Thursday, March 22, 2012

I can't eat all that!

I finished the "SuperFoods" book today. Well the parts about each food that is. The rest is full of recipes that you can use all the foods in. I will be checking into that since I am cooking more these days. Check out my first batch of Quinoa:

It is a sidekick for oats per the book. (sidekicks explained below) It came out fabulous! It was also easy to make which helps.

I wanted to put the list up of recommended daily amounts of each super food because I noticed something.

Beans: 4 half cup servings a week.

Blueberries: 1 to 2 cups daily.

Broccoli: 1/2 to 1 cup daily

Oats: 5 to 7 servings a day.

Oranges: 1 serving daily

Pumpkin: 1/2 cup most days.

Wild Salmon: Fish should be eaten 2 to 4 times a week.

Soy: 15 grams of soy protein per day divided into 2 separate meals or snacks.

Spinach: 1 cup steamed or 2 cups raw most days.

Tea: 1 or more cups daily.

Tomatoes: 1 serving of processed per day and multiple servings per week of fresh.

Turkey: (skinless breast) 3 to 4 servings per week of 3 to 4 ounces per serving.

Walnuts: 1 ounce 5 times a week.

Yogurt: 2 cups daily.

Does anyone see a problem? First, I would need to spend a lot of time figuring out how to fit all that into a days worth of eating. (Or over the course of a week, who has that kind of time?) Second, That is a LOT of food! But have no fear. I have decided that we need not stress about it. This is just their recommendation for getting all sorts of vitamins and minerals naturally into your diet. It is the perfect diet per say. No one has a perfect diet. NO ONE! So I am sticking with my plan to just eat better overall. Will I be incorporating these foods into my eating? Damn straight. There was some great info on why we should in the book. Here are just a few tidbits that I liked or found interesting:

"Did you know that by checking the nutrition label on a loaf of bread and making sure it has at least 3 grams of fiber, you could turn an ordinary sandwich into a SuperFoods Rx sandwich?"

"Most respectable scientists in the world today agree that at least 30 percent of all cancers are directly related to nutrition. Some would argue that the figure is as high as 70 percent."

"About half of all cardiovascular disease and a significant percentage of hypertension cases can be traced to diet as well."

"The prostate gland does most of its growing between the ages of 13 and 20. If a boy eats lots of saturated fat during those years (the major fast food span for most Americans), it may increase his chances of developing prostrate cancer later in life. This is a strong argument for making pizza (double the sauce, halve the pepperoni, and sneak in some veggies) the fast food choice for your kids, particularly your sons."  (My  note: It turns out that pizza sauce is a great way to get some tomato into you.)

"Whole grains lower your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, diverticulosis, hypertension, certain cancers, and osteoporosis. Despite what you may hear, they do not make you fat (unless you eat way to much of them - which is hard to do!). The reason carbs have the reputation for promoting weight gain is that the vast majority of those eaten by Americans are refined carbs like cookies, doughnuts, breads, and cakes that are loaded with sugar and fat and often trans fats as well. Yes, they are carbohydrates, but they are a world away from the complex carbohydrates that are whole grains. Many people don't realize what a difference there is between whole and refined grains. While whole grains are actually health-promoting, refined grains (such as pasta, white flour, white bread and white rice) have been associated with a variety of negative health effects, such as an increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and stomach cancers."

Oh and some foods are better for you cooked than raw. (i.e.carrots)

Seriously, everyone with an interest in nutrition needs to read this book. If some of the foods on the list son't suit you they do all have several "sidekicks" which are foods that are similar in their nutrient value. (i.e. Walnuts = almonds, sunflower seeds, etc Broccoli = brussel sprouts, kale, etc)

Things are still going well. I feel like I am making better choices every day. My husband and I went out to dinner to a semi fancy restaurant in the area. (photo at the top of page) I ordered the fish (because fish is good for you and I love it) and tried my first brussel sprout. It was pretty good but my whole dish tasted like they used a stick of butter in the recipe. Not that I was complaining exactly. (tho that much butter isn't the best thing for your arteries) It was a haddock and crab citron and it was delicious. I've also tried a few more of the naked drinks:

Each bottle is 2 servings. So far the Green Machine might be my favorite, tho this was a close second. The best part is that my son also likes the Green Machine drink. Nice! Teens can be hard to convince to eat anything healthy.

Here is one of my new favorite recipes I made up myself. It is egg salad.

Ingredients:  2 free range hard boiled eggs (I get mine from a friend) hellmans olive oil reduced fat mayo (just enough to hold it all together) 10 spinach leaves chopped, 1 spoonful sunflower seeds, and 1 spoon of flax meal. Serve on whole grain bread. I usually have green ice tea to drink with it. It is very filling and everything is good for me!

BTW check out this link that explains what happens to your body after drinking a soda.  I haven't had a soda in I don't know how long and I can honestly say I don't miss it. I am still drinking a sweetened tea but not always. I figure even sweetened it has to be a better option than soda which isn't a real food per say. Remember, it is all about substituting a healthier choice than what you would normally chose, and moderation. That's it. Start there and see what happens.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm a liar

I thought my pants felt hot.

