Thursday, April 30, 2009

apr 30 food

I'm thinking I need a few more calories so I'm experimenting with a bigger smoothie and more high calorie foods like beans and oatmeal and soymilk.  I lost about 5 lbs over the last few months and I definitely don't want to lose anymore, and maybe I want to gain a few back.  I'm 5'9" and weigh 120 lbs.  I've always been on the thin side with little muscle, until my late 30s when I gained weight like everyone else who eats the Standard American Diet.  I don't have time to log my calories every day so I'm just going to aim for 2-3 oz of nuts and seeds a day, and three meals a day.   

Brekky:  smoothie (bigger than before, and more seeds).

Lunch:  beans (baby lima and adzuki, onion, Dr. Fuhrman's Matozest, some herbes de provence and Fines herbs.  Next time I will add some goji berries and dried cherries).  steamed veggies with rutabaga-sesame sauce.  The veggies I had were carrots, cauliflower, and frozen peas and corn.  I love this dish.  It feels decadent because the sauce is creamy.   

Dinner:   some celery, a kiwi while preparing a salad (lettuce & arugula, an apple, 1/2 chopped orange bell pepper, 1 Tbsp ground sunflower seeds, 1 Tbsp orange vinegar).  then 2/3 cup peas.  a small orange.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

vicarious goal fulfillment

Here's an article that was posted on the Fuhrman forums from Duke Daily news.  It's about how people will be more likely to eat junk food if they see healthy food on the menu.  Talk about weird human psychology:

See Salad, Eat Fries: When Healthy Menus Backfire

Just seeing a salad on the menu seems to push some consumers to make a less healthy meal choice, according a Duke University researcher.

It’s an effect called “vicarious goal fulfillment,” in which a person can feel a goal has been met if they have taken some small action, like considering the salad without ordering it, said Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, who led the research.

In a lab experiment, participants possessing high levels of self-control related to food choices (as assessed by a pre-test) avoided french fries, the least healthy item on a menu, when presented with only unhealthy choices. But when a side salad was added to this menu, they became much more likely to take the fries.

The team’s findings are available in the online version of the Journal of Consumer Research, and will appear in its October 2009 print edition.

Although fast-food restaurants and vending machine operators have increased their healthy offerings in recent years, “analysts have pointed out that sales growth in the fast-food industry is not coming from healthy menu items, but from increased sales of burgers and fries,” Fitzsimons said. “There is clearly public demand for healthy options, so we wanted to know why people aren’t following through and purchasing those items.”

Working with co-authors Keith Wilcox and Lauren Block of Baruch College, and Beth Vallen of Loyola College in Maryland, Fitzsimons asked research participants to select a food item from one of two pictorial menus. Half of the participants saw a menu of unhealthy items, including only french fries, chicken nuggets and a baked potato with butter and sour cream. The rest of the participants were given the same three options, plus the choice of a side salad.

When the side salad was added, a few consumers did actually choose it. However, the vast majority of consumers did not, and went toward unhealthier options. Ironically, this effect was strongest among those consumers who normally had high levels of self-control.

“In this case, the presence of a salad on the menu has a liberating effect on people who value healthy choices,” Fitzsimons said. “We find that simply seeing, and perhaps briefly considering, the healthy option fulfills their need to make healthy choices, freeing the person to give in to temptation and make an unhealthy choice. In fact, when this happens people become so detached from their health-related goals, they go to extremes and choose the least healthy item on the menu.”

Two other test menus showed the same effect. “We also had participants choose from menus contrasting a bacon cheeseburger, chicken sandwich and fish sandwich with a veggie burger,” Block said. “And we tried chocolate covered Oreos, original Oreos and golden Oreos against a 100-calorie pack of Oreos and obtained the same result.”

“Adding the healthier option caused people with high self-control to choose the least healthy option possible. Even though it was not their first choice before the healthy option was included,” Block said.

The team’s findings suggest that encouraging people to make better choices may require significant effort on the part of both food service providers and customers. “What this shows is that adding one or two healthy items to a menu is essentially the worst thing you can do,” Fitzsimons said. “Because, while a few consumers will choose the healthy option, it causes most consumers to make drastically worse choices.”

Schools and other establishments concerned with promoting healthy behaviors may need to take an extreme approach and eliminate all unhealthy food, Fitzsimons said. “It sounds quite drastic, but because the effect of mixing healthy and unhealthy choices is so powerful, we would suggest that the safest way to get children to eat well is to take the pizza, fries and other junk foods completely out of schools, and replace them with healthy foods.”

The team also suggests that consumers might empower themselves through awareness. “This is one of those human quirks that we may be able to overcome if we are conscious of it and make a concerted effort to stick to the healthy choices we know we should be making,” Block said.

apr 29 food

Okay I'm back on the wagon.  whew.  It's always a relief for me to get back to normal.  So then I wonder why I go off in the first place.  I don't know!   Eating psychology is a mystery for me--I'll give another example of that in my next post.  So here's what I ate today.

I was out most of the morning and wasn't hungry before I left, so brekky just turned into lunch.  I had in mind a healthy treat:   peanut butter and banana.  I got a small amount of peanut butter (4 Tbsps, okay, not so small) at the co-op---freshly ground, yum!  and some ripe bananas and brought that home.  The peanut butter was still warm from the grinding.  I ate them together.  I really like this.  I decided next time I want a splurge I'm hoping this kind of treat can satisfy my urge.  I also had a smoothie and a pear.  

Dinner was a large salad:  lettuce, arugula, sorrel all chopped, 1/2 cup edamame, 1/2 orange bell pepper, a small ripe mango cut up, and some blueberry vinegar.  The mango was really good.    That only had about 300 calories so I was hungry later on and had an apple and half a small banana.

Total calories:  1548, protein 50 g (12%), carbs 246 g (59%), fat 51 g (29%).   

