A couple years ago, I decided to stop using half-and-half in my coffee. Instead, I opted for milk. I tried to drink it black, but unless it’s Hawaiian Kona coffee, which is exceptionally smooth (and expensive), there’s just no way. By simply cutting out the cream and using milk, I actually lost weight. That may seem unrealistic, but when you add approximately 1/4 cup of cream to your coffee, the calories add up…to almost 29,000 calories over the course of one year! That’s assuming I have only one cup of coffee per day, on average. Well, old habits die hard and I missed my cream with coffee so much, that I went back to using half-and-half. Because I have a high likelihood of becoming diabetic, I did substitute stevia for the sugar, which also helps cut calories. After having used liquid stevia for so long, when I ran out and resumed using sugar, it just seemed too sweet. Now, my Southern Man also uses the stevia, having realized that he needs to put in more than just one or two drops (I used 4 or 5.)
This week, almond milk was on sale and it was a brand that was highly recommended to me. So I got a half gallon each of vanilla and chocolate with the intent of substituting my half-and-half with the vanilla almond milk. By doing so, I will be cutting the caloric count down to about 7300 over the course of the year. That’s only 25% of the calories from half-and-half, not to mention the much-reduced amount of fat–we have a winner! (Addendum: the unsweetened vanilla almond milk has less than 3000 calories over the course of the year. I would not have known this if they weren’t out of the regular vanilla almond milk.)
Another healthy substitute we (our daughter and I) tried today, was “Mock Tuna Salad“. I don’t know if you read the news, but remember the earthquake that happened in Japan in March of 2011? Remember the nuclear reactor that was severely damaged? Well, it’s been leaking radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean ever since. After I realized this and did some research, I decided that, unless I can know for certainty that the tuna we buy comes from the Atlantic, I wouldn’t be buying canned tuna, anymore. The experts say the radiation in the Pacific Ocean food supply is nothing to be concerned about, but do I know for a fact that they really know and/or are reporting the truth? No, I don’t and, as much as I love a glowing complexion, I am not willing to gamble with my family’s health and will be holding off on the canned tuna until there are more recent studies done.
Enter “Mock Tuna Salad” made with a favorite food of ours: chick peas, a.k.a., garbanzo beans. The salad doesn’t have as much protein as tuna salad, and has more carbohydrates, but has fewer calories, sodium, and fat, more fiber, and far less radiation, as far as I know. We modified the recipe since we didn’t have all the ingredients. I mashed the chick peas with a fork, added ~2 tablespoons of Hellmann’s mayonnaise (because that is the only good kind), a couple teaspoons of mustard, dashes of onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and black pepper, mixed it all together and voilà! My daughter made a sandwich and I had mine over lettuce and tomato with a small amount of homemade vinegar and oil salad dressing. Very good!
These are just a couple of the changes we’ve made and will continue to make. I have found that as I get older–or, it seems, since I had surgery in 2008–my body is so much more sensitive to things that never really used to bother me. Indeed, I would often joke with my Southern Man that I had an iron stomach. Ha! Not so much, anymore. I find preservatives, “fake” food, chicken or other meats that have anti-biotics or typical industry diets, and so on, really do a number on me. Homemade foods (which are typical in our household), fresh vegetables and fruit, preferably locally-grown and, depending on the fruit or veggie, organic, as well as organic chicken or, better yet, wild game, seem to work just fine for me and are much better food choices, anyway.
My mom always used to say “you are what you eat”, “garbage in, garbage out”, and lots of other Mom-isms that aren’t relevant to this post. What do you put into your body? The further we’ve moved away from being an agrarian society, the more far-removed we’ve become from healthy foods, as well. I personally believe that many of our physical and mental health ailments come from this change–not good. My suggestion for everyone is to do some research on what you are putting in your body to determine if it is good quality and will do your body good. You owe it to yourself, your health, and your loved ones.