Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dr. Gregor

Nice video by Dr. Gregor:  Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

He's got a website with almost daily short videos of results from the scientific literature on disease and nutrition.  Lots of interesting stuff.

Summer harvests

This time of year, I don't have to go to the grocery store much.   From the garden today, I harvested a bunch of tomatoes, lettuce, basil (not shown), collards and kale:
Marilyn will can the tomatoes (thank you!), I ate some of the salad today, and I stripped, washed and froze the collards and kale and basil.   These will last me several months.

I got a bunch of great stuff at the farmer's market too:  onions, kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, a sweet potato (last year's harvest but she said they are sweet), a melon, eggplant really good strawberries, cherries (ate them before snapping the picture), and salad greens:

Then our usual corn from the corn stand.  It's at its peak now and really sweet.  Lunch today was corn, sliced garden tomato, and a bunch of the vegetables from the farmer's market and garden cooked up:  onion, eggplant, zucchini, green bell pepper, tomatoes, and basil.  Was that ever good!  I had some for dinner too, along with a salad and strawberries with a little soy yogurt.   There is no greater time of the year for eating than right now!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The nuts issue continued

Here's an article from Jeff Nelson on on his recent research on nuts.  This was motivated by the article about Chef AJ a few weeks ago where she lost weight by cutting down the nuts.

I think the people most affected by this issue are older women because we have the lowest calorie intake needs.  When we eat an ounce of nuts a day, it is a significant source of fat in our diet, and it squeezes out more satiating foods such as potatoes.  And with our lower calories needs, do we really need a full oz?  I prefer 1/2 oz or even lower.

Jeff Novick's Top 10 Super Foods

My last JN (Jeff Novick) post of the day (but not my last post!).  If you know JN, you will be surprised at the title because he often says there are no super foods.  And that's what he says in the this article too, so it's worth reading the whole thing:

Here is an excerpt that I really like.  It's basically a summary of how to eat healthy.
The Top 10 Super Foods :)
(In no particular order)

1) Fruits
2) Vegetables
3) Cruciferous Vegetables
4) Starchy Vegetables/Roots/Tubers
5) Intact Whole Grains
6) Beans, Peas, Lentils
7) Higher Fat Plant Foods - Nuts/Seeds/Avocado  (In limited amounts)
8) A variety of foods and colors within each food/food group
9) Not over-eating.

And, last, but not least, a non food item...
10) A healthy lifestyle including fresh air, pure water, adequate sleep, rest & relaxation, emotional poise, social engagement, loving relationships, adequate activity/fitness, etc as food is only one aspect of health.

Novick on Feasting and idea

I came across this post from Jeff Novick while looking for something else (his views on caffeine), but I really like this!  This is how I used to eat and I'm going to resume it.
A few years ago, I was interviewed on the radio just before Thanksgiving. The question was, "with Thanksgiving coming up, and so many people with health and weight problems, everyone is worried over what they should eat and not eat for the holiday. What advice to you have for everyone for Thanksgiving". 
I said, "I think everyone should enjoy themselves on Thanksgiving day and not worry."
To which they said, "But everyone IS so worried about their weight and their health, shouldn't they be concerned." 
To which I said, "No. I am not concerned with what people do on a Holiday that occurs once a year. In fact, I am not concerned with what people do on the 6 or 7 major holidays of the year. Let them enjoy themselves. That is why there are holidays "
"Cultures throughout time, including many of the long lived healthy cultures, have always had what were known as "feast" days, where they all got together and celebrated with food and drink and festivities. "  
"However, what I am concerned with is what people do the other 358 or so days a year. And I am concerned with what they do on a day to day basis each and every day outside the few holidays . Now, if they would only get that right, and take care of themselves the other 358 or so days, then we would not have to worry about what they did on the few holidays each year." No one is going to get sick and die from what they ate on 7 out of 365 days. 7 out of 365 is less than 2%" 
(NOTE: Which, for those of you following the discussions in this forum, goes right along with what I say about focusing on the 95-98% each day and getting that right and not the 2-5%.) 
"but in American we live and eat and drink each and every day like it is a holiday celebration. We eat every breakfast like it is a easter buffet, and every lunch like it is a thanksgiving feast and every dinner like it is a Christmas feast and every dessert like it is a birthday party."
"Then we worry about what we should do on Thanksgiving? THAT is NUTS!!"   
PS, to give credit where credit is due, it was Dr John McDougall who I first heard say the above comments many many years ago, of which I am just paraphrasing somewhat.
I like this because it removes forbidden foods.  My achilles heel the last few years has been during times of celebration, like when old friends are visiting or at holiday parties.  If I slipped, I figured I blew it so I went "off-diet" and was very bad.  If instead I view these things as occasional allowances, I think I will do much better.  I don't know for sure, but it's worth a try.   Jeff Novick says that 5% of your calories can be of lower quality.   For me that's 75 calories a day, or about 27,000 calories a year!  or about 2200 calories per month.  or about 500 calories per week.   I made up a little point system for myself where I earn 75 points per day and cash in points for rewards (I wrote a little program to keep tabs).   To be conservative I charge a point for each mg of caffeine, even if calories are 0, and I charge double for alcohol and oil calories, and quadruple for animal calories (I'm thinking ice cream!).  Even with all that, this allows a lot of treats. If this idea actually works, I'll post about it more and make the program available and suggest ideas for how to customize this for yourself.   I know, I'm being extremely nerdy about this.  Sorry, I'm a geek!