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

apr. 28

um, I continued my splurge today but I didn't overeat.  I just felt, since I jumped off the wagon, I may as well play in the dirt for another day.  

I wasn't hungry at brekky, so lunch was my usual smoothie.  I also had a few bites of lunch-mate's vegan burrito at Chipotle's.  Now I usually never do this as I am pretty extreme with my eating habits.  But I was curious.  It was salty and the tortilla tasted kind of like cardboard.  But the guacamole was good and I can see how quickly you can get addicted to this stuff with the salt.  Oh, I felt the effects of the processed flour in the tortilla immediately.  Dr. Fuhrman is right that white flour is just like sugar.  It goes into the blood stream quickly.  

Then I decided to have a "nothing muffin" at the co-op.  This is a relatively healthy muffin, with whole wheat and flaxseed but it's got canola oil and maple syrup so still qualifies as junk food in Fuhrman's book.  It tasted pretty good because of the maple syrup--and raisins.  

For dinner I had a few more treats, a small serving of some peanut-tofu dish from the deli at the co-op.  It was good because it had sweetener and salt and peanuts and some other good flavorings in it.  Oh and some broccoli to make it a little healthy.  And I also had some veggie sushi rolls.  These are just raw veggies and a little avocado rolled in that very thin rice paper.  I think these would qualify as healthy in Fuhrman's book.  They didn't taste salty.  Then I had some fruit--apple, orange, and a carrot and celery.  

Oh, tonight I felt like I had a little hot flash.  yikes, I'd better get back on that wagon.  I've had zero menopause symptoms the last several months even though I stopped having my period 4 months ago, and I like that just fine!    Oh, and last night I slept okay for about 6 hours, but it was somewhat unpleasant with a bad dream and racing heartbeat from the caffeine in the chocolate.  My fingers are swollen from the salt, and I was thirsty today which is unusual for me, so I'll look forward to my return to healthy eating, hopefully tomorrow.   It really is weird how sensitive you become to caffeine and salt when you remove it 100% from your diet.

Monday, April 27, 2009

apr. 26-27

Let's see, yesterday I was still at the conference in the morning, so had lentil soup, orange and kiwi for brekky.  Got home in time for lunch and had a smoothie.  Then I had a banana, and some more fruit and some brazil nuts, about an oz, and some peas.  I probably had more because I was overfull.  Dinner was a baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  I probably had some fruit too.  Then I had about 3-4 oz of brazil nuts while watching a movie.  I definitely overate at both lunch and dinner, well past the state of fullness.  

Today I had a smoothie for brekky.  Lunch was steamed kale and sweet potato sauce.  But again, I ate well past full.  I kept on eating peas and corn, and an apple and I made a baked beet and frozen blueberry pudding.  It wasn't that great so I'm not going to write it out as a recipe.  I also had some prunes.  Then I still felt like splurging so at dinner time I bought some vegan chocolate chip cookies from my co-op.  They are the relatively healthy kind with whole wheat flour and coconut and canola oil, but still, I had about 10 of them.  Blech.   So that was my dinner!   Well, I guess that satisfied my splurge urge.  

I hope I can get to sleep tonight after eating that chocolate and I hope I don't feel too crappy tomorrow.  oh boy...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

apr 24-25

I'm at a weekend conference and eating fabulous food--because I brought it, ha.  

Yesterday's brekky was the rest of the spinach-mango smoothie that I made on thursday (froze half of it).    

Then I made a big batch of lentil soup and a big batch of cabbage salad for this weekend.  I had some lentil soup for lunch.  

Then I made salad for dinner with yesterday's apple-sweet potato dressing.  It also had peas, bell pepper, and mango.  yum! 

I called ahead to the hotel and requested a fridge and microwave in the room.  They were very accomodating and put their one set in my room immediately (I love midwest hospitality--this is Milwaukee, WI).    I packed my cabbage salad and lentil soup into 4 separate (large) bowls, and my salad into a 5th, and packed them into my electric cooler along with some fruit.  Last night at dinner I told the waitress I can't eat their food but I'll leave a tip and can I have a plate?  and she said, that's easy, so she was happy.  I ate my salad, and it was great!  

This morning I had cabbage salad and banana for breakfast.  Lunch was lentil soup and apple.  Dinner was cabbage salad and orange and kiwi.  They didn't order enough plates at the banquet so it was a great excuse for me to offer my plate to someone else and pull out my own food.   Brekky tomorrow will be lentil soup.  okay maybe sounds a little repetitive but it's really easy and good.  Just grab the bowl, microwave, and go.  I can still socialize with everyone and they don't seem to care what I'm doing.  My bowls are too big though, in that my portion sizes are too big and I'm getting too full.  so next time I'll bring smaller bowls.

lentils and carrot juice and everything else

I left town for a few days so made a soup out of what was in my fridge. It turned out great!

1-3 cups of red lentils (I had about 2.5 and used them all)
1/2-1 cup rice (I have this wild/brown rice mixture, yum, I used 1 cup)
2-3 onions or leeks (I used 3)
5 lbs of carrots, juiced (wow, that's a lot!)
whatever else you think you can juice: I had about 5 stalks of celery and a large beet that I also juiced.
a bunch of kale or other green vegetable if you have one.
and/or zucchini, broccoli cauliflower

Prep and juice the carrots and other juicing veggies. This is a key ingredient because it makes the soup flavorful and sweet, and even better than soups that use spices, oil, and salt. Housemate commented that it seems wasteful since you don't use the carrot pulp and I have to agree. I compost it but it still seems wasteful. Add the juice to a large pot with the lentils and rice and start cooking. I find this needs to cook for over an hour for the rice to get tender, say 1.5 hours. Chop the onions and add. I had a bunch of kale so I chopped that and added it next. I also had some cauliflower. I steamed this, blended it in a blender and added it (froze the steaming water for broth in a future soup). It made the soup even creamier. Yum! You can also do with with zucchini. Or if you have broccoli, I would just steam it and add it to the soup without blending. That's pretty much it. Cook until the rice and lentils and onions are tender.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

apr. 23

today I didn't plan very well and it led to erratic eating that almost got out of control.  I had those silly fears about getting too hungry.  and I was indecisive about what I wanted.  I think that contributed to over-eating because if I know I want something really good for my next meal, I'll limit my current meal intake to a normal amount knowing that I'll have a great meal a few hours later.

