Good Food from Fresh Ingredients

By Laura Moncur @ 8:37 am — Filed under:

I love this motivational poster from this month’s Prevention magazine:

You dont have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces just good food from fresh ingredients. by Julia Child from Starling Fitness

It reads:

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

  • Julia Child

It’s the truth. You don’t need a fancy plan. You don’t need to pay tons of money for shakes, pills and bars. All you need is some fresh food and some simple ingredients. The next time you’re tempted to try an expensive food plan with delivered meals, remember this quote from Julia Child and know that all you need to do to be healthy is make simple food from fresh ingredients.


It’s Not Hunger. It’s The FEAR of Being Hungry.

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I sat in the hotel room, worried. How was I going to eat healthy in this city of buffets and constant food all around me? I felt like I couldn’t eat anything and then I felt like I should just eat EVERYTHING. I could feel a binge coming on. I told Mike about it and he said, “Then we should go to the buffet.”

I laughed at his logic. Go to the buffet? I just said I felt like I was going to binge and he suggested that we should go to the place in the casino where I could eat ALL THE THINGS! He looked at me at said, “You always eat healthy at the buffet.”

Buffet Desserts from Starling FitnessI knew he was right, but I still felt it was like a risky thing. I wanted to binge on the Krispy Kreme Donuts and Popcornopolis that we walked past to get to the Excalibur Buffet. When we walked into the buffet, the FIRST thing I saw was the array of desserts.

And suddenly, the hunger dissipated and the fear of a binge evaporated like water in a dessert.

It was time for me to eat, my alarm had gone off about thirty minutes ago, but that terrifying hunger and desire to binge went away. It went away because it wasn’t hunger. It was the FEAR of being hungry. My body knew that I was going into that mode of starving myself because I looked at the food court and told it that there was nothing there that I could eat. It fought back the only way it could, by telling me that it really was very hungry, and I MUST feed it. Begging not to be starved, like with so many diets in the past, my body was scared that I was going to get hungry, which, ironically, made me hungry.

The moment I paid my buffet money and walked past the beautiful collection of desserts, it realized that I was going to feed it and backed off. It was amazing. At the buffet that night, I ate a piece of fish, some cantaloupe, a 1/4 cup of quinoa salad and one wonton. I easily kept my calories within my limits and I did just fine.

And the next day, I bought the decadent wristband that lets you go into the buffet as many times as you want eat all day long for one price. That wristband was a constant reminder that if I was hungry, all I had to do was walk to one of the two buffets nearby and eat. I easily stayed under my calories all day.

It’s not hunger that makes me binge. It’s the FEAR of hunger that makes me binge. After years of dieting, it’s no wonder that my body and psyche are terrified of being starved, because I WAS starved by my own volition. Buying the all day wristband, ensured that I wouldn’t go hungry that day and made eating healthy easier. The next time you feel a binge coming on, remember that and FEED yourself properly. Make sure you are eating enough and you will curb your binges dramatically.


Redbook Interesting Sandwich Recipes: Spicy Grilled Ham and Cheese

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

Redbook Spicy Grilled Ham and Cheese from Starling FitnessThe last of the interesting Redbook recipes to spice up your boring sandwiches is this one.

Spicy Grilled Ham and Cheese


  • 1/2 country loaf, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup red pepper jelly
  • 1 lb. thinly sliced ham
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced Guyere
  • 1 cup baby arugula


  • Spread butter on outside of each slice of bread and jelly on the inside.
  • Stack a few slices of ham and Gruyere on the jelly side of 4 of the bread slices, followed by a handful of arugula and remaining bread.
  • Place in a panini press (or in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, turning once) until bread crips up and cheese begins to melt.

Nutrition Facts:

Makes 4 sandwiches. Each sandwich: 709 calories, 36g fat, 19g saturated fat, 44g protein, 4g fiber, 56g carbohydrates

Summing Up

This one makes me even angrier than the other two combined. There is SO much wrong with this recipe that it just boggles my mind that Redbook printed it.

