Welcome to part two of my blog post series about the ups and downs of my adopting a healthy, Mediterranean diet! I had to get help from one of my favorite experts in dietetics. I hope this helps! Enjoy!
I wanted to adopt a Mediterranean diet as a lifestyle, not just as another diet. I solicited the help of Shawn Beasley, a registered dietitian, who gave me tips on how to start this journey toward healthier eating habits. See the interview below:
Tawanda: The challenge is going through the process to figure out what works. . .realistically works. I saw another recipe. It was similar (to the eggs and avocado mush) except there was whole grain toast with peanut butter and bananas on it! Again, ugggggghhh! Gross! (Shawn laughing). I mean, on this one site, there were like 10 examples of breakfast meals for people who want to do the Mediterranean diet but nothing appealed to me. I actually looked at the site earlier. But the Greek yogurt. . .well, it only had blueberries on top. Granola with toppings but those things didn’t seem filling enough to keep me from starving!
Shawn: One thing I applaud you for is . . that you’re trying to figure out what works for you. It’s a challenge sometimes to figure out what works. There is so much information out there, but it’s best that you know what is going to actually work for you because. . . I guess there is no way you’re going to do avocado and egg or toast or peanut butter with a banana.
Tawanda: That just sounds nasty or maybe I need to change my mindset because I grew up eating fried salmon cakes, grits, big butter biscuits. (Laughing) That’s what my grandmother cooked for us or we ate all the sugary cereals we wanted in the morning.
Shawn: You’re right! With our upbring, we really gear toward that type of food. We always try to encourage clients to try new things because we begin to have health goals as we grow older. Goals actually develop as we grow older. We may have made all these changes but we’re not happy with how we look or feel. We just go down this rabbit trail, where we wish we could do better but we just don’t know how to change those ingrained habits. We cannot do better until we know better. The fact that you’ve acknowledged your upbringing and your eating habits then shows that you are willing to make some form of change, and that is not easy.
Tawanda: Speaking of not easy, after dealing with an unusual flare up of cystic acne and not seeing any results with regular medication, I went to a holistic doctor who specializes in natural skin health (an idea that came to me only after completely giving up and praying profusely). She suggested eating according to a Mediterranean diet to get rid of the acne. So I did. I forced myself to do it because I needed a solution to the acne problem. I had fruit smoothies for breakfast (mostly plant-based meals for lunch and dinner) but I was starving all day! But at the end of it all, it was a double win for me. I lost weight plus the cystic acne healed (I sooo give God the credit for this double win. . .NOTHING was working. . .nothing.)
Shawn: What you said is a perfect example of how people need to figure out what’s best for them. For example, when people adopt a Keto diet. I’ve heard people say they were hungry all day and that it wasn’t sustainable. It can be sustainable for some. It’s just we have to figure out what works for us. . .as individuals. Everyone’s body is different. Everybody’s body will metabolize certain foods differently. You’ve already discovered that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to you because it was evidenced by the acne that’s been cleared up. However, now you need to find ways to make sure you’re not feeling like you’re starving all day and keep the Mediterranean diet at the forefront of your mind.
Tawanda: Yes, I think it’s going to work best for me because I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of doctors and fellow dieticians say we should go more plant based when it comes to our diets. However, being a vegan is not for me. I know I need some type of meat.
And that’s perfectly fine. What I do like about the Mediterranean diet is that there are many reports that show how much it helps with inflammation, especially within women. It helps out a lot. For example with your acne, there was some inflammation you were dealing with. Eating foods that were anti-inflammatory helped in that regard. Those foods fight the inflammation we’d typically have. Salmon, that has omega 3s certainly helps. And tuna has omega 3s.
*This is part two of this conversational blog series. Stay with me for the last post on this series. . .