Let me preface this post by saying: It's wordy, there's only one picture, and it's really different from my usual style/fashion posts. It's about food, specifically what I eat, so if i sound high and mighty, it's not intentional. I also don't claim to be an expert. Also, I'm not a vegetarian, but I used to be (explaining the veg and vegan collection below). I'm certainly no expert at taking food shots outside of a studio, so here's a picture of my cookbooks:
(recently added to my cookbook collection: The Enchanted Broccoli Forrest & Mad Hungry and I highly recommend all of them)As I mentioned recently (now a few weeks ago), I had a reader ask me about my diet after reading back in my posts and seeing my weightloss. Since I started blogging back in the summer of 2009, I've lost about 15-20 pounds. I didn't set out to lose weight, nor did I intentionally put myself on a diet, the catalyst for my weight-loss was finding out that I had arthritis and bone spurs in my knees, caused by years of untreated sports injuries (I ran track and was a competitive snowboarder throughout high school) and hereditary joint issues. Hearing that I may need to have knee replacement surgery by the time I'm 30 (three years from now, que uncomfortable, nervous squirming) really made me get my ass in gear, I was determined to get in shape and change my habits. I had recently started running, but the impact was too damaging for my joints and made my knees swell to the size of large grapefruits, instead I started going to the gym, and healthy eating habits just naturally followed. I find that eating well is a lot easier when I'm exercising as well, the two kind of help each other out. It was a long process, getting healthy, and is definitely something I'm still working on. But I feel happy about how I treat my body, and I feel great. Without getting too personal I've also dealt with anxiety and ADD, and I've found that exercise and healthy eating does WONDERS for your mental health. Like I said, I do not claim to be an expert, but this is what works for me:
I love breakfast, it's hands down my favorite meal of the day. And I'll preach till the sun goes down that it's also the most important. I know, everybody says that. But on days when I don't eat breakfast, I find myself listless, I make poor decisions about what I eat, and I can't concentrate, I also usually get a headache. For breakfast, I focus on getting a lot of protein and fiber. I love whole wheat english muffins, so breakfast usually centers around those.
Some english muffin combinations I like:
All natural peanut butter (I like Teddy brand), banana, honey, and cinnamon (substitute apple for banana, or 100% cocoa for honey); Egg, cheddar, sauteed or steamed vegetables (mushrooms, onions, greens); Egg and ham; Hardboiled egg
If there are vegetables or meats from the night before , I'll try to incorporate those by making an omelet or scrambled eggs. They add vitamins and proteins. I use olive oil if I'm making eggs or stir-frying, avoiding the use of butter. However, if I DO use butter, I use real butter. People have different opinions on butter vs. spreads, but I go with what has fewer artificial and processed ingredients and just eat less of it.
With breakfast I have coffee with half and half and a little agave nectar (find it in the natural foods section of the grocery store), and a small glass of orange juice to wash down my vitamins.
I take a high quality fish oil (omega-3), which is good for everything, including joint health and mental health. I also take vitamin D, which is good for keeping you happy, especially in the winter when the days are short and dark and you're not getting as much sun as usual. I'll occasionally take a glucosamine/chondroitin vitamin for arthritis, but those you have to take three times a day or else they're pointless and I never remember to take them. I get my vitamins at a local health food store, A New Leaf.
Unlike breakfast, I don't like lunch. I try to keep it light, in the winter I'll have soup (making sure there are as many veggies in that soup as possible) or a greek yogurt with granola, and raisins with carrot sticks and hummus on the side. In warmer months I like really elaborate salads, mixed greens with everything piled on top: avocado, carrot, black beans, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, and anything else in the fridge. I try to not use any salad dressing, instead I opt for hummus or homemade tabouleh. However, if I do feel like dressing, I like Annie's Goddess Dressing (found in the natural foods aisle).
I avoid heavy carbs mid-day because I noticed that when I ate something like a bagel or pizza for lunch, I was ready to take a nap right after.
That 2 o'clock slump got you down? Have a snack! I like something light, preferably fruits or veggies and maybe some healthy-fat rich nuts like almonds, that won't put you in a food coma. I also like apple and peanut butter and a couple of cheddar slices, carrot sticks and hummus, celery and peanut butter with raisins, or a greek yogurt (if I didn't already have one for breakfast or lunch).
Our dinners vary but I like to incorporate as many vegetables as possible, and if we're having grains, I like them to be whole. We usually do pizza once a week, with lots of vegetables on top. Other than that, it varies by season: In the late spring and summer, we grill a lot of our food (grilled chicken, burgers, barbeque), with grilled veggies, and salad. In the fall, we eat a lot of late vegetables, like squash, dark greens (kale, swiss chard), with quiche and casserole-type dishes. And in winter to early spring, we like soup, good bread, root vegetables, and pasta dishes. We pay attention to what looks good in the produce section of the grocery store, and what's in season (and what's cheap).
Lots of water! I found that the best method for me to get enough water, is to keep a water-bottle next to my desk. I like a clear one, so I can see how much I've drank. I also like seltzer, orange juice in the morning, coffee in the morning, mint green tea, and apple cider. We don't buy much soda or fruit juices (other than orange), sometimes Chris brings something home, but I try not to drink it because of the sugar. I do like beer and will usually have one every other night or so.
In the end what I think is important is to focus on making healthy decisions, when I find myself hunting in the pantry for food, I try to slow myself down and say "Don't just go for the crackers and cheese, you have carrots, peppers, and humous in the fridge". But I think it's important not to deprive myself either, if I don't allow myself a little indulgence every once and awhile I'll go crazy and eat like a maniac. I'll have a cookie, or a bowl of ice cream and not allow myself to stress over it.
Anyways, for those of you who were wondering, there it is. I don't know if anyone would have any questions, but i would be happy to answer them in either the comment section or facebook or twitter. I'm planning on another post dedicated to my workout routine and arthritis within the next couple of weeks. Have a great weekend!