Nutrition and cooking Concepts for Dummies
You know the struggle of trying to be healthy out of a sudden but it is so freaking hard to actually understand and start somewhere. I know because I was there a while back (check out my first post). At that point you start researching, you get some knowledge and at the same time you need to start testing it out. One important factor about eating healthy is that everything takes time, you get demotivated and you are 30 seconds away from that cheeseburger.
Before you start any reading, beware that I am no professional and that I do not do this for a living. I am exactly like you and trying to understand because of the type of lifestyle that I follow is extremely hard to actually live a healthy life.
Some start with the question on how could our parents do it? The answer is pretty simple — different time, different working hours and a less complex life. There are two way you can tackle this:
1. Live a simpler life.
2. Try to optimize your current lifestyle to actually achieve all your goals and try not to die from a coronary by the age of 40.
I am the type of guy that would go for the second choice. If yours is the first, just ask your parents — I am pretty sure that they have more experience than me into this.
We shall start with the basics. Nutrition and what our body needs:
Nutrition simplified by a non-professional
Being able to eat properly starts from understanding what you need to eat to survive. Dieting is a word that has some of the worse PR I have seen.
Yes you should Diet — No you should not stop eating that delicious food.
Cutting your weight down can be done by controlling what you eat. Here are some of the big don’ts:
1 Avoid late night dinners. It is not good for your body because you are technically adding fuel to burn when you are actually going to sleep where your burning is minimal.
2 Simplify your food intake: Something that is processed is not as good as something that is natural.
3 Avoid fats, skins and buttery stuff. I know that a crispy chicken skin is delicious but common, get a hold of yourself.
4 Limit your alcohol intake — if you have to drink, go for straight spirits. You get to appreciate the alcohol a little more and are obliged to take your time to drink it (straight vodka with ice and lemon is a great solution — opt in for some delicious fancy vodka and you shall see the difference)
5 Limit your carb intake. I know they are delicious but let’s be realistic — a dozen doughnuts are most definitely not great for your body. Be moderate and try to consume them at breakfast.
6 Chicken and Fish are the greatest type of meats that you should eat. They are so lean and help you build muscle much better than anything else.
7 Deep Fried stuff — for the love of what’s holly, NO. They are BAD BAD BAD. Not only it takes your body so much to digest them, but they are filled with immense amounts of stuff that is so bad for you.
See that it is not that bad? Now the DO’s:
1 Veggies are awesome. Veggies are love. Veggies are life. Veggies are everything that you need in your life.
2 Water should be your go-to drink. 2 Liters per day are mandatory — not only it is good for your weight but it actually helps with your general body.
3 Do eat what you crave, but just be mindful on how much you eat. Keep your cool for crying out loud. Have a glass of water before you eat- Believe me!
The professionals at Harvard Research have developed the normal plate of food that you should have every day. Note that this is relative to everyone but it averages down exactly like this. If, in your daily routine you manage to eat the specified relative amount, you have mastered your nutrition basics.
The beauty of this is that depending on how you feel, you can make the necessary adjustments. This applies also to your lifestyle. If you are really active and go to the gym every day, you will need more food — but that is the general rule.
Working out from someone trying to lose weight
This is one extremely hot topic. Working out is a matter of understanding what your final result will be. Are you looking to become thinner or you are just looking to lose some of that belly fat. Your body works with the simplicity that characterizes a simple mathematical equation Total Calories = FOOD — Exercise. If Total Calories is negative, you will lose weight.
If it is positive, you will maintain your current weight and gain muscle. If exercise = 0 FOOD will turn into fat. See? So easy!
Here are my two ways on how you can tackle this:
1. If you are looking to get thin — RUN. Hit that treadmill, step and bicycle. This will help you burn calories, but it will also burn the muscle. So the final result will be you a lot slimmer.
2. If you are looking to lose weight but also gain muscle — make sure that you combine this running with weight lifting. Combine your program with exercises that feature a lot of repetitions with a lower weight. The term that you should google is “super sets”. Be sure to leave on day for heavy lifting — it will help you get some muscle as well. The bottom line will result in a big puddle, some high intensity training and a much healthier body. Keep in mind that this is one of those ways that take a little more to show some results.
One this is extremely important: Working out is not about looking good, but being healthy. If you are looking to have a flat belly and a big bottom, I can not help you, thanks.
Cooking Techniques from a fresh graduate
This is the fun part. Cooking for some is not simple — but it can be made simple by adding a couple of concepts to it to make your live so much easier:
1 Start with a protein (aka some meat — a great source of awesome proteins). If you are not much of a cook, chicken breasts are a great starting point. Cut them in half (google: butterflying a chicken breast), add some salt and pepper and either fry (with just a little olive oil) them or bake them. Not too much effort.
2 Add some veggies. Steamed veggies are awesome. They are so easy to make (google: boiled broccoli cooking time to figure out how much time you need) and just add a little olive oil, a little salt and if you prefer just a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar.
3 Make some sort of salad. The easiest of them all: the Greek salad: Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, a little olive oil and some salt award you are DONE.
A three step process of making some food packed with nutrients and most definitely great for you. Now you can experiment, with different types of meat and different types of veggies. If you master the simple frying of the chicken, you have gone half way. Give it a try.
Learning how to read recipes by a dummy
Along the lines of this post, I have made some comments based into googling stuff. Now some of those are actually proper recipes. Now recipes tend to get fancy and a little overboard with the ingredients. We are cutting our costs and we do not want that. So whenever you go ahead and google recipes, just focus on these easy steps:
1. Most of the recipes are organized into a meat and veggies standard. They will teach you how to marinade the meat and then how to cook the veggies. Focus on understanding how they actually cook the meat and how they cook the veggies and disregard the fancy ingredients. Just switch up some with some others that you have handy and you will be fine. Just make sure that the taste is almost the same (or at least in the same family. . .
2. Follow desert recipes to the letter. Deserts, unlined every other type of recipe is like a chemical experience or a potion class from Snape. If they tell you to stir counter clock wise, you do that.
3. Disregard the “hard recipes made easy” posts — hard recipes are hard because they require a lot of time and effort. You do not have that. Stick to the classics and get accustomed to them.
4. Everything tastes better with fresh ingredients. I would opt in for fresh garlic anytime — even though there are a lot of other solutions.
5. Experiment to understand the logic of cooking so you do not have to read another recipe in your life again. What I usually do is try to cook with whatever I have around in my house. I don’t need to go all fancy — I will be fine with whatever.
Creating your own diet
Eating is something, at least for me, which should be enjoyed to the maximum. One should always eat what they feel comfortable but also experiment what other say. If you are the type of person that detests Brussels sprouts, try cooking them yourself, google some recipes that include Brussels sprouts with ingredients that you love and see how much better everything is. Life is not all about French Fries and steaks — but it is also about that week in your live were you try to keep it all vegan…