On my "bucket list" of treats in a year, I have an ice cream cone, a frozen custard cone, a couple of pieces of pumpkin pie, goodies at a holiday party, some wine here and there, some decaff soy lattes here and there, and some peanut butter cups here and there.  That's all I can think of.  Well a bagel and cream cheese maybe.  This is well under 27,000 calories in year!   Maybe I'm crazy but I think this could be fun.

Updated a few days later:  I'm not sure my idea in the above paragraph is so good.  A whole ice cream cone is unhealthy, fat promoting and would probably make me feel yucky for a while.  And then there is the issue of cravings caused.  Another idea is to just do taste tests occasionally--like a spoon of someone else's ice cream.  I'm not going to try this for a while (I hope!) so I'll revisit it when the time comes.

Novick on caffeine

I think Jeff Novick has a very sensible approach to healthy eating.   I was curious what his views on caffeine are, so I did a search on the McDougall forums.  I ran across several other gems, so I'm going to post those next.  Here's the caffeine article:
Waking Up to the Effects of Caffeine
Tuesday, 21 May 2002
How innocent is that morning cup of coffee? Maybe not so innocent for your health. 
Believe it or not, according to a new study presented recently at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, the amount of caffeine in just one cup of coffee could be enough to harden a person's arteries for several hours afterward; Hardened arteries, or atherosclerosis, put extra pressure on the heart and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, researchers said. They noted that their findings could have implications for people already at risk of these conditions. 
“People must be careful with caffeine, especially if they have high blood pressure,” said Dr. Charalambos Vlachopoulos from the Cardiology Department of the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, Greece. ”After drinking a cup of coffee, blood pressure can rise up to five or even 10 millimeters of mercury. The amount depends on the individual and dose. Regular rises of this magnitude are important in a person's long-term prognosis and could increase their risk of suffering from a stroke or heart attack,” Vlachopoulos said. “I think that people with high blood pressure...should consider reducing their caffeine intake or having caffeine-free drinks.” 
Effects of CaffeineThe researchers gave a group of 10 healthy volunteers either inactive placebo capsules or capsules containing 100 milligrams of caffeine — a quantity equivalent to one cup of coffee. On another day, the volunteers received the opposite capsule from the previous dosage. Neither the volunteers nor the testers knew the sequence in which the volunteers had been given the capsules. Caffeine consumption caused an increase in wave reflection — a measure of arterial stiffness — for at least two hours, according to the study results. 
In other research, Dr. M. O'Rourke and colleagues at St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia, presented data at the 22nd Congress of the European Society of Cardiology linking caffeine consumption with alterations in the aorta, the main artery supplying blood to the body. In this study, 18 middle-aged healthy volunteers consumed 250 mg of caffeine (equivalent to two or three cups). The results showed that caffeine led to a loss of aortic elasticity, and raised blood pressure. The elasticity of the aorta is linked to heart function and coronary blood flow, the researchers say. 
In yet another study of 15 healthy volunteers, Dr. Georg Noll and colleagues at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland, showed for the first time that coffee drinking results in a pronounced blood pressure increase in non-habitual coffee drinkers, but did not apparently have the same effect in regular coffee drinkers. In the study, blood pressure, heart rate and other measurements were continuously recorded before and after drinking coffee (triple espresso), decaffeinated triple espresso, an intravenous infusion of caffeine, or placebo. 
Other bad news about caffeine... According to a study conducted in Finland, those people who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, compared with people who drank less coffee. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's defenses attack its own tissues. It is more common in women, tends to strike between the ages of 36 and 50, and results in a chronic destruction and deformity of the joints. Smoking, high cholesterol, being overweight and certain dietary factors have also been linked with a higher risk of the disease, according to the report in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2000;59;631-635). 
Dr. Maarku Heliovaara of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki and colleagues looked at data from nearly 19,000 healthy men and women who entered a study in the early 1970s and were followed for 15 years. In that time, 126 people developed rheumatoid arthritis and 89 of those people had detectable levels of rheumatoid factor — an antibody that is often found in the blood years before the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Coffee drinkers were at higher risk of developing rheumatoid factor-associated rheumatoid arthritis. 
The results “should be viewed as the first step in support of the hypothesis that coffee consumption has a causative role in the development of rheumatoid factor positive rheumatoid arthritis,” the researchers write. Currently rheumatoid arthritis affects more than two million people in the US, according to the American College of Rheumatology. Too much caffeine has also been shown to raise women’s risk for incontinence. 
According to a report in the July issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Obstetrics and Gynecology 2000;96:85-89), women who drink more than four cups of brewed coffee a day — or consume a lot of caffeine from other sources — may be putting themselves at risk for urinary incontinence. These women may be more than twice as likely to suffer from a weakened bladder muscle — known as unstable bladder — as women who consume less caffeine. Unstable bladder is a major cause of urinary incontinence, especially in older women. 
 The researchers from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, compared fluid and caffeine intake in 131 women with an unstable bladder and 128 women without the condition. Patients measured and recorded their daily intake of tea, cola, cocoa and coffee — both caffeinated and decaffeinated, which contains a small amount of caffeine, and brewed and instant. Women who consumed an average of 484 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day, or about three to four cups of coffee, were more likely to have an unstable bladder compared with women who consumed an average of 194 mg caffeine, or one to two cups of coffee a day. Although caffeine is a diuretic — a drug that increases urinary output — the women who were high-caffeine consumers tended to have signs of unstable bladder even when drinking water. While women who smoked and those older than 55 years were also more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence, caffeine consumption remained a risk factor regardless of these other variables. “Based on the present findings, it would be prudent to advise women to avoid excessive caffeine intake...more than 400 mg/day (equivalent to four cups of brewed coffee),” Arya and colleagues conclude. Women who are suffering symptoms of incontinence, such as uncontrolled leakage of urine when laughing or coughing, may want to limit caffeine even further, the authors add. 
Additionally, another recent study reported in the journal Diabetes Care (Volume 25, Number 2, February 2002) looked at the effect of caffeine and insulin sensitivity. In a randomized double blind, crossover design study, 12 healthy volunteers were administered caffeine or a placebo intravenously in a dose that equaled moderate consumption. Results showed that moderate consumption of caffeine reduced insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects 15%. Caffeine also increased catecholamines, plasma free fatty acids, and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The moderate consumption of caffeine caused a five fold increase in epinephrine. Epinephrine increases the production of glucose in the liver and interferes with the ability of muscle and fat cells to use glucose. 
Found in coffee, tea and soft drinks, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. In the Western world, eight out of 10 adults consume caffeine in some form. Based on a 5-ounce cup, brewed coffee contains 128 mg of caffeine, instant coffee contains 66 mg, decaffeinated coffee contains 3 mg, non-herbal tea contains 38 mg, and hot chocolate contains 4 mg of caffeine. Based on an 8-ounce glass, iced tea contains 47 mg of caffeine, and cola drinks contain about 24 mg. 
Do yourself a favor, wake up to the negative effects of caffeine and avoid it.

