My Week of Healthy Living
While I'd like to think I don't lead an unhealthy lifestyle, I do enjoy the guiltier delights of life a bit too often so with that in mind here is an account of my week of healthy living. The premise for this week was me feeling inspired one day so I decided that I would have a healthy living week to see if I could cut down some unwanted wobbly bits and improve my energy levels. I soon roped in the girlfriend for support and we set some loose guidelines based on previous experience and some light research.
The list of contraband for the week included red meat, caffeine, refined sugar, dairy, alcohol, pasta, white rice or white bread. This left white meats, vegetables, greens, eggs, nuts and water on the list of approved foods. So with that criteria in mind we paid a visit to Fremantle Markets to stock up on fresh fruit and veg plus some healthy snack options. To assist us in our healthy week we would be attempting to take the Super Elixir every morning. This alkalising green supplement will provide us with an extra boost of energy along with keeping our bodies in tip top shape.
Breakfast - Super Elixir Smoothie - Banana, Blueberries, Almond Milk & Super Elixir - 145 calories
Lunch - Cauliflower/Sweet Potato Dal with Brown Rice (Adjusted from This Recipe) - 177 calories
Dinner - 2 Poached Eggs on Wholemeal Bread with Avocado & Pepper - 375 calories
Snacks - 1 Mandarin & 1 Banana. - 138 calories
Exercise - Light walking at the dog park & 45 mins of basketball
Day one and a very chilly morning greeted us both as I struggled to get out of bed. To kick start the day I made our first Super Elixir smoothie and prepared the days food, ready to take to work. Part of the healthy week experiment was to add in a kidney cleanse element so I am trying to consume at least 2-3L of room temperature water per day. By lunch I had got through over a litre and the need to fill up with more/go to the bathroom made for a good excuse to stretch my legs. To give it some flavour I allowed myself to add a dash of fresh lemon juice on a couple of glasses.
Lunch was a small serve of vegetarian dal that was made the previous night. If I had known that my girlfriend wasn't going to be having this for lunches I would have ditched the cauliflower and substituted in some garlic mushrooms. I thought I was going to be feeling hungry all day after only eating two pieces of fruit and a small serve of lunch but the water really helps in keeping your stomach full and your mind away from feeling hungry.
Dinner was a quick option but still very tasty as I had to get off to basketball after the dog park. When I returned home it was only water before bed. So far, so good.
Breakfast - 2 Slices Wholemeal Bread with 2/3 of an Avocado - 415 calories
Lunch - Cauliflower/Sweet Potato Dahl with Brown Rice - 177 calories
Dinner - Jamie Oliver Moroccan Salad & Marinated Chicken Breast - 406 calories
Snacks - Sweet Potato Chips (40g), Banana & Strawberries with Honey - 278 calories
Exercise - Light walking at the dog park
I woke up to another cold morning and struggled to get myself out of bed resulting in running late for work and no Super Elixir Smoothie. The creamy avocado on wholemeal toast still went down a treat (love my avocado) and I remembered to bring my sweet potato chips to work as a snack. Lunch was made edible with a squeeze of lemon but again I would prefer garlic mushrooms instead of cauliflower.
An afternoon snack of a banana kept me in check until dinner, which was an easily prepared Moroccan Salad (one minute in the microwave) and a marinated chicken breast cooked in the frypan. Watching Masterchef wasn't easy with all the tasty foods being cooked up but I prepared a bowl of strawberries with honey to keep my tastebuds happy. A little more water before bed (I had already consumed over 2L during the day) and it was lights out.
Breakfast - 1 Slice Wholemeal Toast with 1/3 Avocado + Mango/Raspberry/Coconut Water/Super Elixir Smoothie - 344 calories
Lunch - Cauliflower/Sweet Potato Dahl with Brown Rice - 177 calories
Dinner - Grilled Chicken, Spinach, Watercress & Mustard Sandwich - 286 calories
Snacks - Sweet Potato Chips (40g), Delicious Energy Mix (40g), 1 Honey Joy & Banana - 420 calories
Exercise - Light walking at dog park
Starting the day with a Super Elixir Smoothie along with a tasty slice of wholemeal slathered in avocado and sprinkled with pepper was fantastic. Three days in and I'm waking up with lots of energy, not feeling hungry at all and breakfast leaves me feeling full and satisfied. Lunch was a problem though. Whether it was because I didn't squeeze lemon juice over my dal or whether I had finally realised it didn't taste very nice, I only got through half of it before saying no more. That's one recipe I won't be cooking the same again and the blame rests with the cauliflower, which is the devil's vegetable. Mushrooms will be added next time instead.
