Thankful For Healthy Food

I eat.  A LOT.  And I eat really healthy foods, which may or may not be a little bit pricey, if in season at all.  

I feel blessed in so many ways, and for so many reasons…but I am immensely thankful that I am able to have foods such as scallops, shrimp, and fish every so often.  It matters what we put into our bodies and I’m grateful not only that I can have these things to begin with, but also for my better half, who both supports my clean regime, and who always manages to cook them so well.

Once upon a time I harbored and intense fear that no one would be “okay with” my nutritional habits or preferences – to the point it was debilitating. I was judged – often – for my choices, and was convinced I was somehow “too different” or “too difficult” as a result.  Fortunately, I’ve learned the error of my ways!

My body is ultra-attuned to certain nutritional guidelines.  That said, it isn’t because I imposed them ON myself (back when I had eating disorders, that is exactly what I did.  But, thankfully, not now.)  

In recovery by body decided what works for it…and what doesn’t.  I’ve gained a handful of allergies and intolerances, as well as symptoms when I don’t eat frequently enough – curious, but I’ve learned to honor and respect what my physiology is asking for.  It’s changed a lot over the years, and in recovery, and that’s okay.  

When I travel, my body is therefore never 100% – being at home allows me to stick to what works best, but that doesn’t mean I can’t (or don’t want to) go anywhere!  There are always healthy options to be found, so even if I’m not having my absolute “usual” I still can make solid choices, and set myself up for the best success possible.  (Frankly, I’d say scallops multiple times in one weekend is pretty world-class!)  

Blackened catfish and turkey

My goals are maintenance – I’m not looking to gain, neither to really lose weight.  I want to support my muscles and any physical activities I’d like to do, as well as to function as optimally – and comfortably – as possible.  That includes everything from sleeping, to energy levels, to a calm tummy!

Just because I am wired to work on a very specific blueprint doesn’t mean that I can’t live freely, and happily.  It takes a little bit of foresight and work, but I love being healthy, at a good weight, and feeling like I can perform well.  

As I’ve gotten older, I need more recovery, and sometimes even more food  – allowing ourselves to evolve and grow is a beautiful thing.  Appreciating the blessings and fortune we have just makes life all the more wonderful. ❤ 

Safe Catch

I was so excited to see news of this brand, Safe Catch!  As someone who ingests a lot of protein, but who also doesn’t eat red meat, having healthy non-beef options is important.  Fortunately in the last few years, many companies have gotten away from BPA-lined cans, and / or cans in general.  Buying bags of tuna, salmon and chicken is therefore a lot easier than it used to be…but there’s still concern of heavy metals with the fish.

Enter Safe Catch, a company whose mission it is to provide some peace of mind to consumers worried about mercury – a very legitimate concern, and one we weren’t aware of when I was a kid (devouring tuna salad sandwiches like they were going out of style!) 

The Company’s limit is three to ten times stricter than the FDA’s, depending on the variety of fish (wild tuna vs wild albacore tuna.)  

Safe Catch also contain zero additives and fillers, goes through an “artisan (slow cook) process,” and is sustainably sourced.  

Incredibly excited and will be keeping an eye out for these in-store for sure! And no, I wasn’t put up to it… Just sharing the goodness! 😉 

 

Absconding With Shrimp

Seafood for dinner is always an entertaining event in our household.  Interestingly, while one of our black cats is essentially a vacuum cleaner when it comes to food, it’s the other – the smaller by 6 pounds, but older by a month or so – samurai cat who goes on high alert when shrimp are being peeled.

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I feel like we don’t even have to open the container – he just KNOWS.  He lifts his head in the air with staccato’ed sniffs, making certain that he’s smells what he *thinks* he does.  And if he is correct, by god, watch your limbs!  If he has it in mind that you’ve got a shrimp, he will – claws extended and all – reach out feverishly to check the scene.  No matter if you are friend or foe, he’s basically going to slap and growl until he’s fully devoured the thing.  Shrimp is the end-all-be-all favorite food of choice for Musashi…

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I also happen to love shrimp, as does my husband.  He makes the most delicious and healthy stir fry (one I daresay I could devour – in total – on the spot, were I not to stop myself after feeling full.)  It’s AMAZING. Full of protein…and incredibly filling.  For a clean eater, it’s a dream come true!

