I was enjoying a successful post-fishing lunch at Puckett’s
Grocery in Leipers Fork, TN. Perhaps I should clarify…I
was indulging in Southern comfort food: fried catfish, mac n’ cheese,
mashed potatoes, turnip greens, drop biscuits, and an ice cold Yazoo
Pale Ale. Delicious – yes. Healthy – no way. Sure, maybe I went
a bit overboard, but I was simply trying to help a friend celebrate.
After all, he had just reeled in a 9-lb bass.
It’s a known
fact that Southerners enjoy our traditions. From afternoons spent
fishing, to a day on the farm, or to an evening bonfire sipping
moonshine with friends – Southern culture is alive and proud.
I discuss my love of Southern food to strangers (anyone not from
the South!), I typically get the following response: “Southern food
is so unhealthy.”
got a point. We are pretty liberal with our use of butter, cheese,
cream, salt, and oils – or as I like to say – adding a little ‘love’
to our meals.
But, not all
Southern food is “bad.” In fact, we pioneered the organic, home-grown
movement before it became fashionable among foodies. My 102-year-old
grandmother would have laughed at words and phrases like “sustainably
raised,” “farm-to-plate,” or “locavore.”
With that said,
I do acknowledge my indulgent Southern meal is not something one
should eat every day. In fact, I try to limit such meals to special
As a food and
lifestyle writer, I hold myself accountable for providing wholesome,
health-conscious meal ideas and recipes to my readers. That being
said, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no dietician, medical
doctor, or licensed trainer. However, I do know what works when
it comes to eating healthy and losing weight – partially from personal
experience, and partially from speaking with others.
throughout my life allowed me to always enjoy a high level of physical
fitness. That was, of course, until college came along. I blame
most of my weight gain on my penchant for drinking Sierra Nevada
Pale Ale – not to mention my weekly trips to Weaver
D’s in Athens, Georgia. Looking back, I’m embarrassed that I
let myself gain so much weight.
by reincorporating exercise and healthy eating into my lifestyle,
I was able to get back into fighting weight in less than a year,
eventually getting to the point where I now enjoy competing regularly
my results, friends of mine would ask, “How did you do it?” “It’s
not rocket science,” I would tell them. “It all boils down (pun
intended) to exercising and eating the right kinds of foods – and
all in moderation.”
I always knew
I could put my plan into a simple format for others to use. Thus,
I began sketching out the following ideas for a book proposal last
year. Several friends kept asking for the information and have since
been successful in dropping 30, 40, and even 50 pounds to reach
the weight of their dreams.
the moral of my story?
You can have
your fried chicken and eat it too! Just keep in mind that moderation
is the key if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current
figure, not to mention vigorous exercise several times a week.
guidelines are a mere foundation for simple, healthy living. Of
course, I’ve supplied some of my favorite recipes to help you reach
your goals. For those of you looking to renew that New Year’s resolution
– here’s your chance. Become your best!
NO, LOW, GO Diet
Don’t starve your body; eat the right kinds of foods to keep your
metabolism constantly working in your favor. Don’t consume more
than you burn. Don’t be afraid to indulge every so often. Your success
is determined by YOU.
– avoid these foods whenever possible, especially when trying to
White Starches (Breads, Potatoes, Pasta, Rice)
Cream-Based Soups (Chowders, Bisques)
Mayo or Cream-Based Salad Dressings (Ranch, Creamy Italian, Creamy
Caesar, Blue Cheese)
– consume these in moderation.
Carbs (try to source from Whole Grains)
Salad Dressing (Oil, Vinegar, Italian, Low-Fat Dressings served
on the side)
Whole Grains (Pasta, Brown Rice, Breads, Quinoa)
Oatmeal (Stick to minimally processed forms)
Yogurt, Low-Sugar or Greek
Sport Drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, vitaminwater)
Frozen Health Foods (Lean Cuisines, Frozen Organic Meals)
Appetizers at Restaurants (Start with a salad instead)
Desserts (Chocolate, Cakes, Ice Cream)
– fill up on as much of these foods as possible.
least 8 glasses per day)
Lean Protein (Chicken, Turkey Breasts, Pork, Seafood, Lean Red
Fruits (especially Blackberries, Blueberries, Cranberries, and
Beans (Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans)
Vegetable or Low-Fat Broth-Based Soups
and Meal Ideas
is the most important meal of the day. It gives your body the
chance to start your metabolism (fat burning furnace) first thing
in the morning. The problem is that most people skip breakfast,
thinking they’ve reduced their overall caloric intake for the day.
What happens? Your metabolism doesn’t start. You overeat at lunch
or from snacking because you feel entitled. Instead – eat breakfast!
I’m not talking about cereals, bagels, or pastries. The worst thing
you can do is start your day off with sugar and carbs. This spikes
your blood sugar, which shuts down your metabolism, only to cause
a mid-morning crash which will likely lead to overeating later in
the day. In my opinion, eggs are your best friend in the morning.
Full of protein, and virtually without carbs, you want to focus
your efforts on eating eggs as much as possible for breakfast. Forget
the cholesterol scares of the 1980s – eating the whole egg, not
just the whites, has actually been shown
to improve “good” cholesterol levels.1–3 eggs each morning is a
simple and easy breakfast. Vary your preparation method: scrambled,
fried, poached, hard boiled, or even as a simple omelet with diced
veggies and low-fat cheese so that you don’t get stuck in a routine.
Here’s my AoM guide to making
better eggs. If you can’t cook, or don’t think you have time,
invest in a microwaveable
egg poacher. It turns out a decent poached egg in under a minute
– without any added fat.
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (Higher in protein and low in sugar)
Granola (Bear Naked Peak Protein)
Fruit (Apples, Mixed Berries – Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries)
Fruits and Vegetables
4 Better Breakfast Sandwich (Serves 1)
Arnold’s Thins Whole Grain Sandwich Bun 1 Large Egg Kosher Salt Freshly Cracked Pepper 1 Slice Muenster Cheese 2 Thin Slices Deli Ham Mustard
Place the sandwich
thins into a toaster. Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan over medium-high
heat, fry egg (no oil or butter needed) for 3–4 minutes, or
until egg reaches your desired preference. Season egg with salt
and pepper. Next, add egg to toasted sandwich slice and top with
ham and cheese. Add mustard (if desired) and top with the remaining
slice of bread. Serve.