You are what you eat … no seriously you are….
I was standing in a particularly slow line at the grocery store this morning and overheard the women in front of me chatting with the cashier about the cat food she was buying. She was remarking that it was good she had a coupon because the cat food was a little more expensive but she lived alone and her cat was her friend and companion and was worth the extra money spent on a “better-for-it” food. Ok, makes sense. Then I looked down at what was on the belt and noticed what she was buying – the cat food, was indeed a higher end brand but the rest of the “people food” was all garbage…. Keeping in mind this women lives alone, she was buying 13, yes 1. 3. full sized bags of assorted chips, 3 containers of chip dip, 2 boxes of granola bars, juices, a case of pop, and multiple boxes of premade process
crap umm I mean “food” (term used loosely here) like frozen dinners, breaded sodium and fat filled stuffed chicken (ahem again – term used loosely) breast, nuggets, pizzas and other assorted frozen non food.
Do see anything wrong with this picture? Why is her pet worth spending more on than herself? Now this women was a heavyset women, and was huffing and puffing and out of breath shuffling her groceries around and heaving them into the grocery cart. Now I am not here to judge about weight – its not about weight – its about health. All I could think of to myself was – that women has 1 bag of frozen corn and that’s the only vegetable she is buying (and really lets face it – its really more of a starch then a veggie) and not one fresh or frozen fruit! Then to top it all off – when all was said and done the cashier announced “OK, that comes to $161. 91 – I just about fell over! I mean, I did our main grocery shopping for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 young kids) the other day, and spent $111 and change. However we bought, meat (real meat), lots of fresh veggies, fruit, toilet paper, milk, cheese, butter, etc etc. real food – yup I will say it again REAL. FOOD.
OK, I get that not everyone likes to cook – or cooks for a living like I do. However there are alternatives out there, people and businesses like mine (Joy In Your Kitchen) – I make homemade fully cooked meals from whole foods and deliver them frozen – but there are also so many things you can do yourself with little to no effort to make a healthy meal quickly. In the time it takes to bake one of those pre-made breaded chicken “breasts” stuffed with broccoli and cheddar, you could bake a real chicken breast, with freshly squeezed lime juice and sprinkled with chili flakes, steam some broccoli throw on some rice (NOT that instant crap – brown or long grain is great – or try jasmine or basmati rice – I use our rice cooker to make it easy peasy- chuck the rice and water (or use chicken stock) in close the lid and forget it) or quinoa and make a salad. Heck – don’t want to go to the trouble of buying all the ingredients for a salad – buy a salad in a bag complete with dressing! Better yet – forgo the typically fat laden dressing (you know the creamy stuff), add a bit of feta cheese to the salad (it keeps FOREVER in the fridge) and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Save yourself a whole lot of calories and saturated fats and feel better. If you use this type of eating as fuel for your body – doesn’t it just make sense that your engine (body) will run cleaner? Naturally flush the toxins out, and sustain a healthier and happier lifestyle – I mean who wants to huff and puff hauling groceries? Even better add a little exercise (consult your doctor first before starting any exercise program) – baby steps – go for a walk then shovel the driveway, heck – pay things forward – surprise your neighbour and shovel their driveway! Go tobogganing with the kids – or with your friends (who cares if your 40 – tobogganing is fun!) and walk up the hill, walk the dog, try out snow shoeing or cross country skiing. Not an outdoor person? Go to the mall and walk around it (briskly) for 25-45 minutes (you can go shopping later – this is about continual movement), go to YouTube and search Yoga or Pilates – do some poses, buy a exercise DVD, join a class, try swimming, aquafit or walking the lengths of the pool (in the water). Maybe you can only get moving for 5 or 10 mins at first – that’s fine, DO IT! I promise if you keep it up and eat cleaner you will be able to do 10 mins, then 15, then 20 and so on and so on. Make your mind up and do it – get a friend to promise to motivate each other – heck write to me! Because no matter who you are or what you do, have or have not done in the past – you deserve it …. yes … even more so than your cat. 🙂
Easy Baked (or Grilled) Chicken Meal … or make it into a two-fer!
(sorry guys, I didn’t have time to take any pictures today!)
Chicken & Quinoa Meal 1
1-2 chicken breast (or however many you need for you or your family)
chili flakes to taste
Quinoa (you can get it at the grocery store typically near the rice or the Bulk Barn)
Broccoli – fresh is best but get the frozen kind if you don’t want to deal with fresh
optional – dried cranberries or crasions
optional – feta cheese
bag of salad
balsamic vinegar (the older its aged the sweeter it is)
Equipment needed: 1 manual juicer (I think it makes it easier – you don’t have to use but they cost about $1 at the Dollar Store) and a cookie sheet or baking pan. 1 saucepan.
squeeze the juice out of the lime -pour over chicken breast, sprinkle with chili flakes (no you don’t need salt TRUST ME – this is good just like this) bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear (internal temperature is 165-170).
*tip: if you are not using a juicer to juice the lime or lemon, roll it on the counter a few times before cutting in half – you will get more juice this way.
Meanwhile just before chicken is done, set a pot of water (amount specific to the quinoa directions) to boil on the stovetop, add lemon to water (or use chicken stock), add broccoli and boil for 2 min, add quinoa to broccoli pot (cook according to directions), add cranberries or craisons and (optional) a bit of feta cheese, just before serving, and fluff with fork or mix together. Dump some of your bag of salad into a bowl, add some feta if you like, top with balsamic vinegar. Voila dinner is served – 2 pots/pans, 1 dish, fork and knife. pretty easy eh?
Wait – have extra Quinoa? Don’t toss it out yet! Throw in some parsley, spinach and feta and make it into a salad for the next day’s lunch or dinner! Extra chicken throw that in too? Or make extra chicken while you are cooking anyway and throw it into a wrap with and feta some of the bagged salad for lunch or dinner.
*Quinoa Tip 1: if you are cooking quinoa on its own, you can play with flavours by adding different juices (from the fruit not from the bottle) like oranges, lemons or limes, chop up some pecan or almonds, substitute chicken (or vegetable) stock for water, add different spices play with different options till you find something you like!
* Quinoa Tip 2: rinse the quinoa before cooking to prevent bitterness – if you are losing it down the sink put it in a sifter (like for flour) and gently run the water over it
*To get more of the skinny (haha) on quinoa -check this article out.
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From my kitchen to yours, happy and healthy eating!