Archive for January, 2012

Bulking up the Oatmeal

I love oatmeal.   I’ve even learned to love it without the brown sugar. That was a rough process, but banana slices or some blueberries have replaced the sweetener in my bowl.   Over time I’ve also added flaxseed meal to the mix for even more flavor (and fiber!).  My latest addition is quinoa–another grain that adds another 4 grams of protein to my morning bowl.

Cari’s Oatmeal

1/4 cup oats

2 Tblsp flaxseed meal

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup frozen blueberries (fresh are better when in season, but then add them after you cook it)

1/2 cooked quinoa–I’d like to figure out if I can put it in without cooking it first…I’ll try that soon

splash of milk (or water when I’m fasting)

Put the oats, flax, water and frozen blueberries in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes.  It will look like this. Appetizing, huh?

Stir in previously cooked quinoa.

Add milk and a sliced banana if you want.

Total Calories for this amazing bowl of goodness? 356! Which is a good breakfast number, btw.  Sugar free can taste delicious!

Total fat 8g

Sodium 8g

Total carbs 69g

fiber 13g

protein 11g

Iron 24%

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The More You Know….the Better You Eat

Education has been a key ingredient in this delicious soup of health and fitness that I’ve been eating.  I read alot.  Ok, I read alot of Twitter, too.  and facebook.   From one of these 2 sources, I found Fooducate, an app for my phone that allows you to scan items and get a quick glimpse of its nutritional stats. After scanning in our favorite can-o-cinnamon rolls, I learned that they have a “healthy” portion of trans fats…I will NOT be buying these anymore, much to the disappointment of my family.  “Fine”, I told my kid, “if you want to eat them when you are buying your own food, go right ahead. I won’t be responsible for killing your heart with trans fats.”  I just can’t have that on my conscience.  Those crazy, tiny things have 2 grams of trans fats each!  and who eats just one?  The American Heart Association says that you should less than 2 grams/day…and even that’s too much.  Killer stuff.   and it’s hidden in some of my FAVORITE things!!  Nilla wafers, certain coffee creamers, toaster strudel.    UGH, it’s a travesty.  Really.  The FDA is not your friend and apparently doesn’t care if you die of heart disease at 45.

I follow EatThis, NotThat on Twitter and have had my eyes opened to a plethora of grocery store “secrets”, restaurant crimes, and must-eat lists for a flatter belly.  Wow, the more you know…the less you want to eat at all.  anywhere.  ever.  They also sell books and such.

Researching the way the body works has been game-changing, too.  For example, being aware of the strain I put on my pancreas when I eat a piece of fudge.   It’s just not fair to my pancreas…what did it ever do to me?  The pancreas spends quite a lot of its time regulating the sugar/insulin levels in your blood.  I have a very weak grasp on the process–just enough, though, to know that a gallon of sugar makes it work really hard. and I love my pancreas and want to show it some appreciation for all it’s done these 40+ years.

At any rate, education, in whatever form, is critical to making healthy choices.  Btw, corn chips do NOT count as a vegetable.

Sweet Sweet potato

I have always enjoyed sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and Christmas–with brown sugar, pecans, butter, marshmallows…yum.  Such comfort food.

In the last couple of years, I’ve discovered that sweet potatoes are not only really really good for you, but also really really good all year round!  and super easy to make!

Wrap a sweet potato in foil.  Make sure its sealed well.  I use the heavy duty foil because if it gets a hole and drips in your oven, your smoke detector will go off when the drips start to burn.  grrr.


Bake that tuber for 1 hour at 400 degrees–depending on how big it is, it may need a lil bit more time.   You’ll know its done when you squeeze it (with a gloved hand, of course) and it gives.   Don’t rush it or it will be still a lil hard in the middle.  I like mine nice and soft.  I’m not sure if you can tell in the picture below, but it makes its own glaze!!  So yummy.  I eat the peel and all–it’s like candy. All natural with no added sugars!

TRY it!  and do NOT put butter or brown sugar on it, till you’ve tried it without!  Even people who said they don’t really care for sweet potatoes, tried these and LOVED ’em!

Fasting vs. Dieting

In all fairness, all this healthy food talk is coming to me during a biblical fast.  Specifically, a Daniel Fast.   In my words, fasting is denying yourself physical food for a spiritual purpose.  I’m denying myself sugar, meat, dairy, breads, and coffee for the purpose of gaining increased intimacy with God, as well as other specific prayer requests.

