Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Book Review and a Quick Cream of Carrot Soup with Lime


We woke up to a cold and rainy morning with temperatures in the low 50’s with a predicted high of 54, it is safe to say fall is definitely here. With a steady rain forecast throughout the evening I decided to be a wimp and stay inside. I have errands to run Tuesday so hopefully the rain will stop around midnight as predicted.


Even though it was bone chilling cold I decided we need green smoothies for the nutrition. My smoothie contained 3 kale leaves/stems which I chopped roughly, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, water to process and stevia to taste. Dan’s smoothie was the same except it contained 2 bananas and a handful of walnuts for extra calories.

With it being so cold and wet outside I was certainly not heading out to exercise so today was an all indoor exercise day. This isn’t my favorite but it is better than nothing and with the cold weather quickly approaching it will become the normal around here. Speaking of exercise I have a book on sports nutrition to review for you.

Book Review: "Sports Nutrition from Lab to Kitchen" by Asker Jeukendrup (Editor)

I want to start off by saying I enjoyed this book from the library so much it will be in my next Amazon order. If you exercise and are interested in nutrition you should see if your library has it. The book is a little technical and goes into detail but if you read it slowly I think it will make sense even without a science background at least that worked for me.

The book is outlined as follows:

1. The history of sports nutrition
2. What is the optimal composition of an athlete’s diet?
3. The optimal pre-competition meal
4. Carbohydrate intake during exercise
5. Hydration: what is new?
6. Fat burning
7. Nutrition for recovery
8. Nutrition, Sleep and recovery
9. Building muscle
10. Train low – compete high
11. Optimizing training adaptations by manipulating protein
12. Alternative fuels
13. Dietary supplements
14. Risk associated with dietary supplement use
15. Nutrition and immune function
16. Supplements to boost immune function
17. Sports nutrition for women
18. Nutrition, the brain and prolonged exercise
19. Weight management
20. Protein and weight loss
21. Nutrition and exercise associated gastrointestinal problems
22. Marathon running
23. Nutrition for middle distance running
24. Swimming
25. Triathlon
26. Adventure racing and ultra marathons
27. Team sports
28. The future: Individualizing nutrition & hydration

One of the interesting things I picked up reading this book related to green tea and fat metabolism. That concept has been in “the news” lately but those types of articles tend to be more hype than anything else so I tend to disregard them. According to this book there is promising animal studies to suggest that consuming green tea both the evening before and an hour before exercising may increase fat metabolism by 20%. The does studied was a liter of green tea, but they are currently studying smaller doses.

A good point the book made was about staying healthy and injury free. They remind us that the downside of training hard is that it puts the immune system and bones under stress. The immune system is most depressed immediately following strenuous exercise and to reduce this effect consume a snack that provides 50g of carbohydrate and 10g of protein. Strenuous exercise lasting more than 90 minutes has been shown to decrease immune function (monocytes, neutrophils, natural killer cells and T and B lymphocytes). To keep immunity high consume adequate protein, vitamins A, E, folate, B6, B12 and C.

Beta glucan (found in oats, barley, and mushrooms) and quercitin (found in onions, apples, blueberries, curly kale, hot pepper, tea and broccoli) may stimulate the immune system and antitumor responses. Studies have shown conflicting results with supplements of these items so consuming the whole food may be the way to go.

Overall I think this is a good book with a lot of information. I think it will be a good nutrition reference. It is not for everyone but if you are serious about exercise or nutrition I think you will enjoy it. If you are into both I think it is a must have.


With the cold weather we are having I decided a hot lunch was in order. I topped ½ cup of cooked brown rice with some of the chili from yesterday. Chili was exactly what I needed to cut through the cold. I have also been drinking hot green tea and hot water with lemon most of day to help keep me warm from the inside out.


Consuming dietary cholesterol isn’t a problem for vegans but it is a problem for many of those we love who are omnivores. I have a good friend with a very scary cholesterol level that is still consuming meat only focusing more on chicken and fish and he thinks that is all he needs to do. I happen to know that this friend reads my blog so I wanted to share some things about the cholesterol levels found in specific foods. Many people think that chicken and fish are better to consume if they are trying to lower cholesterol. Sadly this is not the case. Here are the cholesterol levels in a 3 ounce portion (note this is less than most people eat at one time) of a few different meat products:

Beef, Sirloin steak, all visible fat removed, broiled – 76mg of cholesterol
Chicken breast, all visible fat and skin removed, broiled – 72mg of cholesterol
Flounder, baked, broiled or grilled – 58mg of cholesterol
Lamb loin, trimmed of all visible fat, broiled – 76mg of cholesterol
Salmon, Chinook, grilled, baked or broiled – 72mg of cholesterol
Shrimp, boiled, poached or steamed – 166mg of cholesterol
Squid (Calamari), raw no added fat – 198mg of cholesterol

I hope this is something you will share with those you love who are trying to lower their cholesterol. Consuming meat in any form (beef, chicken, or fish) will increase your cholesterol. Before you say what about eggs, one hard-boiled egg contains 212mg of cholesterol. Yes cheese is high in cholesterol too but I had to cut this off somewhere. This has to explain why going vegan dropped Dan’s cholesterol from 280 to 155 in a few weeks.


