What I eat (ideally, most of the time, perhaps)

By | January 15, 2018

Too long; Didn’t read summary

Eat

  • Eggs and avocados for first meal
  • Spinach, whole milk or heavy cream, and frozen berries in smoothie form, for second meal
  • Lots of vegetables and some sort of beans for final meal

Avoid

  • Sugar
  • Grains

Misc

  • Aim to keep your body in a fasted state for 16 hours each day
  • Follow guidelines 80% of the time and don’t sweat the rest

Buy

  • eggs
  • heavy cream
  • frozen berries
  • avocados
  • green peppers, red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • eggplant
  • spinach
  • whatever pretty vegetable calls your name
  • black beans
  • refried beans
  • kidney beans

Everyone has an opinion on diet. I bet someone is telling you their opinion very loudly right now. This article might be too specific to be of interest. I know you have an opinion on diet and I’m sure you’ll question some of what I’m going to say. That’s okay. I’m still experimenting.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you my approach to dieting. I want to find a diet that is lifelong, healthy and easy to keep. I’d like to tailor it to my body and develop good habits that I don’t have to think about.

I’m implementing small changes, checking in with my body to see how it likes the changes, and keeping the changes I find easy to keep. The goal is to find the healthiest diet I can maintain.

Key West

My past diets

Until the age of seventeen, my diet consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, lentils, rice, cereals, vegetables, yogurts, pickles and spices. Delicious.

Then I discovered a website called “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” and was horrified to learn that the dairy industry subsidized the veal industry. The summer before I went to college, I stopped eating one non-vegan product every two weeks. By the time I started school, I was fully vegan.

See? One change at a time is the way to do it. From the ages of 17-27, I almost never consumed dairy or eggs. I ate a lot of salads, a lot of fake meat and dairy products, a lot of pastas and nachos, etc.

I turned back to simple vegetarianism around age 28. I don’t have a good reason why. Cage-free eggs exist, but the dairy industry still subsidizes the veal industry. I like logic, but I’m not always logical.

For the past few years, blissful apathy was my chosen route. I ate a lot of strawberry yogurt, egg salad sandwiches, pastas, bean tacos, chocolate chip granola bars. I went out to eat quite a bit and had leftover restaurant food even more.

My ideal diet

And then, at age 35, I started to chase Life Bucket List Items #18 and #19, the totally cliché goal of chiseling out a six-pack of abdominal muscles and the slightly less cliché goal of maintaining those muscles for a year.

Teetotaler

Since this was the year of the body, I figured this was a good time to knock out life bucket list item #36 — be a teetotaler. Teetotaler is a fun word. It means one who abstains from alcohol.

If you know me, you know that I love drinking alcohol. The taste, the memories, the social relaxation all bring up fuzzy and happy endorphins. While my lifestyle mostly adores alcohol, my body, sadly, outright disdains it occasionally. I’m experimenting for my body. I’m chasing health. That’s the story I tell myself and the story I tell others when they ask if I’d like a drink.*

That was my first diet change that sparked the new mindset. What does my body need?

What have others done?

Here’s a happy thought. Everything has been done before. People already have bodies that make me burn with envy. What do they eat?

First meal: eggs and avocado

I went hunting through the world of fitness and adopted changes that seemed easy. I read success stories on bodybuilding.com and started eating fried eggs and avocado for my first meal of the day. Easy and what so many people with lovely bodies ate.

Intermittent fasting

Then I read several years worth of the Nerd Fitness blog and adopted intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting, for me, means I eat for only (approximately) eight hours during each day. I eat my first meal around noon, my second around four and my last meal around seven.

The biggest selling point of intermittent fasting, for me, was that I was already doing this without thinking. I’m never hungry when I wake up and haven’t eaten breakfast in over twenty years. With a new bright-line rule of only eating from 11am-7pm or 12am-8pm, I avoid the late night binges that never end with my stomach in a good mood, the 3 am pizza after a long night of Cards Against Humanity.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s mindfulness. You could also argue that “fasting can help promote weight loss and muscle building when done properly.” Here’s a 6,000 word article on intermittent fasting that convinced me and that you should definitely read before criticizing me.

My sisters and I on a cruise

Second meal – spinach smoothie

Fit people seem to drink a lot of smoothies, so I started drinking a smoothie as my second meal. Two cups of spinach. 1/4 cup of heavy cream mixed with 3/4 cup of water or one cup of whole milk. One cup of frozen berries. Blue is the best berry.

