Eating Experiments = A Happy, Healthy You

Posted: May 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I’m glad you all seemed to enjoy my random day of eats I shared. While I do not eat those same things every day, well besides maybe the oats and yogurt bowl because I am me, I do feel it reflects my general eating habits well. I really try to keep things as balanced as possible and choose wholesome foods as much as possible. I know I have plenty of room for improvement, but I don’t believe in eating “perfectly” anyways. I believe in eating in a way that nourishes my body, gives it energy, and keeps me from feeling deprived in any manner.

80% salads…20% cupcakes. 😉

I have gone through a lot of trial and error in finding that balance in foods I enjoy and that treat my body well. Over the years I have learned that my body functions well on a higher ratio of carbohydrates for energy, but that I also need protein and fat with every meal to truly feel satisfied. I have discovered that simple foods and recipes will keep me more aligned with healthy eating. I have reacquainted myself with reasonable portions and fitting in my favorite treats to lead off the binging struggles I used to face. I have also found that I don’t need, or want, as much meat in my diet.

I typically eat only 3 or 4 meals that include meat a week and a smaller than normal portion, as I add in extra veggies, beans, or other foods. Everything else is meat-free. I used to have meat in almost every main meal. I easily ate meat 15 times a week in double the portion size that I eat of it now when I do consume meat. I now prefer getting my protein from sources like eggs, beans, nuts, dairy, and some tofu.

Love this meal! Egg scramble with goat cheese + veggies. Sweet potato & black beans.

I have no problem with people’s food choices – vegan, vegetarian, hard-core carnivore…whatever. I don’t really care for eating labels anyways. However, I will say that I would have never known that eating less meat works well for me if I had not embraced experimenting with my eating choices. I completely support branching out to learn more about what makes your body feel best, which is why I also support Erin from The Healthy Apron’s initiative of Meat – Less May.

She isn’t saying to give up meat, just as I don’t choose to do. She simply hopes to encourage others to attempt eating less meat and see how it impacts their health. Yes, I know May is on its last legs…but that doesn’t mean trying something new with your approach to eating can’t happen beyond May 31. I just love the idea of always making myself aware of how my eating habits work in my life and working towards improvement that fits my lifestyle. I know I have plenty of ways I can improve my eating habits…and I hope to continue doing so for a long time to come, while still keeping that balance and enjoyment with food I desire.

What are some eating changes you have considered making before? Or have you made any that you feel really made a difference in your quality of life? I want to continue trying to eat less processed foods.

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32 Comments to “Eating Experiments = A Happy, Healthy You”
  1. This was a great post Tina! Thanks for helping to support meat- LESS May, I agree that although I would never call myself a complete vegetarian OR vegan, I DO enjoy experimenting with these types of meals! PS. that salad in the first picture looks incredible!

  2. Lauren says:

    Labels work for some people, but I don’t use them for myself because I eat some fish, but most of my daily meals are vegetarian or even vegan. This works best for my health, body, and preferences, and of course there’s plenty of chocolate too!

  3. Brenda says:

    I love your posts on food. You always show that with a little time you can make a nutritious and yummy meal. I recently got into They have the best recipes and every single one has been a winner with me and my husband. I have to say I just love tofu now that I know how to make it flavorful and tempeh too. These are my go to proteins.

  4. Alisha says:

    I have given up meat a few times before including a couple of months before I got pregnant with Sydney. Pregnancy threw that out the window b/c I had such bad morning sickness. I’ve thought about it again recently b/c it forces you to be more conscious of what you eat b/c of the seemingly limited food choices. You never realize how much meat you eat until you try to find fast food or regular restaurants that serve an alternative. I definitely ate more vegetables b/c I had no other option. Mine is an animal issue as well as being more conscious about what I put in my body.

    BTW, is that cupcake from Jilly’s? Is it the salted caramel?

    • Tina says:

      It’s a salted caramel from Gimme Some Suga in Suwanee. Very good! Where is Jilly’s???

      And yea – my reasons for eating less meat is animal treatment, healthy environment, cost, and so much. It is crazy to think how natural it is to have a ton of meat options and limited veg options in places.

