Monday Musings: Food

I have made some pretty significant changes in terms of what I eat this year. This is not necessarily for loosing weight, although I am happy to say that I have lost 6.6 Pounds so far. It is really about considering what I consume and whether or not it is a benefit to my overall health. Many of you will be aware that I lost my father to a heart attack three years ago and that was a big shock and an eye opening experience. It caused me to research and become interested in foods that would lower cholesterol, reduce cancer risk and help prevent conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Foods I have cut out are:
• white rice
• white bread
• white pasta
• white potatoes (have occasionally)
• white sugar
• full fat milk
• breakfast cereals (sugary and high in salt!)
• juice (also very high in sugar – who knew?!)
• salt
• fatty meat
• margarine

Replaced with healthier options:
• brown rice
• brown pasta (whole wheat)
• lentils or beans rather than potatoes
• sweet potato
• shirataki noodles (no carbs & healthy – available from sushi shops on Amazon)
• brown bread (whole wheat)
• brown unrefined sugar (also cut down on this)
• local honey or Manuka honey for tea
• skim milk
• water
• garlic powder, herbs and cayenne pepper
• lean chicken breasts, white fish, oily fish, pork medallions

I had no idea that juice was so high in calories and sugar. I was drinking around four glasses of juice per day, so I have now started to drink a lot more water and when I go to a Zumba class for example I have 1L during the workout on top of what I consume during the day.

A good option for breakfast is half a cup of fat free cottage cheese or greek yoghurt (protein) with one cup of chopped fruit (berries are fantastic and full of anti-oxidents) with a sprinkle of muesli. Another option for breakfast is to have oats with a sprinkle of protein powder instead of sugar. One more breakfast idea is to have a slice of whole wheat toast with two boiled egg whites sprinkled with black pepper and garlic powder, or you can have one egg yolk to two egg whites. Egg yolks are pretty high in fat. Combining proteins with your carbs is key due to the way out body breaks down food.

Portion sizes have always been an issue for me. I can eat and lot and I love food. I have invested in a great set of measuring cups and measuring spoons. It means I can keep an eye on how much I dish up for myself. I use the spoons for measuring out olive oil for cooking and the cups for measuring out half a cup of brown rice for example.

Protein shakes are great to help build muscle and I really like the taste too. I use Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein in chocolate or mint chocolate. The key thing is to have it with water not milk and to use a blender to mix it well. One of my good friends is a fitness instructor and she explained that due to the fact that milk has a lot of it’s own protein, the whey protein cannot easily get into your system when mixed with milk so water is ideal. You can use these to snack on late at night or straight after weight training because they are pure protein and contain little or no carbs or fat. It can beat those late night cravings.

For those of you who love something sweet like I do, you can have dark chocolate. I get the good stuff: 70% cocoa and you can see on the label that it is higher in protein and lower in sugar and fat compared with other types of chocolate bars. Try to limit how much you have and just treat yourself with a few blocks from a bar per day. The entire slab can last a week or more if you are careful with it.

I have increased the amount of green veggies I eat. Examples are spinach, green pepper, asparagus and my favourite one is kale. You can make crispy kale by coating the curly kale in a tablespoon full of olive oil, add garlic powder and black pepper then put it in the oven for 5 to 10 mins on a high heat. Result is crunchy, yummy kale chips!

I have signed up for Jenn Aguirre’s Train With Jenn online. She is a body building trainer in the States and really knows her stuff. I am not going to that extreme by any means but there is a lot to learn in terms of food, her gorcery store tour as well as her training techniques.

kale chips cripsy (1)


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