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!

Experiment: My IBS Management Plan

This title sounds like the title to some kind of report I might write for work. Or school. I hope it goes as well as some of my papers did for school 😉 I used to do fairly decently in my classes.

The problem: I’ve been eating well recently (meaning not much late-night eating, minimal overeating, not too many salads, etc…), but my stomach is really bothering me. It’s been worse than usual ever since I moved to New York back in November. I was diagnosed with IBS ages ago, but never took it seriously – so I’m doing some research.

The solution: use diet to treat and manage my IBS. I’m reading Heather Van Vorous’s book, The First Year: Irritable Bowel Syndrome . While it’s not my first year, it’s the first time I’m actually going to try to treat it. The book has rave reviews on Amazon and I picked it up at Borders this weekend with my 33% off coupon.

Overview:

People with IBS have very sensitive digestive systems. The slightest things can set us off. Here are the basic things that I *must* follow if I want relief.

  • Don’t let myself get too hungry
  • Never eat anything but soluble fiber on an empty stomach (more on this below)
  • Follow a low-fat diet, high in soluble fiber, being careful with insoluble fiber, and avoiding my IBS triggers (like whipped cream and frozen yogurt)
  • Keep stress levels low (includes doing yoga and getting enough sleep)
  • Drink herbal tea (peppermint, ginger, chamomile)
  • Soluble fiber supplements

Let’s talk about soluble fiber. Soluble fiber foods are things like white bread (not wonder bread!), sourdough, white rice, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes (white and sweet), squash (yay! kabocha squash), turnips, carrots, beets, applesauce (or peeled apples), papayas, and avocados. These are supposed to be the basis of an IBS-er’s diet. Eat these before anything else and your stomach will thank you. They should make up more than half of each meal.

As for insoluble fiber, you should only eat this after eating the soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber would be things like whole wheat breads, bran, popcorn, berries, oranges, greens, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower… you get the idea – non-starchy veggies, basically. And these should preferably be cooked before eating for easier digestion.

Fats – be careful. Avoid them in large quantities. Stay away from fried things, dairy, red meat. I already stay away from most of these things; the fats I eat a lot of are butter and nut butters (and whipped cream, which really really makes my stomach hurt).

Let’s look at today’s lunch as a good example of an IBS-friendly meal. I went to Burger Heaven with Bobby and I got a baked potato with sauteed veggies (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and cauliflower). I started off with the potato. It looked pretty much like this, but more humongous:

I had some plain, then added a little butter, ketchup, and pepper. After I let that settle into my stomach, I ate the veggies, which were delicious. I didn’t stuff myself (I took part of the potato home, but ate it almost as soon as we got back). I had the soluble fiber first, then the insoluble broccoli et al. I am pretty sure broccoli is another trigger for my stomach acting up.

I will *definitely* keep y’all updated on this.

I’m feeling hopeful. I want my stomach to feel great while we’re in Miami visiting the family 🙂 I am so tired of missing things because of my tum!!

What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend? (We have a wedding to go to – my coworker’s.)

More Tips for Beating IBS: Soothe Your Tummy

I had no idea my “help your tummy tips” would be so well received. I got so much wonderful feedback that I want to go on about this a little more.

Go Dairy Free book

(My review of Alisa’s book here.)

Many people suggested that I might be allergic to something – and you are probably right. I spent most of last year dairy-free (my macrobiotic experiment), and during the dairy-free times my symptoms were much less severe. I also tried food combining last year, which helped as well, but for various reasons I stopped doing that.

So I’m going to try something yet again. One commenter (hi Kim!) has a great website about how she deals with her IBS. When I was diagnosed (back in 2004, when the cafeteria food at college made my stomach a writhing mess) I kind of ignored it. My doctor didn’t tell me there was anything I could do; he just suggested that I stop eating the cafeteria food.

The longest respite I had from the syndrome was from 2005-2007. To solve my problems I just didn’t eat much. Great for my digestion, but not that healthy in general – I was too thin.

Now… I’m going to buy a book Kim mentioned on her site called Eating for IBS. From what I can tell, it’s about food combining (but not in the raw sense), trigger foods, and having a happy stomach. I will come up with a plan and post it – if you have IBS too maybe you can try it out as well.

