Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

What I Ate Wednesday

I had to keep track of what I ate for a day for something, so I figured – why not take pictures and post a What I Ate Wednesday?

Breakfast:

breakfast

This is 1 scrambled egg with some swiss (Jarlsberg) and sauteed onions. I also had a slice of whole grain toast with butter, a pear (some of it is unpictured – I was snacking as I prepped the plate), some sliced tomato (from Maria’s garden in NJ – Maria is my Grammie’s caretaker), sauteed onions, and sauerkraut (homemade by Maria).

It was really delicious. I have been eating a lot of sauerkraut lately because Maria gave me a big container of it.

I also had an unpictured 1/2 cup of coffee with coconut creamer.

Lunch:

lunch

This was from a place called Essen. They have a hot/cold bar so I got a little bit of everything – salad, fish, chicken, cauliflower, and a piece of a turkey wrap.

Unpictured lunch dessert: iced coffee with cream + 1 mini reeses cup.

Afternoon snack: the picture came out terribly, so I will just explain – I had some veggie sides from an organic store a few blocks from my office. A couple squashes (kabocha and acorn) and a small scoop of curry stew.

Dinner: was with Bobby and a friend at Bareburger. (The friend recently got a job at my company and he wanted to take us out.) I got the “California” burger with a farmers quinoa veggie burger. It came in a lettuce wrap with avocado, cheddar, watercress, and tomato (hold the onions). We all shared the rings & fries side with assorted ketchups. (These are not my pictures; I didn’t really want to bust out the camera in public.)

veggie-burger

(source)

rings-fries

(source)

Dessert: was a couple small peaches from my Grammie’s peach tree. Another NJ find.

By the time we got home it was late and B and I both crashed into bed. Another productive Wednesday :)

What is your favorite kind of burger?

Mine is anything with avocado / bacon / cheese!

A Girly Breakfast – Yogurt and Fruit

You know, I really enjoy my manly breakfasts, but sometimes all a girl wants is some sweet cherries, creamy yogurt, and peanut butter. Loooots of peanut butter.

In this case, loooots of PB2. Yep, I still order PB2 – I try not to use it too often as it’s expensive, but I pull it out at least a few times a week. I’m still plugging away at the shipment I got over a year ago (16 jars, I think).

This breakfast bowl consists of:

  • Fage 2% Greek yogurt (almost a cup?)
  • ~1/2 cup of chopped cherries (I keep typing “cheeries“)
  • 2 tablespoons of PB2, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • a few drops of vanilla stevia

I’ve had it every morning this week for breakfast! I wonder when I will get tired of it.

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In other news, I have slooooowly been going back through my old posts and editing them. I have found some great old recipes if you want to check them out! It’s really interesting to me to see how my taste has evolved (but in some cases not evolved at all) over the years.

Blueberry Muffins (no picture – first post)

Tofu Apple Butter Dip

Vegan Tofu Fruit Dip (great with apples)

Apples and Brussels Sprouts

Apples and Brussels Sprouts

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread Picture

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

These were all baked in a very old, decrepit kitchen in Collegetown in Ithaca, NY. They were tried by roommates and friends. I think I remember the oatmeal bread being a favorite – I’m pretty sure I made it several times.

***

What is your favorite thing to make for people? What is your favorite breakfast? Do you like fruit and yogurt as much as I do?

Strawberries and Cream – All That’s Missing Is the Blue!

Last week I picked up these beautiful local strawberries from Whole Foods in Columbus Circle. They were perfectly ripe. They were small and sweet and I think if they had been left out another day they would have gone bad – which means that they were at their absolute peak.

I can’t have fresh, local strawberries without whipped cream and this time was no exception. A while back I gave up processed food and that includes whipped cream from a spray can. So I got heavy whipping cream instead, and made it in my food processor.

