The number #1 question I get almost on a daily basis is, “Well what do you eat in a day?” or “how to you find balance in your diet while working in the food industry?” – a very valid question indeed.
Another comment I get, which is totally outlandish is, “well, you can’t be fit and be a chef” ….really?
The concept of eating, dieting and anything to do with food in general is a sensitive topic for some people and it’s a topic that should be talked about more often. I’m a nutrition and culinary professional, who like everyone else, has bad days but more importantly conquers them with a lot more grace now. It’s about putting it all out there; the good, the bad and the real ugly because by doing so entering a world of Food Freedom is a lot less scary.
What defines food freedom:
- Living without the binding anxiety between what we eat and our emotional self.
- Learning to stop obsessing and start enjoying so that we’re able to truly thrive in every moment of life.
- Being able to leave all the food rules out of the equation and become more mindfully aware of what foods make us live to our true healthful potential.
I’ll pick one day of the week, snap what I actually eat in a day (kitchen days, off days and nights out), chat about my balancing act between cake tastings and post workout fuel. If you have any questions, I would be most happy to address them as well!
So what’s my “diet” per say?
I’ll be frank: There is no counting, no weighing, no phone apps, no nothing. There used to be – I used to actually carry a scale around, it was a sad period. I definitely went through my period of suffering with orthorexia, I say suffering because to obsess on that level never yields “a happier, healthier you.” I had immense anxiety about eating out at social events and anything that didn’t revolve around my realm of “healthy foods.” I would start looking at restaurant menus 4 days before I would actually go so I could be very specific when I got there. It wasn’t until I was firmly educated and got really ill before any major shift happened. Was it easy? Hell no. I cried a lot, didn’t go out much and even stayed out of the gym for 2 months to help get my mind right. I’d say, it took me 2 years to overcome my issues around food and fitness.
Now fast forward: I run a kitchen, cook all day, taste test, see delicious treats go out and have such a sense of comfort knowing I won’t ever fall back into those old habits.
For health reasons I transitioned my eating habits to follow a mostly paleo style diet, with the focus on healing and anti-inflammatory fats. However, I follow an 80-20 rule and will probably never be 100%. The bonus to where I work is that I control what get’s made and how – so in my kitchen I feel very confident with eating the food at the restaurant. I know I’m getting quality nutrition from a quality source. That 20% comes into play when I eat out (yes I eat burgers and drink wine….what’s life without it…) I will eat sourdough bread, dare say it….sometimes gluten, usually from spelt or rye. However, the important thing is having the self-control, awareness and understanding behind what you put into your body. Below is what I ate yesterday, the typical day of “ I don’t feel like cooking” meals. I cook for a living and some days I need my meals for one to be simple as heck.
I woke up at 5am and couldn’t sleep, so I got work and ate my morning staple Breaky:
2 soft boiled eggs, half an avo, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast and hot sauce = straight to the point.
Lunch: Usually I eat something from the menu, plus some leftovers from what I made at dinner the night prior:
Pulled chicken, hot sauce (homemade), tomato cucumber salad from our staff meal, sautéed kale and zucchini from dinner and 2 of our raw falafel balls (because I just love them.)
Dinner: After the gym, it was already 7pm and I didn’t want to think, I just wanted to eat. So I sautéed 4 pieces of sliced bacon (high welfare from heritage hogs) with cherry tomatoes, garlic, black kale and a squeeze of lemon. Topped it with beet sprouts and dinner was done. Fun tip, top anything with sprouts to make it look better 😉
Snacks & Sips:
- ½ an oatmeal cookies (gluten free/vegan), because my lovely pastry chef just pulled them out of the oven and I felt like a treat – they are swoon worthy.
- Coffee, yes coffee is consumed daily, never more then 2 cups because otherwise things get weird and I start acting out in the kitchen.
- As pictured above, I had one of our Cacao Mylks. I probably have 2 per week, totally satisfying especially mid morning when I’ve been up since 5am.
- Oh and since the amazing people from Genuine Health sent me this amazing sample, I’ve been all over this new Fermented Greek Yogurt Protein. More about that later 😉
When you discover what foods fuel you and ignite your inner fire, you stop obsessing over the counting, weighing, etc. Instead you start to enjoy the hell out of the capabilities of real food, from the health and culinary standpoint.
Looking forward to next week!
-Chef Steph xo