Maximizing Your Healthy Lifestyle When You’re Too Busy to Cook
People often say that they don’t cook, or they’re too busy to cook when they come to see me. In the last three years, I’ve spent a lot of time eating out, for various reasons, so I’ve studied how to maintain maximum healthy eating while eating a lot of restaurant food.
There are disadvantages of restaurant food that you have to contend with right away. They usually cook with a lot of fat, put sugar in their food, and don’t always use organic ingredients, especially for meat products. I have a few hints to help you deal with these disadvantages.
First off, you should find the best quality restaurants you can find. There are certain foods you should never eat if they’re not organic, try to stick to that. A website called the environmental work group has lists of pesticides in foods; cosmetics and skin care products, and mercury content of fish. Check them out before you eat out or shop – http://www.ewg.org. For example the list currently has apples, celery, and strawberries as the top three worst foods to eat if they’re not organic. Spinach is number five on their list of the top 12 worst foods. Many people order spinach at restaurants because they think it’s healthier.
When you go to a restaurant, you should order whatever meal has the most vegetables, or just order a side of steamed vegetables. Some of the least expensive restaurants are the most flexible about this; you can almost always get a plate of steamed vegetables. Some people tease me because I visit a local bar to eat, but I order organic chicken and brussels sprouts for dinner. Or I have a hamburger patty with avocado and a side of broccolini instead of French fries. Restaurants that have a lot of vegetables on their menu include Chinese, Thai and Indian, and many “California” places. If you are out for breakfast – try to go to places that serve organic eggs, or omelettes that have vegetables. Basically, you should become a “vegetable seeking missile” in order to optimize your health when you out.
I went on a trip with some friends recently, both of them are from the Midwest and love their comfort foods. I found myself in places without vegetables the first day and a half. By the second day, I declared a state of emergency for myself. I begged them to help me find some vegetables. Finally we went to a little grocery store and found a premade platter of carrots/broccoli/peas that I could eat. It was amazing how much better I felt.
This brings us to fast/easy foods to buy in grocery stores. Even Safeway has organic foods now, which at least will be free of toxic pesticides. You can buy various vegetables already prepared so that you don’t have to. One simple thing is those bags of prewashed precut organic carrots, which you can eat with some hummus dip it makes an excellent lunch. Dehydrated soups – such as curried lentils, or black bean soup are a quick meal which you just have to add water to. Add easy to prepare vegetables either fresh or frozen to your hot water. I carry a bag of organic roasted nuts with me for snacks. When I’m hungry in the middle of a work day, I either have nuts or organic almond or peanut butter on hand, I just take a little spoonful to sustain me until lunch.
I recommend that you take vitamins, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants regularly. You can mitigate the poorer quality of foods that you eat by supporting your system with nutrients in other ways. Even Whole Foods organic produce doesn’t have the vitamins it once had, it sits on the shelf for days before we eat it. Alpha Lipoic Acid supports the liver in its detoxification pathways. Everyone who drinks a lot of alcohol or eats out a lot should have it on their list of supplements.