I’d play with this formula too, of course. The possibilities here astound and excite me.

Third meal – sautéed veggies and beans

At that point, I was still going out to dinner a lot, but I kept my current guidelines in mind, cutting out or trying new foods that I was experimenting with.

And then, a few weeks after the spinach smoothie implementation, I started cooking dinner for myself. This was the most monumental change. I started inviting people to my place to eat instead of suggesting we meet out.

This is such a “duh” realization that I know I already know, but holy amaze balls is it cheaper to cook at home. I know this. I know this. But I never implemented this money-saving tip. Maybe I did in law school with premade garbage.

Now I buy eggs and heavy cream and frozen berries. I buy avocados, green peppers, red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers, zucchini, squash, eggplant, spinach, and whatever pretty vegetable calls my name that day. I buy black beans, refried beans, kidney beans.

And I cook! I turn on the stove and sauté the vegetables and warm up the beans, feeling extra generous with the olive oil.

And then I eat. I eat until I’m full.

13 weeks into the year of the body. Why, yes, I am grinning in this picture.

No grains and no sugars.

You’ll notice that there are no grains in my ideal, healthy diet. From my experimenting and my research, I’ve come to believe that grains should be minimized like sugars. Avoid rice, breads, cereals, starches. These things cause the flab. I think.

Oh, this diet is cheap! So cheap! Did I mention how cheap it is? And there’s so little garbage created. Vegetables usually don’t come in containers. I could go on and on.

This all occurred within the last three and a half months. I’m telling you, you got to chase the momentum. Start small and chase the momentum. You’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish when momentum is on your side.

Ideally

This is a good diet, for me. In an ideal world full of blenders and safe produce, this is the diet I will follow.

In reality, I’m still a bit too nomadic for the ideal healthy life. I can follow this diet without much thought if I’m in the United States, but I’m going to Asia soon, so we’ll see.

Thoughts? Tips? Books on fitness you liked? I’m still learning and welcome feedback. I still don’t have six abdominal muscles visible and I still feel like I have a lot to learn and a ways to go.

 

*I made this resolution in late September 2017 and indulged in a couple of cocktails at a fancy hotel bar in Beverly Hills in early October 2017. I’ve received A+s on my resolutions chart since that time though. And since my body didn’t hate it, I think some sort of moderation is possible eventually.

78 thoughts on “What I eat (ideally, most of the time, perhaps)

  1. Daniel Clough

    We’re fairly similiar on diet actually. I wrote briefly about where I’ve settled with diet here – http://danielclough.com/everything/

    You hit the nail on the head. Find something that works and fits your life. That’s easy to do and doesn’t feel like a chore. Being consistent with something is the key. For me, that’s paleo + IF.

    I think you’ll like this podcast – https://www.kevinrose.com/single-post/valter-longo It made me re-think IF a little and I shortened by fasting to 12-14, from 16 because of some of the health concerns about fasting too long every day.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks, Daniel. I enjoyed your post.

      If someone can’t listen to podcasts because of terrible attention span, can you elaborate on why fasting for 16 hours is too long every day?

      Reply
      1. Daniel Clough

        He mentions:

        – past 12 hours of fasting daily = increased risk of gallstone inflammation

        – skipping breakfast = increased cardiovascular disease

        Multiple studies show both the above to be true.

        It’s tricky because everyone has a different take on things and it’s hard to know how to believe.

        For me, I am sticking with skipping breakfast because it fits into my life perfectly. I shortened the fast to 12 hours, because that doesn’t make much difference to me, so I may aswell.

        if you’re interested, skip to 59.05 😉

        Reply
  2. Paul

    You are an educated person so why take the word of PETA to make a life long decision? I find most city raised people just do not understand the US food systems and believe things to make it all work for them.

    Reply
  3. seongmin

    Thanks for the advice on what to eat. I am confident you did a very thorough research. I have tried IF and lost some weight 3 years ago but didn’t keep it up. I am now thinking of enlisting all of my family to try. Do you buy the canned beans or cook it yourself? BTW, you look great!

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I bought canned beans, but I think soaking them yourself is the cheaper and better way to do it. I’ll do that eventually.