And here are more tips that you all had for calming IBS and pissy stomachs:

  • Don’t overdo the fiber
  • Drink tea (peppermint is particularly helpful)
  • Get checked for food allergies (dairy, gluten, etc…)
  • Stress is a trigger… so chill out
  • Small snacks can help, but don’t snack too much
  • Don’t eat past the point of fullness
  • Careful with whipped cream
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Rubbing your belly in clockwise circles
  • Get some exercise each day – get moving to get moving one might say 🙂
  • Cat/cow yoga stretches
  • Don’t forget about probiotics (supplements)

I am going to try to follow them!

Tonight I have a date with Bobby (I have hardly seen him all week) and tomorrow I’m going to New Jersey to do some wedding tasting with my 2 best girlfriends, my sister (my MOH), and my mom (my wedding savior). Bobby and I are going to Miami next week (oops – think I forgot to mention this) so I need to get lots of stuff done this weekend (work and otherwise).

What are your weekend plans?

Recipe: Raw Eggplant Tea Salad

This innovative recipe uses loose tea leaves for a fun and fresh take on a salad. The raw eggplant is delicious and almost meaty… I didn’t know you could do this with eggplant until I had it the other day.

Raw Eggplant Tea Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a large eggplant, diced in ~1cm cubes
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small/medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon loose rooibos tea (any kind)
  • chili and garlic powders, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Method

Mix everything together. Let sit for 20+ minutes for the flavors to really mesh.

The inspiration for this recipe came from the chef of Sanctuary T Restaurant, who was demo-ing his tea spice mixes at Whole Foods. Unfortunately for him I didn’t buy his spices, but I did make my own version!

I served this with my easy pizza dough recipe for dinner. For the flour mixture I used a mix of Jiffy cornbread mix, whole wheat flour, and oat bran (out of wheat bran, which I usually add). I topped the pizza with extra sauce and some cheddar cheese (light on the cheese, just how we like it). We each had half. We eat a lot of pizza.

What’s your favorite pizza topping?

East Japanese Restaurant Review & Contemplation

I had my first acupuncture treatment this morning. So far I am very impressed with Nicholas Steadman, but I’ll probably write a more thorough review after I’ve gotten it again (I signed up for another session on Thursday night). I think I am very lucky to have found this.

Here is some food! Bobby and I have been to this Japanese place called East 3 times now. We have definitely learned what to get. The menus have pictures for every dish:

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I like to get tea (complimentary) with my meals.

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The first time we went I got this grilled broccoli. Kind of a ripoff ($2.50 I think), but very good.

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Bobby got this burdock noodle soup with tempura and fish cake things. He said it was delicious and finished it… I got to taste the broth though. Pretty yummy.

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The first night he also got this salmon roll ($10?). I’m not that much of a sushi person, but I tried it and I thought it was alright.

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I had to get a salad, and this one rocked. It was only $6 and it was huge.

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And I got this grilled salmon (miso glazed, $9) and horseradish with some sort of roe. I actually chopped most of this up and put it in the salad – so awesome. If this were cheaper I would get it again (it was a fairly small portion).

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The next time we went with my mom (she had been up to help me paint). I got the salad again ($6). It is gigantic and probably the best deal I’ve seen in New York.

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My mom got a bento box which came with a small salad and miso soup.

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That night I got the chicken teriyaki ($5 something?). Ahh, this was delicious. It came with a piece of broccoli and a piece of carrot.

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This was the rest of my mom’s bento box – seaweed salads, rice, salmon teriyaki, tempura, and a roll. I helped her 🙂

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Bobby got a soup again that night. I don’t remember which one. Or maybe this was the burdock one and the other one was something else. Anyway, this was delicious as well.

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And that same salmon roll (I want to say it’s called salmon lover’s).

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We went again last night for Salmon Thursday! Lots of salmon dishes were super-reduced, so Bobby and I went all out for salmon. Happy couple:

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I got the salad yet again. Bobby got that salmon roll yet again.

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Then… I got something called “salmon neck” for just $4. This plate is twice the size of a normal dinner plate. So huge!! It wasn’t all meat though (bones, eyes – you know – the usual).

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It came with some horseradish stuff. Bobby also got a natto roll (fermented soybeans – I do NOT like this).

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And another ridiculously cheap salmon roll (normally $14 or something, but on Salmon Thursday I think it’s $8).

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Wow, what a lot of delicious Japanese food. I would highly recommend East. They have a few other locations as well. Bobby was the mayor briefly at this one, but he was ousted just last night.

What are your weekend plans? I am going to IKEA!