Category Archives: SOUP: Water and Vegetables

Plan Your Produce

imageCooking meals at home helps your family eat healthy and save money, but if you don’t shop with a plan, you can end up throwing expensive produce away. It’s happened to most of us at some point. You head to the grocery store with good intentions, buy a lot of random produce,—because with ten pounds of broccoli in the house, you can’t fail to lose weight, right?—and then half of that produce spends the next two weeks being nudged closer and closer to the back of the fridge before it’s finally tossed in the trash. It’s frustrating and discouraging. For you and for the produce.

2014 June 003The solution to this problem is to plan your produce. Here’s how.

  1. Choose one day a week to sit down and plan your meals for the week. If you’re new to cooking at home, pick one or two meals. Baby steps, baby spinach, baby bellas, baby got back on track. Try to choose menu items that share common vegetables. For example, a bag of spinach can make a spinach salad and a mushroom spinach omelet, or one head of cabbage can make Mu Shu Vegetables and Fried Cabbage. As you plan, make a shopping list of what you need to cook the recipes you’ve selected.

 

  1. 2014 March 007Take your list to the store and don’t stray from it. There are going to be produce items that you always keep on hand like garlic and onions, and items that you only buy when you need them like bell peppers and broccoli. It all depends on your family and your preferences. For example, I always have carrots in the house. My boys like to snack on them (when given the choice of carrots or nothing), I like to mindlessly crunch them in front of the TV, they’re cheap, and they’re useful in a plethora of recipes. It’s a staple. Cauliflower, on the other hand, only comes home with me when I have a plan for it. It’s like the out of town relative you enjoy having over, but feel like you have to entertain.

 

  1. End the week with either a batch of homemade vegetable soup or veggie stir fry. Take your leftover bits and stems and combine them into something wonderful. Now your fridge is reset for the week to come and nothing goes to waste.

 

Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. Genesis 25:29 (NIV)

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“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.” Colossians 1:16a

 

 

Soup: the Power Tool Collection

veggie-power-toolsSoup is the second word in the title of this blog because soup reminds us to drink plenty of water and to eat our vegetables. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and fiber which are the tools your body needs to function properly. Vegetable hammers help produce red blood cells, the vegetable saw cuts down cholesterol, the fiber shovel improves bowel function, and the vitamin drill and nutrient crowbar reduce your risk for heart disease, type two diabetes, and possibly your risk for cancer.

Sleep is a crew of workmen who spend the night building, cleaning, and repairing your body. Vegetables are the tools they use and water is their transportation. When the workmen don’t have the right tools, they improvise, but the result isn’t the same. You can build a house using only a crowbar, but we all prefer to live in a house built with a complete toolbox. Don’t live in an improvised body; give your workmen the tools and time they need and you’ll be amazed by their good work.

2014 March 006Vegetables are important for weight loss, but not because they magically melt fat or lock your mouth when a cookie comes near it. In fact, studies show that if you add vegetables to your diet, but make no other changes, you won’t lose weight. Veggies help you lose weight when you replace non-veggie food with veggie-food. The equation is not 3 burgers + 1 apple = weight loss, but 1 burger + 3 apples = weight loss. It’s this replacement of high calorie foods for low calorie plants that makes the scale move. Yes, technically you can lose weight by reducing your calorie intake and not include veggies—the Chocolate Cake Diet™, for example, lets you eat a slice of chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and nothing else—but it doesn’t help your overall health.

imageThere’s only so much space in your stomach toolbox. High calorie foods are a tape measure. You definitely need one: healthy high calorie foods have protein and good fats your body needs. But filling your toolbox with only tape measures doesn’t help you build a house you want to live in; it only helps you measure your house’s expansion. Ba-dum-bum-ching! Expanding waistline joke! Vegetables fill up a lot of space on your plate and in your stomach but contain very few calories so it’s like filling your toolbox with titanium tools that are strong but light. Many veggies are made up of 90% water, so they help hydrate you as well as fill you. Building your house body well is important because you and your body are in this for the long haul; till death do you part. Know what else we’ve done to death? This metaphor.

You might not like vegetables. When we were kids, my siblings and I tried to explain to our parents that they liked vegetables and we didn’t because their taste buds were old and dying. The truth is that your taste buds adjust to what they encounter regularly, be it spicy foods, salt, sweets, or vegetables. The more you eat vegetables, the more you crave vegetables. It’s like buying your first power drill. You get along okay with screw drivers and hammers, but once you get a feel for the power drill, you’re not going back to that battery-less wasteland. Vegetables are power tools and your body loves using them, so fill your toolbox with titanium tools, shed that unnecessary insulation, and build your house well.

 

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Genesis 1:29 (NIV)

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fruits-veggies-don-lead-weight-loss-study-article-1.1844944 Fruits and Veggies Don’t Lead to Weight Loss

 

God’s Gatorade (part 2)

Most fruits and vegetables are 80-90% water, so they help hydrate your body as well as fill it with vitamins and nutrients. Here are three more highly hydrating snacks to quench your cravings.

035Field Irrigation: Watermelon and sunflower seeds. Sweet and salty, this snack satisfies both cravings. Just make sure you pay attention to which seeds you eat and which you spit.

 

036Mediterranean Berries: Greek yogurt and berries. Fill a small plastic container with Greek yogurt and add a few tablespoons of frozen raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries and your snack is ready to travel without refrigeration.

 

037newCooling Waters: Cucumber smoothie. Blend a peeled and de-seeded cucumber with fruit and milk. Refreshing, sweet, and a great way to consume the bounty of a too-prolific cucumber plant in your summer garden.

 

Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.   Romans 14:16,17 (NIV)

God’s Gatorade (part 1)

What hydrates your body better than water? Better than sports drinks? Vegetables!

