12/13/2008

Carnivore, Omnivore, Herbivore

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

This funny photo from Lolcats made me laugh:

LOLCats: Carnivore

It reads:

What part of CARNIVORE confuses you?

Cats ARE carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Cows are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetable matter. If you’re a human herbivore, you tend to call yourself Vegan, but the human animal is an omnivore.

Which means we can eat EVERYTHING.

We can eat meat. We can eat grains. We can eat garbage. We can eat anything. That’s great news in a famine and it’s probably the reason why we’re at the top of the food chain, but when we are overweight, it’s time to realize that we are NOT in a famine. We are NOT starving.

Just because we can eat everything, doesn’t mean we should.

There are foods that will help us be healthier. Concentrating on those foods and letting the things that pass for food pass us by is the first lesson we need to learn in a healthier life.

If you need a refresher course on what is food and what is not, here is something to get you started:

  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Whole Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice, Potatoes and Grains
  • Lean Meats, Poultry, Fish, Legumes and Eggs
  • Fat-Free Dairy Products
  • Healthy Oils

It’s kind of a simple list when you stick to it. Twinkies? Not food. We CAN eat it because we’re omnivores, but it’s not something a caveman would recognize as food.

Your body is crying out for this food every time you feel hungry. Feed yourself well and you won’t have to worry about health or weight gain.

Here’s a kitten who LIKES his greens:

Maybe he’s too young to know he’s a carnivore. :)

12/11/2008

Easy Meals: Italian Beans

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

I love Mexi-Beans and they are a great way to get me back on track eating healthy, but the problem is, I get sick of them REALLY easily. Earlier this week, I couldn’t bear the thought of eating another bowl of them, so I desperately ravaged my cupboard in an attempt to find anything that would give me two servings of vegetables and one serving of protein. I created Italian Beans and here is the recipe.

Italian Beans – 2 Points – Serves 3

IngredientsEasy Meals: Italian Beans by LauraMoncur from Flickr

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts (packed in brine NOT oil)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 tsp of garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp of basil
  • 3 Glad or Ziploc bowls

Directions

  • Open and drain the can of garbanzo beans
  • Pour the can of garbanzo 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 artichoke hearts. Divide the beans evenly between the three bowls.
  • Open the can of tomatoes and divide between the three bowls.
  • Add 1 tsp of garlic salt, 1/2 tsp of oregano and 1/2 tsp of basil to each bowl. If you want to finish off your oil requirement for the day, add 2 tsp of olive oil to each bowl (it will add 2 points to this recipe).
  • 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!

If you notice, the recipe is just as easy as Mexi-Beans, but it tastes completely different so I’m not sick of it. Additionally, I can stock up on the ingredients for this recipe and store them in the cupboard (or downstairs in food storage) for a long time. I love knowing that I have something tasty in the cupboard that just needs me to open three cans and we can eat.

12/6/2008

Salad Wrap [Shake That Salad] by Sniper Twins

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

God, I LOVE this video!

Who would have known that eating a salad could be so cool? I love the lyrics:

Why everybody in the bodego wanna crane their necks to stare at me?
I was out on the block tryin’ to make those Gs.
I was stopped at a shop tryin’ to get my greens.
Hook me up with a salad, boy. Don’t start smirkin’, you might get spurred.
I like the vinaigrettes on the H-E-word!
Shake it up nice, don’t say a word.
I’m just tryin’ to get my dine on. Salad help me keep my grind on.
Keep the gully and I down my cash.
Salad in my tummy ’cause I eat my stash.
I’m a type a dude trying to track my car.
I’m a type a dude prob’ly jack your car.
So when you see me snackin’ on the baby greens
Don’t get a twist, this boy is mean.

Best believe, my momma raised me right.
Made me help the dishes nearly every night.
Said the secret to life is eatin’ light.
Tasty nutrition in every bite.
Nowadays, I don’t eat baby tomatoes ’cause I’m a big boy.
Pick the ones as big as fists and eat dem with bok choy.
Baby so lucky to find a brother
Whose blood pressure ain’t about to rupture.
I keep it on the low-low with cucumbers.
Fried food? Hell, no, not for supper.
Eat light and I leave some room so I can have my cake too.
Bring out an order of tiramasu.
One slice, but spoons for two.

Let me see you shake that salad, shake, shake, shake.
Crack that pepper, tell me when, when, when.
Let me see you shake that ranch, shake, shake, shake.
Shred some cheese? Tell me when, when, when.

When I step into a steakhouse, baby, tell you, trouble’s my name.
I don’t care what’s the best dish, baby, it’s all the same.
I see the waiters look me up and down, they’re runnin’ away.
You know why? I know why. Because I’m the Salad Shaker
And I use a calculator as a calorie intaker
And I never make mistakes. I’m a nutrition calibrator.
Because I’m slicin’ and dicin’.
I like Romaine not the icin’.
I crumble blue cheese and croutons to top my salad so nicely.

