Tag Archives: Vegetable

Be A Better Loser

I’m a pretty good loser, but with help, I’m a great loser.  Help can be an app, a website, a book, an accountability partner, a support group, or a lock on the fridge.  For me, it was Loseit.com.

2013 Summer 605When I first started losing weight, I didn’t want help.  Don’t give me a list of rules.  Don’t tell me any foods are off limits.  Call it stubbornness, call it arrogance, call it refusal to let go of a baking addiction…the point is, I wanted to do it on my own terms.  Also, on my bad days, I did NOT want to have to tell someone how bad I was.  My shame is my own, thank you very much!  But after four months of losing weight and two months of plateau-ing, (P.L.A.T.E.A.U. stands for Please Let my Attempts Take Effect…ARGH!! U’ve got to be kidding me!  Really body?  All this effort and the scale doesn’t budge?) I was ready for help.

P1010980Loseit.com is a free, easy, online calorie diary of sorts.  You know it’s quick and easy if a stay at home mom with four computer-crazy little kids can use it.  When I sit down at the computer, I have about 70 seconds before the boys swarm all over me, asking for a turn.  One of them will actually climb up the back of my chair and onto my shoulders.

Anyways, you create an account, telling them how much you weigh now, your weight goal, and if you want to lose 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds a week.  I love the realism here; notice that you may not choose to lose 20 pounds per week.  They calculate how many calories you should eat each day to reach your goal.  You type in a food and it tells you how many calories that food has and adds it all up for you.  So easy!  No math skills needed!

P1010979You can also create custom foods (such as a favorite homemade soup recipe or how you take your coffee) and name them.  Whole meals can be repeated with one click; useful if you eat the same thing for breakfast five days a week (like coffee, juice, and oatmeal), and previous meals are automatically saved and available to add; useful if you have leftovers for lunch the next day or you cook similar dinners every week.

You can also enter any exercise you do which ADDS calories to your daily allotment.  They even include housework and gardening.  If there’s chocolate in the house, my home gets a good cleaning!

Loseit even has a community feature where your friends and family can join as friends and see one another’s progress and leave comments.  It’s a great way to stay encouraged and be held accountable….as much as you want to be!

P1010981By the way, I am not being paid to talk about Loseit.  I wish I were.  If anyone would like to pay me, I would enjoy that.

So, how does this help?

Imagine that you’ve lost fifteen pounds and need a new outfit to go out with your girlfriends.  You have $80 to spend on clothes and your favorite brand of jeans is on sale for $40. At the store you find a fabulous shirt that you love, but it costs $60.  If you buy the shirt, you can’t buy the jeans.  So, you have to choose: marvelous shirt and mediocre jeans OR spectacular jeans and second rate shirt.  No, put those credit cards back in your pocket!  In this metaphor, debt turns into love handles!

That’s what Loseit does for me; it helps me budget.  I want to eat marvelous everything, all day, all the time.  But that’s how I gained my weight in the first place.  So, a budget example: After entering my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and exercise, I have a whopping 150 calories left for snack time.  I want to have a brownie and a cappuccino, but I can’t do that and stay within my calorie budget, so I have to choose: a brownie and tea OR carrots and cappuccino.

Not so bad, is it?1

Loseit has shown me where my calorie bombs were hiding; those foods that seemed innocent, but in reality have a lot higher count than I imagined.  Muffins, for example, and spaghetti.  The first time I entered my breakfast of muffins into Loseit, I cringed: the muffins used up almost half of my allotment that day!  Score one for the learning curve.  And over time I’ve learned which foods I can fill my plate with and still have room for treats.  (Vegetables!  Not surprised?  What, have you been reading my blog or something?)

Loseit is not the only website out there, but it’s the one I know.  The point is, at some point most of us will need some help, be it encouragement, accountability, or a dose of reality.  So, when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to get help!

“Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone…and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me, and lives!” Habakkuk 2:4

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Asparagus Poem

2014 April 002I was thinking of honoring asparagus in verse when I discovered that Judith Natelli McLaughlin already had! This lovely poem is hers and she has more garden-bounty-honoring poetry on her blog. Click on her name for the link.

This is asparagus season in the northeast USA! I’m spoiling myself by eating asparagus raw straight out of my garden. It’s almost sweet, believe it or not.

Asparagus

Asparagus spears

Make asparagus pie,

Or asparagus quiche,

Or asparagus soup, or

Asparagus_officinalis_006Risotto. I don’t know

A thing you can’t do

With asparagus spears

Even put them in stew

Pan roasted asparagus perfect to please

Frittata?  De nada ­­– just add eggs and cheese.

Asparagus spears

Make asparagus salad,

Asparagus flan,

Or asparagus fry.

Packaged like pencils

In red, green or white

Put asparagus spears

On your menu tonight.

 

 

Images from my garden and commons.wikimedia.org (bunches)

Recipe: Spiced Coconut Kale with Avocado

kale-avocado-salad4When I saw this recipe yesterday, I was hungry and craving greens. “Looks good,” I thought. “Probably has a few ingredients I’ve never heard of.” But, as I read the list of ingredients, the clouds parted, a beam of sunlight shone down upon my computer, and an angel chorus sang a melody from my pantry. I had everything I needed.

It was easy to make, delicious, and, 24 hours later, it’s almost gone. Also, I thought it was cool that the lemon juice “cooks” the kale.

Here’s the recipe with my notes in italics. If you’d like to see Julie Montagu’s original post, including the health benefits of this salad, click on her blog here: The Flexi Foodie. (The photo is from her blog.)

For the salad:

 A bunch of kale, torn into pieces and chunky stems removed (I used about a half pound of bagged kale)
40g of coconut flakes (1/4 cup)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
A large handful of almonds, toasted (Threw my nuts in the toaster oven; 4 minutes should do it – mine burned a bit at 6)
For the dressing:
1 shallot, finely chopped (I only had red onion: I chopped about 3 Tb, then rinsed it in cold water)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of dried chilli flakes (I only had red pepper flakes; they’re the same, right?)
1 tsp. of maple syrup
This is a really quick and easy one to make! First you have to do whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Once it is combined, put the kale in a large serving bowl and pour half the dressing over the top.  You can then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes in order to soften it. (I massaged my leaves for one minute and they softened, but remained fluffy. If you want your kale to match Julie’s picture, massage longer. And no, I never thought I’d type the words “massaged my leaves”.) Next, add the coconut flakes, avocado and toasted almonds and mix together well. Finally, pour in the rest of the dressing and serve.  YUM!

Eating For Cancer Prevention (Part 3 of 5): Cruciferous Vegetables

broccoli gunHow do cruciferous vegetables fight cancer? That’s just it: they fight. They’re warriors. Cruciferous vegetables are the military of Food-dom. They kill cancer cells and defend against terrorist-toxins.

The key is getting the ammo into the guns. The ammo is sulfur containing chemicals called glucosinolates. Think about the taste of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts; there’s something in the taste of cruciferous vegetables that packs a punch. Some websites called it sulfur, others called it mustard oil; it’s the same thing that makes horseradish potent, skunks stink, and rotten eggs smell. Mmm, the thought makes one hungry, does it not?

So in one part of the plant cell is the ammo: glucosinolates. In another part of the plant cell is an enzyme called myrosinase. Sounds like a sandwich spread made of rosin and it’s mine, but we’re going to call it Gun. When you chew, juice, or chop the plant cells, the ammo and Gun are free to join. Loaded guns, as we know, are more effective weapons than empty ones. These glucosinolate and myrosinase loaded guns are cancer fighting sulfur compounds.

120403153531-largeDo sulfur compounds sound familiar? That’s the secret to garlic’s cancer effectiveness too. If you want to know more about how sulfur compounds fight cancer and kill tumor cells, read my post on Garlic for cancer prevention. I don’t want to repeat myself, but all of that applies here.