Despite the countless items he was keeping track of while cooking (the wok, the roasting vegetables in the oven, the vegetables that had to be added, the seafood that had to be cleaned…) he also took the time to boil a small pot of water to cook two shrimp for the boys.  The thoughtfulness of that alone warms my heart – who DOES that?!  I took a photo because, even then, he took them out and chilled them on ice…just to be sure they didn’t burn their adorable pink tongues. 

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Once they had chilled enough, he gave each of them one.  Needless to say, Musashi fervently absconded with one, and then managed to snag a less-than-interested Keku’s.  Given that Keku will inhale anything food-related, it’s entertaining to see him “pass” on the shrimp, only for the vehemently fixated Musashi to haul off with it, “grrrrr”ing as he goes.

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Fortunately, though I AM protective of my food, I didn’t bite or growl myself.  But I also – Musashi-like – thoroughly enjoyed my generously-prepared dinner, and felt incredibly grateful to have it. 

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Feeding A Raptor

My hunnie and I have a joke that feeding me is like feeding a momma raptor (if you saw Jurassic Park, you might have a fun visual.)  I eat like a horse, basically, although mostly my choices are relegated to the vegetable and protein categories.  

The other Night he brought home a HUGE assortment of “surf” (shrimp, sea bass, salmon, lobster tail) and turf” (red meat for him, poultry for me, as I don’t go red) for dinner – I was incredibly thankful, and my tummy was jumping for joy!  

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He’s quite talented with grilling – I’m afraid I’d have trouble keeping track of one item, let alone several!  He did an amazing job with everything – perfect as usual.  

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We generally go light, steering clear of sauces and marinades (you can always add condiments later if necessary.)  So typically, we stick to seasoned salt, pepper, lemon, and Old Bay – you really don’t need more than that and with the richer, fattier fish, it’s not necessary anyway.  If I am desperate for something more, I might use a diluted teriyaki sauce or salsa.

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The raptor was fed, and terribly happy about it all, I must say (though our two feline boys were a wee bit jealous, admittedly!)

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“Clean” is NOT Boring!

I am definitely used to comments regarding my nutrition…but I can’t say that I’m not bothered every so often.  So many people seem to think clean eating is boring.  It isn’t!  I’m not a “foodie” but I love the foods I eat – delicious enough to look forward to so SOMEthing must be right!

I’ve been through a lot where healthy eating is concerned – an athlete my whole Life, a bout with PTSD and two resultant eating disorders (as I’ve mentioned before, anorexia and exercise bulimia) which effectively changed not only my view of food, but my body’s needs.  So at the end of the day, I’m not only really proud of myself for choosing healthy options…but I feel blessed that I enjoy them, and thankful I have come full circle in the wellness category.  

“Clean” doesn’t always abide by precisely the same definition between individuals, schools of thought, workout methodologies etc… But it does follow the general concept that the foods are:

  • Real, whole, nutrient-dense foods
  • Less / non-processed foods or additives
  • Less added sugars and “bad” fats
  • Void of heavy, calorically dense “stuff” (think toppers, such as creamy sauces, layers of cheese, fried coatings…)
  • And so on…

Having LOTS of fresh water is also part of staying clean, by way of flushing and hydrating.

I think for me, since I can’t do stevia, and don’t want sugar, sucralose is my offender.  Not happy about that, but I know that’s likely the absolute worst offender for me.  So, I am far from perfect as well – I do, however, strive to stick to the healthy options overall.

What (WHO) I am especially thankful for is my other halfhe is ever thinking about the options at a restaurant, and whether I can find clean, unencumbered options.  I appreciate that so much more than I can express – No comments, no jabs, no “why aren’t you eating real food.”  He accepts, and that makes my Life worlds easier.  

