The “Joy” of Cooking: Foods We Should And Should Not Be Eating

Despite what Gordon Ramsey may think you don’t have to be a carnivore to be a foodie. I have been saying for over a year that I want to try being a Pescatarian – well I finally made the leap. It may not be forever, but it is so much easier than you think.

I started really paying attention to my body: my body when it was hungry, “starving,” and my body after I ate. Yoga really helped me to get to this point of awareness. A lot of us get that tummy right after eating a nice meal, but is that really okay? And is there a difference between bloating and just feeling stuffed? I would say: absolutely! (image)

Here’s the problem, these things we think are so healthy, are just as bad as those awful foods we love – doesn’t that just piss you off? So I began using Calorie Count to track my calories and the nutritional value of the foods I was consuming. Yes, dark red kidney beans are a great source of protein and fiber, but if it’s coming from a can it is extremely high in sodium. The sodium has been a huge issue. I am still trying to figure out how anyone can keep their sodium to no more than 2300 mg a day on a regular basis without being rich or having a personal chef. I also realized that the sodium could be the reason I get that tummy, and then I realized that gluten may also be a factor here. I had switched almost everything to wheat: wheat bread, wheat pasta, wheat crackers. Our body is actually not built to handle wheat… not really barley or rye either. I would get really frustrated because many health sites that I really respected kept giving wheat substitutes, and we shouldn’t be eating it.

So here is a list of foods that I have come across that may make it easier to create a truly healthy lifestyle.

Quinoa (fresh)

This is a great choice for vegetarians and pescatarians. This stuff is seriously high in protein, delicious, and gluten free. It is also versatile: try it in soups, salad, wraps, stir fry, or by itself. The boxed quinoa doesn’t really count though, it’s pretty high in sodium. (image)

Brown Rice

Brown rice is great because if you love rice it is one of the healthiest; you get a lot with just a little, and it’s gluten free. You can do so much with brown rice. (image)

Soba Noodles

I found out about Soba through Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop. These are japanese noodles, usually served cold – I rarely eat mine cold. They are great in stir fry, and even with marinara. They are gluten free because they are made from buckwheat, so they are also lower cal, and actually have some nutritional value. The catch is that they are of course a bit more expensive for a smaller amount. Tip: these cook extremely fast, so keep your eye on it and remove from heat as soon as you see they’re softened. (image)

Dry Mixed Beans

I really had no idea what to do about the beans, there was no way I was going to bust out the crock pot everyday. Also, homemade beans are only okay to eat for about four days. So I bought a box of 12 mason jars for 10 bucks. Add the beans, boiling water, onions, and garlic, let it cook for about 75 minutes, and you have fresh, low sodium beans ready to eat right out of the jar. (image)

Athenos Original Hummus

I love, love, love hummus, but you have to be so careful. This stuff is seriously high in sodium. Athenos is one of the healthier brands I have found. I usually only use it on wraps.  (image)

Udi’s Bread

I was so excited about this bread because it was gluten free, and low cal. Unfortunately, Calorie Count gives it a D. I think this is because it has 300 mg of sodium. However, if you’re lowering your sodium everywhere else, this bread is great. I also love that the slices are a bit smaller than your average loaf. (image)

Lemons

I like fruit but I never crave it. I know some people who really overdo it with the fruit, so be aware of the sugars here. They are natural sugars, but there is still a recommended amount. I’ve been squeezing half a lemon in 6 oz of water once a day. I’m sure you’ve heard the lemon water rumors. It helps with cravings, gives me the fruit I need, and is surprisingly refreshing. (image)

Broccoli

Pretty much the greatest thing you can eat. Buy fresh or frozen, and put it in everything. (image)

Amy’s All American Veggie Burgers

These are delicious and the perfect size for Udi’s bread. You really don’t need any seasonings, because the flavor is amazing. Don’t be afraid to get creative, you can ground this up and use in tacos and wraps, or even salads. (image)

Fresh Garlic

Many of us, especially us college graduates who still find ourselves cooking like we did when we had no time or money, use garlic powder or garlic salt; fresh garlic won’t have the sodium or calories these will. I know garlic salt is so yummy, but if you have to use it, use it sparingly and rarely. (image)

Honey

I used to put three teaspoons of sugar in my coffee and tea. Now I have one or two cups of hot tea a day with maybe a teaspoon of honey, some cinnamon sprinkled on top, and sometimes a thin slice of fresh ginger. I find that black tea is the best served this way. Green and white tea with honey and ginger tastes a little weird to me. (image)

I am still learning so if you have any tips please, please share. I am especially interested in finding gluten free wraps, and possibly other gf breads. Also, any great fish recipes would be much appreciated.

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