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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Changes that helped me drop pounds: Pizza!

Greek Style 3 Cheese Pizza with Kalamata Olives!

Please keep in mind that all the changes I discuss were made over the course of years.  I think it would have been impossible for me to make all these changes at once.  For me, that would be a recipe for failure.  Rather I baby-stepped my way through these changes, one at a time and didn’t make another new change until I was totally comfortable with the previous change.  Our bodies crave comfort and familiarity and maintaining some of those comforts gave me the strength to succeed with each new change.  Some of these changes were tiny and easy to make, others were very difficult and took a long time to accept and absorb into my ‘normal’ life.  However, with each change I felt healthier, had more energy, and the pounds were coming off, albeit slowly, but this validated my efforts and motivated me to continue on my journey to better health.

Whole Wheat Spinach Pecan Pesto Pizza with Kalamata olives & Ricotta!

Pizza Night Changes:
Friday night has been pizza night in our house for years.  I had no desire to eliminate pizza from my life – I love it!  So I had to figure out a way to make it healthier for me and my family.  We used to eat Frozen DiGiornos Cheese pizza nearly every Friday night.  It was affordable, easy, yummy and filling.  But I knew it was loaded with sodium, carbs and saturated fat, with little nutritive value.   So we switched to making homemade pizza, with store bought refrigerator pizza dough.  Then we made the switch to using whole wheat pizza dough (thanks Trader Joe’s!)  Around the same time we started adding veggie toppers like onions, olives, garlic, mushrooms, arugula, avocado etc.  Once comfortable and used to the whole wheat dough/ crust, we then switched to a lower sodium tomato sauce.  After trying various sauces, we ultimately ended up using a ‘no salt added’ marinara sauce for our pizza (Thank you again Trader Joe’s!)  We now often use the part skim shredded mozzarella cheese instead of the full fat option. 

Whole Wheat Pizza with Red Onions & Kalamata Olives

We made these changes slowly enough that I think it would be a shock to our mouths and bodies to eat a DiGiornos at this point.   We love our new pizzas and we love feeling a little less guilty in knowing that we have made some healthy changes to decrease sodium, calories, sugar and saturated fats, while increasing whole grains and nutrients in the meantime.  Nobody should have to live without pizza!!

*The above is part of a series which will discuss different types of changes that I have made to my eating habits, my lifestyle and even my home, over the last ten years, that have helped me drop pounds.  Other topics include changes I’ve made regarding: eating grains, snacking, beverages, breakfasts, portions, exercise and meal planning, among others.  This of course, is a work in progress!

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