The Non-Hunger Diaries: How I Eat And Move {Part 1 of 2}

***Update #2***

See my response to The Hunger Diaries

***Update***

Interesting timing that I wrote this post today, in light of Marie Clare‘s “The Hunger Diaries“. Maybe I will write my reaction to the article sometime this week. I am retitling this post:

The Non-Hunger Diaries

***

A while ago I got a question from a reader about what my daily exercise and food routines look like. My initial response has changed somewhat since I replied via email (about 3 months ago) so I thought I might post it here because it’s a question I get a lot! I was going to post both workouts and food in the same post but it got long, so today is just going to be my food. I’ve been chatting about the gym a lot lately anyway so it’s time for a change.

This is me (sorry for the awful lighting and the weird angle – it was last night, I only have 1 full length mirror in the house, and my overhead light went out and I haven’t gotten around to putting a new one in). Note the book problem in the background – I have 2 more of those shelves completely full and we are running out of room. (Katie, I still have to mail your book!) I guess this is what happens when you don’t like or watch TV.

You can kind of see my new hair cut. I am wearing my standard uniform of yoga pants and a tank top. It was good to hear that you guys agree with me – you should do what YOU want to with your hair (and everything else) – not what other people tell you. I like having my hair short because I flip my head over, blow dry for 3 minutes, and I’m done. I don’t even need a brush or any products. I have a very simple beauty routine. The only makeup I wear is concealer mixed with oil-free lotion. I rarely wear anything else like mascara or blush. I do always wear jewelry outside of the house – earrings and my wedding and engagement rings. I can be ready in 8 minutes, including my shower. I am not a girly girl and yes I do wear yoga pants to parties. At least I wear cute shoes.

A Chillax Diet Routine

My diet philosophy is: be very chill. I don’t want to be vague though, so I will give examples (not exhaustive, but these are my staples). Something to note – unlike most bloggers, I eat out a lot. I eat out for about 80% of my meals.

    • Morning before work: a big cup of tea or coffee, sometimes with milk, always with NuNaturals stevia.
    • Breakfasts: Greek yogurt, or some fruit, or bacon, or hard boiled eggs. If I’m feeling frisky I might have part of a healthy scone from Whole Foods or a buttered bagel. An omelette with greens (whole eggs, not the whites). On weekends we tend to have larger breakfasts and my favorites are actually just huge salads, or big omelettes. This is a far cry from what I used to eat – back at Cornell we’d go to Mate Factor in downtown Ithaca and I would get this great Belgian waffle with whipped cream (sometimes for dinner too). Bobby would get the salmon bagel.

    • Lunches: a big salad with lots of toppings (my favorite is a chopped unlimited topping salad from cafe metro: romaine, marinated tofu or tuna, grapes, mandarin oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, whole egg, avocado, sprouts, beets, peppers, and more); leftover dinner. I often have an apple after lunch to clear my palette.

    • Dinners: whatever I’m missing out on and craving from the day (luckily for me my body tends to know what it needs). This could be another big salad or a big veggie stir-fry with some kind of protein and lots of fats (butter, coconut oil, peanut oil, olive oil, avocado). If I’m in a macro mood I might have a macro plate – brown rice, beans, hijiki seaweed, steamed greens, and steamed squash, doused in whatever dressing the plate comes with (it varies by the restaurant). I recreated my favorite dressing, the miso-tahini sauce recipe from Souen.

    • Healthy Snacks: fruit, veggies and dip, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, etc… I used to have a bad habit of mindlessly snacking too much after dinner but I’ve been working on it and I’m doing much better these days.

I have tried to track my calories and it just makes me crazy. I would guess that I eat anywhere from 1800-2000 calories a day, and it definitely varies all the time depending on time of month and my exercise levels. (I am 5’10” so I am not a teeny girl.) I have never ever had a day where I knew how many calories I ate. (I have nothing against calorie counting if it works for you – it just is not right for me, at all.) The fact that I eat out so much also makes it hard to calculate.

Just some notes – I am NOT vegetarian/vegan/macrobiotic/raw. If anything I’m paleo/primal. I eat meat because I feel that my body needs it. I love butter and cream cheese and Greek yogurt, but don’t eat much dairy besides those (I’m semi lactose intolerant but sometimes I do cave for McDonald’s $1 soft serve). I love fish. I don’t have any known food allergies, but I do have IBS. I love carbs but to be honest I don’t eat many grains these days. I don’t really worry about getting enough protein. I do make sure to eat a lot of fat, which is good for your brain and your skin. I don’t care for nut butter (gasp). My favorite foods are changing all the time, but I generally love squash, seaweed, bacon, and butter.

