Living LifeWise: A Husband’s Attempt at Healthy Cooking

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Living LifeWise is a regular column provided by LifeWise Ambassadors — LifeWise employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Chris Arceo.

Every week, my wife and I take turns cooking. She is constantly on me about eating healthy, so when my turn rolled around last week, I tried to develop a healthy cooking plan and buy food that would satisfy my hungry-bear tendencies and still keep things healthy. Here’s how it went.

Navigating the Grocery Store

healthy cookingMy usual tendency is to go to the bakery section first, then meat, then snacks — and only then do I hit the produce section for a few things (mostly to make myself feel healthier). But this time, as soon as I arrived, I headed right for the fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables. After a few minutes among the greens, I was feeling really good about myself. I was smelling the fruit and checking the vegetables for freshness — and it suddenly hit me: “Man, I’m privileged to be able to just buy healthy food that I didn’t grow.”

But then, as I was reaching for some onions, a voice came over the PA system: There was a special for pork roast.

I couldn’t resist. I left the produce section in a trance and headed straight to the meat department.

What happened next is a blur.

Giving In to Temptation

I really don’t remember much — except walking out with a large pork shoulder, rub seasonings and barbeque sauce. Dazed and confused by the hypnotic pork PA announcement, I scrapped the idea of cooking healthy and decided to barbeque instead. Pulled-pork sandwiches were on the menu, and nobody could stop me.

The Prep

healthy cookingInstead of grilling outside in the cold, I improvised with our handy Crock Pot. I marinated the pork shoulder overnight with a rub made of equal parts chili powder, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and powdered ginger. The next morning, I woke up and placed the pork in the Crock Pot and headed out to work.

That night, after cooking for 10 hours, the meat was ready. I pulled it apart with a fork and added barbeque sauce. (Which did wonders for the smell wafting throughout the house.)

Remembering the Veggie Factor

healthy cookingI almost forgot — I needed vegetables to top this dinner off! I headed back to the store and bought deli-made coleslaw, blowing past the produce aisle once again. For me, coleslaw counts as veggies. And I know it must be at least somewhat healthy, because my kids refused to put it on their plates.

What I’ve Learned

The lure of less-healthy meals and deals is tough to fight. My pork dinner was a tasty success, and I was able to fulfill the week’s dinner quota, but I admit — I veered a bit off course.

So next time it’s my turn to cook, I’ll head to the store with a healthy recipe plan (or at least a healthy side dish plan), and I’ll make an extra effort to stick to it. Maybe I’ll also wear ear plugs — just in case the PA announces a special on bacon or doughnuts.

healthy cooking

Chris Arceo, a married father of two and LifeWise systems engineer, is starting out on his fitness journey. He recently completed his first Olympic-distance triathlon along with two half marathons. Chris is confident this will be the year he no longer breaks his New Year’s resolutions — thanks to the inspiration of his family and his newly built workout cave.