Eating Healthy Does Not Have to Taste Like S**T!
Food for Thought (a.k.a. A challenge for YOU!)
Chapter 1: Setting the stage (a.k.a. The background and context)
Talk about a cool topic for one of MY Food for Thought Blogs.
In this case healthy and Nutritious food.
And contrary to popular belief,
Healthy and Nutritious does not have to equate to
“tastes like s**t” and/or,
“takes too long” and/or,
“way too hard” and/or,
“insert YOUR excuse here”. 🙂
Now, before you remind me that I have a background in accounting,
And not in nutrition,
I would like to remind you that I learn by doing,
And I have been doing and learning a lot about nutrition recently.
So, I thought that I would share some of these learnings with you
Share them in case anyone wants to steal a few ideas to leverage for yourself.
And/or with your loved ones.
As mentioned in my blog on “How I lost close to 100 pounds of body fat”
One of the benefits of my healthier lifestyle was that it started rubbing off on others.
Including my kids.
What a nice additional reward for MY efforts.
Rubbing off more on my son but I am continuing to work on my daughter. 🙂
By working, I mean trying to influence by acting as a positive role model.
I also do the grocery shopping so that helps. 🙂
I have come a long way on the heathier eating front over the past couple of years.
The change has been like night and day.
I am hoping that sharing MY story,
Will help inspire others to become healthier.
So here is my story
Hopefully there is something in here to inspire YOU!
But before I get going,
I will mention that I did spend some time with a Nutritionist on this one.
I am also cheating on this one as well.
Although it is a food for thought blog and not one of MY top 5 or Top 10 list Blogs,
I have decided to come up with a top 5 list as a take-away from this one.
As part of coming up with that list, I challenged Valerie,
the Nutritionist that I worked with,
to come up with an initial top 5 list.
I would come up with one as well.
And then we would get together and compare lists.
The Top 5 list that I am sharing with YOU below is the result
Of the insights and ideas that came from that exercise,
Enjoy the ride
And Thanks Valerie for your ideas and input. 🙂
Oh, and before I forget to mention it,
I am writing this blog from a nice little “café”
The food is mouth wateringly good,
and you guessed it.
Nutritious to boot. 😊
If you are ever in Montreal,
I strongly suggest that you visit Nigelle Café
And meet Ninon and her team; Amélie, Melissa, Nat and Pam.
Let’s get to that list.
The top 5 ways that I was able to change my habit of NOT eating healthy stuff to eating healthy stuff, and actually enjoying it! and as an added bonus,
“The Top 1 WAY that I am maintaining my new healthy lifestyle.”
After all, it has been well over a year now,
A period of time over which 9 out of 10 people are not able to maintain a new habit. ☹
Chapter 2: Exploring the topic (a.k.a. researching and connecting)
Exploring the topic.
More like tasting the topic.
Kind of a cool way to explore something.
Kefir and Chia seeds anyone?
Kefir and Chia seeds.
That is what I have for breakfast most days.
I did not even know what either of those were a couple of years ago.
I also include some yoghurt, and blueberries and almonds and a few other items.
Including cinnamon and cacao.
Don’t forget the spices.
Easy way to add some nutrients to any meal.
What is in it, is less interesting, than the fact that I eat it almost every day,
and love it.
And it is healthy.
In the right proportions, it is.
As Valerie was quick to point out to me, too much of a good thing is less of a good thing.
Don’t forget about portion sizes
5 almonds and not 10 moving forward.
Got you. 🙂
Although I am not a Nutritionist,
And nor do I aspire to be one,
I do have some credentials in this space.
They are not from an association or institution of learning per se,
They are from the school of Life.
I learned so much from my recent life transformation.
I learned so much because I experienced so much myself,
And I also learned a lot from others.
I was like a sponge.
I was open to try any and all suggestions.
Try new things
Beg, Borrow and steal ideas.
Whatever could work.
Work in allowing me to live a healthier life.
And to have more energy to enjoy that life.
Day in and day out!
Unlike my previous blogs in which my research often consists of a google search,
My research for this one has taken me well over a year.
I feel like I have read every healthy eating cookbook, magazine and blog out there,
I spent a couple of sessions with a nutritionist,
one of which was a detailed deep dive into what I ate.
Right down to the number of crackers and size of my chicken breast.
