This is a guest post by Adriana Paolella of Adriana Love Food.
You don’t need to wait for a new year in order to change your life. You just need to be unhappy about something in your life to want to change it.
My road to healthy living came about by chance. My mom introduced me to a book she had been reading about how food affects your metabolism.
My sisters and mom were both following this “diet,” always talking about what foods they can have on which day. But I’m not a diet person, and just listening to them made my head spin. I didn’t have the discipline to cut out certain foods from my life. And let’s face it: I like to eat.
My mom kept pushing me to try it, often making me the same foods that were on her meal plan. They actually tasted good. I agreed to look at the book. A lot of it was very scientific and explained how each of the foods we ate affected our body, from our metabolism to digestion, and even our mood. I decided to give it a try.
I began by cutting out dairy. It was hard but I immediately started feeling a difference in the morning when I woke up. Some of my stomach pains and bloating were beginning to subside.
Grains were next. This wasn’t going to be easy. I like pasta, pizza, and bread. A lot. I had no idea that there existed a whole new world outside of wheat flour.
Quinoa had become my new best friend. I started incorporating it into so many of my recipes (as you can tell from my blog posts).
There was also significant weight loss. I had struggled with weight loss since I was a teenager, but for the first time I actually loved my body size.
And not only was I starting to look different (my skin was clearing and my hair looked better), I was actually feeling different. My overall mood improved and I was actually feeling happy again.
Ways to Enjoy Quinoa
As I said before, I once couldn’t imagine a world without wheat flour. But now I’ve learned to improvise and be creative. It’s been worth the effort. Quinoa now plays a major part in my daily meals.
Here are a few ways I incorporate quinoa into my meals:
- In salads. Keep cooked quinoa available in the fridge. It can stay 3-4 days. I just throw 2-3 tablespoons into my salad in the morning and I have a protein packed meal.
- As Quinoa pasta. Two words: Thank heavens! I love my pasta and so do my boys. Quinoa pasta has a softer texture, so you should make sure to cook it for less time. But it also won’t give you that full, sluggish feeling you get from wheat pasta.
- Anywhere you’d use rice as my rice as a stuffing. Some examples include stuffed mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and so on…
- As a coating for meat and vegetables. I’ve even used quinoa as a coating for chicken and zucchini instead of bread crumbs.
- As a flour. Baking with quinoa is one of my newer ventures. I have baked with different kinds of flour before. It is a bit more challenging, but I do have some trusted recipes on my blog. I also prefer to use actual (not ground) quinoa and chia seeds in my recipes
Beginner Steps to Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Start small. Start with one thing at a time and celebrate each success, no matter how small it is. You’ll be more successful on the path marked with small milestones.
Educate yourself. Read about everything. Know what you are doing. For me, the knowledge of how various foods affect the body was the biggest reason for wanting to change the way I live and eat.
Take risks. Try new things. I never knew I would eat chia seeds or quinoa. but I now love both of them. In fact, they are indispensable parts of my life.
Plan your meals. Meal planning and prep is very important. It’s not only good for a healthy lifestyle, but it will also help you stay organized so you have more time to enjoy. We go to Starbucks with the kids and sit together as a family and talk about all the meals we are going to have for the week and our lunches too. Then when we do our food shopping together and only get the things I need.
A New Me
Being healthy is about taking care of your body, but also your mind and soul, too. I am a firm believer that the food we eat directly affects how our bodies look and feel, and I love the person I have become on this journey. I also love sharing my education with anyone who is interested.
For anyone who is reading this and thinking ‘I want to change’, my advice is to just do it. I can’t stress enough how this choice has changed my life for the better, and has affected my children’s lives for the better too.
It’s not hard, but it does take effort. But doesn’t anything worth experiencing takes some effort?