearly physicals, and I had my mammogram and all is clear and good. 

I personally do not like, nor believe in fad diets. I do not think they work, I think they set us up to fail. I enjoy food, I enjoy snacking, I enjoy life, I am not meant to be skinny but I also do not have to be “fat” even if the BMI scale says I am overweight. My tummy could be toned, my arms thinner, and my butt firmer, and I can always work on those specific areas, but living a healthy lifestyle, eating well, and eating our best can be super easy, and yes you can still have cake! 

Now with all that said, I am not a nutritionist, and by all means if you have a medical condition, including type 1 diabetes, I am not telling you how or what to eat, only sharing my personal experience, and what I eat. I only hope maybe writing about this will give you some ideas on how to tweak what you already do eat to a more healthy level perhaps. 

First of all my DO NOT’S 

Do not drink diet soda! These have horrible synthetic sweeteners in them – just drink the regular soda unless you are unable to control blood sugars than obviously stay away from all soda, juices for that matter too! 

Do not drink or eat anything with caramel coloring in it. Caramel coloring is an additive, not a natural entity. It is just bad for you.

Do not have white bread. Whole grains are the way to go unless you have a gluten allergy, which I know nothing about and can not discuss. 

Do not think you are “safe” drinking a lot of fruit juices even if they are 100% fruit juice. These are very sugary even though natural. 

Do not assume low calorie or low sugar or even sugar free is any more healthy than the regular product! Learn how to read nutrition facts on the labels on products and what everything means! A sugar free item for example can have as many or more carbs than a full sugar food! Fats – some are good some are bad – but we all need some fats in our diets. Understand what the labels say, what they mean, and do not be fooled by an enticing label! For all you know you could be enjoying the real deal and be healthier than eating the low “whatever” stuff. 

Do not eat too many processed foods. I know it is hard to get around it, and I also eat them from time to time but limit – sincerely limit how many “pre-packaged” things you eat! 

Do not think you need to be a master chef to eat good. Food is food, I don’t know why our society feels we have to take ten ingredients and do fancy things with them to make a good meal. Special chopping, dicing, slicing, chopping, mincing, etc and so on … don’t get me wrong, I absolutely  LOVE to cook, and I adore fancy food, but at home, on the go, in a busy household, there is nothing wrong with a protein, a fruit, a veggie, and a roll on the dinner table. 

Here is a photo of my all time favorite meal:

