Let’s Get Healthy!

I have a confession to make: I didn’t bake for a whole month! (I also didn’t update this blog for over a month. My apologies!) I lasted one whole month without combining flour, sugar and butter together! January was a tad busier than previous months, with friends visiting from out of town and a second part-time job (I now tutor low-income kids Math!), but I definitely had more than enough time to spend in the kitchen. It’s just that I chose to spend that time cooking instead of baking, more specifically, healthy cooking! While I didn’t formally make a list of New Year’s resolutions, there are some lifestyle changes that I carry out, several of them involving my health and fitness. Most people usually think of exercise when they think of health and fitness, but food is JUST as important as exercise to your health and fitness! I’ve seen this quote all over Pinterest: “A six pack is 10% exercise, 90% diet.” While I can’t exactly vouch for the accuracy of that statement and those numbers since I am no fitness expert, I do know that there is plenty of truth in that statement. Okay I probably learned the science behind this since I did study nutrition in college, but the explanation eludes me at the moment… But to get to my point, besides making it a point to exercise and keep myself moving throughout the week, I’m also intentionally choosing to eat healthier! Am I completely banning sweets and fast food from my diet? No…come on. I’m baking Bea, I have to taste my baked goods at some point! But am I eating fast food once a week or eating half the whole batch of cookies I bake? HECK NO! So what AM I doing? Well let me show you:

1. Eat a healthy, filling breakfast every morning within an hour of waking up.
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oatmeal with blueberries and a dash of brown sugar, mango black tea and spinach scramble

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a piece of toasted whole wheat toast, half a small mashed avocado and fried egg made with a spray of Pam instead of excess oil

2. Create delicious meals with whole foods and lean meats and making sure to eat vegetables with almost every meal (even breakfast!). I’ve been eating a lot of quinoa and lentils, exploring couscous and farro and using brown rice and whole wheat bread almost exclusively (thank goodness I always preferred the taste of whole wheat!). I’m also relying on salmon, tofu, chicken breast and beans for my protein! Quinoa also has more protein than other carbohydrate-rich foods! I’ve also been using more sweet potatoes over potatoes (which I don’t like that much anyways, except I love fries…) because they have a lower glycemic index – I’ll probably write a post on what that means later.

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Pan-seared sockeye salmon (which contain lots of eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid AKA omega-3 fatty acids!) flavored with minced garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, soy sauce and a bit of brown sugar to brown it. Quinoa, chopped up spinach with fresh lemon juice sprinkled on top of everything. Please forgive me for this half-devoured picture. I was just ridiculously hungry and jumped right in before taking a picture. My bad.

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Sweet potato, black bean, chicken breast, quinoa “chili.” I’m not really sure what characterizes chili, but this is definitely a much healthier version of it. Hearty and filling! I topped it with fresh avocado and a tabasco & dijon mustard greek yogurt. Recipe here (though I altered it quite a bit).

3. Consume healthy snacks! I’ve been eating lots of almonds, fresh fruit (especially berries!) and bananas (which I hate and totally makes me gag when I eat it, except they’re so damn good for you). I’m naturally not a heavy snacker (I prefer large meals instead) but I’ve been eating more smaller, frequent meals to keep my blood sugar steady throughout the day and avoid hunger pangs!

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Greek yogurt is freaking awesome. So is honey. A cup of 0% Greek yogurt has only 130 calories and more protein than normal yogurt. It’s a great substitute for sour cream as well!

4. When eating out, make healthier choices and PORTION CONTROL PORTION CONTROL PORTION CONTROL. If you go to any other country, you’ll find that their serving portions are MUCH smaller. A small soda in America is equivalent to a large soda in the Philippines. A plate of food in America is half the size in European countries like Portugal, England and France.

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Okay okay before you judge me for the Saltado de Mariscos pictured above, let me just say that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of good food, especially when eating at probably the best Peruvian place in LA with friends (Mario’s!) BUT eating out and good food is NOT an excuse to finish the whole gigantic plate of food. PORTION CONTROL! I also chose seafood over beef which is healthier, partially because I craved it but normally I would get the Lomo Saltado! Just make sure you’re not eating like this every freaking day and to balance it out by eating healthily during other meals!

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Or you could just eat at healthier places like Native Foods when you go out, and order a filling and flavorful dish like this Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl above (it has quinoa, roasted veggies and tofu!).

5. When baking, share your goodies with everyone and refrain from eating half the batch! I recently tried this chocolate chip, oat & walnut cookie recipe from my new Tartine cookbook and only kept three cookies for myself (: Sharing is caring!

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These are just some of my healthier lifestyle choices for this year, but don’t get me wrong, baking bea won’t stop baking. But perhaps you can call me healthy-eating bea as well? :) What are some of your New Year’s resolutions that pertain to food, nutrition and fitness?

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