Strawberries & Cream

Ingredients

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • A few teaspoons of sugar or the equivalent of stevia (stevia is optimal – I try not to eat much sugar at all; note if you use liquid stevia it is probably best to add it at the end or else it will interfere with the cream’s ability to whip up right)

Method

  1. Whip the cream and add some sugar (or stevia), to taste.
  2. Slice the strawberries.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Eat :)

This is a sweet treat that I learned from my mom. It’s perfect for breakfast or dessert. Or a snack. Or for dinner.

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Happy Fourth! Enjoy this Red and White treat with something BLUE. Like BLUEberries or BLUEs music.

Complex Versus Simple Carbohydrates

I got this question at work the other day (we’re a fairly healthy-minded bunch):

What are complex carbs vs simple carbs?

This question seems complex, but the answer is quite simple. Simple carbs and complex carbs end up in the same place of the nutrition facts label, but they are most certainly different.

Are all carbs bad?

Clearly not all carbohydrates are bad. We need carbs to live – glucose (what carbs break down to in your body) is what your body uses for energy. That’s why when you eat a candy bar you get hyper for a little while – your body just got a big dose of easy-to-use energy because the carbs were partially processed before they got to your stomach. Simple carbs and complex carbs both turn into sugar in the body; the process just happens faster for simple carbs.

McDonald's Soft Serve Vanilla Ice Cream Cone

I’m pretty sensitive to sugar (too many sweet treats = too many pimples). In addition to my skin sensitivity to sugar, I also seem to have either a mental or physical reaction to eating it – once I start it’s hard to stop! If I have a McD’s cone as a snack I also want one for dessert that night, for a snack the next day, and forever more. So I try to avoid sugar to avoid sugar cravings and bad acne. When it comes down to complex versus simple carbohydrates, complex is what I choose, especially complex carbs from veggies.

Which carbs are bad for us?

Most scientists agree that the faster carbs (simple, or white carbs; meaning they convert to sugar quickly) are the worst type of carbohydrate. This is mainly because they spike blood sugar, which has a number of negative long-term effects including a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. These carbs include (and thus I try* to avoid…):

  • Processed carbs like white bread, white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup (also regular corn syrup)*
  • Processed carbs like candy, cookies, most baked goods*
  • Fake sweeteners (not technically carbs because they have no calories – but they give me a stomachache, a headache, and it’s probably not good to eat frankenfood chemicals)
I love muffins!

I love muffins!

*I still eat these things, but in moderation when I want them. Artisan bread with smooth creamy butter? On occasion, yes please!

Which carbs are good in moderation?

There is definitely a middle ground when it comes to complex versus simple carbs, and that middle ground is whole grain-y things (for me). They’re not the easiest foods to digest (see IBS), but they certainly are delicious. These guys include:

  • Unprocessed grains like rice (white or brown).* (I grew up hating rice but now I LOVE it. I usually have it several times a week. It’s especially good with ghee, aka clarified butter.)
  • Oatmeal (steel cut, regular – preferably not instant).
  • Winter squash (these are my favorite foods, but it’s easy to get a stomachache if you eat too much of them; squash also has lots of beta-carotene – but beware the orange glow).

I love having rice with veggies, like in bi-bim-bap (pictured above – veggies, egg, beef over rice). In fact, I just like mixing foods together in general. Mix-it-up bowls are possibly the greatest invention ever.

Which carbs are good for us?

Most vegetable carbohydrates are good for our bodies. Some of my favorite carbs are…

  • Root veggies like carrots, parsnips, winter squash (kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, butternut, etc…)
  • Non-root veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, peppers, yadda yadda yadda… Veggies are a diet staple.
  • Fruits (but not too much). Fruit makes me break out as well in large (more than 1 a day) quantities. Some lower-sugar fruits that I really like are: papaya, blueberries, berries in general, cranberry juice (without sugar) and spritzer, lime/lemon juice and spritzer, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew).

***

Do you eat a lot of carbs? Do you avoid any? Which are your favorites?

When it comes down to complex carbs vs simple carbs, it’s probably better to choose the complex ones. But remember to include healthy fats (including saturated fat – it’s good for the brain) and protein. Out of the simple carbs, sugar is probably the worst. At least that is what works for me!