Let’s start with the bread. The first ingredient wants you to get (or bake) a country loaf of bread and slice it. Right there is going to be a deal breaker for any normal person thinking of making this sandwich. Hello, snooty Redbook chef, we have something in the flyover states called Texas Toast. THAT is what should have been the first ingredient on your list.

Next, red pepper jelly?! This is NOT a common ingredient. It’s not something that you can find anywhere. I found it on Amazon, for eight bucks a jar, but as far as I can tell, this is the SOLE ingredient that changes this sandwich from a boring ham and cheese to a Spicy Ham and Cheese.

Finally, the chef assumes that you either own a panini press or a cast-iron skillet. Us flyover folks probably DO own a cast-iron skillet, but it’s in the chuck box stored away in the camper. I ain’t poppin’ the tent trailer to get the cast iron skillet. This is how you should have said it, snooty chef, “Place the sandwich in your George Foreman Grill until the bread crisps and the cheese melts.” THAT is an appliance that most of us still have sitting in the back of the cupboard somewhere.

After reading that complimentary issue of Redbook on my iPad, I now know that I definitely do NOT want to subscribe to Redbook. They might think they are writing that magazine for busy women all over the nation, but they are really just stuck in the New York publishing microcosm.


Redbook Interesting Sandwich Recipes: BLAST

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

Redbook BLAST from Starling FitnessIf you are sick of what you are typically eating for lunch, Redbook had some recipes that offered a twist on favorites.

BLAST (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Salmon & Tomato)


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dill
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 8 slices bread (pullman loaf, sliced 1/2 inch thick)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 4 leaves romaine
  • 1 avocado, pitted, sliced
  • 8 slices lox (about 8oz)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced


  • Mix mayo with dill, chives and salt and pepper to taste and spread one Tbsp on each slice of bread.
  • Working with 4 slices of bread, layer on 2 bacon slices, 1 romain leaf, 2 avocado slices, 2 lox slices, 1 tomato slice, and 1 red onion slice.
  • Top with remaining 4 slices of bread.

Nutrition Facts:

Makes 4 sandwiches. Each sandwich: 524 calories, 36g fat, 7g saturated fat, 19g protein, 4g fiber, and 32g carbohydrates.

Summing Up

Dill and chives are yet another indication that a chef made this recipe, not a mom. Some people might have dill in their spice cabinet, but they certainly don’t have fresh chives. CHIVES!! I don’t think I’ve even SEEN chives in my grocery store for years. I’m sure they’re there, in the hippie section with the overprice organic food, but chives are NEVER something that I just have lying around the house.

They are WORTH finding, however. Because the difference between a boring BLT and this sandwich are those irritating and hard to find items.

Lox, on the other hand, tells me that this chef lives in a BIG city like New York. Lox isn’t something we normal folks can find anywhere. Since it’s a big part of the BLAST (it’s the Salmon), skipping it is going to change this sandwich from a BLAST to a boring BLT with avocado. It is obvious that the chef who created this sandwich hasn’t walked into a grocery store in a flyover state in a LONG time. Lox is something we flyover states have to order from Amazon at forty bucks a pop.

Don’t even get me started about the Pullman loaf bread sliced 1/2 inch thick. There is no normal, working woman on the earth that is willing to make bread and slice it thinly for her sandwich. Finding an interesting loaf of bread, like rye or pumpernickel, in your store might be a nice change of pace, though.

In the end, this isn’t going to work for the BULK of the nation. I would think that Redbook would have more sense than to let this recipe end up in print.


Redbook Interesting Sandwich Recipes: Thai Tuna Salad

By Laura Moncur @ 8:14 am — Filed under:

Redbook Thai Tuna Salad from Starling FitnessI was reading a free introductory issue of Redbook and they had some interesting sandwich recipes. I get sick of eating the same thing every day, so every once and a while, I need to pull up ideas for new food. Over the next three days, I’ll post the recipes and my thoughts on them.

Thai Tuna Salad


  • 3 (5oz) cans water packed tuna, drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small jalapeño, some seeds removed, finely chopped.
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime, juiced, zested
  • 4 pita pockets
  • 1 small head butter lettuce


  • In a large bowl, combine tuna, onion, scallions, jalapeño, ginger, cilantro, and peanuts; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a small bowl, whisk mayo, sesame oil, and lime juice and zest until smooth; fold into tuna.
  • Dividing evenly, spoon tuna mixture into pita pockets with leaves of lettuce.