When I’m creepin’ ’round the block, a salad won’t hold me down.
When I’m mashin’ up guac and smearing it on my chow
I hit the gas with my feet, I mash on the beat, I pass on the meat
I gotta salad on the passenger seat.
Oh you laughin’ at me? You crackin’ at me?
You think you make a salad so much faster than me? You trash, G!
I mix it up and I shake it up. Put a salad in a bag and I tape it up.
Put it in the freezer for ’bout half hour. Serve it up chilled with three cheese powder.

Let me see you shake that salad, shake, shake, shake.
Crack that pepper, tell me when, when, when.
Let me see you shake that ranch, shake, shake, shake.
Shred some cheese? Tell me when, when, when.

Who could ask for anything more in a rap video? Inspiration, attitude and recipes! Next time you feel like you can’t eat another salad, watch this video for a little inspiration!

12/5/2008

Weight Watchers Momentum Plan

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

Weight Watchers is starting a new eating plan called the Momentum Plan. If you have been planning on going to Weight Watchers as soon as the holiday is over, you should join now because they are teaching their current members about the plan THIS WEEK!

If you are a Weight Watchers eTools member, you can learn about it now. If not, you can sign up for it online for only $17 a month with a $30 startup fee.

The Momentum Plan

Before the Momentum Plan, Weight Watcher members had two plans to choose from: Flex and Core. Now, everyone will be on the same plan: Momentum. They have taken the best of both plans to create Momentum. Their whole philosophy is, “Don’t eat less, eat smarter.” The new plan still incorporates a lot of the favorites:

  • The Weight Watchers Points System
  • The weekly Points Allowance
  • The Good Health Guidelines
  • The Filling Foods List

Filling Foods

The new aspect of this plan is the Filling Foods List. The concept is that if you choose foods that are higher in fiber and water content, they will keep you fuller for longer than if you eat other foods. There are studies that have found that people will eat the same volume of food every day. The actual SPACE that the food takes in your stomach might have more to do with how full you feel than the calories, fat, or protein.

On this point, I have an issue with Weight Watchers. Personally, I have found that I can eat a small amount of food and stay full for a long time as long as it has enough protein. The size of the food can affect my “emotional” hunger. If I’m eating to make myself feel better, then the feeling of being “full” can make me feel better, but for actual satiety, I need protein, not fiber and water. Now, they have lean meats on their filling foods list, but they are promoting the water and fiber content far more than the protein.

The Filling Food List has basically just replaced the Core Foods List. In fact, even though they say they only have ONE plan now, they DO have the Simply Filling Technique, in which you can eat from the Filling Foods List to a feeling of satisfaction, just like the old Core Plan. It is considered another way to keep track instead of a different plan. In essence, they want all of us to eat from the Filling Foods List, whether we track our food or not.

Food Tracking

They are really promoting tracking your food intake. This makes sense, since SO MANY studies have shown that people who keep a food journal end up eating healthier and losing more weight than those who keep it all in their head. The Points System is so easy that it’s possible to keep it in your head, but writing it down really makes it more real. Weight Watchers eTools has made is SO easy for me to keep track because I’m at a computer all day.

30 Minutes of Exercise Every Day

One of the Good Health Guidelines is 30 minutes of exercise every day. This was part of their Move More program before, but now they are saying that it’s important to get it in every day. When I first started Weight Watchers, they always recommended exercise, but they also said that you could lose weight without it on their plan. I’m pretty stoked that they are making exercise a higher priority now.

Managing Hunger

Their new program has a great training section on Managing Hunger and recognizing whether you’re really hungry or if you are tempted to eat for other reasons. This is a nice program and worth going to the Weight Watcher classes just for this. Learning how to listen to your body is really important.

Helpful Habits

The Helpful Habits section is another new aspect of the Momentum Plan. They have tracked down the eight things that successful Weight Watcher members do:

  • Ask for help
  • Learn from experience
  • Manage your environment
  • Manage your feelings
  • Manage your thoughts
  • Monitor yourself
  • Prepare yourself
  • Take care of yourself

There is a training segment for each of these that will help you learn these habits for yourself. These aren’t a simple replacement for the Tools For Living. They are habits that you can teach yourself to keep on track.

SetPoints Values

SetPoints Values are a way of tracking foods from the Filling Foods List. If you watch your hunger signals and take a portion that seems “reasonable,” you can just count the food as its SetPoints Value instead of trying to figure out its actual Points value. Using this, they really want you to assess your hunger levels. This incorporates some of the concepts of the Core Plan into the Momentum Plan.

Not So Different

All in all, the new Momentum Plan is not that different from the previous plans. They appear to be mixing the Flex Plan and the Core Plan into one process, urging you to eat healthier foods and keeping track of them in a way that works best for you.

