Friday, September 9, 2011

But I'm Still Hungry...

Can a person REALLY get full on salad??? That's the million-dollar question for nutritarians who put vegetables on the bottom of the food pyramid. Admittedly, learning to eat without meat and potatoes as a mainstay can be challenging during the first few weeks. I've learned a few principles that should be helpful to anyone who is trying to eat more healthy but feeling a bit starved.
  • Build a bigger, better salad: Start with about 3 cups of greens per person. Choose hearty leafy vegetables, such as collards, cabbage, or kale. Be generous with legumes - chili, lentils, garbanzos, kidney beans, pintos, pinquitoes, black beans, navy beans, etc. - and don't feel shy about adding rice, barley, millet, wheat or corn. Get a lot of power by adding a little handful of nuts, or better yet, a scoop of sprouts. Then last, add some good fat for satiation. Avocado, olives, and healthy dressing fit in this category.
  • Eat more often: Plan on a snack or meal every 3 hours, at least until your body adjusts. Have plenty of fresh fruit around to fill in the gaps, try a green smoothie if you just can't wait until the next meal, and provide yourself with a selection of cut fresh vegetables ready for eating.
  • Drink more water: Sometimes the signal we perceive as hunger is really a cue that we are not hydrated enough. Taking a glass of water at the first indications of hunger can often relieve the distress.
  • Make friends with cooked vegetables: Granted, raw food is not calorie-dense, so sometimes we just need a boost of something a little richer. Root vegetables, such as beets, rutabaga, yams, and carrots can satisfy an empty stomach if you're really craving carbs. Vegetable soup is also filling. Delicious varieties include apple butternut, pumpkin curry, minestrone, and cream of vegetable soup using potato base instead of cream.
  • Eat bigger portions: We have been programmed that less is better. For years as dieters, we have tried to cut back. When calorie-dense foods are the menu, it is easy to overdo. But now, I actually have to make sure I get enough calories. So if I'm hungry, I eat. I just make sure I'm not eating more than 10% of my diet from the top of the pyramid.
  • Listen to your cravings. If you feel like having a steak, consider nuts instead. If you want bread, try some cooked grains or potato. If your sweet tooth is flaring up, eat more fruit. If salt is the savor you crave, celery can be satisfying. There is a basis for your desires. By getting to the root of it and satisfying the real need, you won't set off any addictions.
To your health and happiness,

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