Saturday, January 28, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 28

Don’t you just love weekends?  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday.  I am very happy to tell you that I managed to write a lot of this post on Friday which meant more time with my sweetie over the weekend.  *woo hoo* Today we are getting together with our friend Louis and tomorrow we are seeing Lauren (the nearly vegan nurse we meant at Hopkins).  I am not sure what else we will be doing this weekend but we will definitely being having fun.  J

I couldn’t help but notice that you guys have gotten quiet on me again.  Does this mean that you haven’t enjoyed the last few posts?  If you have any feedback please share it with me.  My goal is to write things that are helpful to you but I don’t know what that is if you don’t tell me.  Please remember that I haven’t gotten my certification in mind reading yet.  ;-)

I have received a few emails asking me if I learned what I have been writing about this month at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the answer is no. The things that I have been writing about this month are a combination of things I learned:  managing people, taking management and organization behavior classes in college and graduate school, and trying to figure out what would work for me.  The ideas that I have written about this month are some of my favorites but there are many more where these came from. 

For those of you who are just joining us here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how much we have covered during the first 27 days of January:

Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back
Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion
Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January
Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While
Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition
Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating
Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu
Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time
Day 9 – Acknowledgments
Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway
Day 11 – Is it True?
Day 12 – Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?
Day 13 – Motivation is a Decision
Day 14 - Successfully Navigating Dinner at an Unfamiliar Restaurant
Day 15 - What Do You Want, Have You Asked?
Day 16 – Treating Others as You Wish to be Treated
Day 17 – Food as a Budget
Day 18 – Silence Your Inner Critic
Day 19 – Replace I Have to With I Want to
Day 20 – Identifying Your Rituals
Day 21 – Face Your Fears
Day 22 – Give Up the Diet Mentality
Day 23 – The Meaning and/or Purpose of Food
Day 24 – Trigger Foods/Situations/People
Day 25 – Words Have Meaning
Day 26 – Lose All-Or-Nothing Thinking
Day 27 -  Decide to live as if ……

Two-Bite Test:

Yesterday’s post required a lot of homework so I wanted to write a short and sweet one entry today to give everyone a break.  This is something that I read about years ago and once I put it into practice I realized how valuable it is and I think you will agree once you try it.

The two-bite rule applies to indulgent food.  The premise is that when you want to eat something that is decadent (by your standards), eat the food slowly and consciously like we talked about during day 6. But now we are going to add another aspect to the process. Now I want you to be very discerning about the food.  Let me explain what I mean using cheesecake as an example.

You are out to dinner and see your favorite dessert, cheesecake, on the menu.  You know the pastry chef was trained in Paris and is known for her desserts. Cheesecake has always been your favorite and this one is a bruleed version with a calvados, apple and walnut topping so you order it.  The cake arrives and it is gorgeous and you can’t wait to dive in.  This is where it is critical to slow down and take your time before you take the first bite.  We are going to look at this example two ways to help demonstrate this rule.

Option 1:  You take your spoon to crack the brulee top and it doesn’t snap.  Bad sign number one.  Then you put the cheesecake in your mouth and the texture is much denser than what you like a cheesecake to be.  Bad sing number two.  Just in case you have overreacted you slowly and consciously try a second bite this time with the calvados, apple and walnut topping and the cake.  The apple topping is too sweet and the second bite doesn’t get any better than the first.  Three strikes … this dessert is out.  You stop eating the dessert knowing that what you eat you have to burn and this isn’t worth the effort that it will take you to burn off.

Option 2:  When you crack the brulee top on the cheesecake with the spoon and it snaps.  Nice!  The texture of the cheesecake is soft and it has a light lemon flavor in the base. Now you have a second bite this time with the apple topping and that makes it even better.  Delicious!  This indulgence has passed the two-bite test.  Now the only question you have to answer is whether it is worth burning off and only you decide that.  Given yesterday you may also want to ask yourself if the “healthy you” would be eating this?  Maybe healthy you would have this if it were a special occasion.  Only you know the answer to that question.

The other way to think of this is life is too short to waste it eating subpar food.  You can use this rule with any food it doesn’t just apply to dessert.  I follow this rule whenever I am eating anything that I consider indulgent.  If I am going to eat something that is outside my usual food then it has to be delicious.  I always remind myself that I am what I eat and that helps me to make better choices. Additionally I tell myself that restaurant food always contains more calories and fat than my food and that if I eat I have to burn it off.  These ideas make it much easier to only eat “the best” example of whatever it is I am having.

