Travel Milk

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

Eating healthy while traveling is difficult enough, but the last hotel we stayed in didn’t have a little fridge. We hadn’t thought to bring a cooler, so I thought I was out of luck trying to get my two servings of milk in every day. Then I found this at Whole Foods:

Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Milk, 8-Ounce at Amazon.com

They are one-cup containers of milk from Horizon Organic that don’t need to be refrigerated. I would have preferred skim milk, but 2% is almost as good and certainly tastes better. Most importantly, I could throw one in my backpack with a healthy sandwich and I had an easy way to fulfill my milk servings for the day. No refrigeration required.

Each time I travel, I learn something new about how to stay on program while I’m out of town. There really are NO excuses when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.


Ask Laura: Why do we have to eat two tsp. of healthy oil?

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

Why do we have to eat two tsp. of healthy oil? by LauraMoncur from FlickrLaura,

Why do we have to eat 2 t of oil a day? I’m new with this weight watchers thing.



I checked my Weight Watchers week one book to see why they said that we should eat healthy oil. Here is their explanation:

Healthy oil: 2 teaspoons per day

What counts? Olive, canola, safflower, or flaxseed oil. Avoid saturated and trans fats.

Why? Contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids. May help lower risk for heart disease and stroke.

That is the official story from Weight Watchers, but I’ve heard from WW leaders that the diet was naturally so low in fat, that they needed to add healthy oils. They’ve suggested a wide variety of ways to add healthy oil to your diet: Why do we have to eat two tsp. of healthy oil? by LauraMoncur from Flickr

  • Cooking food in the oil
  • Using it on toast instead of butter (canola is good for this one)
  • Adding it to smoothies (I prefer flaxseed oil in my smoothies because of the interesting taste)
  • Choosing oil on your sandwich at Subway (they use olive oil)
  • Eating it straight from a spoon like medicine

I have a particularly hard time checking off my healthy oil boxes unless I PLAN for it. Since I rarely do much cooking, I don’t have the option of adding it to my eggs in the morning, so I usually get it in with my smoothies. I have a great smoothie recipe here:

Of all the recommendations from WW leaders over the years, I don’t recommend eating it like medicine. Food is not only about nutrition and health. It’s about enjoyment and pleasure. If you HAVE to eat two teaspoons of oil every day, make them enjoyable. Use the oil to cook with. Use it to add flavor to your salad. Use it to make your toast less dry. DON’T muscle past your gag reflex and just swallow it like medicine. That’s just a waste of two points.

In the end, the Healthy Guidelines are just that: GUIDELINES. It’s possible to lose weight on WW eating four Snickers bars every day, but it’s not the best route to go. The guidelines are there to recommend a healthy and varied way to keep from getting bored.

Laura Moncur


How To Eat A Buddha Hand

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

We were making a quick stop at Whole Foods, but Mike was transfixed in the produce section. “Check out this Cthulhu fruit,” he said, holding up the yellow squid-like fruit the size of my head. I smiled, taking it from his hands, “CTHULHU FRUIT!”

How To Eat A Buddha Hand by LauraMoncur from Flickr

How To Eat A Buddha Hand by LauraMoncur from FlickrI wanted one immediately, but at $4.99 a pound, it seemed like an expensive joke food. Mike looked at the sign, “It’s called Buddha Hand.” I was more interested in the practical. “How do you eat it?” And so started our quest to find out how to eat a Buddha Hand!

Buddha Hand is a citron. Citron fruits are fragrant and citrus, but unlike an orange or lemon, they don’t have the juicy stuff in the middle. They are all rind. To eat it, you just slice the fingers lengthwise.

Buddha Hand cut lengthwise.

You’re supposed to eat the fruit, peel and all, because there really is nothing BUT the peel.

