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. ❤ 

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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Healthy Snacks For Everyday

I don’t know about you but I love to eat.  Most of the time I find that people don’t believe me, often retorting with a snide “oh yeah, right.”  

I am generally a clean eater, and after all I’ve been through, I can’t say that I love food in the same way.  But. . .YES. . .I LOVE to eat, and I could easily eat too much.  Volume is key for me – I need to feel full or I will just keep munching.

It can get a little frustrating when people say “oh, but you work it off.”  Or, “you do so much that it doesn’t matter – you can have what you want.” Actually….

No.

I CAN’T.

If I eat too much (and for each of us, that amount will vary), I will see it on my waistline.  Most of the time I am clean, healthy, and quite active…but it takes work for me.  I can’t just eat whatever I want and hope that my exercise routine will balance it out –  I don’t get off so easily, and frankly very few people do. So what helps?  Being educated!  I know that I will be hungry so I try to figure out what I can do to:

A.) Not feel like I’m starving all the time…

But also…

B.) Stick to my goals

That’s where being educated about nutrition, and my own personal needs, comes in to play. Keeping in mind that I am not a nutritionist or medical professional, these are some of the snacks I have found to help me manage my hunger. . .and my waist size!

SWEET

  • Fresh Fruit or Fruit Salad – I don’t eat a ton of fruit.  I prefer vegetables, and I don’t want to go overboard on the sugar.  But having some fresh fruit can help satisfy a sweet craving, without causing you to pack on the pounds you might with a candy bar or other deserts!  (Dried fruit is also a culprit, having much more concentrated sugar per serving than the fruit when it is fresh.)
  • Berries with a dollop of Yogurt – Sweet, plus a little protein, and lots of antioxidants. 
  • EatPops or something similar – I loved these when I read about them!  Healthy, not at all crazy in the calorie department, refreshing and sweet.  I also love the Almond Dream bites, in moderation, since I’m a chocolate fan.  If you don’t want to spend on prepared, you can always blend and freeze your own.
  • Cooked or Baked Fruit – so many great recipes out there that turn regular fruit into something sassier!  I sometimes slice and apple, add cinnamon and sometimes a dash of sweetener and bake in the convection oven until warm and slightly softer.
  • Peanut or Nut Butter – There are some nice brands who offer single serving packages – Some have up to 200 or so calories, so be mindful of that (it is about what you’d get in one serving from a jar, but you can’t go overboard with one package!)  I have seen some that just have 90, which I like better.  Either way, you get heathy fats with a nice dose of protein. You can add a little to some apple slices for extra sweetness.
  • Sugar Free Chocolate – Not the best nutritional option but sometimes one sugar-free peanut butter cup helps stave off inhaling something much worse, and in much higher quantity!

SALTY and SAVORY

  • Hummus with Baby Carrots –   I like to put a bit of hummus in a bowl with some carrots (or other veggies) so I’m not eating right out of the container (which might cause me to eat too much.)  Raw veggies can be tough on the tum, so just be mindful of the ones you choose.  Broccoli and cauliflower that hasn’t been cooked, for example, can cause some digestive troubles.
  • Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese – I can no longer do dairy, so this is out for me.  BUT…these are excellent choices, giving you a nice amount of protein per serving. Only thing to watch out for is extra sugar, as some Greek yogurts are sneaky. 
  • Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios) – Nuts are a great option BUT… But, but, BUT…you HAVE to be mindful.  Nuts are calorically dense and incredibly easy to overdo.  Many brands offer 100 calorie bags, which are a fabulous idea.  You can certainly portion out your own, but buying the ready-made is a great option. Pistachios are one of the best where calorie and protein per serving is concerned.

MINI-MEAL ITEMS

  • Muffin-Tin Egg Frittatas – Not everyone loves eggs, but these are a ton of fun. You can make them with egg whites, egg beaters, whole eggs, a mixture…whatever!  Add in a few sprinkles of soy crumbles, low-fat turkey, steamed vegetables, even salsa, and you have a dozen awesome “bites” for later!  Sometimes I want to much on something, and this will do the trick.
  • Shrimp Cocktail – Lots of protein, not a ton of calories.  A little bit of cocktail sauce and spices are okay, and won’t break the bank (whereas something like tartar sauce will.)
  • Beef or Poultry Jerky – One has to be mindful about the salt content here, and it is always good to look at ingredients to be sure there aren’t crazy preservatives.  But this is one of those savory protein snacks that can come in handy when you need to nosh.
  • Turkey or Chicken Slices – I’m careful to avoid nitrates here, as many deli meats are laden with such preservatives.  Organic is great if you can come by it, but just being mindful of the ingredients is a good idea.  You get a lot of protein for not a ton of calories, so you will feel satisfied longer.  Roll them up and dip in mustard, siracha sauce, salsa…!
  • Sliced Chicken Breast or Lean Meat – I love ground chicken.  I will eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND for a snack.  Nothing wrong with having lean meats when you are hungry!  I mix mine with a hefty dose of steamed veggies (remember: VOLUME) for a snack when I feel I’m teetering on “ravenous.” You can also pair with greens or add to a light broth for volume.

