Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

I’ve always had quite the sweet tooth, but the kinds of desserts I appreciate more are the kind that a good friend described recently to be “mostly healthy, but with a few chocolate chips on top.” I have to agree. I tend to actually enjoy fruit-based confections more than just straight-up sugar-bombs. Yesterday I was hanging out at a cafe’ where a friend of mine works, and he was baking brownies. He tried to get me to eat what amounted to about half a cup of brownie batter. I told him I couldn’t do it, so he brought me out an apple slice with just a tiny amount (I’d say a teaspoon maybe) of the batter spread on it…that’s more like it! It was tasty, and thoughtful 🙂 It was about time for one of my 3 small snacks I allow myself daily, so I charted it in my book as a snack. So I can still have a little bit of chocolate and stay On Program.

Another dessert I’d love to experiment with making would be a whole-grain strawberry shortcake. The “shortcake” of course being a healthed-up version of the “real deal” and the strawberries being left alone instead of sweetened with sugar…cause if you get good strawberries you don’t need the sugar! And instead of whipped cream, some Greek yogurt…mmmmmmm.

cross-posted on my other blog…just thought it had a place over here too 🙂

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Well, I woke up with a head full-o-snot and a sore, scratchy throat. So much for not getting sick. I have decided if I have something infectious, I’m not going to be a jerk and go to the gym and spread it around. But that doesn’t mean I get to slack off! I have a bunch of chores I should have done yesterday that I’m going to do this morning. I’ve already got the garbage and recycling out, and I have a kitchen that needs to be gotten into shape, as well as laundry going. And that aerobics tape that’s normally too easy for me? I’m going to do that today. I still want to exercise even though I’ve gotten the yuck, just take it down a notch so my body can still heal. Since I don’t feel any lung congestion, I feel like some cardio will still be safe to do today. I’m still optimistic that I won’t get as sick as others around me since I’ve been taking good care of myself lately, so I shouldn’t be absent from the gym too long. I just don’t want to spread my illness to others.

Yesterday I had a “cheat day” of sorts, but I still ordered one of the healthiest things on the menu where I went to eat w/ my folks. My parents like Jimmy Buffet (I don’t, haha) and recently one of his chain restaurants opened up in my city. They wanted to eat there. Most of the menu consisted of, well, cheeseburgers (“Cheeseburger in Paradise…” is one of his songs and the name of the chain). But they had some healthy stuff on the menu. I ordered the “chicken satay” skewers with terriyaki broccoli on the side. It wasn’t too bad. The chicken was the white meat marinated and grilled on skewers kabob style, and the broccoli was steamed w/ garlic and such. I couldn’t eat all the chicken, there was just too much for one meal (obviously) so I only ate 2 of the skewers and saved the other 4 for later (yep, there were SIX skewers of chicken, probably amounting to about 24 oz. of meat for one entree!). I plan on using the rest of the chicken in some sort of stir fry dish later. Anyway, I was proud that even though I was allowed to “cheat” I went for the healthier option anyway. The real “cheat” was the ice cream I had, which I couldn’t even finish because it was so sweet.

OK, I have 2 hours and 20 minutes til I have to leave for work, so I’m going to finish up the kitchen, do my exercise, prepare food, and get cleaned up for work. I hope everyone has a great, productive day!

In other news….I am a little worried. My housemate works for a small business which is suffering due to the poor state of our economy. He’s one of the upper managers, so I’m hopeful that his job isn’t in jeopardy, but it still worries me. If he’s out of a job, we won’t be able to afford our apartment – I can’t make enough money at my job to float both of us without some kind of assistance. So if everyone out there in blogland could think happy, positive thoughts for his business to stay alive, I’d really, truly appreciate it ever so much. Thanks, all! Peace and love!

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So I’m a single woman, and I live with a housemate who appreciates my cooking, but we work different schedules and cooking meals together doesn’t always sync up. We usually end up doing a nice meal together once a week or so, and the rest of the week we each fend for ourselves.

