It wasn’t very long ago that I was making dinner with taco kits, pasta nights, frozen perogies. The convenience was something that fit my life at the time and I was uneducated as far as what a healthy diet was. I grew up in the generation of processed convenience foods. TV dinners seemed like a good thing when they first came out and now…I’m pretty sure if I ate one, I would be very sick afterwards.
The first chapter of getting healthy began 3 years ago leading up to my wedding. I joined a boot camp and for the first time in my life I started to learn how diet and exercise go together. After our workout, everyone in the class was sitting in a circle stretching. The trainer would go around the circle and ask what we usually ate for breakfast. Some ladies would say egg whites and oatmeal, a green smoothie. Then it was my turn, “if I even eat breakfast” (trainer cringes), “I have one piece of whole grain bread toasted topped with sugary peanut butter and a banana cut on top and a grandé pumpkin spice latte….extra sugar, extra whip!” I actually thought I was pretty healthy with my whole grain toast, but all of that sugar and the lack of protein in the morning was no good. We would eventually go through all of our meals and I soon learned that my diet was lacking in big ways.
In the second chapter of my healthy lifestyle journey we started having super smoothies, and eating oatmeal or egg whites with turkey bacon. At lunch, I’d make spinach salads. For dinner we would have things like pita pizzas. I also started switching to leaner meats like ground turkey breast and incorporating more vegetables. We still incorporated a lot of cheats, mostly due to the convenience required for life. I didn’t have time to cook a full blown meal after a full day of work, then try to get my kid off to football practice on time, so there were still taco and perogy nights and sometimes even Kraft Dinner (a childhood staple)!
It has only been since we started incorporating the Paleo lifestyle into our world (1.5 years ago), that I have learned why I eat certain things and avoid others. Simply put, food is fuel and I need to eat real food if I want my body to work properly. I can’t believe how much better I feel when I eat more vegetables, good protein and healthy fats! My skin has a healthy glow and my energy is being restored. The goal is optimal health and in order to have optimal health, I need to make a conscious effort to put the good stuff in my body. Easier said than done, which is why I have been taking baby steps. I struggle with my sugar…it is hands down my biggest weakness!
I’ve been building up healthy kitchen confidence these days. It’s taken practice for me as I have had to put way more effort into our new way of eating. The extra food prep and making my own snacks is a part-time job. Not to mention the extra cost of the good organic eggs and all the meat we buy. I felt completely overwhelmed having to cook a healthy paleo dinner every night. In fact, I would take a dinner-making-break from Friday-Sunday because I was tired. Fridays were pizza night, Saturdays we ate out (still do, it’s my official night off and my husband doesn’t cook), and Sundays used to be nacho night.
I have upped my dinner making nights from 4 nights a week to 6 nights a week. My paleo kitchen confidence is currently better than ever and it is becoming less work and more fun! And pardon the bragging, but the food we eat is very tasty. Who knew eating healthy could taste so good!
My latest kitchen adventure has been experimenting with different ways to cook fish! Every tuesday is fish night, so it can get pretty boring if I keep squirting lemon and sprinkle sea salt on it, then bake it. I recently discovered how to broil salmon. It is a pretty incredible discovery, especially for those nights that I need to throw something together FAST! When I make this dish, I start with washing and cutting either broccoli or asparagus and placing it in my vegetable steamer. Once I place the salmon in the oven, I begin steaming the vegetables and as everything is cooking I make a quick side salad.
Here is a recipe that will provide the perfect paleo meal ready to eat in less than 15 minutes!
Paleo Curry Rubbed Salmon
- 4 skinless salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each)
- 2 tsp curry powder
- salt & pepper
- Set oven to a low broil.
- Line a glass baking dish with parchment paper and place salmon fillets in it.
- Sprinkle fillets with curry powder, ½ tsp salt and pepper.
- Place in oven and broil until just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.