      Surrounding yourself with positive people who are also trying to better themselves is always going to be easier than surrounding yourself with people trying to move in opposite directions or standing still. Absolutely enlist your family!

      And thanks! I feel great. Whenever I use the bathroom and I’m by myself and I’m not wearing a dress, I pull up my shirt and give myself a quick little pick me up. I love the way my stomach looks! Heck yeah! Now you know the extent of my narcissism. 🙂

      Reply
  4. walter claes

    Oh my God!
    A part of me really admires you. Your fitness level, your body, your resolve.
    But this seems such a waste of your limited time on this planet. Eating is so much more than the pursuit of health.
    I live part time in Bangkok and part time in Belgium. Eating gives me sooooo much pleasure in life. And drinking too…
    Ok, I might be 10 kilos overweight ( at your age it was maybe only 5 – haha), but the pure joy, the experiences, the endorphines, the comfort, the adventures, the friendships, the good sex, the open mindset, the hours spend discussing the best restaurants… all this, I get daily from my exploring the worlds cuisines and beverages. And tasty food of course.
    But, hey, whatever works for you is OK.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I hear ya! Food and carbs and drinking has such a social aspect to it. And I’m by no means perfect. I still indulge occasionally. Most of the time I’m good with diet, but sometimes I still eat the sugary, carby goodness. It’s finding something sustainable. 80% of the time, eat well and don’t sweat the rest. 🙂

      I’ve found the increase in energy and happiness I get from following this fitness and diet more than makes up for the occasional social bonding aspect I miss from not indulging.

      Reply
  5. Accidental FIRE

    Ughh… I’m always starving when I wake up so as much as I’d like to do the intermittent fasting, it’s really hard. My stomach is literally audible in the morning. Kudos to you.

    My diet is pretty similar to yours except I eat lots of nuts. Peanuts, almonds, cashews (which are actually seeds but whose counting), and walnuts.

    And a great fitness book is Sean Burch’s “Hyperfitness”. He’s an elite mountaineer among other things and and extreme bada$$!

    Reply
    1. Daniel Clough

      I felt like this at first with intermittent fasting, but your appetite soon regulates after a bit of time. Now I rarely start to feel hungry until lunch.

      Reply
    2. bankshot

      Maybe open big with breakfast and lunch, then a small dinner so you’re not eating it too late and do most of your fast in the evening? I find I tend to default to two big meals when I’m at home, just a pile of eggs for breakfast, maybe a midday snack, then a late lunch/early dinner. Like Thriftygal, I kind of discovered the benefits of fasting by accident on my own rhythm and then in retrospect realized them once I read about it properly.

      Reply
    3. Thriftygal Post author

      Personally, I think you have to train your body to expect food at certain times. It’s like a cat. If you let your cat wake you up one morning for food, it will do it every morning. Maybe that’s not a perfect analogy because training your body is probably easier than training your cat.

      Read the article I linked to on intermittent fasting and he talks about this. I mean, if you care and want to change, that is. I think you can also have a very healthy lifestyle with eating breakfast. It’s finding what works for you specifically.

      Reply
  6. Joe

    You can eat remarkably healthy food in Asia too. Depends where you’ll be but you’ll find many diets are higher in vegetables and fruit and lower in carbs and meat protein.

    I find that reducing portion size is key.

    Eating fruit or vegetables helps too. But life is short so some indulgence especially when on the road is ok.

    Also as we age, our bodies burn calories differently and we adapt our diet to what our bodies need and crave.

    Lastly. Cooking at home is fun and economical but difficult to do for one – Get into the habit of shopping daily rather than stocking up. Food doesn’t go into the fridge. Disappear and spoil. Just use up what you buy.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I agree with everything you wrote. I think, in Asia, I’m more worried about getting sick from eating fresh produce. And there are so many delicious foods I’ll want to eat in India, so I expect to indulge more than when I’m in the U.S.

      Thanks for this comment!

      Reply
  7. bankshot

    I just subscribed, but this is the kind of content I was hoping for. It exhibits what I already like about my life plus how to make changes I hope to incorporate soon, and a few things that never occurred to me. Thank you.

    Bookwise, I just started “Sugar Detox Me,” which has some great recipes, but the only fitness book that ever stuck with me was “Strong Medicine.” It’s male-focused, but overall great advice for any human being, with the science behind every aspect of a healthy life clearly explained.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Welcome! I love having you here and I’m so giddy that you found some use from my words. 🙂 Thanks for the book suggestions! I live for book suggestions.