Update on the greens and hash browns

I posted on the weekend about my food prep for hash browns and greens.   Yesterday I said I wasn't a big fan.  Today I decided I really like it with the kohlrabi "hash browns" rather than potato.  Here was lunch:

The kohlrabi cooks up nice with the onions and greens, no gooey stickiness like the potatoes.  I love potatoes, but not in this recipe.  This was really good, just with onions, kohlrabi, kale, collards.  I added some flavored vinegar for a little extra flavor.  I got some fancy vinegars a while back and this was champagne pear or something.  I think you can't go wrong with any high-quality fruit balsamic vinegar.      

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Food lately

I've been busy and will be even more busy the next 10 days.  Fortunately food prep is pretty much a breeze these days.   Here are some snapshots I took this week.

This is something I like for breakfast or dessert or a snack:  frozen fruit and home made soy yogurt.  I like how the soy yogurt freezes onto the fruit.  This batch was particularly good because the mangoes and blueberries were quite good (from a very good local produce store):

Here's a more hearty breakfast with buckwheat groats.  I like this a lot.  You can soak the groats overnight or just cook them in the morning.  I usually soak them overnight, then rinse off the gooey water, then heat in the microwave for a minute, then let sit for a bit, and then it's ready to eat.  I add soy yogurt (or not) and frozen or fresh fruit, and when I remember, cinnamon (need to remember that more).

On to lunch.  I made this salad a few days ago.  It's tomatoes, cucumber, kohlrabi, soy yogurt, and dill.  The cucumber was a little bitter but the kohlrabi was good.  It might be too crunchy for some people.  I had part of this for lunch, part for dinner.

You might get the impression that I eat a lot of soy yogurt.  Actually I only use a small amount on most dishes.  I probably average 1/2 jar a day so that's only 2.2 oz of soy milk.  Some days I eat a whole jar, others none (like today).

On the weekend I talked about food prep I did for potato and kohlrabi hash browns and greens (which I'm not thrilled with, see below).  Here it is cooking up with onions.  I browned the onions first, then added water, the potatoes and kohlrabi, then greens on top, and let it cook.  Oh, freezing the greens is great because you just crinkle them and they break into small pieces--no chopping.  Freezing the potatoes and kohlrabi, I'm not so sure.  I have to use a hammer to break off a serving for cooking (and then microwave to thaw).  And the preparation was kind of a mess and involved cleaning the food processor (I don't have an automatic dishwasher so prefer fewer dishes to wash).

