While physically exercising and working your body are very important components to achieving your ideal fitness and health, the main driver and true “secret” of a successful and lasting fitness program is the quality of food you consume. I believe that is why there is a direct correlation between the quality of foods you consistently surround yourself with and keep on hand in the kitchen with what you end up eating the majority of the time.
It’s simple – surround yourself with crap foods and you will find a way to eat them and sabotage your worthy fitness goals. In contrast, surround yourself with nutritious, whole foods and you position yourself for incredible success, satisfaction and the body you desire. Follow this rule and you will be rewarded with sustainable and lasting health and fitness if you also participate in a sane and reasonable exercise program. Thumb your nose at this rule and accept the negative consequences, stress and emotional frustration of having a body that constantly “rebels” against you by piling on the fat and inviting a laundry list of ills to varying degrees.
Let me put forth an almost universal observation or principle I have witnessed over the years regarding one’s health and fitness success. I don’t care how much will power people tell me they have – if you have a ton of crap food in your living area, you will be tempted to indulge in and eat that crap food. Period. Game over. That’s human nature pure and simple and an eternally proven principle which has de-railed plenty of folks’ desire to improve their health especially as it applies to dropping that jiggly fat most people tell me they constantly battle.
I have seen people repeatedly challenge this principle, but rarely achieve a positive outcome as it applies to their health goals. Sure, there are incredibly super dedicated people out there who have the will power to live amongst a sea of crap foods and never indulge in them, but I would argue they are a rare breed of animal. So concentrate your health efforts on those actions that will reward you with the greatest payback and focus on what you can control – starting with what you stock in your kitchen!
I guarantee that when you make a meaningful attempt to clear out most of the crap foods in your kitchen that have done nothing for you except perhaps give you a brief emotional eating high while simultaneously expanding your butt and gut – you will be rewarded with a body to be proud of, envied and admired.
Here is a list of the foods I always keep in the kitchen that have positioned me for fitness and health success over the years:
Vegetables, Vegetables, And More Vegetables
I put this at the top of my list because fresh vegetables should be the foundation of what we need to be eating not only because they provide many of the necessary vitamins, fiber, minerals and nutrients necessary to keep us as a species healthy and actively robust, but they are powerful deterrents to disease and ailments as well. Vegetables fill you up and are mostly low in calories which go a long way toward promoting a body that is lean, capable and vibrant.
I will eat a vegetable with almost every meal choosing a decent variety throughout the week opting for local/regional in season selections where possible before branching outward for other selections to ensure an ideal nutritional balance. I will buy organic where I feel it makes sense, but I don’t stay up at night obsessing over any non-organic choices. For balanced nutritional variety I like cabbages, kale, chard, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, spinach and sweet potatoes to name some of the vegetables I most commonly have on hand.
A word on variety – I like variety, but I don’t go crazy trying to eat every type of vegetable that every culture on the planet consumes like some food psychos claim you need to do. While I like to experiment and try different vegetables, I don’t feel the need to obsessively chase constant variety to the point where I feel I’m nutritionally “incomplete” if I didn’t desperately seek out some new media hyped super food of the moment that claims to make you live for 200 years and improve your IQ by 100 points hyped by Dr. Backwards on some supermarket magazine cover.
I just don’t need to be chasing after some “secret” root or plant that can only be harvested by the locals on the south side of Komodo Island by the light of a full moon at low tide that I supposedly can’t do without. I will let all the Hollywood type health and fitness phonies and media hawksters chase that bullshit around. Conclusion: most folks will get along just fine eating a reasonable variety of vegetables. Bonus points if you grow some of your own and trade/share with your neighbors.
Eggs get a bad rap in some circles and among extreme health fanatics, but they play a large part in my healthy universe. They are easy to prepare, chock full of nutrients and are inexpensive. Eat the whole egg and don’t get caught up in this trend of just eating the egg whites. The yolk is where all the beneficial nutrients are after all, so eat the whole thing.
Do yourself a favor and skip eating the traditional commercially produced eggs since the chickens are housed in cramped barracks wallowing in their own filth and fed low grade garbage feed. Raising chickens in these chronically stressful environments promotes disease which forces the owners of these commercially raised chickens to pump them with all kinds of antibiotics, hormones and drugs just to keep them barely alive and pooting out eggs. This results in marginally nutritious eggs laden with trace elements of all the crap feed and synthesized drugs the chickens have been fed which gets passed right up the food chain to the human consumer which aint good.
