Tag Archives: food

MAGIC BEANS! For Weight Loss

surpriseTired of snacks that don’t satisfy? Tired of spending a fortune on diet foods that don’t taste good and don’t fill you up? Try MAGIC BEANS!
MAGIC BEANS! come to you in a nifty paper packet. Simply add soil, water, and ultraviolet light to your MAGIC BEANS! and PRESTO! You’ll be snacking on MAGIC BEANS! in no time!
In a store you’d pay four dollars per pound, BUT you can grow a bushel of your own MAGIC BEANS! for less than two dollars!
Email me now and I’ll send you your very own MAGIC BEANS! for only $19.95. But wait! There’s more! If you keep reading, you’ll realize I’m full of crap!
P1010356MAGIC BEANS! are: ta ta ta taaaaa….green beans! Even if you’ve never gardened before in your life, I want you to give growing your own green beans a try this summer. Here’s why:
1. They taste better freshly picked.
2. They are SO cheap when you grow your own.
3. Beans store nitrogen in their roots as they grow; this means that they can grow in relatively awful soil. Most other veggies need good soil, but beans are hard core.
No kidding, when my husband and I bought our house ten years ago, we bought a tree and a shovel and went outside to plant it. Our soil was so hard that we had to buy a pickax to dig the hole. But the very next year we started a garden and our beans grew well.
2013 Summer 605Why am I blogging about this now? Because in a couple of weeks the weather will be gorgeous and you will have plenty of pent up energy and inspiration to do projects like prepping a small patch of dirt for your bean plants. Don’t worry, this is not turning into a gardening blog, but if you’ve never grown your own vegetables, give it a try. You’ll love them even more when you taste them home grown!
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” Genesis 2:8


Image of the woman loving her Magic Beans is from http://blog.shelbysystems.com/2011/07/what-reaction-are-you-looking-for/

Label Poem

Read your labels every day

Read them first, before you pay.

Park your cart and block the aisle

Scan ingredients for awhile.

Read what’s in it, it will say.

Can’t pronounce them? Stay away.


Read your labels, every food

They can’t lie or they’ll be sued.

Not the front, or you’ll be wooed;

Read the back, the fine print, Dude!

Extra salt can take its toll;

So can Hydroxyanisole.


Cook from scratch as best you’re able,

Then you know what’s on your table.

Start with foods that look like plants

And block out all the “gee, I can’t”s.

Check your labels, every time.

Be sure that food is worth your dime.

One Thing I Can Do

I watched a great documentary a few months ago called Hungry For Change.  It explains why almost everything in the grocery store from wheat to sugar to aspartame to processed food-like substance is bad for your body.  By the time I finished watching it, I looked like this:13

And I did this:14

Three quarters of the way through the film I was on the computer with four tabs open.  Tab 1 was researching how many cows I could raise on 1/3 of an acre, Tab 2 was looking up prices for organic cane sugar, and Tab 3 was googling “signs of heart attack due to prices for organic cane sugar”.  I was absolutely overwhelmed and freaking out a bit.

The last guy they interviewed (well, if it wasn’t the last guy, then it was the last guy I paid attention to) pulled it all together and saved the day.  Paraphrased, he said, “It’s too overwhelming to change everything you eat all at once.  What should you do with all of this new information?  Choose one thing, just one thing that you can change today, and do it.”

P1010370Oh.  One thing?  I can do one thing!  I bake a lot, so I started by finding organic whole wheat flour on amazon and shipped myself a 25 pound bag.  I gave up on finding organic white sugar; if white sugar is so awful for me, why should I pay $6 per pound for it?  I’ll find a way to use less of it and I’ll buy it cheap, thank you.  I bought, cooked, and ate more vegetables. Organic? No, not yet.  One step at a time.

I make a lot of jokes about organic food, so I should say this: generally, I think it’s a great idea and I’m slowly getting on the bandwagon.  I’m still sorting out which foods are worth the extra money to get them organic and which foods aren’t.

What’s one thing you can do today to help yourself reach your goal?  2013 September 005What’s the one thing you can change in your diet, your routine, or your mobility this week to help you be healthier?  Marry an organic farmer?  Choose an earlier bedtime?  Stop buying donuts?  Stop driving to the mailbox?  Place a bottle of water by your side all day so you drink good old H2O?  Take an after dinner walk?  “Close” the kitchen when you put the kids in bed?