Knowing that dinner would probably be late I made myself a salad. This one contained shredded romaine, diced tomatoes, shaved cucumber, shaved carrots, cold roasted butternut squash, ¼ of an avocado, a sprinkle of red wine vinegar. I topped the salad with dried cherries, dried cranberries and slivered almonds.


For some reason I have not been in the mood to cook lately. Today I have no excuse other than being a little cold. When it is rainy and cold I seem to feel it to the bone. Being that cold doesn’t make me want to get off the couch and out from under the fuzzy blanket that I wrangled away from the felines.

This was the perfect night for soup in the Vitamix. I love using the Vitamix for soup because it is easy and fast. Here is what I made tonight:

Curried Crème of Carrot Soup with Lime
Serves 2


3 carrots, cut into chunks
½ cup raw cashews
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup oatmeal, dry
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smash (allow to stand 10 minute so allicin can develop)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 lime, juiced
1 lime, zested (for garnish)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Combine everything but the lime zest and pepper in your Vitamix and process until completely smooth and hot. It will take about 5 minutes to cook the raw garlic. Once the harshness of the garlic has been cooked out add black pepper to taste. Top the soup with lime zest.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 237.59
Calories From Fat (40%) - 93.92

Total Fat - 11.23g
Saturated Fat - 1.98g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 94.93mg
Potassium - 667.23mg
Total Carbohydrates - 32.36g
Fiber - 6.9g
Sugar - 7.86g
Protein - 7.31g


This is rich creamy soup that tastes much more decadent than it is. You can make the same soup with any number of vegetables. I also like to make it with bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, or cauliflower.

This specific soup would also be good garnished with cilantro but I didn’t think of it until after we had eaten.


For dessert Dan had his usual strawberry banana soft serve and I had a few spoons of it.


Since Dan had a green smoothie yesterday this morning he wanted oatmeal with wild blueberries which I thought made sense in terms of mixing up food to maximize nutrition.

I also got back to making fresh veggie and fruit juice in the morning for Dan to take to work. I got out of the habit and needed to get back to it because it is healthy. Dan and I had a talk about the fresh juice and he expressed the opinion that I should be making some for myself too, and of course he was right. I haven’t been doing it for me because it so time consuming and a bit of a pain. Every morning I would say I would make more for me later and never did. This morning we did something a little different I made enough for Dan to take a liter of juice to work and for me to have two cups of breakfast. This batch of juice contained: 8 carrots, 1 huge beet, 1 head romaine, 6 kale leaves and stems, 5 apples, 2 inch chunk of ginger root and 2 lemons. There was juice to make about ½ cup of Dan to have with his oatmeal. This is something we are going to try to do in the mornings now going forward. We will see how long it happens. ;-)

I put off running errands yesterday because of the rain but I knew I needed to knock them out today. Not long after Dan left for work I headed out (in the dreaded car). My first stop was the health food store in Cockeysville where I found:

nigari (for making tofu) *woo hoo* and whole oat groats. I love this little health food store they always have things I can’t seem to find anywhere else.

My next stop was the library in Cockeysville. I picked up two books and a few DVDs. The books look promising. As soon as I have read them I will post a review.

The last stop was Wegman’s in Hunt Valley. We needed to load up on beans, Indian spices, organic tofu and vinegar. The latest issue of "Oxygen" happened to jump into my chart too. I have no idea how that happened. ;-)


I got home a little after 1 pm and all I wanted was a green smoothie. This one I made with 1 frozen banana, 3 roughly chopped kale leaves/stems, 1 tablespoon white chia seeds, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger and cold slippery elm tea to process. I was a little too hungry when I got home to take time to make myself a salad. But one of those will be on the menu for my mid day snack since I haven’t had anything that requires chewing today which I just realized.

The last week or so I have not felt like cooking but the urge seems to be returning. I have chickpeas soaking now for fat free hummus. I am also very anxious to make my own tofu so that will hopefully be happening this week. I think I have organic soy beans in the pantry that I can start sprouting today, at least I hope I do otherwise it is back to the store for me.

Signing out:

I need to get a few more things accomplished before Dan gets home. I told Dan I would make him lasagna tonight for dinner so I need to make that happen. I am thinking sweet potato and mushroom lasagna would be interesting. Talk to you all again soon.


