Thursday, March 28, 2013

Feed Me Fit

Food makes you feel good doesn't it?  Food is one of the greatest needs for all humans; according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, so that we can reach a higher state, if you do not have food you really cannot even think about doing anything else. Food just makes you feel good inside and out. If we are just talking basics needs, you don't need much, Prison Loaf will do (yes I made it).

But we all want more, we want healthy food that is easy and quick to prepare and that tastes great. It's not all that easy for some people though. Then for those of us who want to get lean and ripped, or even just lean, it's a whole different ballgame.

You need to eat the right foods, healthy choices, feed the magnificent machine called "your body" what it needs to function properly. That doesn’t mean bland and boring food and it doesn’t mean the same old thing over and over.

Maggie Shih of Feed Me Fit spent two hours in my kitchen on Sunday and made three very simple, healthy and incredibly tasty dishes. Dishes that I can make, you can make, and everyone would eat and not know how healthy they were, seriously. I wrote about her previously, you should read that post first if you have not yet read it.

No salt was used, very little oil (olive oil spray) and no refined starches.

We met in the same way I meet so many people, I emailed a complete stranger! That’s how I have made connections with so many wonderful people in my life, and how I even found my favorite vacation destination in Mexico- 16 years ago, Hacienda Eden (I still go back every year).

I was searching for a gift for Roy, his birthday is coming up and cooking lessons might be in order! Maggie is a Certified Fitness Chef. She spends most of her time at her customer’s homes preparing food, typically in advance so they can pop it in the refrigerator or the freezer, or both. She will even shop for the food too if that’s requested. In addition, she offers cooking classes for individuals or small groups for those who want to learn to do it on their own.

Maggie knew I am prepping for a competition so my food had to be light and low calorie, but she wanted to show me some other dishes too, so we had a range of things on Sunday.

She pulled up in her car and toted all her things effortlessly into my kitchen and made herself right at home, she was comfortable in the kitchen, I could tell. I have a big kitchen, actually my favorite room in the house and there is lots of room to move around.

She started with an egg dish "egg in a ring" and it was so simple yet wonderful; I cannot believe I never thought of it! 

Yellow bell pepper, egg and seasonings (no salt) and a few slices of avocado. 

We asked David to be a taster and he ate half (I ate the other).

Next Maggie moved on to a staple on my diet, tilapia. I eat tilapia almost every day; it is a mild, firm white fish, inexpensive and plentiful. It takes on the flavors of anything you season or cook it with, so it is versatile. Most tilapia is farmed; you will not find "wild" tilapia around here. I caution you to check the origin of your tilapia and try to only buy that farmed in the USA, with South America being a second choice. Tilapia raised in Taiwan and China will be raised in water where there is no lead control, the groundwater is polluted and the fish are too. (Did you know that’s why we started selling unleaded gasoline? The lead in the gas was causing birth defects in our children! They don’t worry about the lead in China unfortunately); in addition, the feed used and the cleanliness of the pens are questionable in these countries, your health is not worth the few cents savings the cheap and muddy tasting fish you will be eating. If you buy it at a market where it is laid out on a tray and not in a package, just ask where it is from, by law they must have tags showing the origin of all fish.

The dilled tilapia was moist and flavorful, I get so used to baking a big tray of it that I forget that my healthy food can also be wonderfully flavorful and moist, if I just put a few more minutes into it. Maggie served kale on the side, seasoned with garlic powder, yum! Here again I caution you about the origin of your kale, it is #11 on the top 15 fruits and vegetables that have extreme pesticide usage- meaning that it is one of the foods you MUST buy organic!

David bravely took a bit of the tilapia, he isn’t a fan at all, but he actually liked it. 

After Maggie left we talked and he said "No offense, but her food just doesn’t taste like your bland diet food, I mean it has flavor."….right, well it did and he was right, but when I am cranking out my food, in between working a full time job, training 7 days a week, and most of them twice a day, it does take a bit of the "joy" out of cooking and trying to make it all more palatable. I eat for fuel right now. I am a machine!

The last dish was stupendous, but not something I would eat on a competition diet. Off the diet- sure I would, so now I just had a few bites and left the rest to David. I took half of it to Roy too; he had it for dinner on Monday night!

A smoky bacon loaded sweet potato! A paleo dish (for those who follow that diet), that can be enjoyed by anyone. 

The "chili" was made with bacon, ground turkey, and vegetables. I am not a real bacon fan, I have a hard time moving past the copious amounts of fat in it, but this was good, really good! Maggie said you can easily cut most of the fat out too!

David tried the loaded potato, and he tried it again. He loved it. It was time for me to eat, and I had several bites of the dishes Maggie cooked, but I am lean and ready early, so I can stand some extra calories right now, in fact I dropped too low and panicked a bit, so I was ready for a full meal.

As she packed up and I walked her to the car, she said "eat the tilapia!" I ate the whole thing and the kale (I love kale and eat it several times a week).

I came in to find that David had devoured the potato and topping…almost, he didn’t eat all the sweet potato and since I needed some starch, I ate it!

I packaged up the rest of the "chili" that was in the pot and set half aside for David and the other half to take to Roy.

I left the house right after Maggie did, so I could head back to Gold’s Gym, I was off for round two of cardio and posing. When I came home, I would start cooking my food, more tilapia, sweet potatoes, chicken and vegetables.

I know first hand, that when people start a new fitness regime, the area that causes them the most stress, and will usually make them fall short of reaching their goal, is the food prep. They usually have no idea what to prepare, how to prepare it, how to make it taste good and they usually don't have the hours and hours it takes every week to do it. I spend several hours a couple times a week just making my food since I eat 6 times a day! 

You cannot out-train a bad diet. 

When I returned home for the gym, there was a house full of guests, all sitting in the backyard having wine and pizza (a Sunday ritual around here now), Virginia came into the kitchen and said David was raving about "some egg McMuffin with no muffin". He told her how good it was and didn’t taste anything like "Kristy’s diet food"…..hmmm I think he was talking about the "egg in a ring"

Contact Maggie at Feed Me Fit if you are interested in food prep or cooking classes, she says some people get a group of friends together at their home, and they all split the cost of the cooking class. Then, if you like, she can prepare meals for a week or so just until you get an idea of proportion and dishes and then she sets you free to experiment on your own.

She also has a Facebook Page where you can stay connected, learn about special events and check out her dishes. 

All opinions expressed are mine alone. I have not received remuneration for this post or content.