Friday, May 14, 2010
TGIF and Fun Facts Friday
Don’t you just love Fridays? There is nothing like knowing that I get to spend two days with my hubby to put an enormous smile on my face. I could spend 24 hours a day 7 days a week with that man and be totally content. The smartest thing I ever did was marry my best friend. Spending time with my hubby makes even the most mundane activities pleasant. As you can tell I adore my husband?
The weather today has become glorious after 4 days of either overcast skies or rain we actually have sun. Not only do we have sun but it is 88 degrees. What a great start to the weekend!
For some reason I am very chatty today and have been working on this post all day. Every person I talk to gives me a new idea of something to write today. Sorry for the length of this post, I was on a roll.
Diet versus Lifestyle:
Heather and I were chatting today about food and the concept of diet versus lifestyle. This came up because I have been posting my daily food intake which has lead to some questions regarding whether I am eating enough. I asked Heather’s opinion and she responded by asking how many calories I eat per day. I told her I have a general range (1500 to 2000) but don’t get too hung up daily intake. I am much more concerned about the nutrition in each meal, and by this I mean the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Also I track my weight daily and chart it so that I can see trends. This is undoubtedly my numbers background rearing its ugly head. But a chart is great for identifying trends both good and bad. After all you can’t change what you don’t know. An interesting side note to the calorie conversation is that the average American consumes 3,850 calories according to one of the e-Cornell lectures I watched today. That is definitely something to think about.
I look at the issue of food consumption very simply. If your weight is doing what you want (going up, down or maintaining) then what you are doing in terms of calories is right for you. Put differently if you weigh more than you want and you aren’t losing pounds then you probably need to make a change. I also think that the concept of being on a diet is completely wrong. Diets by their nature are short term and that is why they don’t work. People eventually return to the way they used to eat and the weight comes back. However if you make permanent healthy lifestyle changes now you are on to something in my opinion.
We changed our food consumption in order to be as well nourished as possible to stay ahead of cancer. Studies have shown that a nutrient dense, low fat, whole foods diet is best for preventing chronic disease. As a by-product of these lifestyle changes both my husband and I have lost weight. Weight loss was not the initial goal, but it has been a positive side effect of the changes we made. I have found that a super clean diet (like the 6 week Eat to Live plan) had the impact of changing our taste buds for the better. Our food consumption follows Eat to Live but we aren’t on the 6 week plan any longer, the primary difference is that we eat more grain that that plan suggests. I add or delete food to our day depending on our weight trend. For Dan I have been adding a smoothie in the evening since we are trying to put a couple pounds back on him.
In general terms our diet consists of whole plant based foods without oil. This is the same diet that is advocated by Doctors McDougall, Fuhrman, Esselstyn, Ornish, Barnard and T. Colin Campbell. I have found it quite fascinating that these doctors, though focused on different health issues, all came to the same conclusion in terms of overall recommendation. I can also safely say that another side effect to this diet is lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, fewer wrinkles, better skin color, stronger and faster growing finger nails and fewer GI issues. Our dietary changes have had many unexpected but welcome benefits. I would advocate a whole foods plant based diet to anyone that is interested in better health, no matter what the reason.
What is wrong with whole wheat flour?
Those little “good source of whole grain seals” that the FDA allows on whole wheat bread make me crazy. Flour, even whole wheat, is a not a whole grain, it is a processed food. If you look at the glycemic index (GI) of white bread versus whole wheat you will see there is very little difference both are approximately 70 depending on the brand. Why is this? It is very simple actually. The whole wheat grains have been pulverized into oblivion. By “pre-chewing” the whole wheat it very easy for the GI system to break it down and extract all the starch in the grain and elevate your blood glucose. How can that be good? Well, it isn’t. In my opinion when you swap whole wheat flour for white flour you have done very little other than get a few grams of fiber. I came to this conclusion a while back that the healthiest thing for us was to reduce our overall flour consumption to the least amount possible. For those of you that wonder why we don’t eat much flour this is why. While I admit it would probably be healthier if we eliminated flour completely I don’t think that is possible for me. I love pasta and bread and need to know I can have it occasionally.
Sorry to go on rant. This is one of my hot button issues, I am certain you noticed. I find it frustrating that so many Americans think whole wheat flour is healthy when it isn’t. For over a decade I also thought whole wheat flour was healthy and it still annoys me that so much bad information is put out on this topic. Rant over. ;-)
Fun Facts Friday
I have decided to make this a regular Friday item as long as I can come up with decent questions.
• What is your best feature, the part of yourself you really like? I imagine this one is tough for most women since we seem to focus on the negative more so than the positive. I choose this question because I think we all should spend more time thinking about the things we like about ourselves. For me this one wasn’t that easy. It is a tie between my hair, which I love and the strength in my legs. Guess which body part I like to work out? LOL
• If you could change careers what would you be? From the time I was a teenager I always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot but in the early 80’s there was a minimum and maximum height requirement so I went into business instead. But if I had known then that the min and max would go away I would be a commercial pilot today. There is something free and magical about flying that I have always loved.
