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!)  

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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. ❤ 

Dinner…For Three?!

It goes without saying that cats are particular…pretty much in every regard.  They are incredibly discerning when it comes to food, for one thing.  

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(C) Andertoons Mark Anderson

Oh yes, as babies they ate their broccoli and snap peas – but nowadays its “no, no thank you.  Call me when you have shrimp!”  

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Excuse me?!

We don’t even have to unwrap the seafood – the mere hint of fishy fragrance and I’m suddenly swarmed by furry black beasts.  God forbid they grab a hold, it’s growl central… (Not that I can blame them – my husband makes a mean stirfry!)

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I guess I can’t really complain, though – my boys’ nutrition is top-notch!  They care about portions (that’s by default – Keku would gladly wolf down a blue whale, provided it smelled remotely edible.)  

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They also eat clean (also a function of mum, but a girl has to make sure her boys are fit and healthy so they can frolic to their hearts’ content without issue!)  They love protein – egg whites, chicken, and shrimp are favorites – just like, you guessed it… Mum. ❤  Way to go, boys!

The only real trouble with it is that I go to sit down in my chair and there’s a cat in it, thinking it’s his seat for dinner…

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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! 😉 

 

Dinner With The Boys

My Jungle Cats never fit the “can-I’have-that-piece-of-fish” feline stereotype (so much so that I pondered if the whole thing was a made up gross generalization.)  I have to say it made dining at home a lot easier.  Unless of course I was eating meat.

These days I feel like I’m always ready to pull the water bottle trigger, lest one of the boys abscond with my dinner (I’m looking at you, Musashi!) 

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But. . . 

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I’d not change it for the world.  

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My boys and my hubby (and a few shrimp so I don’t get hangry!) are all I need.

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I’ll take having to guard my food as par for the “love-my-boys” course. 

Healthy Dining Out

No matter what your goals, or what your needs, it is possible to go out and have a filling meal.  It doesn’t mean it’s a perfect cinch all the time, but it is possible (there are times when I do feel badly about wanting basic, clean options – but none of us should have to feel that way – establishments are there to provide a service and it IS okay to ask for what we want.  That’s the point!)

I like to eat volume, and I like to eat frequently – most restaurants don’t offer the kind of portions I need (sometimes leaving to order two sides of steamed veggies!) But…that’s always a possibility, right?  

Asian cuisines seem to be one of the easier options for those looking for more volume because often they do give larger portions (or at least will ask you if you want a full dish, or a smaller size…especially with takeout.) So Chinese or Japanese is often a good pick for me.

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My “usual” is miso soup, and steamed veggies and protein – lately I’ve gone the seafood route with shrimp and scallops, but steamed or boiled chicken works too.  The only sauce I use is soy, though when I can see the label in a store, I might buy dumpling or teriyaki sauce (Asian sauces can vary dramatically in nutritional stats and ingredients so with my sensitive system, I’d rather have the option to check.)

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Aside from being great for your digestive system, miso soup is healthier, and filling starter – it definitely takes the edge of a hungry raptor (me 😉 ) So much so that I ended up taking some of my dinner home with me – having some left is impressive!

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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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Buona Pasqua!

I almost can’t believe Easter has come and gone already – wasn’t it just New Years!?

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I had the good fortune to visit my hometown, my family, and my love’s family for the weekend – we both have Italian heritage, and Easter was always a big hoopla growing up.  Nowadays, it’s more about being able to spend time together – the children (in my age range) are all grown, many with little ones of their own, and live in different states.  So having some quality time over a long weekend is a joy and a blessing.

I actually don’t recall precisely what our menu was comprised of when I was younger – the Christmas meals are clear in my mind for sure, but on Easter morning I think I was so gungho about the Easter Bunny baskets that I may have blocked everything else out! 

For lunch we ran to a wonderful little grocery store – I pickup up sliced turkey (I opt for the kind that doesn’t contain nitrates and other ugly preservatives!), and my hunnie found some broccoli spears to go with it.  Delicious!

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For dinner this year, we all decided on lobster, steamed shrimp, filets, and chicken breast, along with veggies – you might imagine I was thrilled! ❤  

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I will often hear people lament (half-heartedly, let’s be honest!) about holidays because they feel there is just so much temptation.  But the reality is that there are ALWAYS healthy options.  I’m very blessed – and thankful for it every day – that my family and friends consider what I will be having.  I am absolutely the most particular of the bunch, and I am so grateful that others care about what is being served, and if there are healthy options for me.  

In this case, though, it was a wonderfully healthy selection for everyone!  Yes, we had cakes and cookies too…but we also had children in the group! 😉  

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I had some fresh fruit salad from earlier in the day that I pulled out during dessert – sweet enough to keep me away from ingurgitating the cookies, and a nice end to the meal with my coffee (and coconut creamer. 🙂 ) 

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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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The Seefood Diet

I remember when I was younger seeing a Garfield Cartoon about a “seafood diet.”  I’m sure you know the one… “When I see food, I eat it?”  

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At the time it resonated because I was, fair to say, a complete pigface.  I’m not sure if I’m the only person using that word, but there it is...pigface.  

Yes…I would effectively inhale anything within a several foot radius, particularly if it was chocolate!  I was also, in my defense, a growing girl and a full-time athlete outside of school…so I needed the sustenance.  (I’m not sure my macros and micros were stellar, but…“we know better now.” 😉 )

For some years now I have been on a seAfood diet…although I’d like to remove the “D word.”  I don’t actually use the “D word” when speaking about my nutritional habits because I think it’s more negative than not – a word that has been watered down to mean “a-non-sustainable-appraoch-to-food-under-the-guise-of-a-magic-bullet.”  I eat a ton of protein, but for good fat in particular, seafood is my go to.

No, Sir...there ARE NONE.  No magic bullets.  Eating clean and healthy is work, it requires dedication, but it IS absolutely achievable, and incredibly delicious!

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I’m incredibly thankful for my man because he is a wonderful cook – sad to say, I contribute about next to nil in that department!  He always makes something I love.  Roasted veggies are a “must have” (and can be devoured in one sitting if I don’t pace myself!)…and the evening about was seared scallops.  Scallops are what I call “sea candies” – Sweet and succulent!

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I’m a huge salmon fan, as my many former posts can attest!  Grilled, baked or broiled is how I ask for it…minus oil or butter (which it definitely doesn’t need!)  Perfection!

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And then there is the shellfish!  Shrimp is a wonderful meal or snack – high in protein, low in calories, and absolutely delicious.  They can have a lot of sodium (so keep that in mind if you have to watch your intake), but they are an excellent choice to change things up.  If you aren’t into them plain, cocktail sauce low in sugar is a great option, or even a tomato-based dip.  We prefer them with salt, pepper and a little bit of old bay…but everyone is different! 

Healthy nutrition isn’t as painful as some make it sound…and you CAN eat a lot.  These foods fill you up and provide necessary macronutrients for your body to function optimally – it really IS a win-win!

 

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.