Saturday, January 22, 2011

Conscious eating

Over the last two years, since I really committed to a healthy lifestyle, my eating habits have gone through a pretty radical change. Working out with Jake, a former bodybuilder who has a lot of knowledge and interest in nutrition, has had a lot to do with it.

For most of my life I never gave much thought to what I ate and I certainly never planned ahead much. There was a lot of grab-and-go eating. That resulted in a lot of stomach issues and frequent days of feeling horrible for no discernable reason.

This year I finally became a believer in conscious eating and meal planning. I’ve written before how I enjoy using SparkPeople to plan different meal combinations and learn about their macronutrient breakdowns. Many of the food combos I use are derived from Jake, Kurt, and Juliet, part of the bodybuiding contingent at the gym. But I’ve added and changed things to suit my taste and need for variety and to best meet my requirements endurance athlete.

Below is a picture showing some of the meals I’ve had in the past week. Good eating can be yummy and beautiful!!

Top (left to right):
  • Steel cut oats, flax seed meal, raspberries, vanilla extract
  • Ezekiel bread (sprouted grain) with almond butter and two dried figs
  • Ezekiel bread with banana and peanut butter
  • Chicken, brown rice, spinach, and hummus
  • Hard boiled eggs (locally “squeezed”) and Wasa bread
  • Chicken, amaranth, broccoli, flax seed meal, and aminos
  • Flatout wrap with avocado, salsa, chicken, brown rice, and spinach
  • Lean ground turkey, green beans, brown rice, and aminos
  • Cottage cheese, oats, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and splenda
  • Cottage cheese, oranges, sliced almonds, vanilla extract
  • Post-workout whey protein and carbs

The results of giving my body healthier food in the appropriate amounts at the right times are:
  • I feel healthy and have had no stomach or GI issues like in the past
  • I no longer have those random days where I feel like crap
  • I feel lean and agile (bodyfat around 13% from the last skinfold)
  • My energy levels are more consistent through the day and as a result I am a lot more productive
  • My meals are MUCH more meaningful to me now
  • The kids are aware of good nutrition and making healthier choices

It’s been interesting how I’ve had to let go of so many social norms about what foods are expected to be eaten at what time of day. Depending on my workout schedule, I may have a second breakfast at 9 am that includes a lot of vegetables, or I may have eggs late in the afternoon.

I'm so thankful that I have come around to this way of thinking and eating. Sure, I still go out to eat on occasion and indulge in a glass of wine or beer from time to time. I'll eat pizza or have a cookie, but it's the exception and not the norm.  There's really no downside to my nutrition makeover, only upsides. So why is healthy eating so often associated with deprivation when it's really a win-win?

(Note on the leg: I have adjusted to life in the boot and sleeping in the boot.  cast free-swims went great with my fastest ever 16x50 sets!  Woohoo!! I can do the stationary bike in the boot without much weirdness so i have more cardio options now!!)