• Have you had any brushes with celebrity and did it impact you? This question was prompted by Rose and Laloofah last week. Both their answers were so much fun I thought I would see if anyone else had any fun stories. My idea of celebrity may be different from most of you. Also my story isn’t nearly as fun as theirs but it is my favorite. One of our neighbors when I was a child was an economics professor at University of Chicago so I was able to meet Milton Friedman a few times. If you are a finance geek you know he is a Nobel Prize winning economist. Even as a young girl I knew this man was both the most important and the smartest guy in the room. He is the one that really made me feel like being short wasn’t an impediment to success since he was not only the smartest man in the room, but the shortest at 5’0”.
I can’t wait to read your answers and get to know you all a little more.
My meals today:
As I promised I am trying to keep track of my food all day long. I think I am getting used to it, but I will probably not do this all the time because it is tedious. I have added notes to the meals to remind you of why I consume particular things. I have mentioned them before but don’t know how long many of you have been reading.
7:30 am – breakfast
½ cup oats
1 cup water
½ cup frozen wild blueberries, no sugar added
½ cup mixed berries, no sugar added
1 tablespoon flaxseeds, ground
1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
Sprinkle of cinnamon
I use berries for our breakfast because they are a low sugar fruit that contains ellagic acid which is thought to promote cancer death. Flaxseeds and walnuts are included for omega three fatty acids. I try to include cinnamon with most fruit to help our body process the sugar more efficiently.
10:30 am – snack
Double green tea (two bags) with ascorbate C (approx ¼ teaspoon)
1 tablespoon of dry roasted edamame
½ cup super flavorful fat free hummus
Carrot and celery sticks to dip in the hummus
I started adding the ascorbate C to our green tea after reading that it helps the EGCG be bioavailable longer and therefore more will be absorbed. I also brew the tea for 10 minutes to get the maximum EGCG from the tea. Including the dry roasted edamame is done because I read that when green tea and soy are consumed together there is a synergistic effect making them both more “healthy”.
1:30pm – lunch
Leftover Indian veggies and rice from yesterday
4:00pm - snack
Double green tea (two bags) with ascorbate C (approx ¼ teaspoon)
1 tablespoon dry roasted edamame
2 cups frozen grapes
9:00pm - dinner
Spiralized Zucchini with Fennel and Red Lentil Sauce (recipe to follow)
It felt as though I had been eating all day so I made something on the light side for dinner. Additionally I don't seem to sleep as well when I eat a heavy dinner later. I added quinoa to Dan's dinner to up the protein and calories for him. Here is what I did:
Fennel and Lentil Tomato Sauce
½ large yellow onion, peeled and finely minced (about 1 1/2 cups)
½ large fennel bulb, diced finely (about 3 cups)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
¼ cup water to sauté aromatics
28 ounces diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, or to taste
½ teaspoon fennel seed, or to taste
1 tablespoon wet hots, or to taste (or sub red pepper flakes to taste)
2 tablespoons capers, drained (or olives if you prefer)
½ cup red lentils
a splash or two of red wine vinegar for serving
Sauté the onions, garlic and fennel until translucent (about 3 minutes) add the remaining ingredients. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Then stir, to make certain the lentils aren’t trying to stick to the bottom, add water as necessary and cover and cook another 15 minutes. Now taste the lentils to see if they are tender. It they are tender adjust the seasonings and serve this over a cooked grain or spiralized zucchini. If desired you can add a little wine vinegar to the top of each serving to lift the flavor without adding a lot of salt.
Tonight Dan had this over quinoa (for additional protei) and zucchini spaghetti and I had mine over zucchini spaghetti alone. If you didn't have enough fat in your day a dollop of almond feta would be good on top of this.
Nutritional Information (for sauce only):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 156.07
Calories From Fat (5%) - 8.22
Total Fat - 0.97g
Saturated Fat - 0.12g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 171.81mg
Potassium - 996.48mg
Total Carbohydrates - 30.3g
Fiber - 12.35g
Sugar - 6.47g
Protein - 9.36g
This is a lighter tomato sauce in terms of flavor. It makes a good warm weather sauce for that reason. You can add a tablespoon of tomato paste if you want a deeper flavor. I added capers to this sauce to mimick the salty flavor that anchovies brings to standard Southern Italian recipes. You can substitute olives for the capers if you prefer.
Each serving of this sauce 1,750IU of vitamin A, 80mg of calcium, 165mcg of folate, 200mg of phosphorus, and 65mg of magnesium. Additionally if you serve this over a cup of quinoa the entire meal has almost 18g of protein. I wanted to mention this for those of you that try to manage your protein intake. That was the topic of one the lectures I watched today in the Cornell program. I will be summarizing what I learned about this soon.
My husband has given me the best birthday present ever. He will be taking the day off for my birthday, except for a conference call in the middle of the day. Since he doesn’t even take his own birthday off I am very happy that he will be spending my day with me. Yay!
Tomorrow and Sunday we are going to be a little swamped here. Since it has rained the last few weeks we are very behind in the yard work department. Both Dan and I will be gardening tomorrow and Sunday. Also we will be going to the farmers’ market Sunday morning and getting our first CSA share. I can’t wait to be back on local organic produce. I am mentioning our activities so that you will know why I don’t respond to comments as quickly as normal. My hands will be covered in dirt much of the weekend.
Happy Friday everyone. I hope your weekend is starting off well. Talk to you tomorrow.