I know what you’re thinking: Tumors are like enemy countries; the body knows where they are and can focus an attack. But what about toxin terrorists that roam the body; the ones that can start a new battlefront anywhere, any time? I’m glad you asked.

The Cruciferous Military doesn’t just ride in with guns blazing; it also organizes the Let’s Incapacitate Venom Enzyme Rangers (or L.I.V.E.R.), an Anti-Toxin-Terrorism Task Force that removes carcinogens from the body. Detoxification has two phases: Phase One is a transport visa and Phase Two is handcuffs.

In Phase One, the toxin is burned with oxygen and enzymes to make it water (rather than fat) soluble. This makes it easier for the body to remove the toxin (pee is water, not fat); it’s essentially giving the toxin a travel visa.

unclesam-worldwarii-poster-6201139-oPhase Two’s handcuffs are made of enzymes and sulfur. Once a toxin is handcuffed, it can’t do any damage and can safely be shipped to the small intestine (which leads to the colon and eventually to the light of day). However, L.I.V.E.R. doesn’t have detention cells. If there aren’t enough handcuffs, the toxins remain free to circulate the body on their travel visa and are now called “free-radicals”. Free-radicals can do more damage that the original toxins. Cruciferous vegetables provide the sulfur that L.I.V.E.R. needs to make enough handcuffs to safely transport toxins out of the body.

Cruciferous vegetables also help promote healthy estrogen metabolism in the body, so there’s a link to hormonal cancers. I didn’t get that far in my research, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Keep your Military strong by recruiting cruciferous soldiers several times per week. Brussels sprout bullets for everyone!

 

“Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” Exodus 1:10

 

Images courtesy of me (broccoli), www.everystockphoto.com (Uncle Sam), drliesa.com (veggies).

New Recipe: Monterey Beans and Cheese

We’ll talk about why beans are a cancer-fighter next week. This week I wanted you all to have a chance to taste how delicious beans can be. If you want a healthier version, you can omit the bacon and cheese; I keep them in because a little of each adds a lot of flavor. And I love cheese. This is easy and fast. If you want to play with the types of veggies you throw in, go for it! I’ve added zucchini, spinach..it’s all good.

This recipe came from the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre.

2014 Nov 037Ingredients:

2 slices of bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pepper, any color, chopped

2 cups cooked beans – kidney, black, etc., rinsed and drained (Canned beans are cooked and work great.)

2 ripe tomatoes, diced OR 1 can chopped tomatoes OR 3/4 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup beef bouillon (I don’t often have this on hand; I usually just sprinkle a packet of chicken bouillon. The tomatoes add enough water for my taste.)

1 tsp chili powder (I usually use 1/2 tsp)

1/2 tsp salt

dash pepper

1/2  cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

1. Fry the bacon, remove from pan, break into pieces.

2. Saute onion and pepper in the bacon fat until tender.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, lower the heat a bit, then simmer and stir occasionally until it looks blended (about 5 minutes). Serve over rice.

 

Happy Junesgiving!

Turkey KitchenHappy Junesgiving, everyone!

The sun is shining, the kids are sweating…must be time to bake a turkey! Last week I baked the turkey I bought on sale last fall and experimented with Zucchini Mushroom Stuffing.  The result? Delicious! Celery and onion sauteed in butter makes ANYTHING you add to it taste good.

2014 June 051I used a classic Betty Crocker cookbook recipe for stuffing; I simply replaced the cubed white bread with quartered mushrooms and zucchini. I also used fresh thyme and sage instead of dried. You get a good amount of liquid from this stuffing, but the turkey seemed more moist than usual, so maybe there’s a connection there.

I encourage you to keep experimenting with your vegetables! Eggplant slices instead of noodles in lasagna, wraps wrapped in big green chard or lettuce leaves instead of a tortilla. Even little changes can make a big difference in the long run.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden” Genesis 2:16b