I hope you had a fantastic FOOD DAY!! I am super excited to share my morning, which involved speaking to over 300 school kids about the importance of adding more COLOR to their diet. I also had the kids try NEW foods like fresh cilantro (pic below) as well as quinoa, edamame, greek yogurt, raisins (a sweet alternative to candy) and wheat thins (a whole grain alternative to chips).
I was so inspired by Food Day that I couldn't wait to make dinner. When my tri-season comes to an end, I gladly welcome the cooler temperatures as well as my ability to try new foods and get more creative in the kitchen. Whereas I LOVE summer fruits, I absolutely LOVE the flavors that come from fall/winter foods.
For I am on a journey, just like you, in appreciating the goodness of wholesome foods and because I have no "rules" in my diet, I believe in following the same advice that I give to others. I believe that falling in love with a plant based diet is not about what you CAN'T eat but what you CAN eat. Therefore, by reducing my emphasis on processed foods, I focus on natural foods (not necessarily organic as I personally do not follow an organic diet) with little to no ingredients. I don't see boxed, canned or restaurant food as "bad" and I don't believe in wasting my energy telling others what NOT to eat. Rather, I welcome those items on occasion and understand that they make up a small part of my diet (thus they don't affect my health, performance and well-being in a negative way because I de-emphasize them in my diet). Plus, if something has more than "a little" ingredients, don't feel guilty when you eat it! I believe that the easiest way to change habits is to always look forward to one thing in a meal. Therefore, if you are trying something new, like a new way to prepare eggplant or squash, don't be afraid to add something to the meal (portion control) that you really really enjoy. I think of it like parents and kids. Parents tell their kids to eat dinner first to get their vitamins and minerals, before eating dessert. The kids are still eating dessert but the best part is that the child ate dinner which provides nutrients to encourage an improvement in health. If you are eating a beautiful filling salad but topping it with your favorite pita chips or croutons - think of it as a great thing that you spent the time to prepare a colorful meal, full of vitamins and minerals. More often than not, you will find yourself controlling cravings, feeling more control over eating and actually looking forward to new diet changes, because of your ability to enjoy a little of everything rather than try to be so strict or "perfect".
Life is all about a journey and I am on the ride, just like you. The best part is that once you jump on the ride, you will stay on it because there is no pressure as to how fast or slow you go. You can take your time as to how long it takes you to get "there" and it is up to you as to what direction you will take (often there will be lots of "turn-around" points).
Although I don't believe that you need to be a vegetarian to be a successful athlete or to live a quality, balanced and healthy life..this quote makes me smile.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” -Albert Einstein
So, speaking of HOT press!!
If you get a chance today, check out the newly released FITNESS Magazine (Nov/Dec 2011)! As you are reading all the information, be sure to read pg 68 and 70. An inspiring story that I think many of you can relate to! I am so happy to see such as a successful ending to this project, that I worked on for a few months early this summer. A new vegetarian lost 15 lbs through a healthy diet and exercise! Don't miss my suggestions on pg 70 for a sample menu and a few healthy tips to reaching your weight loss goals.