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He is also awesome with a grill, a skill I sadly do not have…nor, admittedly, have ever endeavored to learn.  We will generally get something red for him, poultry or fish for me (protein!)…and he will always make sure I have some vegetables (truly, my FAVORITE food group.)  He grilled asparagus and zucchini this weekend and it’s fair to say I devoured most of it in one sitting.

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All we needed was salt, pepper, the food itself, and a dash of oil spray (olive is a healthy one!) to pull out the natural flavors, and make everything just perfect – nothing boring about it!  I could actually taste THE FOOD, not whatever goop is was drowning in – in my own mind, that’s food at it’s finest, as nothing is “hiding” or “masking” the taste.

IF someone is positively desperate for some additional flavors, a fresh salsa is always a nice way to go – you can make your own with diced tomatoes, veggies and spices (the tomatoes’ juice is liquid enough), or you can buy a fresh one (often) in a produce aisle.  Condiments can amount to a lot of added junk – calories, sodium, fillers – that you wouldn’t want if going “clean,” so spices and vegetable-based, fresh toppers are safer options.

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Whatever is left (we buy several portions at once) will assuredly be eaten later that day, or the following…so making a little extra is always nice – meal prep by default! 🙂

If the next day feels boring, chop everything up and toss it into a salad with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a tiny bit of oil, basil and spices…  Tiny, healthful tweaks can add just enough punch if you need something more…it isn’t boring, and it never HAS to be!

 

The Salmon Expert

I’d bet money that I’m the average foodie’s nightmare – my nutrition is clean, varied but simple, and I don’t do junk.  

My family is like a gaggle of foodies, and they LOVE cooking shows!

Wait…let me broaden the net – they love the Food Network.  

I’ll go visit my parents around dinnertime and some manner of cooking competition is on (Chopped is a household favorite.)  I feel a little bit like an outsider watching – I mean, I get it.  I’m terribly impressed.  But if that were me on there?  I’d basically shrug my shoulders when the baskets were opened, point and exclaim “I’ve never even SEEN that before.  What the hell is it?!”  I’m even venturing a guess that I wouldn’t know how to turn certain appliances ON.

As a kid I tried EVERYTHING – didn’t matter what it was, I’d give it a whirl at least once.  But in my old(er) age, I’ve had to modify, and I’ve recognized that with changes in my sports, my body has also (not so subtly) decided it has its preferences too.

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But while my body has changed…but my goals haven’t.  I know, therefore, that I need to be a little bit more mindful of what I take in – not only to stay in physical shape, but to FEEL good.  At the end of the day, not feeling lethargic or unwell isn’t a bonus…for me, it’s necessary.  If I’m exhausted, it’s because I worked hard, NOT because my body is having a rough time with the fuel I’m choosing.

I don’t “cook” much.  

I say “much,” er, generously...because really I “prepare” very simple things – eggs, protein muffins (which my other half not-so-affectionately dubbed “dry wall” (hey, honesty is the best policy!), salmon, chicken… I’m not “cooking” as in julienned veggies and seared, crusted seafood!  

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It would be fair to interject that I get bored very…V E R Y…easily.  I bore myself!  I get excited about overnight snow storms so I can stay in the next day…and when I wake up, all I want to do is go out.  

Fortunately, I’m never bored with eggs, poultry…or fish.  Salmon?  That is my FAVORITE.  

No butter, no oil…just grilled, broiled or baked.  

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The flavor of salmon, for me, is a delicacy.  I will never tire of it.  And I will NEVER be tired of steamed vegetables.  I do use salt – a solid dose of it too.  I can lean towards hypotension so it’s a good thing in this case…  But that, and cracked pepper aside, I don’t need much.  No sauces, no fancy marinade… Just the fish and veggies will do.

