Skwigg

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What I Eat

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Spinach salad with chicken, raspberries, dried apricots, almonds, and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

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Raspberries, mandarin oranges, cottage cheese and crushed macadamia nuts.

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Banana Taco - whole wheat tortilla, peanut butter, banana and blueberries or raspberries. The Spiderman plate is optional.

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Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza - These totally rock!! There's no cheese and it's absolutely delicious, better than some of my favorite pizzas with cheese. It's mushroom, sweet onion and roasted red pepper with kind of a smoky, roasted tomato sauce. Deluxe.

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Veggie burger with spinach, tomato, onion and dijon mustard on a whole wheat bun. Amy's California Veggie Burgers are a good frozen brand with no soy.

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Greek Omelet & Kiwifruit - eggs, spinach, onion, red bell pepper and feta cheese. My omelets always look like they fell in the street and got run over, but they taste delicious.

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Pork Chop with Spinach Salad - A lean chop pan fried in olive oil, spinach, onions, walnuts, feta cheese, and dried cranberries. I love this meal because there's no cooking or prep time involved. Steal a cold pork chop from husband's leftovers, grab a couple handfuls of bagged spinach and sprinkle with salad goodies.

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Basic Side Salad - Field greens, mushrooms, broccoli, onion, carrots, bell pepper and walnuts. I start with this and then lately I add feta cheese, dried cranberries, and Sun Dried Tomato dressing. Or sometimes I add grilled chicken, turkey bacon crumbles, and ranch dressing. Or once I added chicken, grated cheddar, salsa and ranch dressing - and I'm telling you right now - salsa and walnuts - not meant to go together.

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Intuitive Eating 2.0

It took decades of trial and error but I am a happy eater. I follow no rules. I count no calories. I'm completely over nutrient ratios, meal timing and measuring cups. Plus, as an added bonus, I'm not fat. Any time I've flirted with this "intuitive eating" stuff before, I've quickly become too fat for my little pants. This time, I'm happily lean. Some things that help me stay that way:

- I weigh myself every day. If you're not going to count calories or measure your food, you'd better be keeping an eye on something. It could be weight, waist measurement, a caliper pinch, a pair of jeans, but you need some kind of objective feedback. If you choose not to track your food and not to look at any of your measurements, you'd better go buy some bigger pants.

- I move a lot. I don't have a gym membership and I don't own a cardio machine (unless you count the dogs), but I'm active every day. In fact, I never really hold still. I dance, I fidget, I tap my foot, I spin in my chair, and I take the stairs. I waste energy like nobody's business. I also adore kettlebell training, Pilates and my TRX suspension trainer.

- I eat what I want but I always control portions. Generally, the more I want something, the more I need to watch out. I can play fast and loose with spinach but I'd better take my ice cream in a single-serving container.

- I eat mostly plants. I'm not a vegan or even a vegetarian but I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, and will happily go weeks without eating any animal products.

- I share. I never used to share before. Sharing is the greatest thing ever! You get to eat whatever you want and make everyone around you fat. Try it! Order the double-fudge super cookie dough caramel delight. Eat three bites and watch your dining companions devour the rest of it like hungry hyenas. Share your French fries. Split the sandwich. Order three tacos and only eat one of them. It's exhilarating! Plus, I always have great leftovers.

- I don't eat six times per day, or three times per day, or three meals and two snacks. I'm knowledgeable about nutrition but don't follow anybody else's rules. I eat when I feel like it. On an active, hungry day I might eat 5-6 times. On a lazy day with restaurant food, I might eat 2-3 times. I'm no longer dumb enough try to force three more meals after lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

- I flow. That's significant because I used to battle. I battled my weight. I struggled with willpower. I waged a war against fat. I agonized over the numbers. I kicked myself when I slipped. My mindset was one big bloody massacre. My fitness goals were always at odds with what I really wanted, which was to relax and eat Cheetos. Now, if I want to kick back and enjoy a treat, I do so immediately. No struggle. No stress. No guilt. I know that for my next meal I'll choose something a little healthier and more ab-friendly.

Here are some of the things that influenced my thinking and helped me find my happy place with food:

Precision Nutrition taught me to eat. It sounds stupid but I didn't really eat before; I did math, watched clocks, and listened to my stomach growl. I was still a dieter. Precision Nutrition taught me to eat like an athlete. I learned to place equal emphasis on health, happiness, sports performance and body composition. No more dieting my brains out at the expense of everything else.

Eat Stop Eat is what finally snapped me out of the bodybuilding six-meals-a-day trance. It's about the health and weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting. Do you know what happens if you miss lunch? Nothing. You can eat when you're hungry or when there's food around and the rest of the time you can relax. You won't turn into a pumpkin if you lose your cooler full of color-coded Tupperware.

In Defense of Food made me redefine food altogether. An apple is food; a protein bar is a product. Michael Pollan points out that we're eating vast quantities of chemical pseudo-foods that humans have never consumed before. It's eye-opening. It put me back on the path of choosing simple, recognizable, whole foods whenever possible. His message is "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." How beautifully simple.