Big Fat Video Links – Weekend Link Love

I watched 3 really interesting videos in the last 3 days. The first was a documentary on Hulu called Fat Head. Here’s the summary:

Have you seen the news stories about the obesity epidemic? Did you see Super Size Me? Then guess what? … You’ve been fed a load of bologna.

Comedian (and former health writer) Tom Naughton replies to the blame-McDonald’s crowd by losing weight on a fat-laden fast-food diet while demonstrating that nearly everything we’ve been told about obesity and healthy eating is wrong. Along with some delicious parody of Super Size Me, Naughton serves up plenty of no-bologna facts that will stun most viewers, such as: The obesity “epidemic” has been wildly exaggerated by the CDC. People the government classifies as “overweight” have longer lifespans than people classified as “normal weight.” Having low cholesterol is unhealthy. Lowfat diets can lead to depression and type II diabetes. Saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease — but sugars, starches and processed vegetable oils do.

Fat Head Video Link Here.

The second was a talk/lecture by Gary Taubes (author of Good Calories, Bad Calories – now I must read this book) called Big Fat Lies. He has a second book that just came out entitled Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, which may be more appealing – it’s less scientific and includes explanations designed for lay-people.

The last video I watched was called Sugar: The Bitter Truth. It became somewhat of an internet sensation back in 2009 but I guess I missed it. It’s a 1.5 hour lecture on why fructose is a toxin. (I’m sold.) The lecturer is a doctor by the name of Robert H. Lustig.

If you have some time (each video is over an hour) I highly recommend them. The gist of all of them is that the obesity epidemic is caused, not by fat/saturated fat/meat, but by too much sugar and too many carbohydrates. My take on them:

Fat Head

The first link (Fat Head) “proves” that a high-fat diet is good for you. Um, duh. Tom Naughton’s high-fat diet consists of a lot of meat; I am still kind of undecided on the meat issue. Two more of his points are that 1) grains are doing a lot of damage (he does go into detail but I don’t want to right now) and 2) processed vegetable oils (corn oil, soybean oil, etc… – and not just he partially hydrogenated trans fat ones) are also killing us. Humans are not used to eating either of those things.

Now – I like meat, and I would eat it, but I am morally opposed to the way meat is produced in our country, and I can’t bring myself to eat it anymore. If meat were truly ethically raised? I’m still unsure nowadays. I’m getting off topic, but my takeaway from this one – fat is good. Eat more of it. Eat veggies too, though. It may be possible to have a semi-healthful fast food diet, but it’s probably better to just be more primal.

Mmm… bacon and eggs and butter.

Personal side notes:

  • My “Bring on the Fat” post from last year (one year ago – to the day). Sadly I didn’t keep up with this as much as I’d have liked. Now that I’m a veggie I need to get my animal fat from butter, ghee, eggs (with yolk), and dairy (goat’s and sheep’s milk yogurts are my faves; regular ol’ organic whole cow’s milk for my coffee). Since I went veggie I have been eating too many carbs and not enough fats.
  • The Great Fat Animal Experiment. This was from a year and 3 days ago; it was an intro to my passion for animal fat. I still do love animal fat; again, I’m just going to try to get it from non-meat sources.
  • Way back in July 2009 (4 days before I got engaged… can’t believe I am married now!) was one of the first times I started trying to eat more fat. I didn’t really follow through, at least not to the extent that I should have. I have come a long way since then.

Big Fat Lies

The second link (Big Fat Lies) discusses the matter of why people are getting fat; is it simply that we eat too much and sit on our asses? Gary Taubes seems to think that it’s because we have too much insulin (I’m leaning towards agreeing with him, but I think the reason we have too much insulin is because we… eat too much). He basically says that we aren’t getting fat because we’re eating more; we’re eating more because we’re getting fat. He debunks Ancel Keys’ Lipid Hypothesis/Seven Countries Study which states that:

  1. Saturated fat increases cholesterol. (If A then B.)
  2. High cholesterol associated with heart disease. (B associated with C.)
  3. Saturated fat must cause heart disease! (If A then C.)

