Dave Goes Mediterranean…kinda…

The Brink family has decided to make a conscious effort to eat healthier.

After a few discouraging visits to the doctor, I realized that the changes I made in my diet after being diagnosed with diabetes a few years back just haven’t been enough. My blood sugar levels are still too high-not crazy, but not where they need to be. While I have the option of upping my current medication, I would rather try to get things under control without going that route.

I’ve had to take a hard look at myself and I came to the following conclusions:

  1. I need to exercise more.  I’ve started adding in more walks throughout the neighborhood and local parks four or five days a week, usually with the dog in tow. Which is nice, but often means carrying a bag of poop.
  2. I snack too much.  Not only do I snack too often, but I don’t really pay close attention to what I’m snacking on. Changing this is difficult but I’m trying my best.
  3. I need a diet I can stick to. The Standard American Diet doesn’t work for me, and a lot of the info from the American Diabetes Association, though helpful, is kind of vague when it comes to actual meal planning, especially when it comes to a guy like me who isn’t going to do math every time lunch and dinner roll around.

So after a talk with my wife we decided to find a diet plan we could go all in on together. Now, I don’t use the word “diet” in the “lose-weight-and-have-a-swimsuit-bod-by-summer” type of way. I mean it as more of an eating plan, and a change in the way we approach food.

We decided that what our family really needs is a plan we can follow. Maybe not something laid out for us day by day, but guidelines and meals that are easy to prepare. So we began looking at the diet plans that are out there. The big popular one right now seems to be the keto diet (which is basically the Atkins plan Redux). While eating tons of meat is attractive, this doesn’t seem to be a very holistic approach to mealtime. Besides, you can’t have bread. I’m sorry, what? No bread? Bread is one of the most delicious things ever-and carbs may be my love language. So that’s out.

After doing some more digging, we began looking at the Mediterranean diet. While some of the specifics didn’t quite appeal to us, the basic ideas and philosophy definitely did. To dumb it down, the Mediterranian diet focuses on whole foods, namely plant based foods (fruit, vegetables, legumes), whole wheat, nuts, fish and seafood, white meats, moderate use of dairy, and infrequent red meats and sweets. Avoid processed foods, and use olive oil and vegetable spread instead of butter for cooking. Share meals with family and friends as much as possible. Walk more, rest more, de-stress more, and drink more water.

And that’s basically it. There are tons of recipes out there that follow these guidelines and the ones we have tried have all been not only quite yummy but also Instant Pot friendly. Naturally some recipes need to be modified due to my diabetes, and we’re still learning how to make all this work. But we are not  thinking about this all as following a diet so much as a new way to approach the food we eat and how we live our lives. Hopefully, the desired result of dropping my blood sugar levels will be achieved. But even if not, and I do need more meds to control things just because that’s how it is, I believe we will still stick to this plan. It is a much healthier approach to eating than we have ever had, and that can only be good for our family in the long run.

Oh, one more thing. I promise not to become one of those people. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones who clog your Facebook/Twitter feed with memes about the dangers of pretty much every awesome food under the sun. The people who share “101 ways to ruin anything by putting Kale in it”.  In other words, the Food Police. I won’t do that to you, because it annoys the snot out of me just like it does you.

These people seem to think that we don’t know a triple-decker burger with chili cheese fries is a bad choice and if we only did then we wouldn’t eat it. WRONG!!! People know, they just don’t care-they eat it because it tastes good.  While my irresponsible burger days are going to be few and far between from here on out, I’m not going to tell you what to eat or how to eat it. Do what you want. Enjoy.

Anyway, Bon appetite. Or, no, wait this is Mediterranean, so Opa! Or something…I dunno. Later.