Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Yesterday, I stopped by the local pharmacy to pick up something for my son. I was feeling a little hungry, so I looked for some plain, Lay’s potato chips. I only saw a large snack bag, so I asked the clerk if there were any smaller bags of chips, like single serving size.

Mustafa smiled, raised his arms, and with a happy accent said, “This is America! Everything is big!”

I slapped my leg and replied with feigned exasperation, “That is so true, darn it!”

His smile faded, and he gave me a perplexed look. After his initial shock over someone thinking big is not necessarily better, he led me to the chip aisle, and we looked in vain for a small bag of chips. I gave in and got the bigger bag, telling myself I would only eat part of it and save the rest for later. Yeah, right.

I ate part of the bag in the car and consumed the rest in the house after unloading groceries. I felt regret, and I thought I should look at the nutrition info and admonish myself. I guessed the bag contained two servings. Wrong! It contained almost three servings. After doing the math, I realized I had consumed 460 calories worth of chips and almost 30 grams of fat! How many calories have I been consuming eating chips without measuring a serving size (aka: eating out of the bag)? I stood dumbfounded in the kitchen, realizing that chips are not my friend. All this time they were my frenemy, looking all wholesome with that crunchy, salty taste. Potatoes, oil, and salt sound pretty harmless, but they can be devastating to the waistline. I mean, who can really eat just one, or one serving for that matter?

So today, I made a crunchy, sweet, salty wholesome snack. One with good fats, protein, and good nutrients. I have paired this snack (sans banana) with an apple, or other fruit, and almond milk for a lunchtime meal. Nutrition info: 258 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 6.25 grams of protein, not to mention potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin E, etc. Wash it down with 1 cup of unsweetened, vanilla almond milk for 35 extra calories and added calcium and vitamin D. Take that, you low nutrient chips!

Crunchy, Sweet, Salty Snack

1 Coco Lite Pop Cake, original

1 1/2  T plain almond butter, unsalted, no added sugar (Whole Foods 365 is the best)

1 T roasted & salted sunflower seed kernels

1/2 ripe banana, thinly sliced

Spread almond butter 0n pop cake. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Place thinly sliced bananas on top. Thinly slicing the banana keeps the banana from over taking the rest of the flavors and lets the crunchy texture stand out.


Pop cakes

Pop cakes are found at Marsh (bakery) and Whole Foods, although all locations might not carry them. You can also order them online at: http://www.cocofoods.com/  They have the texture and flavor similar to a cake cone ice cream cone, only a little lighter. They are awesome, with only 16 calories and 4 carbs per pop cake! I use them as a crunchy vehicle for poached eggs, hummus, guacamole, and other snacks.

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From Scratch to Fail

In the spirit of eating healthier, saving money, and avoiding adverse reactions to additives in foods, I enjoy making my beef vegetable and chicken soups and almond butter from scratch. Cooking from scratch is a lot of work, but worth the effort.

I recently attempted to make my own hummus, with less than favorable results. First, I did not cook the garbanzo beans long enough; they were soft, but not creamy. Secondly, to get really smooth hummus and the ability to digest the dip more easily, the beans should be peeled. By the way, garbanzo beans are also called chickpeas. After squeezing the beans out of their shells for 30 minutes (and getting only half-way through the bowl), I realized that peeling them would be like trying to peel a pea, or milk a cat. For whatever reason, that idea came into my numb mind. I think it was a reference to the movie, “Meet the Parents.” Anyway, I had taken all I could and dumped them in the trash. Is there some secret to quickly and easily peeling these little gems?

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It’s Been Awhile!

The final medical opinion is in on my mysterious body reactions to food. I have been to several specialists, stuck with needles enough times to have a tattoo inside my elbow, scanned, had a couple of procedures performed, and made diet changes. So, what did all of this time and money spent finally tell me?

