I’ve received many questions about my diet, and what I eat and don’t eat in order to keep a low body fat percentage. Many people are afraid of having to ‘deprive’ themselves if they can’t eat french fries, chocolate and ice cream all day. Well, that is partially true, you can’t eat these foods in my life on a daily basis, and I think even on a ‘treat’ day I wouldn’t reach for the fries, but chocolate- oh that’s another story! But let’s think about one thing – how do you feel AFTER you’ve consumed these fatty foods? Pretty crappy, right? I always feel weighted down, bloated, tired and all the things I hate to feel. I try to think of this as much as possible when I get cravings (yes, I’m human and get them too).  Plus, if you know the right proportions of a balanced meal, consisting of carbs, protein and fat, you will guaranteed feel more satisfied and fuller even if you are eating less.  Fiber rich foods also fill you up and I additionally I load my plate with extra green veggies which are considered “free” calories and make me feel like I’m eating like a horse but still am able to keep the total number of calories per dish in check.

It took me a LONG time to start craving really healthy foods. As a trained chef and being in the food and wine industry I am surrounded by an overwhelming amount of food and drink on a daily basis, so I’ve got my work cut out for me! Temptations galore wherever I look. I also am not the kind of person that can live off steamed green beans and boiled chicken, my meals have to be a bit more inventive, spiced up and elaborate than that.  I’ve always been a fan of greens such as salads and vegetables and throughout my life I believe I’ve eaten a relatively balanced diet. But I needed to make further changes to my eating habits, such as replacing simple carbs for more complex carbs, which meant exchanging white rice and pasta for brown rice and whole wheat pasta. In the beginning I was sulking a bit and thought the two didn’t compare at all, but as with everything – it becomes routine after a while and you get used to it and even start to love it! I also eat extremely limited amounts of pre-packaged foods (processed foods) and anything that has a gazillion ingredients listed on the back of the packaging. It’s like they say, if your grandmother doesn’t know what it is or didn’t eat it growing up, don’t eat it! Furthermore, I am no longer consuming refined sugar of any sort or any artificial sweeteners. I do like to use erythritol for baking and other dishes that require regular sugar, and sometimes stevia and sucanat in my tea.  I had to take baby steps to replace things in my diet, because if you overwhelm yourself with everything you need to do differently, chances are you won’t stick with it and go back to your old, less healthier ways. So be patient with yourself, and pat yourself on the back for each positive step you make towards eating healthier and more wholesome foods!

I’ve included some pictures of recent dinners I had – one is grilled chicken with roasted butternut squash and brussel sprouts, the second dish a delicious king salmon with curried quinoa, snow peas, sauteed rainbow swiss chard and a cucumber/nonfat yogurt dip, and finally a very healthy portion (?) of a delicious pork chop in a mole rub (hence the dark color) with mango salsa and brown rice. I hope you agree with me that they look delicious and won’t leave you feeling like you are on a diet that doesn’t let you eat amazing foods!

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