Simple Life – Whole Grains

simple life

I’ve got my naturally flavoured water steeping in the fridge – we are trying watermelon/rosemary and blackberry/sage this week. I bought mini packets of fresh herbs for $1 each at Walmart and small containers of pre-cut watermelon and fresh blackberries for about the same price as a normal-cost carton of juice. I mashed the fruit and herbs slightly with the metal attachment for an electric beater – in an effort to release some of the flavouring of the ingredients (I wanted to try the blackberry/sage right away – yum! I ran it through a small strainer into my glass, just in case).

We’ll also be trying mango/mint and strawberry/lime in the next few days as well. I bought frozen packages of the fruits, and I’ll thaw out a small bowl-full the night before I want to steep these creations.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Now on to whole grains…

I’ve been working on this for quite a while already – trying to adapt recipes to include whole wheat flour, trying to incorporate other grains into my days, trying to make sure I buy items labelled as “whole” grain.

Enriched, organic, and even multi grain does not mean the same thing as whole grain.

Whole grains contain all the parts, all the nutrients of the grain. They include corn (popcorn is a whole grain!), quinoa, rice, oats, rye, wheat, and a few others. Digesting grains can be hard on the body, so it’s a good idea to go with the everything in moderation principle.

A diet with lots of variety is key, and it can still be simple. The trick is getting rid of the clutter in our lives, including our diets. Clutter would be things like processed foods, greasy foods, fast foods, foods high in white sugar or white flour, soft drinks, most juices, flavoured coffee, and so on! You get the picture.

What helped me most as I just recently started this process of decluttering my diet was finding healthier, simpler foods I enjoyed eating to replace the foods that were cluttering up my life. This is not an easy one, folks. Especially when you’re used to eating a certain way, and you’ve been walking that road for a long  time. It’s hard to even SEE a different path, let alone choose to walk on it. I love my chocolate (at least once a day), my occasional cans of Coke, my breakfast creations of all shapes and sizes (usually involving white flour and sugar in some form or another), and my fast-food french fries.

But decluttering is absolutely needed – my trip to the thrift store last night to buy a few summer items confirmed it. I am putting my foot down and refusing to go up another pant size – that’s it for me! I’ve already gone up 2 sizes since I’ve been married, and that’s just enough. Time to do some serious decluttering on my menu. Sometimes I might eat different things than Josh and the boys, sometimes I might make treats just for them, sometimes I might linger at the table and just chat instead of helping myself to more. And that’s all OK.

Back on topic – whole grains. I took a look at where we’ve already got them on the household menu. To be honest, they are a little scarce right now, so I’ll have to improve on that. We love to eat muffins, breakfast cookies, waffles or pancakes at breakfast. We enjoy sandwiches or nachos and hummus at lunch, then there’s buns or bread slices or pizza at dinner.

Areas of future improvement for me in the whole grain area include adapting my breakfast recipes to incorporate whole grains, putting more rice/quinoa on the menu, and finding recipes for homemade bread/buns/pizza dough that focus on whole grains.

Note: I like being in the kitchen most days and baking/cooking for my family. Hence all the homemade meals at our house. Not everyone enjoys this part of life, and I know there are some great options for those who want to spend a little less time in the kitchen. Options like a husband or children who like to cook :), prebaked whole grain bread products, packaged whole grain cereals for the mornings, instant oatmeal packets, bags of prewashed rice/quinoa, and many more options!

My hope is to sort through the mess of what I currently eat in a day, try to eat only at certain times to make things predictable for my digestive system, and to put in good, clean food that will actually fuel the machine. Back to basics, nice and simple, easy to do.

The hard part is the clutter – the emotional eating, the just-because-I’m-bored/lonely/procrastinating eating that creeps into my life every day. That’s where the challenge lies – in getting rid of all that eating “stuff” that I don’t need. Back to needs vs wants. For me, when it comes to food, it’s easily said but not easily done.

Next steps are a new menu plan (maybe just for me, instead of trying to change everyone’s eating habits – that would just be completely overwhelming, and then I’d never get started!), adapting recipes to include whole grains, eating only at certain times of the day, not caving in to fast food, and maybe even starting to track calories (eeks!).

I’ll keep you posted…

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