Woo hoo! Friday is almost always my favorite day of the week. Now my Friday started much earlier than usual since I didn’t get the tofu post up until about after 2am meaning I was dragging Friday morning. Gee I wonder why? ;-)
Needless to say I was a little sleep deprived and not highly functional in the morning. Lucky for Dan I can make a green smoothie in my sleep (which is basically what happened). His smoothie this morning contained: 4 kale leaves and stems, 2 frozen bananas, 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 1 tablespoon freshly ground golden flaxseeds, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, almond milk (approx 2 cups), a pinch of stevia and ice.
We are experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures again today. Friday morning it was 36 (with a wind chill in the 20s) when Dan left for work which meant that I was not feeling like stepping outside this morning. When I texted Laura Jill to ask her to give me some words of encouragement to get outside the first thing she said was don’t wear capris. LOL, she knows me too well I couldn’t stop laughing. We both decided it was just too cold to head out in the morning. I opted to ride my exercise bike in the warmth of the house instead because I really don’t like cold weather. I will admit it … I am a cold weather wimp. ;-)
Knowing that we are going out for dinner I had an orange and two Brazil nuts for lunch, which I didn’t photograph since they never change. ;-)
I have been looking forward to dinner for weeks. Months ago we planned to meet our friend Deirdre for dinner this Friday since this is her spring break. Deirdre very bravely quit her high level federal government job to become a full-time student. I am still in awe of her for following her passion. Then our mutual friend Walid suggested dinner with him and his wife Jackie. Fortunately everyone knows each other which meant we all got together on Friday for dinner.
I don’t have to tell you who cooked tonight do I? Of course Ian and company made dinner you didn’t think I was going to convince my friends to eat vegan did you? We had warned Ian last week that we would be in on Friday so the guys had a chance to think about what they would make for us. Like always when everyone one was ordering we didn’t have any decisions to make. I really love the mystery of going out to eat now.
Deirdre ordered Sicilian meatloaf with smashed potatoes and broccoli which is her usual order. Clearly we all have different food preferences as you probably noticed.
After dinner Ian came out and sat down to chat with us for at least 20 minutes before he left of the evening. We talked about what everyone has been up to, food in Bolivia, and when we were coming back in for dinner. It is always great to see Ian and spend a little time with him. I know I have mentioned this before but Ian tends to be a little bit of an introvert which still surprises me since he isn’t that way with us in the least.
Jackie and I were chatting this morning and she remarked what a great chef Ian is and Dan and both agree. He was kind enough to share the recipe for the chicken and olives dish with Jackie while he was at the table since she wants to make it for Easter. Are you starting to see why we always end up here for dinner?
We also got a chance to see Donna (one of the restaurant owners) who we haven’t seen since Christmas Eve. It is always good to see Donna and catch up. We chatted for at least 30 minutes about what we both have been up to. Donna told me this morning that "I am always inspiring" which absolutely made my day. :-)
When we were finished with dinner Deirdre ordered something chocolate for dessert, which I didn’t hear because I was too busy talking. I am sure you can't imagine that can you? LOL
After Deirdre, Walid and Jackie left we chatted with Will about his week. I am SO jealous of everything he got to do. Can you believe he met with Jose Andres on Monday and then Eric Rippert on Tuesday? Talk about my dream week I just can’t wrap my head around it. He was interviewing them both for his master’s thesis. Personally I can’t imagine a better week.
When we finally got home we had a “potential cat emergency” which fortunately has been resolved. Thank goodness I knew Jackie was awake so that I could call her. The cat situation was why I didn’t get the post up last night. I get very upset when my fur babies are not themselves which I am sure all you cat and dog parents understand.
21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: My Review
Sorry for the delay on giving you my review of the latest book by Dr. Barnard. I needed to write this quickly because it was due back at the library today (Saturday) and I haven’t ordered it from Amazon yet (though I will). The premise of the book is to try a healthy vegan diet for 21 days and see what impact it has on how you feel, your health, and your weight. My favorite part of the book is all the science that is sprinkled throughout the book. Dr. Barnard categorized the book as follows:
1. Power of Your Plate
2. Foods That Tame The Appetite Demons
3. Understanding The Calorie Burning Secret
4. Cardioprotection: Health for Every Part of You
5. A Healthy Menu
6. On Your Marks, Get Set …
7. Let’s Go!
a. Day 1. Jump IN
b. Day 2. Beyond Meaty Diets
c. Day 3. Beyond Dairy Products
d. Day 4. Keeping it Low-Fat
e. Day 5. Quick Breakfast Ideas
f. Day 6. Mastering Social Situations
g. Day 7. Eating for Energy
8. Getting in Gear
a. Day 8. Tackling Cravings and Destructive Eating Habits
b. Day 9. Heart Health
c. Day 10. Convenience Foods
d. Day 11. Travel
e. Day 12. Fighting Cancer with Food
f. Day 13. Our Friend the Bean
g. Day 14. Choosing Good Carbohydrates
a. Day 15. Protecting Every Cell, and Slowing the Aging Process
b. Day 16. Foods That Conquer Pain
c. Day 17. Eating Your Way to a Good Night’s Sleep
d. Play with Your Food
e. Extra Motivators: Environment and Animals
f. Thinking About Our Loved Ones
g. Graduation Day
11. Recipes by Jason Wyrick
- Soups and Stews
- Wraps, Sandwiches and Burgers
- Main Dishes
- Spreads, Dips and Snacks
The best way to give you an idea of what this book is about is to share a few quotes from the book. I have selected a few that were meaningful to me. This book is full of information which helps the reader to want to make dietary changes. In my opinion improving your diet (from a health perspective) become easier the more knowledge you have. Ten years ago I knew very little about nutrition, only what you hear on the news or in mainstream publications. Slowly over time I learned more about nutrition bringing me to where I am now. My diet would not be as healthy as it is without a lot of reading and research about nutrition. This book does a nice job of condensing research in one compact package. Here are a few very telling points from the book:
Doctor Barnard explains that “Between 1909 and 2007 meat intake rose from 124 to 200 pounds per person per year.” Well, no wonder we have seen the size of the average American increased so dramatically during that same time period. *shakes head*
“ Americans now eat more than one million chickens per hour and…chicken’s fat content isn’t much different than beef’s (about 29 percent for lean beef, 23 percent for skinless chicken breast, compared with less than 10% for typical vegetables, fruits, and beans).” These statements may seem obvious but did you ever think of it this way before?
On the topic of fat consumption and trying to lose weight Dr. Barnard had some very interesting information that I also wanted to share. “Normally, your cells can burn up some of the fat you are consuming. Each cell has tiny particles, called mitochondria, which are like little fat burners, and they their best to metabolize fat.” Scientists in Baton Rouge (LA) changed the diets of 10 healthy men from 1/3 to ½ fat and test muscle cells to see the impact. The fatty diets partially turned off the genes that produced mitochondria making it more difficult for these men to burn fat.” I will be thinking about that the next time I want a handful of nuts. Yeesh!
Omega 3 fat is a hot topic among most people interested in health. I will admit that it is something that I think about as well since plant omega-3 fats contain ALA and those have an unpredictable but low conversion to DHA and EPA what do you do? The book talks about fish and here two quotes I wanted to share with you:
“Of course, some people eat fish specifically because it has “good fats”. What they are thinking of are omega-3 fats, which are reputed to fight inflammation and prevent blood clots... most of the fat in fish is actually not omega-3. All fats – including fish fats – are mixtures. From 15-30 percent of the fat in fish is plain old saturated fat, and most of the rest consists of various other fat with no health benefits at all.” This is another one of those things that you never hear anyone else talk about. Whenever some brings up fish all you hear is omega-3 fat as though there is no other type of fat in the fish even though all fats are a combination of different types of fat.
Another quote that I think many of you will find eye-opening was “In a recent studies, a switch from a beefy diet to a chicken-and-fish diet lowers LDL cholesterol only about 5 percent... an entirely plant-based diet can cut LDL by 20-30 percent, or even more.” – (Jenkins, DJ, Kendall CW, Machie A, et al. Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:380-7) I have read this many times and in many places and I have to say I believe it based on what we have personally experienced. Dan’s total cholesterol went from a high of 280 to 141. How can you argue with a dramatic and sustained decrease like that? This healthy vegan diet that we are on has made a huge difference in our health.
“Cleansing your body and treating it with respect requires a shift in thinking, one in which you create an empowering relationship with food.” When I read this I knew that I had to share it because I thought it was very well explained. The book is full of little nuggets like this that make you take notice.
As you have probably guessed by now I enjoyed this book for the health information and links to scholarly articles. I liked this book very much and will be adding to my next Amazon order. While I don’t plan to follow the 21-day plan, for obvious reasons, I do like having the book for reference (particularly the endnotes) and for lending to others.
Friday was a great day for us even though it was very busy. Here are my happy thoughts:
• In spite of the unseasonably cold weather Friday was a great day. It was a productive day that ended in great fun. I loved seeing Deirdre, Walid and Jackie on Friday. Good friends and good food who could ask for a better end to the week? As always we also loved seeing Donna, Ian, Corey, Jen, Jeannine, Michael, David, Ahmed, Will, and Jonathan. Now I am worried that I left someone out. :-/
• It feels great to have the tofu post up. That was hanging over my head for a while so I feel good about getting it finished. I hope I have inspired a few of you to try making your own soymilk or better yet your own tofu. The taste difference between homemade and commercial tofu is huge!
• I am also very happy to have the “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart” review posted. Now when I get “Oil to Nuts” finished I am current. Woo hoo! ;-)
• Facebook is going well so far, I think. Give me another week and I will be ready to share with all of you. I want to make sure I have a reasonable idea of what I am doing first. LOL
• As I type this I am thankful for mushroom ragu which I have simmering on the stove for lunch tomorrow with my parents. There is something very comforting about the smell of mushroom ragu to me.
Saturday has been hectic so far with a trip to the library (yes more books) and a lot to do at home. Dan is downtown at his office working so that he can take a day off next week to go to DC with me to see the Cherry Blossoms. I am using today to get more things at home and get ready for next week which is going to be crazy busy but in a good way.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I will talk to you again tomorrow