Someone asked me “How will you deal with temptation?” The answer…hmmm…lots of ways probably.  Pray. Resolve. God. Knowing that its for a higher purpose. Go to bed early.  Eat lots of fruit.  It’s a different feeling than a diet–a different level of commitment.  A different person I’ve committed to, so the temptation is easier to handle.

I know that I want a breakthrough and if I continue to sacrifice the immediate desire for food, I will get the longer lasting, farther reaching benefits that God has to offer me.

The bonus is that it happens to be really healthy for my body too.  Other than eating about 1/2 the protein I normally would, I’m eating nothing BUT healthy. and maybe a little TOO much fiber.

But again, you crave what you consume. This concept applies to much more than just food, although it certainly applies to food.  The more of God I consume, the more I crave.  The more time in God’s word, the more I realize it really is better than life. Psalm 63:3

Breaking the Food Chain Addiction

I love food.   While my daughter, Cameron, would say she eats to live, I am the opposite…I live to eat. I just love food.   Changing that mindset would be a monumental task, so instead, I just changed the TYPE of food I love to eat.  I now crave my homemade sweet potatoes, vegetable chili, and oatmeal with flax seed, quinoa, and blueberries.  YUM. (Recipes coming in the following days!)

In Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Made to Crave, she says that we CRAVE WHAT WE CONSUME.   Read that again and meditate on those words for a minute.  We CRAVE WHAT WE CONSUME.  (This impacts me on SO many levels–not just food!) It’s so true. Whatever we eat, is what we continue to crave.  I began “forcing” myself to eat beans (which I’ve NEVER liked), veggies (which I only tolerate), and my favorite dip substitute, hummus.  The more I ate these things, the more I wanted to eat them (I’m stopping just short of using the word “crave”–although sometimes I do crave a good baked sweet potato!)

It’s not an overnight change, that’s for sure…more of process that can take months.  But if you consider your LIFETIME of (hopefully) years, those few months would be months well spent to gain YEARS of feeling better, looking better, being healthier.

Forgo the immediate pleasure for the lasting gain.

To Eat or Not to Eat

In the last year and a half, actually closer to 2 years, I have lost 20 pounds and managed to keep it off for longer than I ever have.  According to conventional charts and scales, I am at a “healthy weight”.  More importantly, I’ve had a shift in attitude and feelings about food. I noticed sometime in December of 2011 that I was choosing the food that I ate instead of letting it choose me simply by being nearby or available. I even managed to skip dessert at a couple of big “event” meals. Skip dessert!?! That never happens, right!? I just didn’t want it. O_O

In the past, the thought process has always been “I want that, BUT I’m trying to lose weight so I won’t have it-boo hoo hoo, poor me”.  Suddenly, I looked at the brownies and thought “nah, I’m just not hungry for that”.  (Who am I kidding–it did not happen “suddenly”, I just suddenly noticed that my thought process had changed)

How and exactly when I crossed over into the realm of freedom, I do not know.  But freedom is exactly what it feels like.  Freedom from resisting urges and painful sacrifices.  Freedom from the NEED for sugary goodness.

Now don’t get me wrong, those chains that bound me for so long are still here, laying on the counter next to me. (metaphorically speaking, of course) There is always the chance I could slip back into bondage in this area.  It could be next year or it could be tomorrow. I know I’m still vulnerable.

I will continue to meditate on exactly how I got here.  I think that will help with the future battles I will surely face. and hopefully it could help others to experience that same freedom.

Food, Health, and Feelings

Step one, remember where you left your blog.  Step two, remember the password for your blog.  Step three, type.

Food, health, and feelings…which one of these things is harder to manage?

Perusing the “diet” section of the bookstore you will get dozens of ideas on how to eat “the right way”, “Secrets” to permanent weight loss, how to eat to get rid of belly fat, how to detox diet, how to diet sexy, etc.

Unfortunately, our weight problems are so much more complicated than just what we eat. I would argue that our attitudes about food play a bigger part on our state of health than the actual food we eat. Even the way I remember how to spell dessert is indicative of my feelings about food. (2 S’s and not just 1 because I always want MORE dessert than desert)!

Since I haven’t blogged in a coon’s age, I’m going to write an indeterminate number of posts about food, attitudes, and health. I know that there is no shortage of writings on the subject. So what I will be sharing is a lot of my personal experience. Unless, of course, I get bored, or distracted, then the blog posts will taper off or come to a complete and sudden halt.

Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen before the end of January.