feature image via shutterstock
This past week in health and wellness, I’ve been tackling the ab challenge LIKE A CHAMP. It’s Day 18 and I’m still dying but in a weird feel-good kind of way. I’m not entirely over how quickly the challenge is escalating. 80 sit-ups is a lot. But we’re doing it! Are you still doing it? Did you stop? It’s okay if you’ve stopped. I tried the 30 Day Squat Challenge last week but never mentioned it because I quit on the first day. It hurt.
This column is really kicking my ass into gear; I really have to stretch my brain and my body to attempt enough new things to talk about each week. Today I’m just focussing on one healthy habit in particular, but it’s one that quite a few of you have talked about struggling with, so.
Working: Not eating all the bread
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been eating too much bread on a day-to-day basis. I’m not a believer in no/low carb diets. This is more a matter of my bread to vegetable to protein ratio is being consistently waaaayy off and I need to slow my roll a little. Just a tiny bit, though, ’cause nothing feels as good as freshly baked sourdough tastes. Pretty sure Kate Moss said that.
The easy part is that I know exactly what needs to be cut back — the delicious thick-cut toast with Vegemite and butter that I’ve been turning to on cold winter mornings, and the deli meat sandwich that my great aunt packs me for lunch most days. The hard part was asking her to stop, ’cause I know it’s how she shows love. I lied, saying my employer provides lunch now. I’m not proud.
My evening meals consist of enough bread, rice, pasta and other carbohydrates that I’ll be in no way deficient if I switch to low carb, high protein breakfasts and lunches. So, developing that habit is my focus for this month.
The breakfast substitute is easy. As I mentioned, Greek yogurt. It’s delicious and filling, and the office fridge is already stocked with it. I bargained with myself that if I eat yogurt Monday to Thursday, then I can get wild and buy toast on Fridays. It’s been successful so far. Last Friday the toast tasted EVEN BETTER because I’d been hanging for it all week.
I guess there’s also fruit? I’m not a fan of fruit except mangoes, stone fruits and berries, although they’re usually too expensive or not in season. I feel like a child whenever I admit this out loud.
Not as easy! However I did come up with some super basic but nutritious meals that can be chopped and thrown together quickly at home or work using ingredients sourced from a standard grocery store. I believe the lingo is “no cook.” I buy my ingredients on the way to work and prepare lunches there, ‘though you may prefer to do it home, many people do.
These aren’t gourmet lunches, they mostly involve cutting raw stuff and putting it on a plate. Many use the same ingredients on repeat (cucumber, tomato, etc) because it’s often more affordable to buy fresh produce in pounds/bags/buckets and use any left-overs in night-time meals throughout the week.
What I ate last week:
- Whole grain crackers, canned tuna, avocado, lime, cracked pepper.
- A salad of chickpeas, cucumbers, bell peppers/capsicum, tomato, leftover avocado.
- Iceberg lettuce with cottage cheese, fresh mushrooms, sprouts, grated carrot.
- Chopped salad with the leftover salad ingredients, plus turkey breast and cheese.
- Carrot sticks and hummus.
What I’ll try to eat this week:
- Whole grain crackers, tomato, cottage cheese, cracked pepper.
- Carrot and celery with eggplant dip.
- Iceberg lettuce wrap with skinless rotisserie chicken, sliced tomato and cucumber.
- Chopped salad of iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot and whatever meat is left over.
As an aside, lately on the internet I’ve been seeing collard greens being used as a bread substitute. I’ve never seen collard greens at my local supermarket, however it seems like a swell idea if they’re accessible to you. I tried to do a similar thing with iceberg lettuce leaves and it was okay but not great.
I bought carrot sticks and hummus for snacking but then discovered that these non-bread based lunches took away all desire to snack during the day. Go figure. So, I ate them for lunch instead. A+.
If I wasn’t living out a lie at home, I’d be super tempted to buy one of those sweet bento lunch boxes and bring lunches from home. Butch Bento is pretty amazing tumblr to check out if you want to get serious about your bento game. There’s also this Autostraddle article about lunches (which includes Laneia’s bento suggestions) and this one about eating like a queen at work.
What is your breakfast and lunch situation? Do you have any tips for quick, healthy meals? Do you have any go-to recipe sites or cooking blogs? I’d love to hear about them.
If you’re new to this column and want a place to chat about health and wellness with queers, maybe you’ll like our Working On It social group.
Coming up next week: I’ll probably talk about yoga and saying yes.