Other linkies on food:

***

Hope this answers any questions! Do you eat like me? Have you found a way of eating that works for your body? Anything else you want to ask me? (If you have exercise Q’s I will try to answer them in Part 2.)

My gosh this turned into an epic post. I promise the exercise one is much shorter.

Just Another Macrobiotic Sunday + Cumin/Tahini/Miso Porgy Recipe

Last night I made a porgy for dinner. I also made a half of a salmon neck. Here is the porgy recipe… I would say it’s macrobiotic. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong though. Maybe it has too many spices.

First, this is a porgy. I get mine in Chinatown.

Source.

Cumin-Tahini-Miso Grilled Porgy Recipe

Ingredients (1 serving)

  • 1 medium porgy
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Make the marinade. Mix together the tahini, miso, vinegar, cumin, chili, and pepper. If it’s still very thick you can add a splash of water.
  2. Prepare the porgy – cut off the fins, the tail, and cut out the gills. I usually have my fishmonger do this, but if he didn’t, it’s actually simple. Use scissors to cut off the fins and tail, and use a small knife to cut out the gills (they are red looking). Rinse the fish and pat it dry.
  3. Cut 3 slits (all the way to the bone) on each side of the porgy and coat it (inside and out) with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning it once in the middle so that both sides get to sit in the marinade.
  4. Preheat your broiler. Broil on each side for ~8 minutes. When you put it on the pan and when you flip it make sure to brush on some more marinade. I try to use it all up.
  5. Serve with a grain (white rice pictured here).

You could easily use my Tahini-Miso dressing recipe in this marinade!

I also served a salmon neck – recipe coming soon (so simple). I had most of the salmon and a little bit of the porgy; I wanted Bobby to have most of the porgy because I already knew it would be a great recipe. It was so tender and so perfect. If it weren’t for the bones, I think it would convert a non-fish person.

I forgot to mention that I first learned about porgies in my cooking class with Auntie Jo last week (still have to post about this…). The recipe we did that night was also grilled/broiled, but very different from this aside from the cumin. I honestly think mine is better 😀

Onto my daily rambles

This morning I went to a macrobiotic talk at Souen in Soho. I did not eat there afterwards because I was meeting up with friends for brunch (at The Mudspot on 9th Street and 2nd Ave – it was really good! The coffee was fantastic). I am so glad I went to this talk (speaker – John Kozinski). He told a new story of macrobiotics that I hadn’t really heard before. I had always focused so much on the macrobiotic diet specifically, but he expanded to talk about balance in life overall.

Some things I learned…

  • The only foods you should really “eliminate” from your diet are the ones advertised on TV (from Michael Pollan’s book).
  • Even meat is okay, if you balance it out. It should be naturally raised, organic, etc…
  • Fish is great. So are beans. Try to have 1 cup of beans at lunch and dinner, or a serving of fish (fish 3-6 times a week). Some good fish are cod, scrod, sardines, small salmon, flounder, and red snapper. Ocean fish are better than lake fish, which tend to have PCBs.
  • Most supplements are totally pointless.
  • Eat seasonally. Eat natural foods. Eat whole foods.

Oh so many more… I’ll try to keep giving little tips I got from the session.

After the session I met up with my friend, her boyfriend, and Bobby. After brunch Bobby and I headed down to Chinatown again for some cheap veggies and fish. We came back, and now we have a friend over. My dinner was a very macrobiotic meal – steamed kabocha, broccoli, purple sweet potato, burdock, daikon, and lotus root. I put some miso-tahini dressing on top, and finished off the rest of my cornbread from yesterday.

For some reason I’m really feeling the macrobiotic thing. Especially after today, when John emphasized fitting it to your own needs and way of life.

I like rambling. But now I have to go do a bit of work. I’m trying to cut back on my hours, but there are some things that need to get done! Hope y’all had a good weekend.

DIY Macrobiotics & a Recipe: Black Sesame Seed Paste/Sauce

It’s pretty obvious that I really love Souen – I have been there 3 times in the last week (brunch, dinner). Practicing a macrobiotic lifestyle can be difficult at times, but it pays off (I’m not macrobiotic but I strive to incorporate it in my daily life). I know I’ve linked to these things before, but here we go again (just cuz I think they are good resources for macrobiotics)…

Here are some more tips for a DIY Macrobiotic Lifestyle

Tip #1: Don’t stress. Chill out. Do the things that make you happy, not the things that make you sad/angry/depressed/anxious/etc… So many people forget that stress is probably the number one cause of disease. So don’t stress!