At 6:30 am I worried I'd be too hungry during exercise class, so I ate 0.5 oz brazil nuts even though I wasn't hungry.  I'm not sure that is the best thing to eat before exercise class.  An easier to digest fruit would probably be better, like kiwi.   Anyway, then afterwards when I got home at 9:30, brekky was my usual morning smoothie.  

Then I needed to prepare a lunch quickly for the road.  I thought about salad but thought it would take too long to make dressing.  So I made a mango-spinach smoothie.  I thought, that's not going to be enough so I just started nibbling on things, berries, carrots and celery.   Then I forgot to bring my lunch with me!   which made me glad I nibbled.   

I got home at 4 pm and was hungry and ate my smoothie and then just kind of continued and I guess it became a long dinner.  I made a salad with an apple-sweet potato dressing, peas, red bell pepper.  I ate more peas, and then 2 bananas.  I finished off the berries from yesterday (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries--yummy).  Ate 0.5 oz brazil nuts (thankfully that did not lead to more).  And then I made some cherry ice cream---a bag of frozen cherries, a banana, and some juice blended up.  I ate the whole thing (it was good).  By now it was about 6:30 pm and I stopped.  I was overly full but not uncomfortably so, fortunately.

I'm sure I ate more calories than I needed but at least I stopped at some point.  And I ate more fruit than is normal.  I was discussing overeating with someone on the fuhrman forums and he asked me, "what are you thinking when you do that?" and I thought that was a really good question.  I'm not sure what the answer is.  I'm not sure I'm thinking at all.  I just want to eat and I tend to shut down my thinking.  

I've been thinking of trying to have 1 serving of grains a day.  I think I'd like another calorie source that isn't fruit and nuts.  Starchy veggies (sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets) are good for that too. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

spaghetti sauce #3

This is my favorite so far, similar to the previous one but adds prunes and green peas to sweeten the sauce.  Without salt and oil, I find I need something to offset the metallic taste of the tomatoes.  Also, this makes a smaller batch, which is good for 2 meals for two people.  This looks more complicated than it is.  After soaking the mushrooms, it only takes about 30 minutes.  And you don't have to follow this exactly, you can subsitute for a lot of the veggies whatever is in your fridge.

1 16-oz can tomatoes (from the garden, if you are so fortunate)
1/2 onion or leek
about 3 Tbsp pesto (made from basil, garlic, and walnuts) 
some chopped fresh basil (or dried italian seasoning) and chopped garlic cloves (2-4, to taste) and 1 oz walnuts.
1 medium carrot
some dried porchini mushrooms (~1/8 cup)
some fresh mushrooms if you have them (4 oz)  (I didn't today)
some bell pepper (any color), if you have it.  (I had 1/2 red pepper today)
3  prunes, chopped (or was it 4?)
2/3 cup frozen peas

Boil some water (1/2 cup) in a small pot, turn off the stove, soak the porchini mushrooms for about 30 minutes. 

Cook the sauce in two different pans because one will be blended in the blender. So for the blended pan, cook the carrot and most of the onion in some water (or broth--I freeze liquid from when I steam veggies).  You can cut up these vegetables in big pieces because they will be blended. In the other pan, chop up the rest of the onion and start cooking it with the tomatoes and juice. If you don't have the pesto, chop the garlic and add it. Cut up and add the mushrooms and pepper.  Add the pesto or basil and let that cook up.

While this is cooking, you can cook up your spaghetti or substitute. I made whole wheat spaghetti for housemate (boil in water until tender) and made lightly steamed spiralized baked sweet potato for me.  Another time I had it over steamed brussels sprouts. It's also good on broccoli and cauliflower.  It's even good over spiralized potato.  

Once the carrots and onion are done, blend them up in the blender.  If you aren't using pesto sauce, add 1 oz walnuts to the mixture and blend that.   Add that to the other pan.  Add in the frozen peas and that will cool off the sauce nicely.  

apr. 22

Snack before yoga (7:30 am):  0.5 oz brazil nuts, sips of housemate's smoothie

brekky after yoga (10:50 am):  smoothie

Lunch:  Well it's good when you start running out of food because you get more creative.  My fridge was pretty empty so I made up a new "spaghetti" sauce on spiralized sweet potato.  This was really good!   I think I perfected the recipe (well, good enough for me anyway).

I made whole wheat spaghetti for housemate and tried a few forkfulls.  Without salt and oil, it seems pretty yucky to me now--not much taste, and what taste it has is kind of bitter.  In contrast, the sweet potato was flavorful and sweet.  I used a spirooli to spiralize the sweet potato, then steamed it for just a few minutes.

Dinner:  leftover spaghetti.  and fruit salad.  yummy.  and I ate an orange.   and some more berries.  Those blackberries were good.  I didn't used to like them but now I really like them.  I ate the whole container of blackberries (6 oz?).

I didn't count my calories because I didn't have desire to figure out the spaghetti sauce, which used pesto that I made last summer.  I ate a pretty normal amount, maybe more fat than usual since I forgot the pesto had walnuts in it when I added it to the spaghetti sauce.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

change of seasons

I am starting to feel the urge to move on to spring foods.   Soon the winter crop of carrots will be gone.  But coincidentally I am ready to move on.  I'm ready for a change in my daily meals.   I feel like I'm just clearing out the pantry to prepare for the transition.  Make room for the spring greens!  I'm sure how I will prepare them...

oatmeal #3

I was low on food, and this is what I came up with.  I would have had a salad but didn't have enough fixings.  

