Tips and Tricks To Get Back into Shape – Food Combining Part 2
Last week I shared with you a principle of eating (here) that I’ve been following for quite a while in order to stay fit, feel better, and have enough energy keep up with my daily workouts. Since I started properly ‘combining’ my food, I’ve noticed a massive change in the way my skin and body look, with both responding great to that lifestyle change.
When I first started sharing my new eating habits with my relatives and friends, most of them stared at me with a puzzled expression. Though ‘food combining’ seems pretty simple on paper, when you’re actually in the course of preparing your meals or checking out the menu at a restaurant- things get lil bit confusing.
Maybe you’re also one of those people that find the very idea of spending time thinking about how to properly combine their food both challenging and annoying. In reality – all you needs is a few simple tips and tricks to know how to apply the principe in practice. And that’s where I come! Last week I talked fruit combining and today I’ll be using the HOLY GRAIL SALAD as my case in point.
Just a quick note: Feel free to ask me any questions that might pop up in your head in the comments below and/or in an e-mail regarding any of the posts from my Healthy Living Series.
During my University years I noticed that my friends would have some salad as a side dish – you know tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, which in most cases was simply pushed aside and left almost untouched. They were all very surprised thatI spent around 10 minutes to prepare my ‘salad’, which sometimes would be so filling that it might as well serve as a main meal. .
Yes, depending on what you add to your salad, you can actually turn it into a delicious dish, filling, healthy, and most importantly tasty!
So, applying the basic rules of ‘food combining’, these are the types of salads I’d normally prepare.
As a base I’d use:
Mixed green leaf salad (I mix and match baby spinach, lettuce, kale, rocket salad depending on what I feel like having) + avocado + cucumber. Depending on my mood I’d occasionally add carrots/red peppers and grilled vegetables ( e it zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, Brussels sprouts, asparagus). Beware that it’s always better to eat your vegetables raw, however, during the colder months when the veggies are not that fresh anyway, it’s okay to ‘grill’ some and add them to your salad.
Then following the principle of the combined eating I’d add an ingredient from ONLY ONE of the following lines:
cheese – be it mozzarella, feta cheese, parmesan, grilled halloumi cheese;
grains – Personally, my all-time favourite grain is ‘quinoa’.
As I’m a vegetarian, I need to come up with alternative sources of protein. While low calorie-food, a cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains around 8.14 grams of protein (as a reference women needs 46 gr/day, for men it’ss 56). If you are not keen on quinoa, you can always go for some bulgur or beans.
protein – fish/ egg/ any type of meat if you aren’t vegetarian;
carbs – pasta/ potatoes/ bruschetta/corn. Personally, I’d rarely prepare a salad adding carbs to it, however, if you feel like having some (for example if you need a boost of energy before your workout) just make sure to use them separately (without adding any of the ingredients from the other categories). Yes, carbs AREN’T that bad – just make sure to combine them only with no-starchy vegetables!
nuts – Okay, now it’s time to mention that when I first started with the food combining, I was very strict. When I say very, I mean VERY. I’d always leave out the ingredients from my salad, which combined poorly with the rest. However, today I make some exceptions, which work well for me, especially because I’m vegetarian.
So if you choose that specific lifestyle, it will take some time before you find out what works for you and what doesn’t so that you can alter it accordingly. Having clarified that, one of the exceptions I occasionally make is adding some RAW NUTS (always RAW!) to my salads (I usually go for sunflower or pumpkin seeds/pine nuts/flaxseeds, though depending on your taste you can go for almonds/ walnuts). Nuts are rich in vitamins and amino acids and contain considerable amounts of unsaturated HEALTHY fat, which makes them the perfect option for everyone who strives to stay healthy and fit and especially for all ‘vegetarians’ and ‘vegans’ who use them as their main source of fat. So even when I have a salad with parmesan cheese, for example, I wouldn’t hesitate to add some pine nuts to ensure that I supply my body with enough healthy fat.
P.S. If you are a vegan, in one of my first posts I shared a recipe for creating a DIY milk from nuts (here).
- When you’re having tuna skip the corn;
- Avoid having together tomatoes and cheese (as I’ve mentioned before as a fruit, the tomato doesn’t’ combine well with dairy products);
- Add mushrooms when your are skipping the cheese. I find mushrooms very filling and prefer to combine them only with no-starchy veggies;
- Though avocado is also a fruit, occasionally I choose to combine it with mozzarella/parmesan cheese. Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fat which has done wonders to my skin+body. Every single day I have around 1/2 avocado, A quick tip – if the avocado isn’t ripe enough, leave it in a shadowy corner next to the bananas. It will soften up in no time. Avoid leaving it in the fridge as it will remain unusable;
- Always season your salad! On quite a few occasions I’ve seen people adding only a tiny little bit of olive oil (if any) to stay fit. Now, to debunk this myth – olive oil is essential for your body to preserve the vitamins you supply it with. If you leave the oil out, the vitamins would only go through your body.How to season your salad?
- Skip the ready-made dressings which while high in calories and fat, have very low nutritional value. My advice? Go to the nearest supermarket and get some olive oil + balsamic vinegar + pesto + basil (fresh or dry) + oregano + lemon + capers + maple syrup + honey + mustard. You can mix and match and create the perfect dressing for your taste;
- Try to minimise the consumption of salt to avoid feeling puffy and bloated; Use capers or cheese to make your salads a bit saltier if that’s something you like. My personal preference? Honey based dressings.
Experiment! Experiment! Experiment!
Everyone has different taste so combine, season, try again…and indulge! Also, if you are interested in the meals I normally have during the day, I’ll be sharing my facebook page here . If you need some ‘food’ inspiration you can always go and refer to my suggestions.