      Reply
  8. steve poling

    This may not work for a mobile lifestyle. My wife and I buy one years’ worth of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries at the peak of each berry’s harvest season. We then process these and put them into our chest freezer. After a year we inventory the freezer to adjust how many berries to buy for the forthcoming year.

    Reply
  9. Andy

    Great article ThriftyGal! I loved that nerd fitness article too. I laughed out loud at this line:

    “When I’m sleeping: 8 of my 16 hours are occupied by sleeping. Tough to feel hungry when I’m dreaming about becoming a Jedi.”

    Sometime in the five years I also started naturally skipping breakfast without thinking about it. I’m going to give 16/8 fasting a shot. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I really like Steve from Nerd Fitness. He’s thorough, articulate and scientific with a lot of personality. I’ve learned so much from him. Let me know how the fasting works out for you!

      Reply
  10. Vig

    Joe rogan always mentions MCT oil and exogenous ketones when he talks about his keto diet.

    Reply
  11. Nan Vodick-Mapes

    You may want to check out Whole 30. It would give you a way to figure out what you body likes the best since you already have eliminated many foods. You then reintroduce groups of foods to see how they affect you. Also there is quite a support system online with tons of resources,

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Oooh, I’ve come across the idea of Whole 30 in my research and remembering feeling intrigued. Thanks for the suggestion! Anyone else here try it?

      Reply
  12. Kurt

    Hi Anita,

    First let me say I love the blog. Thank you for taking us readers along on your life’s journey. We’re rooting for you to achieve your goals and we’re thrilled when you are successful….like becoming a published author! We knew you could do it!

    The thing that struck me most about this post was the inclusion of heavy cream. It left me wondering how it ended up on your shopping list. It seems so incongruent with everything else on the list. It’s what some people add to their diet if they are trying to gain weight since it’s high in fat. I found this in an article on Livestrong:

    “Each cup of heavy cream has 88 grams of total fat. About 55 grams is saturated fat, which is 274 percent of the recommended daily limit.”

    (https://www.livestrong.com/article/505746-will-drinking-heavy-cream-help-weight-gain/)

    I see that you’re only using a quarter of a cup but I was curious to see I f there are any alternatives to heavy cream and found this article:

    The 10 Best Substitutes for Heavy Cream
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/heavy-cream-substitutes#section6

    Granted, these substitutes are more for recipes than for drinking in a smoothie but I like the idea of #6, Greek yogurt and milk, or #9, coconut cream. I just had coconut milk recently in a cup of coffee when they didn’t have soy milk and it was much better than I expected. They whipped it to give it some volume. It’s not very sweet but the berries will provide plenty of sweetness for a smoothie.

    You’re doing great and you’re going to be awesome with your 6 pack!!

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks so much for the encouragement! Encouragement from you all is my life blood. 🙂

      I use heavy cream because it has low carbs and a lot of fat, so it keeps me full. I also think I need to increase my caloric intake to feed my muscles, so I like that it has calories. I’m intrigued with the substitutes you linked to though and will definitely try them. Thanks!

      Reply
  13. Mike

    I always enjoy your posts. And this one does not disappoint. I’m going to try to follow your fasting guidelines. I put on a few pounds since Thanksgiving. My pants are tight. I don’t like that. Thanks for the tip. BTW it looks like you are getting some good muscle tone -per last photo. 👍

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Fasting, for me, only cuts out the superfluous crap meals that I shouldn’t be eating.

      Tight pants are a good motivator. And it’s a new year, which I always find invigorating! Good luck! Let us know how you do.

      Reply
  14. Mark Pearson

    As a wanna be athlete but in reality desk jockey, I try and work out regularly and eat healthy. At one point in my life I was unemployed for almost a year so I then had time to work out like a fiend and actually cook most meals at home and didn’t eat out much.

    I was an avid surfer and during that period I also worked out at my local gym. Often I surfed and worked out in the same day. I estimate I burned 2500 calories a day on average three days a week, more during summer when it was nice and I could surf more often since the ocean was calmer. I also drink smoothies, for breakfast, most days, especially so then.

