Okay, everyone, listen up. It’s time to talk nutrition.
So, I know, I know. The holidays are nearing an end, and between the copious amounts of candy you ate for Halloween, the turkey and stuffing that were gobbled down for Thanksgiving, the who-knows-what that you just ate for Christmas, and a smattering of Autumn parties and weddings in-between…you’re probably feeling a little squishy right now. And whether you are still rocking an eight-pack or you were squishy before, you’re probably a lot squishier now than you were this summer while rocking that #BeachBod.
So now, New Year’s Day is fast approaching, and half of you are going to make the “Lose Weight” New Year’s Resolution. No hate, I promise; I’ve done the same thing more than once in the past. The problem is then you’re on a path to waste all of your Christmas inheritance on gym memberships, weight-loss shakes, and weird diets that will all fizzle out by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around.
Why is this?
Because it’s not sustainable.
Going from being a genuine couch potato to someone who’s in the gym for three hours per day isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s just not. Your body and your mind need to build up to that sort of level. If you jump into it hardcore mode, you will succeed for a week or so…but then you’re going to fizzle out due a combination of burnout and mental longing for your old activities.
The diets and shakes are also not sustainable, nor are they intended to be. Do you have three weeks to drop 5-10 pounds? That’s when you pick up the diets and shakes. They will slim you down for the purpose of your event, and then you will gain it all back once you start eating normal food again.
So, what do you do? How do you create a sustainable lifestyle for better nutrition and a better body? Well, it’s not by creating all sorts of rules and restrictions that need to be followed like a military or a K-pop diet.
The key is to eat what you would normally eat, but alter it to be a healthier version. Now, down the road, more will need to be done, and we’ll get into that in some of our later videos, but for now this is a simple and easy way to heal your body, fix your waistline, and improve your overall physical and mental health.
Let’s look at some examples!
- Number One: Pasta! It’s so tasty, yet most of the time it is not a great choice. Pasta is known for having enriched flour and unnecessarily added sugars. Instead of traditional store-bought pasta, pick up some spaghetti squash or a few zucchinis and use those to make your “noodles”. Not only is this healthier for your overall digestive health, but you’re also getting some added vitamins and nutrients by eating vegetables.
- Number Two: Sandwich buns and taco shells! Sandwich buns and taco shells, while oftentimes tasty (I’m looking at you, Jimmy John’s French bread) suffer from the same issue as the Pasta. Enriched flour. Unnecessary sugars. The solution is easy: lettuce wraps! Many sandwich shops have lettuce wraps as an option at this point, and they have been my top food obsession throughout the course of 2017. Enjoy your sandwiches without that bloated feeling when you’re done. The lack of bread also enhances the taste of the meat and other toppings. For situations where you absolutely must have a bread solution, using grain-free tortillas like Siete or whole-grain tortillas like Ezekiel 4:9 are optimal.
- Number Three: French fries! America’s favourite unhealthy obsession. Instead of creating traditional French fries from white potatoes, grab a few sweet potatoes from the supermarket and cook those instead. Don’t like the mix of ketchup and sweet potatoes? Apple butter goes great with sweet potato fries. Another alternative is to grab some of that zucchini that you’re using to make your pasta with, and slice it just like you would to make French fries from a potato. Zucchini fries are the bomb-dot-com, and yes, they go well with ketchup!
- Number Four: Beef Burgers! One of the first major steps to restoring gut health is eliminating red meat from one’s diet. Now, I’m not saying to go full vegetarian, but removing beef and pork from your daily rotation is a great option. Now, now, now, don’t click away from the video just yet! Hear me out. Instead of buying ground beef, purchase ground turkey or ground chicken. It cooks the same way, it tastes just as good, and it’s far healthier for you!
- Number Five: Movie Theatre Popcorn! Movie theatre popcorn is…odd. It doesn’t taste very good, but it’s oddly addictive. Especially with a large amount of butter. But if you’re trying to get started on a new health quest, a giant tub of movie popcorn is one of the last things that you should be eating. Grab some plantain chips or some kale chips and shove those into your purse (don’t act like you don’t already sneak food into the theatre!) and nom on those while watching the motion picture. But what about your drink…
- Number Six: Soda! No. No, no, no. No! Just say no. If there is only one takeaway from this video, it is to remove ALL of the soda from your house. I’m serious. Soda is nothing but fizzy, sugared crap that steals all of your money away in overpriced gas station trips. There are so many better solutions. Some people say to drink La Croix. Personally, it think La Croix tastes like bottled skunk spray, and I like a lot of weird foods. I personally recommend getting these little water flavouring dispensers. You can get the brand-name variants like the Mio and Dasani Drops, or you can get these generic variants to save a couple bucks each. Just add a small squirt to a glass of water, and enjoy a tasty and refreshing beverage!
- Number Seven: Pizza crusts! Pizza normally has a ton of healthy toppings on it, but they are laying on a thick flour crust. We’ve already attacked flour, so I won’t beat that dead horse anymore. But remember the zucchini that is helping to substitute out your pasta and your French fries? Make some zucchini crust, and then add your pizza toppings! I can’t begin to tell you guys how delicious this is. Also, make some additional zucchini breadsticks to nom on with your pizza!
- Number Eight: Cooking oils! There’s a lot of oils like corn oil and vegetable oil that you can buy on the cheap and use to cook all sorts of tasty treats. But what did I just say? “Cheap”. Don’t put cheap in your body. Instead, use coconut oil! You see, coconut oil is high in saturated fats, which do two great things. They increase the healthy cholesterol in your body (known as HDL cholesterol) and also convert the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) into HDL. This lowers your risk of heart disease and high triglycerides in the body! Now, do know that coconut oil is solid, and not liquid by default. You’ve gotta let that baby melt like butter, and then you’ll be all set!
- Number Nine: Sugars! There will be a video coming down the line on why you should avoid salts and sugars as much as possible, but that’s a different video for a different day. Today is the main goal to avoid your favourite sugar-infested treats. I’m talking about dessert! As delicious as that savoury piece of cake it, it can cause serious harm when eaten multiple times per week. Grab some Greek yogurt and some granola and nom on that. Grab some peaches or pears and give them a go! These are still sweet and yummy, and they are far better for you than cookies and cupcakes.
- Number Ten: Bake, Don’t Fry! Put aside the deep fryer. Get that coconut oil out of the skillet. Also, steer clear of the microwave when possible. Your oven is all that you need. Not only is food oftentimes tastier when baked in an over (reducing the risk of hardened breads and charred meats), but it’s also quite easy to simply place your food in a pan or on a tray, place it in the oven, and go work on other things until the timer dings! You can also prepare baking pans with different meals that you plan to eat for the next few days, and then you can simply pop them in the oven for quick cookings.
I think that just about wraps things up for today. Again, these are just a few quick tips to have a healthy new year without setting yourself up for failure. Don’t try to implement all ten of these on the same day. Pick a few of the tips and follow them. In a week or so, pick a few more tips and follow those, too! Keep adding new practices until you are following all ten tips. This allows you to make this practice into a habit and not a mountain-climbing marathon adventure.
Now, there are several trendy substitution practices out there that are more harmful than good. I’ll be going over those with you guys during next week’s post from me. Also, if you are interested in getting any recipes or tips for anything that I discussed today, Tweet me @TheAngieChu and I’ll be happy to share all of the yummy treasures with you!