Sunday, April 29, 2012

yummy dessert

More fun with the homemade soy yogurt:

This is one slice of manna bread, some fresh blueberries, 1/2 sliced banana, frozen sweet cherries, and a serving of homemade soy yogurt (about 5 oz).  I love this--my version of a banana split.  If you are looking for a traditional sweet dessert, this isn't it, but it is very yummy.  It could be breakfast too.

yummy breakfast and my love of homemade soy yogurt

Strawberries have been on special at my co-op for almost a month now and they are fabulous.  Thank you Driscoll farms!  They grow very sweet strawberries.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been making home-made soy yogurt and I just love it.  It fully satisfies all my creamy food desires.  I find the tart yogurt and sweet fruit mixture to be perfect.  I've been enjoying strawberries and yogurt for breakfast for weeks now.  Today I made it even better with the addition of buckwheat.  

Every day lately my eyes have glanced by the grain drawer in the fridge and I've been thinking I want to incorporate these more into my diet. I'm planning to sprout some grains and make some manna bread but haven't gotten around to it yet.  I've got some things I'd hardly ever eaten like buckwheat and amaranth.  Last night it occurred to me to try adding them to my strawberries and yogurt.  So I soaked 1/4 cup of buckwheat groats overnight.  This morning I rinsed them, added some more water and microwaved them for a minute, then let them cool a little, also added cinnamon to them.  (Ceylon Cinnamon is apparently really good for you so I'm keeping it out on the stove to remind me to add it to things.  I added it to my cooking beans today).  I added the buckwheat to my strawberries and yogurt and it was great!  It added a little crunchy taste.  Plus it added protein and calories for more staying power.  Total protein was 13 g, 3 from the strawberries, 5 from the soy yogurt, and 5 from the buckwheat.  Total calories 330.  Yum!

I never posted a picture of my yogurt maker which I love!  Here it is with two of the 7 jars of finished yogurt.

As an aside, here is a really quick lunch I made last week before going mountain bike riding.  I wanted energy and was in a hurry.  This was beans, banana, and yogurt.  not the most fabulous meal I ever made but it was good enough.  I should have added cinnamon and then it probably would have been fabulous.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our human community

I had a slip-up recently (the "cupcake incident") so that is probably why I said to myself this morning as I jogged by an overweight woman having difficulty walking "Do you want to be her?"  I don't like those kinds of statements/questions, because what does it say about the other person?  that it would be bad to be them?  So that probably explains my reply to myself, which was "yes!"  I'm wondering if this is the result of meditation.  We practice loving kindness and it has made me more cognizant of automatic judgments of others, both positive and negative.  It also might be the result of getting older and possibly wiser, and of not being blessed with a belief in God.   I am more and more aware of my need for communion with my fellow beings--human, animal and nature.  I want to be with them and I want to be them, or be "one with them."  

Later today, going out to lunch with a friend, we passed people eating ice cream from a local extremely good ice cream shop, a place I frequented in years past.  I thought, I would like to join them in eating some ice cream.  Ha, maybe that was the addiction talking, but it was also the automatic desire for communion with others.  This is not something I want to change.  I don't want to change my desire to be with others, to feel like I am one with them.  It's easy enough to realize I really don't want the ice cream (it really is too stimulating, and not that tempting for a million reasons that are not at all difficult to conjure).  I just have to recognize that automatic first reaction for what it is:  it comes from an inner goodness, not from something bad.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Food for a sore tooth

This doesn't really look like food for a sore tooth does it?  It's a compromise.  A few weeks ago I got a temporary crown and didn't follow my dentist's advice to not eat raw veggies.  I've done that before, no problem but this crown does not fit well, leaving a gap between it and another tooth.  So my gums got more and more sore and I decided yesterday to stop all crunchy raw veggies and just go for smoothies and soups until Wed when I get the new crown.   I didn't last very long.  It was kind of fun making the smoothies.  The taste was fine.  I even had a weird one with beans and romaine and chives, and ramps and fruit-infused vinegar.  That tasted alright.  My morning smoothy with kale and cabbage and berries and ginger and lime tasted good too.  But it's just not my preference!  I really like salads.  I like the crunch and taste of romaine, the crunch and taste of orange bell peppers and jicama.  And especially, the taste of fresh strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.  They are really good this time of year and I want to taste each one.  I like taking a long time to eat and enjoying it.  I like feeling full afterwards.

Another funny thing about the smoothies was that they made me more hungry.  You'd think they would be more satiating because more of the calories are probably bioavailable compared to my partially chewed salads.  I don't know if the hungry feeling was due to a less full-feeling from the smoothies, a bigger insulin surge from the smoothies, or a mixture of both.  I definitely eat the smoothies faster so the insulin surge is not out of the question.  The insulin spike causes low blood sugar (by transporting the sugar in your blood into your cells) which makes you feel more tired and hungry.