I highly recommend this a good starting point for anyone,
who is either starting out their journey to healthy eating,
and/or those of you well down the path but have not yet done so.
It was a real eye opener for me.
Oh and by the way,
feel free to go crazy on the vegetables.
Most of us just don’t seem to be eating enough of them. 🙁
A very special person also taught me a lot about health and nutrition,
I now know what organic means!
And she made it fun. 🙂
I am grateful to her for sharing a lot of what she knew with me.
Seems like a lot of it has stuck. 🙂
My exploration for food also had me visiting a few new grocery stores.
Organic food and “The dirty dozen”. Say what?
Yikes! Lots to learn.
Good thing that my son Shayne was on the ball.
“Um, and Dad, that soup has more than half your recommended annual salt intake”.
Yikes! O.k. Maybe I will take a pass on that can.
“Oh, and Dad. The picture on this blog. What’s with the giant container of Orange juice?
Not getting enough extra sugar Dad?”
“Oh, and look at the ingredient label on that no calorie, zero sugar, drink.
Sound healthy to you Dad?”
In hindsight, I kind of wish that I had named my blog
“How I lost 100 pounds of body fat” differently.
“How I started living a healthier lifestyle”.
Because that is really what I set out to do.
I did not have any weight loss target in mind.
In fact, I had no clue at the time that I would lose so much fat.
I just decided that I wanted to eat better,
even if that just meant eating less,
I just decided that I wanted to exercise more,
Even if that just meant a walk around the block to start off with.
Before you knew it, I started to gain momentum.
And then the weight just started to come off.
And before you knew it,
I started feeling really energized.
I wanted to do more.
More of the things that made me feel energize and healthy,
And less of the things that did not.
And before you knew it.
I was buying a whole lot of new clothes.
Size Medium clothes versus Extra Large. 🙂
Oh, and one final thought,
And then I promise I will get to the discussion on food.
My new healthy lifestyle.
Which includes healthy eating.
Includes some other elements as well.
Or enablers, as I like to call them.
Enablers that helped ME to not only become healthier,
But to also stay healthier.
They were a bit of a package deal.
I am not sure I could have done one without the other.
Surely it would have been more difficult
Those enablers are besides EAT (the topic of this blog), are
Exercise gives me energy.
I find I am more prone to making more nutritious decisions when energized,
Than when I am not.
Like sitting in font TV. Pass me the chips and dip please 🙁
Adequate sleep gives me energy.
7-9 hours a night is what I have read as being recommended for an adult.
When I am tired, I have a tendency to not make the,
shall we say, the wisest decisions. 🙁
More water. More tea. Coffee within reason.
Less sugar water (a.k.a. soda pop and yes, fruit juice)
Less alcohol (lots of sugar in wine and a 6 pack of beer, not to mention the “munchies” effect 🙁 ).
I introduced some of you to one of my arch nemeses in my blog
“Let’s talk about my bout with clinical depression”
I even had a picture of one of my favourite meals.
And that was only for lunch, you should have seen the size of my dinners. 🙁
So, although the physical YOU is a key enabler to a healthier YOU.
So is the Emotional YOU
Not to mention those around YO.
Conjuring up the mental discipline sometimes works better,
If those around you are supportive.
They don’t have to join you but a little support and encouragement
Is usually appreciated.
“Can you move that big bowl of chips out of reach please 🙁 ”.
By the way.
If you are looking for some ideas on the healthy
Eat, Move , Sleep front,
check out Tom Rath’s book , aptly named
“Eat Move Sleep: How small choices lead to big changes”.
I have incorporated more than a few in my routines.
Chapter 3: My takeaway(s) (a.k.a. What I have I learned? How have I grown?)
So, without further ado, here you go:
The top 5 ways that I was able to change my habit of NOT eating healthy stuff to eating healthy stuff, and actually enjoying it!
#1 Make It Yummy (Healthy but Yummy)
As you start to explore how you can replace some of your less healthy food choices,
with healthier ones.
Here is a little test that you can try that might be helpful.
It works for food at home and at restaurants if you eat out and/or travel a lot.
There is no app yet so you will have to do it the old-fashioned way.
Here it is:
If it tastes like shit! Don’t eat it! 😊
Or drink it! 😊
My approach to eating healthy and exercising more is quite simple.