So what to do? Shell out the extra buck or so and buy eggs that are “cage free” and organic which means the chickens are allowed to roam around outdoors under the bright sunshine rooting around for foods they naturally consume and are fed supplemental quality feed without all the drugs and hormones spiked in the mix . This type of chicken lifestyle promotes way healthier, nutrient dense eggs and even gives the eggs a good boost of vitamin D thanks to the exposure to all that sunshine the chickens absorb as they roam their little piece of Mother Earth unrestricted.
Steel Cut Oats
I don’t eat a lot of grains as I believe consuming most grains are a drain and drag on your efforts to drop fat and to get and stay lean. However, I do like to eat some oatmeal a few times a week. But not just any oatmeal – I eat the steel cut or Irish oats variety exclusively. Why? Because it is not highly processed and digests slower which means your body also slows down its conversion to sugar. Steel cut oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein and B-Vitamins.
By contrast, eating most other oatmeals (especially the instant varieties) digest very quickly- rapidly spiking your blood sugar and elevating blood fats due to these foods being highly processed often with all kinds of sugar added. Translation: Eating highly processed, quick digesting foods like this will promote the tendency for your ass to expand, gut to swell and thighs to blow up encouraging your body to pile on the nasty fat. So don’t think you are doing yourself any healthy favors when you chow down on those highly processed instant oatmeals and breakfast cereals marketed as some type of ideal food. The reality is that your digestive system treats this highly processed crap not much differently than eating a candy bar.
Marketers may convince you that this crap is healthy for you, but your digestive system is never fooled. Who will you listen to? I will always trust my “gut” as it has thousands of years of evolutionary digestive experience to draw from to keep our bodies functioning and looking ideal as opposed to listening to slick processed food marketers assigning glitzy value to their crap foods where none exist.
While I eat way more vegetables than fruits, they play a significant role in my daily eating habits. I use the same selection process with fruits as I described previously with the vegetables I eat – I don’t go insane chasing crazy variety such as “super fruits” that hail from Mount Olympus or some special cantaloupe grown only in the Congo that some media phony tells me I can’t survive without. Just eat a sane balance of readily available fruits most supermarkets are sure to carry.
Bone Broth Stock
I make my own bone broth from meat, fish and poultry bones and freeze it in easy to use portions to make super healthy meals you just can’t buy in stores. I will add vegetables and meat to the stock to make quick meals that are not only delicious, but supremely nutritious. It takes some up front effort to make, but the back end health rewards are worth it!
Learn how to make bone broth and find out all the great benefits you get from this wonderfully simple food that is convenient, versatile and freezer friendly!
Meat And Poultry
I eat a fair amount of various meats and poultry, but I make sure they are from quality sources. I won’t eat typical commercially raised livestock. This is due to the fact that all of the vaccines, antibiotics, artificial hormones, drugs and crap additives routinely fed and administered to commercially raised livestock are passed on to our bodies as detrimental toxins through consumption of these foods. Who wants to be saddled with that crap bonding to their body chemistries that can only promote illness? Not me! That’s why I like to go organic, wild, grass fed and cage free when choosing animals and most produce I consume. I will purchase meat in bulk from trusted local/regional farms where they raise animals by these healthy standards and actually take the time to get to know the hard working folks who humanely raise these critters.
I always have a bunch of fresh lemons around. I like to mix some fresh squeezed lemon juice with olive oil and Italian seasoning for a great tasting and healthy dressing to put on the many salads I eat. Try squeezing some fresh lemon juice into your water and iced and hot teas for a nutritious spike to these common healthy drinks.
A variety of onions and garlic are constantly on hand in my kitchen. Onions are a good source of vitamin C, have ant-inflammatory properties, improve bone density, lowers blood sugar and are chock full of antioxidants that boost the immune system.
Not only will garlic keep away vampires, but it has a lot of the same benefits of onions as well as having the ability to detoxify heavy metals in the body, improve athletic performance, improve cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.
