Saturday, January 30, 2010

weekend cooking

I love doing food prep on Saturday. This is the day I take my car to my exercise class (instead of biking), then stop at the grocery store and buy tons of food. Today I spent $200. $200! Well, for two people for one week for delicious organic produce, it's not so bad. Actually that's not the whole bill. During the week I buy a bag of spinach and a few boxes of berries every day. Today I made 8 smoothies (4 batches of 2) for housemate, and 7 green sludge smoothies for myself. I froze them all. Then I made a pot of beans and froze them into five 2-cup containers for Mon-Fri. Today's beans were fabulous. I cooked a leek and a couple of parsnips separately, then blended them and added to the beans. This added creaminess and a nice flavor. And as usual, I cooked the beans with lots of fresh veggie juice. Yum. I bought the parsnips because they are one of the few local veggies we have left in Wisconsin this time of year. They are good. The first time I tried them I didn't like them but now I do.

Now I'm set for the week. My brekky will be green sludge and a small box of berries. Lunch will be beans, veggies, & seeds. What's nice about this is the veggies can vary every day: steamed, lightly steamed or raw broccoli, cauliflower & carrots; raw bok choy (this is good raw!); kale or collards; brussels sprouts; etc. This takes about 15 minutes to prepare including prep and using a pressure cooker. And dinner will be my favorite spinach salad right now. This salad takes 2 minutes to prepare. So I'll have easy meals with lots of greens for a busy week. That seems to be my groove right now.

Oh, the only problem today is I ate too much. There was some leftover from each smoothie and the beans were just too tasty. Next time I will have to try to eat less of everything else because I love eating the leftover smoothies while I make them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

favorite spinach salad

Ingredients:
1 bag (5 oz) spinach
1 box fresh blackberries and some frozen berries OR 1 bag of frozen berries, any kind
2-3 Tbsp seeds (hemp, chia, sunflower)
2 Tbsp D'angou Pear or other flavored vinegar
optional: 1/2-1 cup beans or edamame or sweet peas (I almost never include this because the salad is plenty filling)

Put the spinach in the bowl. Add everything else. Note: I usually don't add beans because I have them at lunch, which is my biggest meal of the day. This is usually my dinner. Here's a version with a bag of blueberries:
















Note: I've been trying out the different Fuhrman flavored vinegars. My favorites by far are D'Angou pear and spicy pecan. Blueberry and orange are okay but not nearly as good.

easy cabbage salad

This is similar to my other cabbage salad but with fewer ingredients. Take your pick!

Ingredients:

1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded apple
1 cup shredded carrots
optional: 1 cup shredded beets (housemate doesn't like beets)
1/3 cup raisins, or to taste

Combine. It's better after it sits for an hour or two.

Simple eating

This week, I am doing easy and quick meals, and it all tastes great.

For brekky, before exercising, I've been enjoying green sludge. Then afterwards, just some fruit, usually a small box of strawberries and a small box of blueberries. Note: I eat dinner early, and I have a hard time going all the way until 11 am to eat brekky, so that's why I have part of it before exercising. Then I don't have to eat as big of a dinner either.

Yesterday for lunch I made this quick and easy meal:
a bunch of kale, ripped into pieces by hand, 1/2 onion coarsely chopped, 1 can tomatoes. I cooked this in the pressure cooker for 3 minutes; then added a can of no-salt garbanzo beans. For housemate, I cooked a potato at the same time (on one side of the pressure cooker). I took more kale for my dish, and put the potatoes in hers. Mine is on the left, hers on the right:











Today I had kale-fennel soup that I had frozen (the recipe makes a huge batch so I froze into serving-size containers). I had that over chopped baby bok choy--yum! And I finished off the cabbage salad.

Dinner this week has been: my favorite spinach salad.

I finished off lunch and dinner with a big carrot. I love carrots, especially the ones we get here in Wisconsin for most of the year.

