Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Having a serious case of the Monday Munchies really made me realize that I need to up my veggie intake! It also inspired me to analyze everything I eat and compare it to the food pyramid (at least, one of the varying food pyramids the FDA keeps claiming is best right now).

Breakfast: Kashi Honey Puffs topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries; coffee; mango Chobani

Mid-afternoon snack: fresh strawberries topped with a dollop of Nutella

Pre-class snack: Citrus-C Odwalla smoothie

Mid-class snack: apricot KIND bar

Dinner: Southwest gardenburger topped with fresh baby spinach, tomato, feta crumbles, cucumber slices, and garlic and chive hummus on a wheat pita pocket; garlic pita chips and fat-free cream cheese plus Wholly Salsa; passionfruit Chobani; baby spinach salad topped with cucumber slices, tomato slices, sunflower seeds, and Italian dressing
Starting at the top, I think I do well using fats, oils, and sweets sparingly. Yes, there is probably partially hydrogenated oil in my indulgent fat-free coffee creamer, and yes, I do have a weakness for less-than-holy salad dressings. But I think I manage pretty well.

I consume skim milk and low-fat yogurt on a daily basis as sources of protein and calcium. I absolutely love cheeses of all shapes, sizes, and flavors, but I try not to consume much of it. As yummy as it is, most of it is very fatty, and it doesn't contain enough calcium to justify gorging on it. I do eat eggs, but not nearly as often as I used to; I'm down to making omelettes once a week.
As far as legumes go, I've always been a slacker. Mom told me 9 years ago when I declared my vegetarianism that I'd have to develop an affinity for beans. I like green beans, and I can stomach refried beans every now and then, but that's about it. However, I do love nuts and seeds, which I make frequent salad additions. I also enjoy meat alternatives, such as Quorn naked "chicken" cutlets, Boca veggie burgers, and Morningstar Farms "bacon" and maple "sausage."
As evidenced by yesterday's meals, which were pretty indicative of daily life, I'm definitely missing the green I need to round out the color wheel. Sometimes I steam frozen veggies, such as Green Giant's Antioxidant Blend. On even simpler nights, I'll slice cucumber and sprinkle it with black pepper and vinegar, or I'll eat a small can of Sensibly Seasoned turnip greens. I need to work on more fresh veggies.
Looks like I'm doing okay on fruit, but I could definitely up my consumption. I bought some Buddy Fruits on Sunday, which are 100% fruit pouches great for in-class snacks. I almost always add fresh fruit to my cereal after my workouts, and I eat a banana several days a week in the afternoon for a little pick-me-up.
I don't eat too much pasta anymore, because I found that I was gaining weight like crazy when I relied heavily on it to feel full. I eat white or brown rice about twice a week, and I eat whole grain cereal about 5 days a week. I also eat whole grain or whole wheat bread once or twice a week. Sometimes, when I'm in the mood for a hot breakfast, I'll whip up some Quaker Oats--which are always especially delicious when topped with brown sugar, almond slices, flax seeds, and granola!
I'm definitely getting plenty of carbs, calcium, vitamins C and D, and iron. It also looks like I'm doing a better job than I thought of eating 4-5 small meals throughout the day rather than 3 huge ones. I'm also consuming a decent amount of protein through a low-key combo of whole grains, nuts, Greek yogurt, eggs, and nut butters.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with my Vegetarian Food Pyramid self-review. If someone else reviewed my daily diet (i.e. a nutritionist), I probably wouldn't get such a glowing review. I've found that the key to eating well is truly being honest with yourself. You know if you've eaten 14 Samoas instead of the 2 you said you were going to have before putting them away. If you can't remember the last time anything green entered your mouth, you may need to reevaluate your personal pyramid. Just sayin' ;)

Foods on my Must Try Soon list:
Chia seeds
Almond butter
Almond milk
Protein powder (to be mixed in yogurt, smoothies, etc.)
Larabars (I've only tried 2 flavors; I'm wary of the high calorie content)

Based on my "three sheets to the wind" meat-eating in Mexico, I'm not sure I can still consider myself a pescetarian. I prefer the term "experimenting" for right now, until I decide on a firmer diet. Of course, there's no obligation to label myself whatsoever, but I feel more comfortable grocery shopping and finding satisfying choices on restaurant menus if I know specifically what I need. However, I'm still only interested in meat when it comes to widening my options on menus. I have no interest in buying or cooking meat at home. Dirty little secret Fun fact: I have no clue how to prepare meat dishes because I've never needed to know!

Well, that's my exhaustive diet review. Happy Tuesday, blends!

P.S. What new foods are you hoping to try soon? I experimented with and loved the meats and exotic fruit available in Mexico!

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