I had a conversation the other day with someone about what is and what isn’t healthy in terms of food. We batted around a few things like potato chips, soft drinks, lunch meat, etc., and agreed on all the different foods we discussed. It’s not rocket science after all, and most of the information out on popular foods has been known for quite a while (although sometimes things change, like with eggs).
At the end of the conversation, the man I was talking to said, “but every now and then you need to eat something that tastes good”. Although I agreed with him, and stated that it is ok to have a cup of ice cream once or twice a week, or a cheeseburger once or twice a month, does eating healthy mean you have to live on a diet of cardboard?
There are many foods that I like that provide flavor and satisfaction to the taste buds. Fruit, in moderation, is an example. I say moderation because of the sugar content. Yes it is better than processed sugar, but it is still sugar. We can get into that later.
As for the aforementioned fruit, blueberries are my favorite, primarily because of the nutritional value, and, I find them delicious. I make multi-grain pancakes now and then, and add blueberries and pecans to the mix. Top them with some natural butter (Kerrygold, the low sodium version), and real maple syrup, and I’m not sure if there is anything that tastes better.
I know that some people don’t like seafood. I do, so that makes it easy for me. Salmon cooked just right, topped with garlic and lemon, or with a dab of that Kerrygold butter and herbs, served with brown rice drizzled in olive oil with garlic and pepper is a great healthy combination that can taste, if prepared properly, fantastic.
If you like meat, that’s ok. On thing that is recommended almost unanimously is to consider what you eat, eats. In other words, natural beef or chicken (beware of the word natural, it is not something that is regulated) that is free from hormones, etc., and is free range, grass or grain fed is the healthier choice. Personally, I try to limit red meat to once every one or two weeks, but that’s just me.
For snacks, peanut butter is my favorite. I asked someone in the know once if I could still eat my staple PB and J sandwiches (wheat bread and natural jelly), and stay heart healthy. She said, yes, which made me happy, but then said “eat them without the bread and the jelly”. Of course, then they are not PB and J sandwiches, are they? So, I improvised. Slice a big red apple and smear peanut butter on the wedges. You don’t have to believe me, try it for yourself, it is a satisfying and nutritious snack.
I won’t lie to you, eating healthy is not all that easy. It takes planning, will power, and discipline. Your brain, stomach, and taste buds will be fighting you at first, and they can be very formidable opponents. It’s kind of war of attrition. The longer you stay at it, sooner your enemies will give up and actually join the home team. They will begin to appreciate the flavors of healthy foods. In my case, it is kind of a matter of survival, so my brain joined with me first. I have since won over my stomach and taste buds, although I will say, they get what they want every now and then. That’s ok, remember, moderation is ok.
One last thought along the lines of moderation in regards to healthy eating, you can designate a couple of meals or even a day during the week, where you are going to go off the board and have an unhealthy favorite. Like that greasy cheeseburger, with an order of fries. Or maybe add some potato chips (my personal favorite) along with a sandwich. If it keeps your taste buds happy, then it is a win-win.
This blog isn’t necessarily about dieting. That is another subject and one that I believe best in the hands of professionals like a registered dietician or your doctor. Doctors can advise you based on your personal health situation, although many are not actual dietitians. Walk For The Beat does partner with Stronger U in this area, and more information is available upon request. They provide information to help their clients reach their goals through nutrition and diet (for the lack of a better word). As for us, WFTB, we focus on the heart, because in our humble opinion, it all starts with the heart!