As a former college athlete, I never really watched what I ate because I'd just burn it off in my next exercise session. Thai food for dinner? That's an extra mile in sprint intervals. Popeye's for lunch? An extra spin class. Drank too many beers and indulged in Chinese food at 3am? 15 additional minutes of HIIT. I know it sounds crazy, but exercise was my way to justify and undo all my unhealthy eating habits. This plan of attack worked well until my upper-30s when years of intense cardio caught up with my joints, ligaments and tendons and my body started to fall apart.
Suddenly, I couldn't run off my Krispy Kreme donuts because I was in a walking cast, and my gluttonous eating habits started to catch up with me. Frantic, I hopped on Google to search for healthy diets that help you maintain or lose weight, and that's when I discovered Green Chef and the Keto diet.
Necessary Lifestyle Changes
As someone who was addicted to exercise, it was incredibly difficult to quit my morning runs and stop swinging the 35-pound Kettlebell every other day, but I had no choice. My Lisfranc injury was so severe, my doctor warned me that I'd be facing surgery if I didn't take 6 to 8 weeks off my feet (which wasn't possible since I lived in the city and had to walk everywhere). Within a matter of weeks, I began to see the pounds piling on and there wasn't much I could do to stop it, so I continued eating Thai food and drank more wine than usual because I was sinking into a depression, but I had to snap out of it.
I had heard a lot about the Keto Diet, but since I didn't know how cook, I began creating my own version of the diet which basically meant I cut out carbs and starches and started eating like my bunny rabbit. But it wasn't enjoyable and after a few drinks at happy hour, I'd end up eating McDonald's late night to satisfy my cravings. The problem was a handful of almonds, a few slices of cheese and a grilled chicken breast were not fulfilling, and I needed tastier options, but didn't have time (or storage space) to run to the store and buy ingredients for dishes I never ended up making. All that waste, whether food or money, was adding up and I felt like I was sinking in quicksand and feeling worse about myself every day. I knew there were better options out there that could do the legwork for me, and help me get back on track, and that was Green Chef's Keto and Paleo options.
Getting setup with Green Chef was so easy. I simply logged onto their site, chose my dietary preferences (you can pick more than one), the number of people I'll be feeding (from 2-6) and whether I'd like to receive the food kits 3 or 4 times per week. Then I scanned the list of 30 meals, read through the descriptions (including ingredients, the recipe, calories, prep time and more) and added the dishes to my cart.
Voila... healthy eating was on the way!
What is Green Chef?
Green Chef is a weekly meal kit subscription service that designs and delivers pre-portioned, organic ingredients to your doorstep along with chef-curated, easy-to-follow recipes. Whether you're Vegan or following the Keto diet, you'll be able to find meals to fit your need since Green Chef takes everyone’s dietary preferences and restrictions into consideration.
As a GMO-free, USDA-certified organic company and the first meal subscription service to be certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers Organization (CCOF), Green Chef is a sustainable company that only uses sustainably caught seafood, and it's the first meal kit service with plastic and carbon offset.
With weekly options including Keto + Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast + Fit, Mediterranean and Gluten-Free, they have something for everyone, especially if you're carb conscious and searching for high-protein recipes that taste good and make you feel good too. Each menu offers around 8 or 9 choices each week, and you can switch-up your plan too. Whether you're cooking for yourself, a couple or a family of 6 and you need meals shipped 3 or 4 times per week, Green Chef has you covered.
Eating Healthy for Less
Finances are on everyone's minds these days, but so is healthy living and Green Chef makes it easier for you to eat better without breaking the bank. Sure, you could go to one of those health food shops or grocery stores that specialize in organic and sustainable products, but it's seemingly impossible to walk out without dropping $100 on 15 items. And let's be honest, whether you spend $6 for a package of romaine hearts or a dozen organic eggs, there is a new level of sticker shock that impacts everyone, and these inflated prices won't be deflated anytime soon.
But with Green Chef, you get all the premium ingredients sent straight to your door and they come pre-measured and prepped. So, you don't have to go out and buy a package of Kaffir Lime Leaves or a jar of Green Cardamon for a recipe that requires just a teaspoon or dash of spice. Typically, Green Chef costs $11.99 to $13.49 per meal, but you can almost always find a good deal online which could bring the cost per meal down to $6.69. And don't forget you're receiving the highest quality products, and you're saving on gas, parking and additional wear and tear on your car.
Since we're all in on-again, off-again relationships with subscription services, I recently reactivated my Green Chef membership to help me stay on track over the holidays because I strained my left Achilles Tendon yet again! And while I'm not in a walking cast or anything like that, the pain begins to radiate from my calf to my heel about a half mile into my run and it's so frustrating. Back to healthy eating and Keto I go.
Luckily, Green Chef has tasty, healthy treats for every type of palate, but I'm picky so I lean towards vegetarian or poultry dishes and there's never a shortage of options for me. Whether it's the Turmeric Ginger Turkey Bowls, Spicy Tunisian Chicken or Creamy Italian Chicken Salad, I'm always able to find delicious meals that fit my needs and help me stay fit too.
This week, I chose the Chimichurri Chicken Bowls, Chicken with Lemon Basil Pistou, and the Spicy Turkey Eggroll Bowls. All three of these dishes are Keto-friendly and Gluten-free which works out perfectly for me and they take 35 minutes or less to prep and cook.
Since I don't have a family to feed (but my bunny does snack on the veggies), I have more freedom with planning and cooking my meals, but as a freelance writer who works from home, I spend a LOT of time on my laptop and if I run out for food it can ruin my writing because it breaks my concentration.
Honestly, I never realized how much of an impact healthy eating could have on my weight, body composition and mood and that was such a pleasant surprise. After I got over my initial bout of Keto Flu, the pounds started to melt off, my mind felt clearer, and I felt heathier all around. While I never saw much of a difference in my body in the past—no matter how hard I worked out—with Green Chef and the Keto Diet incorporated into my everyday routine, I lost weight in places I had unsuccessfully targeted with exercise alone. I finally began to see just how important a healthy diet was and after weeks of lean meats, fresh veggies and cauliflower starches, I became hooked.
Now, that I'm mostly healed aside from a little arthritis and some pesky Achilles Tendonitis, I'm back to working out again—though not even half as intense as before—and I'm eating healthy too. Thanks to Green Chef, I've learned the importance of a good diet and how much of a positive impact it can have on every other aspect of your life.
While I still indulge in the occasional Thai food and McDonalds, I balance it out with Keto and Green Chef, and my unhealthy cravings of the past have almost completely disappeared.