I haven't posted since last week when I announced the 7-day cleanse I was starting, but I'm a bit embarrassed to say it didn't last. I gave up after just two days. That's me up there having my matcha green tea because I couldn't have coffee. Although it was just two days, I had zero energy. I was falling asleep at my desk at work. I couldn't find it in me to work out when I got home. I went three whole days without doing much moving at all. I felt like the life had been sucked out of me. Once I started eating meat again, drinking my 3 cups of coffee in the morning and having yogurt or cereal for breakfast, I regained that energy and strength, and my days were much more comfortable.
But just because I quit the cleanse doesn't mean I went back to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Being forced - if only for two days - to eat nothing but fruits and vegetables gave me the push I needed to experiment a little more in the kitchen. To be more adventurous. To add color to my dishes. And the fact that DJ would kill me if I let all the vegetables go to waste helped a lot too. But most importantly, I discovered how much more I can do with lunch and dinner. Breakfast is still pretty simple. I'm a big granola/cereal person. I can also eat a yogurt and be satisfied for hours. But lunch and dinner seemed to constantly stump me. I found it was difficult to find decent pairings for the things I wanted to cook. I haven't the slightest idea why, but it made dinners so boring. I was cooking from boxes and throwing the most unhealthy meals together.
Luckily, I realized - and pretty quickly, at that - just how easy it is to be healthy without completely losing it. I've found I have more fun in the kitchen, and best of all, my fiance has been loving dinnertime (and him eating healthy without complaining is a major plus).
So how do you train your mind to stop thinking eating healthy has to be a headache? For starters, make olive oil and garlic your new best friends. I haven't used butter or cheese in about a week because of these two superstars. Olive oil is a healthy fat that is great for sauteing vegetables and cooking various meats and seafood. Garlic gives you the flavor you need. I also like to add Italian seasoning and/or sliced lemon to add a little more.
Last night I made a 1-pan salmon and veggie bake. It was so simple, and so incredibly savory. I used the following:
1 medium onion
1 small lemon
Salt + pepper to taste
I crowded my pan without really meaning to, but it actually worked out. That salmon was the juiciest I'd ever had. In a nutshell, I drizzled olive oil in the bottom of the pan, along with the garlic and Italian seasoning. I evenly spaced the salmon fillets in the pan and topped them with olive oil, garlic, and Italian seasoning as well. Then I chopped all the veggies and spread them around. I sliced that small lemon and squeezed each slice over the salmon before dropping them in the pan as well.
It took roughly a half hour in the oven at 425 degrees. The entire house smelled heavenly.
DJ suggested getting rid of a loaf of bread he'd gotten at the Food Lion bakery last weekend, so I made some garlic bread with it. I hate buying frozen garlic bread with a passion, and making your own is so easy, there's no reason to buy it in the box anyway. Just slice the bread, and brush each side with a mixture of olive oil and garlic. Bake until toasted. Yum!
Wednesday was also a successful dinner night. I had some leftover mashed cauliflower with squash, mushrooms, and chopped onion to work with, so we decided to add some chicken and sauteed veggies to that. I chose zucchini and grape tomatoes to saute, and I put some chicken tenderloin in a skillet of olive oil and covered each side with garlic powder and Italian seasoning (I also added a few lemon slices to the pan for flavor). What resulted was delicious breaded chicken on a bed of veggies.
What started blandly for lunch during my cleanse,
...became a flavor-packed dinner after the cleanse.
Waste nothing, I say!
Again, the guys were satisfied. And I find that most important because I don't want to have to feed them unhealthy meals just to make them happy. DJ is all about the flavor. If it has none, he doesn't enjoy it. I have to remind myself he's from the deep south, where everything comes covered in some sort of Cajun seasoning. And Brennan, well, he's just a picky vegetable eater (although he ate around all of the mushrooms in this meal, he claimed it was delicious).
But what do I do about lunch?
Honestly, I could eat a salad every day at lunchtime. I'm not picky. And the healthiest way to enjoy a salad involves [yet again] olive oil and a vinegar of your choice. I love red wine vinegar. So much flavor! I will add croutons once in a while, but if it's filled with protein-packed veggies, I'm happy.
I've also been wanting to try zoodles (noodles made from zucchinis - you can also use any other solid veggie!) with mixed veggies, olive oil and garlic. My sister made a delicious concoction the other day using almond butter, mmm.
Regardless, I tend to scour Pinterest for most of my healthy meals. I love trying new things, and even more so when know they're good for me.
What have you been eating lately?