The Feeling of Health: Part 4

Last week I posted about sugar addiction.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should.  You may also want to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

This week is all about meat.  I’m not a big fan of meat, I haven’t been for a long time.  If you would have asked me two years ago if I could ever completely give up meat, the answer would have been “absolutely not!”  I loved bacon way too much.

The Scacchi House: Why I Limit Meat

After I began this clean eating journey, I started to notice how meat played into our daily meals.  My husband and I were both raised to think that we needed a big slab of steak on our plate, paired with a large helping of starch and maybe a small helping of a green vegetable.  THIS is where my meals were failing me.

I’m not saying that this is how everyone views meat or that you must follow this to perfection.  There are many people who eat clean on a daily basis who still eat meat.  And don’t get me wrong, I still eat meat on occasion.  I will explain.

If I center my meals around meat, I find myself falling back into old habits.  I do not want meat to be the center of my meal.  I want my meal to be centered around fresh veggies (and fruits) and whole grains.  I personally find this very difficult to do when meat is involved.

Eliminating (or drastically reducing) meat from my diet forces me to explore a broad range of vegetables.  I have also started experimenting with different whole grains.  (Have you tried bulgur?)

If you can’t completely give up meat, treat it more as a flavoring agent or a side dish.  Make a hearty vegetable soup with a very small amount of beef or chicken.  You will find that you are just as satisfied (if not more so) with the subtle flavor of beef, without having to eat a full on beef stew.

If you feel the need for a steak, have a 4oz steak, not a 16oz.  The key to eating clean is balance.  And while I don’t eat any meat the majority of the time, there are a few exceptions.  I will snag a slice of bacon (just a slice!) now and then.  I actually had a burger for dinner this week.  It was not just any burger. It was a mixture of wagyu beef and bison. Tony cooked it up for me here at the house.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a burger.  It was good, but I’ve had my fix for a while.

With my burger, I had a spinach and quinoa salad filled with veggies and topped with this dressing.  Again, it’s all about balance.

The second reason I’m not big into meat is because commercial meat is not raised in a way that I feel appropriate for my food (or any animal for that matter).  We should have more access to humanly raised, healthy (grass-fed and maybe organic) meats here soon.  (More about this in a bit.)

Another bonus reason to limit your meat consumption?  You will save money at the grocery store.  Who can complain about that?

Whether or not you choose to eat meat, explore your veggies.  Fruits and veggies are the key to health.  Have a diet full of both and you’ll surly succeed.

Next week we bridge into the fitness and exercise portion on this series!

If you missed any of the previous posts, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

nopin

 

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Super Simple Veggie and Wild Rice Soup

All three of us are sick.  We’re not sure where it came from, or where it’s going, but it’s not fun.  Luckily, I think it’s just a bad cold.

One thing that always makes me feel better is a good bowl of soup.  I love this soup and any variation of it for its simplicity and deliciousness.  It’s so simple that it really doesn’t require a recipe.  It’s also great for using up all those extra veggies you have in the fridge.  That being said, this is more of a “flavor guide” than a recipe.  You can make as much or little as you want.  I made just enough for Ava and myself because Tony was suffering at work.  I told him to go pick up some Pho as a consolation prize.

The Scacchi House: Veggie and Wild Rice Soup

So what’s in the soup?

  • Wild Rice
  • Potato
  • Carrot
  • Kale
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Veggie Broth
  • Water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Half & Half (optional)

That’s it, really!

I had about 3/4 cup of left over veggie stock.  I added it to the pot along with a jar lid full (I told you, this is not an exact science, but it was about 1/3 cup) of wild rice.  I diced a carrot and a small potato; into the pot they went.  I added some water to cover everything.  You could use all stock, but I just used what I had.

Bring it all to a boil.  While its boiling, mince up a nice size chunk of fresh ginger and add it to the soup.  If it looks like your soups getting dry, just add more water.  No stress.

When the rice is about half-way done, finely chop your kale (rib removed) and add it to the soup.  Simmer the soup until your rice is cooked, about 30 minutes total, adding more water if needed.