That’s a pretty good one-two health punch from two common plants most people overlook! I will eat them raw in salads, add them to my bone broth stews and cook with my scrambled eggs
Cod Liver Oil and Multi-Vitamins
Are supplements necessary for optimal health? We all need to do our due diligence to research our individual dietary needs. Before taking a supplement, ideally consult with a trusted medical professional who knows something about nutrition. And don’t get caught up in the over-hyped nonsense of miracle pills, toxic doses of herbs and crazy, unregulated weight loss potions that some Hollywood phony claimed got them the body of a god or love goddess.
I keep a quality cod liver oil around that I take daily and a multivitamin to a lesser extent after researching my nutritional needs. At this point, the multivitamin may be overkill for me since I get a pretty good balance of nutrients from the foods I eat which is what I strive for.
These are great foods chock full of nutrients and healthy fats that are always rolling around my kitchen counter. I will add to salads, blend them into smoothies, add to my scrambled eggs after cooking or just slice up and eat plain.
Coconut Milk and Organic Heavy Cream
Coconut milk is a great dairy alternative as I don’t drink much cow milk. Coconut milk is powerfully nutritious as it is rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Coconut milk is also lactose free.
While I don’t eat a lot of dairy, I do keep some organic heavy cream around to add to my steel cut oatmeal, coffee and to make healthy fresh fruit and whipped cream treats.
Fish And Shellfish
Fishing, crabbing and clamming is something near and dear to my heart as well as my stomach. I eat fish at least twice a week. Not just any fish, but wildly caught fish and shellfish as opposed to farm raised. I have read enough studies citing farm raised fish as being riddled with pesticides, pcb’s and fed the same crap feed and antibiotics as commercial livestock that I won’t eat it. Once again, all this unhealthy crap gets passed on to us if we eat it.
Fortunately, I am capable of catching my own wild caught fish mostly devoid of all that crap for most of the year. I have been catching fish and other seafood since I was 5 years old constantly honing my skills under the guidance of some of the best regional experts who I will always be grateful to and hold in high regard for all of their patience, time and knowledge. I take that knowledge and do the same for the next generation willing to learn in order to honor the greats I learned from.
I will purchase or accept wild caught fish from fellow anglers if I trust the source and it can be verified at those times of the year when my own stock of fish I catch runs out.
I am not the type of person who needs to salt down everything before I eat it, but when I do want some salt with my foods, I stock and use the most healthy and nutritious salt. I use unrefined sea salt in its natural form that retains all the beneficial nutrients unlike the highly refined and processed salts most folks use. Your standard, refined commercial table salt lacks the nutrients contained in unrefined, raw sea salt. Standard commercial salt will undergo extensive refining and bleaching processes along with adding ant-clumping chemicals (natural, unrefined salt will clump together somewhat), which also removes many of sea salt’s naturally occurring trace minerals.
Coconut Oil And Olive Oil
I use coconut oil with a lot of cooking applications as it’s healthy properties remain intact even in high heat applications. I use so much coconut oil that I buy it by the tub. I will put a spoonful in healthy smoothies and especially enjoy using it to make a supreme cup of healthy coffee.
Olive oil is great to have around for all the healthy fats and antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties it contains as well as vitamins E and K. Studies show that it can also protect you from heart disease. I use olive oil as a base in all my fresh salads.
Cinnamon And Honey
Cinnamon is chock full of antioxidants, is an anti inflammatory that helps repair tissue damage, lowers blood sugar levels and fights infection. It also gives you a feeling of fullness driving down your appetite since it slows down the digestive process. You can sprinkle it on anything that suits your fancy, but I like it in my coffee, in a smoothie and in my steel cut oatmeal.
I will buy raw, unprocessed local honey from a nearby source. I use it sparingly to sweeten things like teas or my oatmeal up as you don’t want to eat too much even though it has some great health and medicinal properties. Most honey sold in supermarkets is heavily processed and virtually devoid of any healthy benefits, so buy local, raw and unprocessed to enjoy the healthy benefits. Years ago I used honey to build up my resistance to terrible pollen allergies I used to routinely be viciously attacked by. I can’t scientifically prove that eating a little bit of locally produced honey built up my immunity to those dreadful allergy attacks, but I have not experienced one in years.
Nuts And Seeds
I don’t eat a lot of nuts and seeds, but like to eat a few small handfuls throughout the week. I will eat raw, unsalted varieties such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and pumpkin seeds. Nuts are packed with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that are a great nutritional booster to reach for in moderation throughout the week and they are easy to take with you in your daily travels.