So one post in and I realize I am a liar. In talking with my co-workers I remember what actually started me eating more fruits.... I thought I had scurvy. Yeah you read that right. The disease pirates were known to get. (Hmmm 2 posts where I mention pirates. That isn't odd at all.) I am a bit paranoid about my teeth so I check them frequently when I brush. Hey we all have our quirks, no judging. I saw a weird looking spot on my gums so immediately I thought, "Oh crap I have scurvy". Because that's what any reasonable person would think right? So that was one of the reasons I knew I needed more fruit in my diet. Because scurvy is scary.

I also realized I don't eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. I do try to eat 3 meals now. I used to skip breakfast quite often. It turns out not eating enough puts your body into starvation mode so it won't burn off calories. This means eating enough is important if you want to regulate your body properly, or if you are looking to lose weight. So 3 meals, check. Now the 3 snacks, that is debatable. I do eat one in between breakfast and lunch. I also know I eat one between lunch and dinner. At least on work days. When I am bored at work I tend to look for things to munch on. I have had to curb that a little but usually I just try to replace the crap I was eating with real food instead. Reduced fat triscuits have become a staple for that. Lots of whole grain and only 3 ingredients in them. (Whole wheat, salt and something else that I forget) If I crave something sweet I eat some raisins. Raisins and almonds are my fall back snacks. I also try to bring various fruits (bananas and apples) to keep from getting bored with my choices.

The snack after dinner I do not always get. Mainly because I have been trying not to snack at night. This is my weak spot. Sitting on the couch and sucking down food without thinking is a problem I have battled in the past. If I am going to have a snack I make sure it is at least 2 hours before I am going to bed. This is supposed to be better for you. I have also replaced ice creme with frozen yogurt. I found one that tastes just like the ice creme but has less sugar and fat. Remember is it less a "diet" and more about making changes to  my diet. I am eating things I like because who wants to live longer if eating isn't enjoyable? Screw that.

I wasn't trying to lie. I just forgot. I forget things often. My neurologist diagnosed me a few years ago with "white migraines". Those are when you have a migraine without the excruciating pain. The no pain part is good, however it makes other things happen. Like you forget things. Sometimes it is just a word, sometimes you can't talk or form a sentence. (That gets fun at work sometimes.) Sometimes you lose vision in one eye or write gibberish when taking notes. Or maybe you get twitches in parts of your body. The list is long and varied. I had to go through many tests for him to come to this conclusion after a few scary incidents. I thought I was having strokes. My favorite test was when they put needles into my muscles and gave me electric shocks to see if I had nerve damage. Yeah that was a lot of fun. (Well I didn't before the test, how are my nerves now??) Of course it didn't help when I asked the doctor if it would hurt and he said yes. Yes??!! I told him to practice this sentence, "It may cause discomfort for some people". He said he didn't like to lie. Gee thanks. But I digress.

Check out the awesome book a friend found for me.

It has a lot of great info in it. Like this gem: "Did you know that eating a handful of nuts a few times a week can reduce your risk of having a heart attack by at least 15% and perhaps as much as 51%? Even if you smoke, are overweight, and never exercise. That's how powerful some foods are."

I love that kind of info. Nuts, who knew?! The fourteen foods on the superfood list are:
Tea ~ Green or Black

If you don't like some of those they do offer some close substitutions. So far I have gotten through the bean section and just started on the blueberry. (FYI did you know peas are considered a bean?) I can't wait to read more.

Another thing I can credit a co-worker/friend for is turning me onto this company:  They are a little pricey but are worth it for what is in their juices. I had their "Green Machine" formula for dinner. I wasn't planning on it but I over extended myself with a movie and a meeting and didn't have time to grab anything else that could be healthy. The dinner my husband had in the oven wouldn't be out in time so I grabbed one of the 3 Naked juices I picked up at the store today. (In Hannaford they are in the cut up fresh fruit section of the cooler.) This one has a very apple taste. I also grabbed Berry Blast and Blue Machine to try. I'll be sure to report on how they taste once I do.

I went to a movie today with my brother and dad. I grabbed myself a kids pack (small popcorn, and small package of M&M's) and got water instead of soda to drink. I've always gotten the kids pack because it is the right amount of food for me. Now I just substitute water because I am no longer drinking soda. To be honest I have passed the hump where I miss it. I only wish they had iced tea as an option. (maybe they do in other theaters)

I did get on the scale today because I was curious as to the average amount of weight I am losing per week. I was down another half a pound. I think that is great! Losing weight needs to be gradual if you want to keep it off. Also I haven't been able to exercise since my back is messed up. I can't imagine what it would say if I could exercise. I also expect to level out at some point which could be soon. Plus with using weights (arms) I have to remember that muscle weighs more than fat so I can't always rely on the scale. Not that I'm going for an Arnold Schwarzenegger look. (How much do I love spell check!) I'm not planning on getting on the scale for at least another month now.

Now I'm off to check my settings. I will un-moderate my comments for now if I can. If I get to many spammers or crazy people I will change that. Until next time, good eating!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

So what happened was.....

