Shhh. Our secret. How to cheat

pssstt. come here. closer. real close. i have a secret. this is JUST BETWEEN US.

this weekend....i'm gonna cheat.

don't tell the broccoli

-so this week was pretty normal for me nutrition wise. all the usual subjects were present and accounted for.

herbed chicken strips with leftover grilled asparagus and roasted sweet potato with butter & cinnamon (stick the potato in the oven till it's ain't hard to do)

sauteed chicken with snow peas over quinoa

trader joes buffalo burger with oven roasted cauliflower and asparagus (veggies drizzled with extra virgin oo before roasting. amazing things happen to veggies in the oven. i'm convinced it's magic.)

maria's lazy breakfast...2 eggs sauteed with whatever i can find in the fridge (spinach, turkey, mushrooms, chicken, leftover veggies & coconut oil) & brown rice toast with apple butter or almond butter spread....half caff coffee (i have yet to reach full decaf. it's a goal...hey, i'm working on it!)

it was all pretty tasty. i was happy and satisfied. i tried my best to balance out every meal. i could have eaten more veggies. you can never overdo good quality greens.

so now what? it's the weekend. i'm gonna let my hair down and have a cheat meal. every once in a while, it's important to eat a meal that's atypical of your routine. why? well, to keep myself sane so i don't go postal on you guys in the gym. no, seriously, it's good for the soul. so, what's it gonna be? taco bell? mcdonalds? never. NO WAY. i'd rather lick the bottom of my shoe.

a cheat meal for me is an INDULGENCE. it's a meal that is so rich and flavorful that i eat it twice as slow as my other meals. it's strategically planned out; nothing this special happens spontaneously. it's a meal that deserves a fine glass of wine and maybe even a dessert. i still try to stay within my parameters for my cheat.

pa⋅ram⋅e⋅ter  [puh-ram-i-ter]

Usually, parameters. limits or boundaries; guidelines: the basic parameters of our foreign policy.

TODAY. My challenge to you is to set your parameters. Do it today, before you go to bed tonight. Make boundaries in your mind of what, FOR YOU, is an acceptable food and what is not. And then STICK TO IT. No falling off the wagon, no ooops. Unless you walk into the gym with a busted chin, don't tell me you slipped.

What are my parameters?

No wheat or gluten

Occasional dairy (mostly during cheat meals)

No sugar

No white or wheat flour

The fun thing about your parameters is that over time, they change. My parameters took me almost 2 years to figure out. How did I start? My first parameters were: no soda & try to eat more wholesome foods. I felt better, so then i tinkered with no white flours. Then, my wonderful trainer saw that I was on the cusp of a big breakthrough and challenged me to see if I could keep my performance in the gym and ONLY dine on animal proteins, veggies, fruits and healthy fats. I did it and felt AMAZING. I got stronger in the gym. Then I got rid of dairy, and guess what happened? My sinus problems disappeared and I stopped catching colds. Is my journey over? Absolutely not. Now, I'm trying to reintroduce raw dairy to see how my body reacts to it.

This is a big puzzle and it's up to you to figure it out. Set your parameters now. Decide what you will eat and what is not okay. Then reevaluate in a month or so and see how you feel. Then, if you are totally satisfied with your performance in the gym and feel great and fit into your favorite pair of jeans, then great! You've done it. If you're still longing for more, then set new parameters. You can't go from a crawl to a full sprint. Go slow. Walk first. Try to enjoy this journey. Think of this as the coolest science experiment you'll ever do. Always listen to what your body is telling you.

So then, how in the world do I manage to "cheat" and stay somewhat within my parameters? how does this sound?

crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with blue cheese crumbles and bacon with creamy cheese dressing

ribeye, medium. the more marbled the better.

mashed potatoes with butter.

creamed spinach and sauteed mushrooms.

heaping glass of red....australian? french? argentinian? whatever the sommelier recommends

and the grand finale....creme brulee. a creole classic egg custard topped with berries. (hmmmnnn, it's got sugar in it but it's still wheat and gluten free. desserts are just a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils.)

I wouldn't eat this meal often. First, I can't afford it. Second, it's got lots of dairy and i've figured out that my body doesn't do well on too much dairy. Third, it contains lots of fats, so it's a little out of the zone that I try to stay within. Fourth, I don't have wine every night. Fifth, the sugar in the dessert is a no no for me so that's why it's an occasional treat.

Two closing thoughts:

1. Set your parameters TODAY. Let's talk about them. Tell me what they are.

2. If you're gonna be bad, you'd better be damn good at it.