Naturally Thin is the book that finally presented intuitive eating in a way that I could understand and use. It's not about making excuses, accepting defeat, or becoming one with the donuts. It's about how to stay lean and healthy while enjoying life and eating what you want.

The End of Overeating gave me real insight into the science of food addiction and how consumers are being conditioned and manipulated. It also gave me a lot more compassion for people who struggle. You can be an intelligent, confident, loving person with extensive nutrition knowledge and a sky-high self-esteem and still lose all control in the face of your trigger foods. Now I understand why.

Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to be lean and healthy AND at peace with food, check out my Happy Eaters discussion forum for advice and support.


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Avocado sandwich. I toasted Ezekiel (sprouted grain) bread, spread it with a couple tablespoons of mashed avocado, sprinkled it with a little black pepper and Mrs. Dash, and then layered tomato, cucumber, onion, and red leaf lettuce. It was deluxe, and Spiderman's little red arm sticking out from under the sandwich cracks me up.

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This little snacky has roughly the same 200 calories as a protein bar but it's real food, not partially hydrogenated high fructose bovine serum. (I actually saw "bovine serum" on a protein bar label once. What is that? Cow juice? No thanks!)

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Blueberry Goo - Cottage cheese, frozen blueberries (don't thaw them), oats, and almonds stirred together and sweetened with sugar. This makes a most spectacular cold, crunchy, chewy, soft flavor sensation. It's very dessert-like, and as an added bonus, it turns lovely shades of pink and purple as the berries thaw.

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Celery sticks with peanut butter and kiwifruit. It's crunchy, sweet and summery. I like it for breakfast.

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My Cadbury Creme Egg stockpile - eight purple boxes carefully hidden behind the foil, plastic wrap and sandwich bags.

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Peanut Butter Banana Sundae - one tiny vanilla ice cream cup, a couple tablespoons of melted Skippy crunchy peanut butter, half a sliced banana, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Heaven!

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Mixed greens salad and a bowl of bing cherries.

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Eeeee!!! What IS that?! That's the typical reaction to my green smoothies. This one is ice water, spinach, banana, mango and honey all whirred together. I crave these things and like to drink them for breakfast. I don't put protein powder in them because that would ruin the greeny goodness, but I do sometimes have a couple eggs or a handful of almonds on the side.

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Scrambled Eggs and Toast - Three eggs scrambled with spinach, onion, and melted Havarti cheese, whole wheat toast with raspberry All-Fruit.

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Idiot Quesadilla - a can of chicken breast, taco seasoning, salsa, and grated sharp cheddar. Squish it between flour tortillas and microwave 60 secondsTo save calories, use one tortilla and fold it in half after you heat it.

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Berry Breakfast - cottage cheese, blueberries, raspberries, and crushed macadamia nuts. I sweeten it with a little sugar.

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Fast food from the grocery store salad bar.

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Cherries and grapes and Batman and Robin.

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Black beans and rice. Simple and tasty.

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This is a lunch packed for work. It's red bell pepper strips and baby carrots for dipping in the cucumber hummus, a container of lentils and rice, some cantaloupe and grapes, and two fig newtons.

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My cereal accompaniment of choice is either almond milk or hemp milk. Hemp milk has more protein but also a bit of a weird flavor. Almond milk is deeelicious.

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I baked this cake ALL by myself! It's a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Swooon!!!

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Turkey, broccoli, cherries.

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Bean Burrito - There is no meat or dairy in this little sucker. A burrito without cheese and sour cream was inconceivable to me, but the avocado adds a nice creamy texture.

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Scrambled eggs and monster blackberries.

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Strawberry Pineapple Cottage Cheese - Fresh pineapple chunks, sliced stawberries, and smashed macadamia nuts on cottage cheese.

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Coconut Bliss ice cream. It's non-dairy and extra rich and tasty. I've eaten it off the floor.

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Roasted vegetable pita pizza. Top a pita bread with sauce, onions, olives, marinated portabella mushrooms and roasted red peppers. Put it directly on the oven rack and bake at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes. Super deluxe! No cheese required.

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Bug Toast - whole grain toast, peanut butter, grated carrots, and raisins. Very festive.

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High-fiber cereal, almond milk, ground flax seeds and raspberries. I eat cereal from a kids bowl so I don't have to worry about measuring it to control the portion.

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Scooby snack! Red pepper and baby carrots with cucumber hummus.

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Corn, black beans, onions, tomatoes, green chilies and taco seasoning. I make this by opening cans. Those who know how to cook might soak the beans, pick the tomatoes, cut corn off of the cob and whatnot.

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Blueberries, shredded wheat and almond milk.

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Kombucha tea - it's not really tea. It's some kind of fermented Chinese wonder fungus. The first time I tasted it I nearly spit up on myself. It was like drinking raspberry vinaigrette. However, I experienced a fantastic energetic Zen calm. Now I can't get enough of the stuff.

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