Why I Stopped Eating Poultry: It’s Not What You Think

quote

Jason Silva

 

One insignificant decision, good or bad, can alter the course of one’s life forever. The changes occur like a domino effect. One domino tilts forward causing a forward motion and for as long at another lie ahead, the movement is continuous.

 The “domino effect” is a great metaphor for how we choose to live. I say “choose” because the action is voluntary. Throughout our life, we can opt to remain unchanged and hold on to our conceptual beliefs, moral convictions, and unwavering attitudes or we can decide to open our mind and open our heart to the unknown.  For me, the later is working its magic!

Four days remain for me to finish reading, The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons.  A goal for 2016 was to seek more education, so I chose (there’s that word again) to work on a Master’s degree.  Monday ended my first class and the second course starts in four days.  Simmons book is a quick read.  I enjoy his style of writing. He is practical and deliberate and precise.

I am reading the book because I need clarity on what it means to be a vegetarian.

My domino effect goes like this.

In 2014, I competed in my first figure competition. The training took my already wholesome diet to a more sophisticated level of eating clean (insert link). Building muscle mass requires more than throwing up weights.  Depending on your fitness goal, increasing muscle mass requires eating significant amounts of protein.  Because I don’t eat red meat (since 1994), my go to was poultry and seafood.

Toward the later part of 2015, I was getting tired of eating chicken and turkey.  Thoughts about giving up both on a regular basis occasionally plagued my brain, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up the likes of homemade turkey burgers and turkey chili.

January 2016 rolls around, and without doing much research, I take the plunge.  I decide to give up the chicken and turkey and go with more seafood and more plant-based protein.

I was consistent until February 7th, SuperBowl 2016.  The weekend was busy and for the first time in a month, I failed to plan— I was stuck for meal prep.  In a haste and, in spite of my goal, I bought chicken breast.  For the next two weeks, I ate chicken.  Then something happened.

The unexpected.

The hot flashes returned!

HOTFLASH

HOT FLASH!

 

For most of 2015, I experienced hot flashes from hell!  From deep within, an insane and intense radiating heat ignited then spread to every part of my body extending to my scalp. I’d look like someone threw a pot of water in my face.  By 8:30 in the morning my clothes were sweat-stained. As sad as it was, I don’t believe in hormone replacement therapy or any types of medication.

I was just going to adjust my wardrobe and deal with shit.  Since the summer was only a few months away, I could dress half-naked when needed.

By the end of January, I noticed less frequency-almost no hot flashes, but I did not make an immediate connection.  The ah-ha moment was after Superbowl weekend when I started eating chicken breast again.  The hot flashes returned with venom.  They increased in frequency and in intensity.

How on earth could chicken breast affect my hot flashes??  I searched online for a connection between chicken and hot flashes.  Nada!  Zilch!  I could not find a connection.  Furthermore, I was buying Lancaster County Poultry from a nearby Farmers Market. “Lancaster County has the highest density of organic farms in Pennsylvania and one of the highest in the country.” Their chickens are said to be all natural, free of growth hormones, pesticides, and fed a vegetarian diet.

The effects may be a coincidence, my body is rejecting the meat, or perhaps something that is in the chicken.  I don’t know.  The fact is that currently and since I stopped eating poultry, the only time I sweat profusely is during a workout. When the intense summer heat arrives, I will see what happens.

Also, when I get more time, I plan to read, Eat Right 4 Your Type. The premise of the book is that not all foods are suitable for all blood types and based on one’s “genetic code” and “characteristics,” they are predisposed to certain illnesses. It is an interesting theory that I will certainly explore.

Okay I know, I got off track.

After two weeks (February 21, 2016), I returned to plant based, and seafood as my protein source and the intense and unbearable hot flashes have almost entirely disappeared.  I no longer walk around looking like someone threw a bucket of water in my face.

Is this a coincidence?  I don’t know.  Only time will tell, so for now, I chose to stay away from poultry.

More of the domino effect.

Two and half months have passed. Since I stopped eating chicken, turkey, and pork, which I never ate much of, I decided to continue eating hard-boiled eggs, omelets and scrambled eggs.

One problem!

At work one day, while eating my hard-boiled eggs, I started gagging and was so confused. I managed to eat three but tossed the fourth egg and have not eaten a hard-boiled egg since.

After the boiled egg incident, I tried an omelet but added about one and a half cups of Tuscan kale.  I was okay with that and wolfed it down.

So for now, no more hard boiled eggs.

All of the diet changes have led me to consider eliminating all animal-based foods from my diet but I need clarity.

Does that mean I will be a vegan, vegetarian, or something else?  Hmmm… Heck at this point, I don’t even know what to call myself. Not that I need a label, I am just curious.