Here it is cooked up, with corn on the cob.  oh cool, it's Green Bay Packers colors.  That drink by the way is veggie broth.  Whenever I steam veggies, I make "tea" out of the water.  I don't know what I steamed this day.  Maybe I just used the water from boiling the corn.

Now, I'm not a big fan of the hash browns and greens.  I think mixing greens with things can ruin them.  Next time I will try cooking them separately and see if I like that better--so hash browns get their own spot on the plate.  I like greens by themselves anyway--you can add vinegar if you think they need something. 

Today I finally had mashed potatoes!  This lunch was so good and healthy compared to the usual version (no butter, salt, milk).  I cooked up onion, garlic (just 1/2 clove so as not to overwhelm), potatoes, drained the water (used it for "tea" again, along with corn water), then added some soy milk and whipped them up.  The onion and garlic added a nice flavor, along with some fresh parsley and no-salt seasoning.   It helps to brown the onions so they get a sweet flavor.   I thoroughly enjoyed this comfort meal.  I wish I had eaten it more slowly!  Hey, more Packer colors.  Maybe that's why I like this meal so much.

Okay, now dinners.  I usually have two dinners.  Well, I have 4 meals a day, none of which are very big. I have my first dinner about 5 pm, at work.  Then my second dinner about 8 pm when I get home.  My first dinner has the most calories probably.   Yesterday I had burger collard wraps.  I love these!  I cooked up the burger in my new grill pan, which I also love!  I love how it makes grill marks.  Silly, but fun.  Okay, the toppings for the burger were, from left to right, mustard (no-salt), soy yogurt, 2 grapes and some cherry tomatoes slices (I call that ketchup!), and in the bowl, sliced cucumbers and red onions soaked in d'angou pear vinegar (with dill if available).  This is easy to prepare and enjoyable to eat.  I boil the collards for a bit to soften them up.

That was my 5 pm meal yesterday.  Today it was tofu jambalaya.  And I usually have a lot of raw carrots--we get them fresh from the farmer's market now and about half of them are super sweet.  It's funny when you bite into one, you don't know if it will be normal tasting or candy tasting.  

When I get home at 7:30 pm or so, I just want something light and easy.  Salad fits the bill usually.  Today it was lettuce, tomatoes (from the garden!), mushrooms cooked in the microwave with date syrup and ground flax seeds, a little red and green bell pepper, and a little parsley (leftover from lunch).  It was very enjoyable.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Cooking

Today I was in the mood for tofu jambalaya.  This is a recipe from Susan Voison's blog.  However, I modified it quite a lot.  I used twice as much rice, and it was a mixture of forbidden (black) and brown rice.  Since that takes longer to cook than white rice, I started the rice up with veggie broth, while cooking up the other veggies in a fry pan.  I added a small eggplant because I had it (without the peel).  I used fresh tomatoes from the garden and farmer's market along with 1 can.   I added some tomato paste at the end for more flavor.  It turned out excellent.  I so love this dish.  After eating a lot of it, I fit the rest in 2 4-cup bowls:
I decided to freeze one.  I hope that works okay after thawing.

I also had a fun idea, inspired by my purchases at the farmer's market (potatoes, kohlrabi) and my overflowing greens in the garden (kale, collards).  I thought:  oooh, hash browns and greens for breakfast!  --or a quick meal.  So to save time later, I prepped and froze the potatoes and greens.

Here's a whole bunch of kale and collards.  I figured, I should start freezing this anyway to have during the winter:

Here they are packed into 3 1-gallon bags  (one is only half-full):

I used the food processor to make "slaw" out of the potatoes:

Then packed them into bags for the freezer:

Then I thought, what about hash brown kohlrabi?    I got this giant kohlrabi (some new version that isn't woody when it grows large):

I prepped that like the potatoes.  

With all the cooking I did today, I also had lots of scraps. I made some veggie broth from some (for the tofu jambalaya), I froze some of them for future veggie broth, and the rest went out to compost.  Here's some of the frozen ones:

I spent about 2 hours on the food prep, and another hour on cleanup:

But it was fun.  I enjoyed it.  My meals should be fun and easy this week.  I'll try to post about it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hojo burgers

My friend Holly has been inventing great burger recipes.  She gave me permission to share.  I haven't tried them yet but will.  They are gluten-free.   One is based on a recipe by Lukas Volger, who has this book:  Veggie burgers every which way.

