Wow, that really stretched that meal!

22 06 2012

As some of you may know, I recently had a stint in the hospital.  More of that to come on our next recording of PCP, but one of the things I’ve needed to do is get more iron and potassium in my diet to replenish what I lost as part of my hospital stay.  I learned that Spinach has a bit of iron in it and, well I’ve come to like Spinach salads after many years of exclusively being an iceberg lettuce person.  I decided to make a small side salad to go with some chicken wings I made.  By the way, thanks Nic for the recipe!

I was expecting to be a little more full than normal, but I didn’t even make it past my first plate of wings for dinner!  Wow!  And I was full, and didn’t get hungry afterwards. Admittedly, my salads are “would you like some lettuce with that dressing” and not at all healthy, but I’m more concerned with taking in the spinachy goodness at this point and can work to optimize the nutritional value of the food as I go.  For those who are curious, here’s what my unhealthy salad consisted of:

  • Handful of pre-washed spinach
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (pre-shredded)
  • Blue Cheese dressing (chunky)
  • Cheese-flavored crutons

Yeah, it wont be winning any awards for being healthy, but man does it help stretch a meal!  Just passing this tip along, especially for those who feel that want more fiber in their diets to help with digestion and slow down the absorption of sugars.


Improved Quality, not Reduced Quantity, is the key!

29 01 2012

Every so often I come across a resource that smacks me upside the head and reminds me of epiphanies I had earlier in my weight loss journey that I just need to share. The article “How to stop sugar addiction” from Mother Nature Network is one of those. I stumbled upon this by reading The Pagan News Firehose by the way.

Early on, I was confused as I didn’t feel I was eating nearly as much as my peers yet I was overweight and they were not. It wouldn’t be for many years that I would realize that much of my diet was sugar. Funny thing is when we think sugar, we think those things like chocolate, twinkies etc. that come in packaging and we consume as snacks. Actually, sugar finds its way into all sorts of food-like substance like On-Cor meals! Sugar in large quantities (just like anything else) is horrible. Sugar more so since over time it assaults the body, hence Type II Diabetes exists. If you find yourself hungry a couple hours after dinner for a snack, chances are you’re consuming food-like substance rather than food. Hence the importance of eating food that you cook yourself from ingredients like Chicken, bread crumbs, spices you assemble yourself etc. over buying pre-packaged frozen meals with ingredients you cannot pronounce. Heck, we still don’t even know what all those unpronounceable things do to our bodies in the long-term.

As a co-host of mine said once, the natural way for us to consume sugar would be to also be consuming the fiber of the sugar cane while we are doing so. In fact, that’s the secret behind those 90 calorie brownies from Fiber One. They taste amazing because they use sugar, they’re good for you because they include (read the ingredients list for yourself) sugar cane! That’s right, you’re consuming sugar with the sugar cane as you consume that pre-assembled food. I love those things because it’s a pre-made food that tastes good, satisfies my sweet tooth and helps my digestion a lot since I admittedly don’t put enough fiber in my diet.

So I got a bit rambly here… to summarize
– Read that article, it’s awesome
– Sugar, it’s in places other than sweet snacks
– Feeling the urge to snack? That’s because you didn’t eat food for dinner. Fix that and you’ll consume less food. Boost quality first, rather than reducing quantity first.
– If you must consume sugar, do so in small quantities and balance it out with fiber – it’s a natural way of doing things.

Why have just 1 recipe for something?

28 12 2011

In the metaphysical, we often say that there are multiple ways of getting something done. The same counts for cooking.

Take chicken wings as an example. I have 2 recipes that I love. First, is my original recipe of just buying some McCormick Buffalo Wing seasoning and doing the shake-n-bake thing with it. Problem is that it is loaded with sodium. Since I’ve switched to an even lower sodium diet than ever, I can now feel my body having a negative reaction to the amount of sodium in it (over 300mg!). All well and good, that’s why I have my other recipe that just calls for me to bake chicken plain and then at the end, mix it with Frank’s Hot Sauce. Check the ingredients list on Frank’s Hot Sauce – it’s all sorts of healthy for ya. It’s no substitute for a fruit or vegetable, but is still full of goodness. So I use that recipe instead.

Both taste awesome in different ways, so it’s not like I’m replacing chicken wings with… some tofu crap with rice cakes or something stupid like that.

So, there’s today’s simple practical tip for healthier food intake: have choices when it comes to recipes you like for creating a food item you love consuming.