What a load of bologna! Ugh, too much to say about this horrible study, will post about this later (if I don’t remind me). I tend to agree with Taubes’ conclusions, but I think that there are a lot of people out there who do simply “eat too much” for probably mental reasons. It’s not just hormones that are making us fat. We have issues that also make us eat too much which starts the vicious cycle of greedy fat cells –> eat more –> greedier fat cells –> eat even more –> also be lazy because we’re too fat.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

The last link, Sugar: The Bitter Truth, Robert H. Lustig discusses how fructose is metabolized in the body. It turns out that fructose is very similar to ethanol, which is a toxin. He also debunks the Seven Countries Study (though for different reasons than Taubes does). He’s not a low-carb advocate (unlike the other two); he thinks we just have to eat the right carbs, which does not include sugar at all. His diet prescriptions for his patients (mostly kids) are (this is around the 1:10 mark):

  • Only beverages should be water and milk
  • Eat carbs with fiber (ex: fruit is fructose but has fiber built in)
  • Wait 20 minutes for second portions
  • If you’re gonna stare at a screen (tv/video games) you have to do equal amounts of activity (playing outside)

His prescriptions are probably easier and more reasonable to follow than what Taubes thinks we should do (low-carb, lots of meat); they’re also probably more sustainable (we can’t all live on steak due to overpopulation). I’m still on the fence about carbs though. I love ’em, but they make me feel like shit. Maybe I’m just more sensitive than some people; my husband could probably live on just carbs and get along fine. (Though he did lose 10 pounds in the last month from being vegetarian – 10 pounds he did not need to lose and he is worried about. He’s practically as skinny as I am.)

What are your thoughts? On grains? On carbs? On sugar? On fructose? On saturated fats? On animal fats? On “healthy” fats? On a low-fat diet? On a low-carb diet? On Tom Naughton/Gary Taubes/Robert Lustig?

Or, if you wanna stop with the heavy topics…

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Bobby got us reservations as a restaurant we haven’t been to yet but that I hear great things about.

Healthy Monday Tip #2: 8 Steps to Reduce Packaging Waste

Healthy Monday is a public health initiative founded in 2005 in association with Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Syracuse University. HM’s goal is to end chronic preventable disease in the U.S. by offering people and organizations a weekly prompt to start and sustain healthy behaviors, intentions, actions and initiatives. For most Americans, the week begins on Monday. Studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.

Gaby’s comment from last week’s Healthy Monday gave me the idea for today’s post. I’m going to be running Healthy Monday indefinitely so if you ever have ideas for a Monday Tip just send them along.

Reduce Packaging Waste (food packaging or otherwise)

I buy a lot of things online, but sometimes I skip Amazon’s packaging in favor of something more eco-friendly. I’ve noticed more and more that I will order something and it comes with (unnecessary) bags of packing peanuts, or arrives in a gigantic box, or is contained within obscene amounts of plastic.

I’m a big fan of moderation, so I am not going to suggest anything that is difficult to implement or easy to forget for reducing packaging waste. Sustainability is all about just that – making changes that are sustainable.

Here are 8 quick and easy tips to reduce your packaging waste immediately:

  1. Buy food from bulk bins rather than individually packaged, if possible. (However, don’t buy in bulk if you have to buy more than you will need.)
  2. Avoid buying “single serving” packets of food (for example: buy 6 fresh cookies from the bakery that come in one paper bag instead of 6 individually wrapped cookies that come inside another wrapper).
  3. Don’t let cashiers double-bag your purchases unless absolutely necessary. (Or don’t let them bag them at all.)
  4. Bring your own grocery bags (re-use them).
  5. Try re-usable (travel) coffee mugs instead of new paper or plastic mugs each time you buy or make a cup of coffee or tea.
  6. Buy a loose piece of fruit instead of a bag of candy for your snack.
  7. Try eating less meat (it’s Meatless Monday today). Not *no* meat, just less. Meat is high up on the food chain so it takes more energy (and more waste) to produce than, say, a vegetable.
  8. *Buy Less Stuff In General*. Ohhh, snap. Yes I did just say that. Maybe we should all just cut back on how much we purchase. Is all of it necessary? Nope. Try going a week without buying anything non-essential. It’s hard. But it makes you realize how much you buy that you don’t really need.

