Let me start off by saying I absolutely love food and love going out to restaurants. I could eat all of the pizza and cookies in the world. I have a big family of New Orleans women who love to cook and love to feed people (which is usually me). When I was younger, I wasn't super conscious about my diet and it led to me going through an overweight phase. This is something I eventually grew out of as I got older and got into sports, but I've always had trouble keeping my weight down. The medicine that I take to control my seizures slows down my metabolism and makes it hard for me to lose weight, so it's a constant battle.
This caused some major body insecurities for me as I started competing in pageants because I couldn't even come close to obtaining the amazing figure that all of the women I competed with had. I became very over-conscious about everything that I put into my body and would deprive myself of carbs and other things in hopes of slimming down. A healthy diet is essential to staying seizure free, so I was really putting my condition and my body at risk. Needless to say, it was unhealthy and something needed to change.
Over time, I learned that what you eat to stay healthy isn't a "diet" - it's a lifestyle. I had to make the lifestyle choice to become healthier. After working with my doctors and many trainers, I've developed an eating routine that is healthy while still being enjoyable and sustainable. I've also learned to not be so hard on myself when it comes to food. Don't get me wrong, I still indulge every now and then (sometimes too frequently), but it's all about knowing your limits, staying on track, and powering through it.
What you're about to read is what I eat mostly for when I'm prepping for pageants - this is when I stay pretty strict with these guidelines. When I'm off season, I go by the 80/20 rule and try not to torture myself too much.
My diet basically consists of three meals with snacks in between. I stick to a modified version of the keto diet (the keto diet was designed to help people with epilepsy), but I cycle with higher-carb days about two times a week. I learned early on that sticking to a high protein low carb diet isn't sustainable and I always ended up gaining all of my weight back after I fell off. Carb cycling also helps the body burn fat (and keeps you from going through withdrawals and hating life). I also drink a gallon of water a day with a cup of green tea or a Celsius drink in the morning. I try to avoid too much sugar and salt and mostly season my food with pepper, garlic, and salt-free seasoning (Mrs. Dash is a great one!). I also try to stay gluten free when I'm able to - I find that it helps my stomach feel better and it helps with inflammation.
Meal 1: Breakfast
My go-to breakfast is two boiled eggs with half an avocado and a cup of fruit. For my fruits, I usually stick to strawberries, blueberries, apples, and pineapple. I absolutely cannot stand egg whites. I've tried seasoning them every way possible, but I just do not find them appetizing. Boiling them is a healthier alternative and it's easy to scoop the yolk out.
On my higher-carb days, I eat a serving of oats mixed with water (or almond milk when I don't have to be as strict) and a half cup of blueberries.
This is where I have my cup of green tea with a scoop of collagen powder and take my HUM vitamins - Multi, B12, Adrenal Support, and Omega 3's. (Use my code "1ED489" for $10 off your first order!)
Meal 2: Snack #1
This is when I usually have another cup of fruit and will pair it with some hummus or a serving of nuts. I love almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and cashews. On my higher-carb days, I'll eat a rice cake with some almond butter. I absolutely love Nuts n' More's chocolate almond butter and hazelnut spread (aka healthy Nutella - it's a lifesaver)
Meal 3: Lunch
This is usually compromised of 4oz of lean meat (bison, salmon, shrimp, and chicken are my go-to's), a cup of veggies (usually zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach) and half of an avocado. On my higher carb days, I'll add in 4oz of sweet potato. (I eat all of my carbs for the day within my first 3 meals)
Meal 4: Snack #2
I'll usually eat something similar to the first snack without the fruit. This is where you'll still want carbs but you have to fight the urges!
Meal 5: Dinner
This is usually strictly a lean meat with veggies.