There is more information here:

Called a Buddha’s Hand Citron, this odd looking fruit is actually one of the oldest members of the citrus family. Although it smells strongly of lemon, it has no juicy pulp hidden beneath its rind. Instead, the Buddha’s Hand is grown commercially for its powerful zest. The aromatic rind is used to flavor lemon liqueurs and specialty vodkas, and provides aroma to lemon-scented cosmetics. Chinese and Japanese households hang it in their homes as a natural air freshener, and it even has a place in some religious ceremonies.Buddha Hand Nutrition Facts

Most of the recipes I found for Buddha Hand used it instead of lemon peel for things like marmalade and liquors, but it is a fruit that you can eat raw just like you would an orange. Considering that it’s incredibly low in calories, it’s a great addition to your diet as long as you can get past the image of eating Cthulhu’s head.

Photo of cut Buddha Hand via: Boston Food & Whine: Candied Buddha’s Hand Peel


Claire Huxtable Turns To Jenny Craig

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

Phylicia RashadIt seems like just yesterday when I was watching The Cosby Show and wishing I was as beautiful as Claire Huxtable. Even now, looking at Phylicia Rashad’s photos, she’s a knockout considering that she’s sixty years old.

When she found that she couldn’t climb three flights of stairs without getting winded, however, she decided to do something about it.

“Honestly, it’s about the way I feel. I thought, ‘Hmmm.’ I just want to be light on my feet.”

Phylicia isn’t the first celebrity to turn to Jenny Craig to lose weight. A lot of people are attracted to the ease of pre-packaged meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack are all color-coded and easy to choose from. You don’t have to make any decisions. You don’t have to write anything down. You don’t have to do any math. I can certainly understand the appeal.

Of course, for me, I want freedom. I want to be able to eat whatever I want. I don’t mind keeping a detailed food journal in exchange for the freedom to eat whatever I want. Sure, Weight Watchers works better when I check off foods from the Filling Foods List, but if I was on a plan where I wasn’t able to just eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, it would send me to Binge City for a week. Putting any food on a “Do Not Eat” list makes me want it all the more.

Fortunately, there are many different programs that work for every different style of person. I’m wishing Phylicia the best of luck. She has lost 16 pounds so far and I hope she achieves that lightness on her feet soon!


Make Coffee At Home: Save Bucks AND Calories

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

A couple of weeks ago, we were hit with the news that Starbucks was closing approximately 600 of it’s coffee shops.

The Seattle coffee company is cutting 5 percent of its U.S. locations as part of a wide-ranging effort to boost its bottom line and its stock price. The chain is accelerating international growth.

CNN itself gave out the advice to skip Starbucks when you’re trying to save money.

What about when you’re trying to save calories? The advice is the same. Starbucks coffee tastes so good because it’s packed full of milk and sugar. Even their “light” coffees are high in calories. For example, their 16 oz. Caffé Vanilla Frappuccino® Light Blended Coffee is 190 calories with 5 grams of fat.

Make coffe at home: save bucks AND caloriesSo how do you make coffee at home that’s light in calories AND make it taste good? Here’s a quick list:

  • Coffee: Good news, coffee is fat free and calorie free. Many grocery stores have coffee bean grinders right in the store, so you can get a small amount of freshly ground coffee every week while grocery shopping.

  • Fat free milk: Many diets suggest a daily allowance of dairy products. You can get that into your diet easily by adding one cup of fat free milk for 80 calories. To heat milk in the microwave, use the 50% setting and heat for two minutes. All microwaves are different, of course, so watch it so your milk doesn’t bubble over.

  • Torani Syrup, Sugar-Free Vanilla, 25.4-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 3) at Amazon.comTorani Sugar-Free syrups: THIS is the secret ingredient that will make your coffee taste as good as a Starbucks coffee with no calories. Amazon has nine different flavors: vanilla, carmel, chocolate (doesn’t taste so good), raspberry, hazelnut, white chocolate, Irish creme, lemon and peppermint. You’re sure to find a flavor that can recreate your favorite Starbucks creation.

I gave up all forms of caffeine long ago, so coffee isn’t hurting my pocketbook or my food journal, but if your particular indulgence is coffee, here is a way for you to have your coffee at a lower price AND calorie count.