Low and behold I found http://www.vegsoc.org.    The Vegetarian Society, who defines a vegetarian as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses (what’s that?), nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

Pulses are beans and lentils. 🙂

This definition may be debatable for some; I was curious from hearing people declare themselves as “vegan” or “vegetarian.”  At this point, rather than get hung up on a label; I am proceeding slowly. As I sort through the particulars of plant-based protein sources and diets, I will continue my diet without the poultry and eat seafood as needed and continue to educate myself on meatless meals.  Plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein.

My fitness plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein. I need to continue researching and find out what will work for me.  I believe there is no cookie-cutter approach to diet (lifestyle) and nutrition.  What works for one does not work for all; therefore, I have lots of tweaking to do.

Are you vegan? Are you a vegetarian or another identify with another label?  Are you a bodybuilder or gym rat who lives on a plant-based diet?  If so, I need you.  Please comment and share your experience or advice.

Thanks for stopping by and make it a great day!

Quinoa With A Bang!

I tried a new recipe last night that I found on Pinterest.  It truly is all that and a bag of chips.

A one pan dish is right up my alley, especially midweek when I rarely have time to cook meals.

My normal weekly meal prep was busted on Saturday when the meat market sold out of  turkey and chicken.  They could not fill my order of 15 boneless chicken breasts, chicken patties and turkey patties. The display case was nearly empty!


The display case looked almost like it was closing, except it was only 12:30 in the afternoon!  What the????

I asked the staff if they had a crazy special or something but they said they did not.  They were as confused as I.

Anyways, back to the recipe.

A quick sauté of fresh garlic and one jalapeño pepper.

Although the the recipe does not call for rinsing the quinoa, to eliminate the sometimes bitter taste, I rinse my quinoa with water before cooking.


All the ingredients… in one pot.  This is a lovely sight. 🙂


The finished product was so damn good!  Wow!

The recipe belongs to Chungah at Damndelicious.net. Chungah, doesn’t know me, but I am grateful the Pinterest Post.  Here’s the link to the One Pan Mexican Quinoa recipe.

This was delicious, quick, and packed with protein. This recipe is the newest addition to my rotation of vegetarian recipes.

It’s funny how situations work themselves out.  My 2016 vision board includes an image to remind me of my goal to eliminate meat (chicken & turkey) from diet.

Why?  I guess from all the bodybuilding training, I have grown tired of eating chicken and turkey. I gave up beef in either 1994 or 1996. I don’t miss it.

My goal is to replace my protein source to mostly plant based sources. I will still eat seafood. I don’t know if this is a permanent change or a needed break from animals but I am ready for a diet change.

With that said, nine days in to 2016 I was still buying meat. 😦

The empty meat case of was God’s way of reminding me of my goal for the new year.

Since I had no intentions of buying meat locally for myself, I was forced this week to work on my new goal.

Today is day two of no chicken or turkey. All is good.

Meanwhile I continue to search for vegetarian recipes.  Thank goodness for Pinterest.

Please!!! If you have ideas or recipes, please share them with me.  Thank you in advance. 🙂

Happy Tuesday!

Less is Best

This is my kind of food.

  
It is very simple.

  

One ingredient!

  

  
 
 

Tho only one ingredient, it has a multitude of benefits.

The steel oats are an excellent source of good carbs, a decent amount of fiber, and they even have protein. The oats are a great way to start my day or eat as a second meal in the morning.

A healthy diet does not have to be complicated, sometimes less is best.

Oatmeal is said to be one of the healthiest foods around. Before you turn your nose up, read about the plethora of benefits of eating oats.

While you read about the good stuff oats have to offer, I am going to toss mine in the crockpot. I usually cook two cups at a time.  I add several peeled and sliced apples, three (3) cups of water and four (4) cups of coconut milk.  Then I add two tablespoons of flax seed, one tablespoon of chia seeds, one tablespoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg.  If you like, you can add raisins, nuts, dried cranberries, bananas, or whatever else you want to add.  I use to cook the oats for longer, but now I let them cook slowly for about 2 – 3 hours… Then I will have a week or so worth of no fuss oats.  Yay!   🙂

Eat clean and train dirty!  That’s the motto of bodybuilding.  

Happy Day!   Smooches!

“You need to start posting ingredients and recipes along with your pics.  I gotta start eating healthy.”

Yesterday I posted a picture on my Facebook page of my lunch and it prompted the above comment.

salad

I cannot take credit for making this salad; however, there is a story behind the salad.

Long story short– Thursday of last week, hubby and I took B’Dazzle (our 13-year-old son) to College Station, Texas to see a big football game Auburn VS Texas A & M.  The spirit of Aggieland is unimaginably amazing.  We had a blast!

We arrived home late Sunday; hence, no time for food prep and Monday I returned to work.

So, since I eat healthy and I eat clean, what’s the plan?

