Last night, in an attempt to get organized (mostly in an effort to be successful at blogging regularly – I told you people I would be better about this!), I sat down with my calendar and started jotting down ideas for posts based on the events and “dates” we have coming up. The ideas that came most readily were, of course, those centered around the Friday theme I promised: Date Night.
(Side note: Is this what normal bloggers do? Or am I just that OCD that I need an outline to follow? Don’t answer that.)
Anyway, of course Date Night is easy because A) it involves my favorite thing: food, and B) we really enjoy dining out and have several favorite foodie restaurants in the area (not to mention, this will give us an excuse to visit a few more we’ve been wanting to try…like this one).
With all the future Date Night posts running through my mind… glorious visions of pork belly and smoked gouda grits, carrot cake waffles with maple cream cheese frosting, the best fried calamari you’ll ever eat, crimini mushroom pizza with smoked bleu cheese and roasted garlic oil, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and roasted beets, guacamole prepared to order (are you drooling yet?)… I felt like I needed to preface those upcoming indulgent posts with a disclaimer of “OKAY, WHOA NELLY WE DON’T EAT AND DRINK LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME NOR DO I RECOMMEND YOU DO! EVERYONE DROP THE FORKS AND CALM DOWN!”
There’s no denying we’re total foodies with a mutual soft spot for culinary creativity, but here are the food rules we live by the other 6.75 days of the week, in order to feel okay with indulging once in a while:
- Both Tim and I follow the Primal Blueprint diet 90% of the time. I’ll let you read about the details elsewhere, but basically, we eat mostly animal protein (red meat, chicken, fish) and vegetables… no grains, no sugar (other than what occurs naturally in fruits and veggies), and no packaged foods. Some hardcore Paleo-dieters don’t eat milk products, but I like a little half & half in my coffee, I cook with butter, and let’s be honest, I love me some cheese on occasion. This is the inspiring article that first prompted me to try eating this way (and to start lifting weights), and it’s been the best – and easiest – diet decision I’ve ever made.
- We eat clean! That means fresh fruits and veggies, organic whenever possible, and organic, humanely-raised meats and wild seafood, fresh and local whenever possible. It wasn’t always that way, but more and more, if I can’t buy it organic, I won’t buy it at all. I’m not being a snob, I just really want to be careful about what we’re putting into our bodies! I want to give my body the cleanest possible fuel so that it can run efficiently, heal itself, and maintain its strength. Luckily, we are fortunate enough to live in an area where organic options are readily available at every turn. We have access to a buying club that provides us with a weekly mystery box of fresh organic produce, and surprise of all surprises, COSTCO now offers a generous selection of organic meats and dairy products, and even nuts and oils. If you think it’s not possible for you to eat clean or that it must be a boring way to eat, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Clean Eating magazine (or get a digital subscription for your iPad – I love mine!). Tosca Reno’s book, The Eat Clean Diet, will give you even more insight as to what eating clean can do for your health (P.S. Listen, if Tosca can go from a frumpy, worn-out, 40-something wearing mom-jeans to a pro figure model and nutritional therapist… I mean, if that isn’t inspiration for you, I don’t know what is!! If anything, just Google her to read her story.).
- I try to eat five small meals a day on a schedule (yep, I set my alarm). I plan ahead religiously (I keep a notebook) just to be prepared, but that’s as crazy as it gets. I do not count calories – once upon a time I did, but honestly, I loathe plans that require counting calories because I become obsessive and consequently starve myself and then binge… it just doesn’t work for me. I eat protein, veggies, and fats in every meal, end of story.
- I make exceptions (within reason). I make a protein shake after my workout every single day with whey protein and unsweetened almond milk. Neither of those things are primal-friendly or technically “clean”. I’m not worried about it, which brings me to my next point…
- I don’t stress about food. I allow myself one cheat meal a week, which usually ends up being on Date Night when we’re eating out at a restaurant and don’t have as much control over the food, or just want to indulge a little. Cheating doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be filling up on the bread basket, but if grits come with our shrimp, you’d better believe we’ll be partaking. (And if key lime pie is on the menu, um, it’s happening.)
- I don’t let plans with friends throw me off either, and it bums me out that this is such a struggle for some people!! Life is meant to be lived, friends, just do your best! When doing something fun with friends that involves food, I either eat according to my preferences as best I can, or I use that meal as my cheat meal. For example, if I’m going to a wine tasting with friends mid-week (such as is the case this week!) which will entail eating and drinking off the plan, it’s no big deal… I know that when Date Night rolls around later in the week, I’ll be doing the cooking. It all evens out, and there’s no reason to stress!
- I drink red wine on the reg! One glass with dinner or sometimes more if it’s with a cheat meal. Occasionally, white wine happens, but not often. I don’t really drink beer, so I don’t have a problem not drinking it. Though the occasional craft beer at a local brewery or Bud Light Lime on the beach won’t throw off my weekend, it’s rare that I even have the urge for a pint. If cocktails are in order, vodka or tequila and soda with lime is about the craziest I’ll get.
- I have learned to quell the urge for something sweet after dinner with a square of Lindt 85% cocoa dark chocolate. It’s not even sweet, but cutting sugar out of the rest of my diet has made my taste buds super sensitive when it comes to dessert.
So there you have it, folks. Part of living a full and vibrant life means making health your top priority so that you can enjoy your life… taking control of the food you eat is the easiest way to do that. Tim and I are always saying to each other, “I love the way we eat!” because not only is it easy, it’s healthy, we’re always satisfied but never stuffed, and we feel strong and we enjoy our food when we eat it. For two foodies, I think that says a lot!!
Stay tuned for more good stuff comin’ up soon… need a preview? I’ve got a calendar packed to the brim with a wine tasting, date night, dinner with friends, and a little sunrise yoga on the beach with Lululemon that is sure to be incredible! Ciao for now!