One reason that I wanted to talk about the two-bite test is something that saw online long ago that I have never forgotten. At a different blog someone had baked a dessert (a cake I think it was) and they continued to eat it every day (for a least a week) until it was gone.  All I could think of was that by day three that cake had to be dried out and not very good and yet they continued to photograph it and eat it another 4 days.  By the end the cake even looked dried out in the pictures.  I was so surprised that someone would waste calories on old dried out cake and knew that I needed to write about that some time. That dried out cake would never have passed the two-bite rule and would have gone into the trash at our house.  I hope this explains the two-bite test.

Today’s exercise:

1.       The next time you have something that you consider decadent employ the two-bite test and see what happens.  Write down your experience in your journal.  Try to answer the following questions:

·         Does the food taste different when you take your time and really try to experience it?

·         When you consciously think about the fact that you will need to burn off what you are about to eat does that cause you to naturally eat less?

·         Realizing that you deserve to enjoy the best, most delicious example of food you want (cheesecake, etc.) does that change how you view the food in front of you?

I think of this as life is too short not to eat “the best”.  If I am going to deviate from my eating plan then I expect that calorie investment (think food as a bank account) to be worth it to me.  I hope this makes sense.

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters - Friday was hectic since I was busy writing the bulk of thee posts so there was no work on the newsletters that day.

2.       Body Bugg – I continue to wear my bugg and I have gotten back into using it the way I had intended when I purchased it.  Go me!  J

3.       Date with Dan – Dan and I have been going for a walk each night after dinner.  We are planning to go on a date this weekend.  *woo hoo*

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I am making a little progress on this but I really need to focus on it with every veggie meal to help my body absorb the fat soluble vitamins.

5.       Working on my business  My schedule got in the way of working on the business today. I am hoping that Dan and I will have some time to work on this together over the weekend. I value Dan’s opinions and would love to get his input.  If we don’t have time to do that this may have to wait until February.  *sigh*

How are you feeling about your progress so far?  I hope you feel like you have made a few lasting changes this month.  J

Random Thoughts:

Evening walks have definitely become a habit for us. We both enjoy getting out late when the neighborhood is quiet and peaceful.  It is wonderful to spend time outside each evening and spending time together.

I get a lot of questions by email about why a particular blog has been included on my blog roll.  Usually this would be because it is either not vegan or not healthy.  Many of the blogs on my blog rolls were added years ago and I haven’t looked at them in years. I am going through the list now and eliminating many that I no longer read. Expect my blog rolls to continue to change as I get time to review the list and add and delete items.  Also if you know of any blogs that I should add please let me know.  My goal is to develop a list of blogs that represent either:  healthy recipes, healthy veganism, health and nutrition in general, humor or artistic chefs who look at food in an unusual way.


Have you made any progress writing acknowledgements?  I hope you are working on this exercise and enjoying it. I find that it helps me stay positive and recognize the things that I do every day.  Here are my acknowledgements:

·         I am very proud of myself for getting so much writing done on Friday to free up my weekend. It is nice when you know what you want to do and can make it happen. J  Since I had a little extra free time I was able to enjoy a leisurely morning and lunch with friends.

·         Thursday I decided to work on a very different recipe, the quinoa and blueberry breakfast bars.  It is definitely good to break out of my comfort zone in terms of cooking.  I think this recipe has promise and I am looking forward to perfecting it so that all of us have a healthy portable breakfast option.


My food on Friday was again fast things that I could grab and go. I knew that I didn’t have much time since I was busy trying to write the bulk of three posts so that I could enjoy my weekend.  Here is my food from Friday.

Breakfast for me was two of the quinoa, oat, blueberry and nuts bars that I am working on. The flavor of these is good but I need to work on the texture.  I hope to have this recipe finalized next month.

I also had a grapefruit for a mid-morning snack.

Lunch was leftover kale and veggie stir-fry over black rice.  What would I do without my intentional leftovers?  ;-)

Dinner was very late and definitely made on the fly.  My brain was fried after spending the day writing and trying to be creative.  I literally had no idea what I was going to cook at 9pm.  Dan suggested smoothies but I wasn’t really in the mood for that.  However a hot soup from the Vitamix sounded appealing.  In the Vitamix I combined raw cashews, frozen spinach, frozen artichokes, onion, garlic, nutritional yeast and no-salt seasoning.