Holly's Pueblo CakesMakes 7 patties

  • 4 cups diced raw sweet potatoes, or 3 cups cooked
  • 1 15-oz. can small white beans, low sodium, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups homemade)
  • ½ medium red onion, finely diced (about ½ cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, finely ground in a food processor OR 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, deskinned and chopped
  • 4 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Prepare the whole poblano pepper by laying over an open flame or putting on a hot grill you are using for something else, or under the broiler.  Get it charred on all sides and then lay it to rest under a dish towel until ready to use.   When ready to use it, rinse under cold water and the skin will slide right off.  Remove stem and seed pod and chop pepper.

    If using raw sweet potatoes, cook in microwave until soft.  You need 3 cups cooked to work with.  In large mixing bowl add sweet potatoes and white beans and mash with potato masher to break up the beans somewhat.  Mix well and add the onion, garlic, poblano pepper, cilantro and oats.  Mix well and add dried spices and cooca powder, again mixing well.  Form into equal sized patties (I got 7 4 oz. patties from this batch) and bake on foil-lined cookie sheet in hot (400*) oven for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 15 more.  The patties will be golden brown when done. 

    Quinoa Beet Greens Burgers
    modified from this recipe
    Makes 8 burgers

    I used red and black quinoa and beet greens for this.

    2 bunches beet greens, stemmed and washed (12 oz)
    2 cups cooked quinoa, preferably colorful   
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    2/3 cup finely chopped cooked beets
    2/3 cup finely chopped cooked onion (I had roasted onions on hand, so I used those.  Otherwise a quick dry saute would work here.)
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 garlic cloves
    1 15 oz can no salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    2 T chopped fresh dill
    1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Freshly ground pepper

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Either steam the beet greens for 2 minutes above 1 inch boiling water, or blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain, squeeze out excess water, and chop medium-fine. Place in a large bowl with the cooked quinoa.
    2. Mix cooked beets and cooked onion and add the ginger, cumin and the garli nto the quinoa and beet greens mixture and stir well.    
    3. Using a potato masher, crush the chickpeas along with the lemon juice Add to the quinoa mixture and stir everything together. Add the chopped fresh dill.

    Cook the burgers.  I cooked these on the grill and they held together ok.   I think next time I will just put them on a foil-lined cookie sheet or silpat and cook in the oven, perhaps pan-frying first as the orignal recipe states:

    4. Begin heating a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Seasoned cast iron is good, and so is a heavy nonstick pan that can go into the oven. Moisten your hands lightly and shape 8 large or 4 smaller patties. Working in batches if necessary, cook the patties for 1 to 2 minutes on one side, until nicely browned. Carefully turn the patties over and place the pan in the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the patties are lightly browned; if they fall apart you can patch them together with some pressure from the spatula. Remove from the heat and serve, with or without buns, ketchup and the works. (I thought mustard went really well with these)

    Yield: 8 appetizer sized or 4 large burgers.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    quick update

    Not much time to post today and maybe for the next few days.  Just a couple of fun things to report:

    1)  Today I bought lunch from a food cart.  Not only was it healthy, it was good.  this is a rare treat.  I got it from this cart:  Igo Vego.  Now I'm trying to remember which one I got.  I asked for the gluten free option and I think it was the mystic mushroom but it might have been a different burger on top of the rice.  She said soon most of the burgers will be gluten-free.  The rice has no salt or oil, the burgers have no oil, little salt.  They do put a little oil on the grill to fry but you can ask them to use water instead.  She showed me the nutritional info on the entrees, and the salt, fat and sugar look to be well within acceptable limits.   Isn't that cool?   And they are good!  woo hoo!  Oh, and then at the terrace where I was eating lunch, I bought a grilled corn on the cob.  Nice to know you can buy lunch and healthy treats on the go.
    2) Tomorrow I'm going to a cookout and the host asked if there is a veggie burger she could buy or make, and I said, "I have some in my freezer, can I just bring those?" and she said, Yes!   She will also have fruit salad and green salad.  How easy is that?  I love having these burgers on hand in the freezer!
    3) Yesterday, I went computer shopping, and it turns out the computer store is right next to the fun kitchen store.  I've been wanting a grill pan, a small fry pan, and a small pot.  I got all three, paying way too much for the small pot but going for the impulse convenience of it all.  Here is my grill pan in action:

    Chef AJ has gone low-fat!

    Here is the story on that.  Chef AJ is a very fun plant-strong chef.  I didn't make many of her recipes because they were rich in nuts and dates.  But no more!   She is revising her recipe book, Unprocessed, and will release a low-fat version.  Yea!   I will definitely buy it.  She is a very fun writer.  I enjoyed reading her story in Unprocessed.  This article about her also has some great quotes.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    July 17th food logs

    Here's what I ate today.

    Breakfast was cooked quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, with blueberries, mango, cinnamon, and a dash of soy milk.  The cooked cereal was too gooey.  I need to experiment more to see what textures and flavors I like best.  I'm thinking the buckwheat might come out on top when I figure out how I like to cook it.

    Here was lunch:
    That's a collard wrap with Jeff Novick's kasha burger (yum yum yum), oven fried potatoes with some soy yogurt, and kale, onions, and zucchini.