Most vegetables are 90% water or more and they contain natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts, and vitamins. This combination does for your body what sports drinks advertise, but without chemicals. At 97% water content, cucumbers are God’s Gatorade.

Studies show that the food you eat provides 20% of the water your body needs each day. When you snack on vegetables, you get hydration, restocking of the minerals, acids, and vitamins your body needs, and fiber to move along what your body doesn’t need. Add a little protein to that snack and it’ll keep the energy flowing for hours.

Here are some super-hydrating protein-packed super-snacks. Any fruit or vegetable is going to have at least 75% water content, but the ones listed in these snacks are at least 90% water:

 

032The Aqueduct: celery with nut butter. This crunchy nutty combination is not just for kids. Let the water and protein flow.

 

033Muddle the Puddle: hummus and cucumber slices. Hummus comes in a variety of flavors to keep things interesting as well as hydrated.

 

034Bell Pepper Boats: half a bell pepper boat filled with tuna salad. This can be a snack, or two boats can be lunch. Easy to take on the go and they store well.

 

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Beverage Math

037newYou’ve probably seen Beverage Math on just about every weight loss episode of any talk show for the past ten years. An overweight guest stares hopefully at the host as s/he pulls up a power point slide showing that if the overweight guest stops drinking soda (or “pop” or “Coke” if you’re not a nor’easter), s/he will lose ten pounds in a year. I’ve always been envious of those guests and their Soda Math. Stop drinking soda and lose ten pounds?! That would be so easy! Easy for me because I only drink soda a few times a year.

My envy ended when it occurred to me that while I may not have a Soda Math situation going on, I do have Coffee Math: I take my coffee on par with melted coffee ice cream. Whether I add half and half, milk, creamer, sugar, or a combination of them all, each mug for me averages 100 calories apiece. And I drink it like that twice a day. Ready for the Coffee Math?

2014 Aug transformers 043One pounds = 3,500 calories. So 200 calories of coffee per day x 365 days per year = 20.8 pounds. Twenty pounds in one year simply by switching to black coffee. That would be so easy!

But I love creamy coffee. I don’t want to drink it black.

But twenty pounds? I want to lose twenty pounds.

What if I drank creamatose coffee once a day and black coffee once a day? That’s ten pounds in one year and twenty pounds in two. And I can still start my morning with creamy sweet caffeine.

When we drink our calories, we tend to savor them less than the calories we chew. I’m not saying that we should only ever drink water and water-calorie equivalents (black coffee, unsweetened tea, etc); I’m just saying that we should do our own personal Beverage Math. We all have that one drink we’d rather not give up. So don’t give it up. Cut it in half if you need to, but savor every drop.

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”” John 4:13-14

What Kind of Water is Best for Weight Loss?

The wet kind!

Most things you consume in a liquid state will keep you hydrated; some just have extra benefits or extra pitfalls that come with them. For example, juice has all of the vitamins and sugar found in fruit, but none of the fiber and mandatory chewing that slows down calorie consumption.

So here’s a quick 4 question quiz to see if you know how to keep your body hydrated and on the track to good health! I’ve included a few hints to help you along the way.

gila-monster-hissing

1. What percent of your body is water?
a. 30% like a gila monster after a day in the desert sun.
b. 60% One man actually lost 25 pounds of water weight in 48 hours to “prove” that scales are useless. That’s approaching gila monster humidity and he was promptly rushed off to get an IV drip.
c. 90% like a jellyfish.

water glasses2. How many ounces (total) of water should you drink each day?
a. 8 ounces – your blindingly bright yellow or orange colored pee should tell you that this is not the correct answer. Bad blog reader, bad! Most water bottles aren’t even that small.
b. 8 8 ounce glasses – correct, but don’t be lazy, do the math.
c. 64 ounces. Correct! (8oz x 8 glasses = 64) That’s 8 cups of water, or 4 pints, or 2 quarts or one half gallon, or three hours sipping at a water fountain. (I’m glad fountains exist, but when you’re thirsty, they’re maddeningly slow to drink from. Some sort of wall hose would be preferable.)

coffee3. Which of the following beverages count towards your 64 ounces?
a. Coffee and tea. It’s water with natural brown food coloring. Don’t believe me? Check out this myth-busting research.
b. Juice and lemonade. It’s still mostly water, just watch the sugar intake. Sip and savor, but save the chugging for water.
c. Soda. Nope, not even close. It’s liquid, but your body has to use all the water it contains to flush out all of the chemicals it also contains, so you end up not hydrated.

4. Which of the following are benefits of drinking enough water?
a. Flushing out toxins. This is obviously good, right? No commentary needed? Why am I still typing?
b. Energized muscles. Not feeling up for a little exercise? Drink some water; dehydration causes muscle fatigue.
c. Hydrated skin that looks good. Eat your heart out, Maybelline! Moisturizers create a barrier that helps keep moisture in your skin, but if the moisture isn’t coming from the inside out, that barrier is ineffective.

Two footnotes:
drop1. If you need an answer key, leave a comment and I’ll contact you; I have some magic beans I’d like to sell you.
2. Gila monsters have more like 70% water in their bodies, not 30%, but they LOOK so darn dry! And in the dry months they survive by not urinating for months. Gross, but so very cool too. The point is, you are not a gila monster. Raise your glass and drink up! A toast to your health!

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

 

Images are from:

http://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/water-resources-and-utilities/

https://beccasbyline.wordpress.com/2011/09/

http://diabetesdailypost.com/learn-why-you-need-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-per-day/

http://savenaturesavehuman.blogspot.com/2012/05/gila-monster.html

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/coffee-and-hormones