Happy thoughts:

Have you gotten into the habit of writing your happy thoughts?  I find it helpful to remind myself how often things go well and that I shouldn’t take these things for granted.   As always there are so many things to be thankful for that I almost don’t know where to start. Here are my happy thoughts:

·         I am thrilled to have gotten so much writing accomplished on Friday.  Knowing that I would have more time with my husband and friends this weekend was a wonderful feeling.

·         We both love spending time with friends and we had a nice time with our buddy Louis on Saturday.  Our sweet Aimee was also working on Saturday so we were able to spend some her too.  I couldn’t think of much nicer way to spend the afternoon than with friends. 

·         It was great to see everyone at the restaurant since this was the first time that saw them since going to hospital. They were all concerned and it was very sweet.  I am really not kidding when I say the restaurant is like “Cheers” for us.  I ducked into the kitchen before we left to catch up with Ian and he was prepping a vegan Thai vegetable dish for tonight. We may have to go back for dinner.  ;-)

·         Tomorrow we are planning to get together with Lauren, the nearly vegan nurse that we met at Hopkins earlier this month. She is the one who also lives nearby for those of you who don’t remember the story.  It will be nice to see her outside the hospital.  I already warned Ian that I am introducing a new vegan to mix; he took it better than I expected. 

·         Ian has added a healthy soup to the menu which we had for the first time today. It was vegan and had kale, white beans, sweet potatoes and I am fairly sure there was yellow miso in the broth. I will make it a point to ask him the details when we go in again so I can make my own version of it for all of you soon.  Dan, Louis and I all got the soup and it was very good.

Signing Out:

I spent most of Sunday writing for the blog and the business.  By the end of the day on Friday I was mentally exhausted. However I was also very happy to have a jump on my work for the weekend.  However it was all worth in on Saturday when I was able to take the morning and afternoon off.  We had a very nice lunch with our friend Louis and had time to fill in Aimee, Ian and the gang about our recent adventures.  I have no idea what we are going to do with our evening but I am looking forward to spending time without my computer.

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope that you are enjoying yourself.  Tomorrow we will be working on vision boards in case you were wondering what the next post is about.  After that we only have two more health posts to go and we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.  ;-)  Talk with you all again tomorrow.


  1. The 2-bite test is a great idea. Your Vitamix soup sounds pretty long did you blend it? After using your walnut-sriracha sauce over veggies last week, I blended the leftover sauce into a red lentil soup and it added great flavor and texture. I'm much more confident these days in cooking "like you do" and I love that!

    Your breakfast bars reminded me of something--that you promised a healthier chocolate mousse recipe awhile back!

    1. Laura,

      I blended the soup until it was piping hot which was about 4 minutes. As you can tell I have not had time to measure or write things down lately. ;-)

      Excellent leftover use for the walnut sriracha sauce. It does sound like you are starting to wing things together like me. :-) I hope your hubby thinks that is a good thing.

      Finalizing the healthier chocolate mousse is something Dan won't let me forget LOL. At the moment I don't have time to work on it. You probably don't see a difference when you read but the entire month of January has been taking much more time to write than normal. I used to spend maybe 2 hours on a post and now it is more like 5 hours. That doesn't leave much time for writing recipes since I also have other things that I must get done. Once January is over I will have more time in the kitchen. ;-)

      talk with you later,

  2. Mmm...I can't wait for the recipe for the breakfast bar. I bike to work some days and need grab and go type of food before the hour long bike ride!

    I like the 2-bite test idea, especially when it is other people's food. As I have been an ethical veg person for many years and only in the last 3 years have I gotten into healthier fare, I have always found it easy to avoid my old favourites like candy because my ethics override my craving. I always think "ew I do not want to eat bone char sugar". Instead, I have found my own tasty items or indulgences that are actually pretty darn healthy - ie. homemade fruit smoothie or sprouted buckwheat, oil-free granola. I never like to waste my time or appetite of sub par food either.

    1. Possum,

      I agree with you my own food is so healthy the two-bite test really isn't an issue. However with other people's food I pretty much know it probably isn't as healthy as I would like even when it is vegan. Since I won't eat TVP, soy protein isolates or fake dairy a lot of vegan is out right away for me. Unless it is fantastic I try to pass on most things.

      Wow, a one hour bike ride that is impressive. As soon as I perfect the breakfast bar I will share the recipe. I think it will take me a few more attempts. But hopefully it won't be too far off.

      enjoy the rest of your evening,


Related Posts with Thumbnails