By the way, how many cows can you raise on 1/3 of an acre?  0.033.

If they invent a T-bone steak with legs, I’m in business!

“The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

Psalms 37:23-24

Dessert Snobs

P1010682The one thing that has made the biggest difference in both my body and my lifestyle is savoring my food.  Paying attention while I eat leaves me satisfied after every meal, even with smaller portions on my plate.

Imagine a moist dark-as-night piece of chocolate cake is placed in front of you.  Most people take one bite, emit some sort of grunt of delight, and then shovel the rest of the cake down their gullet in less time than it takes for a toddler to discover how to unroll toilet paper.  When they finish the last two bites, slowing down at last because they see the end is nigh, they sigh and wish for more because “that was so good!” This is how I used to eat cake.  And lasagna, and fries, and ice cream, and cereal, and steak and everything.

Next time you have cake, try this instead: savor every bite.  That’s right, EVERY bite.  Take a bite, emit grunt, take a bite, make mm-mm-mmm! sound, take a bite, paint the inside of your mouth chocolate with your tongue, and so on.  Pay attention to the texture, the flavor, the contrast of cake and icing.  I guarantee that by the time you’ve finished your piece of cake, you will not want a second piece.  Why?  You’re bored!  Seriously.  Five or ten minutes of thinking only about cake is way more time than you need to cover all the bases.

The definition of savor is to “taste (good food or drink) and enjoy it completely.” Food as entertainment; what an interesting thought!

P1010685When I savor my food, I find myself feeling grateful for my abundance and for my taste buds.  If you look at the anatomy of the human mouth, we were created to enjoy eating.  Carnivore teeth can bite and swallow, but not chew.  Herbivore teeth can chew, but really, how many taste buds would you want if you were chewing lunch for the fourth time?  Don’t get me started on jellyfish; their mouth is also their anus, so you know they thank God that they don’t have taste buds.  (And I thank God that I’m not a jellyfish!)  The point is, God created food to have flavor and our mouths to detect those flavors.  Just as I realize how blessed I am with my family when I pause and think about it, I am more thankful for my food when I pause and think about it.  (If I’m inaccurate with the biology lesson, forgive me; I’m still convinced that humans have the best deal meal-wise.)

Paying attention while you eat is harder than it sounds.  I never used to sit down to eat without something to do: talk with someone, read something, watch TV.  It still feels weird to sit at an empty table and focus on my food, but I enjoy what I eat so much more now.

P1010684About a year ago my mom said something that sounded crazy to me at first.  She said, “I’m not going to eat Hershey’s chocolate anymore.”  But Mom, that reduces your chocolate options by, like, 90%!  What kind of insanity is this?!

She loves Harry and David’s dark chocolate truffles and she has good reason to: they’re awesome.  They’re so awesome, in fact, that Mom decided not to waste her time, money, or calories on sub-par chocolate.  She became a chocolate snob.  And she should be applauded!

We need to learn not only to enjoy our food while we eat it so that we don’t wish for more when it’s gone, but we also need to learn to stop eating foods that are not worthy of our time, money, and calories.  At church potlucks and family dinners, I used to finish anything I put on my plate, whether it was fabulous, fairly good, or future compost.  Now I try many things, but only finish what tastes fabulous, especially when it comes to desserts.  If I’m only supposed to consume X number of calories per day, I’m not going to waste them on mediocre food.  Does that make me a snob?  Yes it does.  But I’d rather be a food snob than eat like a garbage disposal as I used to.

P1010688There’s one exception to savoring your food, of course: vegetables!  Feel free to shovel your veggies in like you’re stoking the engine of an express train.  Don’t get me wrong, vegetables can be fabulous (if yours aren’t, try adding garlic) and they should be savored.  But if you don’t particularly like veggies and you’re only eating them because they’re good for you, then don’t savor them.

You know how sometimes you just want to plant yourself in front of the TV and stuff your face?  You’re not hungry, particularly, but you want that repetitive plate-to-face action happening?  Choose a veggie.  It’s mindless eating, so do it with a food that won’t hamper your goal when consumed in large quantities.

