First, what ever happened to a simple cheat meal? The concept being, that after staying on track, eating wise and healthy for a specific amount of time, we reward ourselves with the meal of our choice. Guilt free. Your inner self thanking you, you revel in high caloric deliciousness, and your metabolism possibly getting a little jump start as well.
The acronym gone Instafamous, If It Fits In Your Macros, i.e. “flexible dieting”, has gone viral and taken the industry by storm, and not without it’s controversies. This one, in my opinion, has asked for it. The concept behind it seems simple enough. Stay within your “count” and you can be “flexible” and eat what you want, on a regular basis.
Pizza once in awhile is probably not going to cause you a lot of problems. Keep trying to justify eating it on a regular basis because 2 slices “fits in your macros” will probably lead to some issues, though. By the way, who says restaurants and companies are telling the truth on all that serving info? There are such things as “empty calories”. Unless you cooked the food yourself, fully aware of exactly what went into it, how does one know the truth?
The man lived to be 96. Personally, I believe he was doing something right. Second, to be clear my favorite cheat meal happens to be onion rings. I love them dipped in everything from honey mustard to ranch. However, knowing that a typical serving has anywhere from 15 – 18 grams of fat, in roughly 6 – 9 pieces, do I just figure this into my daily count and eat them whenever I want?
Fried food clogs arteries and contributes to a whole host of health problems. All of this leads me to my main point. Eating clean means different things to different people. To the majority of us it simply means consuming more fresh, relatively additive and preservetive free foods that are proven to be good for us. And full of flavor!
Diets and fads come and go, but one thing remains the same, we have to watch what we eat and exercise more.
As with starting any new diet or exercise regimen I would suggest first consulting a physician.
Growing up, I ate good food. I was spoiled in that regard. My family has always had a garden and for sure tomatoes have been a staple. My Uncle Pete, sicilian, was an influence as well and to this day I have never been able to replicate his rigatoni. However, his tomato salad has been a constant in my kitchen for years now. We supplied the tomatoes, he made the salad. That’s how it worked. I spoke with him recently and got a refresher. He informed me after all these years, that it was his mothers favorite.
“Only two things money can’t buy, That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes” – Guy Clark
The origins of the tomato can be traced back to Central South America and were cultivated by the Aztecs.
3 – 4 fully ripe Big Beef, or Beef Steak tomatoes, cut in quarters
Half of a medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
Fresh basil, shredded
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
And 2 – 3 teaspoons of water.
Clean, fresh, healthy, what more could you want?
The weather is changing, windows are opening, and food for me, takes on an entirely different style. Part of the secret in this simple, yet spectacular salad is that all the ingredients are fresh and of high quality.
I fully document my love affair with food on Twitter: @jwilltrain
Water is the single most important substance we need, next to food. Drink up.
Fat is stored as energy. A person looking to burn fat must increase their energy output. i.e. exercise, to burn off more calories than they’ve taken in.
I tend to prefer most things in layman’s terms. Lounging on the futon scrolling through meme’s doesn’t count as burning calories. According to The American Council on Exercise acefitness.org one (1) pound of fat eaquals 3,500 calories.
Our Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR is the amount of energy, (calories) required just to function at rest, day to day.
Healthy, and realistic weightloss is a pound to a pound and a half a week. Depending on a persons daily activity, this can be achieved quite succesfully with the right workout routines.
To get started on counting calories first, become familiar with two (2) things:
To find what your current maintenance level would be, multiply your current weight x 12. For example, a 185lb person x 12 would have a calorie maintenance level of 2,220 per day. This is your base to work from.
You can then subtract your daily count for losing weight, or add calories to gain mass, i.e. size. However, right now we’re not “bulking”. (More on that later)
Getting in the habit of reading labels helped me get a solid understanding of counting my daily intake.
Granted these labels are typically based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, again it is a base in which to work from.
Now, time to start counting.
Back in my days of working in restaurants I remember numerous tableside interactions that went something like this:
Me: Did you need more time, or have you decided?
Guest: Yes, I’m having the house salad. And can you please have them leave off the croutons. I’m really watching what I’m eating.
Me: Of course, and what dressing would you like?
Guest: Buttermilk Ranch!
So you’ve made up your mind to start eating better. More salads you’ve decided. So you arrange the perfectly washed bed of crisp greens. The plump, juicy tomatoes. You’ve put your chef hat on and found the right flavor profile with pears, red onions, and dried cherries.
Why smother all that deliciousness?
The origins of what we know as a salad can be traced back centuries. The word Sal, latin for salt, which led to salata, or “salted things”. The Greeks used vinegar on vegetables as well. Americans came to know salads around the turn of the century and over time ways to flavor them have swelled to that of entire aisles of shelves. I believe all the years of serving soaked, overly dressed salads encouraged me to change the way I eat, and even view the salad course itself.
Every once in awhile I do like a bottled dressing. Just to put it out there, my favorite is Catalina. Really. On the day-to-day though, I’ve come to only prefer to dress the ingredients in oil, a little salt & pepper and some vinegar.
That’s a base to add upon. Some days it’s a little mustard. Crushed garlic on others. Olive oil is considered the good fats, the monounsaturated fats, or MUFA’s.
Below are some of my recommendations to keep on hand for some serious salad envy.
Lemon, lime, cilantro, you name it. Dress it up well and let the ingredients shine through.
For my All-Star recipe email: email@example.com
In the Kitchen
Around this part of the midwest the winter season has been unusually mild. It’s had it’s bouts of fridged all right, but overall, flip-flops in Feburary was a bit odd. Cooking this time of year takes on a whole different feeling. It’s all about comfort & feeling homey. Comfort foods and eating clean might seem like a paradox, but in my kitchen the rule is the less store bought and cleaner the better. Over the years, particularly during the colder months, I’ve found making homemade chicken stock and freezing it for later is a gauranteed way to have extra flavor on hand, as well as something soothing to have when I’m just “not feeling it.” Besides being fresh you know exactly what’s gone into it, excluding any ingredients you cannot pronounce.
What I use
2 medium onions
2 large carrots, peeled
2 celery stalks, with leaves (more flavor)
2 – 3 garlic cloves
1 fresh Bay Leave
1 – 1/2 pounds of chicken parts
Step 1 – Put on some really cool tunes. Next rinse the chicken parts, put in a stock pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and skim the top frequently with a large spoon, or fancy strainer.
Step 2 – Cut onions, celery, and carrots into rough chunks and toss those in along with the garlic. Lower the temperature and let simmer for 1.5 – 3 hours, frequently skimming the top throughout.
I often say that eating clean means different things to different people. Growing up it was simply called, “homemade”. My mom made everything from scratch. Even our bread. Taking small steps to clean up your food goes a very long way.
Meanwhile, your neighbors down the hall will be wishing they had an invitation for lunch, assuming this is being done on one of those lazy saturday mornings, because the aromas are incredible. Just don’t forget to skim away periodically.
Once done, let it cool. The chicken will literally fall off the bone.
It will settle into a gelatin like concistency where you can then spoon it into containers of your choice. This will freeze nicely for up to 3 months in the back of your freezer. Stored away, extra flavor, for when you need it.
Next, what to do with all that chicken that fell off the bone.