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You are what you eat!

Ever had pizza and then felt bloated and un-energetic the next day? Its the result of the amount of carbs and grease that goes into a pizza. Some people even get headaches after eating such food and it takes them awhile to realize what was really wrong with them.

Take my friend Kelly for instance. For many years she thought spicy food was giving her gas, so she would usually try to avoid spicy food but sometimes would eat it anyway because she likes it so much. Except 6 months ago she finally discovered it wasn't the spicy food at all. She was actually a bit lactose intolerant and the end result is flatulence. Which is kind of funny really. But at least now she can have spicy food without worrying, its the milk she has been forced to cut back on.

But my end point is that most of us don't track exactly what we eat an thus when we get weird symptoms we really don't know what piece of food or drink is causing it unless we take the time to observe and record.

For certain types of food the answer is most obvious. Fatty foods make you feel sluggish, bloated and un-energetic.

And the silly thing it is only made worse when we are tired. When too tired to cook we are more likely to do the following:

1. Eat out at a restaurant, which typically means foods higher in carbs / fatty foods.

2. Reach for the junk food as a quick snack (and before you know it, you've eaten the whole bag).

3. Reach for something that is quick and easy to make. The proverbial TV dinner is really not as healthy as we like to think because of lots of added sodium.

What we are supposed to be doing if we want our body to be healthy and feeling good is not dining in restaurants, limiting our sodium / fat intake, avoiding junk food, and having a healthy balance of food including lots of fruit and veggies.

I've also discovered that too much of certain types of food (eg. potatoes) can also make you feel bloated because your body can only absorb so much. You really do need a balanced mixture if you want to avoid such feelings. Thus in the future when you come home from work exhausted what you really need to do is eat some fruit and make a salad with veggies in it. If you have leftover chicken, make a chicken salad.

Try increasing the variety and aiming for a balanced mixture in your diet and then compare how much more energetic you feel.

Three High Protein Options for Veggie Lovers

If you want to increase your protein intake but still maintain a healthy balance with your veggies, here are some great options and you won't need to resort to using protein powder.

1. Eggs or Egg Whites or Fresh Egg Nog

I personally eat the whole egg, because the yellow bit has healthy Omega-3 fatty acids in it. Some people only eat the egg whites because they only want the protein, but don't underestimate the value of Omega-3 fatty acids since they speed up and maintain your metabolism - and your body cannot synthesize those acids, they can only be gained through egg yolks, certain types of fish and plants oils.

The best way to eat eggs is actually raw - so you get the most nutrients out of it - and one way to do this if you can't stomach drinking down raw eggs like Rocky Balboa [see the video below] is to make egg nog using nothing more than milk, eggs and a blender. No alcohol required, that is more of a festive thing to do.

2. Beans and Legumes

Green lentils, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans etc all have a good amount of protein. They are also source of complex carbohydrates. This is not a bad thing! Try having a bean salad with veggies and get a well rounded meal!

3. Tempeh

If you don't know what tempeh is you're about to find out. Word to the wise, tofu is too processed. Tempeh is fermented soy and a healthier alternative to tofu. The best part is that tempeh has a taste and can still absorb flavor like tofu, but without the downsides of tofu. The only downside is that it has to be steamed for about 10 minutes. It has a slightly bitter taste, but depending on what you mix it with you won't even notice. When it's cooked properly the taste can be described as nutty or similar to mushrooms.

4. Jell-O

Believe it or not Jell-O has protein in it. The gelatin is mostly protein and the end result is that pack of Jell-O is 9 to 10% protein. Its not a huge source, but I thought I would include it in this list for kicks.

Jell-O is proof that it is a good idea to read labels, thus you learn that cottage cheese, natural Greek yogurt and other things are also high in protein. Often its things you wouldn't even think of.

Ever heard of the Accidentally Vegan List? Its a list of food items which, when you read the ingredients, are actually Vegan safe. Oreos for example. Maybe someone should make a list of things that are accidentally high in protein.

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