I am a strong advocate of Crock Pot meals, but I get tired of eating the same food 3 or 4 days in a row, so I tend to like to center my daily meal prep on things that are easy to make just a small portion of for one meal. Crock Pot meals, soups, and stews can be made into multiple, small servings and frozen in small containers if you have enough freezer space. I have gone through periods where I was really into doing this, and periods where I preferred to just kind of play it by ear, but keep lots of ingredients on hand.

I own a small rice cooker, which is very handy. Brown rice is definitely a staple in my diet. I will usually make a big batch of either rice or quinoa and just measure out a 1-cup portion for whatever meal I want to make. Making things like rice and dried beans ahead of time saves me time in my food prep and makes it easier to cook for myself. A lot of single people just figure they might as well eat out, but when you eat out you never know what you’re getting. At home, you get to make it exactly as you like, want, and need it, and it’s cheaper. I’ll make a giant pot of dried beans, let them cool, then put them on a cookie sheet spread out (so they don’t stick together as bad) with a little foil on top to keep them from getting freezer burn, let them freeze, them keep them in a plastic freezer bag. Then I just use as much as I need for a recipe. I usually alternate different types of beans so I don’t get too bored. It usually takes me a good month to go through a gallon freezer bag of beans, so each month I’ll try a different bean. I don’t do the same with lentils because they are way quicker to cook and take way less time, so why bother using the freezer space. I am lucky right now to have a sizable freezer with 2 shelves and side shelves. For awhile I lived in an apartment with a tiny fridge with an equally tiny freezer, which made all this prep work a lot more difficult.

I use frozen veggies, but I don’t overcook them. I usually steam them just enough to allow the water in them to make them hot, but I like them to still have some crunch. In the winter when the prices go up and I don’t have the farmer’s market, I usually stick to fresh veggies that are on the cheaper side (cucumbers, carrots, celery, cabbage, cawliflower – the 5 C’s) and for greens, peas, and corn (which I know is a grain and not a veggie) I use frozen.

For meat, I prefer to eat locally raised stuff that wasn’t fed hormones and such, which I have access to at the health store. But if I ate meat at every meal that would be cost-prohibitive. So I stretch out my meat supply with eggs, beans, natural peanut butter, and these awesome fake “chicken” tender things from Quorn (no soy, made from mycoprotein, and yummy). I do think humans should eat some meat in their diet, but it doesn’t have to be every meal, or even every day. I will buy a pack of chicken breasts, cut them into little tenders, and freeze what I’m not immediately using. I also get ground turkey, which even free-range and hormone/antibiotic free at the health food store, is not too expensive.

So a typical week consists of 5 workdays and 2 weekend days. Each day I eat 3 meals and 2 or 3 small snacks that can be no more than 100 calories (the snacks, not the meals). The snacks have to be quality and nutrient-dense, though. No 100-calorie junk food packs for me! Each meal allows for 2 servings of sensibly-cooked whole grains (1 serving cooked grain = 1/2 c., 1 serving dry cereal = 1 cup, 1 serving bread = 1 slice), 2 or 3 servings of either fruit or veggies, and one serving of protein. I don’t eat much dairy due to a minor allergy, but sometimes my snack will be some fat free yogurt. I’m pretty much also allowed to snack on as many carrots, celery, or cucumbers that I want/can (I can only buy so many afterall). On Sunday I eat a serving of cereal (usually oatmeal) and maybe a hardboiled egg for breakfast and just have a light snack in the early afternoon because I have a ritual with my parents that we go out to dinner on Sunday evening. That is my “cheat meal” of the week. I’m also allowed my one, small dessert of the week. I eat lighter earlier in the day to make up for it because usually at a restaurant you’re being served 2 or 3 meals in one. So basically in the morning and early afternoon I eat enough to keep me going til the big meal. For the cheat meal, I try to make it still fairly sensible, but I do get things I like. Luckily since I find a lot of healthy food really tasty, it isn’t hard for me to pick thing that are healthier and also enjoy it. I also don’t tend to like fried stuff anymore since it irritates my stomach. So even when I’m cheating, I’m doing way better than a lot of people who go out to eat. And whatever dessert I have is always a small, single-serving size, and always exactly what I want instead of just any old crap. It’s usually a small bit of ice cream or I’ll get 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate covered raisins from the bulk section at the store. This cheat designation helps me keep on track through the week. I thrive on ritual and routine when it comes to eating right and regulating indulgence. It’s those wacky times (like the holidays) where my schedule is all shot to hell that I have a hard time sticking with it.

