I am halfway through the 3rd month of eating and living healthier.
I think almost everyone would like to eat better, have less of a negative impact on the earth, and feel healthier. It's just so overwhelming to start! And difficult to continue. By far, my biggest difficulty is that we eat out more than we should, mainly because of time constraints and issues. There are simply days a week where we have no time to eat dinner at home. As an ex-restaurant person, I don't especially enjoy eating out, especially as my cooking skills have progressed and I know I can now cook foods at home that are better quality, better flavor, and much, much healthier.
However, we live in the real world, and it's no sense panicking over what you can't absolutely change. Instead, I keep trying to focus on what I can change. In the past 3 months, I have switched to eating Fage Greek yogurt vs Yoplait, I've increased the amount of vegetables and fish we're eating, and cut down on saturated fats. The year before this, I spent learning how to cook from scratch, and how make the flavors I loved at home.
Several years ago, I stopped eating meat for a year. I however, was not eating healthy during that year, I simply wasn't eating meat (there is a huge difference there). And lately, that way of eating has been thrown in my face several times - from consistently reading about someone who had become vegetarian or vegan, to researching autoimmune issues and how they are helped with a meatless diet. My main problems, when I stopped eating meat before, was that I didn't feel full, and that I couldn't eat out easily. Now, while I am trying not to eat out, that problem is taken care of. The not feeling full, is I am sure the factor that I was not eating healthy solid foods, but instead processed junk that didn't contain nutrients.
So I am attempting this again,but in a sustainable way. Because frankly, I do believe that this is a healthier way of life, and better for me, and for the world. I know that if I throw out all foods at once, it will be a recipe for disaster, and something that won't last more than a couple weeks. Instead, I'm approaching this slowly.
I will still be eating fish. I love fish, and the thought of giving up salmon, sushi, clams, and crab aren't really doable for me. At first, I am going to try to have 3 fish days, 3 vegetarian days, and one floating day a week. I'm not going to panic over it, but at the same time, this is my goal. As such, I will not be a vegetarian, I will be (technically) a pesco-vegetarian, or a pescetarian. But in reality, life isn't about labels. Though I love how the world Pescetarian makes me think of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, with Gilderoy Lockhart confidently saying 'Pesky Pixie Pandemonium!'
I will still be using chicken stock for some cooking - slowly phasing that out as I deplete my supply, and switch to vegetable stock.
I will still be using some dairy and eggs, I will try to limit them, but I won't stop altogether. I don't drink milk anyway, so typically my dairy use is cheese (good cheese is something I love), and yogurt. Eggs I use in cooking, it's pretty rare for me to eat eggs.
If it is a special occasion or meal, I will eat meat. This will depend directly on what I feel like that day. So many of the tastes we crave around holidays, aren't based on the protein, but instead on the tastes, mouth feel, and flavors. I can do a pretty good job of replicating that, but doing it in a healthy manner.
Above all, I will still be focusing on fresh foods, healthy eating, and feeling good. The rest will fall into place.