By: Emily Oberg
If you follow my personal page on Instagram, you’ve likely been flooded with my cooking and baking which I’ll admit, got a bit out of control lately. During the first two weeks of quarantine, I went way overboard with my diet. I was making cakes, cookies, pasta, bread— you name it, I made it. And while cooking has always been a favorite hobby of mine and a great way to pass the time in this period of lockdown, I was feeling the effects of what I was eating, and it didn’t feel good. I was also snacking incessantly, buying things like crackers, cookies, cheese, chips and chocolate. When you’re home all day, snacking is all you feel like doing but it’s not sustainable, and now that our new normal is staying home everyday all day, we need to correct our bad habits and not get into a snacking frenzy.
I’m a person who truly believes and lives in balance. I don’t do extreme dieting and never have, I eat healthy 80% of the time, but I love food more than anything and I’ll indulge when I want to. I absolutely love pasta, ice cream, candy, bread, cake, croissants and anything else that’s filled with sugar and butter. But as we know, these things are not exactly healthy for you or your gut, especially not if you’re consuming them all the time.
After I started to feel crappy- headaches, upset stomach and bloating, tiredness etc, I knew I couldn’t continue down this junk food spiral for much longer, especially now that our lockdown has been extended another month. So I decided to start eating clean again, and only indulge on occasion, when I REALLY am craving something.
There’s no specific meal plan or diet I follow. I find diets stressful and unhealthy for the mind, I also find that they make me feel deprived and irritable. Some people need to follow diets in order to stay on track, but they’re just not for me. Eating healthy in general is relatively simple— fruits, vegetables, fish and organic meats are good for you, and anything processed is not. Now that’s not to say that the above list is good for EVERYONE, it’s just a general observation and guideline that most clean eating diets follow. I know some people have an issue with meat, but I find that when I eat it I feel good, and I do so in moderation. I’ll have red meat maybe once a week or once every 2 weeks, and chicken around 2 times a week. I’ll have fish more often, usually 4-5 times a week but it changes depending on my mood and where I am in the world. It’s important to note that if you do eat meat, it’s best to consume types that are hormone and antibiotic free, organic and farm or locally raised and grass-fed. When it comes to meat- quality is everything.
Currently, I’m eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, nuts, salads, white rice and smoothies. When I want to eat clean, I cut out dairy (upsets my stomach), gluten, refined or processed carbs and sugar and grains, with the exception of white rice. I know what my body likes and what it doesn’t. So, what works for me may not work for you- this isn’t a guide to what YOU should be eating, I’m simply sharing what I eat.
I am a reformed sugar addict. Since I was little, my only vice has been sugar. But when you consider the fact that it’s as addictive as cocaine, it can be a real problem. In the past two years, I’ve made a concerted effort to cut back on the habit, but I’m human and I still enjoy my sweets every now and then. When I eat clean, I substitute candy and cakes for fruit and dark chocolate. It’s equally as satisfying, and you don’t feel guilty or sick after!
To make things easier for myself, I like to plan a week of meals ahead of time so I know what groceries to buy and so I don’t have to think about it later. I find that when I don’t know what to make or have all the ingredients to make what I want, I end up making something like pasta because it’s easy and effortless. You don’t wanna get into a habit of doing that. So plan ahead if and when you can.
A typical week of meals for me looks something like this:
Monday- ground chicken tacos with cassava flour wraps, homemade guacamole and salsa with a salad.
Tuesday- grilled steak with white rice and salad
Wednesday- baked salmon with sweet potatoes and salad
Thursday- baked chicken wings with salad and sautéed green beans
Friday- shrimp stir fry with bell peppers, cabbage, onions and mushrooms, white rice and salad.
Saturday- soup with Korean chilli paste, chicken broth, cabbage, onion and scallions.
Sunday- leftovers of whatever I didn’t finish.
Desserts- strawberries, red grapes, blueberries, nuts and dark chocolate (70% or higher), coconut whipped cream with berries or dairy free yogurt with honey.
Snacks- pickles, cucumber, bell peppers with salt, nuts, watermelon, mango, pineapple, RX bars, dried apricots (no added sugar), beef jerky (no sugar added & hormone free, grass-fed beef).
For breakfast, I’ll usually just have fruit. Either berries, a pear, or an apple or banana with peanut butter.
Lunch: eggs, veggies with hummus, gluten free tortilla chips with guacamole, canned tuna, guacamole with veggies, salad with chicken or a protein smoothie.
Again, this is what works for me. Maybe your body needs something completely different, that’s for you to find out. Whatever it may be, just make sure you’re feeling your best and forget the rest!