Healthy Food Choices: Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato with Yam FriesI’m sometimes offended when people make the assumption that eating healthy means eating foods that don’t taste good or offer much in the way of substance because that is simply not the case.

Back in the day, when there weren’t as many options aside from what one could grow or catch on his or her own, we didn’t have the wealth of resources (farmers markets, whole food stores, organic growers, etc.) available to us that we do now. So, it was easy to believe that a diet that wasn’t based around meat was filled with an overabundance of leafy vegetables, beans, and granola—and, I’ll admit, most people aren’t ready to get on board with a diet that, presumably, has that little substance.

However, now more than ever, we are exposed to an endless amount of food choices that offer those who are willing to shun meat a more filling diet based around not only fresh foods like the above-mentioned greens, beans, and nuts—and for the record, I’m not a full-blown vegetarian just yet, but I have found that my desire to eat meat lessens with each meal I don’t choose to use it as an option—as well as some delicious meat-alternatives like tofu, tempeh, and tofurkey.

No, I’m not kidding. 

Just the other day I enjoyed a Gyro made with tempeh, as opposed to lamb or chicken, and it was delicious! Of course I was later questioned if such a thing it can actually be called a Gyro if it doesn’t contain the signature Greek staple of lamb meat but I can say, without question, that I didn’t miss the meat one bit and I enjoyed every bite.

Now, to be honest, most of these foods are an acquired taste. Going from eating a diet filled with chicken, beef, and pork to one that is mainly based around soy, tofu, and beans is not something that can be done overnight. It’s a process that takes time and most people will need a few weeks, or even months, to get their bodies used to such a change. However, in the long run, you’ll feel so much better.

Anytime you  make a decision to fill your body with foods that are made from fresh ingredients, you feel better (both mentally and physically) because you are no longer burdened by the overall weight that processed, heavily saturated, foods often leave behind—put simply: fresh is better.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do still occasionally enjoy meat dishes, but it’s less than I did six-months ago and, if given the option, I will often now choose the dish without meat.

Still, though, take note of the preparation of said foods before partaking in any of them. There are a number of unhealthy vegetarians and self-proclaimed “health nuts” running about who aren’t paying attention to moderation and preparation where their diet is concerned—a black bean burger can be a delicious alternative to one made of angus, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can over -indulge in such dishes simply because it’s not made from a meat source.

Always use moderation, watch the amount of salt and oil you use in preparation, and be aware of serving sizes—those rules apply to everyone!

Your body can’t function at it’s best if you only allow bad stuff into it and while I’m not advocating vegetarianism, veganism, or anything else (I’ll leave that to Kathy Freston), I do support your taking a healthier approach to what you choose to eat each day. The choice can be as simple as selecting grapes over a bag of chips or drinking a glass of water as opposed to a soft drink.

It’s the little things that make the difference.


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