1/4 cup steel-cut oats or 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 prunes, chopped
1 Tbsp goji berries
a few cups chopped spinach or arugula
part of a leek or onion

Start cooking the oats in 1 cup water.  I like to cook it for about an hour if I'm using steel cut oats.  Or bring them to a boil and then turn off the stove for an hour and then come back and cook for 20 minutes.   Add the onion early on, then the prunes and goji berries, then the spinach.   This was interesting, not bad, different from what I'm used to.  I think I'd have to try it again.  I used arugula since I didn't have spinach.  I think I'd prefer spinach.  

apr 21

Brekky in the car (physically healthy but probably not so much mentally):  smoothie, perfectly ripe (and delicious) pear

Lunch:  baked sweet potato, entire bunch of asparagus.  (yum).  and house-mate's potato skin.  carrots and celery while preparing.

Dinner:  another oatmeal recipe, inspired by lack of food in the fridge.  1/3 cup peas while preparing.  half a banana while prepping a ripe bunch for smoothies (peeling, weighing, breaking into smaller pieces, and freezing in small ziplock bags).   dessert was 1 oz brazil nuts, a pear, a kiwi.   I was pretty hungry by dinner time, maybe because I had a hard workout today.  

Total calories:  1571, protein 39 g (8%), carbs 308 g (74%), fat 32 g (18%).

Monday, April 20, 2009

apr 20

I was out for both breakfast and lunch.  I brought a smoothie for breakfast.  For lunch I had leftover beans and rice, and apple/cabbage dish.  I had that in a restaurant.  You don't have to be as extreme as me.  I just don't want to eat their food anymore.  Lunch-mate had a beef enchilada smothered in a sour cream sauce and a beef taco and rice and beans, all with cheese.   It doesn't appeal to me--so it's not that I'm disciplined or have strong willpower.  Over time, I've just changed my desires and habits.   I told the waitress I have food allergies and I'll leave a tip.  I know it's a copout but it's a quick way to convey the message to a busy person.  Maybe instead I should say,  "I can't eat restaurant food but I'll leave a tip."  

Dinner was a salad with beet dressing.  I'm finally tiring of the big easy salad with olives and ready to play with dressings again.  This salad had lettuce, arugula, half a red bell pepper, 1/3 cup peas and 1/3 cup corn.  I'm not sure it needed the corn and peas.  I tend to pick a favorite salad and stick with it for a while so I may go on a beet dressing rampage for a while.  It is really really good.  I wasn't hungry for dessert but was making smoothies for the next few days (freeze for later), so ate 1/2 banana, and a ripe pear that was calling to me.  It was good.  Oh, I snacked on a kiwi and a carrot and celery stalk while preparing.

Total calories:  1515.  Protein 40 g (9%), carbs 306 g (74%), fat 29 g (17%).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

apr. 19

Brekky:  smoothie

snack at church:  a few pieces of raw broccoli, small carrot

late lunch:  leftover beans & rice, broccoli and cauliflower.  was hungry so had a carrot and apple while preparing, and 0.5 oz brazil nuts.  had some frozen peas afterwards (0.5 cup).  love these.

dinner:  big easy salad.  while preparing, snacked on an orange, some frozen peas, bites of an apple (most went into tomorrow's lunch), celery, carrot.  kiwi for dessert.  and 0.5 oz brazil nuts.

Total calories:  1415, protein 53 g (12%), carbs 247 g (66%), fat 35 g (22%).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

easy beans & rice


2 cups dried beans or 2 cans. small beans don't require soaking (adzuki, lentils, split peas). Larger beans (black, black-eyed, kidney, pinto)--soak overnight
0.5-1 cup rice or other grain (e.g., barley, kamut, quinoa)
2 cups carrot juice
2 cups celery juice
2 cups water
1 onion
a bunch of greens (optional)

Throw it all in a pot and cook for about 2 hours. When I steam veggies, I've been freezing the water used for boiling since it might capture some of the vitamins from the veggies. So I used that for my water. Today I realized I didn't have any rice so I used 1/4 cup barley, 1/4 cup kamut, and 1/4 cup quinoa. It was good! The kamut is chewy. I like it. The veggie juice adds a nice sweet flavor so makes up for the lack of oil and salt and spices. Oh, and I used adzuki beans today. I'm into small beans right now. And I used 3 small bunches of baby bok choy as my greens--these were really good.

Divided into 6 (large) servings, total calories per are 350, protein 36 g (18%), carbs 140 g (79%), fat 2 g (4%)

apr 18

I ate a lot today as per usual for a Saturday.  On weekends I tend to ignore Fuhrman's advice to not snack and I eat past fullness.   According to my calorie counting program I only ate 1770 calories, which is more than usual but my tummy feels like I ate more than that.   It's something that I think will improve over time, as everything else has.  It's just some leftover habits.

Brekky:  banana after jogging and before grocery shopping.  smoothie and 0.5 oz brazil nuts after grocery shopping.  While grocery shopping I was tempted by some vegan brownies.  But for some reason I didn't want them.  I think I don't like how I feel after eating them more than I like how I feel while eating them.  

Snack while fixing beans and rice:  nibbled on the carrots and celery while juicing them.

Snack at my church work day:  strawberries and orange pieces.  lots of them.  everyone else went for the chips and dip and left this giant bowl of strawberries so I'm sure I ate two cups.  And they left tons of orange pieces too so Jamie and I helped take care of those.

late lunch:   beans and rice, cooked while I was out.  (easy to prepare).  I had two pretty big bowls.  Dessert--was NOT hungry, was just pigging out:  blackberries.

dinner:  fruit salad (strawberries, raspberries, banana), 0.5 oz brazil nuts.

Total calories:  1798, protein 57 g (11%), carbs 352 (73%), fat 33 g (16%).