Daily Blended salad

I'm not a big smoothie fan because I prefer chewing my food and tasting the flavors of each bite separately. But if it's really true as Dr. Fuhrman says, that you absorb 5-10 times more nutrients from blending, then it seems worth it to blend up some salad greens once a day. And I like this one because it's not very sweet. I'd rather save the sweet fruits for other dishes. This is refreshing in a slightly sweet, bitter, and tart kind of way. The lemon is a key ingredient because it neutralizes the bitter taste of the greens. I really like this smoothie, but I don't recommend it for first-timers. For those, I recommend house-mate's smoothie or the spinach-mango smoothie.

Ingredients:

One 5-oz bag baby romaine or baby greens salad mix
2 oranges or 1 grapefruit (remove seeds or buy seedless like navels)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp flaxseed
daily supplements (gentle care, osteo-sun, and DHA)

Combine in a high-speed blender.

Nutritional info: 226 calories, protein 6 g (10%), carbs 46 g (73%), fat 4 g (18%)

I usually make 7 smoothies on Saturday morning and freeze them in 16 oz water bottles. Here's the assembly line before production starts:














Housemate's spinach berry smoothie

This is the easiest and best tasting housemate smoothie with spinach in it (the spinach-mango is as good but too green-looking for housemate). This makes two 16-oz smoothies.

Ingredients:
1 bag frozen sweet cherries
1 bag frozen berries (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, or mixed)
1 bag (5 oz) spinach
1-2 Tbsp date syrup or date sugar or 1-2 dates (or more or less, to taste)
1/2 cup grape or cherry juice; or 1 cup grapes
1 banana (optional)
fresh figs (in season)
2-4 Tbsp seeds (flax, sunflower, hemp, chia) or walnuts

Blend the supplements, seeds, juice, dates, and spinach until smooth. Add the berries and water and blend again until smooth.

Here's the juice I used last time:















Best of all, it doesn't look green, due to the cherries. Housemate does not want green-looking smoothies. (foil over the glass and straw works too):












I often make 6-8 of these on weekends, cover with aluminum foil, freeze, and then take one out every night to thaw in the fridge for brekky. Here's the production line for the big batch:


Sunday, January 24, 2010

5-day cleanse

I'm doing Dr. Fuhrman's 5-day cleanse from his September 2003 Newsletter. His "cleanse" is not what most people think a cleanse is. It is a bunch of healthy meals heavy on the leafy greens, with veggies and fruit and some seeds thrown in. As Dr. Fuhrman says, "The most important thing to understand about detoxification is that it is an ongoing bodily process. It isn't something that you can buy in a package. The healthier you are, the easier it is for your body to keep its tissues clean. In order to maintain excellent health and true internal cleanliness, you must avoid all harmful, irritating substances (such as salt, pepper, and hot spices) and eat a diet rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain the most powerful healing agents. They nourish your body and help maximize its normal functions. The only way to effectively detoxify is to live and eat healthfully, and allow your body to do its thing at full throttle...Let's see how you feel after five days of eating Nature's most powerful healing foods."

The recipes are:

Fruit plate: orange, blue
berries, strawberries, optional lettuce
Blended salad: baby greens, orange, lemon juice
Healthy slaw: raw cabbage, beets, carrots, apples, and raisins
Spinach salad: raw spinach, red onion, various seeds, blackberries, pear vinegar
The Green Machine: tons of kale, bok choy, broccoli rab or other greens, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, onion
Apple-stuff peppers: red pepper, apple, cinnamon and nutmeg.

I probably shouldn't give more detailed recipes since they are probably proprietary. But this gives you an idea. He splits these into 3 meals, which I find humorous because it took me 3 days to get through all the recipes. The ones I started repeating every day were the spinach salad and the blended salad. I really like them. They are simple and good. I think I could eat those every day for a long time! I'm really surprised I like the blended salad. I only made the green machine once. It was good, just a lot of food. I made the apple-stuff pepper twice and split it with housemate. It wasn't spectacular, and yet I enjoyed it.