My boyfriend is an incredibly good sport about the whole thing.  Every so often he’ll go “BoooO-rrING!!!” while looking at my plate.  But even then he’ll say “how is it?  It’s kind of small, should we get another piece?”  I so appreciate the thought. 🙂  

Truth be told, though, the average piece is usually too big for me – I would rather take some home and enjoy it later (in my head I’m thinking I won’t assimilate all the protein in one sitting anyway – geesh!) so the portion is typically okay.

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The Colorado Salmon

It’s rare to find a place that offers WILD CAUGHT Alaskan Salmon…though if they did, I’d order that.  The flavor isn’t quite as succulent – it’s not as fatty, as you may well know.  But it doesn’t have as many risks with respect to contaminants and so forth (which the farmed does.)  That in and of itself could be a massive diatribe – I’m NOT going there, because I am not a scientist.

If I CAN get wild, I will.  But I don’t eat salmon SO much that I’m afraid I’ll be lit up like a neon sign after ingesting just-one-more piece.  (If you are pregnant, or have health concerns, you may want to double check appropriate consumption levels.)

So salmon and veggies it is for me…much of the time.  And at this point I feel like I’m a certified expert.  (My FB Album is fair testament to my Salmon expertise.  A visual resume, I like to call it!)

In Colorado I had an UH-MAZING piece – super tender and pink on the inside, thin crisp on the outside…just a few spices.  Happy girl. 🙂 (PS, it was the one in the last photo above.)

I think the reality of it is that if ever a talking bear marches out of the wilderness and decides he (or she) gets hired by some enormous food review publication (or, better…THE FOOD NETWORK!)…I might just well give that bear a run for his (or her) money!  

You heard (read) me.  I may know just a little bit more than an Alaskan bear about the yumminess factor of salmon.

Yep.  I’d bet money on that.

 

 

Healthy and Happy Weekends With My Hunnie

One of the most important things in Life is to be around people who support you in your goals and endeavors.  Those who not only allow you to BE who you are…but who love you JUST the way you are.  No judgement, no pressure, just comfort. ❤

As spoken to in other posts, it’s fair to say I am incredibly particular about my nutrition – in part, I physically feel better when I eat a certain way.  And, in part, it is important to me to stay at a certain level of fitness – I’m not just speaking outwardly here, but also in the sense that I want to have the proper fuel to achieve the endurance and strength I am looking for, as well as the sustenance needed to support my gains.  As we get older, hard work is rarely enough – without the necessary nutrients and macros, the challenges are tougher to surmount.

Having been through two severe eating disorders, PTSD and CPTSD, it was a concern of mine that anyone I’d want to be with would think I was “odd” with my eating habits.  Oftentimes a person who suffers such illnesses grapples with shame, pain, and a whole lot of (unwarranted…but excruciatingly real, and highly debilitating)  embarrassment surrounding discussion of our “eating habits.”  And when I say that, I mean to the point of leaving us captive at home, terrified to leave…and petrified of getting to know anyone new.

I’ve had plenty of people make jabs and comments, but over the years I’ve thankfully come to realize that:

  1. I’m really NOT that odd.  At ALL.  (Real lightbulb moment!)
  2. Some of the people who do make jabs often are unhappy with their own dietary habits, and / or aren’t thrilled about where their own health stands.   
  3. Not everyone “gets” or appreciates my personal goals…and that is totally okay!
  4. There are a LOT more supportive people out there who say “oh WOW, I wish I ate like that!” as opposed to the smaller group saying “do you even eat ‘real’ food?”
  5. Being in a relationship with someone who supports you makes EVERYTHING better.  The anxieties that once plagued my Life melted away. Literally.  Just. Like. THAT.  Being able to breathe again is an incredible feeling – so much more freeing than I can express.

My hunnie and I will go out to dinner, or brunch, or breakfast…and there’s never stress about what I’m ordering, or if I sound strange or picky… He just smiles because I am so happy with the healthy foods that I ask for.  It doesn’t even matter if I ask for the same things all the time, he’s just happy that I AM happy, and that means so much.  If you have ever been through eating disorders, or ANY disorder for that matter, you will understand the gravity of these words.  It IS a big deal.

