“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist (1922-2000)
If you follow my social media handles (nudge, nudge!) you’ll notice how much I love food. I get excited about all things food related – cooking, eating, taking pictures, trying out new food, etc. Not to perpetuate stereotypes, but I would love a boyfriend who’s willing to take me on food adventures, as my broke college wallet cannot buy anything that I want to try.
To see my love for food, here’s a strange story: from a young age, I would constantly develop random mouth sores. Not knowing the cause, I would complain about the pain, but also how much I wanted to eat a certain food; it was mostly the $2 chocolate ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles from the nearest Mr. Softee’s truck. My mother thought I was just making scene to get ice cream, but we quickly discovered that whenever I ate something that I craved, the sores would go away. There probably isn’t a correlation supported by science, but it always worked like a charm.
Thanks to my genetics, I can eat whatever I want without outwardly showing any consequences. However, in middle school, I went through a period where meat was nauseating, so I went on a vegetarian diet. From this, my appetite shrunk dramatically, and I couldn’t eat as much as I used to.
Concurrently at school, my substitute teacher complimented how skinny my friend and I were, and we reciprocated the favor, as she was also very skinny. Sighing, she said that at her age, her appearance could only be achieved through diet and exercise, as her metabolism, which used to be like ours, began to crash in her mid-twenties. These two experiences opened my eyes to what I was consuming and the amount I was consuming.
Earlier this year, I changed my diet to reflect my new workout routine because I wasn’t losing the stomach pudge that I wanted gone. However, eating well is hard in college because your meals are dependent on the dining hall options or what you have in your dorm. For example, my college’s dining halls protein option was almost exclusively chicken breast because while it was a healthy option, it’s very cheap in comparison to other cuts of meat.
Ironically, the first order of business in my new diet was to buy chicken breast; while I was sick of eating it, I did have a trusty method of preparing it. I also stocked up on a lot of fruits and vegetables – they were my source of carbs, as I’m not the biggest fan of wheat or grains.
The way I prepared fruits and vegetables basically describes a raw food diet, but I never called it that. Calling something a diet makes it an obligation, and I think as humans, we just don’t like being forced to do something. Also, this may contradict my foodie status, but sometimes, I go into periods of craving where I just eat one thing only. Throwback to Argentina, when I would only eat salads with grilled chicken breast and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Here’s an example of a dinner after a workout, which eerily sounds similar to my Argentine diet:
- Take out a Ziploc bag of chicken breast from the freezer and let it defrost, unopened under the running hot water from the sink for five minutes. During that time, take out the lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and any other vegetables from the fridge. Take out a desired amount of each kind and leave it to the side.
- After taking out the bag, turn on your stove and oil a pan, lightly. I recommend using sunflower or canola oil because they have the highest smoke point temperatures. Multiple studies have shown that cooking with olive oil is hurtful to your health because since it burns faster, it becomes a carcinogenic.
- When the oil moves like water, place your chicken in the pan and let it cook on medium high heat. Since the oil’s already very hot, it will help cook the meat, but it shouldn’t be on high because then it will just burn the outside, leaving the inside uncooked, and uncooked chicken’s dangerous to eat.
- Midway through cooking, you can lightly season with salt and pepper, if desired. Keeping an eye out for the chicken, wash the vegetables in cold water, and cut into the desired size before plating.
- When the chicken is finished, put onto the same plate as the vegetables, to the side, or on top, whatever’s preferred.
- Lightly season with extra virgin olive oil right before eating for flavoring, if desired. Pair with water because anything but defeats the purpose of working out.
I realized that the best way to approach healthy eating is to be as simple, or as creative as you want to be. If you want to make a healthy raw food alternative to Nutella, then go for it! If you’re like me and you’re content with eating lettuce straight up from a bag, that’s your prerogative.
While I don’t have my large appetite anymore, I still retained my snacking habits. At least three times a day, I feel peckish and want to eat something small. To remedy this problem, I simply wash a bunch of berries in cold water and eat them, returning on the task at hand.
An accomplishment that I want to share is that I haven’t had soda in over a year now! I only drank it because it would alleviate my painful migraines, but I quit, knowing how unhealthy high-fructose corn syrup is for the body. I thought it would be a hard sacrifice because of my migraines, but it was actually an easy change, especially when thinking about the wallet that could not fund this expense. One year later, I barely remember the taste of it and strangely don’t even crave it 🎉!
the girl who pairs food with ~iced~ water
IMAGE CREDIT: Pinterest