I just finished day 4 of the cleanse and feel good and back to my healthy self. Here are pictures of the meals:

Fruit plate:


















Green sludge, I mean, blended salad:




















Green Machine:


















Apple-stuffed bell pepper (shared with house-mate):

















cabbage salad:

















spinach salad, probably my favorite meal:

















Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm not sure what to title this--a diversion of sorts

I’ve been reading a book about Nonviolent Communication for reasons that have nothing to do with my health. On the plane ride home from my last trip, I was reading Chapter 9, “Connecting Compassionately with Ourselves." A big part of compassionate communication and conflict resolution is learning to empathize with the other party. The author says it’s a lot harder to empathize with others if you don’t empathize with yourself. “When we are internally violent toward ourselves, it is difficult to be genuinely compassionate toward others.” I thought, yeah, that’s reasonable. The first section after the introduction was titled “Evaulating Ourselves When we’ve been less than perfect.” Well, that was timely, given my recent dietary indiscretions. So I practiced his suggestions on this topic, and it was very interesting (to me).

Here was the first thing that struck me. He says, “In our language there is a word with enormous power to create shame and guilt.” It is the word “should”. Here is a concept I never thought of: “Think for a moment of all the people you’ve heard say, ‘I really should give up smoking’, or ‘I really have to exercise more.’ They keep saying what they ‘must’ do and they keep resisting doing it, because human beings were not meant to be slaves. We were not meant to succumb to the dictates of should and have to, whether they come from outside or inside ourselves. And if we do yield and submit to these demands, our actions arise from an energy that is devoid of life-giving joy.” Wo, really? That’s interesting! “Our challenge then, when we are doing something that is not enriching life, is to evaluate ourselves moment by moment in a way that inspires change both (1) in the direction of where we would like to go, and (2) out of respect and compassion for ourselves, rather than out of self-hatred, guilt or shame.” Okay, so time to evaluate myself.

“…if we find ourselves reacting reproachfully to something we did, we can quickly stop and ask ourselves, ‘what unmet need of mine is being expressed through this moralistic judgment?’” Okay, I read through this section a few times, and it took me a while to figure this out. I had to come back to it after finishing the rest of the exercise and I finally came up with something. I am not really judgmental about anything I did this week except when I overate the dates. Overeating is what makes me feel shame, because it shows a lack of control, and gluttony. I feel flawed when I do that. The question is, “what unmet need of mine is being expressed through this moralistic judgment?” So we’re talking about my judgment of myself. I finally concluded that it is that I have conditional love for myself rather than unconditional. I love myself as long as I behave. Not so much otherwise. So that was interesting. For the other things I did this week, going off plan, I feel some regret but I don’t feel shame or guilt. I know I messed up but I don’t blame myself too much. Hey, I’m human, and unhealthy food is addictive and ubiquitous. Moving on to the next step, that’s where we discuss this further.

On to forgiveness: “When I behaved in the way I which I now regret, what need of mine was I trying to meet?” I wanted to be in community with others while eating (and I did have several nice conversations with other patrons). I wanted to enjoy what they were enjoying. I wanted to experience an opportunity to eat in a couple of restaurants like we don’t have at home—vegan and raw, so a feeling of not wanting to pass up this opportunity. I wanted to see the effect it would have on my body (curiosity) and confirm that I prefer my own way of eating. I wanted to be “normal” for a few meals. I thought “what harm will this do? It’s part of the life plan.” Now, what need was I trying to meet when I ate too many dates? An addictive need I guess. I felt pleasure eating them and wanted to continue feeling pleasure. And excitement. The sugar hit to the brain. This is an innate drive to seek pleasure. What need was I trying to meet when I went to the restaurant a second time? A desire to get as much in as possible before the door is shut again on me and this becomes forbidden. My choices were “an attempt to serve life” (to feel good momentarily) even though it felt short of my true needs.