    I lost about ten pounds of fat and gained about half of it back in muscle over six to eight months although it was happening at the same time and I wasn’t measuring anything other than my weight. I was in the best shape of my life. At 6’2″, I went from 180 to 174, so I’m thin anyway, but I finally started to see the difference. I was shredded. I figure about 6% body fat. I could see my muscle fibers, everywhere. Very close to full on six pack.

    I ate three solid meals per day, snacking in between in order to keep my metabolism high. Never once did I count calories, but my goal was simply to get into surfing shape, not compete in body building.

    After about six months of this routine I competed in a surf contest in Tofino, BC, two days of driving and about a $1k in expenses, and although I didn’t make it past my first heat, I outpaddled a guy I’d seen win his age division at a different contest a few years before.

    At my next contest, the Cape Kiwanda longboard comp, I made it to the finals after scoring just well enough in two heats, taking sixth out of sixth, best finish yet.

    Surfing is 90% swimming coupled with endurance, 10% actual surfing, in my opinion. Okay, maybe 60/40. But endurance is huge, and I finally had some, lol.

    I’d like to share my smoothie recipes because I believe it helped me get that fit and be competitive, and it contradicts some experts recommendations with respect to fruit.

    Marks power smoothies

    One whole banana
    One serving Greek yogurt
    Almond milk, roughly four cups but enough to blend
    One third of a 16oz or whatever standard size can of peaches, pineapple, and coconut milk
    3/4 cup strawberries
    4-6 tablespoons of peanut butter
    60 grams whey protein

    Blend till smooth. Makes three, roughly 16 oz servings, for me. Or six servings for working class stiffs who can’t work out three hours a day.

    Maybe someone will find value in all this.

    Ciao,

    Mark
    Aramid49@hotmail.com

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks, Mark. I loved reading your story, this part especially “Never once did I count calories, but my goal was simply to get into surfing shape, not compete in body building.” You’re finding your big why. Thanks for sharing!

      I will most definitely try your smoothie recipe.

      Reply
  15. Lynn

    This topic is so fascinating to me! And I agree it’s definitely cheap, especially since once you eat the right foods you just aren’t as hungry. I would recommend you read The Plant Paradox by Dr Gundry. He claims there are some vegetables (nightshades) that actually harm our body. http://gundrymd.com/plant-paradox-shopping-list/

    I’ve also been doing a lot of reading on the topic of fasting for several days several times a year to kill off any pre-cancerous cells that may be in our bodies. I have a toddler though so I may need to wait another year or two before I can mentally handle that;)

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks for the book suggestion, Lynn! I’ve heard of nightshades as well and find the idea fascinating. There’s so much knowledge out there!

      I’ve heard that fasting completely a few times a year is also a good idea. I haven’t tried it yet because I’m worried I’ll get too hungry, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

      Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Mark’s Daily Apple is another site I really like and have been reading a lot of. This was a great article from a few days ago. Thanks for the reminder!

      Reply
  16. Dennis Cahillane

    Hey ThriftyGal, great post! Did you consider thriftiness when choosing your foods? MMM advocates measuring by calories/$, but I noticed some food that would be indulgences at the grocery stores I use in Brooklyn on your list, like berries and bell peppers.

    I’m also very interested in your findings on healthy eating in SE Asia, I’m hoping to get back there for a while ~’19.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I don’t consider thriftiness when I grocery shop. I buy what I want to eat and eat it. 🙂 I like the idea of calories/$, but that sounds suspiciously like math. 😉

      New York is a different beast when it comes to grocery stores.

      I’ll let you know how I fare in Asia. Huzzah!

      Reply
  17. Linda

    stop opening cans and start soaking/cooking your beans. they are SO much better

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Agreed! But I tell myself not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Canned beans are better than chips. 🙂

      Reply
  18. risdomfi

    I’m no expert but I’m learning and you seem to have a really good diet! I’m a big fan of smoothies, so I have thoughts to share!

    First off, spinach is great. Totally agree.
    Second, have you tried almond milk in your smoothies? It’s good stuff. Lotsa vitamins and minerals. If you look into it only get unsweetened, regular can be sugary and with blueberries and other fruits you won’t notice.
    Third, walnuts! I put these in at the very end and blend lightly (over blending makes it gritty, ick). Good for fats and having something to chew on. This is what makes a smoothie great imo.
    Fourth, chia seeds. They are fun and have extra fat and protein (and a ton of fiber). Little extra carb too. Maybe something to look into.