Why Reduce Packaging Waste?

Because the earth will thank you. Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s a massive area in the Pacific ocean filled with bits of plastic and crap that humans have tossed out irresponsibly.

Maybe if we just took a few of the steps outlined above the whirling gire of crap wouldn’t be quite so titanic.

What are your tips to reduce our trash production?

There are a lot I didn’t mention because they are (unfortunately) not that reasonable. People will balk at you if you ask them to stop eating out, make everything from scratch, and save their greywater to wash dishes in. To affect change you have to introduce change gradually. (Humans are bad at change.) That’s why I hope my 8 tips are not too crazy :)

Sisterly Love – A Sweet Night

My sister came into town last night. She has off today, so we are headed up to Providence to visit Brown (she is a senior in high school). We’re taking the Peter Pan bus (just $29.95 RT from NYC to Providence). I miss Julia! She was my maid of honor. She is also a vegetarian (going on 10 years probably – she hasn’t eaten meat since she was about 7).

I still love looking at my wedding photos. (Tarantino Photo -> Featured Events -> Maggie & Robert. If you want the password to my gallery just email me.)

Last night when she arrived it was pouring rain. We decided to have a simple dinner at the Whole Foods hot/cold bar and we followed it up with The Lite Choice. Always a favorite. When we got home we enjoyed some digestive tea (from Coco!) sweetened with NuNaturals stevia (Julia loved it – she will probably be buying it herself).

We got girly and painted our nails. I got a new Essie color: silver. I almost always paint my nails a dark shimmery brown/red so this was a big change.

There were grapes.

And we watched an episode of Taboo, a show on National Geographic about weird things in different cultures (on Netflix streaming).

And then Julia conked out. She’s been working like crazy – the (amazingly smart) girl is taking 5 AP classes, she works at an organic farm, she volunteers, she’s in clubs, and she has a very busy social life.

Do you have siblings? What do you do together?

7 Instant Diet Boosters

7 Instant Diet Boosters

(I wrote this title using HBH’s tips)

  1. Eat in color. Your food should be as diverse in color as a rainbow – seriously. Colorful foods are appealing to the eye because they are good for us (not talking about food dye color here!). Brightly colored foods generally have more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Take the grapefruit for example – pink and red grapefruit both have lycopene (a heart-healthy antioxidant) while white grapefruit does not (lycopene is what gives the pink and red ones their color).

    (This picture is a colorful Italian open air market (in Venice).)

  2. Choose brown rice over white. Brown rice is not only more flavorful and satisfying, but it has 6 times the fiber of white rice, exponentially more nutrients, and it’s great for digestion.
  3. Choose rich leafy greens over watery lettuce. Lettuce is a healthy start, but leafy greens pack a powerful punch of calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins A, K, D, and E.
  4. (My favorite leafy green = KALE (click for recipe).)

  5. Choose whole grain bread and grains over white. Same logic as the brown rice – whole grain breads have more fiber, iron, and potassium than their white counterparts. (Beware of brown breads like pumpernickel – they’re not actually whole grain. I love pumpernickel, but I don’t kid myself by saying it’s whole grain. I just eat it cuz it’s good.)
  6. (This is one of my first recipes: Spiced Holiday Braid from 12/07.)

  7. Drink iced (or hot) tea instead of soda. Soda is very bad. Sweeten your iced tea a little (sugar, honey, etc…) and drink up. Green tea is supposedly very healthy (I think all tea is healthy).
  8. (This iced tea is from Slanted Door in San Francisco.)

  9. Pick nut milk over dairy. Nut milk has no cholesterol and no added hormones. Plus, a lot of people are sensitive to dairy and they don’t even know it.
  10. (Chocolate Almond Breeze is my favorite.)