How To Cut Open a Pomegranate

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

So much of eating fresh produce is KNOWING what to do with it. There are so many fruits and vegetables in my grocery store that I just have no idea how to peel them, how to eat them and even whether parts of them are poisonous. The Produce Picker Podcast is a great resource for learning about all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

This episode shows us how to cut open a pomegranate:

The steps are:

  • Put a towel down on your cutting board to help prevent staining.
  • Cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate.
  • Make four scores along the tough skin of the side of the pomegranate with your knife.
  • Fill a large bowl with water.
  • Break the pomegranate apart into four sections in the bowl under water.
  • Pull the skin and pith away from the seeds.
  • The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the skin and pith will float.
  • Skim the pith and skin off the top of the water.
  • Empty the bowl into a strainer with holes small enough to catch the seeds.
  • Transfer the seeds to whatever storage container you want.

As a child, my dad used to get a pomegranate. He would just open it up like and orange and we’d pick the seeds out with our fingers to eat it. The Produce Picker method is MUCH cleaner, because pomegranate juice really stains your fingers and clothes.

My friend, Nami, came from Iran, where pomegranates grow naturally. He would eat one by squeezing and squeezing it until it was soft and mushy. He then would poke a hole in the skin and drink the juice. I always thought he was missing out on the yummy pulp that way, but he also missed out on crunching the seeds.

However you eat a pomegranate, they are supposed to be super healthy for you and they fulfill one of your fruit/veggie requirements for the day, so get one and eat it today!


Sheldon’s Grandpa Loses Weight Online

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

Click to see full size comic.Sheldon’s grandpa has decided to lose weight online. He’s using the “Points Watchers” system, which is suspiciously similar to Weight Watchers Points system. He has a bunch of comics where he talks about losing weight online. Here is a link to the first one.

I love reading Sheldon, but I especially love it when Dave writes about things I’m so intimately familiar. Weight Watchers has been a part of my life since January 2002. The only times I have ever lost weight was when I was religiously following the Weight Watchers plan. It has changed over the last seven or so years, but in the end, it’s still the only thing that works for me.


PostSecret: Peanut Butter Heart

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

This postcard from PostSecret made me so happy inside.

PostSecret: Peanut Butter Heart

It reads:

Whenever I make my husband a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I secretly draw a heart in the peanut butter.

My whole life, I’ve felt that food made by someone who loves me tastes better. Now I know why.

PostSecret‘s beneficiary is the National Hopeline Network. It is a 24-hour hotline (1 (800) SUICIDE) for anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows someone who is considering it.


New Year’s Resolutions: Week 8

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

Last year, I wrote a weekly plan to get you on track for a healthy and active life. If you followed the plan last week, then here is the link to this week’s plan:

The Short Version:

  • Get support and accountability: Join Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, or some other support group. Find a friend who will hold your feet to the fire.
  • If you aren’t at your recommended daily caloric average, reduce it by another 100 calories. Write down EVERYTHING you eat including measurements and calories.
  • Choose lean protein and whole grains.
  • Save enough calories to eat two teaspoons of healthy oil each day.
  • Avoid the feeling of deprivation by finding non-food activities to nurture yourself EVERY day.
  • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Save enough calories to eat two servings of dairy products each day.
  • Increase your speed. Walk/run 2.0 miles five days this week. Remember consistency is more important than speed, but you need to make sure you’re pushing yourself.
  • Give yourself kudos for coming this far.

This is the last week of this program, that’s why it’s essential to get a program for support and accountability.


Top 10 Disgusting Foods

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

Caterpilla FungusNote to self: Next time I feel like bingeing, look at all the photos on this website. It makes me want to stay away from food and become a vegetarian all at the same time.

Their list of the Top Ten Most Disgusting Foods are as follows:Monkey Brains

  1. Snake Blood and Bile
  2. Balut – Duck Fetus
  3. Bee Larvae
  4. Spiders
  5. Monkeys Brains
  6. Rats
  7. Caterpilla Fungus
  8. Bird Spit
  9. Ox Penis
  10. Kopi Luwak: Rodent Feces

Their names alone don’t sound too bad, but when you see all the photos and the descriptions of what they are, it makes me want to stop eating for at least an hour.

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