Once your rice is tender, season with salt and pepper.  I also added a splash of organic half & half to make it creamy.

The Scacchi House: Veggie & Wild Rice Soup

This really is a perfect bowl of soup when you’re sick.  Pair it with a mug of green tea and honey and you’ll be on the road to recovery.  Oh, and it’s toddler approved!

Do you have a favorite go-to soup recipe?

nopin

Changing The Way We Eat

Since moving to Alaska, I have drastically changed the way I am eating.  I’m not on a diet.  I haven’t had any meat in 3 weeks now and it hasn’t been hard at all.  I really wasn’t eating much meat to begin with, only bacon at breakfast, a turkey sandwich here or there, and sometimes if we ate out I would order a hamburger.

Let me start by saying that this move has been great for my health.  I have lost 8 pounds so far in the 3 months we have been in Alaska.  I’m officially back to the weight I was at when I met Tony in 2010.  The best part, I have not been on a diet.  I still have ice cream if I want it and I eat whenever I’m hungry.  I give credit to the fact that:

  1. I’m more active.  It’s hard not to burn calories when your out playing in the snow, walking to the store, and playing with your kid.
  2. I’m less stressed. I no longer wake up everyday to work at a job I hate.  I get to do what I love, stay home with Ava and work on my creative projects (crocheting, sewing, and I think I will start painting again too!)
  3. I’m eating better.  I have made a conscious decision to do this and it wasn’t hard.

So how exactly am I eating better?

I have decided to use the information that I have to make better nutritional decisions for my family.  What does that mean?  It means that I know processed foods are bad for us and fresh, homemade foods are the best.  It’s kind of a no brainer.  Essentially, I’ve stopped buying processed, pre packaged foods.  I try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  That’s where you find produce, meat, dairy, and whole grains, generally speaking.  My main goal is to only buy “real” food.  Real food, to me anyway, has minimal ingredients, all of which I can pronounce.  I also try to make as much of our food from scratch and buy everything organic whenever possible.  By doing this, I can control how much sugar, salt, and preservatives are in our food.  I’m sure all of this sounds overly complicated, but really, it’s not.  It’s so much easier than being on a diet.  I still eat whatever I want.  My body no longer craves sugar and junk.  I have actually been craving vegetables, as crazy as that sounds.

A few Sundays ago was the first time I ate out as a Pescetarian (don’t worry, I’m going to get to that).  We ate at Alaska Bagel, which is super good! I ordered the Mt. McKinley, which consists of a toasted bagel (I ordered everything), cream cheese, avocado, tomato, red onion, and sprouts.  I can’t even begin to tell you how good it was.  When you eat real food, you can actually taste what you’re eating.  It opened a new door for me.  Vegetables CAN be delicious! Raw vegetables at that!

So back to me being a pescetarian.  What exactly is a pescetarian anyway?  A pescetarian is essentially a vegetarian who also eats fish, shellfish, and eggs.  Again, using the information I have, I had to make a decision.  I know what happens to animals on big corporate farms.  All of the meat at the grocery store is pumped full of hormones to make them grow faster, so much so that a chicken’s breasts are so heavy that its legs can no longer support its body.  They are also packed so tightly into coops that some of them die.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my food living next to a dead chicken.  And don’t be fooled by the packaging that says “free range”.  Did you know that this only means they are given 3 feet of floor space?  And they still may never see the light of day.  To me “free range” means having room to roam outside, bugs to eat, and lots of fresh air.  Trust me, you can taste the difference.

I’m not a pescetarian because I think eating meat is evil.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating meat, IN MODERATION.  That being said, sitting down to eat a steak at every meal is surly not healthy.  If I do have a craving for meat, it will only come from local farms where I can see how the animals are raised and slaughtered.  I would also eat wild game (moose, deer, basically anything hunted here in Alaska) because it’s raised how nature intended it to be raised.  That being said, if you live in or near Marion County, Florida, there is an awesome farm that I will definitely buy meat from.  Check out Pasture Prime, if you haven’t already. They ship too!

How does Tony feel about this?  He thinks I’m crazy.  He’ll come around. =)

How do you feel about eating meat?