Tag Archives: eating healthy

Eating Healthy – Garlic Lemon Chicken Fajitas

As part of eating healthier, I need to regularly remind myself that there is a value to making a healthy choice.

This is why I like chicken. Tonight I made some garlic lemon chicken fajitas for dinner with my wife.

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

  • Take 750g of boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips and put it into a frying pan
  • Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • Add 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder (or more if you’re like me)
  • Add just a pinch of salt and pepper for flavour
  • Add in sliced peppers and onions to taste
  • Cook for approximately 10 minutes (may differ depending on oven)

It’s a healthy meal, and one that tastes delicious. Now, how do I persuade myself to eat healthy meals like this instead of unhealthy snacks?

My new strategy is comparison. In this photo, both the chocolate serving and the fajita have approximately identical calories. I can add some peppers and lettuce on top of the fajita to top it off (I left them off so you could see the crazy amount of chicken that I can have).

Which fills you up more?

What do you think will fill me up more – 7 squares of chocolate or a fajita with 2 ounces of chicken in a fajita wrap topped with spinach, sauce and peppers? Let’s be honest, if I open the chocolate bar, I’ll finish it at some point. If not tonight, then tomorrow. Skipping the chocolate and going for the healthy food is a big win on so many levels.

Salt Sugar Fat – A Book Review

When I saw Salt Sugar Fat in my local library, I was immediately sucked into borrowing it. How could I not? It was a book about my three favourite things!

Humour aside, it was a book I’d heard about before from a number of sources, and I’m glad that I took the time to read it.

Despite the occasional finger-pointing at the processed food industry, Michael Moss does an impressive job of promoting both sides of a complex argument.

One one side, you have the consumers experiencing ever growing obesity rates and health problems. On the other side, you have companies trying to manufacture the tastiest products they can, and facing challenges getting the tastes consumers demand without the additives they need/want to avoid.

It has the makings of a fantastic story. Moss follows the evolution of major food companies and their products, from birth to modern times. Along the way, we gems such as how cereal started as a healthy alternative to unhealthy breakfasts that were heavy in fats, but then evolved to be a high-sugar treat with dubious nutritional value – some cereals are more than 50% sugar!

The book is divided into three sections, touching upon each ingredient in the title separately, but also explaining how they all relate, and their collective impact both on food and health.

It was a well-written book that was a pleasure to read. I got educated about the impacts of the food I eat and how healthy (or unhealthy) many of them can actually be. I walked away Salt Sugar Fat actually paying attention to the content of sugar, salt and fat in the foods I eat – which was both fascinating and frightening!

All things considered, I highly recommend reading it. It’s very hard to escape the impact of processed food in some part of your life, so increasing your knowledge about what you put into your body is always a good bet.

Write your Owner’s Manual

How often have you heard people say that life doesn’t come with an owner’s manual?

It’s true. Life doesn’t come with a specific owner’s manual for you. So why not write one?

This question hit home for me recently when I decided to make an eye appointment, but let me take a step back.

I got my first pair of glasses about 4 years ago. Now, I’m getting headaches and eye strain again. My problem is that I don’t know when to go get new glasses. If I’d had glasses for years and years, I would probably know when it was time to get new glasses. Unfortunately, as I have so little experience with glasses, I didn’t really think of it. I just thought I’d been having more headaches than normal.

How was I supposed to know this? Well, I could ask someone, or I might just muddle about until I learned it. But when I do learn it, I need to further develop my “owner’s manual”.

I think that learning how my body and mind worked and developing my own owner’s manual was one of the things that led me to start writing for this site. We get bombarded by a LOT of advice on how to live our lives. Some of it is good, some of it is horrible, and much of it works for only certain people. How can we tell the difference?

Trial and error.

It’s not easy, but it works. It just takes time. And once you learn what works for you, then you’re ahead of most other people.

Have you written an owner’s manual for your life?

Happiness Experiment 39: Eat the Rainbow Conclusions

It’s been a busy week of eating remarkably healthy. This week I was trying to eat the rainbow. As I found in the past, eating healthy is unfortunately time consuming. Fresh fruits and vegetables ultimately take more time to prepare than frozen foods and such, but they do taste so much better, so it’s not a terrible compromise.

Conclusions on Eating the Rainbow

Originally, I decided to measure the success of this experiment by tracking energy levels, my cravings, and any decrease in weight. Over the course of this week, my energy was definitely up. My cravings didn’t change much, they were decreased a bit, but not seriously so. As to weight loss, I am down slightly, but not in any meaningful sort of way. As an interesting side note, my wife got sick and I didn’t, perhaps indicating some other way in which eating the rainbow benefited me.

So, the experiment, while far from conclusive, leaned towards a mild success. Will I continue it? Yes, I do think I’ll try to work elements of this into my day-to-day life. While I do eat more fruits and vegetable after my earlier experiments, this really highlighted how variety is both the spice of life and the source of better health.

So, get outside your food comfort zone and challenge yourself with something new!

Happiness Experiment 39: Eat the Rainbow Day 5

If you are just joining in, read about how this week’s experiment involves me trying to eat the rainbow. Click here to see yesterday’s results.

Today, my odd energy continued. I don’t know what’s triggering this energy, but I’m enjoying it while I have it. I’d love to attribute it to the dietary changes, but it seems a bit too random for that so far. We’ll see if it continues before I draw any conclusions.

