Last year, Dr. Michael Parker, MD, OB/GYN was the keynote speaker for our Spring Breakfast. He shared with us the importance of balancing body, mind and soul in our quest for holiness. In his talk, “Can I be as holy as I want, if I’m not wholly me?” — the answer in short is “no,” but getting there is the hard part! I shared on my personal blog how I have been doing several new exercise routines this year that have really helped get me into shape. I’m feeling much better physically, while my blogging and book club have helped nourish me intellectually. By attending daily mass and doing spiritual reading I have fed my soul. The last to change was my diet. Dr. Parker cautioned us to change our diet last, as it is the hardest to do. I took that message to heart as its taken me a whole year to make a serious and radical diet change! This May I took the plunge.
I was at fellow blogger Emily Jaminet’s home when she showed me her book Trim Healthy Mama by Pearl Barrett & Serene Allison. I was familiar with Pearl and Serene as they write for Above Rubies Magazine, a Christian magazine I read whose mission is “Strengthening Families Across the World through the encouragement of women in their high calling from God as wives, mothers and homemakers.”
I picked up the huge book and thought “640 pages!!! You’ve got to be kidding me! I don’t have time for that!” Emily promised it was worth the read and she and several other friends were following this lifestyle changing diet and it was making a huge difference in their lives!
After looking at all the sugar cereal and other processed food that filled my cabinets, I decided to make the change. I have done several different diets in the past, and while I have been successful, I did not like the amount of chemical additives I was adding to my body in search of low calorie, low fat options. I also knew I needed to feed my husband and children better things to sustain them.
The premise behind the Trim Healthy Mama plan to stabilize blood sugar by establishing a healthy cycle of eating that includes two basic types of meals. Serene and Pearl share on their facebook page :
“S stands for “satisfying” those are meals with plenty of fat in them and creamy desserts. E meals stand for “Energizing,” those have healthy carbs.
Both meals always are anchored with protein sources to help stabilize blood sugar and repair and mend the body’s daily wear and tear.
Our whole premise is using one chief fuel at a time to run the body on.”
At first I had a hard time getting into this book. I wanted to know what I could eat and what I couldn’t, not all the science! However, I plowed through enough to get myself started and went grocery shopping. Now my cabinets are stocked with all kinds of new and healthy food like quinoa, coconut oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, garbanzo bean flour, almond flour, Joseph’s Pita/Lavash Bread, stevia and glucomannan. Most of these things I had never heard of before. Pearl and Serene do a great job providing practical insight on all these foods even including where to find the pita bread at Walmart! They also have great grocery lists and more helpful tips on their facebook page. Now that I have been following this life changing plan, I can’t get enough of this book. It contains much more than dietary advice and includes chapters on saving money, exercise, sex, balancing hormones, and skin care. As strong Christian women, Pearl and Serene also tie in Scripture as it relates not only our diet, but our whole lives. I have not only read the entire 640 pages, but I have re-read many chapters over and over again!
One of the reasons it’s such a large book is that it contains 11 chapters of recipes. I have been pleasantly surprised at how delicious they are; my family has licked their plates clean. Here are some pictures of our dinner last night: Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Zucchini Rounds and Strawberry Banana Pudding.
As a registered nurse I have studied nutrition and found the advice to be very sound as well as up to date with the current trends and studies on diet and exercise. In fact, my brother came to visit after finishing a college level exercise physiology class that included the latest studies on nutrition and was eating a very similar diet!
The only downside to this lifestyle is it isn’t “low effort.” It involves me getting up a bit earlier to make healthy breakfast and pack a nutritious lunch instead of tossing in a lunchable or other prepacked food for my kids and husband. Its also more expensive as whole, healthy food and fresh produce costs more than canned and packed items. However, it has been more than worth it! My husband and I have both lost over 10 pounds each and more importantly are feeling full and energized. In fact, I don’t even crave all the junk anymore! Best of all my kids are loving it and eating healthy, whole food. Of course I let them have an occasional “treat” that is not on the diet, but I am much more at peace knowing they are getting three solid healthy meals and high protein snacks to help their growing bodies.
Not a mama? No worries, this plan is for men and singles too. Overall, I would highly recommend this book and lifestyle if you are serious about a change in your life for the better. It takes discipline and hard work, but the rewards are better health and life!