I've only recently discovered Whole Foods in the last few months. This store is GREAT!! I wouldn't buy everything there (their pasta is ridiculously expensive and if you're going to be eating frozen lunches, I wouldn't spend 7 dollars on one) but their produce and meat is incredible and not much more expensive (maybe 5-10%) than most grocery stores. I haven't yet tried any produce from Whole Foods that I don't think is amazing, and Farmers' Market fresh! And the best part about Whole Foods is their passion for health - from the animal meats sold to the health of their customers. For instance, Whole Foods is one of the only stores that sells Organic Grass Fed beef at a low, affordable rate. Today, I got a pound of Grass Fed Beef Rounds for 9 dollars (grain/corn-fed would probably have been 7 at Albertson's or Raley's).
Why is Grass Fed so important? This blog lays it out well. Basically, grass is natural and healthy while the corn and grain fed cattle gain weight in a 5th of the time and are therefore unable to do so without a ridiculous amount of growth hormones and antibiotics -- and all of this transfers right into your body, helping create the superbugs that are making OUR antibiotics useless. (Staph infection, anyone?) Not only that, the corn-fed cattle have more than FOUR times the amount of fat grams than grass-fed beef (see this chart) in each 3 oz serving. That means that in a 9 oz. serving of corn-fed beef, you'll be getting nearly 26 grams of fat, when you'd only be getting SIX grams of fat in a same-portion sized serving of grass-fed. I could go on, but you probably get the point.
Whole Foods has also led me eating more fruits and veggies, helping to cut out unnatural sugars and fats. I did a fruit/vegetable/nut fast right after Christmas for about 5 days and lost 6 pounds - and have kept it off, partly because of a healthy change in my diet, but I won't lie and say I don't still enjoy my white rice and some candy every now and then.
So what's my point? Why is this so important to me?
-- My point is that fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats from nuts such as sunflower seeds and almonds, are the BEST way to keep your body feeling healthy and help peel the fat from your body. Meats such as chicken and beef ARE a part of a healthy diet so long as the serving size and fat grams are kept low - enter the grass-fed family, please!
-- Why is this so important to me? My grandma was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had a whole host of illnesses assail her body and nearly take her from us over Christmas. My stepdad had major blockages in his heart that were possibly only seconds away from causing a fatal heart attack. Diabetes runs in my family. While I am not blaming ANY of my family's illnesses on eating habits, I do know that eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat meats will proactively keep me from developing these illnesses later -- and should I anyway? I'll be ready for my "new" life because I'll already be used to eating healthier and making good decisions.
One thing I'd like to say though, is that I don't think healthy eating has to be a pain. I personally believe in compromises. If you like white rice or white bread or regular pasta, eat it in moderation on a plate that is otherwise healthy! If you like sugar, allow yourself to have some every now and then (though please no HFCS - high fructose corn syrup)! If you can't stand the thought of plain almonds or sunflower seeds - it's OKAY to compromise with some sea salt! Your body will be better off with the compromise than with a full-out binge if you're not able to handle the switch to healthier eating -- I know I wasn't able to handle it the few times I tried to drop sugars and white flours cold turkey!
ALL of these things said ... Here is the recipe. It's more like a dinner idea because there isn't really a recipe required. Also, get ready for a few product placements (I was not paid by these companies:)
I LOVE my new rice cooker/steamer by Hamilton Beach (only $49 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, though I'm sure you can find it cheaper online at Amazon or Overstock). It cooks up to ten cups of rice at a time while simultaneously steaming vegetables.
Tonight's veggies of choice were red and gold potatoes and some fresh French green beans. I steamed them over the rice, lightly salted. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 25-30 minutes. (Tip: Start cooking the rice/veggies approximately 25 minutes before you cook the meat as the meat will cook in less than five minutes.) You can also steam these veggies and rice without a rice cooker, but I find it much easier and a lot less maintenance!
Next product placement: George Foreman grill. GET ONE! This 144" grill was only 37 dollars on Amazon and cooks SO fast and SO healthy, and it is SO easy to clean! We use ours now at least three times a week! Time to pre-heat is approximately 5 minutes. I would recommend adding just the tiniest bit of olive oil to help ensure the non-stick plates are really non-sticky! :)
Marinated grass-fed beef. Here I only used approximately 5-6 ounces of the pound of sirloin that I bought. It was marinated at the store for me in a black pepper and garlic marinade, though I added some of my own black pepper and sea salt to it just before cooking. This meat took only 4-5 minutes to cook! Simple as pie! (Actually, easier than pie!)
And voila! A little bit of steak, some potatoes, green beans, and rice with apples and pineapples as a side/dessert. Yum!