The best part of the Momentum Plan is that it’s new and different and there is a whole new set of materials to get every week right when we need them the most: the holiday season. If you have been thinking that you’ll join Weight Watchers after January first, get the jump on your New Years Resolution and do it NOW. You have enough time to lose five pounds before the first of the year, instead of gaining the typical fifteen.

There are so many reasons to eat healthy this season and only one reason to eat unhealthy. Start living right now and don’t put it off until January.

Update 12-09-08: I have created a new version of my food journal form that works with the new Momentum Plan. You can download it here:

If you aren’t a wiz at Microsoft Excel, you can order a food journal here:

12/4/2008

Christmas Survival Roundup

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

Over the years, I’ve written some pretty good entries about surviving the Christmas season and keeping healthy. You can see the entries here:

Whether you’re shopping at the mall and trying to eat healthy or using it as your workout, there are a bunch of tools here to help you stay on your program while you get ready for the holiday.

12/3/2008

Manatee Poop

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

I love this photo from Kitykity:

Manatee Poop by kitykity from Flickr

The ice cream flavor is Manatee Poop. I wish ALL ice cream was named so unappetizingly. Then maybe it would be easier to abstain from it.

11/30/2008

Wate-On

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

Click to see full size ad1984 was one of those strange times when being too skinny was still a problem. Now, too skinny means anorexic in the fashion industry and even though they pretend to think that’s bad, they would NEVER advertise a product to rectify that “problem.”

So, this ad for Wate-On is a strange thing to see now. The ad reads:

TOO SKINNY? NOW HAVE THE BODY YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED

Skinny because you don’t eat right? Let WATE-ON help fill out, shape your entire body. WATE-ON has extra calories under weights need plus vitamins, minerals and energy nutrients. Users report gains of 5-10-15 pounds and more. Try WATE-ON or extra strength Super WATE-ON in liquid, tablets or tonic or shake forms. At drug stores everywhere. For a free guide to successful weight-gaining, write.

Here are some other ads for Wate-On:

Click to see full size adUntil recently it was actually still available:

Based on its ingredients, it looks like an expensive version of Ensure.

Active Ingredients: Per 2 Tablespoons (30 mL): Total Fat (Saturated Fat 2.5g) 15g; Sodium 10 mg; Total Carbohydrate (Sugar 2g) 5g; Vitamin A 2000 IU; Vitamin C 20 mg; Vitamin D 200 IU; Vitamin E 15 IU; Thiamin 0.75 mg; Riboflavin 0.51 mg; Niacin 10 mg; Vitamin B6 1 mg; Vitamin B12 3 mcg; Biotin 0.015 mg; Pantothenic Acid 5 mg; Iron 9 mg; Zinc 7 mg; Copper 1 mg.
Inactive Ingredients: Hydrogenated Stabilized Soybean Oil; Water; Sugar; Propylene Glycol; Polyoxyethylene 20 Sorbitan Monolaurate; Sorbitan Monostearate; Xanthan Gum; Methyl Paraben; Sorbic Acid; Artificial Flavoring; Propyl Paraben; Ferric Citrate; Niacinamide; Panthenol; Pyridoxine Hydrochloride; Riboflavin 5 Phosphate; Thiamin Hydrochloride; Calciferol; Vitamin A Palmitate; Ascorbic Acid; dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate; Biotin FFC; Copper Sulfate; Zinc Oxide; Artificial Color; Butylated Hydroxytoluene; Cyanocobalamin.

The common thread to all of the advertisements are women with big breasts. I wonder if being “too skinny” is just a euphemism for being flat-chested. There are companies out there trying to take your money to make you thinner and others waiting to take your money when you get too skinny. Don’t let yourself be tempted by their promises.

11/27/2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

It’s a few years old, but still very helpful, here is my series on Thanksgiving. How to survive it, what to do if you “blew it” and everything else. Here is a list of links to that series:

I read this entry from Laura Dolson at About.com:

The Drs. Eades of Protein Power talk about the “honey tree” concept – that is, the idea that our hunter-gatherer ancestors, whose diet usually consisted mainly of protein and vegetables, would occasionally come upon a cache of refined carbohydrates in the form of honey. At that point, they probably had a party! But then of course would go back to their usual way of eating. Do you follow the “honey tree philosophy” of holidays?

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of the Honey Tree Concept. My biggest problem is that indulging usually sends me into a binge that lasts weeks. Of course, I’ve had many healthy Thanksgivings despite eating at my parents AND Micheal’s parents. Honestly, Thanksgiving food is very healthy. All you have to do is keep the portions in control.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and know that I am thankful for every one of you that read Starling Fitness every day. You keep me on track and I KNOW I would be in a much different place both physically and mentally if I didn’t have you.

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.

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