Don’t Cook?

You Can Still Eat Healthy

945776_produce_1.jpgWriting is a solitary business, but one that pretty much suits me. After my book, “Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater,” came out, I found myself writing a talk. That was the easy part. Speaking to groups was more of a challenge. Just about the time I was getting comfortable with that, I realized that I needed to address another issue.

Talking correctly: You’d think I’d know how to talk. After all I’ve been doing it for decades. Often after speaking for 45 minutes, my voice would become horse. Once, I began podcasting this became more problematic, as I usually record several episodes at a time. It was recommended that I see a voice coach.

How I ended up at The Academy of the Arts with Dr. Martin, who has a Ph.D. from Juilliard, is really a God-thing. Dr. Martin coaches well-known singers and Olympic athletes on their breathing techniques. . . and now a podcasting nonna.

That’s what I need to learn, proper breathing. I’ve just begun voice training. I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t know it would be like patting my head, while rubbing my stomach, chewing gum, and whistling . . . all at the same time. Did I mention that I never learned how to whistle? Do you think that has something to do with the way I breathe?

Dr. Martin has an incredible schedule. It’s not unusual for him to work 12 or 14 hours a day. He eats out most times, not having time to cook or the desire to do so. After my last session, I asked him what he regularly eats. He confessed that because of time, he usually stops to eat at fast food restaurants. We talked for a few minutes about how our bodies were designed for whole foods. Fast food is loaded with unhealthy ingredients like altered fats, MSG, and of course sugar. All three taste good, but are detrimental to health.

Dr. Martin tried eating diet microwave dinners for a while, but he said they just didn’t taste good and weren’t satisfying. After eating a microwave dinner, he’d end up going out for a hamburger. I promised him that I’d come up with a plan on how he might incorporate whole foods into his routine. This is challenging, because he doesn’t cook at all and when eating out even at nice restaurants, chemicals and additives are commonly in the food.

People who eat out a lot have difficulty losing weight. Think about it. Most restaurant food is loaded with things like High Fructose Corn Syrup. Not only is it high in calories, High Fructose Corn Syrup blocks leptin, which job it is to tell your brain that you’re full. Leptin regulates your appetite and increases your metabolism. When leptin is blocked, your brain is tells you you’re still hungry, so you eat more. It’s a vicious circle.

The other common ingredient in restaurant food is MSG, a flavor enhancer, which is really a tasty poison, killing brain cells, and altered fats, which aren’t metabolized in the body. The result of these factors is that your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. Your body is starving for nutrients, even if you’re overweight, so you get the message to eat more.This is a typical pattern and the only way to break it is to eat out less and to eat whole foods.

Now, the dilemma for Dr. Martin and many others: how to eat whole foods when you don’t cook, because you’re working all the time. On the way home, I came up with a plan to get the most bang out of food without cooking. It was obvious.

Why didn’t I think of it right away? If you don’t cook, then eat raw food. Obviously, raw food isn’t cooked. Of course, there’ll be a period of detoxing and resetting your taste thermostat. Food will taste flat for a little while. Be patient, this phase will pass. In the morning make a fruit smoothie with organic whole milk. Not only does your body need fat, but you’ve been giving it lots of altered fats. So, don’t skimp on whole milk, it not only tastes better, your body will digest this natural fat. Add fruit like a banana and a handful of berries. Blueberries have the highest level of antioxidants, so you might want to start with these. To supercharge your morning, add one tablespoon of flax seed oil, purchased in the refrigerator section of a whole foods store. And one teaspoon of barely green.

For easy lunches eat raw foods: Juliann slices of veggies: carrots, celery, zucchini, green peppers, etc. If you eat a salad out, don’t use prepared salad dressings. These are loaded with altered fats, salt, and sugars. Ask that the vinegar and oil be brought to your table. Peanut butter and jelly, makes a nutritious sandwich. Use whole grain bread and jelly with no added sugars. Purchase tuna, packed in water, in small individual cans. Eat tuna the Italian way: toss with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Enjoy whole cheeses and nuts and seeds. Finish your lunch with either an apple, orange, pear, or some other piece of fruit.

Dinner is more of a challenge for those who don’t cook at all. I recommend going cold turkey from fast food. Find a reasonably priced restaurant or two that you can order grilled, boiled, or roasted food. Never order fried food. Do your very best to eat before seven, then don’t eat again until breakfast. Getting whole grains is difficult when you eat out. Even if the bread is brown, it’s probably not a whole grain. Never allow the waitperson to set a bread basket on your table. Most likely an altered fat is an ingredient in the bread. Crackers usually have altered fats, so pass on those, too. Purchase whole grain bread from the grocers and enjoy bread with breakfast or lunch.

Drink tea or coffee without any cream or sugar. The cream you get out might not be dairy, but an altered fat. Drink lots of water and never any pop, diet or otherwise. You’ll find whole foods will satisfy you. You won’t feel the need for dessert.

If you get the munchies between meals, eat more raw food. If I can learn to pat my head, rub my stomach, chew gum, and whistle at the same time, you can incorporate healthy eating, even if you’re too busy to cook.

Note: “What’s Cooking with Nonna?” podcasts are no longer available.

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For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

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