Develop a plan!  Hahahah!

In my neighborhood, I have a go to for healthy food on the go.  Nearly two years ago, my friend, who helps me meet my fitness goals, hipped me to Frankie’s Famous Pizzeria and their grilled chicken fajita salad; I’ve been hooked ever since.

Sunday night, I was tired from the flight.  It was late but I knew that I needed lunch for Monday. Since I did not have any leftover cooked food, on Sunday, I ordered the salad (with extra chicken) and kept in the fridge overnight.  Monday morning, I packed my other foods: oatmeal, eggs, apple, shake, avocado half, and grabbed my salad.  All done.

Okay so what’s for dinner?  I had a plan Plan B… Always have a Plan B. 🙂

On Wednesday, I knew that once we returned from Texas, I would need food for the week.  I scoped out the frozen and pre-cooked seafood at Sam’s Club and BJ’s.  Please know, I am not a fan of pre-cooked and frozen foods. However, with a little patience, if you read the labels carefully, you can find some decent options.

bourbon salmon box

After reading the label, I could not resist the anticipated flavor of Bourbon Salmon and it’s Wild caught, so that is an added bonus.

salmon box label

Okay so while the salmon is boxed, the sodium isn’t too bad. Most frozen meals are nearly 1000 mg of sodium, so 173 is doable.  Total fats are hidden, but saturated and trans fats are low.  The 24g of protein makes this a winner for me.  I was very surprised by the 0g of sugar!  I’m jumping in the air!!!  Whoooooop!! 🙂

pre-cooked salmonThe salmon is individually wrapped so you can cook only what you need.

The instructions are quick and easy.  Remove plastic, place frozen fillet on a greased baking dish skin side down, and place on the center rack of oven.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Other cooking instructions are on the box to grill (cool), pan sauté (cool) or microwave (Eeew).

I baked mine; it came out really pretty.  Hehe!

Cooked salmon

The next question is, What goes with the salmon?

Well, as I said before, have a plan.  I keep fresh organic baby spinach in the fridge.

boxed spinach

Of course, nothing beats freshly picked out-of-the garden spinach, but the reality is, my life is busy and I don’t have time for that.  My solution is to keep this spinach in the fridge.  I buy it from BJ’s and Sam’s.

You can use the spinach in a salad or quickly steam it down via stove top or microwave for no more than a minute and 30 seconds.

The label and nutritional value of spinach is why I eat it regularly.

spinach label

plate of spinach

Uncooked spinach

I grabbed two big handfuls of spinach (approximately two cups) and tossed them onto the prettiest plates I could find.

Steamed spinach in a microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Steamed spinach in a microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Then I added the baked salmon…

finished plate

…finished product..  a healthy, colorful, quick, and nutritious meal.  Anyone and I mean anyone can do this.  I cooked enough salmon for lunch for tomorrow.  It’s all packed up.

Finger lickin good lunch!

Finger lickin good and nutritious lunch!

Although I did not add carbs, you could add spaghetti squash (minimal calories), a baked sweet potato, yams, brown rice, black rice, or quinoa.   All of the carbs are healthy carbohydrate options.

Now, tell me that you can’t this!  I betcha you can… As a matter of fact, I know that you can!  Give it a try and tell me how you like it!

Bona-petite! 🙂

Simplified Kale In The Kitchen

Back in the day, I had gazillion minutes on my hands. I had plenty of time to drive to Vineland, NJ, where a plethora of farms were located and I picked fresh kale, cabbage, and collard greens.  Local farmers welcomed pickers with open arms.

I took pride in the fact that my veggies were locally grown and that I picked them. How cool was that?  It was fun soaking and washing the crusty dirt from each leaf.  Then rolling the leaves pridefully, cutting them into tiny pieces only to build a mountain inside an oversized pot that cooked down to half the size.  Hehe! Oh boy!!  Those were the days.

Today my relationship with my veggies tell a different story. While my lifestyle today is healthier than before, and I continue to eat fresh (sometimes locally grown), the truth is:

Even if I had the time to pick fresh kale, collards, cabbage, or other produce from a farm, those beautiful leaves would sit in my fridge and slowly wilt and rot.  

Rather than make myself crazy with the process, my kale and collards enter my shopping cart looking like this.

kaleThe greens are already cut, tho not as small as I like but size doesn’t affect the flavor, so it’s really not that serious.  I buy these 16 oz. bags fom BJ’s and it works for me.  The greens are clean, but I soak and wash them again anyway.

One day when it’s just hubby and I, I can do the garden thing, but I know my current imitations.

label

Kale Nutritional Label

I typically cook two pounds at a time.  To ensure they are thoroughly seasoned, I cook them in a large pot and carefully season each layer. Sometimes I combine one bag of kale and one bag of collard greens.