Today I ate:

Green: Spinach, swiss chard chips
Red: Rasberries
Blue/Purple: Blueberries
White: Banana
Yellow/Orange: Orange juice

Happiness Experiment 39: Eat the Rainbow Day 4

If you are just joining me now, read about how I’m trying to eat the rainbow for this week’s experiment. Click here to see how yesterday went for me.

Eat the Rainbow Day 4

Well, last night I appear to have kicked the ass of whatever was keeping me down, be it lack of sleep, illness or anything else. I was drowsy and lacking energy for half the night, and then…


Suddently I caught a second wind (well, really my first wind of the day), and I was cooking up a storm. This led to me making swiss chard chips. I start with this:

baked swiss chard chips

And I make it into something a lot less pretty, but much more tasty. I didn’t follow my own instructions at first, and I almost burnt part of the batch before I remembered to flip them halfway through.

The only problem with my burst of energy is that it led to me just not getting to sleep at a reasonable time. So, cue the prediction of being exhausted this morning….

And you’d be wrong!

Somehow, on less sleep than normal, I felt far better than normal. I don’t think I would suggest it as a regular strategy, but wow! I had a pretty productive day! So, I don’t know what I did right, but I’m hoping it works again! But, onward to the good stuff.

Today I ate:

Red: Apple and strawberries
Yellow/Orange: Pineapple
Green: Chard chips and spinach
Blue/Purple: Blueberries
White: Cauliflower

Another good day, let’s see what tomorrow brings!

Happiness Experiment 39: Eat the Rainbow Day 3

If you haven’t seen the background for this week’s experiment, read about how I’m trying to eat the rainbow. Here’s how yesterday went.

I didn’t sleep well last night, so today isn’t a fantastic measure of energy levels. As to cravings, I was craving caffeine and sugar, but I suspect that’s more due to my lack of sleep than anything else. On the bright side, the cravings were just mild ones, more like “I would like a donut” than “I would kill a man in cold blood for a donut”. I think that’s a good thing.

So, today I ate:

Green: Green onions and spinach
White: Cauliflower
Yellow/Orange: Carrots and pineapple
Blue/Purple: Grapes
Red: Strawberries

I’m also getting excited, because tonight I’m making swiss chard chips to eat tomorrow. I’ll be sure to post pictures if it turns out!

Happiness Experiment 39: Eat the Rainbow Day 2

If you didn’t catch the start of this experiment yesterday, this week I’m attempting to eat the rainbow.

I’m finding more and more that eating a wide variety of vegetables each day requires a lot of work. So, I suspect I will be duplicating myself occasionally.

Today I ate:

Red: Tomatoes and Apples
Green: Spinach (it really is good with everything)
Blue/Purple: I ate my first purple sweet potato. It was delicious!
Orange/Yellow: Oranges and sweet potatoes
White: this one almost snuck by me, but I ate some of the taco spiced cauliflower I was making to eat tomorrow. I’m really happy with how it turned out! Here’s how it looked before it went into the oven.

So far, I’m not seeing a big change for energy yet, but my cravings were pretty solidly under control today. It’s a good start!

Happiness Experiment 39: Eat the Rainbow

Well, the basic first question is: how the heck do you eat the rainbow? Well, let’s look at this chart from Wegman’s to help explain:

I’ve played around with healthy eating int he past, and as a result of those experiments, I do eat a reasonably balanced diet. However, I have my “comfort foods” and I don’t actively choose a lot of variety in what I eat.

The challenge for me this week is to break out of those old habits and eat the rainbow. The idea of eating the rainbow is based on the fact that the nutrients in a fruit or vegetable are often indicated by their colour. When you eat the rainbow, you are actively taking in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of different colours, ensuring that you get a varied selection of nutrients that you might be missing in a more mono-colour diet.

Each day, I will be targeting 1-2 servings of each different colour (as shown in the handy graphic above), varying the options throughout the week.

If this does impact me in a positive way, I expect to see an increase in energy levels, a decrease in cravings (which can be a symptom of missing nutrients) and a possible decrease in weight (from eating more vegetables).

Eating the Rainbow: Day 1

Today was my starting point. Energy level was a solid 7 out of 10, I measured my weight, and my cravings were pretty manageable.

Today I ate mandarin oranges (orange), spinach (green), blueberries (blue/purple), raspberries (red), and a banana (white). That’s definitely a bit more variety in fruits and vegetables than I’ve had in a while!

Happiness Experiment 36 – Living a Healthy Lifestyle – Conclusions

Well, I’ll be the first to say, multi-part experiments are very difficult to get a handle on sometimes.

This is really the second time that I’ve tried this experiment. The first time I tried it, I was derailed by pure lack of time.

This second time I tried it, I wasn’t derailed by anything specifically. I still feel that I could have been more devoted to the experiment, but that’s honestly a bit of the challenge with more complicated experiments. There’s so very much to do that I can often don’t feel like I’ve done enough.

The end result of this experiment is indeterminate conclusions.

While I would argue that living a healthy lifestyle for this week has helped me get through a number of situations that I would have otherwise had a great deal of trouble with. When I reached for caffeine, it was for the pleasure of a caffeine boost (and enjoyment of whatever caffeinated beverage it came in) rather than the desperate need for caffeine I found through much of the previous few weeks.

However, there was no drastic change, no huge plunge in weight, or any other quantitative measurement that I could point my finger towards and claim unqualified success in this experiment.

So, keep living a healthy lifestyle. It certainly doesn’t hurt, and it probably will help, it’s just not simple or easy to see massive changes. Living a healthy lifestyle, at least in how I describe it for this experiment, is a long game. You do it not because of how you want to feel next week, but rather for how you want to feel 20-30 or more years from now.