Jesse’s Healthy Eating Basics

I cannot believe how healthy I eat these days. I was never a healthy eater. Honestly I didn’t know I wasn’t a healthy eater, until I gained so much weight and learned what healthy eating actually is. I still have my cravings and my bad habits (less than 3 days until pizza), but honestly since I changed my philosophy on food I can see such huge changes. I don’t get sick as often. For the first time in my life, I have clear skin. I think my hair is healthier (but honestly that could be attributed to my kick butt stylist). I have more energy. I could literally go on and on and give you more details about my digestive tract than you’ve ever wanted to know. I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, or any type of expert. I’ve done a good deal of reading and research, and lots of trial and error this past year. Here is a list of things that I have found that work for me in my healthy lifestyle. 

1.Food is fuel. Not a reward.

  • I have 2 beautiful puppies. When they are good, they get a treat. A reward for being the perfect good boys that they are. For years I would reward myself and my accomplishments with food. I would also eat “bad food” to make my day better. I had a bad day at work= I deserve ice cream. Well as much as my dogs are my children, I’m not a dog. I refuse to treat myself like one anymore. Food is fuel. Period. The end. Extra benefit is that it tastes good. So like with my car, I want fuel my body with the best fuel possible. Not liquid sludges.
    “Mom. We went outside, can we have a treat?”

2. Eat

  • The biggest difference in this life journey compared to any diet I’ve ever been on is that I eat. Almost all the time. The difference is what I eat. Instead of snacks that are made up of prepackaged garbage (yes that’s what it is), my snacks are fruits, veggies, edamame, nuts, yogurt, and other things like that. I do sometimes eat package snacks out of convenience, but I strive to eat baked and low sodium snacks. Popchips and and green pea crisps are my current favorites. 

3. Eat fresh

  • Speaking of eating, during this life journey I have discovered something amazing. Prepackaged food is the devil! Canned and frozen items have so much sodium and sugar, you might as well eat a cookie instead. Almost everything Derek and I buy is fresh. Fruits, vegetables, meats, you name it I try to get it in it’s most original form. Now there are some exceptions- I try to have a supply of no sugar/salt add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce (organic if I can find it), and I do buy potato flakes. No lie, I am still a sucker for a frozen pizza. But honestly, after I make it I always regret it. Fresh food has such a better taste, and the way my body feels afterwards is amazing.
    I really like making cauliflower crust pizza. This one I added turkey sausage. I also like making buffalo chicken and plain pepperoni flavors.

4. Eating my fruits and veggies

  • I know there are lots of diets that discourage eating lots of fruit. Both fruits and vegetables are carbs, and fruit has a good bit of natural sugar. That being said, I can attribute most of my success to eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables. I mean fruit and vegetables have so many health boosting qualities. Vitamins and minerals galore! Both fruits and vegetables are also extremely filling, and on Weight Watchers they are both zero points. Fruit makes the easiest snacks and it helps me with my sweet tooth. Raspberries or strawberries with fat free cool whip (or low calorie ice cream) is one of my favorite desserts. My goal when I eat any meal is to make 50% of my plate vegetables. When I cook I try to make a couple different kinds. I also try to eat those veggies first. That way I’m get mostly full on those healthy little nuggets before I eat my carbs (well other carbs) and protein. By the way corn and potatoes do not count as vegetables.
    Strawberries, low fat cool-whip, and a crushed Oreo

5.  Protein is important

  • Fruit and vegetables cannot live on their own. Your body needs protein. Protein helps keep you full. It also helps your body recover from a workout while helping you build those muscles. Lean protein is best, but Jesse cannot live on chicken breast and fish alone. Eggs for breakfast help keep me full in the morning. I do eat red meat once to twice every two weeks. So not often, but it’s not off the table. However there are plenty of other proteins to eat instead of red meat. Ground turkey is amazing for spaghetti and tacos. It has a subtle taste that you can flavor for whatever you’re eating, and it’s so much healthier than ground beef. Lean pork chops or boneless ribs also come to our table every so often. I personally love tofu. It’s low points, and I can do so much with it. I try to make it once a week. Derek also has encouraged me to do a protein shake within 30 minutes after my workout. I don’t know much about protein powder, so I just drink what he tells me to. 
    Tofu nuggets and Mac-n-cheese with Greek yogurt.
    Tofu stir fry

6. Healthy carbs and fats are needed.

  • It’s a fact of life that your body needs something to burn. Remember food is fuel, and carbs and fat help the engine go. I just had to make a few switches. Olive oil or coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter. I never fry anything anymore, but if I do need oil to cook I like spray olive oil. Avocados are good to use instead of using something like mayonnaise. When we eat carbs, I switched from white rice and pasta to brown rice or quinoa and whole wheat pasta. I eat wheat or whole grain bread. A sweet potato instead of regular potatoes. A few nights ago I made cloud bread, and I highly recommend it (bread made out of cream of tartar, Greek yogurt and eggs). Jesse’a rule of thumb when it come to carbs and fats, the closer it is to it original form the better it is for you. 

Cloud bread!!

7. Cook at home 

  • I love to eat. I love it. It’s amazing. And for such a long time, I would eat out or get take out more that I would eat at home. I think that’s easily one of the main reasons I gained so much weight so quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I also love cooking. But when you’re depressed, tired, or single take out is much easier. When I started my journey, I started with the 21DayFix diet. It is extremely restrictive, so eating out really isn’t an option. So I started cooking more and finding new recipes. Now, a year later, I definitely understand the correlation of my weightloss successes compared to when we eat out more. Cooking at home gives you control of what is going in your body. I can decide how much oil, salt, hot sauce, or whatever to add to my food. Then I can calculate how much I am putting into my body compared to my exercise. 

8. When I do eat out, I plan.

  • Derek and I eat out at least once a week. We also plan special “bad food” meals. On Valentine’s Day, we are getting pizza and I’m SO EXCITED. So to prepare, I’m watching my other meals and snacks that day and the day after. Any other time we go out, I try to plan ahead. If there is a menu online, I try to look at it so I can calculate my Weight Watchers points. If there’s not, I really study the menu to try not to over do it. (Not that I don’t. I’m a sucker for a good burger, fries, and ranch dressing.) So some of Jesse’s eating out healthy skills: I try to avoid lots of bread and pasta. If I’m having one I don’t eat the other. If I get a salad, dressing is on the side (just dip your fork in it) and I avoid the cheese and other additives. Mostly I drink water with lemon, but if they have a flavored tea I will get it unsweetened. If I get dessert, I split it with someone (I can’t eat that much sugar anymore.) I rarely get alcohol, but if I do I only have one with water. I prefer local places with fresher food. Chains unfortunately have lots of frozen prepared meals. Plus I’m all about supporting small businesses. 

Eating is a necessity to live. It is also a way to connect with other people. Any family or friend gathering has food. I’ve always have and always will love food. Since I have changed my way of eating, I feel better. I feel healthier. I feel full. 

Remember, it’s not a diet. It’s a LIFE CHANGE.


Author: jessethephoenix

Teacher, learner, dog mom, and nerd

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