    Chia seeds reminds me of HUMMUS! It’s pretty easy to make if you have a food processor and a thrifty way of having infinite hummus for veggies or whatever. (the connection is I put chia seeds in my hummus to buff the fiber, iron, fat, etc in it)

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I haven’t tried Almond Milk, but you’re the second person in the comments to suggest it, so I’m excited by the idea now. Thanks for all the great suggestions! I freaking love hummus.

      Reply
  19. Barry Merritt

    Congratulations on being and staying committed! Has this new found fitness caused you to be become more competitive, like wanting to run a 5km or something like that? It becomes easier to do that longer hike or challenge yourself to do more adventurous adventures.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I hate running with every fiber of my body, so no interest in a 5k. Long hikes, carrying my suitcase, life in general does feel easier though! I totally agree with that.

      Reply
  20. Lucy

    So happy to hear you’re taking care of your body and figuring out what works for you! Every body is different, and in reading the comments I notice a lot of people forgot that what works for them might not work for you 🙂 Love reading about your journey and resolve ♥

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement! I generally like the feedback. It helps knowing what other people do and gives me ideas on what to try. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Bob

    Check out “Younger Next Year”. A very interesting take on diet and exercise!

    Reply
  22. Mrs. Doodlepop

    This is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing what works for you and giving me some great ideas. Smoothies are my jam! I started making them in the morning and find it’s a great way to start the day. Love the veggies + beans for dinner. I need to learn how to make beans tasty. We just got back from a trip to Costa Rica and all the beans there were delicious (although maybe not the healthiest..). There must be a way to make beans tasty while still keeping them healthy. Gotta step up my bean game! Keep up the awesome work – you are energizing me to focus on health! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      That’s interesting that you find beans bland! I haven’t really met a bean I didn’t like. Maybe salt them better?

      Reply
  23. Luis

    Anita – good post and check out the book “Death by Food.” I think you will greatly enjoy reading it.

    Semper FI,

    Luis

    Reply
  24. Anjani

    From South India…
    My day starts with one glass of coffee, lunch with rice, 2 curries and curd, less of rice and more of vegetable curries, evening Tea and snacks with sprouts and soaked nuts, dinner with 2 roti, 2 vegetable curries and curd. Rice is mostly brown and have atleast 8 glasses of luke warm water.
    As long as food does not include fried snacks and sweets, am able to maintain my weight and fitness. But there are too many celebrations around with lots of sweets, cakes, pastries and fried snacks.
    I try to stick to meals above and reduce oily stuff and walk for half an hour a day. One day in a week, I have only milk, curd and fruits and veggies.
    Great to read your diet without grains.

    Reply
  25. Louisa

    Hiyah Thriftygal, ah, my favorite topic. I teach a class called “30 Minutes and Eat: Simple cooking for One and Two,” in which I discuss what I eat, too. I’ll send you the handout if you like. I come from a compulsive eating family so learning to take care of my body with the right foods, and maintain ahealthy weight, has been a lifelong process. I tried smoothies, but I don’t like drinking my nutrients, it doesn’t feel like a real meal. For breakfast I usually have leftovers or what I call a warm salad, leftovers with salad on top. I eat a lot of black beans, also cannellilini beans and some garbanzos. I eat peanut or tahini based stir fries and soups. I try to avoid grains, but am not 100% about it, esp when I’m cooking in other countries, which is often, since we travel a lot. I don’t eat meat or a lot of dairy. Cream? Yuk! It sounds too intense for me, but each to her own. I don’t eat meat, but I do occasionally eat fish, though I don’t cook it. Congrats on finding what works for you!

    Reply
  26. Anjali

    Glad that you are working on health and fitness and finding something that is sustainable long term.

    I really liked the book The South Asian Health Solution: A Culturally Tailored Guide to Lose Fat, Increase Energy and Avoid Disease by Dr. Ronesh Sinha. He mentions about cutting carbs and the bad vegetable oils and emphasizes on IF and NEPA(non-exercise physical activity) which people are not getting enough of.
    However, all said and done, its not easy to maintain the weight that you lost. Most people are motivated for a few years before they quit. This article is a good read on that subject http://time.com/4793832/the-weight-loss-trap/
    My personal favorite is a video by celebrity dietician Rujuta Diwekar. I am not promoting any person or brand here. But she tells more about traditional Indian methods which the current generation has almost lost. Do watch if you have time.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp1Hb_fFF84
    This one works for sure since I have seen my own grandparents and my husband’s grandparents live past 89, completely independent and free of all diseases. Unfortunately, our parents generation got more fascinated towards packaged foods and unhealthy oils and lifestyle inflation leading to all cardio vascular and other diseases.
    Anyway, congrats on your fitness milestones and good luck keeping up!

