Fitspiration, or Fitspo for short, is a term used to describe something that helps inspire others to healthy eating and exercise. These websites should not be confused with ‘thinspiration’ sites. Thinspo sites are common as well but generally promote being skinny over being fit. In Fitspo blogs you should see toned and muscular figures as objects of motivation. Just because someone is skinny does not mean they are healthy (an extreme example would be an anorexic). Fitspo websites are commonly in the forms of blogs where the author posts daily recipes, inspirational stories, exercise plans or photos of fit men or women for motivation to do the same for themselves and their readers. I highly recommend you follow or start your own fitspo blog or site (such as pinterest or tumblr) to help reach any health goals you have set for yourself this year. Goals are met by taking the time to daily address them through small steps. Having your goals stare you in the face everyday will consistently provide motivation and the support needed for change. You can google ‘fitspo’ for some examples. I myself keep track of inspirational photos, quotes and recipes by pinterest and I’ve included an example of a pin from my ‘healthy living’ board. Remember, YOU are the only one standing in the way of yourself and the goals you want to reach.
The other day I was slightly late for work and didn’t have time to throw together breakfast. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day I stopped at McD’s and got a sausage egg burrito off the dollar menu. I tried to fathom how people can eat fast food everyday sometimes for multiple meals a day without feeling physically ill all the time. I also tried not to feel guilty as I chomped down and wondered about the life and fates of the pig and the chickens sitting in the simple flour wrap. Not that wonderful most likely.
Associating guilt and food are two things that should be kept separate. Letting guilt dictate how you eat could spiral very easily into unhealthy eating habits and other psychological issues concerning food. Whenever I feel a twinge of guilt from eating fast food or some other less than healthy fare I remember to just let it go as ‘having a treat.’ A treat is something I enjoy only once or twice a month at most. Anything more than that and that food is part of your regular diet. Fast food places are not the only ones that should be treated this way. Many restaurants in general have meals worth your entire day of calories and then some. Nor should you try to ‘erase’ a poor meal decision by dieting, starving or excessive exercising. I recommend you approach eating like Tiger Woods approaches golf. He has a short-term memory. This means when he has a bad hole he forgets it. He will try to play the next round as if the last one never happened. This works because his goal is to achieve the lowest score and to not let his mind get in the way of his performance. So eat like Tiger plays golf. If you eat poorly, forget about it and focus on doing better the next meal. Stressing about a bad choice will just make any ill-effects worse. If you keep trying to out-do your last meal you will be eating great and feeling amazing in no time. Focus on doing your best by eating less processed food (anything made in a food factory or from ‘meat/egg factories’), consuming smaller portions and make your meals mostly of plants.And as just a side note if you want to eat breakfast from McDonald’s your best bet is their oatmeal without the brown sguar at 160 calories, 0.5g saturated fat, 100mg sodium, 30 carbs and 0g sugar. You can add diced apples for an additional 10 calories and 3g of sugar. Be careful of the cranberry-raisin blend addition as this adds an extra 16g of sugar and 70 calories. The egg McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin and the sausage burritio are the next ‘best’ breakfast options. The main issue with these suggestions is they kill you in sodium content as they have between 820 to 850mg of sodium on top of 5-8g of saturated fat and range from 300-370 calories. And please avoid the combo meals…the hashbrowns alone add another 150 calories, 1.5g saturated fat and 310mg of sodium! Until McD’s starts fresh-squeezing their orange juice or starts serving 100% orange juice avoid it. Drinking their minute maid OJ will set you back another 200 calories and 39g of sugar! You would have to exercise for about 40 minutes just to burn the OJ off! Nutritional information was taken directly from http://www.mcdonalds.com.
So why did I put a question mark at the end of the title? Because not all eggs are created equal. One thing you will hear me talk about when it comes to discussion about food is quality. Unfortunately today you can eat all the ‘healthy’ food you want, such as fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat and eggs but still be ingesting harmful amounts chemicals in the form of pesticides, herbicides or risk a deadly microbial infection. An example of this is the ‘dirty dozen‘ which is a list put out by the Environmental Working Group that lists the fruits and vegetables that have the highest detected chemical residue on them even after vigorous washing! Eating non-organic celery means you will typically ingest 67 different pesticides as well!
Some foods just need to be eaten organic. The same applies to eggs. Not only are the nutrient contents significantly better in pasture-raised poultry but the poultry are raised humanely as well. Pasture-raised eggs in comparison with conventionally grown eggs are not that expensive…maybe a dollar more. This is an excellent ‘cheaper’ healthy substitution we can all take part in! You can determine how your egg brand stacks up is by visiting the Cornucopia Institute. This institute visits organic farms and grades them according to organic farming standards. Not all organic farms are created equal. In reality practices can be questionable since you only have to shell out the money to buy the organic ‘sticker’ for your packages and not actually abide by the rules. The FDA does not actually review if the farms comply with standards and wouldn’t you want to know you are getting what you paid for?
The best way to buy eggs is directly from the farm. Not only are you supporting your local economy but you are able to actually see where the hens are raised and how they are treated. Beware of ‘free-range’ labels. This does not mean that the hens are running around freely on a farm (as one may think). All this means is they are not in cages and thousands of hens are instead housed in giant chicken houses ‘free-roaming’. Right. How much free-ranging do you actually do when you are crowded in like a Holocaust death camp? Farm-raised eggs are generally safer as well. Contamination of eggs with deadly Salmonella comes from contact of the egg with the shell when breaking. Microbials thrive in poor sanitation and crowded conditions and therefore contamination of eggshells with Salmonella is highly likely in factory farms.
After the recent move to Wichita I found a great CSA with MorningHarvet Farms and Jako Farms Inc. that both sell quality eggs for $2.50 a dozen! I was paying much more for the ‘higher quality’ eggs at the supermarket. They also double as pre-dyed Easter eggs (see the 2nd picture above) and are much prettier than conventionally dyed Easter eggs that you can buy in the store (yikes! Here is a link to some suggestions for natural Easter egg dyes). I also want to show you the difference in quality. I thought the more expensive supermarket eggs would at least compete alittle…I was wrong. I want you to look at the photos below. You can instantly tell which eggs come from an actual farm and not a factory. They have rich, beautifully colored yolks which are more orange than yellow. The difference of firmness (and freshness) of the yolks can be seen as well. Upon breaking and releasing the egg into the dish the yolk broke for the conventional egg. The color difference is due to the increased vitamins. An independent study compared farm raised versus commercial raised eggs and found 2/3′s more vitamin A, 2 times the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, 7 times more beta carotene, 4-6 times the Vitamin D and 3 times more Vitamin E. Due to the higher amount of Omega-3′s this also means they have less saturated fat (1/4) and healthier amounts of cholesterol. Many areas of the country now support farmers markets where you can more conveniently pick up your eggs. And feel free to pick up a few dozen or more at a time depending on how fast you run through them. High quality, fresh eggs last over a month from their pack date when stored in the fridge.