Is It Time For Simple Eating
In your simple living journey, I hope you take time to look at simple eating. I didn’t enjoy cooking until I learned to simplify my meals. Disclaimer: I’m doing keto but I make meals for my non-keto partner.
Hopefully, I can convince you of the benefits of skipping processed foods and go for simple menus. Instead of eating a microwaved meal in a plastic tray aka TV dinner, you can fix a chicken breast in the oven (or use a Instant Pot – my favorite kitchen appliance), steam some veggies in the microwave, and if you have to have some carbs throw a red potato in with the veggies. You have eliminated all the extra salt, MSG, and nasty chemicals from your dinner.
Recent studies have shown we are risking our health and maybe even our lives by eating ultra-processed foods. Ultra-processed food is any food with 5 or more ingredients that can include dyes, flavor enhancements, and non-sugar sweeteners. So your TV dinner, morning toast, and breakfast cereal are all ultra-processed.
Another recent study done in the US found participants ate an extra 500 calories when they ate ultra processed foods versus eating non-processed foods. So this may lead to the answers for the obesity crisis we face. Five hundred calories a day is 3500 calories a week — one pound gained leading to 52 pounds a year if you don’t increase calories burned. Yikes! Remember too that fast foods fits the definition of ultra processed. Just read the ingredients of your favorite fast food.
Additives Can Be Dangerous
If those studies didn’t convince you, this next one might. It shocked me and made me wonder if this is why we have an obesity and diabetes epidemic. This study in mice and humans looked at propionate, an additive used for mold inhibition. You’ll find it as calcium propionate (at least I did when I checked at the grocery store) in bread, pizza, pastries, cereals, pasta, and some sausages. When you ingest this chemical, it signals your brain that your body is in starvation mode (even though you are sitting in front of a pizza). This causes your liver to make and dump glucose into your system. Now your pancreas has to put out insulin to manage that glucose and the glucose from whatever you are eating. So there is your big blood sugar spike. And your brain thinks you are starving. So you eat more. Eventually, some of the glucose becomes fat and your pancreas is stressed.
How Do I Eat Simply?
So what do you do? Where do you start? Don’t expect to change overnight. Changes will stick if you tackle it one by one. It is a journey, not a race.
- Start with one meal and simplify it. You can make overnight oats and make a few ahead so you are prepared for several days. I have a hard boiled egg with some meat. I add a small portion of sliced or chopped veggies. Today was sliced cucumber.
- If you have an Instant Pot or crockpot, you can cook a roast or chicken, and use that as the base for several meals.
- Have healthy snacks available like cut up vegetables or nuts.
- Eat fish one or two times a week.
- When shopping, skip the aisles with all the ultra processed foods. You’ll be shopping the outside aisles of the store.
- You want fewer ingredients, so check those labels.
- Stop drinking sugar. That means soda and juice.
Over time, your metabolism will improve and you will lose weight and have more energy. Summer is a great time to start your simple eating journey with farmer’s markets and the abundance of fresh food. Have fun simplify and making your eating healthier!