First things first: I don’t believe in diets!
At least in the sense that diets are most often discussed these days. I do believe in having a healthy, balanced everyday diet, but any kind of diet that you “go on” to me implies that at some point you will “come off” (in that what goes up, must come down type of theory).
Healthy is even more healthy if it is sustainable.
As I mentioned in my last post, I was extremely restrictive with my eating habits when I was younger and it did nothing but wreak havoc on my body and mind. It wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t worth it.
Now I just focus on eating in a way that fuels my body for the physical demands of my daily life. And I also appreciate and enjoy food. A lot.
So, with that, I’m not here to tell you how I eat so you can do all the same things for your body. For so many reasons, that isn’t right. This is not a prescription for a nutrition plan because what works for me might not work for you. Rather, I’m here to tell you about some things that I love and how I incorporate them in my very on-the-go and active life!
Greens are a staple for me. Spinach, chard, kale, arugula, mixed greens, or whatever else I can find. I will eat them raw in salads and also cooked (especially with mushrooms!) I am fortunate to live in California where produce abounds and farmers markets are often year round. Dope.
The leafy greens always look amazing and taste even better!
Sundays are a popular market day in many of the cities in the Bay Area and I usually get to hit a few different ones on my home from work. I try to stock up for what would seem like the whole week, but often only last a few days since I eat them by the bowlful sometimes most of the time. I also stock up on other veggies like green beans, bok choy, zucchini, brussel sprouts, peppers, asparagus or whatever is in season.
Chicken, fish, black bean… with rice or quinoa or couscous. You name it; I will wrap it in a tortilla, throw some avocado and Cholula on it and eat it. I’m not sure if it’s my Mexican half (mom’s side) coming out or if it’s just the lack of silverware involved. Who knows? But I usually have some form of tortilla wrapped veggie and protein at least once a week.
I’ll admit I have come up with some rather untraditional combinations like salmon, quinoa and kale, but don’t hate until you try it. That’s now one of my favorites. It’s a very quick and easy meal too for those nights (almost every night) when I don’t get home until after 9pm.
Maybe this goes with the Mexican food theme? I do love me some jalapeño, but I’m also a fan of sriracha and red pepper flakes. I cook with spicy olive oils and spice blends as well. I try to buy good oils and spices so that the flavors are abundant in basics like chicken and eggs.
I add salsa to a lot of things. And cilantro…
Not so much a spice, but a herb that I cannot live without. And together with some spice even more so: Cilantro, jalapeño lime chicken*? Um, yes. In a tortilla? Hell yes.Check out Oaktown Spice Shop for fresh, high-quality herbs & spices and hand-mixed blends.
On everything. Every day. No, but really. Nothing but love for avocados and their deliciousness!
Again, I’m thankful that I live in California where avocados are around a lot longer during the year than in other places and tend to run on the more affordable end. Guacamole is one of my favorite things to make and take to parties too. Invite me over, I’ll bring it!
Don’t get me wrong I love rice. But, not only does quinoa pack a nutritious punch, it is even quicker and easier to make!
I usually walk in the door from teaching, throw it on the stove to boil while I’m getting my greens out and then I turn the burners off and hop in the shower while it sits. By the time I come back out it’s almost ready. And yes, that is how my life often works. I come home starving from class and need to eat, shower, catch up on emails and calls, wind down and get ready for bed within a few hours.
Bananas & Think Thin Bars
My body craves potassium; likely because of the amount of sweating I do on a daily basis!
I eat at least one banana every single day, usually within a few minutes of getting up. Since that also tends to be a pre-workout meal, I eat it with a Think Thin bar (creamy peanut butter is my go-to). It took me a long time to find a bar that didn’t give me a stomach ache while training (especially running or being upside down) and was able keep me satiated long enough to actually get through the work out.
I’m not a huge fan of the name of these bars because it sounds like a diet bar, but it has some vitamins, a good amount of digestible (for me) protein and I like the taste. So that wins out over the name.
