The main tenet of my eating philosophy that I’ve practiced for the last eight years is to avoid as much pre-processed foods as possible. That has to be taken with a common sense approach. Unless you are only eating fruits and vegetables you grow yourself, and livestock or wild game that you raise, almost all foods that reach your plate have some processing in that journey.
I try to keep it simple and flexible. I avoid all fast food as a rule. At the mega-marts, I steer clear of products with any unnecessary ingredients, additives that I can’t pronounce, and simple refined sugars.
I don’t prescribe to food “religion” so that I am not trapped into eating only one major macro, as very restrictive diets require from you.
Does it work? Well, I’ve never had a moment in eight years where I felt any desire to go back to eating like I did before, and I never feel like I’m missing out or depriving myself. That means I’m not constantly going back and forth on diets, gaining, losing, then gaining weight again.
I’m also not in a constant state of dread about some looming ultra restrictive diet that will leave me ravenous and miserable. That allows exercising results to actually show up instead of being buried by the foods I was eating, and visible results are the best motivation to keep working out. The changes in body composition from age 42 to now almost 50 can speak for themselves:
I was much stricter about making every single ingredient from scratch when I first started, but flexibility is key to not burning out on any habit. There were days when I didn’t want to spend all day trapped in the kitchen making things from scratch, and I needed something quick and easy so I could get outside and actually enjoy my new physical capabilities. These BBQ chicken wraps are a great example of that:
Everything you see here is technically processed. I’m using pre-cooked chicken strips, pre-made BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar cheese, cream cheese, egg white wraps, and bacon. The only non-processed item is the red onion I’ve chopped myself.
That does not sound like a list of a healthy meal that fits with maintaining a healthy body weight. Most diet gurus would lose their everloving minds and point out all the reasons these ingredients will make you fat, or possibly be fatal poison. The trick here is to read the ingredients and choose your weapons wisely when utilizing pre-processed ingredients.
Not all chicken strips, sauces, cheeses, wraps, and bacon are created equal. If you just go all willy-nilly throwing the normal brands in your shopping cart without paying attention to the ingredient list, you’ll end up with what amounts to a fast food wrap nutritionally speaking .
Fast food makes you decidedly not, so read and understand what is going in those products and ultimately into your organs. Bacon, for instance, will have sugar added. I’m not talking about brown sugar bacon, which you would expect, but just your normal regular flavor bacon.
Do not assume anything when it comes to buying processed products. Research it, understand it, and take responsibility for what you decide to buy, cook, and eat. You will look and feel better for your efforts.
This recipe is fast and easy, with minimal cook time. Once you know which brands you can trust, it’s even easier to produce an unprocessed fun lunch made of mostly processed ingredients. Over time, with consistency and a little effort, you will become an unprocessed version of yourself, which is even better.
BBQ chicken wraps:
1 package pre-cooked chicken strips
3-4 slices all natural bacon
1/2 cup no sugar added bbq sauce
2 ounces grass fed cream cheese
8 ounces grass fed smoked cheddar, shredded
1/2 red onion diced
2 packages egg white tortillas
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper, onion and garlic powder, smoked paprika
Cook the bacon in the microwave on a plate lined and covered with paper towels until crisp and set aside. Dice the red onion and slice the chicken strips into bite size pieces. Set a cast iron skillet over medium heat with a hit of non-stick and cook the chicken and onion until the chicken is seared, and the onion is soft and fragrant:
Add the cream cheese and stir until completely melted:
Add the bbq sauce to the pan, stir, and remove from heat. Crumble the bacon into the pan and stir once more. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay out a egg white tortilla, lay a thin layer of cheese:
Add a layer of bbq mix:
Add another layer of cheese on top, and fold over. Repeat:
Bake for six minutes. Remove from the oven, hit the tops of the tortillas with a quick burst of non-stick, then flip and bake another six minutes:
Let cool for about five minutes before slicing and eating. Serve with baked jicama fries and enjoy:
See the list of all the Shirtless Chef recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.
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