Last updated on October 23rd, 2019 at 02:22 pm
Summer is around the corner, although in many places, it still feels like winter.
Soon enough, the weather will be hot, and it will be time to break out the clothes that consist of less material. A lot of us dread this time of year, especially when we’ve put on weight and want to avoid anything that shows the real shape of our bodies.
I am one of those people.
This year is the first time I am more mindful of my eating habits and wanting to be healthy to support my famous chef dream fully.
Do I want to look like an actress, Halle Berry? UM. YEAH. But I am not about to put that kind of pressure on myself. Besides, who can look like Halle Berry except for Halle Berry?
Just like cooking and living the dream process, it’s easier to live in the present moment, but with a reasonable plan that works for you.
In one of my past blog posts, I mentioned that hindsight is 20/20. Although I gained weight as a result of poor living habits and stress from surviving Hurricane Katrina, I finally realized that my weight gain started around the year 2000. The fact is that here and now, at this moment, I am far too many pounds overweight and have been blowing it off for too long now. I’ve wanted to be healthier, but I wasn’t willing to work for it, and guess what? I didn’t want to be healthy bad enough.
If you don’t start finding what personally works for you regarding what you put in your mouth, you don’t want to be healthier bad enough either.
I have pictures of two bathing suits that I refuse to get rid of. I vow to buy at least one, especially since I found out one of the bathing suits in the photo costs $500.00 and you can’t get it wet. That’s right, I cannot get into the water with the $500.00 one… but I digress.
I’ve started experimenting with preparing different types of foods. I tend to make a lot of “southern comfort” meals. I’ve slowly moved away from that habit to more fresh vegetables and fish. I’ve also become more aware of the sources of what I am eating. I’ve discovered a certain logic to understanding where my food is created.
If you eat something and you don’t feel well afterward (which includes feeling sluggish, tired, cloudy in the head), it’s not for you. Each of us is a unique being, and our chemistry is different, so what works for one person may not work for another.
I want to share with you what I’ve discovered is working for me on my healthy journey so far and why.
I hope that it is a helpful guide for you to do your eating exploration so you can wear your dream bikini bathing suit.
9 Nourishing Foods to Help you Lose Weight
I’ve never gotten into loving to eat rice. For years I said, “Rice is boring!” Now, I can’t get enough of it. It’s light, it’s clean, and it’s from the earth. You may be saying, “Yeah, but I’d much rather a nice bowl of angel hair pasta.” Well, sometimes I do too, and I will have some, but a minimal amount. What has blown my mind is that I don’t crave pasta much anymore because I think about what pasta is: flour, eggs, and water.
If you mix flour, eggs, and water before it’s rolled and formed into the beautiful strands and shapes, it’s disgusting.
Every time I want pasta (which was a lot), I visualize a bowl of flour water and eggs mixed together. This visual takes care of my craving. I also have irritable bowel syndrome, and nothing helps my stomach spasms as rice. Think about it–in Asian countries, people eat rice as a considerable percentage of their diet, and they are some of the healthiest people on earth.
Fresh fish. Not the crap sold in bags that are frozen with preservatives. A beautiful piece of salmon, raw or seared with some capers and lemon or fresh tarragon and avocado. Fish is something else that when I eat it, I get full, but I don’t find myself saying, “OH MY GOD, I am so full.” It’s another clean food, and it’s from the sea.
Not the yogurt with the fruit on the bottom. Plain real Greek yogurt with fresh fruit. Cut some pineapple and drizzle some local quality honey and maybe mix in some pure vanilla extract in the yogurt if you want to cut the tartness. The other great thing about Greek yogurt is that you can make tzatziki with it and use it as a spread for a gyro or on some grilled chicken, but remember, check the sources of your yogurt and chicken.
Greek yogurt should have a low sugar to protein ratio and is best when made with just two ingredients: grass-fed milk and live cultures. If the chicken was raised with antibiotics, hormones, and in an inhumane environment where it is abused, neglected, stressed, and unhappy, it’s not the chicken for you.