One day I had to put on my fat pants to go somewhere because my regular jeans were dirty. They were tight. Uncomfortably so. OK that is never good. I am 5'1" and weighed 130 lbs. Everyone has those moments where they know they need to do something. And who hasn't tried a diet and failed? We all have. That was the first thing to jar me into action. Again. I decided to maybe eat a little better. That was about the end of January. I also somehow stumbled across a book called "Eat this, not that" about better choices in the fast food world. It had some great info about food in general too. I decided to try to eat less processed foods. Enter the trans fat free cookie to my life:

Because while I want to eat better, I also know I will need to have some cookies now and then. I do not think it is realistic to stay away from foods you love. It isn't possible for the long term in my opinion. At least not in my world. I started to read labels and watch Dr. Oz. Thankfully my husband is on board as well. We had watched a documentary called Food Inc awhile ago so we had learned some of why organic food can be better for you. I suppose the seed had been planted then.

On February 19th I watched 2 documentaries that changed how I really looked at food. The first was "Sick, Fat and nearly Dead". It was about how most people don't get enough fruits and veggies in their diet. One man went on a juice fast for 30 days to see if it would help him with a some health problems he had. He also met another man who decided to try a juice fast. It was amazing and very motivating. (You can't argue with results!) The second was called "Food Matters". It was a look at nutrition and the effect of it on our health as well as a look at the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies and their motivations. Together those were a powerful pair of movies to show why good eating is important and a primer on things to consider.

I decided I needed to really look at what I was eating on a daily basis and see food as the fuel it is intended to be. There are so many foods I do not eat. My mother was a very basic cook so I wasn't exposed to much growing up. Since I have started here are a few of the new foods I have tried:

Tomato (2 kinds)
Green, Red and Orange bell pepper
Refried beans
Flax seeds
Lentil Burger

I know what you are thinking, she never had a tomato?? I have had them in things like spaghetti sauce but I always picked out the chunks. I never ate them plain or had them in a sandwich or salad. I also thought peppers were spicy which I didn't like. Who knew they were sweet instead?

I also knew I needed to move more. This is tricker since I work a lot. So when I can, I try to swim once a week or walk the dogs more. I have also started an arm workout with weights. I am starting slow because I have tried going gangbusters in the past and it didn't work for me in the long term. I am also planning on doing some spin classes. I went and did the free Ryde Demo at a local gym and once my back is better I hope to utilize that more.

I've never had a problem with portion control when I eat. Tho one could say I dipped into the candy drawer at work a few to many times in the course of a day. I also struggled with not snacking at night in front of the TV. (cookies and milk or soda and chips were a favorite) We all have our weaknesses.

It turns out simply changing the cookies and chips I ate were a big help. (Check out the company "Real food should taste good" their chips are amazing!) When I read the labels now I look for real food ingredients, not chemicals. Simple things like changing my mayo to the olive oil version cut out a lot of calories and fat too. I am now reading Clean Eating magazine for recipes and tips. They have a lot of great basic food information!

Cut to March 3rd when I put on a pirate outfit to go to a charity event. Stretchy pants were involved. Ugh the dreaded stretchy pants! I realized I looked like I might have lost some weight. I had been avoiding the scale on purpose. Getting on the scale and not seeing a number you want can be really demotivating. It isn't about weight per say anyway, I had just decided I needed to be healthier overall. My husband said I should get on the scale and check it out. So the next morning I did. I was amazed to see I was 122.5 lbs. That is almost 8lbs lost without even really trying! I just changed the kinds of food that I ate. Really!

So now I stay away from processed foods as much as possible. I drink a lot of water, I eat more fruits and vegetables and nuts. I try to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. I have replaced soda with green tea ice tea instead when I have a craving for a sweet drink. I try to move more when I can. It is pretty simple really. I admit it is a little more work overall having to think about what I am going to eat for the next meal. I have to plan more than before. It is getting easier though.

Now I want to make it clear that I am NOT a nutritionist. So whatever I say about food here is just what I have found to work for me. I typically eat at least one hard boiled egg a day (from a friends chickens), and some flax seed. Either in a salad with spinach or added to my cereal or even in my egg salad sandwich. Raw almonds and sunflower seeds are a favorite snack.

OK so why did I start this blog you ask? Well for a couple reasons. One is to keep me on track. If I think someone is reading this then I am more likely to be mindful of what I am eating if I start to fall off the wagon. Not that I am worried about that to much. I am feeling so much better I have a hard time imagining I would want to go back to before. Another is because I think it could be helpful to others. If I, a forty something mother of two, can finally figure out the connection to read food and good health then there is hope for everyone.

I also know what some others of you are thinking. 130 lbs? So freaking what! That is some peoples goal weight. I know that. What can I say, you haven't seen me naked. I have had 2 kids and have that lovely "mommy tummy" that is hard to get rid of. And like I said, I am only 5'1" tall. That is actually pretty short to carry much extra weight.

So that is my story. I hope this helps someone out there. Real food is better fuel for our bodies than all this chemically created crap that is killing us and our planet. If we want to live a better life we need to chose to change what we do on a basic level. If I can do it, someone who had never eaten a tomato before, than so can you. Small changes matter. Start with that.