Tip #2: Don’t exercise too much. Incorporate movement into your daily routine, but don’t overdo it. I like to get my movement through walking – I aim for about 2 miles a day. Last week I walked to work every day (I think), so that was 2 miles a day. Then yesterday I didn’t really walk at all, and Today I ended up walking about 4 miles because Bobby and I went out to enjoy the lovely weather we’ve been having in New York. Central Park was beautiful today. Anyway, it all balances out.

Tip #3: Keep your meals simple. Souen has very balanced dishes – the Macro Plate, the Planet Platter (different names for the same dish at different locations) – that incorporate squash (kabocha), veggies (broccoli or kale, carrots, diakon, and hijiki seaweed), beans (pinto I think), and rice (brown). The dishes come with a great dressing (lots of healthy fats) – miso tahini. I cannot get enough! So I had to make something similar for myself.

This was my attempt at recreating last week’s brunch for lunch: kabocha, broccoli, and carrots, topped with a black sesame seed sauce. After this shot I packed it into a tupperware to eat at the office.

The sauce is so simple, and so good. I have been having it on everything this week.

Black Sesame Seed Paste/Sauce – Ingredients

  • 3-4 tablespoons black sesame seed powder (probably just ground toasted black sesame seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or other sweetener (maple syrup or brown rice syrup would also be good)
  • splash of soy sauce (<1 teaspoon)
  • water, as needed (for thinning)

Black Sesame Seed Paste/Sauce – Method

Mix the powder, sweetener, and soy sauce. Add water to thin, if needed. Add more powder to thicken, if needed. Adding more agave will make it creamier, which is how I like it.

Hope you enjoyed these macro tips… I’m off to watch more of the Oscars. Go Sandra Bullock! (I loved The Blind Side.)

Who are you rooting for?

Does cooking make us human?

A few weeks ago, raw food was abuzz in blogland. I gave it a try to help my digestion, but that way of eating didn’t work for me. Now that it’s fall I’ve noticed less and less talk about raw food, and more and more posts about oatmeal, baked squash, and delicious apples. It’s propitious that Bobby alerted me to this article yesterday… Did Cooking Give Humans An Evolutionary Edge? – a transcript of an NPR talk from Science Friday. It has to do with the differences between humans and other primates (like this gorilla that lives in the San Francisco zoo)…

537px-Male_gorilla_in_SF_zoo

I thought the transcript was incredibly interesting. You can also listen to the program (it’s just under 30 minutes). If you don’t have time to read or listen though, I’ll summarize here…

  • It’s an interview with Dr. Richard Wrangham, a primatologist (someone who studies primates = humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians) who wrote Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.
  • Dr. Wrangham proposes that cooking has actually been a key aspect of evolution and our bodies have changed over the years due to the fact that we can cook our food. It’s given us a huge evolutionary advantage because we have more time to use our brains instead of foraging and chewing all day long. (This is called biocultural evolution, when you evolve along with the tools/methods of your culture.)
  • Apes show either a preference for cooked food over raw food, or they are neutral… they never prefer raw to cooked food.
  • A human’s digestive system is 2/3rds the size of an ape’s (if you adjust for the size of the ape versus the size of the human) and we have small teeth and small mouths – not ideal for lots of chewing.
  • We’ve adapted to a “high quality” diet. (High quality meaning mostly cooked and easy to digest… not talking about the processed, industrial “food” crap that most people live on.) Cooking is what increased the “quality” of our diet.
  • We don’t have to eat large amounts of food and we don’t have to retain and ferment food for many many hours to digest it.
  • The changes to our digestive system happened about 1.8 million years ago.
  • Cooking our food increases the proportion of nutrients and energy that we’re able to digest. While a cooked carrot may technically have the same number of calories as a raw one, we are able to access more of the calories from the cooked one. Another example – when you cook an egg and eat it, you can digest about 94% of the protein. A raw egg? You digest about 60%. That’s a big discrepancy.
  • Why does cooking make things easier to digest? For protein, the process is called denaturation. The protein cells are kind of like a big ball of yarn; cooking unwinds the yarn so it’s easier to digest. One way to denature something is to put it in acid. So our stomach acid can do some of this, but cooking makes it that much easier for our bodies to digest protein. A similar process happens with starch – chains of sugars open up during cooking so that they are more readily available to absorb.
  • Humans are one of the only species that typically does not thrive on a raw diet… about half of women following a raw diet stop menstruating and most people lose weight (due to an energy shortage = significant calorie/nutrient deficiency).
  • Now this doesn’t mean that a raw diet can’t be beneficial – a lot of people are eating too much currently, so a raw diet may help them reduce the amount of food they eat (because it’s so limiting) so they can maintain their weight and feel better. A lot of the benefits that come from a raw diet are due to cutting out processed foods and chemicals. Many people have undiagnosed food allergies (gluten, wheat, dairy, etc…) and since those foods aren’t common in a high raw diet, people will feel better since they’re not eating them anymore.
  • Again, eating more raw food is not necessarily bad or unhealthy, but you should not follow a high raw diet. If you live in a place where food is scarce, you should especially *not* follow a raw diet… if you live in the US or another developed country, incorporating more raw foods into your diet is a fabulous idea if it will help you eat less and eat fewer processed, industrial foods.
  • Many people think that following a raw food diet is the most “natural” way to live… not true. We have evolved away from eating raw food. And one of the major reasons that we’ve been able to advance so far in terms of knowledge and technology is due to the fact that we are NOT like other primates – we don’t have to eat all day to get enough food, giving us time to use our gargantuan brains.