So what is the solution? I prefer long-term happiness to short-term pleasure; that is, I prefer my longer term needs for health and wellness and happiness to be satisfied, rather than my short-term pleasure goals. And I really like the concept of not being a slave to the word “should”. I gave up caffeine, alcohol, and salt as a choice, when I was ready. I knew it was a recommendation of Dr. Fuhrman to avoid them, but I thought I could still be healthy and partake in all of these things at a low level. Over time, though, I preferred not to ingest them anymore because I didn’t like how they felt in my body. I think I have to recognize that my desire to eat healthy is a choice. I prefer to have the freedom of choice, rather than the requirements of “should”. This would remove this problem of forbidden foods becoming more desirable. So I am eating healthy because I want to. There are no forbidden foods, even when I pretend there are. I can say, I won’t eat another cookie, and then I can get into my car, drive to the co-op, and buy and eat a vegan cookie. So it really is a choice, and naming something forbidden does make me resist. So, there are no forbidden foods, and I will make a choice at every meal about what I want to eat.

I’ll see how this works and get back to you.

My latest trip

Yea, I’m back from my trip. Yea yea yea! I’ve been gone since Jan. 3. That was too long. First I was in DC for a week. I posted about that already. Then I was in Berkeley, CA for the rest of the time. Well, veganbarbie indulged herself in this vegan mecca. On the healthy side, I asked for a fridge in my hotel room; no problem, got it in 10 minutes. There were 3 great grocery stores within a couple of miles of my hotel. I discovered the best one last, but they were all great. I got wonderful fresh California produce. Yum! I ate well. Usually a salad with lettuce greens, kale or bok choy, raw veggies (zucchini, beets, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, bell pepper, not all at once!), frozen berries (cherries yum! Strawberries, blueberries), edamame, and my seed mixture (sunflower, hemp, and ground flax). It was luscious. I usually had fruit for brekky, and then this salad for lunch and dinner. I got many remarks about the salad, and after a while, people started saying “that looks good.” Here's a picture:










Going from mostly healthy to least, here were my other food adventures:

I met up with a couple of "nutritarians" (from the Fuhrman member forums) for dinner at one of their homes. That was a blast! We cooked up chili, kale with orange sesame sauce, and an apple crisp for dessert (already made by the host—yum!). And Anne gave me some fresh dates (dried, but fresh compared to what I get in Wisconsin), which I ate a little too many of during the rest of the week, oops.

I also went to a raw vegan restaurant (Cafe Gratitude) a couple of times. The entrees were healthy. The first time I had a tamale with butternut squash as its filling (not raw), and black beans and cole slaw on the side. The second time I had a very yummy salad and nutty-mushroom soup. About the only thing wrong with these is they had some salt. I indulged in the desserts too. I won’t say what they were because I think I should only talk about healthy foods on this blog to spare readers of developing cravings for slightly unhealthy food. These were raw vegan desserts, made with nuts and dates, but they also probably had quite a bit of agave nectar in them. They were good, and didn’t make me feel crappy the next day, maybe because there were no refined grains?

I also went to a banquet at a fancy Chinese restaurant. I thought maybe I would go off-plan for the rare opportunity to indulge in some delicious dumplings, but it was a meat and seafood restaurant. Vegetarian food wasn’t their specialty. I ate some uninteresting tofu. I was there for 3 hours watching everyone else eat, so I also ate some salty yet bland noodles that were on the table with all the meat and seafood. I was disappointed that I went off-plan and didn’t even enjoy it. I think this led me down the slippery slope of thinking if I’m going to go off plan, I should go to the Herbivore Restaurant, a vegan restaurant a few blocks from my hotel.

So finally, I did go to this Herbivore restaurant on the last 2 days of the trip, thinking, this is my chance to eat at an all-vegan restaurant, and it was fun to have this menu full of vegan entrees and desserts. Dare I confess I went there twice? Yes, I did. I had dinner and dessert both times. Sorry to confess this to all the people who think I’m a great example! After going there once, I wanted to go again and try another entrĂ©e out. It’s a slippery slope!

