By Guest Blogger: Kate Baron
On a regular basis I am asked about nutrition or…“What do you eat?!” This is a tough question to answer as I’m kind of an “opportunistic food consumer.”
I have general limitations – but I don’t subscribe to any one style of eating.
I’m not vegetarian, I’m not vegan, and I have never officially cooked anything Paleo. I have never tried Atkins, and would not label myself as living the “macrobiotic lifestyle.” I don’t do weight watchers – though on some days I do count calories. I do not do slim fast shakes – unless I’m craving something that tastes like vanilla cake batter – at which point I tap into my secret can of shake powder under my desk at work and mix in a little water for a treat!
I happen to be a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner. For many (including myself), that does not mean much. In fact…it means virtually nothing! What it does mean, is that at one point in my life, I studied every single diet known to man. Blood-type diets, juicing, raw foods, seasonal eating, fad diets, etc. I know about them all – some I have tried. At the end of the day, I have never stayed with one particular eating regime as a lifestyle. I find that my diet is as carefree as my personality – which works for me.
With that being said, I do have some general rules/guidelines. These quirky choices are what people generally notice and ask questions about. I often wonder if maybe they are just weirded out by the fact that I eat almost the same thing everyday…?!
My basic food choices are the following:
(I actually feel very vulnerable sharing this! Food choices can be so political!!!)
1. ALL THE COFFEE I WANT
I am NOT going to lie about this! I don’t use sugar but I do use half and half! One cup in the morning after I run and while I’m getting the kids ready for school.
Sometimes I even make another press (yep! I only French press my coffee!!) prior to my shower just because I want to have another warm cup in a cold house. When I get to work, depending on the flow of the morning, I will have another cup.
It lasts all afternoon – I’m not at all opposed to reheating – and sometimes I don’t actually even drink it. I enjoy having it in my hand though. I have never drunk coffee after work simply as a function of not having time to make it and I don’t NEED it. I also WELCOME sleep at the end of my day – so I would never do anything to tamper with this process. Not a risk I’m willing to take!
Three hard boiled eggs as soon as I walk into my office. At this point in my day, I NEED food. I’ve run, had my “morning” and am ready to eat.
I never wake up hungry and don’t enjoy eating prior to my runs – so this is my first encounter with food all day. POOR EGGS! These are farm fresh eggs from our chickens enabling me to feel they are filled with love. I know what’s in them and I know that our chicken free range wherever the hell they want in order to get the best grub. I have my cholesterol checked annually and have never struggled with it being a problem. I view our eggs as my “super food”. They work for my body type and my lifestyle.
Every day at 11:30am I sit in rounds at the hospital for one of my units. EVERYDAY, I eat 2 homemade granola bars while I’m there. I don’t get tired of them. In fact, I love them! I have shared my husband’s infamous whole-food granola bar recipe with no less than 20 people at work…maybe I’m starting something?! These two bars keep me satisfied and energetic through 2p when I generally have time to eat lunch. They are filled with raw oats and almonds, held together with some honey, dotted with raisins and sprinkled with love – sustainable energy to the max.
Every morning I cut up 3 large carrots and a bunch of celery for my lunch. Raw. Crunchy. Delight. Sometimes I’ll get a little Cesar dressing from the hospital salad bar to barely dip them in – just a little added flavor. I also pack a medium sized cut up apple (I enjoy them more cut up) and any other fruit we might have in the house. I love when clementines and peaches are on sale!
The substance of my lunch comes from our prior evening dinner leftovers. This usually ends up being a vegetable-quinoa dish. I always warm this main dish up to get the feeling of a “hot meal”. Raw fruits and vegetables are great – but can leave me feeling COLD and like I didn’t get to really “eat”. WARMING UP FOOD IS KEY FOR ME. If I’m ever in a pinch, I will pack a whole sweet potato. Fork a few holes in one of those babies and stick it in the microwave until soft – fast food Kate style!
This is my “wild card meal”. I can count on it being within my “criteria” simply due to the life-style my husband and I have chosen for our family.
It will be whole grain based. Minimal meat, if any, with lots of vegetables and always homemade. Quinoa dishes, homemade bread and soup, vegetable and bean chili, etc. I always make sure to have the same size helping as the children first, and then wait approx. 15 minutes to decide if I actually NEED more food. Sometimes I find I’m so excited to be home from work, and the food smells so good, that I’m inclined to overeat. I also find that this works when I’m bored. The skill of deciphering between hunger and boredom is one I highly advocate that all learn.
OK. Here’s my truth. Below are the foods I generally avoid – this will help make more sense of my dessert choices. My style is that dessert doesn’t have to be sugary sweet – but more a treat/indulgence. I prefer to indulge with a grapefruit, pomegranate or a homemade smoothie. Even a cup of tea with milk and honey!
SPLURGE!! I do splurge! I have a personal policy that on birthdays I ALWAYS try the cake. If I find it worth the splurge – then by all means I indulge! But I NEVER eat out of obligation.
7. Last but NOT least! WATER!!
Essential to curb my appetite and keep me hydrated! My runs are better, my sleep is better, my skin, my weight, my energy – you name it…it’s probably better due to WATER! I carry a Nalgene with me at work – it’s orange so no one mistakes it as theirs and I am forced to notice it and regularly reminded to drink more!
WHAT DO I GENERALLY AVOID?
(please note I’m not an extremist. I allow myself to go outside this box for sure. Not too often, and not too far, but my lines are flexible.)
1. Refined sugar.
2. White flour.
4. Dairy products. (aside from my morning ½ and ½!)
5. Diet products of any sort.
6. Alcohol. (I make a personal choice to abstain – though research suggests that overdoing alcohol does not serve the athlete well).
7. I don’t mindlessly eat mints, desk candy, extra butter, etc. These are very small things that I find increase useless calorie intake. I season with spices and chew gum for fresh breath!
So, there you have my simple lifestyle choices. These choices work for me in a variety of ways. I can plan easily and prepare quickly so I’m never caught in a spot where I feel I HAVE to make a poor choice. This lifestyle works with my family and it doesn’t cost me any extra money. In fact…I think I save a lot of money on food.
For all who ask, “what do you eat?!” – I eat LOTS. I DON’T eat LOTS as well. I hope this peek inside my food world is inspiring for you if it needs to be, or just a read through my daily food log if you have something figured out that works for you! We are all individually unique in what we require for healthy living. Cheers!