I’m learning about some similar concepts in my anthropology class. There is the idea of biocultural evolution, which basically says that our culture (using tools, cooking food, etc…) has a large influence on our evolution. The invention of tools allowed us to evolve away from huge teeth. The cultural idea of wearing clothes might be the reason that we aren’t covered in hair. And maybe cooking is responsible for changing our digestive system, our mouths, and our teeth.

What works best for me is a fairly natural diet (no processed foods) with a little bit of raw food. I am influenced by macrobiotics (completely cooked, nearly vegan but with fish, and very Japanese). I’m also influenced by the paleo diet (limited grains and carbs, lots of animal fat and protein, lots of veggies – mostly all cooked). When I eat fruit it’s usually raw I do snack on raw veggies sometimes. I love salad (obviously, again) but I don’t eat salad every day unless it’s the summer. I love my oatmeal, oat bran, baked and steamed squash, and many other cooked foods, especially in the cooler months.

What works for you? What do you think of the ideas that this guy is proposing?

Yoga detox, oat bran, and macrobiotics

This morning I did a lovely yoga flowyogadownload’s Power Yoga #4, a 60-minute donation class.  It started out slow but increased in intensity and I was so ready for savasana at the end.  This class had a lot of twisting for detox, which I’ve been feeling and needing this week.

I followed up my flow with a macrobiotic breakfast:

5-oat-bran-miso-soup

  • 3/4 cup (dry) oat bran with cinnamon & a big drizzle of brown rice syrup
  • miso soup (bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil, add 2-3 teaspoons miso and some dried seaweed)

My mom informs me that I have had oat bran before – it was one of my first foods as a baby!  She would sweeten it with ground up raisins that she ground with a baby food grinder.  My mom has been touting the benefits of whole foods since before they became a fad.

On Wednesday I went to Whole Foods to pick up some goodies to help me adjust to macrobiotics.

    • Lundberg’s organic brown rice syrup (one of the approved sweeteners)

brown-rice-syrup

    • Westbrae unsweetened ketchup (ketchup is NOT macrobiotic – but I’m having a very hard time giving it up so I thought I would at least use the unsweetened kind)

unsweetened-ketchup

    • San J organic shoyu soy sauce

san-j-org-shoyu-soy-sauce

    • Redmond RealSalt all natural sea salt

realsalt_shaker

    • Cold Mountain red miso

red-miso

  • lots of veggies = more kabocha squash, jicama, greens, apples, and more

The thing I’m having the most trouble with is cutting back on fruit; I usually have 5-7 pieces a day, and I’m trying to get it down to 1-2 pieces per day.

Stay tuned for a post this weekend that gets into the specifics of the macrobiotic diet I’ve been following – what I can and cannot eat, how I should be eating, and some of the principles behind it.  When I first started the experiment I didn’t realize just how much I was taking on, so it’ll help me to be consistent if I write it out.

Have you ever done a food/diet experiment?  How did it work out?