What is REALLY healthy?

When I decided to major in nutrition years ago in high school it centered around my “issues” with food.  Looking back I was not anorexic or bulimic but I was obsessive compulsive about counting calories, working out every day (most days 2x/day), I used artificial sweeteners to cut calories and sugar, I would not eat after 7pm, blah blah, you know all of those little strategies people talk about when they are talking weight loss.

I was into extreme dieting, low calorie, low carb, low fat, sugar substitutes and high protein, coupled with 1-2 hours of cardio per day and 5 days of lifting per week.   This can make one look really healthy on the outside due to low body body fat percentage, but chronic dieting and over training trashes the inside of the body.  As I was reflecting on my “old ways” I got to thinking about what true health really is? I work in a high traffic health club and I love people watching while I am working in my office.  I see it all, the fitness model like women in the brazilian tights, the wanna be UFC fighters, the high school boys who talk about their supplements they take to get big ( some are full of harmful chemicals and they really should not be taking them), the beer belly middle aged man who thinks he is as strong as his “glory football days,” the hard core Iron man triathlete who is probably swam a mile that morning, biked 30 that lunch hour and now is finishing off their training day with core exercises and a treadmill run that evening, and then there are the people who hate the gym but go because they feel like they have to.

The question is….How many people are truly healthy?  They have a balanced lifestyle that is healthy for the mind and body, they don’t over work themselves at the office or the gym, they fuel their body with chemically pure foods rich in colorful veggies and fruit, lean proteins and heart healthy fats, they enjoy the outdoors, they have time to meditate and they spend quality time with their families away from the TV and computer.

Why don’t we cook more? I think it boils down to the fact that we are over commited and lack of planning.

Lets face it fast food is a billion dollar industry for a reason… it is fast, easy, addicting and you can get it at almost all hours of the day.  You do not even have to get out of your car! The cons of fast food are obvious, it is unhealthy, it makes you fat, and most of the meals are juiced up with processed ingredients of poor quality that will send you to the doctor if you consume it too often. Unfortunately people like to ignore the reality and they feed their greasy salty habits. 

What if it were cheaper and quicker to cook a meal at home?  Not to mention you could lose weight, improve lipid, glucose, insulin, and blood pressure values.  It is simple, plan out your week of meals. Take some time, typically on Sunday or Saturday and think about what you want to cook for the week, make a menu and grocery list and stick to it.  Here is a easy week worth of meals. 

Monday – Crock pot turkey breast or roast.  Turkey breast or roast goes into the crock pot with carrots, onions, celery, herbs, spices and some organic broth and let the crock pot  do the rest of the work.  Serve beside quinoa, and a dark leafy green salad. 

Tuesday- Fish tacos (if you are not into fish you can use turkey or sirloin) - pan fry tilapia, add a little paprika, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper with chopped onion and bell peppers.  Cook until fish is done and serve over small corn tortillas with salsa, plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), and shredded organic cheese.  If you are watching the starches serve the fish blend over cabbage cups or Boston lettuce cups. 

Wednesday- steak and potatoes… well not really, how about grilled steak and mashed cauliflower? Steam cauliflower till soft, blend in food processor, add a tab of organic butter, garlic, plain Greek yogurt, milk (I use coconut), sea salt, and chives.  If you like green as much as I do, roast some brussel sprouts in evoo with black pepper, minced garlic and a tiny dash of sea salt. The sprouts go in 350 for 20-30 minutes. 

Thursday- Shrimp stir fry.  Saute shrimp and stir fry veggie of your choice in lite soy sauce, organic broth, evoo, small tab of organic butter, spices, include, ginger, Cayenne pepper, minced garlic, etc.  Can serve over a grain like brown rice or quinoa, if you are watching your starches double veggies and skip the grains.

Friday – bun less burger and sweet potato fries.  this one is simple, grill the burgers serve over lettuce with all of the fixins, you can buy the organic sweet potato fries pre-cut in the bag or slice them yourself and toss with evoo and I bake them till crispy. For the green serve beside a leafy green salad, roasted brussel sprouts or grill asparagus or green beans while you are grilling the burgers. 

Saturday- we go out :-)  

Sunday – since it has been football season I have been making homemade chili so the boys can eat during football. Ground sirloin, onion, beans, rotel and cumin and chili powder.   I serve mine with homemade quac, plain Greek yogurt, dash of cheese and green onions!  Organic corn chips are okay in moderation, don’t got crazy!

There you have it, a weeks worth of healthy meals!  I will be honest most of these meals take less then 30 minutes to prepare.  Train to multi-task… while something is roasting, grilling or baking chop something else or set the table, etc.  It’s not complicated, it just takes a little planning!