  5. Jolene says:

    I actually tend to eat more fish than meat these days. I just love it, it’s easy to make and tastes great. That really started when I was living alone and wanted something quick to make for meals and has flourished from there 🙂

  6. You know I don’t eat meat, but my boys do. Although they have gotten to the point where they really only eat meat about 3 times a week. Tonight was a bacon cheese burger night for them, but last night was eggs and the night before that was beans and rice. Jay actually asked for a bean burger for lunch twice last week. Do you know how happy that made me? I think it’s important to understand food and how it works for us and to appreciate all aspects of eating. Great post Tina!

  7. Ela says:

    There aren’t too many changes left for me to make, since I’m vegan/gf and mostly raw. However, I’ve been playing around with macronutrient ratios a lot this year, and have been finding that the more carb I eat, the better I feel! On tests, I always come out as a ‘protein type,’ and I’d been ‘carbophobic’ for a couple years, so this is surprising (except for the fact that I felt pretty good for several years eating mostly fruit).

    I’m planning to talk about this a bit more on my blog in the near future–the whole self-experimentation piece is a topic dear to my heart. Awesome that you’re finding out useful things too.

  8. Danica says:

    I recently quit drinking cow’s milk and eating ice cream. I now drink almond milk and if I have ice cream I buy “Larry and Luna’s Coconut Bliss”–it’s dairy-free, organic, soy-free, and vegan (completely delicious!) …I really don’t notice a difference in taste in either one and I’ve noticed I get fewer headaches and my complexion is much clearer!

  9. I really cut back on the amount of processed foods I ate about 6 months ago, and feel so much better! The best part is, I’ve been running faster. I’m not sure the two are correlated perfectly, but I’m sure there is something going on between the two. 🙂

  10. That is a cool idea — we kind of did that this month with our food budgeting — without deciding to lessen our meat intake we had to since meat is pricey!

    I’m with you on eating less processed foods, but I’m also taking more time to get quality organic produce and better quality meats/eggs and such.

  11. Haley says:

    Thank you for the tips on getting over bingeing. I find you so inspiring. <3

  12. Lee says:

    Jason was actually talking the other day about wanting to eat less meat and maybe do meatless Mondays.

    I’m trying to up my protein and fat to help feel satiated. And eat less processed foods.

  13. LauraJayne says:

    I had to learn that I *could* eat mostly meatless meals (and enjoy tofu) before I could even consider a vegetarian diet! I knew the benefits, and always wanted too – but it was amazing how quickly I made the decision once I realized that I could do it!

    Love this post! I never want to be a vegetarian that proselytizes, but I think the world would be a healthier place if we all ate a little less meat!

  14. lindsay says:

    LOL! Thats the best concept ever. 80% salads, 20% ice cream for me. And yes, eggs and goat cheese are quite heavenly. I just got on the sweet potato and cashew butter/cinnamon kick. Best decision yet.

  15. I feel like I experimented with my eating for years until I finally found what worked best for me. My body does best without animal products, healthy fats, and lower carbohydrates. So funny that everyone’s bodies accept different nutrients!

  16. First of all, what a great post, it really got me thinking.
    When my disordered eating as at its worst, I had changed habits that negatively affected my quality of life. Each week, I cut something else out, deeming it “unsafe” to eat and would go on my forbidden food list. This started to include past favorites, such as ice cream, any kind of bread, cheese, FATS, and pretty much any food that makes life worth living!
    I have come so far in my recovery and making changes once again that POSITIVELY affect my well-being aka eating foods I love once again- without overwhelming regret or guilt

  17. Michelle says:

    I feel like we have a similar eating style. I don’t cut out meat entirely, but I do enjoy my meatless meals and try to balance my diet on what my body is telling me it’s craving. I can’t say I’ve always been like this, but since I’ve had my kids I’ve become SO much more aware of what goes into my body and theirs! So glad I FINALLY had this realization. It has given me peace in regards to my eating/food issues.

