Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Do You Eat....?

So now that it is several days past Thanksgiving and we have all begun to crawl back from carbohydrate comas I thought a post discussing one of the most common questions Mom and I get would be in order.  When we decided to change our lifestyles and become healthier, one of the most important things to consider was our diet.  Previously, I had become a vegetarian due to ethical reasons.  While this change certainly decreased the amount of red meat I consumed it also meant I just swapped breads and pasta for chicken and steak and a 350 lbs. vegetarian was created.  I stuck to the vegetarian diet, even when I received quiet a few surprised looks whenever I told anyone I was a vegetarian.  I could see their eyes grow skeptical as they sized me up and thought "what a fat vegetarian!  I thought that was a myth, like Bigfoot or Yeti's."

So our first step was to ditch the unhealthy vegetarian food items and get back to the basics.  In the summer this meant a lot of salads and fresh fruits and veggies, in the winter big pots of vegetable soups.  Somewhere along the way I decided that mom and I should take the next stop and adopt a vegan diet.  This change has brought even more benefits and has left us truly feeling healthy at last.  While I'm not pushing the vegan diet on anyone else, I can say that personally it helped me drop some of those pesky pounds while leaving me feeling energized and satisfied.  I have found it is hard to be sluggish on kale and spinach!  This transition, was made that much easier with a few food items I would like to share.  These are all quick and easy products that taste great and also just so happen to be good for the environment too.

First up is the so called "miracle noodles" featured on many talk shows, diet cookbooks, and blogs.  We were on the shirataki train well before Rachel Ray decided to splash some EVOO on them and found these noodles to be a great alternative to traditional pasta.  At about 10 calories a serving you could potentially eat the whole bag and still be under 100 calories for a meal.  However there is one caution - these noodles, made of some sort of yam flour, smell extremely strong straight from the bag so follow the directions and wash them well before eating!!

If the thought of yam flour noodles doesn't make the kiddies run to the dinner table another pasta/main dish option we have found is broccoli slaw.  Those bags of pre-shredded ruffage, when steamed and lightly tossed with pasta sauce, make an awesome quick dinner for two.  Again they are extremely low in calories so you don't have to feel guilty going for that second helping.  Another note of warning about these though - if you are new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, broccoli can cause some serious gas.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but the first time mom and I cooked up a big batch of this we created our own soundtrack to Australia as we watched the film later that night.  

Two other products I have come to love are my go to food items for lunch.  First, I am a peanut butter addict and find it difficult not to take spoonfuls of this stuff several times a day.  To combat this addiction I have found the pre-portioned Justin's nut butters to be a great option for me.  Throw this in my lunch bag with a couple puffed cakes and I'm set.  And the cakes I am currently loving are Kim's Magic Pops...we have these at several local grocery stores, and while I don't know who Kim is, I can say her cakes are magic at only 15 calories a piece and great topped with a variety of items like hummus, honey, or yes peanut butter!

So while temptation is all around this time of year, make sure you take some time and plan to have some healthy options on hand...come January 1st when the fitness craze hits everyone, you will be able to smile and strut in jeans that still fit!  

Have you tried one of these products? 

Do you have your own favorite healthy foods or tips to share?

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