Why use healthier ingredients in our recipes at home?
We have one body. It’s our body that God gave to us. How do you treat other gifts? Do you intentionally destroy them? It’s really fascinating the demands we expect our bodies to handle. Scarfing down a bag of tortilla chips, guacamole, sour cream before the entree arrives at our mexican dinner out. Knocking back two or three margaritas. Or, eating ourselves silly at parties, BBQ weekends, during the holidays and expecting to wake up looking hot, sexy, and bikini. Our bodies were made to move. Instead we sit for hours watching television, typing at our computers, reading books and magazines… anything but doing what we were designed for which is to move.
Sure, it’s not logical to think that on a rare occasion we eat to way past our heart’s content, drink a few too many martinis, and don’t feel up to exercising. It’s not the rare occasion we should be concerned about. It’s the day to day that counts.
Foods and beverages are fuel for our body. Fuel that we need to think straight, function properly, and fuel for exercise like running, swimming, playing ball with our kids and friends. What type of fuel are you putting into your body?
Fuels (foods) that clog:
*High sugar snacks like pop tarts, snack cakes, store bought pudding, muffin mixes, cereals
*High fat snacks like corn chips, store bought cheese dip, squeezy cheese out of a can, snack crackers
*High calorie, high fat foods like store bought pizza, restaurant-style pizza, buffalo wings
*High sugar beverages like sodas, packaged tea drinks, energy drinks
*High starch foods like baking potatoes, french fries, pasta
*Fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, pretty much anything fried
*Fat laden dishes like scalloped potatoes, lasagne, fettucine alfredo
The list is endless. Take a look at your diet. Are these the foods you eat everyday? You can pretty much tell what you eat everyday by peeking inside your pantry and refrigerator. What do you see? Is your pantry stocked full of packaged foods like chips and a lot of those items listed above? What about your refrigerator? What’s in there? Packaged meals, sodas… check out the freezer… what do you see? Frozen dinners, frozen pizza, frozen packaged snacks??? These are sure fire fuel and body cloggers.
Fuels (foods) that clean:
*Fiber rich foods like FRESH apples, broccoli, kale, grapefruit, cherries, leeks, tomatoes
*Lean protein rich foods like FRESH salmon, chicken, turkey, tuna
*Natural sugar and low sugar snacks like almonds, walnuts, fresh berries
Are you seeing the trend? Packaged foods, in general, clog your system and bog it down by loading in sugar, fat, and empty calories. Most of the time, they are packed with sodium which keeps you wanting more. Envision it now…. munch, munch, ummmm that’s good, I think I’ll have some more. Munch, munch, munch. Before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole box of Chicken Biscuits or corn chips. Then you wash it down with a tasty sugar-rich Coca-Cola. “Ummmm, (wipe your mouth) boy, that was good. I’m still hungry. What should I eat next?” Yep, I’ve been there, I know. How do you break the cycle? You just stop. Stop buying the boxes and visit the produce aisle!
While I realize that breaking unhealthy habits is not going to happen in one day, I encourage you to start today by incorporating small, wise, tasty, healthier choices into your daily activities. Next time you are at the store, instead of buying Top Ramen, buy a freshly made soup from the deli. Or better yet, make your list to include make a simple chicken soup at home. Buy the roasted chicken, a package of fettucini noodles (whole wheat or quinoa noodles, even better), celery and some non-fat, low sodium chicken broth. Go home and have homemade chicken noodle soup within 20 minutes.
Think about what fresh foods you like. There’s corn in corn chips. But instead of grabbing the processed corn chips, choose healthier fresh corn. Buy a fresh ear of corn, soak it in water for 30 minutes, husk and all, and throw it on the grill for about 20 minutes. YUM! Remove the husk before eating, of course. 🙂 There’s sugar in muffin mix… love blueberry muffins? Go online, or better, yet, search my website for recipes, and make fresh blueberry muffins at home. When making them from scratch at home you skip the preservatives found in pre-made mixes, you get to determine how much sugar goes in the recipe, and make it a family event… get your kids to help you! These are the types of family fun activities we all remember.
Other ways to incorporate healthy ingredients into your diet… chop up fresh cilantro, dill, or Italian parsley and throw it into your recipes like salads, even as a garnish on grilled chicken or steak. Making a dessert? Add a fiber, protein rich food like cooked quinoa. Adding little bits of healthier choices may seem like a small change but these small changes can have a big impact. Making small changes regularly will begin to influence your entire lifestyle pattern. By incorporating fresh foods, herbs, and spices into your daily food intake will help you make positive nutritional changes over time. As for exercise, get off the computer or couch and go for a walk around the block. Family dinners? Encourage the family to talk a short walk after dinner, before sunset. Not only does it bring the family together but walking after dinner aids digestion and keeps your metabolism raised, burning more calories.
Choosing to incorporate healthier ingredients into your daily life can help you live longer, feel better about yourself, have more energy, and enjoy life more… eating smart and exercising will improve the quality of your life!
A little bit about Susan:
With her mother’s teachings in her heart, Susan’s passion for cooking took hold. Soon, Susan began working in premiere international restaurants under Master Chefs in Florence, Italy and France. Returning to the United States, Chef Susan began teaching cooking classes for gourmet markets and culinary schools such as Gelson’s, Whole Foods, Chef’s Inc, and Sur La Table as well as preparing dishes for the Women Chefs & Restaurateurs Organization, Young President’s Organization, World President’s Organization, Bloomingdales, Los Angeles Unified School District Nutrition in the Schools program, and Saddleback Valley College, among others.
Visit The Bikini Chef® at her website
Catch The Bikini Chef® on Bikini Lifestyles “Wine Dine and Workout” on AM 790 KABC radio in Los Angeles Saturday nights, 7pm PT or stream LIVE online at http://www.kabc.com Visit: http://www.bikinilifestyles.com Check your local TV listings for Bikini Lifestyles “Wine Dine and Workout” airings in your town!
The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook available for pre-order on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Quinoa-Cookbook/dp/1615641939/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337916843&sr=8-1
In stores: July 3rd, 2012
Other books by The Bikini Chef®:
Substitute Yourself Skinny
Boost Your Metabolism
$7 Healthy Meals
$7 Quick and Easy Meals
$7 Pressure Cooker Meals
Cooking With Susan : Southern Family Favorites