11/21/2008

Easy Meals: Mexi-Beans

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I like to keeps some canned veggies in the cupboard just in case I run out of healthy food to eat. Here is a quick meal that I make up when I need something REALLY low in points and need to knock off a couple of vegetables off my list.

Mexi-Beans – 4 Points – Serves 3

IngredientsMexi-Beans Ingredients

  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of green beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 tsp of olive oil (if desired)
  • 3 tsp of Mexican seasoning
  • 6 granules of dried chipotle (more if you like it spicy)
  • 3 Glad or Ziploc bowls

Directions

  • Drain the can of kidney beans
  • Pour the can of kidney beans into one of the Glad bowls. Fill the bowl with water and gently rinse the beans. Drain the water and divide the beans between the three bowls.
  • Drain the can of green beans. Divide the beans evenly between the three bowls.
  • Open the can of tomatoes and divide between the three bowls.
  • Add 1 tsp of Mexican seasoning and 2 granules of dried chipotle to each bowl. If you want to finish off your oil requirement for the day, add 2 tsp of olive oil to each bowl. You can also spice it up with Tabasco sauce, taco sauce packets from Taco Bell, etc.
  • Cover the bowls and put them in the fridge.

When it’s time to eat, pull out a bowl from the fridge, crack the lid and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. This recipe makes three meals and it’s EASY!

A special thank you to Braidwood for emailing me a recipe-sharing email. It got me off my butt to write down this incredibly simple meal idea.

11/14/2008

Five Fake Health Foods from Underground Wellness

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This video from Underground Wellness about five fake health foods he found at the grocery store:

These are the foods that he found that he says are NOT health foods:

  • Vitamin Water: If you look on the ingredients listing, it has 13 grams of sugar per serving and there are 2.5 servings! There are 32.5 grams of sugar in this bottle. Drop the Vitamin Water and pick up some REAL water.
  • Ensure: Sugar 23 grams. That means there are six teaspoons of sugar in Ensure. Soy is not a health food. Canola oil is not a health food either. Natural and artificial flavors.
  • Yoplait Yogurt: It has 27 grams of sugar, which is eight teaspoons of sugar. What kills a good bacteria in your stomach? SUGAR! If you want to have yogurt, go out and buy plain yogurt and add fruit.
  • Zone Bars: They use soy protein and he says that soy is not a health food.
  • Slim Fast Bars: The number one ingredients is corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils.

Here are the two websites that he mentioned in the video:

On the whole, the idea that your body can’t process soy protein or canola oil isn’t something I know enough about to agree or disagree with. Whether those foods he chose are health foods or not is EASY. He’s right, all of those foods are things that are best to avoid. Drink water from the tap. Eat plain yogurt and add your own fruit to make it tasty. Make your own smoothie with real milk and fruit. Pack a snack bag full of grains and dried fruit rather than depend on weight loss bars. Real food ALWAYS trumps manufactured food for health.

11/4/2008

Grilling with E. Coli

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Click to see full size comic.Last Sunday’s Sheldon comic caused quite a reaction in the forums. Here is a comment from one of the readers:

There is a “restaurant” in Memphis called Dyer’s (an appropriate name, you’ll see) that has been in business over 75 years. Their specialty is deep fried burgers (just the meat, to be totally clear). No, that’s not the killer part (well, yes, but it gets better/much worse). The killer part is that they deep fry the burgers in a big kettle of grease that has NEVER BEEN CHANGED in over 75 YEARS. They just top it off a bit if needed (probably not often, since the grease from the burgers adds to it). They just throw the patties in and they sink — when they’re done they rise to the top.

Here is a photo of the kettle of grease:

Dyer's Grease Fried Burgers

If the idea of 75 year old burger grease isn’t enough to keep you away from burgers for a while, then I don’t know what is…

11/2/2008

Bulgar Evening Meal

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

This is a portion of a photograph from the Library of Congress called Bulgar Evening Meal.

Bulgar evening meal by The Library of Congress from Flickr

Bulgar is a whole wheat product that has been touted recently for its health benefits. Here’s some information from Wikipedia:

The key attributes of traditional bulgur production are that the grain is parboiled, dried (usually by spreading in the sun), and the bran removed; significantly, it is processed from germinated grain, thus altering the glycemic index and nutritional values of simple wheat. Bulgur is often confused with cracked wheat, which is made from crushed wheat grains which have not been germinated nor parboiled. Although traditionally de-branned, bulgur and cracked wheat products available in shops may or may not have had their bran removed. Thus there are whole-grain, high-fiber versions of each. Bulgur is most often found in Turkish, Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean dishes mainly Greece, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus. It has a light and nutty flavor.

Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, bakery goods, or as stuffing, but is best known as a main ingredient in tabbouleh salad and kibbeh. Its higher nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous. In Indian cuisine, bulgur or daliya is also used as a cereal with milk and sugar.

When I was a kid, my grandparents used to make cracked wheat for me for breakfast on the weekends. We would crumble a piece of bacon into the cracked wheat and eat it with milk. It wasn’t a sweet dish (although sometimes my grandma skipped the bacon and had hers with Sweet N Low).

Bulgur Wheat, Dark, 1 lb. at Amazon.comWhen I look at that photo of the soldiers preparing bulgar for their evening meal, I wonder what happened to it? Bulgar was something that people ate regularly and it virtually disappeared from our diet only to reappear almost a century later. It’s kind of hard to cook. Did the advent of computer-controlled rice cookers bring it back? Is it the current obsession with “whole” foods?

Whatever the reason, bulgar is a grain that is quickly returning to the human diet. Get to know it and try eating it for breakfast or maybe your evening meal.

10/24/2008

Mini Raviolis Are Protein Food? I Don’t Think So…

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Found in Mom’s Basement posted this advertisement for Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli from the 1970′s:

Click to see full size ad

It reads:

Kids think it’s treat food
(but it’s protein food).

Ravioli Nutrition Facts: Click to see full sizeThis advertisement was made before food companies were required to label their products with nutrition facts, so it was easy for Chef Boy-Ar-Dee to say that their ravioli was “protein food.” How could anyone disagree?

Now, however, we can ALL see that protein comes in at a slim third place behind carbohydrates and fat. Sorry, Mom, but the kid’s were right. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli is a treat food. At 240 calories a serving, the kids could eat a lot of REAL beef instead of ravioli.

It’s easy to make fun of advertising from thirty years ago, but the truth of the matter is, food manufacturers are STILL lying to you. Keep a keen eye on the nutrition facts whenever you’re tempted to buy something because it’s “healthy.” The only way that you can keep from being lied to is by arming yourself with information.

10/23/2008

Sheldon Shows You How NOT Following Weight Watchers Works

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Click to see full size comic.This Sunday’s Sheldon shows how NOT to follow Weight Watchers:

The panel on the right is the only tip that I follow religiously. Especially now that they have made eTools SO much better, I love keeping track of my food online with Weight Watchers. They have made it easy and I really love how they have added the system to give me positive reinforcement for following the Healthy Habits For Living.

WW eTools Healthy ChecksDo you see the little smiley faces on my water, vitamin and exercise Healthy Checks? That means that I’ve fulfilled my requirements for the day. I know it’s such a small thing, but I really like trying to get all smiley faces every day. It feels like such an accomplishment when the program gives me a smiley face. I look at that field almost more than I check whether I have enough points left in the day. You see, I need to eat one more serving of dairy, two more servings of veggies and two teaspoons of healthy oil in order to get a full complement of smiley faces.

I don’t know why something as simple as the gift of a smiley face should be enough to motivate me to eat healthy, but strangely, it does. I’ve been really happy with eTools ever since they released this new version. I just hope they don’t screw it up and take away my smiley faces.

10/21/2008

The Best Hot Cocoa for Two Points

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix, Diet with Calcium at Amazon.comWhen Swiss Miss came out with their Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa, everyone at Weight Watchers were excited about it. Whenever someone mentioned an indulgence, the Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa jumped into the conversation. I tried it. It was good, but I still have almost a full box of it sitting in the cupboard.

Why?

Because I like REAL cocoa. Plus, I have a hard time eating my two servings of dairy every day, so if I’m going to have cocoa, I’m going to make it WORTH it.

My REAL Cocoa Recipe

  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 packet of Stevia (or Equal or Sweet N Low, whatever you like)

Directions:

  1. Set your microwave to 50% power. Microwave your milk in a heat-safe mug for three minutes. If you don’t reduce your microwave cooking power level, the milk will bubble up and make quite a mess in your microwave, so make sure you reduce your cooking level to 50%.
  2. Once the milk is heated correctly, stir in the teaspoon of cocoa and the packet of Stevia. You have to stir in a little more with real cocoa than you would if you were using a packet of Swiss Miss. Make sure all the lumps of cocoa are mixed in.