This weekend he took me to a beautiful restaurant in a quiet, charming town – we sat outside in the early even sun, surrounded by singing birds and the scent of flowers and green. Divine. The menu reminded me of Yin and Yang, and how fitting it was, as the duality of Life ever amazes me – whether the contrast of having been in the depths of despair and fear with anorexia and exercise bulimia, to rediscovering the feeling freedom and breath years later.  Or the idea that it is possible to find a piece that fits so perfectly with one’s own…so much so that Life becomes brighter, and dreams manifest of their own volition, without solicitation.  I once had someone sew seeds of disillusionment and self doubt, saying that “no one will ever love” my quirks the same way, or be as supportive of them.  How refreshing it is to prove that wrong.  How refreshing to find more comfort with one person than I ever knew existed…or thought possible.

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As for what I had… I don’t like to drink my calories (no, I don’t count – fortunately I dropped that habit a while back!) – eating is physically more satisfying to me than drinking so I’d rather enjoy a delicious food for than imbibe them.  It was therefore my usual water with lemon, which I find super refreshing, great for digestion…and never in competition with the flavors of my meal.  There are, of course, a slew of other benefits, including balancing the body’s ph (which can reduce inflammation), providing a nice source of citric acid, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous...and flushing the system.

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I had a beet salad with goat cheese, which was incredible – beets are often touted as a great recovery food, not only because they are chock full of vitamins (A, B, C), as well as antioxidants (beta-carotene, beta-cyanine), fiber, iron, folic acid, potassium and magnesium to name a few…  But, they are also high in inorganic nitrates, which is converted to nitric oxide in the body, after leaving the mouth.  The purported effects of a beet juice supplement include better endurance, better “bang for the buck” as far as the output needed to sustain a certain level of training, increased blood flow to the muscles…and lower blood pressure.  I’m not a nutritionist, nor a scientist so I will leave fleshing out of the discussion to them – I wasn’t ingesting a massive amount, but the point IS…I was happy to order a selection of beets knowing that it was leg day (the natural sugars would help, no matter the quantity), and it was also a healthy option. 😀  The dish was rapidly devoured.

I also requested seared salmon (as was the preparation there) with no added oil or butter – salmon of course boasts plenty of “good fats” (fish is one of my primary dietary sources of fat) so it isn’t necessary to douse it in anything else.  Beyond that, I find it doesn’t need it – the fish’s flavor is so mild that other added fats would compete – salt is enough!  There is much larger conversation to be had about farmed versus wild, which I will not address here – again, better to hash out with pros. With it, I asked for steamed vegetables (I got more beets – yay!), also without any added butter or oil.  They were PERFECT!  Salt and pepper was all I needed to bring out the natural flavors. 

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I was a HUGELY happy camper!  I always want to eat MORE steamed veggies, which I make at home and eat OFTEN…but this held me over for a while, which was great.

The following day, we went to lunch at a super delicious, local Italian restaurant – naturally, I ordered in my typical specific fashion.  That said, my orders are NEVER complicated – grilled chicken, no oil, no butter…plus… steamed vegetables, no oil, no butter.  That’s it! 😀  It came out PERFECTLY! ❤

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While ordering out is nothing to the average person, it IS a big deal to those of us who either live a fit Life, and / or have been through various “food issues.”  It can be the difference between living Life AT ALL…and being cooped up, frightened and alone. Having a supportive other half, friends and family is vastly more important than I’d be able to express – it is always valued and appreciated, and never goes without inner acknowledgment.  

To be able to enjoy a dinner out is something that, for a long time, I never dreamed was possible.  So for me…salmon and steamed green beans is worth celebrating over – every single time I have it!  

Talk about feeling blessed.  

Being able to breathe and feel comfortable are luxuries that this girl will NEVER take for granted. 

X ❤