Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Good For You Foods" That Actually Taste Good

(Running December 2010 in Southern Indiana)

HAPPY 2011!
I was going to do a '2010 Year In Review', but that idea got thrown by the wayside when we spent our holidays in 14 states, putting 3830 miles on our car and visiting family over the course of 3 weeks. Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome trip, and since we had our car, I was able to have my bike, trainer, and of course running and swimming gear all on hand. Meaning, I was able to maintain a relatively consistent routine of training, thus preventing me from getting stressed out and grouchy. I don't do well when there is not a pool nearby for more than 2 or 3 days. I fear I may lose my gills.

With regards to our trip, here are a few pictures of us playing in the snow at my parents cabin near Nashville, Indiana. Amico saw snow for the first time and let's just say, I think he prefers this white fuffy stuff over the often oppressively hot Texas weather.

So we are now back to Austin, settled into 'home' and despite it being rather cold here, it is great to be back. Training is going well and I am looking forward to running the Houston Half Marathon in a few weeks; a 'real runners race' I call it, also the USA Half Marathon National Championships, and I'll no doubt get my ass handed to me a bit. But, it is awesome to get the chance to line up alongside some of the best female runners out there. I will try to minimize my losses, make the spread between the winner and myself and small as possible, and ultimately just go for a personal best time.

Back to my blog title, sorry to wander astray.

At this time of year, not only being the start of a new year but also the winter months, it is fun to spend a bit more time indoors, cooking, and also occasionally "looking" at what you are eating. *Disclaimer*: The last thing I am intending to do is preach about nutrition, and I will say that I do not have any nutrition degrees or higher education in nutrition specifically! But Derick and I try stay up to date on foods that are good for us and incorporate 'healthy foods' into our diet on a regular basis. That said, we are the last people you'll see eating bland, disgusting food because it claims to be a wonder food. Case in point: I recently bought Zico Water because everyone was drinking it and I had heard how good coconut water was for you. I even got the Pomegranate kind. The first sip, I thought "Eww, that's nasty." So I let it sit in our fridge. I took a little sip about once a day for the next 3 days, and finally admitted it was awful. We regularly eat dairy, gluten, fruits, veggies, sugar, alcohol, chocolate, ice cream...we leave nothing out of our diet! I recall a few months back seeing something from the New York Times health section titled "The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating." Even though I think the title is a bit presumptuous, I like to look for recurring 'themes' from the information that I find. I also subscribe to Real Simple magazine and they recently had an article entitled "Your New Healthy-Eating Plan: The 30 Healthiest Foods." (Yes, I know that Real Simple is not a dieticians research journal, however the panel of experts included a list of 10 various Registered Dieticians). I am going to list the results of the two articles side by side.

New York Times:

Real Simple:

So there you have it. Some of these are things that we very regularly eat ('regularly' being a few times a week) including spinach, cinnamon, blueberries, walnuts, avocados, olive oil, whole wheat pastas, eggs, black beans, and peanut butter. Some items that we try to eat a few times a month include cabbage, prunes, tumeric, broccoli, kale, salmon, chicken and sweet potatoes. If you are looking to slowly, gradually and 'sanely' incorporate some of these foods into your diet, here are a few ideas.

Cinnamon - Can regularly go on cereal, oatmeal, or even into yogurt.
Spinach - Use this for basic salads; I slowly moved away from iceburg and now I use predominantly spinach. Iceburg is nice for the 'crunch' factor, so maybe consider doing half and half if you prefer the 'crunch'.
Blueberries - They are not cheap, but they are packed with antioxidants and tasted good. In my opinion, they are worth the money; throw onto salads, cereal, or just eat a handful here and there.
Walnuts - Add to salads in place of crutons; if you don't like walnuts because as my sister claims they 'taste like trees', try almonds.
Black Beans - Make quesedillas with black beans, bell peppers, avocado, cheese and salsa; these are extremely versatile.
Avocados - Add to sandwiches, salads, any mexican dish, top on to soups.
Olive Oil - Cook with it!
Peanut Butter - If you cannot figure out how to eat this or you just don't like it, then well, I cannot relate to you as I cannot go a single day without it. Enough said.
Cabbage & Kale - We often chop this up, and saute it with olive oil, walnuts, red onion; a dash of cinnamon is good on the cabbage for a bit of sweetness. Also look for 'asian salad/slaw' recipes which are cabbage based, and often very tasty.

So there you have it (for the second time). As stated early on, I am not a nutrition expert, but I do feel that if you are food-allergy-free, it is a good idea to try to stay atop the information that comes out on foods and maintain a balanced diet, yet one that also appeals to you. You like coffee? Enjoy your coffee in the morning. You a wine or a beer drinker? Have one in the evening when making dinner. Go to the local market and try a new beer, or keep a good bottle of wine on hand to enjoy. Is ice cream your vice? Have a little bit after dinner. Enjoy what you think tastes good, life is too short not to! I found this quote, which came from an article on Scottish Brewer BrewDog, about how they had created the worlds strongest beer at 32% alcohol by volume: "Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. What logically follows is that you must, from time to time, have excess." To that point, deprivation is not healthy. Treat your body well; exercise it, rest it, challenge it, and fuel it. But most of all, enjoy it!

Thanks for reading,


Courtenay said...

Sardines are sort of good! Esp on rice or crackers.

I like your lists, I am such a creature of habit that I need reminding every once in a while of what I'm leaving out. I'm curious about the fat-free dairy though... I'm guessing it's because the target Real Simple audience isn't of the "maximize calories per dollar" mindset. Anyway, like you, I am not a registered dietitian, but I'm curious about FF dairy because I thought that Vitamin D was a fat-soluble vitamin and that it's essential for calcium uptake, so if it's in a fat-free carrier how is it getting solvent? I almost don't want to know the answer because I hate skim milk and I don't want to feel obligated to switch back ;)
Love the photos!

Kelly H Williamson said...

courtenay! i tried to leave a comment on your site but did not load? thanks for the comment. i am TOTALLY with you on the skim milk thing; kind of weird to me. you definitely approached it much more 'analytically' than I did, but anything 'made' into fat free to me is not really THAT good for you. we do vanilla soy milk; b/c derick likes it and i don't like MILK but like something on my cereal; and i have a huge sweet tooth. ANYhoo... it's good food for thought, I think... good to try to change it all up every so often. i am into scones lately; just add water and bake. a nice breakfast change; esp good for a pre-run breakfast; comfort food too. :)
i hope you are doing well and i hope to see you @ the races!!

Anonymous said...

The picture of you and Amico is the cutest thing ever. Seriously. Sorry to say it, but it is :)

leighmen said...

browsing your blog, love the food list! couldn't have said it better. incorporation > deprivation