1. I live on a limited, grad student budget, and I’m just one person in my apartment. So I strive to hit a balance between cooking and eating efficiently and without waste, not making too much of something or too little. Leftovers are one thing, but eating the same thing for a week is boring. Two or three meals’ worth is always best, and I like to buy good quality groceries that last and that can be cooked in a variety of ways, like brown rice, kasha, and oats for dry goods, and lots of frozen fruits and vegetables and meats for quick meals or versatile substitutions.
2. I am not a vegetarian, nor do I feel that I should be, but I think as a citizen of the most wasteful, pollution-producing country in the world, it is my duty to be a flexitarian. Plus, that’s probably healthier. When I can, I go vegetarian, which means looking for protein in nuts and nut butters, eggs, and legumes.
3. Instead of salt, go for flavor. Instead of sugar, go for flavor. For my health, of course, it’s better to avoid those things, especially sugar. So I go for tons of herbs, spices, and hot sauce on my savory dishes, and stevia or honey/agave nectar in my sweet.
4. Try eating locally and in season. This is new for me, but now that I’m lucky enough to live in a part of the country that boasts tons of farms and markets, I figured I should try to do my part in supporting local, small businesses and in reducing my carbon footprint.
5. Make colorful produce the point of every meal. It’s easiest to be low carb if you’re high on flavor and color. So if I don’t see something green by the end of the day, I know it’s been a bad one. Produce at every meal. Lots of it.
6. Ultimate goal: develop a diet that needs no supplements. Before my diagnosis I caught a cold every eight weeks or so, and the Red Cross was always telling me I couldn’t donate blood because my iron was too low. So I took about five different supplements each day and it never did a thing, which made sense given that I have a gluten problem. Now that I’ve been off gluten for nine months, I’ve cut back on the supplements and I’m down to just three: multivitamin, calcium, and iron. I also take probiotics each morning as a way of helping my body stay digestively happy. The jury’s still out on whether those are things I’ll ever be able to cut out, but I’m looking into foods that have natural probiotic (and prebiotic? gotta do some research) properties. Ideally I’d like to get into a routine and diet that’s so back to basics that I don’t need supplements at all.