Today I looked at my strawberries and romaine lettuce and decided on a compromise for tomorrow:   salads with the easy crunching veggies, soup, and cooked veggies for dinner.  Breakfast has romaine, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, and I'll top with with a serving of home-made soy yogurt.  This is my favorite breakfast!   Lunch is romaine, spinach, orange bell pepper, jicama, and some chopped chives, cilantro and ramps (fresh from the garden and the woods!).  That will be topped with an orange/seed dressing.  Also I'll have along two bowls of yummy soup I made yesterday.  It was my GOMBS chili (without the corn) and it was even better than the first time so I modified the recipe a bit.  This is very easy to chew.    Dinner will be a bunch of cooked veggies:  broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, asparagus, mushrooms.  I'll throw it all together and top with a light sauce (maybe just fruit-infused vinegar or lemon) and some ground seeds.  I used to have all those veggies raw on my salads, but this actually might be a better way to eat them because they are more digestible cooked.  So maybe I'll start doing this more often.  I changed my schedule around so I can actually eat dinner most nights at home, which allows for cooking (quick cooking since I will be hungry).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

some tips I learned this week

I'm skimming/reading/listening to a few different books and learned some useful things from them.  Note that I've only just started some of them so there may be more discussion in future posts.

From Mark Hyman's books (Blood sugar solution and Ultrametabolism), you can get very good discussions about how bad sugar and refined grains are for you.  I think I mentioned this already in a previous post.  Another thing I learned this week is that high-quality fats contribute to weight loss by regulating insulin, as well as contributing to satiation.  I guess that's where that phrase "you have to eat fat to burn fat" comes from.  They also increase your metabolism which helps burn fat.  However, his definition of healthy fats is different from mine.  I'm pretty convinced that oils of any kind are not heart healthy and I want my heart to be as healthy as possible as I am prone to several heart ailments without a high-quality diet.   In my view, stick with nuts, seeds, and avocados for your healthy fats.  Also, in a departure from Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations, I actually like his idea to not get too hungry between meals but allowing a snack or two.  This week, my eating schedule was breakfast at 8 am, lunch at noon, snack at 3-4 pm (berries), and dinner at 8 pm.  It was liberating to tell the truth.  I didn't felt compelled to overeat to get to my next meal.

I started reading Brendan Frazier's Thrive.  I like how his first chapter is about stress.  Stress contributes to carb burning more than fat burning because of the well-known fight-or-flight syndrome that results from stress.  So limiting stress is good for weight loss.   He argues that the biggest stresses on most people is an unhealthy diet.  I don't know if that's correct but it's an interesting conjecture.  He is an athlete so seeks optimal physical performance.  The faster you can recover from exercise, the more you can train, and the better your performance.  A healthy diet leads to faster recovery times.  This is very motivating for me because I love to exercise and the more the better.  It's ironic that I love exercising because I have so little natural talent in sports!   I am slow slow slow.  But wait a minute, even though I was slow on the mountain bike trail today, I made it up a steep rocky/rooted hill that had the two guys in front of me walking and the guy behind me walking.  Ha! Of course, they passed me once we got to the top (with nary a nod to my awesome performance).  On a cautionary note, Frazier's recipes are appropriate for ironman athletes burning 10,000 calories per day.  I tried one out today with about 1/10 th recommended seeds and it was still very high-calorie.  However, it was useful because I went 7 hours between breakfast and lunch, with a 2.5 hour mountain bike ride in between.  

I'm listening to Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz--I'm not too far along but I already learned something useful.  Motivational books don't work too well with me because I have a low self-image and can't convince myself that I can succeed if I believe I won't.  The tool (or maybe just one tool) in this book is visualization and imagination.  Now that I can do.  I fantasize all the time that I'm a fast swimmer and awesome mountain biker knowing well and good that I'm the slowest one on the course.  That's what's great about fantasy, it's all pretend.  So I can definitely see the value of fantasizing about my success with healthy eating.  The idea is to pick a goal and imagine in great detail what it would be like if you were there right now.  Like for example, say you want to lose 4 lbs in the next 2 weeks.  Imagine 2 weeks from now how you will feel and what you are doing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

neat article on "food miles"

My co-op newsletter had a an article this month entitled "The Surprising Truth about Food Miles".  This has information on what are the most environmentally/ecologically sustainable foods at any given season.  There are a lot of things that go counter to your intuition, so it's worth a read if you care about that sort of thing.  For example, bananas from South America aren't as bad as berries from South America, because they aren't as perishable and don't require air transport.  But berries from the US in season aren't as bad as berries from South America.  It's berry season now and I'm eating them up every day.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I'm not sure where to begin

My tooth hurts.  I got a temporary crown last week and have not been following doctor's orders to eat soft food.  I eat too many crunchy raw foods and it hurts the tooth and I get food in there and I'm worried it's getting infected. That's not what I was going to talk about but when I wondered where to begin, my face told me it was hurting.  so let's get started:

