So you think you are eating healthy? But how healthy are you?
No this article isn’t about recycling or saving the planet. It’s about saving yourself. This article will show you how to save yourself from the everyday and harmful mistakes we unknowingly make. And trust me, I thought I was doing things right, I had not a CLUE.
So You Think You’re Cooking Healthy?
Let me tell you a little story about how I thought I was eating healthy.
I would prepare one to two week's worth of chicken ahead of time. I would cook it in metal tins until it was a light brown. Next, I would weigh it on my food scale. I would put my servings in plastic containers and seal them up and place them in the freezer. ‘My little bricks of chicken’ all stored nice and neat in the freezer. Did I mention I tubbed the chicken in the plastic containers while the chicken was still hot!
What is wrong with this picture you may ask? First, let’s take a look at how I was cooking the chicken.
I was cooking it on cheap metal tins. These metal tins are harmful to heat because they are easily pitted. Once the tins become pitted, metal can enter your body. Cast iron, stainless steel and Pyrex are much safer choices to cook in. If you choose to use tinfoil, place the food on the dull side.
I have always been told it is best to make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly, but this an old wives' tale. Any meat that is cooked for too long will contain carcinogens which are toxic. This is especially a problem for grilled meats. Meat is most beneficial medium rare.
Once my chicken was cooked, I should have let it cool down prior to weighing it and storing it in plastic containers. Putting hot food into plastic containers and sealing them shut is another no, no! To be honest, I never really thought about it.
By placing hot chicken into the plastic containers and sealing them shut, the chemicals from the plastic were leaching into my chicken! Talk about healthy, not so much. Anytime plastic gets warm, the chemicals from the plastic can leach into the food.
What Else Could You Do Better In The Kitchen?
What about your fish? How do you cook your fish?
For years I have been cooking my fish on tinfoil in the oven. For an extra ‘healthy bonus,’ I would add lemon juice, spices and tomato for flavor. Again something I thought was so healthy. WRONG. Here’s how to make it better.
If you must use tinfoil again, place the food on the dull side, never the shiny side. Next it is okay to add your spices and vegetables such as mushrooms to the fish, but you should avoid adding acidic foods to the tin foil while cooking. Acidic foods such as lemons and tomatoes can pit the tin foil, which makes it toxic.
Again the same theory applies as with the meat, we obviously want to avoid salmonella, but we don’t want to overcook or brown our fish. Once your fish is cooked, remove it from the foil and now add your lemon or tomatoes as you wish.
How about your eggs? When you cook your eggs on the stove top, leave them slightly runny. The yellow yolks will provide you with extra nutrients. Avoid letting the bottom brown, once again carcinogens come in to play.
Speaking of eggs, let’s talk about egg whites. Did you know liquid egg whites from the carton ONLY may be consumed raw? They are great for adding extra protein to a shake guzzle and go! Never do as Arnold Schwarzenegger did back in the day and consume raw whole eggs.
Are You Sucking The Nutrients Out Of Your Meals?
My mother always said, “don’t stand in front of the microwave!” I thought this was just an old wives' tale. Must be a mother’s secret radar that tells you there is something that is just not healthy about it!
I started to do a little research on what really happens to our food when we microwave it. Microwaving food causes changes in the food’s chemical structure. This in turn depletes the foods nutritional value.
In 1976 Russia banned the use of microwaves, one year later they lifted the ban. Later a Swiss Clinical Study by Hans Hertel concluded that microwaves not only changed the nutrients in foods, it significantly decreased the food value by 60%-90%.
After learning of the long term implications, I ditched my microwave! Now I won’t lie to you, it did take some time to adjust. The hardest part is getting used to making eggs on the stove top at 5 am. I had several moments where I wanted my microwave out of the storage shed, but I held my ground.
Guess what, it turned out not to be that traumatic. It may take an extra few minutes, but the eggs taste so much better.
So now are you thinking of ditching your microwave too? What do you put in that big hole where your microwave was? Why not try a small toaster oven. They are very inexpensive, and they not only reheat your food but work well for toast too.
You can also reheat the old fashioned way like my grandmother did, on the stove top. These ladies were on to something. Just add a little water to your meals, steam your veggies and it tastes so much better.
Let me know what you think. Like I said these are little changes, but ‘wow’ can they make a big difference. Looking back now, I can live without my microwave and the quality of the food is much better and tastier too.
Go Green With Your Cooking!
And we aren’t talking just veggies.
Now that we have mastered the cooking, let’s discuss what we put in our grocery cart. I am sure you have heard this before, but studies have shown that organic foods have a higher nutritional value. So go green when you can!
Organic meat, poultry eggs and dairy come from animals that receive no antibiotics or growth hormones. These items are labeled “organic” and must meet the USDA standards. Lamb is considered organic if it is from New Zealand or Australia this is because these countries ban injecting hormones into the meat.
How about fish? The best sources of fish are wild caught. If you buy flash frozen fish, read the label. Where does it come from? It is best to stick with fish from Australia, New Zealand, Florida and the Pacific Northwest is the cleanest. Fish from other countries can be harmful because of chemical runoffs.
Check out Vitalchoice.com wild seafood and organics. They are a little pricey, but provide natural, sustainably harvested seafood products delivered right to your door just like your supplements. How easy is that?
Go green with your fruits and vegetables too. Select organic fresh and prepackaged organic vegetables. Even though it says pre-washed, err on the side of caution, and re-wash it. These vegetables have so much nutritional value, and they provide so many health benefits eaten raw as well as steamed.
So the next time you are in the grocery store, take a look around, and you will be surprised at the wide selection of organic foods they carry. Here and there, try a new item and then slowly switch out to organic. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Let’s Not Forget What You Wash It Down With
So you think your water is sparkling? Or is it? It’s not just about drinking filtered water. As a bodybuilder, I am guilty of this sin too. I slugged bottled water from a plastic bottle and I refilled it all day long. I had never given it much thought. I always thought, “well I am drinking filtered water and lots of it, so I am doing pretty good!” Let’s take a look at that plastic.
Plastic in general is considered toxic. It is toxic to produce, to use and to dispose of. If we reuse the same plastic bottle over and over again, we continue to expose ourselves to toxins. Over time bacteria builds up in these plastic bottles. Does not sound too healthy does it!
Now if we leave that plastic bottle in the car, and it heats up, the same thing that occurs with our chicken in plastic ware happens with our water. The plastic begins to leach toxins into our water. So do your best to avoid plastic bottles.
Of course at the gym, this is a not so easily accomplished. But at other times you have a choice, so for the most part try to avoid plastic.
Safer choices include glass or stainless steel. You can safely run these through the dish washer to avoid bacteria at the end of the day. Give it a try! Personally I now put my filtered water from home in glass bottles, and I am good to go for the day.
Going green with muscle building isn’t too complicated. It is simple, in fact. Some of the things that your mom and grandma nagged you about now make sense. We tend to focus on being so healthy, but sometimes we can overlook these simple things that can make a big difference.
Like most of us, we thought we were making the most beneficial and nutritious choices possible, but these little changes add up to a healthier you and in the long run you are so worth it!