What I Don’t Keep In The Kitchen:
Pastas, breads, candies, cakes, sodas, fruit drinks or processed meats are not welcome. I keep out most things that come in a box that require the services of a Harvard professor to translate and pronounce the ingredients listed on the back and sides of these boxes. It’s mostly all unnatural synthesized crap that will play havoc with your body chemistry.
I always liked the great and profound rule of thumb fitness and nutritional expert Jack LaLanne used to say regarding eating healthy – “If man made it – don’t eat it!”
But hey, let me be real and down to earth with you folks – Even though I keep a lot of healthy foods in my kitchen, I am not going to get on my high horse and tell you I eat perfect. I will never claim to be a monk, saint or ultra refined, pinky in the air blue blood stuffed shirt either. Every now and then I like to chow down on pepperoni pizza, Ice cream, linguine, breads and those red Swedish fish that I have been known to gulp down like a rabid sugar seal.
But, I don’t let it get out of hand with any consistency and I absolutely do embrace the healthy foods the vast majority of the time.
Tips To Keep In Perspective
How quickly you achieve your healthy goals and ideal body composition you desire will be directly related to how much of the crap foods you ban from your kitchen because I guarantee you will eat them if they are conveniently in your reach unless you hail from the planet Vulcan and have the will power and discipline of Mr. Spock!
What you keep in the kitchen is the true secret and driver to getting that body you desire
Stocking a healthy kitchen will allow you to take stock in a healthy, vibrant life and position you for active longevity.
Unless you have the ultra dynamic metabolism of an Olympic sprinter or that of a super charged termite, it is very tough to “out exercise” a crap diet if you want meaningful and lasting health and fitness.
My eating philosophy is the same as my fitness philosophy – perform those exercises and eat those foods that pay you the biggest dividends without wasting your time and sanity.
While you may have a decently stocked healthy kitchen, watch all that constantly eating out or ordering food in. This is an overlooked hidden killer to a lot of folks’ worthy fitness intentions and actions. There are rare exceptions, but most people indulge in less than ideal food choices in these situations that can really pack on the fat.
If you were to just assign value to the kitchen stocking part of the fitness equation and improve in this area, you will see remarkable changes to your body composition. Most folks just need to simply get out and walk and do some reasonable resistance exercise 2-3 times per week matched to their fitness level/age and shore up what’s in the kitchen to be successful. Remember, it’s the simple things done consistently that will get you to the health, body and fitness you desire!
Time To Get Out Of My Kitchen And Wrap Things Up
Unless you value shopping at the Hindenburg section of your favorite clothing store, heed my advice and get your kitchen in order now. Remember – your stomach can be a pathway to healthy, active, pain- free longevity or a pathway to a miserable existence defined by all the new ailments you collect into your later years along with the body composition of an immobile Manatee. Which scenario are you leaning toward? It all boils down to what you eat and keep in your living area.
This is one of the toughest, yet important tasks you need to own and take control of if you are serious about reaching your worthy fitness goals. I applaud anyone who makes up their mind to take action and get help to change their life for the better through a sound fitness program – just don’t waste your energy doing it half-assed and frustrating yourself by dismissing the importance of surrounding yourself with healthy foods. Make sure you address one of your biggest factors to your success – what foods you keep in your kitchen!
Please understand that I didn’t invite you into my kitchen to have any obsessive food psychos out there debate or berate my food choices. I am merely sharing what I consistently eat and keep on hand that works for me and my reasons as I take pride in being a product of my own advice. I am not telling you that you should stock your kitchen exactly like me and what you must eat to the crumb to achieve ultimate health. I don’t think anybody can make that claim. My hope is that you can take something from this article and apply it to your own situation to move you forward in your health and fitness goals and get you closer to the ideal body you desire. I take personal satisfaction when folks I have a connection to take action and progress toward improved health and fitness.
I will always root for folks who decide to get help to improve their health, take action and embark on a path to an active, fit and vibrant lifestyle. It’s a win for you, your family and loved ones, your employer and your paycheck and I truly believe it’s our civic duty as Americans to be fit, able, effective and capable – setting a productive example for the next generation.
Mark Mellohusky (Mellow-Husky) Mellow as in laid back and Husky like the dog!
I Eat T-Bone Steaks , Lift Kettlebell Weights and Stock A Healthful Kitchen!
Seven Stars Fitness