I've been enjoying home-made soy yogurt!   A group of us from the Fuhrman forums are exploring this and having much fun with it.  I got this yogurt maker.   It's so easy!  you just take a quart of unsweetened soy milk, mix in yogurt starter (this or this or 4 oz of unsweetened Whole Soy yogurt), pour into containers, turn on the machine, wait 8-12 hours, put the lids on and refrigerate.  It makes creamy tart yogurt, way better than store-bought.  I've been having it over strawberries and lettuce/spinach/kale for breakfast.  It is also great with frozen (or fresh, when in season) sweet cherries for a dessert.  It would probably be great in salad dressings and dips too.  I've never been a big fan of the silken tofu for this purpose because it is so flavorless.  But the soy yogurt adds a great flavor and creamy texture to foods. 

I've been reading up on sugar and refined grains.  I guess it's bad for you.  You probably knew that.  bummer.  But isn't it weird how everyone eats it all the time?  no, because it's addictive.  we're all addicted even after we give it up (I am anyway).  No wonder it's so hard to quit it.  here's a few articles about it:

I came across this health program run by a evangelical church that looks really good in my opinion.  It's called the Daniel plan. It cracks me up that one of the organizers is Dr. Daniel Amen.  I laugh every time I see his name.  Anyway they seem to cover all the bases, not just what to eat but the psycho/social issues.  It looks like a very supportive environment from which to learn from.  I think you could follow Dr. Fuhrman's eating program without conflicting much with the recommendations here.  There are a lot of good articles on all topics related to healthy lifestyle.  I actually tempted to sign up and find out more about the program, if it's free.  I am not sure how much religion is involved in the program--I'm not a conservative evangelical myself so I don't know how I'd react to it.  But there's only one way to find out, haha.

My interest in sugar led me to read some of Dr. Hyman's work.  A lot of his recommendations conflict with Dr. Fuhrman, and his recommendations for supplements seem overboard and expensive to me.  But there are some things that suit me, maybe even a little better than Dr. Fuhrman.  I plan to stick to Dr. Fuhrman's food recommendations but here are some of Dr. Hyman's recommendations that I may incorporate:
  • eat protein with every meal (for me that's beans, greens and soy yogurt).
  • limit the sugars and refined grains, including sweet fruits.  (these days I'm mainly eating 1 lb of strawberries a day because they are in season and on special at the store)
  • eat smaller meals more frequently (what?!)
  • don't eat within 3 hours of bed
The third one directly contradicts Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations.  Here is what I find appealing about it: 1)  I won't get too hungry or too full which physically and psychologically feels better for me;  2) socially, it's easier on me because people are always eating around me and I can snack on healthy things with them; and 3) it keeps the metabolism running higher which aids in weight loss.  Dr. Fuhrman would like you to keep your metabolism low to extend your life.  He wants you to live in the catabolic stage often for lots of cell repair to do its wonders.  I can verify that following Dr. F's recommendations lowered my metabolism because it made me cold all the time.  I think I'd prefer running a little warmer (sacrilege!).   I think I will try this out as an experiment.  Of course, I won't be posting this on the Fuhrman forums, haha.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lessons from mountain biking

Today was my first mountain biking ride of the season in Wisconsin.  A few things I told myself as I went along seemed like good advice for a nutritarian.  Mountain biking is all about riding over obstacles--well that's what makes it challenging and addictive--it's also about enjoying the pretty scenery.  I got some good advice a few weeks in Florida and that is to think about where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.  So if you are riding on a narrow plank, think about the center of the plank, not falling off the plank.  Or if you want to thread some rocks, focus on the path you want to take, not the path that runs you into the rocks.  That's probably good advice for a nutritarian too.  Some people might get motivation from thinking about the diseases they want to avoid, but I'd rather think about how much I enjoy feeling good when I eat my food and contributing to good health with each bite.

Here's another thought I had on my ride:  I think I can overcome every obstacle on this ride.  By obstacle I mean the short steep climbs that usually come with rocks and tree roots and sometimes cause me to stop and walk.  Maybe I should make it my goal for this season to ride through every single obstacle.  On this particular ride, I think they are all doable for me.  Now I don't think I could ride through all of them on one single ride, but I bet by the end of the season I could have ridden through all of them at one time or another.  And I could aim to have that perfect ride too, and if that were to happen, I'd feel like an olympic athlete (we can all fantasize).     Well, for the next year, the 52nd year of my life which starts tomorrow, I'm going to aim for eating like a champ.  No SAD food.  But like in mountain biking, I'm not going to beat myself if I'm not perfect. If I fall, I'll just dust myself off, adjust the elbow pads and kneepads, and continue on.  It'll still be a good ride.