The final results have to do with the aging body. What a slap in the face. We lose flexibility, elasticity, and memory, and as if that isn’t enough, our bodies stop processing what we eat efficiently. Our immune systems do not work as well, either. For me, that means eating minimally processed, whole foods. Snack cakes, candy, sauces, canned foods, frozen meals, pizza, dairy products, breads, corn products, sugar or sugar substitutes (except stevia), onions, and processed meats are examples of the foods no longer on my menu. Eating out at restaurants is taboo. Some fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, minimally processed meat (no broth injected chicken, hot dogs, lunchmeat, etc.), almond milk, and plain shredded wheat now make up my grocery list. I try to make everything from scratch (broth, soups, etc.), and I try to buy organic whenever possible. If you look up the mold free, yeast free diets, you basically have my new eating regimen. I also looked up the blood type diet (0 negative), and it is surprisingly similar to these diets.

Do I ever cheat? I live in the United States, meaning it is hard to get away from processed food, so I do give in once in a while. Because I don’t feel well afterward when I give in (bloating, gassy, itchy skin, etc.), I actually prefer to stick to my new diet. I gave in on our last camping trip and had two s’mores and birthday cake. I was miserable for a couple of days, but once I got back on track, I started to feel better.

Being restricted to this new way of eating is not all bad. Some of the perks are more energy, fewer muscle aches, less bloating and gas, and a healthy body weight. If I had chosen to eat this way all of my life, I could have avoided the ill effects of processed foods so much sooner. Really, our bodies were created to be fueled this way. Oh well, I am enjoying the sweet life now, just not sweetened foods.

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With my new, restrictive diet, we have made adjustments to our camping cuisine. I try to make some of my hubby’s favorites and still stay with my eating plan. Not easy, but I haven’t had a s’more or pancake this season.

On our latest trip, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough almond butter to last the four days camping, so we went to the grocery for a couple of things that I had forgotten. Going to the local store to get items we have forgotten has become a camping tradition. The market only had one type of almond butter, and it was outrageously priced. A full two dollars more than what I paid at home, but I needed my quick protein/snack source.

On the third day of our trip, we went to a large dairy operation, Fair Oaks Farms. It was very educational, as well as tasty. I eliminated dairy from my diet a few months ago, and I felt better, but there are some things you just can not pass up:  famous grilled cheese sandwiches and fresh ice cream.

With some decisions, you are going to “pay for it.” By that I mean there will be some discomfort involved. Now, there are two ways to “pay for it.” You can come away from the experience totally defeated and empty or somewhat defeated but satisfied.

With the almond butter, I had enough that I did not use the new jar on the trip. The day after we got home, I used the last of the almond butter in the opened jar. I pulled out the pricey almond butter and looked at the expiration date; it had expired over a month ago, and there was not a store located in our area to which I could return it. An overpriced item I could not eat, quite the price to pay for not planning better. Totally defeated.

After eating the grilled cheese, I had a stomach ache, but it was tolerable. The freshly made, velvety ice cream went down in creamy coolness; no other ice cream in my 48 years tasted so delicious. A little later I felt somewhat nauseous, but that went away shortly. I was still paying for the dairy a few days later with gas and bloating and an increase in mucus production, but it was still worth it. After going back on the no dairy diet, I felt better after those couple of days of discomfort. Was I satisfied enough to eat at this establishment again, knowing I would pay for it? Definitely.

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When I started eliminating foods from my diet, I dreaded grocery shopping. Everywhere I looked were my favorite foods that I could not eat, anymore (bread, fruits, vegetables, cookies, sausage, hot dogs, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc.) I felt an empty sadness as I picked up my ground beef and green beans.

Now, I get excited when I think about the new things I can try. Unsweetened, vanilla almond milk warmed up with a hint of coco and stevia is a great alternative to hot chocolate (just the milk warmed up is yummy). Pop cakes (4 carbs and no sugars!) with some natural, lightly salted almond butter is a yummy snack, especially with an almond milk chaser. Black bean and rice chips do not raise your glycemic level like corn tortilla chips. You don’t want to eat too many, though; they are beans, after all. Every day I find some new food delight to try. I feel like a wonderful, new world of food is opening up, and the food is real and good for me!

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