    Here's a close up on the yummy potatoes.  These are baked first, then cut, then broiled until brown.  I added my favorite seasoning, Penzey's mural of flavors, before broiling.    I love these:

    Here's assembly of the collard wrap:  boiled the collard, 1/2 burger on top,

    Then top with my yummy condiments:  "pickles" (cucumber with d'angou pear vinegar), salsa, soy yogurt, onions (also marinated in d'angou pear vinegar), sautéed mushrooms.  Then roll it up.

    Dinner was the same except a baked sweet potato replaced the oven fries.

    Snack was a baked beet and kohlrabi.

    okay, all was well until I ate too many of the profits from our purchase today.  I bought 10 lbs of blueberries from a local produce store.  They are really good.  I ate some in the car, I ate some in the office, and I ate a whole bunch when I got home and was filling up the freezer bags.

    Then while housemate enjoyed some blueberries and ice cream, I enjoyed some blueberries, mangos and soy yogurt.
    And if that wasn't enough, I had a second helping, this time with half a banana instead of mango.

    So I don't know how many blueberries I had.  I was logging my food in cronometer until the blueberries started pouring into my mouth.   I don't want to know what damage I did.  I am going to bury my head in the sand.   However, I can say that my starches and grains totaled 932 calories, my veggies were 315 calories, and I ate 2.3 lbs of veggies.  My fruit proportion may have dominated the calories (I don't want to know!).    One thing to note is my potatoes are pretty small, and my sweet potatoes are pretty big, so I think I'll cut my sweet potatoes in half for a daily portion.    I might go without the beets too--I think that oxalic acid bothers my throat a bit.   We've been missing sweet corn this week because of being away at lunchtime.  Tomorrow I hope to score some corn and maybe not bother with the sweet potato at all.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Today's food logs--July 16

    Today I logged my food and calories--see the bottom of the post for a breakdown by food category (some of my nutritarian friends were interested to see how my diet has changed).  

    I was going to take pictures of all my meals, but I forgot to take my cell phone to work, so lunch is missing.  

    Breakfast was buckwheat, cinnamon, mango, and a bit of soy milk.  I combined buckwheat groats and buckwheat cereal.   I won't post a recipe until I improve on it.

    Lunch was red beans and rice-yum yum yum yum, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and baked sweet potato (topped with pumpkin pie spice).   Snack was baked kohlrabi and 2 big carrots.

    Dinner was potato fries, using Jeff Novick's method for cooking (awesome!):
    I seasoned them with Penzey's mural of flavors, and dipped them in soy yogurt.  yum yum yum;

    and a  giant salad:  head of romaine, big yellow tomato, cucumber, 1 T ground flaxseed, d'angou pear and some other flavored vinegar).   I snacked on this while doing a whole bunch of food prep.

    Now this food prep I did is something I'd prefer to do on the weekend.  But we decided to go shopping tomorrow at lunch and Wednesday is usually a rush too, so I decided to make a bunch of stuff ahead.  I made Jeff Novick's kasha burger which I really like!   I just taste-tested it.  I pan-grilled (just heated it in a pan) one of them for tomorrow.  I'll split it in 2 for collard wraps at lunch and dinner.  Here are the other three for later.  I'll freeze two and probably eat the other one on Wed.   They almost look too much like real burgers...

    Then I had to make all the fun toppings.  An excellent salsa with a little mango and grapes and corn for added flavor (and used the rest of the tomatoes from the can---I only needed 2 T for the burger recipe).  yum yum:

    I also prepped onions and cucumbers soaked in a little fruit-infused vinegar.  and some fried mushrooms.  it will be fun tomorrow!

    Here is the calorie summary of today's food:  The total was 1465.  protein was 60 g (12.5%), fat 12 g (7%).

    The percentage of calories from different food groups was:
    starches:  626 calories, 43% of total
    grains:  293 calories, 20% of total
    vegetables:   354 calories; 24% of total (3.55 lbs!)
    fruit:  112 calories, 8% of total
    seeds:  27 calories, 2%
    vinegar: 28 calories, 2%

    So you can see that starches and grains dominate the calories even though I ate 3.55 lbs of vegetables.  I prefer having starches dominate my calories rather than fruit and nuts.  It feels more satiating.  It is almost impossible to have non-starchy vegetables dominate your calories.   

    Sunday, July 15, 2012


    So what does a girl who doesn't eat wheat or processed sweeteners, and is lazy, do for dessert?   This is a good one:

    That's frozen fruit and soy yogurt.  The fruit is what I use for housemate's smoothie.  So it's in the freezer, ready to go.  It's a mixture of berries and some sweeter fruit like bananas and pineapple.