I have to admit at this stage that my no chocolate rule was broken but only because the delicious energy mix had a few pieces of white chocolate in it. You certainly appreciate it a lot more when you only have a small amount. Dinner was a quick sandwich as I didn't have much time between the dog park and meeting a friend at the movies (FYI Ant Man is better than expected). There were no cravings at the movies despite all the buttery, salty & chocolate distractions and when I got home there was no desire to snack so I only had a glass of water before bed.
Breakfast - Raspberry/Blueberry/Coconut Water Super Elixir Smoothie - 141 calories
Lunch - Chicken/Avocado/Spinach/Watercress Sandwich - 543 calories
Dinner - Subway 6" Turkey on Wheat + Small Fit Chips + Lift - 797 Calories
Snacks - Sweet Potato Chips (40g), Delicious Energy Mix (40g), Banana & Mandarin - 373 calories
Exercise - Light walking at dog park/around the shops.
I woke up with a tonne of energy this morning, ready to tackle the remainder of the week off with gusto. I made a mixed berry Super Elixir concoction and prepared my food for the working day. Having a steady supply of healthy snacks during the day helps keep the motivation up and soon enough it was lunch time. Spreading half an avocado on two pieces of wholemeal bread and filling the middle with chicken, spinach and watercress was super tasty and surprisingly contained more calories than I thought it would (543).
Snacking on more delicious energy mix as the work day passed, it wasn't long before home time. I received some good news at work that afternoon in the form of a new role so instead of the planned fish and steamed vegies we decided to get takeaway. Normally this would mean a medium Quarter Pounder meal from McDonald's but keeping with the healthy theme I got a 6 inch Turkey on Wheat from Subway (with some Fit Chips & a Lift I only half drank of).
We only just got home in time for Masterchef and settled down for a bit of a celebration/treat.
Breakfast - Mixed Berry Super Elixir Smoothie - 133 calories
Lunch - Two slices Wholemeal Bread + Half an Avocado - 363 calories
Dinner - Jamie Oliver Chicken + Steam Fresh Vegetables + Red Wine - 496 calories
Snacks - Sweet Potato Chips, Delicious Energy Mix, Banana, Mandarin, Honey Joy and a Coconut/Almond Bar - 655 calories
The final day of Healthy Week was upon me and the routine of healthy eating and preparation was becoming second nature. Preparing lunch and snacks for the day along with making a smoothie every morning was a lot more efficient on Friday than it was on Monday. I did feel a little flat after lunch today but I'm not sure whether this was due to a decrease in water consumption or staying up late to watch the Tour de France/Ashes the previous night.
As an end of week treat and continuing the new job celebration I allowed myself a few glasses of red wine and a nude food bar whilst watching The Descendents.
Final Thoughts - There seems to be a stigma surrounding healthy eating that it isn't easy to prepare and is more expensive than "regular food". If you do a little planning on the weekend, a big shop for proteins, snacks and fresh produce then it is very easy to get through the week with minimal effort and cost. With proper meal planning you should reduce waste as you are only buying what you plan on using.
While I may not have had a great variety of food during the week, I was only feeding myself so one recipe is enough for an entire week. This is a great way to cut down on time as your lunches are pre-prepared and so long as you enjoy the flavours it shouldn't be a problem (I have already prepared a much tastier Turkey Allsorts Pasta for this week).
If you are thinking about making a switch to a healthier lifestyle then I recommend you stop thinking and start doing. You don't have to be as extreme with your contraband list, as the biggest change you can make is smaller portion sizes and paying more attention to what goes into your body.
Here are some tips from the week that I can pass on;
If you can, buy your fresh produce from a Farmer's Market on the weekend. It will be better quality and cheaper than at Coles or Woolworths.
Drink plenty of water. It helps keep you full and most of the time the feeling of being hungry is actually just dehydration.
Don't expect results straight away as your body has to get used to the new diet before you feel the benefits.
Research the alternatives. I love my white bread but I have found whole wheat bread just as nice. The same goes for replacing chocolate with fruits/nuts.
Don't stress about calorie counting. It's an unhealthy obsession some people have when they are dieting. Instead look at the nutritional value of the food you are eating and use your common sense. Calorie counting only leads to stress, which is counterproductive to living a healthy lifestyle.
Go for a walk. There is nothing worse than a weekday diet where you get up, go to work and then come home so mix it up a little and go for a long walk. You will find your motivation levels will be higher and nothing beats a bit of fresh air.
Eating right has been easier than I expected and if you pick your foods correctly then having tasty options shouldn't be a problem at all. The scales were a kilogram lighter on Monday even with minimal exercise and I am looking forward to continuing the healthy eating for the foreseeable future. Add in a healthy dose of hiking and I have no doubt I will be feeling on top of the world at the end of winter.
If you have any healthy eating tips or snack ideas of your own that you want to pass on then please use the comments section below.