  11. Try fruit sorbet for dessert. Fruit has lots of vitamin C and phytochemicals (color, remember!).
  12. (This is from San Fran too.)

You have any more diet boosting tips?

Exercise of the day: walking home from work (1.4 miles) + the first 25 minutes of Crunch: Fat Burning Pilates.

Here is a cool deal from FreshDirect (a very affordable grocery delivery service that I use a lot) for you – 20% off all local products with this code:

Go local!

Vietnamese Food Favorites

Two huge things happened this week.

One: I finally got over the flu.

Two: I have more time to blog again. Maybe daily. And maybe even comment on all of your beautiful blogs.

Anyway, I’ll explain more later. Here are my eats for the day (this first picture is from last summer’s juice days):

Breakfast was a green juice with lemon and ginger from The Health Nuts. Yes, this juice is $5.99 (a large), but that’s actually cheap when you consider the fact that The Blueprint Cleanse is about $75 per day (6 juices – one of which is simply water, lemon juice, agave, and cayenne pepper).

After breakfast I did a killer kickbox workout from Netflix (you can work out when you’re sick as long as the cold is just in your head – this made me feel better). It’s called 10 Minute Solution – Kickbox Bootcamp. The workout was good, but I didn’t like the instructor that much.

After I did this one I did a few minutes of Crunch: Super Slimdown which I really liked. I’ll definitely finish it tomorrow. It’s a combination of yoga and pilates (so far). This instructor, Ellen Barret, had a gorgeous figure.

Both of these videos are free with Netflix streaming. We have an XBox hooked up to the television so I can stream them right to the tv. We don’t even get cable anymore because Netflix is easier and cheaper. (And cheaper than a gym membership.)

Lunch was a salad ordered out from Cafe Metro: romaine base, smoked tofu, egg whites, avocado, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, mandarin orange, mushrooms, onions, roasted peppers, sliced beets, and sprouts. I got it chopped with dressing on the side – Chipotle Ranch. It also came with a whole wheat bun, which I had a little later.

Lunch dessert – these chocolate powerberry things from Trader Joe’s. Just a handful. Or two.

For dinner we went out to Thai Son in Chinatown, which is actually Vietnamese. I got the papaya salad – green papaya, shrimp, peanuts, and the Vietnamese dressing with fish sauce. I had some of Bobby’s beef pho as well. This is my ultimate favorite meal.

Dessert – Chinatown cherries. Two pounds for $3. Now they are gone.

My brother is coming into the city tomorrow to get lunch so that should be fun. I also scheduled a facial now that I’m over the flu.

If you had to eat one meal forever, what would it be? Mine would be papaya salad. I don’t even think this would be a hardship for me.

Healthy Eating In Miami

We are on day 2 of our Miami trip (we got here Tuesday night; we are in town for Bobby’s sister’s high school graduation). So far eats have been fantastic, but unfortunately I have a cold. I’m recovering, I think!

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: blueberry yogurt with blueberries, strawberries, and wheat germ
  • Snack: fresh papaya
  • Lunch: Japanese bento box from Matsuri – this was ordered off the special Japanese menu, thanks to my future MIL. She knows I love hijiki so she suggested it. It came with grilled saba (mackerel), hijiki salad, salad, miso soup, sukimono (pickled vegetables – in this case cucumber). (Picture source.)
  • Dinner: papaya salad (papaya, tomato, shrimp, calamari, mussels) and Thai basil chicken from Lan (with friends). (old pictures)
  • Dessert: a cookie that I made with my friend (chocolate chip and pecan! recipe coming soon maybe…) + a bite of the bagels we made (cinnamon raisin)
  • Late night snack: fresh fruit (grapes, cherries, papaya)

Today has been great so far too. We are headed off now, but I had oatmeal with blueberries, wheat germ, and honey for breakfast (Bobby’s mom had oatmeal too) and then we snacked on papaya.

We are having such an amazing time here. It’s so good to be with Bobby’s family (my family now too), who we don’t get to see very often.

How often do you see your family?

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