a man with HIV is about to bite into a juicy burger when a friendly carrot taps him on the shoulder

Considering a Fruit

I am a MEAT EATER. I love some SUGAR. Give me another CARB, please, with extra salt. I love me some good ole comfort food. I sure will go right to sleep after a meal with all of those elements: MEAT, SUGAR, CARBS, SALT.  Now, I’m telling you I love all of this good stuff. But, the more and more I consume this food on a regular basis, the worse I feel.

Wanting to practice healthy nutrition

The cravings for the food don’t go away because I’ve been living with having these types of foods as a staple in my diet all of my life. It always tastes good going into my body. But a lot of the times, these foods have the feeling of weighing me down physically and emotionally. Now, I don’t imagine going full vegetarian or vegan, but I think it is time I consider a vegetable in my life on a regular basis. In addition to taking my medications, I realize that food can be just as powerful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy nutrition: starting with simple ingredients

I started really simple and put sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic in a pan and baked it at 375 degrees for a little less than an hour. I popped it in the oven, and did something else, the alarm went off and I had a darn good dinner. I did add a little bit of seasoning salt (it’s a journey y’all. I love flavor)! And I had a great meal.

This simple meal made me feel good!

It was really simple, and cheap and most importantly it made me feel good. I think for two reasons. The first is because I felt proud of my little effort in chopping the vegetables and ‘cooking’, something that I always make excuses for not doing. The second is because I love the feeling that veggies give you. I feel light and energized instead of groggy when I eat a lot of meat products.

The benefits of healthy nutrition when living with HIV

And third would be the health benefits. Now I’m not a dietician, but I do know that fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants that help the immune system. And limiting the amounts of fats, sugars, salt, and foods high in cholesterol is good for maintaining heart health. For people living with HIV, eating lifestyles that support immune and heart health can be the answer to studies that show increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

All in all, this little experiment has me thinking more critically about what I put in my body. When I pull up to the McDonalds drive-thru at 2 in the morning, I just may see if they have a salad...and a kids fry, please.

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