    Reply
  27. Anjani

    I have few doubts,
    1. I read too many articles on eating smaller meals throughout the day, to keep your metabolism revving throughout the day, focus on small, protein- and fiber-packed snacks or small meals every 3 to 4 hours. You will not only burn more calories eating a series of smaller meals, but also avoid the afternoon crash and end of the workday slump.
    2. Don’t you think it is better to select fresh fruits rather than frozen berries?
    3. How much water you consume?
    4. How much time you spend on exercise on a normal day?

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I don’t like the idea of eating a lot of smaller meals because it seems like a big hassle to think about food that often. I’m not convinced that it increases your metabolism.
      I’m not a fruit person, so frozen berries are a good compromise for me.
      I don’t know how much water I drink. Whenever I’m thirsty, I drink, but I’ve never been able to keep track. I tried, but it’s always slips my mind.
      I spend 15-60 minutes a day working out. Usually hover around 40 minutes.

      Reply
  28. Anjani

    What we hear often about water is ‘we need to drink 4 liters per day’ and it flushes out all toxins in the body and help to lose weight.

    Reply
  29. Theresia

    Thinner, Leaner, Stronger by Mike Matthews is a great book for the average person trying to work into a fitness minded individual.

    Reply
  30. thingsthatsparkjoy

    one of my fave topics. also recently tweaked my diet. weekday pescatarian meals – smoked salmon, raw veggies, brown rice, beans, green olives. for breakfast – sweetpotato pasta or crackers with hummus or spicy black bean dip. before breakfast, coffee followed by a smoothie of frozen berries and kefir. dinner is either breakfast type foods or brown rice and meat (fish and other meats)… weekends are generally healthier foods as well but more leeway (i eat out) =). love reading your post

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I can see myself eating fish regularly too at some point in the future. Thanks for sharing your interesting diet!

      Reply
  31. Guppy

    Love your blog and this article. I just came back from South India and as always the food rocks.

    Anyway one book that really changed my outlook was Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It was a really enlightening read. Being vegetarian, I am not able to follow all of the suggestions but I definitely eat more fat (eggs/whole milk/nuts) and try to cut down on my grains. Unfortunately with grains it is a big hit or miss – it is easy to get back to eating the comfort foods you grow up with :).

    Good luck on your journey.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      I’m glad you found some use from it. 🙂 I really like Gary Taubes. Why We Get Fat and What To Do About it is also really good.

      Reply
  32. Maria

    Love the blog!

    Far and away the best book I’ve read on long-term diets for health is “How Not to Die”.

    Warning that the recommendations are for a plant-based diet. However, the medical literature regarding diseases/cancers is more compelling than that in most paleo/omnivore low carb books.

    If you can, try to get it from your library in audiobook format. The author’s enthusiasm alone is quite entertaining.

    Best of luck with your goals!

    Reply
  33. kruidigmeisje

    I like your dieting approach: not focused on kg, but on fitness and bodyshape. And doing it in a way that is livable and enjoyable.

    Wondering about the cream here too.
    As far as I understand women are built more to storing fat (they do last longer in hunger sitations, which is a plus in evolution. Men are more expendable). The belly is one of the most efficient storing places for your body (centerpoint of gravity), so one of the last ones to give up for fat storage. So to see your belly muscles, you probably would need to lose almost all your fat. Tough. Extra tough for women.
    If cream helps you do that, that is obviously fine, but I still wonder whether eating a high protein replacement (curd or fresh cheese) in your smoothies wouldnt keep your apetite sated also. My experience on protein on satity is postive, but I havent tried no carb, high fat diets (I cycle too much to test without carb yet)

    Otherwise just full of respect and appreciation for your progress.

    Reply
    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Because it’s so hard to lose fat off the belly, I think that’s why a six-pack is the holy grail for most fitness people. So many people have expressed skepticism about the cream that it’s definitely something I’m experimenting with. 🙂

      Reply

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