    Random thoughts

    In the last few weeks, I've been exploring being less strict with my eating choices--a little maple syrup here, a little salt there, low-fat graham crackers, ezekial cereals and breads and wraps, some decaff coffee and green tea once in a while.  And I am surprised to report that I really do prefer not eating those things (except the decaff coffee and green tea).   Now I wouldn't normally object to ezekial cereals and breads (these are sprouted whole wheat mostly), but I discovered that I'm allergic to wheat!  One day I had all three of the wheat products:  a bowl of cereal, a sprouted wheat tortilla and a piece of sprouted wheat bread and it was just like the old days when I had allergies--my nose got runny, I got congested, and I was nauseous--blech.  I felt yucky the next day too--I didn't even go mountain biking on our designated Camrock Friday--that's a first for me.  This makes me wonder if all those years when I had what I thought were seasonal allergies, maybe I just had a wheat allergy.  They did get worse in the summer though.

    So for me, wheat is out.

    And the maple syrup tastes really good but, alas, it is too stimulating for me--it gives me a sugar high followed by an unpleasant low.  I remember when I was a kid, and on the rare occasions we got panakes with syrup I always enjoyed eating it, but always felt sick afterwards.  Dang, why does there have to be a consequence from something that tastes so good?

    I'm very surprised to report that I don't like any added salt.  I thought I'd enjoy just a bit--under 1500 mg per day total which is considered healthy.  But I actually prefer the unsalted taste better.

    I have enjoyed a cup of decaff coffee with a friend in a coffee shop a few times.  I don't do that often enough for it to be a problem I think, less than once a week.  and there is this decaff green tea that has 10 mg of caffeine per cup.  I like that too.  I don't think I need it every day but if I decide I do want it every day, I don't think that's a problem.

    So thanks to my many years on the Fuhrman program, I really do prefer foods as unprocessed as possible:  without added sweeteners and salt.  And I will stick with gluten-free intact grains, such as rice, buckwheat, and quinoa.  I'm still experimenting with the oats.  I'm suspicious that I have a problem with them too, even the gluten-free ones.   But I will enjoy some decaff coffee occasionally, maybe even with sweetened soy milk (my one sugar concession and it's not much).

    Another random observations is that my favorite no-salt herb mixture is Penzey's mural of flavors.  The lemon and orange peel in this actually resembles a salt bite.  (it also has citric acid in it--I hope that's not bad).

    The other thing I wanted to tell you is that a lot of people have been asking how different my diet is now, so now that I've settled on a pretty stable way of eating, I'll start posting my food logs again.  I'll try to get started on that tomorrow.  I may do an occasional calorie analysis since people have been asking about that too.  Thanks for your comments and questions.  I enjoy hearing from you.

    veggie broth

    I've been pursuing cookbooks and was reminded how easy it is to make veggie broth and how I could use that in my cooked rice and for all kinds of things.  So today I made veggie broth out of my veggie refuse:  that was celery ends, carrot ends, watermelon rinds (no one ever said not to, right?),  broccoli stems, cauliflower leaves, broth from boiling sweet corn, and broth from steaming broccoli and cauliflower.   Here is ti cooked up.

    I'll strain this into a bowl.  I guess I will freeze it into smaller container because I'm not going to do much cooking over the next few days.  I have lots of leftovers and easy meals planned.

    The Bravo! cookbook provides this useful tip of things not to include:  artichoke and eggplant trimmings, and the outer layers of onions.  They add a bitter flavor.  

    Today's broth tastes a lot like celery because I trimmed a bunch of celery for serving up with salsa.  But it is quite good.


    I've tried different ways of making oat breakfasts and this is one I like (which also means it's pretty easy).  

    1/2 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup soymilk
    1 prune
    a small piece of fruit (or half a large one).  e.g., peach, apricot (in season right now), banana.

    two methods to make this:
    1)   chop the prune.  soak the oats and prune in the water and soy milk overnight.  heat in microwave for a couple minutes until hot, (time depends on your power setting).  Chop the fruit and add, along with cinnamon  If it's a hot summer say, you don't have to heat it much.
    2)  chop the prune.  combine the oats, prune, water and soy milk.  heat in microwave for a few minutes until very hot.  wait about 5-10 minutes.  heat again.  Chop the fruit and add, along with cinnamon.

    Here's this morning's with a peach:


    I was checking the ingredients on store-bought salsa and, besides the usual tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, and cilantro, the two main flavor ingredients are salt and sugar.  I taste-tested a few of these, one with less salt, the other with less sugar (hard to find one with less of both); and decided I could do better.  I can, and it's easy.  But I got a good idea from the store-bought salsa, and that is to add a fruit of some sort to sweeten it up, since I don't use salt.  I'm sure there are lots you could use, but I found grapes work great.  Mango would probably be good too.

    1 can tomatoes (no salt)
    a little bit of chopped red onion
    a little bit of got pepper, or I just use a little chipotle powder
    cilantro if you like it
    bell pepper (any color) if you happen to have one around
    a handful of grapes, chopped
    anything else you think would be good

    Combine it into a bowl, stir, serve. It tastes as good or better after sitting for a while in the fridge but is good at any point.

