“Healthy food tastes like warm sawdust and lawn trimmings. No salt + no butter + no cream = No flavor. I know I have to eat it, but I’d rather snort fire ants. Oh, and you’ll never find me in a new age “healthy” restaurant. If I’ve never heard of it, I ain’t eatin it.”
Any of this sound familiar? Do you heave a sigh at the thought of healthy eating out? A new breed of “stealth health” restaurants think lots of folks share this mistrust of healthy restaurant fare. So they downplay their health food stance. Lest you be scared away.
It’s assumed in today’s health conscious environment a restaurant offering healthy options should tout its waist slimming options. That marketing strategy brought Jared from Subway into our consciousness. And Subway record profits.
But for restaurants like Season’s 52, their healthy standards take a back seat to flavors created in the kitchen. It’s a noble idea, but the aforementioned Subway success makes me think promoting healthy food intentions doesn’t hurt.
In fact, I live just down the street from a Season’s 52 and wasn’t aware their concept before reading this Washington Post article. Now I’m enticed to go. Maybe I’m in the minority. Maybe most folks still want the option of getting a meatball marinara footlong covered in melting cheese.
This is not me. I’d remember being in a room that white.
Last week I confessed what I do wrong in maintaining my health. It was a mildly uncomfortable, but helpful, exercise. I hope it prompted you to do the same.
Today, I begin to resuscitate my self esteem. It’s time to celebrate what I do right:
I cook regularly. Michael Polian’s new book Cooked asserts cooking at home is the path to healthy living. I think he’s right.
I always eat healthy at work. I eat roughly half my weekly meals at work. If I’m eating healthy 50% of the time I can screw up more off the clock.
I try new ways to exercise. At different times I’ve been moderately obsessed with jogging, swimming laps (yes, I own a speedo), pounding a heavy bag, weight lifting, and circuit training. I’ve recently begun taking hot yoga classes. A new obsession is blooming.
I stay active. I don’t mean “workout” active. I mean walking to get groceries, working in the yard, playing golf, and generally staying on my feet. I try to reserve sitting for eating, driving, and watching sports.
I keep junk food out of my house. See: Most Important Diet Tip Ever.
Don’t forget to tell me what you do right!
I’ve been in a rut. Since early November I’ve eaten poorly and exercised infrequently. Repeated attempts to restart a healthy lifestyle, even using this blog as forum for a public shaming, have produced mixed results.
Perhaps it was the distraction and stress of a pending addition to our family that pushed me to junk food and gym excuses. Call it pregnancy sympathy weight. No matter. I’ve neglected healthy habits and now sport burgeoning love handles.
You’re likely not interested in my tales of woe. As Paulie Walnuts said, “Hey, I got my own f****** problems.” But in working my way back to happy habits I’ve taken an honest look at what holds me back.
We can all benefit from being honest with ourselves. I’ll start. Here’s what I do wrong:
I love beer. For those that know me this is no surprise. But knocking back even a light beer means pouring on 100 calories. I’m not becoming a teetotaler by any stretch, but fewer suds can only help my 5K time.
I can’t resist temptation. During her pregnancy, it was everywhere. She wants cookie dough ice cream, she gets cookie dough ice cream. Unfortunately, it means I get cookie dough ice cream too.
I over indulge on holiday-ish. I ignore my own advice. From the last Thursday in November to the end of Bowl season I eat with little concern for calories or content.
I give in to weekly habits. Sunday feels like pizza night, doesn’t it? It certainly seems so around my house. I can’t give up pizza. But I need a better reason than, “It’s Sunday.”
I write down fitness goals, then ignore them. “A goal without a plan is a only a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
In an effort to regain some self esteem I also recognized five things I do right. I’ll post those pick me ups next week. (Always start with the bad news….)
My Pistachio Stash
Back in college my roommates and I would regularly buy a bag of peanuts the size of a toddler. We’d prop it up against the coffee table and get to cracking. A small trash can was held between our feet, ostensibly to catch falling shells.
