Who says being healthy has to be just salads? Not me! Throughout B3 All In, the January challenge through Barre3, I shared some of my gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free meals via Instagram. As a result, I think that I affirmed my healthy reputation.
I’m already known as the “healthy one” amongst my friends, which just naturally happened. I was never intentionally trying to be that person. But I’m sure it happened because you can count on me to provide vegetables at any potluck. Whether it’s salad, roasted vegetables, or vegetarian pancit – I’ve got it covered – but I’ll also balance it out by making a sugar-filled dessert to share. Because balance is key!
I am a firm believer in balance, not binging (unless it’s binge watching tv shows.) When I committed to doing B3 All In, I told myself that I would not deprive myself from anything. If I really wanted something, I would allow myself to have it without feeling guilty. Hence my sugar consumption in the form of plant-based ice cream and wine.
There was a time when I thought being healthy meant only eating vegetables, fruit, no rice, no dairy, no burgers, no fun. It took me several years to realize that this was not what healthy looked like for my life. Though it may have looked that way for others, I knew that I had to create a healthy lifestyle that worked for just me.
You already know that I absolutely love food. While there are several things I choose not to eat, I am passionate about all things culinary. One of my favorite things to do is to explore neighborhoods to try new restaurants, bars, bakeries, gastropubs, food trucks, and read innovative menus. So you see, I don’t want to be all salads and smoothies.
Instead, I eat whatever my body craves while also consciously making healthy choices. I am always researching and unlearning what the media has taught us to be healthy and unhealthy. So here’s a glimpse into what what my kind of healthy looks like.
I have been making and drinking green smoothies for years, but they always left me craving something more. I then realized that adding more protein and fiber is what I needed for smoothies to keep me energized and full throughout the morning. Flax seeds, almond butter, oats, and spinach are now staples in several of my green smoothies.
My newest favorite ingredient for a green smoothie is parsley. I know…I thought it was weird at first, too. However, parsley adds a subtle sweetness and there are several health benefits of the modest herb. Its anti-inflammatory properties aid in reducing internal inflammation (got joint pain?) It also acts as a mild diuretic, which means it helps to detox our bodies and eliminate excess water retention. Goodbye extra bloat!
Avocado and Egg Rice Bowl
My go-to breakfast and post-workout weekend lunch is typically a rice bowl topped with an egg and vegetables. One of my favorite versions is only five main ingredients: rice, egg, avocado, cilantro, and soy sauce or tamari. Cook an egg to your liking (scrambled, over easy, over hard – it all works!) Slice half an avocado. Chop a few sprigs of cilantro (or parsley). Throw all of that on top of rice, then drizzle with soy sauce. So easy. So healthy.
At a potluck last year, a friend of mine made cauliflower pizza. It was my first time having it, and I instantly fell in love. I finally came around to trying it out myself by following a recipe I found on Pinterest (there are so many!) The version below is a half-and-half version. Spinach, onions, and bell peppers all over; cheese on Z’s half; and mushrooms on my half.
Yes, burgers can definitely be healthy. Swap out the bread with lettuce for a gluten-free and low carb alternative. Get a vegetable side instead of french fries. Bam! A healthier burger meal. Don’t forget that french fries are made from potatoes, and potatoes are a vegetable. So go ‘head girl, let’s share a basket of fries if that’s what your heart desires.
Lettuce wrap burgers are a little trickier to eat. Z and I went to 8 oz. Burger & Co. for the first time a couple of weeks, and I replaced the bread for lettuce. At other restaurants when you request a lettuce-wrapped burger, you’ll get a couple pieces of lettuce on the top and bottom of the burger patty. But here you get actual lettuce “buns,” as shown in the photo below. I picked it up with my hands and ate it like you would normally eat a burger. After a few bites, though, I switched to using a fork and knife instead.
My challenge for you is to discover what your kind of healthy looks like. Whether it includes anything I shared or not, create a plan that brings you joy, fulfillment, and balance.