The scientist in me monitored my reactions to the food. I was fine until I went to the vegan restaurant at the end of the trip and ate the refined grains, chocolate, sugar, oil and salt. After those meals, I was hyper-active and couldn’t sleep. And I got puffy from the salt. I still feel nauseas 2 days later. That feeling is reminiscent of my SAD (Standard American Diet) days. I think I was always slightly nauseaus when I ate that way all the time. (was it the refined grains? I don't know for sure). That’s probably why I didn’t use to overeat even though I was overweight from the unhealthy food. Another thing I noticed is that the SAD food does not convert to much poop. All that stuff probably just gets converted to fat. Not much comes out. I thought that was kind of humorous. Fortunately I wasn’t on the diet long enough to get constipated.

So I wasn’t perfect on this trip. Let’s see, Dr. Fuhrman says you can let 10% of your calories be unhealthy. I calculated I’ll have to eat healthy for about a month to make up for this. I’d just as soon eat healthy for six months! I am done with wanting a splurge, I hope for a long time. I am so happy to be eating my fruits and veggies today. This healthy stuff has become my comfort food, thank goodness.

I have a lot of trips planned this year, so I guess I just have to do a lot of grocery shopping while traveling. Right now, that sounds just fine!

Monday, January 18, 2010

News to report, and more travel logs

It's been an eventful 7 days in Berkeley, CA, with 3 more to go. First of all, last week I found out I passed my final exam, and I am now a certified Nutritional Education Trainer! (They changed the name, used to be Nutritional Excellence Trainer).

The other news is that I started up a Madison Area Nutritarian meetup group. Our first meeting will be Feb. 13, assuming I can find people to sign up. We'll have a potluck.

oops, I have no more time to post. I'll post the travel logs later. I have to report that this Nutritional Education Trainer did indulge in some raw vegan desserts. She did resist the vegan donuts though. And the raw vegan chocolate, which she was tempted by only out of curiosity (what does it taste like?). gotta run...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eating while traveling

I’m traveling for 3 weeks this month (house-mate is home so no burglar opportunities). My first trip worked out well--assuming I make it home tonight. There was an organic grocery store 0.6 miles from the hotel, and I requested and got a refrigerator for my room. In addition to the fresh produce from the store, I brought several cans of beans and Fuhrman soups. So I was set!

My typical breakfast was a big salad topped with lots of berries (fresh or frozen ) ,½ can beans, and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. Super yummy.

Lunch was a big salad topped with chopped apple, banana, the rest of the can of beans, ½ bag frozen cherries, and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. The cherries made it fabulous.

Dinner was a big salad topped with a can of soup, chopped small tomato, bell pepper, some lime juice (forgot my flavored vinegars so bought some limes) and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. This was good but was my least favorite meal.

This turned out to be too much food. I didn’t really get hungry between meals. Next week I will probably can the canned soups, though I’ll bring a couple for backup. I think I’ll have berries and sweet peas on my dinner salad instead of the soup. I love berries and sweet peas.

Since this was a business meeting I socialized a lot with my colleagues at the bar and restaurants. I’m getting a reputation for being a weed/grass/salad eater. I brought my meals to the restaurants or just said I’d meet people later at the bar. I ran into a little trouble at one restaurant. As usual, I bribed the server by telling him: I am allergic, brought my own food, and will tip him as if I’d purchased an entree. That has never failed to work. But the maitre de saw me eating out of my plastic bowl and he got upset. I asked him if he wanted me to leave and he said, “Can you just put your food on a plate?” So I said yes and he left me alone. The next time I was more discreet and it worked fine. So lesson learned there—use a restaurant plate instead of my plastic bowl.

You might ask, why don’t you just try to eat the restaurant food? I’ve tried this in the past and either I end up compromising on the healthy choices or eating a very low calorie salad, leaving me hungry. Since I’m traveling three weeks this month, compromising is not an option for me. Compromising for 3 weeks is just eating unhealthy. So I just do this, people think I’m a little weird, but in fact, it really is no big deal once people get used to it. And if it does bother some people, I don’t really care.

My roommate at the meeting also tries to eat healthy so she also likes to go grocery shopping and fix her own breakfast and lunch in the hotel room. She has an interesting view. She says society is waging war on us (both the food industry and the “health care” and pharmaceutical industries which make a lot of money "treating" symptoms of disease but not curing them) and leaving us with no healthy eating options. So we are fighting back by eating healthy.