This set up wasn’t perfect. Wayward shell remnants reached the floor with regularity. Being college kids, we didn’t particularly care our living room floor developed the ambiance of country western bar.
Indeed, as our parents would ghastly attest to, peanut shells on the floor wasn’t cleanliness issue #1 at our higher education residence. I believe they’d cite something about a “blackened bathtub”.
Now that I have a wife, the bathtub is regularly scrubbed and peanut shells crunching underfoot is frowned upon. But I’ve found a great way to keep the cracking and snacking going from the comfort of my couch. Enter the Pistachio.
Pistachio’s harder shell doesn’t crunch as easily as the peanut, making managing fragments much easier. Plus a dropped shell won’t lose its integrity beneath my foot.
As a bonus, pistachios are healthier than peanuts. They’re packed with Vitamins B1 & B6 and carry more heart healthy fats. Like other nuts, they do pack a caloric punch. On heaping handful carries about 230 calories. But those fiber rich calories fill you up making pistachios a great snack.
There’s also something called the “Pistachio Principle”. Apparently all that cracking makes us eat less. It also applies to peanuts. Weird, in college four guys would polish a large bag in no time. Perhaps there were other factors at play.
I was in Barnes and Noble last afternoon and stumbled across the diet book section. A dizzying number of authors have apparently cracked the weight loss code. And they’ve been thoughtful enough to share their discoveries in easy to follow steps to melting away fat.
How does one choose from so many wonderful step-by-step diet strategies? Luckily, someone much smarter than me has provided an excellent answer. Dr. David Katz summarized the intermingling of all these diet theories perfectly in his article “No One Thing”.
In short, he says everyone is right. But everyone is wrong. For example, both a vegan diet and the Mediterranean diet have positive aspects, but in his words:
If the most ardent proponents of a vegan diet are right, the proponents of the Mediterranean diet must be wrong.
He goes on to explain that no dieting philosophy sees the whole picture but each is right for the assertions they make in their area of preference. Except, notably, “Six Weeks to OMG” (subtitle: Get skinnier than all your friends).
It’s a notion illustrated best in the parable he introduces “The Blind Men and the Elephant“. I’d never heard this parable before, but I’m now assured of using it often enough my children will roll their eyes as I use it to illustrate one the numerous life lessons I’m sure to bestow.
Another lessson: Never read anything entitled “Six Weeks to OMG”.
Ever use the gum trick? I use it often at work to prevent overeating or mindless snacking. All that’s needed is a pack of your favorite chew-able
The gum trick is simply popping a stick of gum when you’re finished eating. Or better yet, before you’re finished. It serves two purposes, freshening your breath and making your taste buds unwilling to accept more interlopers.
Consider this: Have you ever eaten after brushing your teeth? Likely not. Not only is eating post brushing counterintuitive, it also gives your chosen dish an unnatural minty finish. I wish my 23 year old self had that kind of common sense when downing a beer shortly after a pre-night out teeth cleaning. Ok, my 33 year old self…
In any event, the gum trick serves the same purpose. Next time you find yourself in a position to mindlessly munch, pop a stick instead. Eat less, have better hygiene
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve given up bacon. It’s surprisingly painful to say out loud.
Before I’m put on suicide watch, let me clarify. I’ve not eliminated bacon completely from my diet, just from my daily breakfast sandwich.
It once consisted of egg , cheddar, and crispy bacon on a whole grain roll. Now only the egg and cheddar remain. Several dollups of Siracha have gallantly tried to pick up the slack in bacon’s absence.
I know eating bacon every day isn’t good for your health. All that added salt and fat. I had always tried to minimize the fat by nuking my strips on paper towels. The salt, and I supposed nitrates, I ignored. Or, rather, celebrated.
But they’re all gone now. And I’ve grudgingly adjusted to the lack of crispiness in my sandwich. I’ve also adjusted to mildly lower grocery bills.
So the horrible thing I’ve done has made me a little healthier, and a little richer. Think about what can you cut from your diet to deliver that kind of effect.
I’m betting it’s not as drastic as giving up the heaven endowed gift of bacon.