Averyl asked me if I was willing to share what my daily diet used to look like and how it is today along with my “before” pic on her blog. I cut alcohol out of my diet when I got sober almost six years ago. I admit that I’m shy when it comes to talking about myself like this but she pointed out that it can help inspire others.
A few years and twenty-five pounds ago my cholesterol was too high, I was in what my doctor called a “pre-diabetic condition” and was suffering from severe hypertension. He consequently prescribed medications for all three conditions, but I knew I had to do more to help myself. As you can see from my unflattering “before” pic I had a huge gut.
Before I worked as a boatyard manager where I built and designed yachts and sailboats I spent almost twenty years in the food service industry where I was eventually the co-owner and menu designer of a popular Portland, Maine restaurant, Carburs. I considered myself to be well acquainted with healthy and wholesome food preparation. Even armed with that knowledge I often chose to eat foods that were compromised by modern technology or provided calories without consideration for their nutritional value because they were convenient.
I have been taking some time to reflect on how Averyl helped me become aware of my eating habits and my relationship to food. It was always my “excuse” that eating right would consume too much time for me to give it serious thought. Whereas my old habits included eating what I construed to be “healthy” foods, they were often heavily laden with sugar or fats. I learned to pay attention to labels. I used to think that I wasn’t having any sweets during the day which I used to justify having ice cream every night right before bed. I found out that I was actually eating sugar throughout the day. Some of the healthy-sounding processed foods I ate like like raisin bran and yogurt contained a lot of added sugars.
Averyl said it would be helpful to share some specifics about what I eat now vs then:
Instead of a sugary cereal or toast loaded with butter and jam for breakfast I now have a large bowl of cooked oatmeal with healthy additions that Averyl makes for me every weekday morning. It’s very satisfying and I never get tired of it.
For lunch I often make peanut butter and banana on whole grain bread sandwiches that I take to work along with nuts or fruit for a snack. I now only buy unsalted and unsweetend nuts, nut butters and bread. Before that I used to eat salty deli meats and greasy take out for lunch.
Unless we’re eating out which is about once a week, Averyl makes our dinners mostly from scratch. I used to add a LOT of butter and fat to my food. She uses those in her recipes but much less of it. She likes to cook with potatoes, gluten-free corn pasta or other carbs, vegetables and high quality naturally raised meats. We eat lots of casseroles.
I usually don’t eat anything after dinner and I haven’t had ice cream before bed for over two years now. Sometimes Averyl will make a pie or cake and we’ll both have a piece for dessert. I make a point to eat more slowly. I feel like I’m able to enjoy my food more.
My body was very out of shape. Other than playing golf I wasn’t very active. Now I’m outdoors a lot in the summer doing yard work and gardening. I still play golf. In the winter I do the shoveling instead of hiring someone else. I still work in the marine and boating industry only now in a retail sales capacity where I’m frequently on my feet all day and also stock shelves.
At my annual physical examination in the fall of 2016, my doctor informed me that I no longer needed to be on any medications! Then at my annual this past November I found out my “bad” cholesterol went down further, and he instructed me to keep doing whatever it is I’ve been doing.
It’s not about recipes and quick fixes but rather a more comprehensive yet relatively simple and common sense approach to my everyday eating habits and exercise. It’s daily diligence that is giving me lasting results.