Sunday, February 17, 2013

No, I am not on a "Diet!" Yes, I am eating healthy.

Questions that I'm asked quite often by people who have known me for a while, "are you still on a diet?" or "how is the diet going?"  Because, I have been eating better for about the last 10 months now, these questions are more funny than annoying.  I have changed my diet, I exercise daily and I weigh 60+ pounds lighter than I did last year.  However I am not on a diet, I am not just eating differently or eating less in order to lose weight or to reach a goal weight.  I am striving to treat food as medicine or fuel.  Working on consuming foods that provide nutrients and truly nourish the body.  At times this is not easy and I'll have the occasional cheat snack or meal, there have even been days where I just can't stop eating.  One thing that I've found that not only helps reduce these cravings but also helps me on those days where I just eat and eat, is to have healthy foods prepared, ready and on hand.
Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats -

If you keep good food in your fridge and in your home, you will eat good!  And on those days where you just can't stop eating, at least you'll be more likely to fill up on foods that are better for you.  Here are some foods that I try to always have available to me.  First we'll start with simple foods that we buy constantly and keep in our fridge or in my lunch box and a little explanation as to why I like them.  I always keep different protein sources on hand, most often this is beef or turkey jerky.  Not only is protein important to build and maintain muscle, but it also helps to keep you feeling fuller and for longer periods.  Another good source of protein (but, also has carbs) is Greek Yogurt, here I try to stay away from the ones that have a lot of sugar.  On top of providing both protein and carbs, this snack helps to satisfy my sweet tooth and reduce my cravings for less healthy sweets.  I also keep healthy fats on hand, this is usually mixed nuts or peanut butter.  I know many people, especially those "dieting" avoid fat as if it were the plague.  First of all, eating fat does not make you fat.  Eating excess calories, regardless of where those calories come from will be stored in the body as fat.  Also, I believe that not only do you need to eat fat (healthy fat) to burn fat, but there are also fats that help to boost your metabolism and can aid in burning calories and losing weight.  Some of my favorites are the fats from nuts, avocados and coconuts.  My carbs are generally mixed in with meals, in the form of vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains.  Carbohydrates that have become staples in my diet are quinoa (which is a very nutrient dense grain, and is actually very high in protein), brown rice, broccoli and steel cut oats (see above pictures and link, I also highly recommend the Pumpkin Pie flavored recipe).

Most often I saute some broccoli and then mix in about 4-5 cups of cooked quinoa, a little salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and some shredded cheddar/colby jack cheese.  Quinoa is fairly neutral in taste and can be used in many different applications, most commonly it's used in salads or replacing rice or pasta in dishes.  Here's another recipe that I really love using quinoa.
Quinoa Pizza Bites -

Finally because I am on a body building program (Body Beast), of course I have to keep lots of healthy lean protein in the fridge.  Two of my favorites, not only because of their relatively inexpensive price but also because of their versatility.  The first of course being chicken and the second tilapia.  There are so many different ways to prepare both of these proteins.  But, here are two of my favorite recipes.
Cilantro Thai Chicken -
Keep it Tight Tilapia -’s_keep-it-tight_tilapia.aspx#.UR_LN45YyZY

One last tip...So far I've briefly discussed a few things that I eat.  Another important belief that I've followed and which I feel is very important to keeping up or boosting your metabolism is eating a meal or snack every 2-3 hours.  This means that I eat very often, but my meals and snacks are smaller.  Never skip meals or go long periods without eating.  Our bodies protect themselves and when they feeling that they are being starved, our metabolism will slow down as the body goes into survival mode and begins to store fat.