Monday, February 21, 2011

Healthy Eating Habits

It wasn't long ago that I stepped back, looked at what I ate, and realized that I had some bad eating habits.  I ate a lot of what was easy; prepackaged, processed, cheap foods.  On top of that, I ate very little fruits and vegetables.  At the time, I considered peas the only vegetable I would touch.  I'm sure my diet wasn't much different from the average American, but for my own sanity and personal goals, I decided to take some action.

That was 5 years ago.

The first step I took was to try out being a vegetarian for a semester of school.  This was borne out of another power of suggestion (my best friend had given up meat for lent) as well as a desire to avoid the unhealthy eating habits of college dining hall food.  All but one dining hall made burgers with frozen patties that had very little taste.  The french fries were THE hottest item (the disappeared the fastest) and we all know how they're made.  Breakfast was a production line; liquid eggs, prepackaged fruit, extra salty bacon, etc.  All-in-all, I knew I was not eating a healthy let alone a well balanced meal, so I decided to go on a diet - No meat, fried foods, or desserts for one semester (4-5 months).  

For that semester, I lived on pasta, grilled cheese with lettuce, toast, salads, and lots of liquids.  I was not that imaginative with food at that point in time, but despite the monotony of my daily diet and the smell of all the food I couldn't eat, I stuck it out.  On the last day of the semester, I decided to indulge myself.  I piled my plate with a burger, french fries, and cookies.  I couldn't finish any of it.  I was astonished.  My tastes had completely changed.  The meat might as well had been seasoned rubber, the fries were WAY too greasy, and the cookies tasted like 100% sugar.  From that point on, I've grown an appreciation for food.  All of my meat products are lean and never prepackaged.  Fried foods make me feel drained; I always opt for a salad or veggies over fries.  Desserts are almost non-existent because I've lost my sweet tooth.  I prefer European desserts because they lack the American overly sweet taste.

Ever since that personal experiment of going vegetarian plus, I've learned to eat MUCH healthier out of pure taste as opposed to a drive to be healthy.  I cook most of my own meals (and really enjoy cooking).  Meat is always in moderation and can easily be replaced by various vegetables.  Eggplant parmesan (baked, not fried) is one of my favorite meals.  I keep a box of clementines on hand throughout their season.  I never liked broccoli or asparagus, so I took time and learned how to make them to my taste; now I love 'em.

So you might be wondering "Where did this come from?"  Well, ever since this past fall, I've acquired a favorite snack - bananas with peanut butter.

And then recently I was out with friends for dinner after a show and found a new healthy snack - celery!!  I literally have not had celery since my days of Ants on a Log.  Don't remember what those are?, check them out HERE.

Even back then, I'd lick off the peanut butter and leave the celery when possible.  But all of a sudden, add a bit of Bleu Cheese dressing and celery is delicious!  I have to thank Kristin @ Cupcake Confessions for this discovery.  She was the one not eating her celery that night and allowed me to try it.  So thanks Kristin for the opportunity to discover yet another healthy habit!

So now I have a list of clementines, bananas, and celery on my healthy snack habits.  It sure beats the old days of potato chips, cheesy crackers, and soda pop!  I love when being healthy is so tasty!

Today's Workout:
1.  Ab work with Chelsea (30 min)
2.  10 min. bike ride (~3.5 miles)

1.  500 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  10 x 50s (50, 25, 25) - freestyle with 10s rest b/t 50s, 5s rest b/t 25s
3.  10 x 25s - Breathing drill, start from center of pool in order to include flip turn; 5s rest
4.  2 x 1,2,3,3,2,1 Relays (1st was free, 2nd was stroke)
5.  500 Cool Down (free, back, breast)
TOTAL:  2050 yds (1.16 miles)

1.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?
My number one is bananas with peanut butter - I have one after every workout.

2.  Have you ever experimented with your diet for non-medical reasons?
I went vegetarian for a semester and have recently considered the raw vegan and ketogenic diets as future experiments.

3.  Did you have today off for the holiday and if so, what did you do with it?
I worked out, worked on lesson plans, and caught up with bloggers.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 


Anonymous said...

Cottage cheese and apple sauce - carry over from childhood. I guess you could say its also a "comfort food". But its also a great carb/protein mix.

Marni Sumbal, MS, RD said...

I'm so glad you posted those snacks. I always think to myself..what happened to an apple with peanut butter for a snack? Now a days, there is too much processed food for snacking...I love wholesome food in between meals for a great nutritious snack :) great post.

TriGirl said...

I love apples and a bagel with almond butter. Delish! Bananas are great too but for me they have to be *just right*.

I was a vegetarian for a few years but I didn't like beans, or mushrooms, or tomotoes, or tofu...and then I moved to Texas :)

I did have the day off and went biking with my friend (first ride of the season!) and i'm going to yoga with another friend tonight.

What made you look into the ketogenic diet? That is a high fat diet for people with uncontrolled seizures...

p.s. your comment about screaming like a little girl made me LOL :)