The Scoop On Healthy Eating
Wednesday, May 27,2009
I am not a diet person. In fact I cannot stand the word 'diet'. Did you know that in Europe the word 'diet' does not exist as it does in the United States, so in most European countries Diet Coke is referred to as Coke Light. In Europe the word diet simply refers to what you eat daily, not calorie reduction. However, about 3 months ago after watching an Oprah on calorie restriction (which by the way is such a terrible name if they plan to market this lifestyle change), I myself was captivated by people that practiced calorie restriction. They were very healthy and never got sick, that in itself was appealing to me. Each day in order to get the maximum nutrients they needed they made sure to eat foods high in nutrients but low in calories. They cut out red meat, poultry, and pork and instead ate fish and eggs. Since I rarely eat red meat, poultry, and pork, but love fish - I thought I could easily do that. Also they cut out refined sugars and overly processed foods, I knew I could do this too. It was a lifestyle that advocated natural living. Eating natural foods with little processing and best of all I could indulge in my love of fish, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Even chef Lee Anne Wong who after competing on Bravo's Top Chef dropped 50 pounds says, "Want to lose weight? Eat less meat, more fruits and vegetables and lots of delicious soy dishes."
Another easy plan for a lifestyle change, if you look on the back of a package and you cannot pronounce what's in it - don't eat it. As the TV show 'The Biggest Loser' says, "if it doesn't come out of the ground or it doesn't come from a mother - do not put it in your mouth!" It all just makes sense to me. Your body is a temple, so before you put Spam or Hamburger Helper into it, think - is this a healthy choice?
Since I love experimenting with foods, this also broadened my culinary horizons. I began to choose dishes at restaurants that I have never chosen before like Farro Salad. I also have learned about whole grains like Barley and Quinoa that are full of protein and make delicious meals. Seriously, they taste so much better than rice I just wonder who their marketing people are and why they haven't taken off. Not only are they better for you, but they are absolutely more delicious than any grain.
I did this to feel better, to have more energy because Lord knows I need it dealing with baby and business. The benefit to calorie restriction is when you eat like this your cells become super cells, so in fact you can fight off diseases better and you will have more energy. In addition to having more energy than I have ever had, I also noticed a weight change. I was not trying to lose weight, but I did. And guess that, those flabby areas under my butt that made me reach for a cover up that I thought were just naturally there, are no longer there.
So gone are the days of butter drenched food, now I only use Olive Oil and I do not miss butter at all. My husband and I recently ate at Highlands Bar and Grill and when I asked our waiter, "No butter on my dish, is that possible?" He responded with, "Here anything is possible." The perfect answer you want from a restaurant. Don't think all restaurants will cater to your request like this though. I went to a 'down home' breakfast place and when I asked for a poached egg instead of fried, was told that just wasn't possible. Well, I know very well the only difference is instead of grease you put water in the pan, but c'est la vie. Also, make sure you pre-order for big holidays like Easter, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving, the family may respond with "Now come on, you can eat that," but will eventually come around. Gone are the days of drinking Coca Cola aka syrup and gone are the days of fried chicken fingers, but the health benefits are tremendous. These days my drink of choice is red wine and even though this is a calorie indulgence, red wine is packed with antioxidants and as the Today show recently reported "if you drink, drink red wine, white wine is sugar water."
So it's not that I can't eat certain foods because of a religious transformation, deep convictions about animals, or having physical reactions to certain foods, I simply decided to make a lifestyle change and do not eat certain foods for my health.
You think this sounds overwhelming, think again, if you begin to flip through Food and Wine, Cooking Light, or Gourmet, you will see that many recipes today fall in with this way of eating. Below are some ideas for meals and snacks.
Great Choices for Meals:
1. Salad Nicoise - with fresh grilled tuna, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, asparagus, garbanza beans, and eggs topped on lettuce this salad is packed with protein and delicious, just do not drench in dressing
2. Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa - Not only is this healthy but quick because Salmon cooks in 7 minutes. Just season salmon with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder for grilling.
3. Quinoa with Black Beans and Lime - Quinoa is a grain that is easy to prepare and cooks in about 10 minutes. Just add black beans, 1 diced fresh tomato, diced jalapeno if you like spicy, lime juice, and cilantro. You will not believe how good it is.
4. Grilled Halibut with Asparagus - A white fish packed with protein Halibut grills nicely and with a side of asparagus you have a great meal on your table.
5. Tomato Mozzarella Salad - Slice a tomato and add a slice of mozzarella to each tomato top with basil sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and voila you have a yummy salad sans lettuce.
6. Shrimp Boil sans the Sausage - Easy and delicious just boil water add Old Bay and throw in first the potatoes, then the corn, then turn off heat and add shrimp so you do not over cook them.
1. Edamame - Edamame aka soy beans are delicious and they contain 13 grams of protein per half cup.
2. Sweet Potato Chips and Salsa - If baking your own sweet potato chips sounds like a daunting task just pick up a bag at Whole Foods and enjoy with fresh salsa.
3. 3 Bean Salad - combine edamame, dark kidney beans, and garbanza beans toss in salt, pepper, garlic salt, and a little white wine vinegar.
4. Almonds - it is great to always keep some these in your office or handbag to snack on.
5. Berry salad - Combine strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries with a bit of diced fresh mint for a delicious fresh fruit salad full of anti-oxidants.