Nutrition Facts:

Make 4 sandwiches. Each sandwich: 665 calories, 41g fat, 7g saturated fat, 34g protein, 4g fiber, 40g carbohydrates

Summing Up

Whenever I see scallions on an ingredient list, I know that I am dealing with a “chef” who doesn’t understand the real world. They cook for a living. Getting scallions means that they walk into the huge, walk-in fridge and get some scallions. They are there all the time, just waiting to be used in their recipes, always fresh and available.

To normal human beings, things like fresh scallions, ginger and cilantro are EXPENSIVE ingredients that will be used for this ONE recipe. We have to go to the grocery store specifically for them. They aren’t just lying around. It takes sincere EFFORT to get the ingredients for this recipe.

That said, if you are SICK of your tuna fish sandwich, it’s worth it.

Scallions, red onions (as opposed to the yellow or white onions you probably have in your fridge), cilantro and ginger are the very things that will make this sandwich taste different than your boring old tuna fish sandwich. And the beauty of it all is that they make your tuna fish taste different without adding any additional calories.

The fact that the chef suggests whisking the mayo, sesame oil and lime in a separate bowl ALSO tells me how very out of touch the inventor of this recipe is. I’m sure there is some benefit to making sure those ingredients are thoroughly mixed before adding them to the tuna, but whatever benefit that might be, it’s not going to even START to compete with the fact that it dirties ANOTHER bowl. To a chef, another dirty bowl isn’t a big deal. They have people to clean the dishes, but to a REAL person, every dirty bowl is a bowl I have to clean. What the chef should have done is START with the mayo, oil and lime in the big bowl and whisk it. THEN, add the tuna and other ingredients. ONE bowl. Less cleanup.

In the end, this sounds like a great way to spice up and change a boring tuna fish sandwich into something that tastes interesting and worth eating.


To Lengthen Thy Life, Lessen Thy Meals

By Laura Moncur @ 8:51 am — Filed under:

I saw this quote this morning and it made me nod in agreement.

To lengthen thy life lessen thy meals. Benjamin Franklin from The Quotations Page

It reads:

To lengthen thy life lessen thy meals.

  • Benjamin Franklin

You don’t need to starve. You don’t need to change everything about what you eat. All you need to do is LESSEN. Make all of your meals a tad smaller and you will live longer. That’s all you need to do. Being fit is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise. You can’t outrun your fork, so put it DOWN. Eat a little bit less and you will be healthier and happier.


Aim for a Healthy Weight

By Laura Moncur @ 5:58 pm — Filed under:

Aim for a Healthy Weight from Starling FitnessThe National Institute of Health has a pretty cool booklet called Aim for a Healthy Weight Patient Booklet. It’s not perfect, but it’s a really good nutritional basis for those who don’t know what to do when choosing their definition of abstinence.

You can download it here:

Every time Weight Watchers would switch up their program, people would want to know what the new plan entailed. In the end, it’s simple. Eat vegetables, fruit and lean meats. Keep your calories low enough to lose weight, but not so low that you are hungry all the time. Increase your exercise so that you get your heart pumping.

Programs like Weight Watchers may make some things easier to understand. For example, it’s a lot easier to keep track of 24 Points than 1200 calories. Since veggies and fruit are so healthy and low in calories, not having to track them is a good idea. They have good ideas, but in the end, a weight loss program is available to you free of charge from the NIH. Take advantage of it.


Healthy and Easy Snacks

By Laura Moncur @ 11:25 am — Filed under:

I love this list of healthy and easy snacks from Fit Personality. So many times I get BORED with my food and then that leads to a binge. Having lists like this helps me.