 P1010356So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15

Naked Veggies

Jenn had a great question this week and I thought I’d pull it out of the comments and post it just in case anyone else had a similar question and didn’t see it.

Jenn: “You said after you are done, don’t go get seconds, but I always thought you could eat as many veggies as you want. So could you go back for green beans but not the rice and curry?”
Great question, Jenn! And the answer is: it depends on your veggies.

If your veggies are naked (no butter, no dressing, no extra calories) and low calorie, then by all means, fill up! Green beans, zucchini, carrots, celery, lettuce, etc are all in this category. (Peas and corn, on the other hand, are high-ish in calories (for a veggie) and can add up fast.)

The problem is in the flavor, the “good” stuff, that we add to the veggies to make them taste better. An extra helping of green beans is no problem, but the extra butter and salt can be.
If you’re maintaining a healthy weight and going back for seconds on veggies works for you, then do it. But if you’re trying to form new habits, then breaking the habit of RE-filling your plate with anything, even veggies, is essential. You can always get the beans out for a snack later on!  When I have the munchies at 10pm and I can reach for leftover stir fry, that’s a good thing.  A better thing would be if I just went to bed at 10pm.  “Oh, Honey…”

Second Week Is Soup

2013 Summer 593Just as sex combines exercise and sleep (read my last post if that came out of nowhere for you), SOUP combines two more elements that I believe are essential for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle: water and vegetables.

Our bodies are 60% water, so let’s start there.  A research study showed that drinking 16oz (one bottle) of water before each meal helped people lose more weight and keep that weight off.  It makes sense, right?  If your stomach is full of water, there’s less room for food.

But water is so boring!  Yes, yes it is.  Dress it up with lemon if you have to, but chug it down.  Because if your pee is still Crayola Crayon Laser Lemon Yellow after lunch, you’re not drinking enough water.

Another great reason to drink water is that if you’re drinking water, you’re not drinking soda, juice, tea, coffee, etc.  Calorie-wise, that’s HUGE!  Now, I love my coffee.  And I love it about as close to melted coffee ice cream as you can get.  So, I’m not saying that you can never drink anything other than water; I am saying that most of what you drink should be water.

 “ You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.” (Nehemiah 9:20, NIV)

And now, the moment you’ve all been dreading…. Time to eat your vegetables.

Yes, your mother was right. 2013 Summer 605

At a family reunion a couple of years ago, I looked around at the plates of all of my skinny relatives and noticed two things when I compared their plates to mine.  1.  They had less on their plate.  2. Half of their plate was covered by veggies.

Vegetables (or “rabbit food” as my siblings and I used to call them) have lots of fiber, nutrients, and vitamins and very, very few calories.  (Which means you can pig out on them and that’s a good thing!) They, along with whole grains and legumes, were the original menu planned by God in the Garden of Eden.

One theory I heard is that your body will continue to crave food until all of its nutritional requirements are met.  That means that if you fill your body with crap, it will ask for more in hopes that it will get the nutrients it needs.  If you fill your body with vegetables, your body gets what it needs and stops asking.

So, here are a few rules for vegetables:

Rule 1: Half of your plate should be full of vegetables at lunch and dinner.

Rule 2: It is ALWAYS okay to snack on vegetables.  10am, 3pm, midnight, I don’t care…eat them until you’re sick.

Rule 3 (The Rule of Thumb): If you can do plain ol’ naked veggies, please do.  I rarely can.  I eat a whole lot more of them when they have a little extra flavor (read that “fat and salt”) added.  So, the Rule of Thumb.  Look at your hand; your palm and four fingers represent the amount of veggies you’re preparing and your thumb represents the maximum amount of “flavor” you can add to it.  Bowl of green beans?  Thumb of butter and salt.  Baby carrots?  Thumb of Ranch dressing.  Keep in mind, the less fat and salt you add, the better.  Perhaps it should be called the “Rule of Half a Thumb”?

2013 Summer 592You will learn to like vegetables, I promise.  After eating them all the time for months, I actually started to crave them.  (Don’t worry, I still like chocolate; the insanity hasn’t spread that far!)

“Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.” (Proverbs 15:17, NIV)