It should be a pleasant experience.
Before, during and after.
Someone told me that you can’t get in shape and lose weight unless you break a sweat.
I lost 100 pounds of fat and never did.
I persisted because I enjoyed what I was doing and wanted to do more.
NOT because I had someone telling me to go do it.
(i.e. a personal trainer or that little voice in our heads, or a loved one who is worried about you) ☹
There are enough choices out there for you to find something that you like to eat that tastes good.
There are enough choices out there for you to find a balance
of the right nutrients for your body without having to eat something that is not yummy.
For example, I can’t for the life of me, cook up a tasty piece of salmon.
I have heard that Salmon is very healthy but until I find a recipe that works,
I will try and get the nutrients that salmon provides from another fish or food item.
Or when I visit a restaurant that cooks one up that is tasty and healthy.
It might take YOU a while to find the right items.
Some might even be new for you.
In my case, a few new items include chia seeds, lentils, kefir, tempeh and kale)
It might take YOU a while to find the right places (i.e. restaurants)
Although this is getting easier as more restaurants are adding healthy items to their menus.
Healthier items that also taste good.
Oh and by the way.
There are APPs out there to help you find them.
And remember, your food is supposed to be Yummy.
Take your time while eating it and enjoy it.
Give your stomach a chance to let your brain know that it is full.
Putting your food in a blender and inhaling it through a funnel
In order for you to have more time to wade through your emails
might seem productive,
but you will likely pay for it later on when your energy levels drop,
and with it your productivity.
#2 Make it Informed (a.k.a. a Healthy Choice by Choice)
If it looks healthy it must be healthy.
That is a quick test that I found out the hard way does not work.
I was all proud of myself one day while waiting to board a flight at the airport.
Instead of ordering some greasy breakfast sandwich that had enough fat in it to last me the week,
I had ordered a coffee, orange juice and a yoghourt with blueberries and granola.
I was feeling pretty good about my decision. 😊
And then I decided to read the label.
And lots of it.
O.k. so that is what the labels are there for.
So, that I can make informed decisions.
I now travel with a couple of breakfast bars in case I cannot find a low sugar yoghourt
Or some other healthy substitute.
And fruit juice has been replaced with fruit.
Read the labels!
Consult the APPs!
Ask the waiter/waitress!
Read an article on food ingredients!
Watch a webinar!
Listen to a blog!
Book a session with a Nutritionist!
Some of the above!
All of the above!
It is all out there.
And easily accessible these days (and getting easier).
It does not have to take a lot of time to increase one’s level of wisdom on the healthy eating front.
And remember this is your health that we are talking about.
And your level of energy.
It does not get any more important than that.
Oh, and one more thought on this one.
A friend taught me a few tricks.
When reading the label, look at more than just the amount of sugar, and % of daily vitamins etc.
Look at the ingredients.
Fewer ingredients often mean less processing.
And supposedly processing (a.k.a. processed food) is not a good thing.
Also, look at the order of the ingredients.
If sugar or sucrose or glucose come up as the first ingredients they might be one of the main ingredients.
Just because no “sugar added” is mentioned (often by the marketing department of the vendor),
there could be other sweeteners.
And the last little trick.
If you don’t know what the ingredient is, then,
it is likely an additive with questionable nutritious benefits.
When it comes to number of ingredients, less is more.
#3 MISS (Make it Simple Stupid)
Make It Simple Stupid.
Similar to the KISS principle (Keep it Simple Stupid).
When I first started exploring healthy eating,
I went a bit overboard.
I was shopping at all kinds of different stores,
Making everything from scratch.
It was fast becoming a full-time job.
I have no regrets on the initial approach,
I learned a lot in the process.
It allowed me to find a level of balance,
A sweet spot that works for me.
Call it my learning curve.
I learned that if I did not have a healthy food option handy,
It was easy to make the wrong decisions nutrition wise.
My stomach and eyes and nose started making the decisions
and not the rational me. ☹
I found that when I opened my fridge and there was a salad, I would grab it
So, I now prepare my salads on Sundays
In front of a movie or hockey game
Alone or with my son.
I try and make it fun as opposed to a chore.
For those who are not into the cooking and preparing,
There are services that will deliver healthy food already prepped.
