Nathan and I have been married almost 12 years (October 29th is our anniversary) and during that time our eating style has done a complete 180. When we first met we both lived alone, and to say our cooking was eclectic is the understatement of the year! Nathan had about 3 meals he could cook (bean burritos, fajitas, and spaghetti) and I pretty much lived off of cheese, crackers, and sausage. I’m not lying! The first time I invited him to stay at my house for dinner you can say he was appropriately appalled when I offered him a buffet of summer sausage, Ritz crackers, and cubed cheese. He politely declined my invitation the next time I asked him…
Once we got married, I bought a Rachael Ray cookbook and started slooooowly branching out. I think we expanded our dinner choices to maybe 5? I can vividly remember one pasta dish that had tons of mushrooms that we thought was fantastic and made at least a few times a week. I guess you could say variety was not our specialty.
When we moved to NJ I have to say we definitely started cooking more. More variety, more protein options, and lots more veggies. Nothing gourmet by any means, but at least we weren’t eating spaghetti 3 times a week! However, our breakfasts and lunches were pretty much the same everyday. Cereal, orange or cranberry juice, yogurt, granola, bananas, turkey sandwiches, carrots, sun chips. And snack. So.Many.Snacks! You get the idea. Everything was “healthy” by some standard, but I know now that we weren’t getting nearly enough fat and protein at that time. And we were super active, which made proper fueling even MORE important. And I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that we ate ice cream almost every.single.night. Seriously. And yes, I was the one that brought this habit to the marriage…
Fast forward to today, and our eating looks VERY different. Here are some of the ways our eating styles have changed:
We eat a ton of protein
Looking back at our old eating style, I see our protein intake was severely lacking. Nathan’s standard breakfast was a huge glass of orange juice, banana, and a bowl of cereal. Our lunches were generally sandwiches with a few slices of deli meat on there. Dinner was slightly better, but not much. Today we often weigh our meat portions to ensure we are getting enough, and we eat a protein source at every meal.
We eat very minimal gluten
I don’t have a gluten sensitivity (that I know of) but Nathan can definitely tell when he’s eaten gluten, as he feels swelling in his sinus area. Eliminating gluten from our diet was pretty simple actually. If we want a grain we simply choose oats or rice. Rice pasta is actually really good! A lot of my baking includes 100% oats, and when I do use flour I try and sub 1/2 of it with oats. If you grind the raw oats in a blender or food processor first they become the consistency of flour. We do consume gluten once a week during our cheat meal, but that’s pretty much it.
We drink raw milk
Looking back on the early days of our marriage, we drank either almond milk or 1% milk. Switching to raw milk 4 1/2 years ago was such a great decision for our family, and we both feel good about getting healthy fats in whenever we drink milk. We use is in our coffee, smoothies, and protein shakes. The kids love it too!
We eat a ton of fat
When I was a teenager fat-free was all the rage. I guess I carried that mindset through into my 20’s and early 30’s, and have just recently started embracing the fat. I no longer drain the fat off of our taco meat, I buy full-fat sour cream and yogurt, I no longer buy turkey bacon, I eat 1/2 an avocado every day, and I’m not afraid to cook with butter or coconut oil.
We drink protein shakes
My brother-in-law introduced us to protein powder a few years ago when Nathan was on an intense weigh gain diet. We both drink a protein shake everyday, and it definitely helps ensure we get enough protein each day. I also love how versatile it can be – you can add pretty much anything into the blender and it will taste good (within reason of course). And finally, it’s so filling and easy to prepare!
We enjoy a cheat meal once a week
Gone are the days of eating ice cream every night while lounging on the couch watching TV. Now we save our ice cream for Saturday nights. And we definitely go big when we do! So we eat 20 “clean” meals each week, and enjoy the 21st meal to its fullest. I want to dedicate an entire blog post to this topic, as I feel like our cheat meal is what really allows us to stay on track with our eating.
We practice intermittent fasting
Gone are the days of waking up and eating breakfast before we leave the house. And I can confidently say gone are the days of feeling absolutely ravenous 2 hours later! Now we delay our first meal, fasting for an average of 14-16 hours each day. Single best (and easiest) “diet thing” we do.
We drink coffee
I know there is tons of conflicting research out there about coffee, but we both drink a cup each day. Sometimes we drink it out of necessity (because…kids) and sometimes we drink it out of habit. But I can say enjoying a cup of coffee with Nathan on our porch on a Sunday morning while the kids are inside playing brings me a ridiculous amount of joy. Back when we first got married Nathan called his morning orange juice his coffee 🙂
Just writing all of that out was quite eye opening for me. And it’s not to say that our old way of eating was bad. But I can definitely say we both feel better, have more energy, and are able to really push it in the gym. And I truly believe we have our new way of eating to thank for that.
Your turn. How has your eating style or diet changed over time? Do you incorporate cheat meals into your weeks? Any other intermittent fasters out there!