Friday, April 17, 2009

apr. 17 food

brekky:  I didn't have enough spinach to make a batch of smoothies, so made oatmeal instead.  This had oats, about 2.5-3 oz spinach, a pear, 1 cup frozen blueberries, and 0.5 oz walnuts.  yum!  a whopping 470 calories.  This will get me through the day!

snack:  carrots and celery, banana

dinner:  apple-cabbage dish without the onions as I don't have any.   I had to run out so only ate about 1/3 of it, then at my meeting, I ate a spring roll (not fried--it seemed to be mostly cucumber, a little carrot and avocado and lettuce in that thin rice paper covering?).  We also had a vegan pizza (Amy's frozen) but I didn't feel like eating it, maybe because I was looking forward to finishing my apple-cabbage dish at home which I did.

Total calories without the spring roll is 1320.  Not sure what the spring roll was.  I'm plenty full that's for sure.  

I'm almost out of food.  I haven't had time to go to the store.  Plus it's kind of fun to let your food run out.   I think I've got one meal left I can conjure up--oatmeal with cabbage.  I have no idea what this would taste like.  Actually I have a sweet potato too.  sweet potato and cabbage?  I think I'd rather save the sweet potato and bake it...or I can run to the store in the morning and then make smoothies.   It depends on how late I sleep.

apr 16 food

Brekky: smoothie. carrots and celery.

Lunch: kale with sweet potato sauce. fruit salad made from pear and banana (1/2 each, split with house-mate)

Dinner: easy arugula salad, eaten in the car on the way to an appointment, late.  This is not a healthy way to eat!

snack:  I was hungry later on and had a banana and 0.5 oz walnuts.

I didn't have time to go grocery shopping and I'm running out of food.  

I don't log my calories every day (time...) but it was easy to do today since the recipes are already in my program, and I get curious every once in a while to see what the numbers are.  What's interesting is how often they are right at 1500.  That seems to be what my body wants.

Total calories:  1505, protein 37 g (8%), carbs 269 g (66%), fat 44 g (26%).    The fat came from sunflower seeds in the smoothie, walnuts in the sweet potato sauce, sunflower seeds in the salad, and walnuts later on.

I'm back, some rambling thoughts

I couldn't stay away.  I hope my 2 or 3 readers haven't left me yet!  I am flattered that there are a few people who find this useful.  It's useful for me too, and I can be more efficient with my time.  

I've had a few people comment over time that they are amazed at how little I eat.  I seem to eat about 1500-1600 calories per day.  I may have conveyed my misconception that that is low, but I recently read in Dr. Fuhrman's Eat for Health book that 1600 is the average amount for a woman.  So that confirms that I don't eat too little.  I'm not surprised that I would eat an average amount.  I'm taller than average which would make me burn more, but I'm older than average (49) and have definitely noticed the downturn of metabolism.  So I think those things average out.  I'm more active than average for a few hours a day but then most of the day I am probably less active than average since I work from home, so that probably averages out too.

Another thought I had:   Sometimes I wonder if I'm too extreme eating this way.  In a week I'm going to a weekend event with some friends and I'm going to bring my cooler with my food and they are going to think I'm weird.  That is going to make me wonder if I'm weird.  Do I have an eating disorder?  It can appear that way because when you go against the grain of society, you have to put more effort into it and it can appear obsessive.  And maybe it is.  But the other side of the coin is that I am at my ideal weight, and I look and feel great.  My skin has color and vibrancy while every one else around me is grey (we have long winters in Wisconsin).   Talk about an ego boost.  Today I put on my hiking clothes--we are taking the day off to go hiking--and it is so fun to look at myself in the mirror and say, yeah, looks good!    And to feel great.  We're in high allergy season now and I'm not affected.  I used to have seasonal allergies like every one else.  I have no symptoms!  I'm going to hike up the cliffs at Devil's Lake and will hardly be breathing hard.  At the gym, my muscles give out before my cardiovascular system (i.e., I don't get out of breath much).  I am in optimum health.  Is that obsessive?  When you are different from everyone else, it's almost by definition obsessive.  But is it unhealthy?  I don't think so.  So I encourage you to try to be as crazy and weird as me because the benefits are amazing.  And I admit a huge one is pure vanity and ego!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

blogging break

Life is going to be very busy (in a good way) for the next 6 weeks so I may take a break from the daily blogging.  Or shorten considerably my food logs.  My reason for doing this blog was to show examples of how you eat healthy because I think examples are the easiest way to put in practice what you learn from the books.   I also wanted to go through an entire year to show how you can enjoy different foods in different seasons.  But I'm not really sure how useful this all is, and if it's not so useful, I definitely have other things that are pressing right now.  

apr 13 - 15

yesterday and today, brekky was smoothie.  today I had some celery and carrots with that.

lunch was leftover eggplant/tofu/spinach/mushroom/tomato dish.  really good.  dessert today was fruit salad (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, pear---yummy!).   yesterday I probably had something for dessert, fruit or something

yesterday dinner was big easy salad.  tonight will be fruit salad and cabbage salad.

last night I got hungry a few hours after the salad so had a pear, 0.5 oz walnuts, 2 prunes.  That worked out well.  The salad though filling at first, doesn't have enough calories, and this gave me energy for my exercise class this morning.

Tomorrow I think I'll have oatmeal for brekky, smoothie and cabbage salad for lunch, big easy salad and baked beet for dinner.  Fruit, carrots and celery, and nuts in the appropriate amounts will round it out.  

Sunday, April 12, 2009

inspiring journey of transformation

This website by Emily Boller is really impressive to me.  She's an artist and she made her journey to health an art project.  It started in Aug. 08.  Here is the link to her "art project".  I really liked seeing an artist's perspective of this.  I think artists are really cool.  I'm a science geek who has never nurtured my artistic side, so I love hearing what artists have to say because they come from such a different place than me.  It's fun to get to know people who are different from yourself.

tomato sauce

We use garden tomatoes all year round, fresh in the summer, canned during the rest of the year.  They are so good, I prefer using them whenever a recipe calls for tomatoes.  I came up with a quick way to make tomato sauce using the blender.  I'm still working on the recipe and made a mistake today so I'll post what I think is a better version even though I haven't tried it yet.