 Fashion Beyond Forty
Mmmm Perfect Meal! 
You may have seen this before in another blog post of mine but yup, that is my favorite healthy well rounded meal of all time! To me this is perfection and it is well balanced! Savory, salty, sweet, buttery, nutty, creamy, tangy, every single part of the tongue and mouth is stimulated and if you are not full after all of this well – sorry. 
I may come back to the Do Not’s later but here are some Do’s
Do – if you must drink soda and yes I must now and then, drink a lemon lime soda like sprite, or 7Up, no Mountain Dew does not count, in fact that stuff is worse in some ways than the caramel colored sodas! In fact (sorry reverting to don’ts again) – do not drink any funky colored anything! Nothing red, orange, purple, just no.
Okay back to Do’s …
Do eat as many whole foods as you can. Eat whole fruits, not canned, eat meals that do not come out of boxes, eat fresh veggies, eat beans, or meat, stay away from boxes, and cans, and wrapped foods. 
Do eat as many foods from the organic section as you can but don’t spend tons more for organic. Organic is great – I prefer it but I won’t bust my bank to do it! 
Do eat nuts! Eat nuts and then eat more nuts, unless of course you are allergic, then please, don’t eat nuts. Stay away from salted if you can, I love salt, I am a saltaholic, I would be happy with a salt lick that they give cattle. If it were up to me I would have one in my lap now, but I have transitioned to non salted nuts, yay me! I would rather you eat salted nuts however, over no nuts, so go nuts and eat nuts! 
Drink water. I know you have heard this until the cows come home but seriously you do not drink enough water, even if you think you do, even if you drink the recommended amount each day, you still need more. Drink a lot of water! 
Take probiotics! I wrote a review on a probiotic, but even if you don’t take this brand, just take a probiotic! This will be one of the most important things you put in your mouth! 
Drink tea, unless you have been told to stay away from caffeine drink tea. Drink tea because it has antioxidants, because it helps skin, hair, and many other things but keep in mind that flavored stuff in a bag you have from the local grocery probably isn’t much good for you. Consider ordering tea from an online vendor that sources from good tea growing regions and buy quality whole leaf tea. You will need a strainer but it is worth it. I could go on and on about tea, and why what I say matters, but if you really want to know ask in comments and I will be happy to fill you in, or you can always email me from my “contact” page. For the most part, drink green tea – it’s the best for you. 
I will come back to Do’s if I think of any more but let me give you a run down of my typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
I always, 99.9% of the time have toast for breakfast. I have it with either butter and blueberries or a spread. I always have blueberries with my toast, as they are a superfood. About twice a month I will have an egg with my toast. I do this when I feel I need extra energy or protein. I would have them more often but generally eggs gross me out so I have to literally force myself not to think about what they are, or could have been, in order to eat them. As a former vegetarian of seven years, I am that way with meat often too. Regardless, Toast, Blueberries, occasionally an egg. 
 Fashion Beyond Forty
The Bread I Prefer
Other breakfast options are yogurt, yogurt with natural granola, not that sugary stuff from a box, but from the clear bulk food bins, and be careful as there are sugary kinds in those bins too! Don’t let yourself think if it comes from a clear bulk bin that it is healthy! It may be healthier but it still is fully of sugar. Go as pure as you can. Also Steel Cut Oats are a wonderful option for breakfast! Not instant, or rolled oats! Those have most of the healthy stuff processed out of them! Make sure you only buy Steel Cut and you can in fact cook in advance and reheat nicely. And yes, every now and then I deviate from this breakfast, as I do my regular dinners, lunches, snacks etc but if you stick to this most of the time you will feel better! 
Lunch is easy for me as a work from home woman, I am not tempted by fast food, or even nicer eating establishments with co-workers, and I am not surrounded by office snacks! I also stay busy enough that I rarely even think of eating during the day so I have to remind myself to eat lunch! For me lunch is usually whatever I have around, which could be a handful of tomatoes, and some nuts, or soup, or even at times a frozen pot pie, one of my “cheat” items. I love having salads for lunch, or dinner for that matter, or a sandwich. Some other items that I really love are pea salad, apple salad, and leftovers from the previous night’s dinners which are more often than not healthy. The idea however, for me, since I am at home, is not to have in my home things that tempt me from my diet. Not easy considering my husband works for Mars Chocolate, which means we almost always have snickers around! Hey I didn’t say I never cheated, I just don’t make it a habit or a lifestyle to eat candy. 
Dinner is more often than not homemade, but not always. When not homemade sometimes we eat junk food, but we try to stick to good old wholesome cooking even if not made at home. Lucky for us our local bar and grill has far more than just grilled foods, and it is owned by my family, even though I never get a discount haha! They have chili, chicken and noodles, soups, and other homemade fare. This type of dining however is a rarity. We grill a lot, and we always have loads of veggies, the rule of thumb is more veggies than meat! If you do not eat meat then make sure you get a solid protein in your diet from beans, and legumes! Either way, we always load up on salad, asparagus, broccoli, leeks, potatoes, which are fine as long as you do not load them up with butter, cheese, and sour cream! Potatoes are actually quite good for you, and filling, if done right. There are other ways to make potatoes taste good, such as a sprinkling of feta, some chives, or other tasty herbs. The sweet potato is loaded with wonderful nutrients and so yummy, so its not just for holidays! Try adding sweet potato to your diet. 
As for junk food, we try to keep it down to subs, and pizza from a local pizza pub that uses a whole grain or gluten free crust, and has tons of lighter sauces and toppings to select from to keep it relativity healthy, for a pizza. We don’t eat out that often in reality, so when we are not cooking a full dinner its more or less fend for yourself, with fruits, veggies galore, nuts, and more or less a plate like I showed above. We have a lot of healthy snack crackers, hummus and natural tortilla chips, and things of that nature, so if not grilling, or cooking inside we snack healthy. 
Now most everyone needs their sweet tooth satisfied, granted I have met a few people who do not like sweets, but they are rare. When it comes to sweet snacks, and I admit I do not always follow this, but try to stick to low fat ice cream, remember low calorie, and sugar free does not necessarily mean it is healthier for you, again learn to read those nutrition labels! With ice cream at least you are getting some dairy which is healthy in recommended servings. Also consider making your own parfait with yogurt, berries, light whipped cream which truly has low calories, low fat, etc, and make yourself a pretty layer dessert. We eat with our eyes first and when we satisfy the eyes, we satisfy the mind, and the stomach follows! Another not so bad for you yummy treat is shortcake, you know that sponge cake you would use to make strawberry shortcake with. Yes it is prepackaged but as prepackaged items go it’s not terrible. Add to that fresh strawberries instead of those sugar soaked ones, and top with light whipped cream. Another little trick I do sometimes that I love is drizzle a little non fat vanilla creamer on top. My mother used to make a wonderful layered banana dessert which is basically like a trifle, sliced bananas, layered with Nilla Wafers, and whipped cream, again use light whipped cream. These are all relativity good ways to fulfill that sweet tooth without sacrificing your healthy eating pattern. 
So that is about it for my dietary run down. It seems to have served me well, even though I don’t have a super model body, or anything close to it, I literally do not exercise, but I need to, I sit on my bum all day writing one thing or another, and I am sadly very sedentary. These things I am changing however as I get older the value or exercise has never been so important. The only things I can attest to me not blowing up like a balloon considering the way I live are my healthy eating habits, and it probably did not hurt that I was very active as a youth. I am sure genetics play a part into it all as well but for the most part if you give my non-diet lifestyle a try I promise it will be easier than trying to force yourself to live by some strict and stringent rules of measuring every bite you put into your mouth, and a lot less expensive than buying prepackaged meals that taste like cardboard! 
As I promised above here are the tea companies that I personally purchase from. I am not affiliated with these companies in any way. 

Verdant Tea


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