TRADITIONAL SNACKS

  • Popcorn – Okay, so it isn’t the best snack nutritionally speaking… But there are brands that have as little as three ingredients (think a touch of salt, popcorn, and a dash of olive oil) that you can have in more quantity without going overboard.  Air popping your own is a great idea also (love the microwave ones but many contain some incredibly unhealthy chemicals, so best to avoid as much as possible!)
  • Chips and Salsa – Crunchy, salty, maybe a little spice… What to watch out for here is having too many!  Just take a few and put them in a bowl – sometimes just the act of portioning it out makes you feel like you are having more, or a special treat, instead of wolfing down the whole bag mindlessly.

The key with any of these is to just be mindful of portions – when you can either prepare a smaller portion of what comes in a HUGE bag…OR…you can get ready-made items (such as the 100 calorie almonds), you will find you can stick to the plan a little better.  There are also a ton of wonderful blogs with recipes for lower calorie snacks (I prefer those also high in protein because that’s what my body needs.)

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A few of the snacks I take on trips here and here.

I also have a ton of fun recipes bookmarked here.

 

Surf And Turf

Last night my hunnie made a veggie Surf & Turf stew – SO GOOD!  

The dish was made with the following:

  • Rao’s tomato sauce (one that has a lot less sugar and added “junk” than many others)
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 box of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bag of sweet mini peppers
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3 bags of broccoli (which is probably 3 large heads, chopped)
  • 1 lb or so of Argentine shrimp
  • 1 lb + of chicken tenderloins
  • Salt and spices

He’s quite the chef, and I am always impressed with how much he keeps track of at once!  The chicken was broiled separately, and the shrimp done towards the end – both came out perfectly. ❤ 

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It’s such a healthy meal and honestly, it was so good I couldn’t stop eating it – I had it for breakfast and lunch! 😀 It’s filling, and good for you – lean protein and veggies?  It doesn’t get much better!

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I’m not a big “sauce” person because I don’t like to add calories to my meals that aren’t particularly necessary.  But this wasn’t the kind of thing that will break your bank, so to speak, unless you are using way too much, and / or having it all the time!  We usually have grilled or broiled chicken, shrimp or fish and keep condiments to a minimum.  With the right spices, you don’t even need sauce!  I never understood the whole “smother” phenomenon…  

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If you love the idea but DON’T want sauce, use a little bit and cut up whole and cherry tomatoes to lighten up the nutritional stats. 

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The only fat in the meal (or in the sauce) was derived from olive oil, and that’s always a good thing!  I don’t have a ton of fat in my nutritional scheme (not on purpose at all!  I eat salmon, almonds, pistachios etc to add it in, as it is vital to proper function of the body!) so I like to have “good” oils here and there.  Also keep in mind, that’s where some of the calories are coming from – it wasn’t a sugar-laden dish at all!

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Something fun, especially as the colder winter moths are coming. I’m so thankful and appreciative of his cooking, and it’s fair to say, so is my tummy!!

 

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!

 

Eating At Home

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…I’m very blessed.  My hunnie is amazing in so many ways.  One of those, while seemingly minor to him, is a big deal to me – he doesn’t make me feel badly that I don’t “cook.”  I’ve sadly met a good number of people who DO see that as a huge problem, and I’m vastly more thankful for his “what’s the big deal if you don’t?” than he may imagine.  

I’m not a terribly “domesticated” type with hundreds of recipes up my sleeve.  In a way, I have felt badly about it…but only in so far as other people are concerned.  I pretty much subsist on easy-to-make foods (or I’ll just wing it.  Winging it, however, only applies to me – messing up my food isn’t a big deal, but I’d never want to mess up someone else’s food.)

He’s also incredibly supportive of my clean and (relatively) healthy nutritional habits – he actually cares that I am comfortable, happy…and FULL!   If you are in the fitness industry, or follow this lifestyle, you may know how UNsupportive people can be about our personal choices.  (You did read that “personal” part, right?  😉 ) 

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He has a long and exhausting day…and he will still make dinner.  And dinner is always perfect.  It’s most perfect because he is with me, but whatever he does make is always delicious…and right up my alley.  He thinks I’m biased about it, or just being polite but…I’m not.  When you are as particular about food as I am…and I say “I love it”…I LOVE it. ❤

I’m so grateful I probably get annoying saying “thank you!” all the time…but it is something I appreciate enormously. We have a snazzy Breville Smart Oven Pro that we call the “Magic Machine.”  It’s amazingly efficient and has a ton of functions!

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I never really eat a meal withOUT my veggies…so he will often roast some in the oven, while preparing chicken or something else in…the “Magic Machine.”  It could be shrimp or scallops, broiled salmon…or wok-tossed asparagus…  It’s all wonderful, and has NOTHING on it but some salt, pepper and spices.   

That’s the thing…you don’t need much!  You can always add a touch of salsa or something more if you need it.  But it doesn’t need to be doused in oil or butter to taste good or stay moist.  A spray of olive oil is enough…. REALLY.

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It’s also often more cost-effective to eat IN.  I don’t really eat a ton when I’m out, and I would be fine with something simple.  But the point is, it doesn’t HAVE to be.  AND…if you have someone in your Life who prepares the meals…don’t forget to say THANK YOU.  It really is a treat, and a blessing…and something I am thankful for EACH TIME he does it.