2 16-oz, canned tomatoes
some onion or leek (I used half a leek)
some garlic to taste (I used a large clove)
2 prunes, chopped (yep!)
1/2 oz almonds or walnuts (optional)

Drain the tomatoes, freeze the drained juice for later.   blend everything except the prunes in the blender.  Then cooked with the prunes for 20-30 minutes.  

Now today I added a carrot too--blended at the beginning.  I don't think that's necessary.  I also added some unsalted dried olives (blended too).  This seems like a good idea, right?  I thought it was an olive oil replacement.  Well, it made the sauce bitter.  I like the bitter taste of the olives, but not when it's blended.  The prunes add a nice sweet taste.  I think it goes well with tomatoes.  

apr 12 food

brekky: spinach-mango smoothie

lunch: I made a recipe from Picks over Peas' blog: Roasted Eggplant Tofu with spinach and mushrooms. This was the best eggplant, tomato, italian type recipe I've had since I stopped using salt and oil. The tofu ricotta was great. The eggplant was great. I didn't follow the recipe exactly (do I ever?)--this is why I'm a lousy baker. I made my own tomato sauce. I used fresh basil and some sorrel that I happened to have (it's a lemony, peppery leaf) in the tofu ricotta, which I blended all up in the blender. I used more lemon juice too. The nutritional yeast gave it a perfect cheesy flavor. I didn't make sandwiches from the eggplants--didn't slice them thin enough and I preferred it my way. I just had sauce, eggplant, tofu ricotta, spinach, mushrooms, and sauce, as the layers. It was great! I ate about half of it today (oops). Then portioned the leftovers into two large servings. Hopefully I will have the willpower to spread them over two days.

Dinner: I wasn't too hungry but know breakfast will be late after lots of exercising, so at 8:30 pm, I had an orange, apple, 2 prunes, and some arugula with blueberry vinegar. That might have been a bit too much.

I didn't have time to compute the nutritional info of the eggplant recipe. It's probably high calorie and high fat from the tofu. I'm sure I had a lot of calories today. That's okay with me. It was good!

apr. 11

As predicted yesterday, I did eat more food today.  I ate a lot of fruit and berries and enjoyed them.  I didn't follow Dr. Fuhrman's advice about not snacking.  

Brekky:  smoothie around 8:30 am.  then I thought I was going to have a late lunch so had a banana and some carrots and celery, and an apple later on.

Lunch (about 2 pm):   large sweet potato, giant plate of steamed asparagus and broccoli (didn't intend that, just made too much).  I put lemon and no-salt seasoning on the veggies.  My favorite no-salt seasoning is penzey's "mural of flavors."   This is one of my favorite lunches.  The sweet potato was baked to perfection and I ate the skin (usually I overcook it and the skin is kind of burnt).  

Then, well, I bought some fresh berries at the co-op and they were all good (not always the case).  So I ate them all:  a box of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries!   I nibbled on them all afternoon.   They were just too good to leave alone.

Needless to say I wasn't too hungry at dinner so I had 2 kiwis, some peas and corn, and an orange.  Doesn't sound like much but I was still full from the berries!  oh, and a banana and 0.5 oz walnuts.  Now it sounds like more.  

Total calories:  1621,  protein 42 g (8%), carbs 349 g (79%), fat 24 g (13%).

Friday, April 10, 2009

banana sesame lemon sauce

I was kind of stumped about what to have for lunch today.  I had a bunch of vegetables.  and some sesame seeds.  and a bunch of bananas.  and a lemon.  and not much time.

2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 banana
water (I used the water that I steamed my veggies in to reclaim the vitamins)
juice of a lemon

blend it all in a blender.  Believe it or not, this tastes good.   Pour over steamed vegetables.  Serves 2.

Total calories: 288, protein 5 g (7%), carbs 47 g (58%), fat 11 g (35%)

apr 10

Brekky (11 am, after exercise class and yoga class):  smoothie

Lunch (12:30)  steamed asparagus and cauliflower and carrots with banana-sesame-lemon sauce, which actually was good!  2/3 cup peas.  carrots and celery.

Dinner (6 - 7:30 pm) :  big easy salad.  large baked beet (good!).  banana + walnuts.

That oatmeal from yesterday and the day before has such staying power that I really wasn't that hungry tonight.  Even though I exercised a lot, my total calorie intake was pretty low (below).  I'm sure I'll be hungry again tomorrow.  

Calories:  1280; protein 37 g (9%), carbs 243 g (70%), fat 30g (21%).

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Now that summer is approaching, I want to start collecting some good potluck recipes.  I'll have to look through mine and label some that are good.  But there are a lot at other people's websites.  I'd like to try this zucchini bread recipe from Veggie Karma.  Picks over Peas has a lot of recipes that I think would be great at potlucks.  I want to try her Smoky Pumpkin hummus.  and her Creamy cruciferous curry with cashews.  mmm.  

Apr. 9 food

Brekky (10 am):  smoothie, and a kiwi.

Lunch (12:30 pm):  baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and edamame, and housemate's baked potato skin. 

Dinner #1 (6:30 pm):  big easy salad.  carrot while preparing.  orange for dessert.

Dinner #2 (8 pm):  oatmeal #2.  This was really good.

Is this 4 meals or 2 long meals?  Is this a good idea?  I don't know yet, but I didn't get too full or too hungry.  Last night's oatmeal was a bit too much too late--I was still a bit full at my exercise class this morning.  I don't have time to do this every day but out of curiosity I checked my nutritional intake:

Total calories 1592, Protein 47 g (10%), carbs 306 g (73%), fat 30 g (17%).   This seems to be the amount my body likes...

oatmeal #2

This tasted perfect to me.   I don't think I want to change it for a while.