  18. Mrs. Fish says:

    I agree, you don’t know what works best for your body, if you don’t experiment! I’d done a lot of meatless meals since the beginning of the year, and not only have I had a lot of fun trying lots of meatless recipes, we’ve found lots of family favorites! We love black bean sloopy joes and chickpea curries!

  19. I’ve been vegetarian on and off most of my life, and can’t wait to return to it post-pregnancy!

  20. I have been vegan or vegetarian for a long time and am just now branching out and trying to find my eating balance that will make me feel good and no depend on rules. It’s a journey but I do love it.

    Your attitude is totally inspiring.

  21. this is awesome! I think my eating philosophy is very very similar to yours Tina 😛 I do look at labels just to know what’s going in my body, but I too eat in a way that keeps me satiated and allow myself to enjoy goodies here and there. yay. have a beautiful day tomorrrow!

  22. When I was most insecure about my food choices, I readily embraced labels because they provided me the guidance and comfort that I was desperately seeking. I tried vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, low carb, macrobiotic and raw (that one didn’t last too long!). I eventually realized, however, that slapping a label on my eating practices didn’t magically bring stability to my life! It took time to figure out that granting myself the freedom to choose the foods that make MY body feel best–not somebody else’s–was the most satisfying way to live and eat.

  23. I used to love my animal protein but when I turned veggie and now mostly vegan (although I completely agree with your feelings on labels, I wish we didn’t need them!) I feel so great – I think we are all made differently and need to find the eating pattern and diet that makes us feel our best!

  24. I’ve cut back a lot on processed food and sugary snacks. I now snack on things like almonds and plain yogurt with berries and find they keep me fuller for much longer than granola bars and other stuff I used to snack on. I’ve also been trying to eat more protein lately. I try to go for a variety of protein sources (beans, dairy, etc.) but find it’s easiest to get it from animal protein. I do love a lot of vegetarian meals though.

  25. when I started eating better (more intuitively, whole foods, etc.) I started eating less meat as an unintended side effect. I now eat it probably about 3 times a week at most and love the change!

  26. Kelly says:

    I am the complete opposite…I have learned that I need meat to feel satisified. When I don’t eat meat I am hungry within an hour no matter how many calories the meal was.

  27. I’m loving this post. I did a meatless February, and while I didn’t change to a vegetarian, I did learn to appreciate more meat-free meals. I usually do vegan/vegetarian lunches and breakfasts, but I enjoy meat at dinner. Like you, I try to keep portions small.

  28. Over my adult years, I’ve gradually cut back on the amount of meat I eat. I grew up with “meat and potatoes” and really thought a meal was “supposed to” include meat. As a matter of personal preference, it has shifted to less and less. I still eat meat, but not everyday.

    And more recently, I temporarily cut out dairy and gluten, and found that the indigestion I had come to think was just part of my life – went away. I added both back in smaller quantities and still feel so much better than I did before. I’m beginning to think maybe some foods are just more taxing on our bodies – not the same things for everyone – but that we should pay attention to how we feel when we eat different foods and make changes as necessary.

  29. Sweet potatoes and black beans=YUM!

    In April 2010, I gave up meat (except fish) so I think I’m a pescatarian? All those labels confuse me LOL But I initially went that way for weight loss but the more I read about the horrible way they treat the animals it’s a whole lot more for me now. I am reading the book Veganist and it’s one of the best books I have read in a long time. I would ultimately like to eat less fish, dairy and eggs too. Little by little. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a full vegan but I sure would like to try to eat more like one. And yes on cutting down on processed foods. We have way to many boxed items in this house.

  30. Shayla says:

    I really relate to you in that I ate chicken like it wasn’t going out of style….always thought that that was the only way to get in protein. I got so sick of it, so now I get protein from greek yogurt, eggs, and beans…I’m so much more satisfied with this type of diet!

    One thing I really need to start eliminating from my diet is artificial sweeteners!! I use crystal light in my water and splenda in my yogurt and coffee…I really need to cut back on that but it’s hard!

  31. Mac says:

    Less processed food is a goal of mine as well. I also want to continue eating out less, which has been going better than it was a month ago.

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