Together, a banana and a bar, are my first breakfast on most days. (Second breakfast is usually more substantial like eggs or oatmeal after training). Because they both digest easily for me, sometimes I use them as pre-workout or pre-teaching snacks later in the day too.
I’m obsessed! I don’t just have a ridiculous tea collection, but I also have a ridiculous ensemble of special tea equipment like electric kettles, teapots, strainers, and iced tea pitchers!
I actually think I’m a bit of a tea snob. I carry tea with me everywhere in case I don’t like the kind that is offered wherever I go. Who does that? There are usually one or two bags in my wallet, my backpack, my gym bag, and about 10 in my car. Like I said, ridiculous!
Green and white teas are my favorite. Peet’s Jasmine Fancy or Jasmine Downy Pearls and David’s Tea anything. I just found a new chocolate flavored oolong called Choconut that is amazing. I drink tea off and on all day long, but in the morning some green tea is my sunrise in a cup.
Again, obsessed! I think there is a reason I don’t drink alcohol and that is because I have a bit of an addictive nature about me!
Thankfully I’m addicted to tea and coconut water instead. When I was a kid, my mom used to buy coconuts (we both love them) and let me drink the coconut milk after we opened it. So I already had an affinity for coconut-flavored anything.
I first tried coconut water when I was living in Costa Rica in college. They sell it on the street there and everyone raves about how good it is for you. It is a bit of an acquired taste, but I did like it.
Where I was sold on coconut water was when I was in Cuba. It was a blazing hot day and we had been walking around for hours, I felt super light-headed and thought I might actually pass out. We found a guy selling coconut water straight out of the young coconuts. I bought one out of desperation and it completely revived me.
Done. Sold. Addict born!
I have tried a million brands of the coconut water that is sold here in the US and my favorite non-flavored version is C2O . It has the best, light flavor that makes a lot of naysayers actually change their minds about the taste. My favorite flavored version is the Zico chocolate. Something about chocolate and coconut together. All day every day, please and thank you!
A more recent obsession of mine!
(I swear I drink water too along with all these other beverages I consume!) I don’t have my own juicer (yet) but I have made it a thing to test out various juice brands and shops everywhere I go.
I don’t do juice fasts for many reasons, but I do like that I can supplement my fruits and veggies intake with a juice here and there. I wasn’t too sure about green juices at first (which I now realize makes zero sense given my love of greens) but I am now a huge fan. And beets. I don’t like to actually eat beets, but pressed into some juice, yes sir!
Almond butter, chicken, salmon, greek yogurt, eggs, dark chocolate, balsamic vinegar, garbanzo beans, hearts of palm, carrot and celery sticks, lentils, berries…I could go on.
I don’t usually have time to cook elaborate meals…
I come and go all day long and often get home late and super hungry. But, I actually like to eat a lot of things that don’t require elaborate preparation, so it works out!
Like many people, on days that I do have extra time, I try to make a bunch of food that I can easily grab from for multiple days.
Usually that’s Sundays, but sometimes it’s a random day during the week when I have a chunk of time in the middle of the day.
I’m not a fan of a lot of rules, especially when it comes to eating!
There are things I don’t eat, but it’s because I don’t like them or my body doesn’t like them. Pork, raw tomatoes, most deep-fried items, for example. I mentioned before that I don’t berate myself for eating something less healthy (I dislike labeling things as “bad”) or really worry about it that much given that I eat very healthy most of the time.
I just try to be conscious of what I put in my body because it will impact my day. I know that if I eat a lot of sugar, my energy levels will spike and drop. That will affect my training. I know if I don’t eat enough or if I eat too much, that will affect my performance as well. As long as I am mindful about all of these things, it is not a big deal to me.
Are six packs made in the kitchen? Yeah, maybe they are. You know what else is made in the kitchen? Love, memories, family bonding and some damn deliciousness.
Stay tuned for next week’s Workout & Training post by Shauna Harrison!
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