1/4 cup steel cut oats
0.5 oz raw walnuts, chopped
1.5 oz spinach, chopped
1 Tbsp goji berries
1 dried fig, chopped
1 small apple with skin, chopped

I added about 3/4 cup water, and the berries and chopped fig to the oats, heated it up to boiling and then let it sit for a while.  Then I came back and added the other stuff, heated it up to boiling and let it sit for a while (so I didn't have to watch it).  I think I ended up adding another 1/4 cup water.   It ended up sitting for more than an hour.  Of course, you can just cook it all at once.  It probably takes 20-30 minutes.  Add the spinach  in the last few minutes.  I also had some fresh local sorrel which I chopped and added.  That is really good stuff--very lemony.

hmm, I should try frozen blueberries too...

Total calories 395, protein 10 g (10%), carbs 62 g (61%), fat 12 g (29%).

Quick bean salad

This is similar to this recipe but this is a quick and easy version, good while traveling.  Also I was going by memory and forgot the red and green pepper--that would have been a good addition!

1 can beans (black or pinto or white or small red, even kidney)
1 can corn or 2 cups frozen (or more, can't go wrong with corn!)
part of an onion or some green onions.  say 1/4 cup chopped.
a few small tomatoes or 1 large
some cilantro or chives or parsley, say 1/4 cup chopped or less (optional)
cumin (1/2 tsp?)
cinnamon (1/2 tsp?)  (usually the recommended spice to add is ground coriander but I'm not sure I like it)
1 red or green bell pepper chopped (I forgot this!)
Some delicious flavored vinegar (2 Tbsp or to taste).  My favorites are D'angou pear and blood orange.  

Combine everything in a bowl.   You can eat it immediately but it tastes even better if you let it sit for a while in the refrigerator or cooler.

Here's travel-mate posing with the salad after a hike.  This reminds me that we usually ate this over chopped lettuce.

Tomato vegetable soup

Another good camping or quick stove top meal.

3 potatoes
1 onion
1 bunch of greens (I used kale)
1 can sweet peas
1 can sweet corn
1 16 oz cans tomatoes
Italian herbs (oregano, basil, fines herbes, stuff like that), 1-2 Tbsp total
Dried fruit (cherries, goji berries), about 3 Tbsp total
6 no-salt olives (optional)

Chop the onion and start cooking it in water.  Chop the potatoes (peel if desired first) and add.  Rip off the kale from the center stem in smallish pieces and add.  Then add everything else.  Add water to desired consistency.  

Now, this soup wasn't perfect.  I've been trying to figure out how to make my old tomato-based recipes taste good without salt and oil.  I added the olives to give it some oily taste and that was good.  But I find the tomato and Italian spices gives a metallic taste without salt.  I think I know the solution and will try it next time--peanut or almond butter.  Dr. Fuhrman's site has a bunch of tomato-based sauces that combine tomatoes and almond butter and they taste really good.  So I will try it next time. 

Hotpot bean soup

Here it is being cooked up in a hotel bathroom.  Of course, you can make this in a regular pan on a real stove too.  I used a $13 Rival 32 oz electric hotpot.  

1 onion
1 medium potato
1 medium sweet potato
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger (peel the skin) or a little dried (1/4 tsp?)  (optional)
cinnamon (1/2 tsp?)
goji berries (2 Tbsp?)
dried cherries (2 Tbsp?)
1 bunch of greens.  a fast-cooking one is chard.  That's what I used.

Chop the onion and start cooking it in some water.  Peel the potato, chop in small pieces (to cook faster), add to the pot.  Add water as needed so things don't burn.  Peel sweet potato, add.  Add the ginger, cinnamon and dried fruit.  Rip off pieces of the greens (or chop) and add them.  Don't add the center veins unless you want to (I assume they are bitter but come to think of it, I don't really know).  Add some water if needed.  Cook until everything is tender and blended.  This only took 20 minutes in my hotpot!   I made it thick since there wasn't much room for extra water.  I thought it was a great couple of meals for 2 people.   Here's the end result:

Corn Chowder


3 potatoes
1 sweet potato
1 onion
1 bunch kale or other greens
1 can sweet peas
1 can corn
couple of carrots (optional)
some dried fruit (I used cherries and goji berries)
favorite spices if desired (I added some basil and thyme--1/2-1 tsp a piece).
cinnamon (1 tsp?)
nutmeg (1/2 tsp?)
1 quart soy milk or less

You don't need a full quart of soy milk but I was camping and didn't have any plans for the rest of it--you could use 2 cups, especially if you want less calories (I wanted more).  When you don't eat salt, the dried fruit adds a nice sweetness to replace it, so I recommend it.  Also, I don't find the normal spices are as exciting without salt and oil.  But the cinnamon and nutmeg are nice.  

Here's how I made this while camping:  chop the onion first and start cooking it in water, since it takes longest to soften.  Chop the next longest item to cook--carrots or kale, and add them.   Then the potato, then the sweet potato.  Add enough water to steam cook all this stuff, maybe 2 cups?  You don't want too much water if you are going to add a quart of soy milk.  Add the spices and dried berries.   Once the vegetables are soft, add the soy milk but don't let it boil or it will curdle.  Mine curdled, but it was still good.  

