Following the principle that “a calorie is not a calorie”, I include healthy fats in my eating habits. Contrary to what the media, the food industry and even several doctors advocate, fat is good for you on so many levels. Just not the saturated/chemically processed kind. When I say “fat” I mean the real, the natural, kind: avocados, nuts, olive oil…
Since I started this process I have aimed for optimum nutrition. Unfortunately, aiming at something, doesn’t mean achieving it, but I strive for it and constantly look for new information with that in mind.
Of the several articles I have read this is probably my favourite one because it includes a lot of information (yes, it’s quite long, but worth reading):
Choosing Healthy Fats – Good Fats, Bad Fats, and the Power of Omega-3s
If you prefer something shorter, here’s this quick overview:
Five Reasons a Healthy Fat Diet is Good for You
And ever shorter, these 6 bullet points:
I still strongly believe that information is key in changing anyone’s mindset. Information is power, use it.
So, I’ve come across another couple of recipes which really come in handy. They are super quick to make, not too complicated on the ingredients and taste amazingly. I’ve done them over, and over, and over
Baked Eggs on a Bed of Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
This feels fresh, but it’s still super comforting. I cook 2 eggs per person, and have tried adding spinach with great results! For me, toasted bread is a must with this recipe, that liquid at the bottom of the tray just begs for it.
One Pan Mexican Quinoa
It’s a one pan dish so you know it’s super practical. Since I don’t like spicy food, instead of the jalapeño, I use red bell pepper. It still adds that “something”, but without burning in your mouth.
Oats, banana and cocoa cake (flourless, sugarless)
Ok, this one is from a Portuguese website, so here’s the recipe:
Ingredients for 1 small cake: 1 banana; 1 egg; 2 soup spoons of old school oats; 1 tea spoon 100% cocoa powder; 1 pinch of cinnamon; 1 pinch of baking powder. Instructions: break the banana into medium pieces into a bowl and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove. Add the remaining ingredients and with a food processor (any processor will do) mix everything. Into the microwave it goes again for 1 1/2 minute. Tah dah! It will be spongy and moist and awesome.
Recipes Part 1 here
Recipes Part 2 here
Following up on my Refined Flour isn’t cool post, I would like to share some alternatives to pasta for mail meals. Here are some of my favourites:
Spinach, mushroom & feta crustless quiche – The key is really in the crustless part, and it works well for me because I never really enjoyed the crust anyway. I don’t actually use all those cheeses, and – like a good Portuguese – I always use extra virgin olive oil, not non-stick spray. Based on this idea, I create whichever quiche combinations come to mind.
Stuffed Ranchero Sweet Potato – I go heavy on the cilantro and besides this full combination, I often use the ranchero stuffing as side dish to my grilled chicken breast. As a chilled salad it’s awesome for summer!
Smoky Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes and Chickpeas – The key to this strong flavoured meal is in the cumin. The tomatoes provide most of the moisture, but I advise people to keep the chicken’s skin on while cooking, or it will tend to dry up. Also, I never felt the need to add the yoghurt sauce. It’s pretty tasty without it.
And these are just 3 examples, I urge you to look online for recipes! There are endless possibilities which do not use refined flour, but do not compromise flavour, are not dull salads, and still give you that comfortable feeling of a full stomach.
You can check my 1st Recipe x 3 post: here
As I’ve said on a previous post, before I started looking for information on my own, I only knew what the common sense says, and it only tells you to stay away from carbs because they “make you fat”. It doesn’t tell you 1-that not all carbs are the same (a calorie is not a calorie, remember?) and 2-that refined flour produces other – much more important – negative reactions in your body.
After my baby-steps approach, at this point I hardly ever eat food products which contain refined flour. And no, it’s not because they “make you fat”, I don’t care about that,it’s because of effects like the ones you can read about on the following article:
Seven Negative Effects of Refined Flour
After reading it you may think: Refined flour isn’t cool, at all. But now what? What do I eat??
Well, fortunately nature provides plenty of options that actually pack a lot more flavour than pasta, not to mention nutritional value. Such as: sweet potatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, spinach, black eyed peas, broccoli, black beans, carrots, pumpkin, cauliflower, all other types of beans, all other vegetables, I could really go on, but you get the picture.
Just look for recipes online, I was amazed at how much awesome tasting variety I had been missing out on. For alternatives to white bread/cookies you can, for example, take a look at my Recipe x 3 post.
Final thought: I’m not a radical, and I’m not too strict, but this is currently one of my mantras when choosing what to eat:
Before I started looking for information on my own I only knew what the mainstream media / common sense told me about weight loss and calories. I was really surprised to find out that at least since 2012 we have scientific studies debunking (not to use the word refute) said common sense.
I don’t know why this information is not completely out there, but I want to help spread the word that “a calorie is not a calorie” or “not all calories are created equal”.
In 2012 Dr. Robert Lustig (you’ve seen him on the Sugar = Drug of abuse (part 2) post ) published a study showing that not all calories are created equal and he quickly gives an example illustrating this premise on this clip from the 1h36m Fed Up documentary, which you should also watch:
I know, I know, this is too quick and lacking concrete information, but let’s call it an overture. It should make you want to know more, and you can start your research with the following articles:
6 Reasons Why a Calorie is NOT a Calorie
Still Believe ‘A Calorie Is a Calorie’?
Knowing this – along with the other information I’ve already shared on the 2 Nutritional Choices posts – was a major factor in choosing to slowly change my dietary habits towards healthy, natural food, and away from processed food-like products. Which means I’ll eat a banana or a potato without thinking twice, while staying away from things like Coca-Cola zero or low calories meal replacement bars. And yes, I still lose plenty of fat.
I believe the Nutritional Choices post needs a follow-up. As you may remember, on that post I explained that I decided to, slowly but surely, give up processed food. I also shared 2 articles explaining how processed food affects your organism.
As you may already know, I opted to focus on health, not on weight loss. To acquire the tools which would allow me to eat as healthily as possible I looked up information on the topic. Besides the obvious no-no’s like fast food, soft drinks, frozen meals, etc, I quickly understood that I didn’t want to eat the “diet-ish” food products either.
As an example, he’s an article on 15 “Health Foods” That Are Really Junk Foods in Disguise
Also, I learned that there’s a huge difference between food and food-like products. You can look up Michael Pollan’s teachings both on google and on youtube, but for a quick and clear explanation on the difference, I would like to share another blogger’s post called: Food versus the Food-like Product
And just so I don’t leave you “imageless” today, here’s something to keep in mind: