Kicking off the New Year also meant kicking off healthy kitchen choices for me. My husband and I spent the other weekend throwing out any excess junk and processed foods and shopping for fresh, whole ingredients.
When I opened the refrigerator the next day, I thought I was in someone else's home. Here are five diet changes I've made so far that have already made me feel a difference in my energy levels and hunger.
1. In: Leafy greens. Despite growing up in the South, I don’t think I had ever tried collard or mustard greens. I’ve been sauteing them every day with garlic and onion and found that they keep me feeling full for a long time.
2. In: Berries. If I struggle with overeating one healthy food, it’s fruit. I love grapes, oranges, bananas, mango, the list goes on. But since my glucose is fairly high and I suffer from low blood sugar, I need to do my best at keeping my blood sugar low. So both my trainer, Tomery, and dietician, Lauren, suggested that I ditch other fruit and eat berries because they are so much lower in sugar. I enjoy blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries fresh and use them frozen in my post-workout protein shake. The best part: My experts were right. I’ve noticed my sugars don’t spike after eating these tasty gems.
3. In: Coconut oil. Tomery suggested this, saying it may increase metabolism, help with digestion, and improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. What really caught my eye was a 2009 study that showed women who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil a day for 12 weeks avoided gaining weight and—the best part—lowered their abdominal fat. Coconut oil is ideal for baking and sauteing because of its high smoke point (about 350 degrees); I've used it to cook eggs, meat, and veggies.
4. In: Grass-fed butter. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know there were different types of butter. When my trainer was on vacation, I worked with Danny from Life Time Fitness instead. He told me that grass-fed butter is a good source of vitamins A, E, D, K, and K2, as well as omega 3s and 6s.
5. Out: Starches. I thought passing on things like bread, cereal, and potatoes was going to be very difficult, but after a couple of days my cravings vanished, my hands stop getting shaky when I was hungry (a result of steady blood sugar), and I noticed my stomach wasn’t as bloated.
I’m looking forward to seeing the changes that these changes make over the coming months. What healthy kitchen choices have you made for the New Year?