We ate this for a few days and I really liked it.  I still had some leftover after the camping was done and ate it in a diner while travel-mate had a burger and fries.  I thought my meal was better than anything on the menu.  I left a nice tip.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

new experiment

I was thinking maybe one reason I sometimes overeat following Dr. Fuhrman's program is that the meals tend to be high-volume and low-calories--unless you add a lot of nuts.  And Fuhrman recommends not snacking.  So I find myself stuffing my face 3 times a day to get the calories in.  And I think I lose my sense of when I'm full--plus I don't feel comfortable or healthy doing this.  I didn't have these over-eating issues before adopting this program of eating.  I want to go back to eating normal size meals and stop eating when I'm comfortable.  So I'm going to break a little with Fuhrman's advice and eat 4 meals a day.  I like having salad at dinner but it doesn't hold me over through my morning exercise to my breakfast.  In fact, I often wake up at 4 am hungry--and this is true hunger, not food detox.  So I think I will try having a little oatmeal dish as a second dinner.  Here's my plan:

Brekky:  smoothie,  10-11 am (after exercise)

Lunch:  This is my meal of the day that will vary most.  It's like dinner for most people, my big meal of the day.  usually soups and veggies with various sauces.  (12-1 pm)

Dinner #1:  salad.  5-6 pm

Dinner #2:  oatmeal.  8 pm

I'll see how it works...

okay, tomorrow I'll post various food recipes from my trip.  time for bed...

oatmeal #1

1/4 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup quinoa
1 prune chopped
1 Tbsp goji berries
1/2 oz chopped raw walnuts

Rinse the quinoa, soak everything in 1 cup water, or start cooking.  Mine needed 30 minutes cooking even after soaking for an hour or so.    it was yummy

total calories:  465.  protein 14 g (12%), carbs 67 g (59%), fat 15 g (29%).  

This is pretty high-calorie and filling so if you want less, you can oats or quinoa instead of oats and quinoa.  I'll try that next time.

apr. 8

brekky:  didn't have spinach so made the first smoothie I invented months ago, which was delicious.

lunch: after grocery shopping: kale with sweet potato sauce, fruit salad (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana).   this was so good.  Housemate commented that the kale dish is one of her favorites and she claims she doesn't even like sweet potatoes.

dinner 1:  small portion of leftover bean salad, orange, carrot.

dinner 2:  oatmeal #1 (I'm going to try several variations).

back from vacation

Vacation was great, but as I said on my biking blog, there's no place like home, and I'm glad to be back. I am happy with my progress as a healthy vegan during my vacation. Two things stand out: 1) I used to live in Texas and New Mexico and Louisiana, places I traveled through on this trip, and I used to love barbeque, fried chicken, mexican food, fried catfish, fried everything. On this trip, I didn't have any desire for it, and just occasionally remembered that, oh, I used to love this stuff. On the few occasions we went to restaurants I just brought my food, which I preferred, and left a nice tip. Sadly, when I looked around the restaurant, half the people were overweight, and the other half were obese. So there does seem to be a consequence of all that "delicious" food. 2) I didn't have the desire to splurge when I got home on unhealthy vegan food (muffins, cookies). I used to want to splurge after spending a few weeks on the road watching everyone else eat unhealthy food. Instead, I wanted the things I wasn't able to eat on the road like steamed kale and smoothies. (see today's food log). pretty funny.

I did have some slip-ups. I started out the trip over-eating. This is partly because of my past association with bringing lots of junk food to snack on on road trips. Also, travel mate still eats junk food on road trips so maybe I was feeling envious. Eventually feeling like crap from over-eating cured me of my sentimental feelings about snacking on road trips. In the old days, I used to eat m&ms and cookies and drink coffee to stay awake. Since we had 2 drivers, I substituted napping for snacking and that worked really well. However I eventually ran out of nuts and seeds due to the overeating at the beginning of the trip. Then I underate as a result. Eventually I scored some raw sunflower seeds and that was better. I definitely need the nuts, but if I eat too much, I definitely feel like crap. I lost weight on the trip and I am already thin and don't think I should lose anymore. I think that's from when I ran out of nuts and seeds. I'm going to write another post about an experiment I'm going to try to keep me from both over-eating and losing weight.

I ate very well. We had an electric cooler, a hotpot, and a campstove. I had planned to bring a folder of recipes for cooking soups while camping and I forgot it. But that actually made it more fun as I got to be more inventive. Here I am cooking something up while camping with a javelina in the background.

I made a few soup recipes which I'll post. Two were done while camping, and two were done in hotels, one in a hotpot, the other on a real stove. I also made a lot of green salads, and lots of bean salads--great for lunch or dinner (I'll post the bean salad). The green salads usually had lettuce, fruit (apples & oranges, sometimes banana), maybe some peas and/or corn, some fresh parsley (happened to buy a bunch), and some salt-free olives, so similar to the big easy salad. Here's one mouth-watering example:

It was easy to get fresh produce since every town has a grocery store. It wasn't organic or as fresh as I'm used to, but it was still pretty good. I went longer than usual without berries because I prefer organic berries to conventional (esp. conventional strawberries which are sprayed with fungicide). But at one point when staying in a hotel with a real fridge, we got frozen berries and had delicious breakfasts made from berries and bananas and sunflower seeds, warmed in the microwave. That was great. We also got frozen peas and corn to put on the salads--that lasts a day or so, and I like them better than canned. But we also had canned peas and corn and they were tasty too. Everything was tasty!

One lesson learned for next time is that I did need more food and I decided next time I will make oatmeal. I'll bring oats and soak them overnight with dried fruit and then it will be a quick and filling meal to heat up for breakfast with some chopped nuts. It's a good high-calorie compact food to travel with.

Another thing that helped us is we found a chain of hotels that we liked and became "members" and you could order rooms that have microwaves and refrigerators. This chain happened to be Holiday Inn Express, but I'm sure you can find many others that have similar amenities. It turns out that the "leisure" rooms have the microwave and refrigerator. I'm going to try to start using this for my business travel too.

One little vegan side-note: We drove through the self-named beef capital of the world, Hereford TX in the panhandle, and saw lots of large feed lots and meat packing companies with their long lines of "meat" outside ready to be "packed". It was depressing. It reminded my of my previous road trip through this region in 1997--that time through Dalhart, TX. Now I wonder if that's what planted the seed that made me turn vegetarian several years later.