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A while back, Susan asked what kinds of foods we are eating. I’ve been thinking on it, trying to find a good way to put it into words.
For the most part, we’re following the South Beach diet. Not 100%, and not following their phases per se, either. I say we, because all of us are eating lower carb now. Since little man is still 2, I do feed him more carbohydrates but they’re in the form of better carbs than I used to feed him.
To begin, I went to the library and just checked out every single low-carb eating book I could find. Some I liked, and some I didn’t. The Atkins book was very informative, but having had kidney problems as a child, I wasn’t willing to follow that diet too closely. The South Beach diet is the one that made the most sense to me and was the one that I can see us following years from now.
Basically we just cut out everything that is white or refined. White bread and tortillas became whole wheat bread and wheat and oat tortillas (which crashed and burned big-time, by the way). We cut out white bread, white rice, pasta, and potatoes (mostly). We loaded the pasta into a box and dropped it off at a family from church’s house. I did keep just a little bit so I have a few more options for little man, but there’s maybe only 3 child-sized servings in the jar.
The potatoes we gave away as well. They’re not as bad as the white bread, but as much as my husband likes mashed potatoes, well, they’re too much of a temptation. Now that I think about it, we should probably get rid of the canister of instant potatoes that’s on the pantry shelf. They’re not a temptation for me so I’d forgotten about them.
Rice wasn’t as hard to give up because it’s not a food we eat a ton of. We mostly used it to stretch something – like making taco meat with 1/2 lb of beef and then adding rice to it so we could eat more and save on the beef. We had already been eating brown rice some, so that was already in the house. Stephen doesn’t care for the brown rice flavor as much though.
The bread has been one of the bigger challenges for me. I just love a huge loaf of fresh warm white bread! We all like wheat bread though, so I started making that instead of the white. My biggest struggle with the bread is finding a good wheat bread recipe that doesn’t call for white flour. Most of the all-wheat-flour recipes I’ve tried have been very dense. I’d like to find something with a lighter texture. Then again, maybe it’s good that I don’t love it too much, right? :O)
South Beach does allow you to eat whole grain bread and brown rice and whole wheat pasta in moderation, but we’ve had a hard time eating some of those foods because they feel so much like we’re cheating. I made sugar-free whole wheat sourdough pancakes the other day, but Stephen won’t touch them for that very reason. They sure were good though! I cooked some apple slices and just put them on top of the one pancake I ate and WOW was it ever good!
We’ve taken the foods we normally eat and tried to remove as many refined, processed carbs as we possibly can. It has been a challenge. Tacos were easy – I just made whole wheat tortillas, and then I only ate one tortilla that meal. We tried whole wheat pizza crust, but the crust recipe needs work before I make it again. Other meals were easier, like chili.
Breakfasts around here are either eggs or oatmeal (I checked the glycemic index of it, and we eat it a couple times a week) for Stephen and I, and sometimes Bug will eat toast with peanut butter instead. I’ll often add an apple or some other fruit to breakfast. Then coffee with dry milk and Splenda for me.
Lunch – it depends. Leftovers, if there are any (Stephen takes them to work with him quite a bit), sometimes eggs, sometimes a chicken breast, it just depends on what we have in the house. The canned tuna from Aldi’s is really good, when we have it. Today I had tomato soup made from some tomato puree that I froze a couple summers ago. It was very good. Sometimes I’ll make a sandwich for Bug, sometimes I won’t. He’s getting to that pickier stage now. I declare – that boy will devour a food one day and decide it’s the worst thing on earth the next. What he eats depends largely on what kind of a mood he’s in and if I feel like indulging him or not. Usually it’s peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread, with fruit or yogurt or dairy or cheese or whatever.
Dinner – this is our biggest variety. Last night we had a broccoli and chicken casserole that I made up, the night before was chicken and vegetable soup. Last week we had meatballs, chicken and artichoke bake, smothered chicken, and a roast that I had picked up when it was on super-sale. Each week’s meats revolve around what’s on sale and how much my freezer is already stocked. My whole family loves fish, but it’s too expensive to eat very often. Even the sale price of $3.99 a pound (which we will usually eat in about a meal and a half), it’s hard to justify when I can buy chicken legs at less than $1 a pound (depending on the cut), breast at around $2 a pound (but I can usually get it for less), and even ground beef at around $2 a pound, depending on how lean it is.
Frugality has been by far the hardest thing for me to adjust to. While I have no problem paying more for healthier foods, in a way it is hard to justify buying less food for more money. We used to round out meals just about every night with a fresh baked loaf of bread. I used to be able to spend $30 and stretch that for two weeks, but not anymore. Hey – I miss my chickens and the eggs we got every day! Anyways. . .
It really has been an adjustment for our family, but it’s worth it.