I’m still adjusting to not drinking at these meetings. I only stopped this last year, and my friends are used to my getting drunk with them. So it’s an adjustment for both of us. It’s not quite as interesting to hang out with friends to the bar as it was when I drank with them. There seem to be three stages of being a bystander to this. The first is when they just start drinking. I think this is most pleasurable, as I recall. It’s time to relax and be with your friends, it feels good going down, and good when it hits your brain. This is the part where I’m a little jealous because I’m just sitting there feeling normal while they are feeling extra good. In the second stage, they are getting a little dumb and the conversation gets a little boring, reverting to the usual topics. In the third stage, they are getting drunk and letting loose so the conversation starts getting interesting again. When I drank, I used to prefer the first stage. Now I prefer the third, admittedly at their expense. Maybe I should just show up later when they are drunk. It’s nice knowing I won’t have a hangover in the morning.

Eating while traveling

I’m traveling for 3 weeks this month (house-mate is home so no burglar opportunities). My first trip worked out well--assuming I make it home tonight. There was an organic grocery store 0.6 miles from the hotel, and I requested and got a refrigerator for my room. In addition to the fresh produce from the store, I brought several cans of beans and Fuhrman soups. So I was set!

My typical breakfast was a big salad topped with lots of berries (fresh or frozen ) ,½ can beans, and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. Super yummy.

Lunch was a big salad topped with chopped apple, banana, the rest of the can of beans, ½ bag frozen cherries, and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. The cherries made it fabulous.

Dinner was a big salad topped with a can of soup, chopped small tomato, bell pepper, some lime juice (forgot my flavored vinegars so bought some limes) and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. This was good but was my least favorite meal.

This turned out to be too much food. I didn’t really get hungry between meals. Next week I will probably can the canned soups, though I’ll bring a couple for backup. I think I’ll have berries and sweet peas on my dinner salad instead of the soup. I love berries and sweet peas.

Since this was a business meeting I socialized a lot with my colleagues at the bar and restaurants. I’m getting a reputation for being a weed/grass/salad eater. I brought my meals to the restaurants or just said I’d meet people later at the bar. I ran into a little trouble at one restaurant. As usual, I bribed the server by telling him: I am allergic, brought my own food, and will tip him as if I’d purchased an entree. That has never failed to work. But the maitre de saw me eating out of my plastic bowl and he got upset. I asked him if he wanted me to leave and he said, “Can you just put your food on a plate?” So I said yes and he left me alone. The next time I was more discreet and it worked fine. So lesson learned there—use a restaurant plate instead of my plastic bowl.

You might ask, why don’t you just try to eat the restaurant food? I’ve tried this in the past and either I end up compromising on the healthy choices or eating a very low calorie salad, leaving me hungry. Since I’m traveling three weeks this month, compromising is not an option for me. Compromising for 3 weeks is just eating unhealthy. So I just do this, people think I’m a little weird, but in fact, it really is no big deal once people get used to it. And if it does bother some people, I don’t really care.

My roommate at the meeting also tries to eat healthy so she also likes to go grocery shopping and fix her own breakfast and lunch in the hotel room. She has an interesting view. She says society is waging war on us (both the food industry and the “health care” industry which makes a lot of money treating symptoms of disease but not curing them) and leaving us with no healthy eating options. So we are fighting back by eating healthy.

I’m still adjusting to not drinking at these meetings. I only stopped this last year, and my friends are used to my getting drunk with them. So it’s an adjustment for both of us. It’s not quite as interesting to hang out with friends to the bar as it was when I drank with them. There seem to be three stages of being a bystander to this. The first is when they just start drinking. I think this is most pleasurable, as I recall. It’s time to relax and be with your friends, it feels good going down, and good when it hits your brain. This is the part where I’m a little jealous because I’m just sitting there feeling normal while they are feeling extra good. In the second stage, they are getting a little dumb and the conversation gets a little boring, reverting to the usual topics. In the third stage, they are getting drunk and letting loose so the conversation starts getting interesting again. When I drank, I used to prefer the first stage. Now I prefer the third, admittedly at their expense. Maybe I should just show up later when they are drunk. It’s nice knowing I won’t have a hangover in the morning.