Kale_in_pot

1. Add two handfuls of greens.
2. Chop and add half of a sweet onion.
3. Add spices: granulated garlic powder, black pepper,  crushed red peppers, and Lawry’s Season Salt (Only if you must have salt, I prefer without)
4. Olive oil.
5. Repeat until all of the greens are in the pot.
6.  Depending on the size, I use two-three onions.

Sorry, I don’t know how much; I measure by sight. I thoroughly cover with seasoning. Too much garlic or pepper can never be a bad thing–right?  Lol!

Stir them well and cook them slowly.  I like my greens with a light crunch to them, so I cook them until they are bright in color.  As soon as the greens are cooked to my liking, I remove them from the heat and transfer them to a pan to cook.  Don’t cover until them until they have completely cooled off.

If you do food prep like I do, this is an easy way to get your greens in for the week.

greens in pan

To add variety to my food prep for the week, I also cooked two pounds of brussels sprouts.

Soak the brussels, cut the ends off, slice in half. Toss them in a baking pan. Add olive oil, the same seasoning used for the kale and add about a half cup of water. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven at 350 Degrees for about 40 minutes (depending on how firm you like them). When the brussels are cooked and you remove them from the oven, don’t forget to keep remove the foil or they will continue to cook.

Neither the kale or the brussels are freshly gardened picked, but as I already said, no longer do I make myself crazy trying to incorporate a task that is unrealistic and will put me into a frenzy.

With so much going on in my life, simplicity is the goal.

I know it’s been some time since I’ve written regular posts, but I am back!!!  🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

Snap Out Of The Recipe Rut

When the mood strikes me to cook, get out of my kitchen!  Occasionally I get tired of eating the same food and have the time to try something new.

Sunday was the case. I cooked roasted peppers, quinoa stuffed peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, sea scallops, a small piece of salmon, baked drum sticks (for my family), center cut pork loin (for me), and plain oven baked sweet potatoes (for me).  Lol!  Was in the kitchen from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  On the brighter side- By 7:00 p.m., my meal prep was completed for the week.  High 5!!

If you’re stuck in a recipe rut, I don’t have the answers, but Pinterest does… at least for me.  On Pinterest, I can find everything, so if you’re stuck, just search a favorite ingredient like avocado, quinoa, yams, rice, or whatever you’re into.

How do I go about selecting a new recipe? I look for:

  • a nutritious recipe or at least one I can change & make healthier
  • a recipe that has at least one or two main ingredients that I favor
  • an attractive dish; something that is pretty to look at
  • prep time – How much time do I have to spend cooking and how much time do I want to spend on cooking the dish
  • unconventional usage of an ingredient

Here are few of my favorites:

Recently I tried this Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

red stuffed pepper

Stuffed pepper before baking

yellow stuffed pepper

After baking. See what I mean about looking pretty?  How could you not want to eat something so colorful and appetizing?!

To make food interesting, sometimes it’s just a matter of preparing the food in a different way or swapping out ingredients to infuse the dish with a new flavor.

I now favor my broccoli roasted with fresh garlic and olive oil. I‘ve fallen in love with it oven cooked, plus it is less likely to overcook in the oven than stove top. This method is no fuss, quick, nutritious, and delish!  Once you go “oven style,” you won’t go back!  🙂

This Caribbean Salad is beautiful!  I can’t wait to try this one!!

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Image & recipe courtesy of bestrecipes.com

Lastly, be open to try new foods.  I’m eating food that I didn’t know existed a few years ago.

One of my favorite easy go to is baked spaghetti squash.  First of all, it’s no fuss cooking. Second, it’s mild in flavor so you can mix it with just about anything.  Third, it’s like eating FREE FOOD!!  Lol!

1 Serving ( 250 ml/ 1 cup) of Spaghetti Squash is 33 calories and only 5 grams of calories from fat!

Protein:  .6g

Fat:         .6g

Carbs:    6.9g

Come on!!  Why wouldn’t you eat this!  Add grilled shrimp, salmon, sea scallops, or whatever else you chose and you’ll have the most delightful meal!

Wait one more!! I don’t eat ice cream and haven’t for many years now.  Recently I tried a new recipe and Lawd!!   I’m in trouble!!

I couldn’t wait for my “Healthy” ice-cream to completely freeze, but it was OUTSTANDING!!  My version of chocolate ice-cream is from, where else but Pinterest.  I ran out of peanut butter, so I added a two teaspoons of the coconut milk.  There’s a lot of fat in the coconut milk. 

  

Delicious!!  🙂 

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try and to seek out new recipes.   If you are on a journey to improve your lifestyle by getting fit and eating smarter replacing your old recipes with cleaner and more nutritious ones is an excellent first step.

Be encouraged and make it a fabulous day! 🙂