I remember the first time I sauteed vegetables. I was a junior in college, living with five other girls who were all amazing little chefs. When I finally took a stab at making a “fancy” dinner, I literally felt like I was Rachel Ray 2.0 and the healthiest person on the planet. Oh, those were the days. First, I COATED the pan in vegetable oil. I mean literally dumped that sucker onto the pan. After all, it was just liquid that was meant to make sure my little spinach leaves didn’t stick to the pan, right? Come to find out, one tablespoon of vegetable oil has 124 calories, 14 grams of fat (2g saturated, 4.6g polyunsaturated, and 7g monounsaturated). Okay, time out. This oil did have good fats. But remember, I didn’t even look at the label before just pouring it into my pan. I very well could have consumed like four times the serving size. That’s just unnecessary! Now I cook with coconut oil, and I could write an entire separate blog post about that.
In hindsight, I knew so little about healthy eating and have grown so much in my knowledge and understanding of nutrition. Part of that is due to my minor in Health Education, but a majority of it comes from real world experience, (in other words) reading nutrition labels. Doing so honestly changed the game for me.
I don’t actually remember what exactly my “light bulb” moment was, but I know I started to get tired of a few things. I grew tired of working out and not seeing ANY sort of results (at least in my eyes), I grew tired of feeling sluggish and foggy, and overall I knew I was getting in the way of allowing myself to have optimal health.
I’ll admit, I did read nutrition labels but only to count calories. Unfortunately calories are only a minor part of your nutrition and in my opinion, not even the most important. Take my favorite snack, cashews, for example. Plain, unsalted cashews. One-quarter cup, which is about 16 pieces, is 160 calories. Let’s look at that serving of cashews versus a bag of Cheez-its (my weakness) which are 150 calories. A serving of cashews rings in 8 grams of carbs, 13 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein. A serving of Cheez-its (27 pieces) rings in 17 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein, and some other weird things made in a lab. You might be like, omg ten calories per cashew? That’s dumb. What if with this example we thought of calories as a currency. For 160 calories you get a solid dose of healthy fat (which by the way, healthy fat does not and will not make you fat, it fuels your bod), a little kick of protein, and it has less than 10 grams of carbs. For 150 calories, well, you get a lot more carbs, less fat, and less protein.
If calories were dollars, you’d want to get the most ~bang~ for your buck. Cashews might have more calories than Cheez-its, and a handful might seem small in comparison to 27 little orange squares, but that’s where this life changing factoid (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence) comes into play. Remember why you’re eating. Take that blindfold off and see what you’re eating. It’s not as scary as you think, and there’s actually so much freedom in being confident in what you’re using to fuel yourself with throughout the day.
Don’t eat less, eat right.
Aly Fuller, BA – Psychology
Energy Krazed Coach