Eating while traveling

I’m traveling for 3 weeks this month (house-mate is home so no burglar opportunities). My first trip worked out well--assuming I make it home tonight. There was an organic grocery store 0.6 miles from the hotel, and I requested and got a refrigerator for my room. In addition to the fresh produce from the store, I brought several cans of beans and Fuhrman soups. So I was set!

My typical breakfast was a big salad topped with lots of berries (fresh or frozen ) ,½ can beans, and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. Super yummy.

Lunch was a big salad topped with chopped apple, banana, the rest of the can of beans, ½ bag frozen cherries, and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. The cherries made it fabulous.

Dinner was a big salad topped with a can of soup, chopped small tomato, bell pepper, some lime juice (forgot my flavored vinegars so bought some limes) and 1 Tbsp ground seeds. This was good but was my least favorite meal.

This turned out to be too much food. I didn’t really get hungry between meals. Next week I will probably can the canned soups, though I’ll bring a couple for backup. I think I’ll have berries and sweet peas on my dinner salad instead of the soup. I love berries and sweet peas.

Since this was a business meeting I socialized a lot with my colleagues at the bar and restaurants. I’m getting a reputation for being a weed/grass/salad eater. I brought my meals to the restaurants or just said I’d meet people later at the bar. I ran into a little trouble at one restaurant. As usual, I bribed the server by telling him: I am allergic, brought my own food, and will tip him as if I’d purchased an entree. That has never failed to work. But the maitre de saw me eating out of my plastic bowl and he got upset. I asked him if he wanted me to leave and he said, “Can you just put your food on a plate?” So I said yes and he left me alone. The next time I was more discreet and it worked fine. So lesson learned there—use a restaurant plate instead of my plastic bowl.

You might ask, why don’t you just try to eat the restaurant food? I’ve tried this in the past and either I end up compromising on the healthy choices or eating a very low calorie salad, leaving me hungry. Since I’m traveling three weeks this month, compromising is not an option for me. Compromising for 3 weeks is just eating unhealthy. So I just do this, people think I’m a little weird, but in fact, it really is no big deal once people get used to it. And if it does bother some people, I don’t really care.

My roommate at the meeting also tries to eat healthy so she also likes to go grocery shopping and fix her own breakfast and lunch in the hotel room. She has an interesting view. She says society is waging war on us (both the food industry and the “health care” industry which makes a lot of money treating symptoms of disease but not curing them) and leaving us with no healthy eating options. So we are fighting back by eating healthy.

I’m still adjusting to not drinking at these meetings. I only stopped this last year, and my friends are used to my getting drunk with them. So it’s an adjustment for both of us. It’s not quite as interesting to hang out with friends to the bar as it was when I drank with them. There seem to be three stages of being a bystander to this. The first is when they just start drinking. I think this is most pleasurable, as I recall. It’s time to relax and be with your friends, it feels good going down, and good when it hits your brain. This is the part where I’m a little jealous because I’m just sitting there feeling normal while they are feeling extra good. In the second stage, they are getting a little dumb and the conversation gets a little boring, reverting to the usual topics. In the third stage, they are getting drunk and letting loose so the conversation starts getting interesting again. When I drank, I used to prefer the first stage. Now I prefer the third, admittedly at their expense. Maybe I should just show up later when they are drunk. It’s nice knowing I won’t have a hangover in the morning.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jan. 2 food

Today I had a smoothie for brekky, and leftovers for lunch and dinner (yesterday's salad and black eyed peas). The salad was so good with the squash/beet/apple cranberry dish mixed in with the sweet pea dressing I made yesterday. Sounds strange, but very very yummy! Here's a picture:

















I snacked on a veggie juice (kale, carrot, & celery) while taking my nutritional excellent trainer exam, just to keep my brain going, not that I needed it as there was plenty of adrenaline. I am not confident that I passed. That's okay if I didn't, I will take it again, but it will have to wait until February, as I travel much of January. House mate will be here in case the burglars are wondering.

