Nutritarian Adventure … How are we doing?

Healthy grocery list

Healthy grocery list

Well, it has been a little over a year since Tim and I embarked on our Nutritarian food adventure, and I thought it would be a good thing to write an update on how it’s going. So … ummm. Well. It’s going okay. Not perfectly. But we’re doing pretty well with it. The reason we started eating this way (the Dr. Joel Fuhrman way) is because of my health. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to do something about the rheumatoid arthritis I’ve had since I was in my early twenties. Something more than I had already been doing all of my adult life. Yeah, I had managed it, but it would flare up with a monster-roar every once in a while and really kick my butt!

So, although he doesn’t have health issues and can eat just about anything, Tim agreed to help me change my diet by changing his too. Otherwise it would have been just too hard to eat differently than he does.  We were very strict with the Eat to Live food program for the first 3 months or so, then we switched to the Eat for Health version, which allows some leeway and is, for me, more of a long-term sustainable way of eating. Tim still eats foods that are definitely not on the list of Nutritarian foods, and I have allowed myself to make some different choices some of the time. I believe that is the only way we can eat this way for the long run.

At first, I noticed a huge improvement in the level of joint pain and other health issues seemed improved. Not totally, but enough that I convinced myself last year to stick to the Nutritarian food program as long as I could. I now can feel it in my body when I have a couple of days of eating too many grains, especially refined grains. Or too much sweet stuff. I worried that if I had something like a homemade cookie, or a piece of fruit pie, that would throw me totally off of the diet and I’d backslide down into the pit. But that hasn’t happened. I think being really strict the first few months was what made it possible to “cheat” once in a while without going overboard. I know what it’s like to feel better now. And I know it’s directly connected to the food I eat.

One thing I took away from Dr. Furhman’s books was this: if not being able to have a cup of coffee everyday (or a glass of wine, or whatever) might be the thing that prevents you from making this a lifelong dietary change, then have your cup of coffee. It won’t kill you. So, I give myself, with grace and softness (not with guilt) to have pasta once a week. Or a piece of sourdough toast every now and then… or a danged homemade chocolate chip cookie! (Tim can eat all the cookies he wants and it doesn’t seem to affect him. Envy …)

Early on in this adventure, I made a Nutritarian grocery list using Evernote (with the checklist feature) which syncs to all of my devices. So I always have the list on my cell phone when I am shopping. It really helps to just look at the list, check off the things we need, and stick to it — at least 95% of the time.

Soba Noodles with Stir Fry Greens

What’s in our cupboards also helps — we don’t keep stuff around that we’re not supposed to eat. We save that for eating out, or in Tim’s case, for stopping at the Dive Bakery on his way to work in the morning.

We could do better. Always. Sometimes I just crave red meat. Rare bison steak. Or elk steak. Sometimes we have that. But way less often than before I started this program of better health.

At the top of this post is my grocery list, and it’s for you to download if you’d like. If you click on the grocery list, it will open in a new window as a pdf file and you can save that to your computer. This won’t work as an Evernote checklist, but if you print it out, it might help you know what to buy on your grocery trips. You could also make your own list in Evernote, or in some other list-making app on your own phone.

Let me know how you’re doing in the comments. Let’s do this together! Good luck. 


Eat to Live Nutritarian Adventure

Fridge full of Fruits and Veggies

Smoothie IngredientsTim and I have embarked on a new food adventure. We are becoming “Nutritarians.” We have changed our diet mainly to deal with some health issues, to become stronger and healthier, and to live a better quality of life in our older years. Tim and I have eaten what we always thought was a very healthy diet: very little processed food; at least half of what we ate was organic; lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains and nuts; and 95% of what we ate was homemade from scratch. Well, we learned that our tendency to eat bread and other baked goods, cheese, oils (even though they were healthy oils) some meat, and lots of grains (even though they were whole grains) wasn’t so good for our bodies. Neither was the real maple syrup, honey, agave nectar or molasses we used to sweeten some of our food.  Oooo boy — this is going to be different:  I love cheese. I love baking. Baking goodies and giving them away to people I care about is one of my “languages of love.”

And I adore a good cup of strong coffee. Coffee isn’t so good. Neither is that glass of red wine we liked having with our dinners.  Bummer.

Okay, I heard about this Eat to Live program on PBS during their pledge drive on March 15th. It made sense to me, so I ordered the books, Eat to Live and Eat for Health by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. They came several days ago, but I didn’t wait for the books to get started. I took notes during the PBS program and we started transitioning to Dr. Fuhrman’s way of eating right away.  I guess I’m just at a point in my life when it’s time. It’s time to do something about the things that have been bugging me more and more as I get older. Tim is the best husband ever, too. He agreed to change his eating habits with me, so we can support each other to make this life-long change.

So far, I feel much better and I’m sleeping better. In two weeks I have lost some weight, my heartburn isn’t nearly as bad as it was, and I have more energy. I will spare you the other details. The change to a nutritarian diet with a huge emphasis on colorful vegetables and fruits (the micronutrient-dense foods (Greens, Berrries, Onions, Mushrooms, Beans and Seeds)  hasn’t been as hard as I imagined it would be. The most difficult thing for me is seeing pictures of delicious looking baked goods, or walking by the cheese counter at the deli. Also the lack of salt. I always thought we were pretty good about not using much salt, but I guess we did. This food tastes bland. Beans without salt? Come on! Well, I am getting used to it.

When Dr. Fuhrman’s books came, I read Eat to Live cover to cover on the first night. The next day I cleared out our kitchen from 90% of the foods we are not supposed to eat. (The things I left are things Tim can eat because he’s not doing the strict 6-week plan like I am and some we use to make Charlie’s raw dog food)  I gave away several boxes of really good food to friends and some to our local food bank. It felt great to do that. Having cleared the kitchen makes it so much easier for me to decide what to eat. I can eat almost anything in our fridge, freezer or cupboards.

Here’s what our fridge looks like now. We buy 95% of our groceries at Costco. I’m glad we have a Costco in our town.

Fridge full of Fruits and Veggies It’s stuffed! Most of what you see in the fridge is from Costco: 2 boxes of spinach and a box of mixed lettuce; a big bag of baby kale, green beans, sugar snap peas, brussel sprouts, cabbage, baby bell peppers, giant bag of carrots, some yams, celery, onions, baby portabello mushrooms, Italian parsley, cilantro, asparagus, grape tomatoes, big bag of lemons, satsumas, avocados, tangelos, granny smith apples, pink lady apples, limes, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, mangoes and pineapple. From our locally owned Thriftway, we have organic local eggs (left from before I started this thing) almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, tofu, mustards, greek olives and some assorted condiments.

On the top shelf next to the spinach boxes, you can see two green-lidded containers stacked on top of each other. This is one day’s food for Charlie. His raw food “salad” on top and his meat on the bottom. I take it out a couple of hours before we feed him so it comes to room temperature.

Here is our food cupboard, mostly cleared of the forbidden stuff (I’m embarrassed of the old shelves but hey, we are remodeling our kitchen this summer!)

Healthy Food Cupboard

Healthy Cupboard Bottom ShelfThat’s pretty much it for the food in our house except for the freezer (below the fridge;) a smaller cupboard with teas; an open shelf with large glass jars full of beans, quinoa, oats and brown rice; and our spice shelf.  The freezer is half-full of Charlie’s food while the other half has frozen berries, bananas, cranberries, edamame beans and other frozen veggies, some tilapia filets and last summer’s pesto (I couldn’t bear to get rid of that)

So now you have an inside view of our newly-even-healthier kitchen. Stay tuned for a recipe I made up today for scrumptious spring salad. Yummm.