Brooke Marie

Cook. Explore. Eat. Repeat
Health and Fitness

Healthy Eating Makes You Happy

Oh man, I love my chicken wings. I love my burgers and fries and messy BBQ ribs just as much as anybody else. But after a weekend of binge eating(minus the purge; nobody got time for that) I feel rather blah, my tummy hurts, and honestly I would love to have the opportunity to sleep alllll day longggg.

Now on the other hand, after a long day of paintball, I feel like eating healthy and going to the gym. For me, that’s a sign. I am 22 years old and after walking; slowly I might add, up a couple flights of stairs, I am quite winded. That is not good. I should be able to sprint up those steps and feel great at the top. Instead of breathing hard for the next 5 minutes or so until I can successfully catch my breath.

So for January 2014, I have decided to start a 30 day healthy eating “cleanse”. Except this cleanse does not consist of drinking juice for a month (which is REALLY REALLY bad for you) and does not consist of depriving myself of delicious wholesome foods. All it means is that for the month of January, I am going stick to healthy eating standards, exercise, and put in 110% when it comes to being right by my body. Lets look at these meals and see just how bad seemingly good foods can be for you.

Lets look at salads. Salads are the poster children for “healthy eating”. Raw fresh vegetables, maybe some lightly grilled lean meats. Seems like the perfect meal if you want to eat healthy. Although this is mostly right, there are things that can ruin your healthy salad. Most of the info I have come across is from nutrition.about.com for reference, and some is just from personal knowledge.

The first thing that can ruin your “healthy eating salad” is using the wrong type of lettuce.

According to multiple nutrition sites, iceberg lettuce, which is a primary ingredient in most salads; mostly because of it’s delicious crunch and cheap ticket price, gives absolutely no nutritional value except for a source of water. As we have heard many times before, dark, leafy greens are a better source of nutrition, so you should swap out your water lettuce for some of these mineral rich types instead; kale, spinach, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, arugula, watercress, etc.

Stop the toppings! Is rule #2.

Although your salad might start off healthy, many people top them with tasty morsels that are not good for you at all! For example, one thing people like to pile on is the cheese. A small amount of cheese is not bad for you, but add too much and the calorie intake can take a high spike. Also, try and skip the croutons and the bacon bits. Although they are tasty, they add absolutely no nutritional value to your healthy salad. Add some nuts to the salad instead.

Make sure your meat is the healthy kind.

Skip the processed sandwich meat and the crispy fried chicken. Although crispy chicken salads are quite delicious, they can turn your salad into a health-fail. Add a nice piece of grilled chicken breast, or a lean skirt steak instead. These will turn your salad into a meal, and a healthy one at that.

Now to the point, how exactly, does healthy eating affect your mood? We all know that what we put into our bodies can affect us in various ways. Although we are aware of that fact, we aren’t aware of what foods are necessarily toxic. We all start our mornings off similarly. We gulp down a cup of coffee, maybe two, and grab something quick, processed, and full of sugar. That combination of sugar and caffeine starts our body off on a downhill spiral for the rest of the day. The sugar can shut down our immune systems, while the caffeine triggers the emission of the stress hormone cortisol putting an immense amount of stress on your body.

Instead, try a cup of decaf coffee or decaf tea. Chances are, if you need your morning cup of coffee just to stay awake, you probably aren’t getting enough sleep. Caffeine should not substitute substantial sleep, and it probably will make you feel even more exhausted once that caffeine wears off. Instead of a sugar filled bowl of cereal, try a couple boiled eggs and some veggie sticks. Or grab a couple of blocks of cheese and some fruit. This is a healthier choice and you can still take it on the go.

If you start your day off this way instead of full of sugar and caffeine, you will be in a better mood throughout the rest of the day.

There are many ways to get healthy, the first step is healthy eating. Once you do that, you will lose most of your weight there. What healthy foods are your favorite? Is healthy eating easy for you, or is it a headache for you like it is for me?

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