I also snacked on smoothies I was making for house mate for next week.

For my first trip, I'm bringing cans of beans and soup in my suitcase. and probably a smoothie for tomorrow night. I'm also bringing a bunch of carrots if I can fit them in the suitcase, because I've never tasted better carrots than the ones grown around here and sold at my co-op. I'll go grocery shopping when I'm there to get lettuce greens and berries and other fruit. I ground up a bunch of seeds to add to the salads. I'm also bringing a couple of apples so they don't go bad here. I'll just prepare and bring my own food to the restaurants to be social. I tired of the typical restaurant fare at these meetings long ago.

Friday, January 1, 2010

new year's update

In this earlier post from today, I talked about the food I was preparing for a party tonight. It was a great success! They loved the black eyed pea stew. Note: this has no salt in it and these are people who eat lots of salt! It's the veggie juice that makes it taste great. I used over a quart of carrot, celery and kale juice. Even the beet/squash/apple bake turned out great. As I said earlier, I decided to add beets to it and didn't like the result nearly as much because the beet flavor overwhelmed the squash. BUT, I was eating the salad with sweet pea dressing, and I decided to combine it with the beet/squash/apple bake, and that combination was really good! So I combined the leftover beet stuff with the dressing and tomorrow I'll have that on my salad. yummy!

Healthy eating

I've been studying for my Nutritional Excellence Trainer exams, and was reminded that most cancers are initiated in your childhood and puberty, when the body is growing fast. It is kind of depressing to think I didn't adopt a healthy lifestyle until I was 45 years old. So that reminds me that I should really try to be as healthy as I can to give my body the opportunity to reverse whatever cancers may have been initiated in me. Dr. Fuhrman recommends juicing vegetables, blending salads into smoothies, and eating lots of raw and cruciferous veggies. I've been lacking in the first two. I don't like vegetable juice. But, usually when I make soup, like today, I juice veggies, so I'll do some extra and drink some and freeze some, and maybe I can manage a few servings a week that way, which is what Fuhrman recommends. And I'll start eating the spinach/berry smoothies again. Spinach is great for long-term memory and learning ability (in middle-aged rats anyway). And it has lutein which is good for the eyes (to fight macular degeneration). You don't want to overdo spinach because the oxalates interfere with calcium absorption, but a couple oz a day in my smoothie at brekky should be okay. Fuhrman's top 7 foods for longetivity are black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, flax seeds, leafy greens, tomatoes and broccoli sprouts. hmmm, last time I ate broccoli sprouts I got diarrhea. Maybe I ate too many.

According to one review article, raw veggies are the most cancer fighting, followed by allium (onions & garlic), carrots (yea!), greens, cruciferous veggies, and tomatoes. Looking these up just now, I came across the right answer for one of the exam questions I got wrong. Oh well, so far I've passed two of the exams, but I think the hardest one is yet to come. Anyway, suggestions for raw veggies include: raw sweet potato sticks (yum), asparagus (raw? never tried that), green beans (never tried that raw either), jicama, red pepper rings (yum), zucchini (pretty good raw), broccoflower (I don't like broccoli raw but I like cauliflower raw), and carrots and celery sticks (yum, yum).

Here's the juicer in action. I made carrot, kale, celery juice for my black-eyed pea soup:

















I decided I'll drink one of these today and freeze the other. I drank one today and it was better than I expected. Maybe the celery juice diluted it enough. It was actually pretty good.
















Here's a review of Dr. Fuhrman's recommended eating plan.

New Year's Day cooking

I'm having some friends over this afternoon, so I cooked up my black-eyed pea stew for good luck, and some squash/apple bake. I experimented with the squash apple bake, unfortunately. I added a large beet. I don't like it as much! The beet is too crunchy and takes away from the subtle flavor of the squash. Oh well...maybe I'll make a salad in case they don't like the beet/squash dish. Salad is good for you too. At least the pea stew is great!