  1. The soup sounds great! I need to drag out the juicer more often, it's just such a hassle.

    We're headed your way next weekend. My husband is originally from that area - we are going to be visiting some of our friends and a couple of his high school friends. Sounds like it's cooled down there a lot more than here! I'll bring a coat! :-)

  2. Neca,

    The juicer is a hassle but I am trying to use it everyday. At least that is plan now.

    I love making soup in the Vitamix it is so quick and easy. What is not to love about that?

    Definitely bring a coat and maybe a sweater or two. It is supposed to get into the 40's tonight.


  3. Ali,
    Your soup looks delicious. I love the lime addition!!!
    Thanks for the book review as well. I will check with the library.

  4. Aimee,

    I think the lime made the soup actually. I don't always have limes on hand be thankfully I did last night.

    I think you will enjoy the book.

    Hopefully Tuesday is treating you well,

  5. Hi Ali,
    Your notes about exercising and your immune system are incredibly interesting. Do you have any post-workout snack suggestions that fit the carbohydrate/protein/vitamin combo you metnioned? Thanks!

  6. Jill,

    Good question. The vitamin idea was for the diet overall not in the snack immediately following exercise. But here are some things you could use after strenuous exercise (not as necessary after moderate exercise):

    ½ cup fat free hummus, ½ cucumber and 1 carrot (45g carb, 12g pro)

    1 banana and 2 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter (43g carb, 12g pro)

    1 apple and 2 tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter (42g carb, 12 g pro)

    2 cups edamame in the pod, 1 red bell pepper, and 1 carrot (45g carb, 14g pro)

    Smoothie made with 1 banana, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, ½ cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon flax, 1 cup spinach (43g carb, 12 g pro)

    There are lots of things that come close to the 50/10 if you take a look at the blog I think you will be surprised. Apparently I instinctively combined protein and carbs in the right portion sometimes. Go figure how that happened, LOL.


  7. nigari, great find! thats going to be a fun post (tofu making)

  8. Michelle,

    I was excited to find the nigari. I have been wanting to make tofu for a while and wasn't keen on the idea of using epsom salts.


  9. Oh don't you just hate it when magazine or say cookbooks jump in the cart ;-) That soup is calling my name I must say. I have read that blueberries are good post-workout for recovery along with other anti-oxident type food for post-workout recover. Also read that turmeric and cinnamon are good. I guess it's hard to go wrong with fresh fruits and veggies anytime though right?

  10. I like the idea of having a smoothie in the morning and warm tea throughout the day. I've been in the habit of having a morning drink (coffee) and smoothies fill that spot with much more nutrition. I've been wondering how that will translate to colder weather for me.

    The soup looks good, too. Another reason to get a better blender. Carrots are one of my favorites, all these flavors sound wonderful.

  11. I can't wait to try the carrot soup...except that I don't have a vitamix! I've been planning on getting one, though, ever since a colleague of mine has started talking hers up a storm. Thanks for the unintentional nudge : )

  12. There are copies of "Easy Green Living" at Amazon for a penny - couldn't remember if you'd checked it out or own it.

  13. Heather,

    It is amazing the number of things that just leap into the cart, but magazines and cookbooks are more prone to do that, LOL.

    I have read the same thing about blueberries and I think beets too. Now I have to go back and look. But I agree you can't go wrong with more veggies and fruits anytime.

    hope you have a good Wednesday,

  14. Jessica,

    It is tough to make myself have smoothies when it is cold outside. I hope I can keep it up during the winter but only time will tell.

    I adore my Vitamix. We have had it for about 6 years and many days I use it more than my stove. I can safely say if it ever breaks I will need to buy another one immediately. ;-) I put off buying it for years due to the cost and that was a huge mistake. I think you will love it if you get one.

    The soup was good, you should be able to do the same thing by cooking it first and then blending it once the carrots are soft.


  15. Stephanie,

    I have had my Vitamix for 6 years and I love it. It is the most used item in my kitchen, more than my stove on most days. I think you will love it if you get one. Another friend of mine bought one early this year and she uses it every day too.

    I love making smoothies in it but it is great for making hot soup. Being able to chop things and drop them in raw and have them cooked and hot in five minutes in a huge help on those busy days. Can you tell how much I love my blender? LOL


  16. Neca,

    Thanks for the tip regarding Amazon. I did get this from the library, but now I many have to get a copy. ;-)


  17. Hi Ali,
    Wow, thanks so much for the snack ideas. Funny enough, I didn't even think of looking at your nutrition information to decide which snacks you eat. Now that is certainly a "go figure" moment! By the way, how do you figure out the nutrition components of your meals?

  18. Jill,

    I use a program called "Living Cookbook". It is reasonably priced but does take a little while to figure out how to use. There are many options for each item so you need to be careful to select the right ingredients otherwise you can get some crazy results. Been there, done that, LOL. It helps to have a general sense of what the calories should be to help to spot the mistakes.

    talk to you later,


Related Posts with Thumbnails