Nuts are your friend

21 12 2011

Looking for a tasty snack food that’s actually okay for you? Nuts.

I love cashews, macadamia etc. Don’t know what nuts you would like? Go to a large supermarket that has those containers that you can shovel out nuts and pay by the pound. Just take 2 or 3 and you’ll get a taste, that’s how I found out I like macadamia nuts. It’s cheap and effective!

But the downside to nuts is they tend to be heavily salted. I personally hate salt but I know I’m odd. Luckily a lot of companies that sell nuts now sell either low-salt or “flavored with natural sea salt” variations which I find much more palatable and my Doctor probably likes since it has much less sodium.

What I like about nuts is I can eat a lot of them, then feel full (not like eating a package of Oreos or something like that) and they taste good and are good for me. I got half a closet shelf full of all kinds of nuts so I leave them around the house along with bottles of water so when an urge to eat hits, I either get the healthy stuff in front of my face or I need to go get something unhealthy… thus taking advantage of my optimal use of energy (most people call it laziness).

Thanks to Kat Berkey on the Facebook Group for inspiring me to post about the awesomeness of nuts in one’s overall fitness plan.

Climbing over the Wall

11 11 2011

There’s a saying, “I’ve hit a wall.” This means that someone has successfully been losing weight but their tactics are now ineffective towards getting past a certain weight threshold. I’m currently in one of these ruts. But, by using a calorie counting app, I’ve discovered some deficiencies in my diet causing this wall.

Calorie Counting? Isn’t that a pain in the rear tedious task that is ultimately pointless? Well, only if you’re doing it by hand. I use an app for my Android phone called Noom Weight Loss. It will nag you to keep entering data for all meals. Thankfully it’s way easy. You can just type in what it is you ate like “TGI Fridays Wings” or “Bagel” and it’ll generate a color-coded pie chart for you. You see a progress bar of how many calories you have consumed vs. the max to meet your weight loss goal and a star rating depending on how well balanced your diet is. It’s green yellow and red. Obviously you want more green and yellow than red.

I began noticing my diet was a lot of red, and there were some minor modifications I can make to go into yellow and green. Yay jalapeno popper kolaches, it puts some green in my diet! I always thought those things were terrible, turns out it’s actually slightly better than a bagel with cream cheese at home.

The trick with this is DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Drink soda? Document it. Even if it’s just between meals. There is a mode for tracking water, though the program argues that the benefits of drinking water are indirect. Are there some inaccuracies? Well, yeah – it’s simple so there will be inaccuracies. But it’s a great tool for the job and is an awesome way of doing a diet analysis to see what needs changing. And if you browse through the program, you can find good substitutions without the assistance of a professional dietitian.

So remember to eat, just document what you eat. It’s well worth the 90 seconds of effort every meal.

Carbohydrates, RUN!!!

7 11 2011

So in a previous post, I discussed using the Wiccan ideal of balance when it comes to Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats in one’s diet. One thing I still find counter-intuitive is how an imbalance in these really screws things up. I’m not talking about balance as in equal amounts of all, just having too little/too much of anything.

If you have been trying to lose weight for a while and researching what to eat, you are probably fairly convinced we (the US) invaded Iraq because it contained carbohydrates. We’re fighting the war on carbohydrates because of what they’re doing to our youth! In fact, Bush might have even had a speech about an axis of carbohydrates and ESPN probably fired some guy for comparing Obama to carbohydrates.

Yep, we’re a bit nuts about carbohydrates being evil. Yet, cutting them completely out of my diet usually results in me being fatter, heavier and less healthy? Yay the effects of imbalance. So, again, don’t do stupid things if you’re trying to be healthy. Low-carb is a bad choice, as is high protein or even high fat. All 3 of these things are needed… just in different quantities.

Dave on Diets

4 11 2011

I hate diets. Weight loss isn’t effective long-term if your attitude is “I’ll do this now and quit it later” because you’ll just gain it all back. The bigger problem is that many diets are about intentionally creating an imbalance. Wiccans don’t buy into the whole balance thing because it’s unnatural – it’s because it works and things tend to go smoother when in balance. Your food intake should be the same. Ultimately, your food intake is categorized as: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. That’s what determines a healthy diet, or so my diet educator tells me.

So I was browsing another weight loss group and stumbled on this: Now, I take any claim that “person x is doing evil in your food” with a grain of salt, but overall I agree with many of the recommendations. So if you’re looking for a guide or just confused about what’s better than what, it’s worth checking out.

Again, I don’t like diets – but if you can live like this permanently – go for it.