We will also cook up a big batch of spaghetti sauce or chili.
We will eat one over the course of the week and freeze the rest.
Again, for those of you who are not into the cooking,
there are other options but be weary of additives and processing.
If the healthy options are not close at hand,
I am tempted to grab at a bunch of other readily available but
less healthy and fulfilling options.
When I cut up veggies and fruit and place them in full view in the fridge,
it is easy to snack on,
I snack on it and so do my kids.
If not, I start snacking on the easiest thing I can get my hands on,
crackers, a mouthful of granola, a big chunk of cheese etc.
whatever is close by and easy to eat.
Hard to maintain a balance across food groups and proper portions using this approach.
By make it, I also mean, make it a habit.
I often eat at the same time.
I often eat the same thing,
especially when I have less time, like on weekday mornings.
I can put together my kefir and fruit bowl in less than 2 minutes now. 😊
My snacks in the morning and afternoon take me less time to put together
than for my tea to brew.
And for those times when I am not home,
I always carry around some health bars in my computer and gym bag.
The ones with a lot of fibre, protein, and not a lot of sugar.
And one last thought on this one.
Make it equally Simple NOT to eat crap
- Don’t buy it
- Keep it out of sight
- Keep it far, far away
#4 Make it Count (the Accountant in ME 😊)
In accounting, we have a metric that we like to use a lot.
It is called ROI.
Return On Investment.
In this case I have come up with one for healthy eating,
Return On Input.
Input being what we put INTO our bodies.
Given the choice between two health bars of the same size,
One with 16 grams of protein and 3 grams of sugar.
And one with 2 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar.
Guess which one has the highest ROI?
And if the latter provides you with more fiber as well,
then an even higher ROI.
Oh, and don’t forget exercise.
It comes into play on the ROI side of things.
Food provides you with energy.
Exercise (a.k.a. moving) consumes energy.
There is an important link between the two.
The more you move, the more energy you require.
The more you consume the more you will need to replace.
And when it comes to replacing.
A bottle of orange juice and a high sugar content powerbar
do not score high on the ROI scale. 🙁
You will likely be coming down from that sugar rush,
Just as quickly as you spiked up it.
And one other input for you to consider,
and in this case, the more of it, the merrier.
That input is water. Close to 50% of your body is water.
Make it simple, keep a bottle handy.
#5 Balance, Balance, Balance
A balance in the French language means a scale.
The type that one would use to weigh themselves.
The results of which are often somewhat distressing if not depressing.
The number of people who are overweight and obese just keeps growing.
One in four adult Canadians and one in 10 children have clinical obesity.
The statistics in the U.S. are equally dismal if not worse.
I was one of them. Obese that is.
Not only did it take a physical toll on me, it took a mental and emotional one as well.
I am grateful and thankful to no longer be in that nasty place.
Now, in this case, in this blog,
balance refers to a balance between the various food groups.
(i.e. fruits and vegetables, grain products, milk and alternatives, meat and alternatives)
and a balance in the nutrients that allow you to live a healthy and energized life.
(i.e. Iron, Vitamins, Omega-3 Fatty acids etc..)
I am sure that there are a few other states of balance that I have omitted.
Let me know if I have.
Do I have a test for this one?
How about the KD test.
If you are subsisting on Kraft Dinner then you probably lack balance in you diet.
If you are a meat and potatoes “Guy” or “Gal” and have trouble identifying even the most
common vegetables then you probably lack balance in your diet.
Mix it up.
The more the merrier,
Just remember proper portion sizes and balance.
Oh, and an occasional cheat.
Maybe when people are not looking?
Or maybe when out for a special occasion with friends?
But, the key word here is occasional.
Yes, that was me with my son at five guys before the Hockey game the other night 😊
And as for the Bonus,
“The Top 1 WAY that I am maintaining my new healthy lifestyle”
Drum role please.
It is 1 word!
Starts with an A!
Here you go…
In coaching, they say that awareness is 9/10th of the battle.
I am not sure who “they” are but I am starting to believe them. 😊
I will try and explain it with an example.
A recent one.
It happened to me last night.
(by the way I am no longer writing at Nigelle Café, it is a week later and I am at home).
I went down to my basement to grab something and the pantry door was open.
I had just eaten and did not need any more food.
