Eating smart doesn’t need to be complicated. People just make it so. There are options for every kind of eater—carnivore, vegan, lactose-intolerant, gluten-free. The list goes on and on. If you are like me, a vegan, it seems like the supermarket world, and even the restaurants, have finally adopted more vegetarian/vegan-friendly menus. This does help to make eating out or cooking at home easier. You can boil/grill/steam veggies, fish, or meat in about 10 minutes! How complicated is that? The options are there. Get creative. Personally, I am a big fan of taking fresh vegetables and putting them into a stir-fry with steamed brown rice. I buy the rice in the frozen food section of the supermarket and it saves me a good 40 minutes of cooking time because I just toss it into the microwave for about 5 minutes. Another uncomplicated recipe is for kale chips. You take some kale and wash it thoroughly, making sure to dry it fairly well. You break it into little chip-size pieces, put it on a cookie sheet, drizzle a very little oil and seasoning salt on top, and put it into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until the edges are brown (about 5-12 minutes). These are delicious and really come in handy when you’re in the mood for something crunchy! You can have a lot of fun with these by flavoring to your liking – Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, lemon, chipotle pepper powder. The choice is yours! Also, they are a healthy alternative to high-fat, high-calorie potato chips.
Eating smart doesn’t need to be expensive either. You need to look at the big picture. As obesity issues continue to grow (no pun intended) worldwide, you should delve into some of the possible causes of this epidemic. First of all, the economy is a major factor. As many struggle to make ends meet, you can’t blame them for cutting corners when it comes to diet. But, honestly, that might not be the wisest place to save your pennies. The fast-food market plays into this very subtly. They have “dollar menus” and “supersizing” and make it so easy for people to give in to the temptations. We all make excuses. “I hardly have time to eat lunch, let alone actually make a healthy alternative.” Does this sound like you? Not to sound too preachy, but these are exactly that–mere excuses. Without your health, you are nothing! So, in my opinion, this is not a place to skimp financially, and there are so many ways to eat healthier by making smarter choices. For example, the popularity of the more expensive organic foods has gotten a bit out of control. In reality, not all of your diet needs to be organically based! Also, if you are willing to compromise a bit, there are many simple adjustments you can make. Take beef, for instance. If you can’t handle the price tag of Filet Mignon, look for something more affordable. There are many other lesser-known steaks, such as Flatiron or Hanger, which are trendy and won’t break the bank. I like to buy fresh, seasonal fruit when the price is right and freeze them for a later date. They come in very handy when I make my fruit smoothies—yummy! In the middle of winter, I break out my frozen blueberries and strawberries and drink my smoothie as I pretend I’m on a Mediterranean island!
There are two very simple concepts to follow that will keep you on the straight and narrow as you navigate through the endless decisions regarding your diet and your health:
1) Keep it simple and try to eat foods closest to their natural state to get the most nutritional benefits.
2) Variety is the spice of life, so throw in some cayenne pepper and enjoy!
Just live HEALTHY! It’s satisfying and very rewarding!