You want chickens that see the sunlight, eat bugs, and scratch in the dirt. The antibiotics and hormones will be passed on to your body, and as a result, your body won’t change to a healthier state, which is necessary for your weight loss. Not only that, organic chicken is more filling than the commercial, water-stuffed versions you get in many grocery stores.
Load up on them. In New Orleans, I learned how to cook red beans and rice before I could walk. I learned to prepare them with ham, lots of sausages, sometimes butter at the end to make them creamy and, are you ready? They were served with a breaded pork chop and hot-buttered, french bread.
Did I say it’s not orgasmic? No, but if you don’t find alternative ways to cook beans, you might as well wear a tent on the beach.
There are a million ways to cook and eat them. Throw them in with fresh spinach, red onion, and some good quality pure feta cheese with a red wine vinaigrette. I also eat tons of black beans cooked with onions and lots of cilantro, sometimes topped with low or non-fat sour cream.
You can also put a piece of chicken or pork on top with some fresh avocado slices and rice or wrap it alone or with some grilled shrimp in low carbohydrate, high-fiber tortilla with real cheese (grate it yourself) and trust me; it will keep you full for a long time.
All of them. Read the labels. Remember to look at the sources.
7. Vegetables and Fruit
All of them. Fresh or even quick frozen as long as they are pure. Not canned.
Tons of it until your urine is clear.
Squeeze half of a lemon in a cup of hot water and drink a few cups a day or one in the morning. Lemon and hot water is a natural detoxifier, and lemon water makes your body alkaline. It also curbs your appetite and cravings.
That is all I will share this week, and don’t forget to go to your “pantry list” and use seasonings, marinades, and herbs to make things taste good. Remember, if it comes from nature and is not modified with artificial elements, it’s good. If people in a factory make it, forget about eating it.
I promise you that your body will feel better, and thank you for ridding of all of the crap you’ve been digesting for years. It’s a slow process, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Now, there are exceptions to the MUST EAT PERFECTLY HEALTHY rule:
- Celebratory events.
- When you need a break from eating clean, but be careful here and fill up on some spinach and water first. Ofen reintroducing your favorite comfort food after giving it up can make you feel sick. Vow to allow yourself only one meal and then go right back to your healthy eating plan.
But you can blow it out now and then.
The other thing that will guarantee your weight loss success is what television character, Sargent Cater used to scream at a fellow actor, Gomer Pyle, all of the time, “MOVE IT, MOVE IT, MOVE IT!”
Go for a walk after you eat–even if it’s only for five minutes. Park your car, where you are forced to walk further to your destination. Go out dancing with friends. Join a walking Meetup group in your area.
Now, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite healthy meals to eat, which gives me energy and never makes me feel bad.
Pan-Seared Salmon with Artichoke Hearts and White Wine
• 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets
• 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus 1/2 cup
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt Freshly white pepper, to taste
• 2 cups artichoke hearts
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
• 1 cup of white wine
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly rub the salmon fillets with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and season the top with salt and pepper. Sear salmon in a hot skillet on both sides and set aside.
If you wish to finish the salmon in the oven for a well-done piece of salmon, put salmon in the oven in a separate pan.
Pour white wine, garlic, and artichoke hearts in the skillet that the salmon was cooked. Sauté until the artichoke hearts are heated through, and the chardonnay has reduced by half-season with salt, pepper, and basil.
Top salmon with artichoke mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Watch your salmon because the time in the oven will depend on the thickness of your salmon and how you like your salmon cooked. Serves 4.
Salute’ to your culinary and bikini dreams!
Maria Vieages is known for her variety of exquisite recipes with a New Orleans, Portuguese, and Sicilian flair. When not hanging out with fellow chefs in New Orleans, you can find Maria teaching private cooking classes or as a guest chef on Celebrity Cruises, where she teaches, provides cooking demos, and even headed one of the first passenger culinary chef challenges on the high seas.
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