I noticed a cookie in the pantry.
A somewhat healthy one.
A lunch snack for my daughter.
I go by the pantry all the time and pay no heed to it.
But now, here I was staring at it.
Immediately a little voice went off in my head.
Don’t eat it. Don’t eat it. Don’t eat it.
What did I do?
I grabbed it and went upstairs and ate it.
And then I decided I was no longer going to go to the gym.
I love going to the gym.
I look forward to it all week and now,
I no longer wanted to go to the gym.
That is when I stopped dead in my tracks.
I ate a cookie that I did not need to eat!
I no longer want to go to the gym!
What is happening here?
That is what I mean by becoming aware
I was aware that something was not right?
The first thing that I wanted to do once I realized that something was not right.
Was to try figure out what that might be.
Was there anything different that had happened to me recently?
Yes, there was.
My daughter had a tummy ache the other night and she spent the night in bed next to me?
She held on to her heating pad next to me.
In a lot of pain. 🙁
I rubbed her back the whole time in the hopes that would help.
Remember I am an accountant and not a medical professional.
Needless to say, neither of us got much sleep that night.
Not much at all.
I also have an eye infection which is a bit painful.
I then asked myself how I was feeling.
Turns out that I had gone through some very emotional experiences over the past couple of days.
They were new emotions for me and I was still trying to figure them out.
Lots going on!
I can see how that would have an impact on my eating habits.
And my exercise routine.
Good thing that I did not have a cake or bag of chips in the pantry. 😊
So, what did I do?
It was 5:30 pm.
I went to bed.
I dusted off the TV in my bedroom and watched a movie.
I was asleep by 9pm.
As for the emotions part.
What I was feeling at that time.
In this case, feeling a bit down.
A friend recently introduced me to someone who has a site with some quotes on it.
I liked this one,
“Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.”
So, I let them pass through me.
In this case while I was watching a good movie. 😊
It seems to have worked.
When my alarm went off this morning.
I was back on my treadmill.
Reading on of my books.
Drinking my lemon water.
And that feeling of being down?
Seems like eons ago that I felt that way.
I am back to that excited feeling that I have come to really enjoy. 😊
Thank You Awareness!
And Thank You Dave (i.e. ME) for stopping to both understand and address it.
Chapter 4: MY Challenge to YOU (An opportunity for YOU to learn and grow.)
Optional of course. Like everything in Life. YOUR CHOICE!
Are YOU Ready for a challenge?
If Yes, here YOU GO!
I invite you to try just one new thing this week.
To make one change to your eating habits.
It could be doing less of something (i.e. reducing YOUR portion size) or,
It could be doing something different (i.e. adding some lentils to YOUR Spaghetti Sauce) or,
It could be trying something new (i.e. the dinner salad on the menu at YOUR favourite restaurant)
Just do it.
And then do it again.
And when YOU are ready,
Try something else.
Remember the top 5.
Keep it as yummy and simple and fun as possible.
Make it easy on Yourself,
And not stressful on Yourself.
Before YOU know it,
YOU will be starting to not only eat healthier,
YOU will actually be enjoying it.
Oh, and if YOU are looking for some company,
DO it with a colleague or friend or family member.
After all, it isn’t just misery that loves company. 🙂
Now, if YOU don’t mind I am going to finish my delicious, chick pea, apple and onion salad that Ninon and her staff have prepared for ME.
Well, that’s all folks.
Looking at making a positive CHANGE in YOUR Life?
What would that change be?
MAKING THAT CHANGE A REALITY!
Make that change a reality and explore Life Coaching at the same time by participating in my “Life Coaching with Dave Experience”. A great opportunity to experience Life Coaching in a very timely and cost-effective way. The details are on MY website in the 1to1 Coaching Section.
And NO, that is not a typo in the $ rate of the offering. It looks low because it is. I am really trying to encourage YOU and others to give Life Coaching a try.
Items and articles referenced in putting together this STORY
Nigelle Café. 1963 des Carrieres, Montreal (Rosemont). H2G 1W7
Moojie. Goodreads dot com Author Quotes
Obesity in Canada http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/obesity-in-canada
Canada’s Food Guide
Consults with a nutritionist and/or other relevant health professional.
I strongly recommend an initial consult.
FYI – The consult could be covered by your health care insurance plan