For meals throughout the week, I try to keep supplies on hand that could make many different possibilities. I find when you’re planning specific recipes, it leads to overspending. So I just try to keep a lot of spices, canned tomatoes and sauce, curry pastes, etc. on hand so I can make a variety of different dishes with different flavors. I keep beans, rice, flour, salsa, and veggies and fruits. So I can make a lot of different things out of what I have on hand. This week I decided that some of my at-home meals could be based around some corn hard-taco shells and refried beans that were on sale at the store. I still have some salsa I bought last week, and I have some veggies I can use too. I paid about 3 bucks for the makings of 3 meals. Awesome! And I figure the rest of the week I’ll just play it by ear. I am a creative cook, so I like it that way. I don’t use recipes often, but I like to look at recipes and comb cookbooks just to get some ideas, then I tend to just play with it in the kitchen to achieve a certain flavor.

Usually for our weekly meal together, my housemate and I hit the market for meats and veggies that are on sale. It’s usually either boneless pork chops or steaks that are marked down. We’ll grill the meat and usually do some rice or baked potatoes, and stir-fried, roasted or raw veggies. We like to eat raw carrots and celery for snacks, so why not just eat them with your meal? Whatever flavors we feel like are usually in my kitchen with the exception of a few things. I make a lot of curry and stir-fry dishes. I also love spicy food, so I always have my standard bottle of “cock sauce”, Sri Racha on hand, as well as a few bottles of more intense hot sauces.

So that’s how I cook. The reason I posted this is that I’ve been asked lately what I eat and how I prepare it by people who admired my weight loss, wanting to know how I managed the whole eating thing. I will reiterate that my willpower is a constant evolution. I use a food journal every day, and recommend it to anyone who has had a problem with their weight and overeating. My rule is that every day I have to write down everything I eat, be honest about it, and look at it before I eat my next meal or snack to remind myself of what I’ve eaten. The reason I advocate so strongly for this is that it’s so easy to forget what you’ve eaten, or think that you only had a little bit of something when you had a lot.

The TLC network used to mostly have nature and science-related programming, but now it’s a bunch of, “hey look at the big, fat freak!” shows. I caught a few minutes of one late one evening where the people were hugely, morbidly obese and consumed unholy amounts of food at all times. They basically followed all these people in the documentary for a day and then at the end of the day they laid out everything the person ate that day on their kitchen table. It was alarming, and most of us don’t eat like that. But I’ll bet you five dollars that most of us eat more than we think we do while we’re not really paying attention.

The food journal keeps me aware and mindful. I strongly recommend it to anyone. It sounds like a pain in the ass, but it’s way worth it if it keeps you on track. And I’ve had a lot of people seeing me use it and comment on it, and usually they say it’s not a bad idea. At first I was like, “how embarrassing, they see me having to use a journal cause I’m a fatty-fat-fat,” but I’ve had multiple people comment that it was actually a pretty good idea and probably made it easier for me to watch my diet. This is true.

I tend to find that most people admire a very heavy person for taking control of their weight, anyway, and applaud their methods if they’re healthy ones. I’ve had a few idiots tell me not to lose any more weight because I look “fine” but I think that’s jealousy talking. The majority of people usually applaud the efforts of anyone trying to improve their health, whether it be to lose weight or quitting smoking, or something like that.

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