For many active individuals, there is a poor sense of what it means to be healthy. The fact that you exercise on a daily basis, train for endurance sports or lift heavy weights does not mean that you can eat whatever and however much you want. Sure, you may require more calories on a daily basis, to support your athletic lifestyle and speedy metabolism, but there is no physiological reason to validate your high-fat, high sugar diet.
While it is certainly acceptable to have an "occasion" to enjoy something that is sugary or fattening, your "occasional treat" should be just that...occasionally. If you occasionally eat french fries every Friday, I think we have a problem. If you occasionally eat fast food, every day for lunch, we have a weakness. While your body weight may be stable and you may look good on the outside, it is likely that your performance and/or insides are feeling the effects of your poor choice of "rewarding" foods.
Fat is required in the diet, just like protein, carbs and water. However, we want to emphasize the heart-healthy foods:
unsaturated fats, foods low in fat (not always "fat-free"), lean protein, low fat protein, complex carbs and high fiber carbs.
Four words that I religiously try to use in my "nutrition" vocabulary are
So many people want to say "good and bad" foods but that can be very misleading. What is good? Nuts are good, but too many of them can be bad. Is cheese bad if I eat 1 ounce of it, 20 minutes before a meal? Is a "real" milkshake bad for me if I only have it once a year?
If you can start emphasizing heart-healthy foods in your diet and de-emphasize the heart-unhealthy foods, you will immediately feel the effects of changing your food choices. Not only is it likely that you will notice more energy on a daily basis and notice a chance in your body composition, but your workouts will probably improve, you will experience less (or no) GI problems at races/training and most of all, you will feel healthier on the inside.
Here are some helpful links to keep you educated on what you should "emphasize" in your diet:
making healthy food choices
Last weekend Karel and I attended a Chili-athon at Steph and Sean's house, at the beach. It was SO much fun with SO much good food. Here's how the party worked... bring your best Chili dish, pay $5, winner takes all.
Karel won for the best "vegetarian" chili. Sadly, we were the only vegetarian chili. But Steph spoiled us with a great gift (bath salts) from her and her hubby's company
(CHECK IT OUT!!)
I had nothing to do with Karel's chili..it was 100% his idea and I am so happy that I was able to enjoy it. Steph did have a lot of vegetarian food, so my tummy was really happy last Sat and needless to say, my workout on Sun rocked. Also, my mini cornbread muffins were a hit :)
Karel's chili only had 1 can of beans (100% vegetarian baked beans) and all of the rest of the ingredients were fresh. He cooked it all for 6 hours in the crockpot and I swear, that was the hardest 6 hours to sit in my place and just smell that chili all day long.
Last night I made my own healthy version of chili. The pics that posted are the non-vegetarian version (chicken) but I made another one without chicken and used tofu instead.
This recipe would be perfect for your superbowl party. I recommend serving with crumbled tortilla or pita chips in a small side bowl, and topping each slice with a dollop of greek yogurt.
Heart-healthy Chili Cornbread Casserole
1 cup vegetarian chili beans (rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup raw chicken (sliced/cubed)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 tbsp water
Jalapenos (2 tbsp, chopped)
Shredded cheese (2 tbsp)
1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Lightly spray casserole dish w/ non-stick spray.
2. Pour beans in ban, top with chicken, corn, garlic and onion.
3. Mix together egg and cornmeal in a bowl. Add water to form a "baby-food" consistency.
4. Pour cornmeal mixture evenly over veggies. Top with Jalapenos.
5. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until edges are brown. Top with shredded cheese.