Easy Snacks from Starling Fitness

Here is the list:

  • Frozen grapes
  • Blueberry greek yogurt
  • Boom Chicka Pop
  • Dried fruit medley
  • Clementines
  • Naked Juice
  • Raw almonds
  • Peanut butter and fruit slices
  • Larabars
  • Peaches and cottage cheese
  • Edamame
  • Watermelon chunks
  • Carrots and guacamole
  • Apple chips
  • Strawberries and balsamic vinegar
  • V8 Juice
  • Celery and peanut butter
  • Protein smoothie
  • Pistachios
  • Cinnamon Rice Cakes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Raspberries and lime
  • Bell peppers
  • Frozen mango
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Cauliflower and hummus
  • Greek frozen yogurt cups
  • Fruit kabobs
  • Tomatoes and feta cheese
  • Chocolate almond milk
  • Peanuts and raisins
  • Dry whole grain cereal
  • Blackberries
  • Cinnamon pears
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Laughing Cow wedges
  • Almond butter and toast
  • Banana slices and chocolate
  • Oatmeal balls
  • Pomegranate
  • 100% fruit pops

It’s very important to keep the variety of your food constantly changing in order to prevent dopamine burnout. This is all explained in my entry here:

Speaking of healthy foods, let’s say you’re hungry and decide to eat a balanced meal. You do and dopamine levels spike in the reward hot spots. But if you eat that same dish many days in a row, dopamine levels will spike less and less, eventually leveling out.

The brain gets bored of regular food for two reasons from Starling Fitness

That’s because, when it comes to food, the brain evolved to pay special attention to new or different tastes. Why? Two reasons: first, to detect food that has gone bad, and second, because the more variety we have in our diet, the more likely we are to get all the nutrients we need. To keep that variety up, we need to be able to recognize a new food and, more importantly, we need to want to keep eating new foods, and that’s why the dopamine levels off when a food becomes boring.

Keep changing your meals and snacks and you won’t have that leveling out of your dopamine. That’s why I love lists of interesting foods I could have for snacks!

Via: Funeral For My Fat, fit-personality: Get your snack on y’all.


How To Conquer Disordered Eating

By Laura Moncur @ 10:24 am — Filed under:

How to conquer disordered eatingIt’s rare when an article actually gets it right about how to conquer disordered eating, but this one is perfect:

There is a list of six lessons and it’s a good idea to go over to their site and read the whole story. It was very helpful to me.

  • Comparing yourself to others only sets you back.
  • Your relationship to food mirrors your relationship to your life.
  • You will never be done.
  • Perfectionism derails progress.
  • You are really, truly good enough—just as you are.
  • Disordered eating is your soul desperately crying out for help.

Each person has a different journey when they are recovering from disordered eating. For me, issues of control, envy, perfectionism, fear, expectations, judgment of others and many other faults came up when I worked through my program. Knowing that these problems with my thinking have caused me to overeat for years, really helped me. I learned to reprogram my thoughts and have had wonderful success.

If you want what I have, find the nearest Overeater’s Anonymous meeting, get a sponsor, do everything they say and keep coming to meetings.

Overeater’s Anonymous does not endorse anything on this entry or blog. I speak only of my personal experience and not for OA as a whole.


Don’t Expect To See A Change If You Don’t Make One

By Laura Moncur @ 8:10 am — Filed under:

Seventy pounds. I have lost seventy pounds and have stayed here for a few months. I still have thirty pounds to go to get to the weight that the government thinks I should weight. I don’t know if I will ever get there, but I do know that my weight loss has stalled and slowed down to a crawl.

And then I realized that I was expecting a change without making one.

Don't Expect To See A Change If You Don't Make One from Starling Fitness

I have lost these seventy pounds by limiting my calories without regard to the health of food. I know restricting my food has caused binges in the past, but ADDING healthy food into my plan never did.

Don't Expect To See A Change If You Don't Make One from Starling Fitness

When I dropped Weight Watchers for the last time, I dropped their healthy ideas as well. That eight glasses of water and five fruits and veggies a day checklist. THAT was a good thing for me. Why did I drop that?

Don't Expect To See A Change If You Don't Make One from Starling Fitness

It’s time for me to add those checklists back into my daily routine. They HELPED me eat healthier. They helped me stay away from unhealthy food. It’s time I made another change to my routine in order to see a change in myself.

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