Servings: 1
WW Points: 2

The reason why Swiss Miss is so popular is because you don’t need to have milk with you to make it, so if you’re in an office, all you have to do is get some hot water from the water cooler. With a little planning, however, you can have cocoa that tastes like REAL chocolate and do your body some good.

10/18/2008

How To Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

sugar cubes on pink by klevo! from FlickrZen Habits has a pretty cool article about beating the sugar habit:

Steps one and two waste your time telling you WHY you need to cut sugar out of your diet. Anyone willing to read an entry on how to “Beat the Sugar Habit” already knows why they don’t want to eat sugar anymore. The best advice comes at the third step, “Just Live the Daily Journey one Choice at a Time.” They have a list of ways to make good choices in your diet:

  • Choose to eat more natural foods.
  • Find the hidden sources of sugars and remove them.
  • If it’s not near you, you can’t eat it.
  • Make each meal balanced to control your blood sugar and insulin response.
  • Eat sugar from its natural packaging – like fruit (as it is packed with fiber, water, vitamins and minerals) and other complex sources like vegetables.
  • Base your larger intake of carbohydrates around workouts and other activity.
  • Choose to burn fat, not store it.
  • Get out and exercise.
  • More fish please.
  • Learn it’s OK to say “No”.
  • Get rid of your mental attachment to sugar and food – once a week with a short fast (like only eating dinner for a day once a week).
  • Control and manage your stress.
  • Go to bed early and get your sleep.
  • Don’t ever get down on yourself.
  • Enjoy Life.

Oh, enjoy life… THAT’S why it’s so hard for me to stop eating sugar. I haven’t been enjoying LIFE enough. I do agree with a lot of the things that were said in this article, but sometimes it’s a little more complicated than that. I DO NOT recommend that you “Get rid of your mental attachment to food” by fasting once a week. I strongly believe that the act of fasting causes bingeing. There’s some good advice in that article if you’re willing to sift through it.

The basis of all of this is eating or NOT eating sugar is our choice. Every piece of food that I put in my mouth is my choice. That alone is a very powerful thought to keep you motivated toward healthy eating.

10/8/2008

The Biggest Loser: Week 3

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to stop watching The Biggest Loser. I have to admit that I get really motivated watching all those people working out.

If you missed it, this little video will catch you up:

I was just SHOCKED when Colleen lost seven pounds. That is just a HUGE amount to lose in a week. Unfortunately, her father had gained two pounds, so they voted to send him home. His leg injury just pushed him over the edge. You can see how he’s doing now here:

I don’t like to see any of the contestants being screamed at, but I have to admit that I do like to see the success that these people have. Of course, I’d like to see them ALL five years later to see how many keep the weight off.

10/6/2008

The Office: Weight Loss Episode

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

A couple of weeks ago, The Office season premier was called Weight Loss. You can see it here:

Dunder Mifflin paper is having an office competition in which the branches compete for an extra week of vacation time. The winner is the branch that loses the most weight. Of course, things at the Scranton branch get out of control, culminating with Phyllis being abandoned without her purse in a bad part of town by Dwight because she needs the exercise. Even Michael goes over the line telling tiny Angela to lose weight and her replying, “My doctor wants me to GAIN weight.”

I actually loved this episode because it shows just how fat people are treated in the workforce. If you think that it was an exaggeration when Dwight accused the heaviest people in the office of not pulling their weight, it wasn’t. Considering that Stanley had lost FOUR pounds that week, it was quite ironic, but entirely typical.

I’ve worked at offices that have sponsored weight loss competitions before and they have ALWAYS ended badly. The only time I’ve ever seen the idea of weight loss in the workplace actually WORK was when my sister’s office sponsored Weight Watchers to come to their office for an At Work program. Those who wanted to participate were given an extra hour to do so and the weight of everyone was kept anonymous.

Next time it feels like everyone in your office is against your weight loss because they happened to bring in donuts, remember this episode of The Office and know how much worse it could be if they were rooting for you.


The final irony are the commercials that NBC has thrown into this episode. They are for Hungry Man Frozen Dinners. I wrote about how entire un-dietable these dinners are here:

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