In the spirit of complete honesty, as I am writing this post, I am nibbling away at a little bowl of dark chocolate nibs, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and walnuts - one of my favourite afternoon pick-me-up snacks (foraged from baking leftovers). Sometimes I pair it with a cup of Planet Bean Fair Trade coffee or maybe a glass of cucumber and mint infused water. Maybe Megin is baking and there’s a misshapen cookie or cracked pastry that needs to be “taken care of." If fruit trays have been on the day's lunch orders, chances are I have a ton of fruit ends to nibble on too!
Why am I sharing my bountiful afternoon snacking options with you? Yes, I work in a kitchen! Aren’t I lucky? I sure am! But, a couple of months ago, I wasn’t so sure I could resist the temptation of over-eating.
I have spent the last twenty years working two jobs. I am a group exercise instructor and an event co-ordinator. As a mom, these have been great parallel careers. I could set my own hours and the two jobs rarely conflicted - exercise classes in the morning, catering events in the evenings.
As my kids and Bite Guelph have both grown, the kids need me less and Bite needs me more. So, I've joined the Bite Team full time. While I haven’t given up working-out entirely, I knew my body (and mind!) would need to adjust to not teaching seven or eight classes a week, and sitting at a desk in a kitchen. I also started taking my Wedding Planner certification course in the evenings - more sitting time.
So I approached this with steely eyed determination. I hired a personal trainer and scheduled 6:00 am workouts 3 days a week. I created a very specific meal plan. I took over a corner of a shelf in the Bite walk-in fridge for only MY food. Sam and Megin teased me good naturedly - Sam even threw chunks of bread at me from time to time - but I stuck with it for six weeks. Almost exactly to the day. And then this happened…
Christie’s Food and Exercise Journal, May 12
Sometimes, cakes fall on the floor. You hear the pastry chef yell, “damn!” and there is a Pineapple Upside Down cake on the floor. It's close to lunch time and you’re exhausted from getting up at 5 am to go to the gym. You EAT THE CAKE... handfuls of cake... off of the floor.
So, ummm, that was kind of a light bulb moment. I needed more sleep, I needed to stop depriving myself. I needed to strike a balance.
“Bite is a scratch kitchen, meaning every morsel of food that leaves our door has been made by hand and to order. There are no shortcuts in preparing good quality food.”
This is right from the Bite mission page. By that definition, Bite is also a “clean eating” kitchen. Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of ingesting more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer calories or more protein), the idea is more about being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.
Whole foods are foods that haven’t been tampered with in a lab or manufacturing plant, foods straight from the farm: whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, low fat dairy products and unsalted nuts and seeds. Processed foods are any food that has a label. A label means that more than one ingredient was used to make that food. You don’t have to eliminate all processed foods (like whole grain pasta or natural cheeses), but if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on a label, don’t put that food in your shopping basket. Instead of buying meals in a box, cook meals from scratch. That’s not as hard as it sounds. Yes - I am lucky enough to work along side a chef who is creating meals all day long, but lean, whole foods need little preparation beyond chopping and sautéing to make satisfying, delicious meals.
And by eating snacks (small meals) through out the day, you can boost your metabolism and reduce the chance that you’ll eat cake off of the floor rather than a handful of nuts and some strawberries.
Also, cut yourself some slack! Aim to make healthy choices 80% of the time, and the other
20% feel free to indulge yourself a little. Those misshapen cookies and cracked pastries now
and then are just enough treat.
I make appointments with my trainer when it fits my schedule, and focus on getting outside with
my family when it doesn’t. And believe me - catering a wedding is MORE than a workout!
It all comes back to what your Granny probably said: eat homemade, eat a little of everything,
eat your greens, eat in moderation, chew your food, and get outside and play!