Food for Thought


What does eating healthy mean to me? 
 Being an athlete, I must provide my body with the fuel it needs to perform at an optimum level without overeating and consuming foods with excessive amounts of sugar and fat. So I have decided to keep this healthier lifestyle very simple by these rules; drink lots of water, eat lots of fruits, eat lots of vegetables, consume healthy carbs, eat protein, and do not eat processed food (inspiration links below). Carbohydrates and proteins are extremely important in an athletes diet, so I have decided to eat more whole grain or wheat to increase fiber content, lower glycemic index (preventing sugar spikes and crashes), and increase vitamin intake while I try to eat a sufficient amount per day. Hopefully with these simple rules I will be able to maintain my new healthy lifestyle.
          As part of my resolutions for 2014 I want to Eat Healthier; a resolution common to the average person, but a struggle for most of us. Although I don’t think I have a particularly ‘bad’ diet, I definitely think I could improve it to have the optimum athletic body I dream for, and to make myself feel livelier and less sluggish. But as I often tell my close friends, being healthy ultimately intimidates me! My struggle lies mainly on the fact that healthy food is expensive, doesn’t always fulfill my desires, and doesn’t always fill me up. It isn’t easy being a green machine, but I figure it’s a challenge I need to overcome.  
          As my first step in this direction to eating healthier I have decided to only stock the fridge and pantry with healthy food. I began my expedition to the Whole Foods grocery store last Sunday with two key thoughts: don’t look at the price, and only get things that are whole wheat, fat free, and immersed in nutrients. With recommendations from twitter followers, friends, and my mother I was ready with a list of healthy foods to possibly buy (list below). I have never made a list to go to the grocery store, but I found this to be a great tool to stay on track of my goals. Instead of entering aimlessly into the snack isles, and finding childhood chocolate treats to go with my nighttime tea, I entered with a mission in hand. What I love about Whole Foods is that you can’t really go wrong. Unlike the average grocery store, Whole Foods prides itself on organic, local, quality foods, so even if you end up buying a bit of chocolate it is likely it is healthiest bar in town. The effects of healthy buying first showed up when I rang my food up at the checkout, I practically doubled my regular grocery-shopping price. But in sticking to my resolution I decided to try to ignore my horror, and remind myself there is no shame in paying more for a healthier diet.
After reading up in magazines, and following Health sections to the Huffington Post and NY Times on twitter, I learned a few tricks to becoming fuller from eating healthy. One technique I have grown fond of is having a parfait for breakfast every morning. What’s great about this breakfast is that not only is it tasty and juicy, it also is extremely filling and vitamin-rich.  I’ve decided to use some acai berries and chia seeds (I am not sure if this is normal) to this meal to enrich it with superfoods that have been recommended across the media. Another great snack that I have found to be greatly filling is wheat toast with almond butter and bananas on top. Although it sounds a bit weird, and not very tasty, it has been my favorite snack of the week. This snack contains some high amounts of potassium, calcium, and protein, great for an athletes diet. Lastly, adding half an avocado to my lunch has helped me feel full up until dinner. I am normally constantly snacking, because I can never eat enough to feel contented, but with this new trick I feel less of a need to look in the pantry every half hour.
 My first week has been a bit of a struggle as I have seen most of the drawbacks in my bank and in my longing for regular pasta and rice. I even was tempted in my class with freshly made brownies and cookies from the teacher, but to my surprise, I resisted his act of kindness and was later pleased with my accomplishment to deny the gift. Last night I went to the movie theaters and was seduced by the smell of popcorn. Despite the enticing odors, I went through the entire movie without buying a snack. Here I saved myself money, and also the wrath of feeling lethargic after eating the popcorn. Even though it has only been a week, I already feel more energized from eating healthier, and proud for tackling my little obstacles. It may seem silly, but I find this healthy thing one of my main challenges of the year, and I hope to find more tricks to master the art of healthy eating.

 Shopping List:
Organic oatmeal, Raisins, Walnuts, Non-fat Greek yogurt, Organic Raspberries, Black berries, Acai berries, Watermelon, Cherries, Granola (minimal sugar), Organic honey, Skim milk, Luna protein bars, Simply balanced fruit bites, Organic brown egg, Multigrain bread, Almond Butter, Quinoa, Salmon, Trout, Lentils, Pinto beans, Kidney beans, Black beans, Organic pesto, Brown pasta, Brown rice, Bananas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Kale, Cranberries, Spinach, Chia seeds, Sweet potatoes, Tuna, Shrimp, Whey protein powder, Oat bran cereal, Weetabix, Onions, Garlic, Bell peppers, Tomatoes, Avocados, Lemons, Salsa, Balsamic vinegar, Romaine, Almonds