What do you think of when you hear the words, “healthy eating?”
Cardboard? Rice cakes and yogurt? Lots of vegetables? Low fat or low-calories? Lean proteins, fresh produce and essential fats? No meat? Diet-versions of popular snack and food items?
It’s interesting the varying conceptions of ‘healthy eating’ in our society.
Recently, I was talking to a person interested in improving her health through nutrition and fitness goals. She had expressed a common goal to be an appropriate body-weight and composition for her body type, and to feel ‘better’ all around.
Moving forward, we began to discuss what it is she was currently doing on a daily basis, as she asked for suggestions wherein she could make changes.
“I eat pretty healthy, usually a NutriGrain bar, some fat-free yogurt and fruit or Special K cereal in the mornings, followed by a tuna salad pack or a turkey sandwich, Baked Chips and Diet Coke for lunch, then dinner consists of maybe some pasta and low fat marinara sauce, a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner, or chicken, rice and vegetables. For snacks, I stick to carrot sticks or an apple or a 100-calorie snack pack. I don’t understand why I am not making any progress in my goals though. I am constantly counting my calories in My Fitness Pal and still not getting anywhere.”
This woman’s beliefs of ‘healthy eating’ were shaped around what society has preached at us for far too long:
Low-fat, no-fat. Calorie-consciousness. Diet products.
Since ‘healthy’ is completely relative to each and every individual, I posed the question to the woman:
What does a healthy relationship with your food and your body, mean to you?
After pausing for moment, she responded:
“Hm, I’ve never really thought about that before, but what I think it means to me, is not having to count every single calorie I consume, and not feeling deprived. It means not having to think about food–what I am going to eat next, or not eat next, or be hungry. Sometimes I am hungry, but feel guilty for eating when it seems like it’s against my goals.”
We went on to discuss what eating to nourish her body actually meant: Eating a balance of real foods.
Proteins. Fresh vegetables, some fruit. Essential fats (Avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut butter, coconut oil, olive oil, animal meats, egg yolks). Some starch. No added sugars. Lots of water.
It may sound easier said than done, but in essence, when we can focus on fueling our bodies with a balance of quality foods, our bodies take care of themselves–they find balance with weight, hormones, our cellular processes, our mental approach to food, all of it! No need to count calories, measure exchanges, or deprive ourselves of nourishment included.
Walking away from our meeting, I could tell the woman seemed like a weight had been lifted from her–just a bit.
While ‘healthy eating’ and ‘healthy living’ is an ongoing process–it doesn’t need to be a daily battle, war with the scale, nutrition labels, or anything in between.
How can you nourish your body today? (Rather than deprive it).
Food for thought.
On a side note…check out this recipe below since Fall is now most definitely in the air here in Austin!
The mornings are a chilly 50-60 degrees nowadays; about half the population is still in flip flops, the other half in boots; allergies are flaring up (it happens in Austin when the weather changes—everyone gets sniffles, coughs and puffy eyes); and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are offered at every single local coffee shop in town.
I love change—especially change in season. It’s refreshing, invigorating.
With the slight chill in the air, I couldn’t think of a better recipe to concoct this weekend than homemade bone broth.
Hearty. Nourishing. Healing.
If you have never heard of or tried bone broth before, you obviously don’t know what you are missing out on.
To answer a question potentially already on your mind (at least it was on mine at one time): Bone Broth is not the same thing as Chicken Stock or Beef Stock that you buy in a box or can at the grocery store.
Rather Bone Broth is a nourishing broth, or soup, extracted from actual chicken or beef bones in a stove-top pot or crockpot, combined with water, herbs and seasonings, to create hearty goodness.
When I first heard about the concept of Bone Broth, I’ll admit, I was a little weirded out. Extracting bones from a carcass of meat, or consuming these rather, did not sound like anything special.
But, then I tried it, and there was no denying how invigorated I felt. Even stronger. (no joke).
Nutritionally speaking, Bone Broth is a RICH source of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, in forms that your body can easily absorb. It also contains glycine and proline, amino acids not found in significant amounts in muscle meat (the majority of the meat we consume), as well as chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine (compounds most often sold as supplements that reduce inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain). Lastly, Bone Broth contains the protein collagen, a protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals, rampant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, authors and creators of The Whole 30 website (as well as “It Starts With Food” book) explain how properly prepared Bone Broth can benefit you:
“Proline and glycine are important for a healthy gut and digestion, muscle repair and growth, a balanced nervous system, and strong immune system. In fact, a study of chicken broth conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. (There’s a reason your mom always made you chicken soup when you were sick.)
The gelatin in bone broth can help to heal a leaky gut, which may be of specific benefit those with inflammatory or autoimmune disorders. These compounds also reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation, prevent bone loss, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails.”
While I have consumed Bone Broth (prepared by others; as sold at the local farmer’s markets) a number of times, I have never created my own—until now.
Below is the easy ‘anyone-can-do-it’ recipe I used for my own experiment.
The best part? You can use Bone Broth for a variety of things—from drinking straight as a liquid (like a cup of tea in the mornings or evenings), to the base for soups, seasoning for sautéing your kale and spinach (or other veggies in), blended in smoothies (for extra boost of nutrition), stirred in a mashed cauliflower or potato recipe.
Delicious and nutritious.
The Recipe (Whole 30):
- 4 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 large onions, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 2-4 lbs. meat or poultry bones (any animal is fine! You can get at your local butcher—even Whole Foods Market; or save up your bones from your Whole Roast Chickens during the week)
- Place all ingredients in a large slow-cooker set on high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes! Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter into a large bowl, and discard the waste.
- Even if you don’t have a slow-cooker you can still reproduce this recipe on a stovetop, with a large pot on low heat.