Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adapting: Getting My Diet Back on Track

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I’ve mentioned a few times that healthy eating has been hard from me since developing the latex allergy.  As noted in this post, a number of fruits and veggies are related to latex, so my healthy options are more limited than they used to be.   I’m SUPER lazy in the kitchen; I hate ‘cooking for one’, so I’m really good at opting for easy, not-healthy options like pizza, take-out, or mac-n-cheese. These are all rough on the wallet as well as the jeans-size. Actually, the only thing I do enjoy/do well in the kitchen is bake, but we won't even go into that here... :-)

Back in the days when I was at my most fit and thin, here is an example of my diet on an average day:
Breakfast:
Kiwi
Grapefruit

Snack:
Raw almonds, 100 calorie pack of cookies, or Triscuits

Lunch:
Low-fat yogurt (usually strawberry or lemon) OR low fat string cheese
Raw veggies (usually carrots and celery)
Apple

Dinner:
Grilled chicken breast or whole wheat pasta in tomato sause
Steamed Veggies (usually green beans or zucchini)
Brown or wild rice, or sometimes baked potato

Desert:
Melon or fruit
Sometimes low-fat ice-cream

Here is what that diet looks like if I cross out everything that I can no longer eat due to allergies:

Breakfast:
Kiwi
Grapefruit

Snack:
Raw almonds, 100 calorie pack of cookies, or Triscuits

Lunch:
Low-fat yogurt (usually strawberry or lemon) OR low fat string cheese
Raw veggies (usually carrots, celery, or mixed peppers)
Apple

Dinner:
Grilled chicken breast or whole wheat pasta in tomato sauce
Steamed Veggies (usually green beans or zucchini)
Brown or wild rice, or sometimes baked potato

Desert:
Melon or fruit
Sometimes low-fat ice-cream

It’s a bit complicated, because if you were dutifully cross referencing my list with the list of latex reactive foods, you notice that some things I didn’t cross out are on the list. Like I mention in this post, not everyone reacts to all the foods, and, sometimes, a person reacts to more foods that others. This being the case, there have been times where I’ve had to go a week at a time without eating any fruits or vegetables in order to calm a bad reaction back down to a manageable state.

What does all this mean? I eat a lot of carbohydrates.  Part of my goal with getting fit and training for the ½ marathon is finding a way to make my new dietary restraints less limiting.

Let’s complicate things even more! Did you notice I crossed off yogurt? Most low-fat yogurts are labeled to contain ‘other fruit juices’.  Frequently, those ‘other fruits’ are pineapple.  If I want to eat yogurt (which had never really been my favorite, so I have to be really trying to behave myself to try), I get plain yogurt and flavor it with a little bit of fruit jam (I'm not hard core enough to eat plain yogurt with no flavor). I've recently started eating some Greek yogurts, which are really high in protein and (generally) not sweetened with pineapple, so that has been a great discovery!

For the most part, I only need to re-vamp the early part of my day to accommodate my new diet. The items that I used to eat for dinner and snacks are mostly ok, it’s breakfast and lunch that need some help.  So far, I’ve worked on eating more oatmeal and high fiber cereals for breakfast and/or lunch. Prior to starting my big ‘get fit’ crusade, I was eating a lot of muffins and bagels which, though delicious, are not so good for the waistline.

Slowly but surly, I'm making progress. My next goals are  1) to eat more lean proteins, 2) monopolize on the fruits and veggies and I can eat, and 3) replace potatoes and other starches with whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.

Help me out! What are your favorite fast-and-easy, yet healthy dinner recipes?? Forget about allergies, share what you are cooking! I’ll steal your ideas and make them work in my own, special, latex-free way!  

1 comment:

  1. My favorite thing is a southwest grilled chicken salad.

    First, I make my own taco seasoning to marinate the chicken, but if you want to use a premade mix, I'm sure that would be just as good.

    For the seasoning:
    2 tbsp onion powder
    2 tbsp garlic powder
    1 tbsp chili powder
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 pinch Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (Optional: just use the pepper if you want to reduce the sodium a little.)

    Mix all of those things together. It will be enough for multiple uses.
    Mix two tablespoons of the seasoning and 1/4 cup canola oil in a shallow bowl.

    Take 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Pound the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4" thick. Add the chicken to the bowl, turning to coat. Marinate 30 minutes.

    Preheat a grill to medium high. (I use a countertop George Foreman to help cook off the fat.) Grill the chicken until cooked through (about 4 minutes in the GF or 4 minutes/side on a regular grill). Let cool and then cut into strips or bite sized pieces.

    While the chicken is cooling, assemble your salad. I like to use a spinach/greens mixture, with bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions, just a tiny amount of cheese, and tortilla strips (instead of croutons). Top all that with your chicken, and viola! You have a delicious and healthy meal. (Obviously, the cheese and tortilla strips are optional, and you could use sour cream or guac if you want.)

    Enjoy. =) And good luck conquering the allergies.

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