    Yesterday's version before stirring:  tomatoes, orange bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, grapes, chipotle powder:

    after stirring:

    today's version--can tomatoes, cilantro, grapes, some chopped yellow tomato (didn't have bell peppers), chipotle powder:

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    catch up

    Wow, so much has happened in the last 3 weeks, I haven't had a chance to post.  I have so much to write about but 1) maybe it's not that interesting after all, and 2) it might be hard to remember it all.   So I'll just give a photo tour of the last month, starting from today and going backwards.

    Tonight's dinner was leftovers from yesterday's cookout and whatever veggies I could find in the fridge.  The veggies were surprisingly good:  1/2 onion dry fried, to which I added water, then beet greens, zucchini, and at the end, red bell pepper.  I seasoned with date balsamic vinegar.  Wow, was that good.  It was like a really good stir-fry.  It would have been good over brown rice but I wasn't hungry enough for that because I also had an ear of corn and a collard wrap with 1/2 of a veggie burger in it (more on that in a sec):

    Today's lunch was also leftovers from yesterday's cookout.  I made Jeff Novick's "burgers and fries" from his Fast Food 2 DVD.  I love these!  The burgers are a bit bland on their own, but when you top then with "pickles", salsa, mustard, tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and soy yogurt, and wrap them in a parboiled collard, they are quite yummy!  plus they have a smoky flavor from grilling.  The fries are outstanding!  I highly recommend JN's way of making oven fries--best I've ever had, and to me better than french fries.  Here's my lunch with the partially eaten corn on the cob.  The home-fries are topped with the salsa and soy yogurt.

    The other excitement for today were the first tomatoes from our garden, and they were good!

    Here's the spread from yesterday's cookout.  It was so fun!  Oh, the "pickles" I made were simply cut up cucumbers soaked in d'angou pear vinegar and fresh dill (length of time doesn't matter, 0 minutes to 2 days).   I made home-made salsa with canned tomatoes, onion, cilantro, bell pepper, and the secret ingredient:  chopped grapes.  well, the store-bought salsa (and ketchup) often has sugar in it so the grapes are my substitute.  Of course, you'd want peppers too but our guests don't like peppers.

    Here's my JN burger collard wrap.  I learned from this that 1/2 burger fits better than a whole.  Today I made 2 collard wraps from one burger and had one at lunch and one at dinner.  This was much more eatable:

    Sweet corn season started this week for us when we got back from the golf tournament.   It is picked daily and is part of our lunch most days.  It is fantastic.  On this day, we also had kale, summer squash and onion on one side of the plate, a little potato salad (potato, soy yogurt, dill) and cucumber tomato salad (similar) on the other side of the plate.

    Here was another day this week with kale, onion, potato, green beans, and corn:

    Now for a couple of pictures from last week's golf tournament (US Women's open in Kohler WI).  The food at the tournament was all inedible for me (hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream, chips), and you can't bring in food, so I usually biked in the morning, ate lunch, then joined my friends at the tournament for the afternoon.  We stayed with family so I had a kitchen and could prepare my food the night before: baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, kohlrabi, cooked kale and onions and zucchini, and JN burger collard wraps with soy yogurt.  Worked good.  Breakfast was oats, fruit and soy milk.  One day I rode my bike by the farmer's market downtown.  I love the festive atmosphere of farmer's markets, but I often feel left out because the prepared food is all off limits for me:  pastries, cookies, sausages, fried this and that.  So I was momentarily mopey until I saw the roasted sweet corn!

    Then I spotted the watermelon!

    So I was quite delighted, and got to eat my yummy food and listen to the music with everyone else.

    Before the golf tournament was the Farms to Forks weekend immersion!   This was WONDERFUL.  Rip Esselstyn was a great master of ceremonies (and extremely handsome!).

    Caldwell Esselstyn explained how to prevent and reverse heart disease:

    Ann Esselstyn had great advice about food shopping and prep.  She describes Rip's book (Engine 2 diet) as Plant-strong, and Caldwell's book (Reverse Heart Disease) as Plant-perfect.

     Jeff Novick gave outstanding lectures about why we're fat, calorie density, reading labels, and fast food demos.  He's my hero!

    Doug Lisle gave us lots of great advice on psychology.  I am in love with him.

    Here we are having dinner on the farm:

    No midwest outdoor summer event would be complete without a severe thunderstorm:

    There's a funny story there with my friend Gail who spent the storm in a lean-to with a donkey and a lamb.

    Here's the farm peacock.  (Gail, what was his name again?)

    Finally, going back further in time was our emergency trip to Colorado to ferry a family member home.  That was a fun little unexpected adventure.  I cooked up a bunch of starchy veggies to take with me--potatoes, sweet potatoes, jicama, and carrots:

    This was supplemented with large salads.  I should have brought oatmeal for breakfast.

    Whew, so that was the last month.  I have some more things to post about--maybe tomorrow.