A journey in words...
Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...
I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202
Friday, March 26, 2010
The hardest part is getting home so late from work, already hungry, and then having to start cooking a meal that isn’t finished until eight or sometimes nine o’clock. By then I’ve gone from hungry to ravenous and put myself in danger of eating more servings than I should.
Anyway, without further ado – Gloria’s convenience food review:
Amy's Frozen Food
I have been eating these for lunch almost every day. Normally I try to eat fresh food from our cafeteria, but they recently streamlined their menu and hardly have anything healthy anymore. Amy's has a bunch of Indian entrees that are *awesome*, and some non-Indian stuff that are very good too. So far I've tried the matter paneer, palak paneer, and vegetable korma. They all *rock*. In the non-Indian food department, I've tried the brown rice & vegetables bowl which was quite good too (nowhere near as good as the Indian stuff, but filling and not too boring, for just rice and veg), and the roasted vegetable tamale with black beans which was *really* good.
Only thing with Amy's is not all the stuff they have is diet friendly; everything I have tried has been no more than 320 calories, and I've never been left feeling unsatisfied (sometimes happens with pre-portioned food like that). The other thing is that they can sometimes be more expensive than other frozen foods ($5 each). On the other hand, they seem to have more real food in them than other frozen foods do.
Kashi Frozen Food
I went through a phase where I was eating these a lot too. The Mayan Harvest Bake is TERRIFIC. On the whole, these aren't as good as Amy's but they are better and more interesting than your average Lean Cuisine type thing.
Del Monte Fruit Chillers (or whatever they're calling them)
You find these in your refrigerated section of the supermarket. Granted, most of these have added sugar which I am generally against. But I have thrown away so much fresh fruit recently because as you know it's hard to eat every day since it's so high in calories. And Brent never eats any, so if I buy fresh it often gets moldy before I can eat it. They have pink grapefruit (60 cal), citrus salad (70 cal), and sugar free (splenda) peaches (40 cal). I add these to my normal oatmeal breakfast. They also have them in bowl sizes - 4 servings per bowl. I will sometimes eat a whole bowl by itself (no oatmeal) for breakfast if I'm in the mood for something lighter. They also have small sugar free (splenda) peaches for 25 calories each, but they are in the applesauce-and-canned-fruit aisle. I'll stir one of these into my oatmeal, or into my Greek yogurt for dessert. They have other flavors which I haven't tried yet, either because they don't appeal or because they're too many calories. The website says they have no sugar added grapefruit, which I haven't seen yet but will snap up when I do. I know you like grapefruit and I do a lot too.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I call this learning to love the enemy…
For a long time now I’ve been wanting a fat cell plushie, it’s part of the “Giant Microbe” line of plushie toys. They make all kinds of things, from plushie E-Coli to the Black Death. I just think the round fat cell with it’s big google eyes is completely fricking adorable.
Ted wanted to get me a present because I’ve been working hard, so he surprised me with this one in my kitchen last night when I was cooking dinner. It was a little pick me up I really needed – especially when I was eating my potato beet green soup and watching him and Kyle scarf down scrapple with eggs and home fries. I even made the home fries for them, and boy were they good. I had a taste but couldn’t have a whole serving because I’d cooked them in olive oil.
It’s not easy on them either; Kyle passed up a hamburger because I couldn’t have one. I know they hate eating things in front of me that I can’t.
Although I understand the basic physics – if you consume more calories than you burn, it stores as fat. But it is hard to wrap my head around how my husband is burning more calories than he eats. His job is a desk job like mine, and he regularly enjoys things like scrapple and cheese without putting on a pound.
For some reason I guess his metabolic engine just runs hot all the time.
I can see him peering at the diet I’ve confined myself to and wishing he could somehow give me some of his metabolism, but it is what it is. Hey, he has bad knees and I don’t – that’s not fair either, right?
Anyway I just wanted to share my little fat cell. I’ve decided to make my enemy innocuous and cute. Plus when I get frustrated I can grab the little guy and yell “YOU’RE GOING DOWN, FAT CELL!” and slam him to the kitchen floor.
Here’s his permanent position in my kitchen, hanging out with my Tiki-god salt and pepper shakers and watching over me while I cook.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Homework + Stress + PMS = Dietary Disaster.
I already get hungry during a certain cyclical time of the month to begin with, pile on top of that a lot of home work and some home work related stress and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster. Yesterday I felt like I ate everything that wasn’t nailed down.
On his way home from work, Ted offered to pick me up a vegetarian burrito from our favorite Mexican take out place, and I told him to make sure they included the guacamole.
He helpfully reminded me that I’m not eating guacamole right now, and I nearly took his head off with my shoe.
Needless to say, I had my guacamole – and any number of things I shouldn’t have eaten yesterday but did.
It’s so extremely frustrating to blow it like that, it’s like I’m a prisoner who keeps voluntarily adding more time to my prison sentence. Sure, tack on another week locked in my fat body… it’s fine!
No it’s NOT fine. It sucks!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Without further ado; Jo’s post for this week!
P.S. That ‘beet blood’ photo is fricking scary… lol
After a visit to Produce Junction, I have a lot of parsnips and Yukon Gold potatoes in my refrigerator. I cook with both all the time: in soups, boiled and mashed alone or together, grated and made into fritters or hash browns, etc. So for Food Science Thursday they don't qualify. Thing is, I still have some that need to be cooked soon.
After a little thought, I figured I could roast some potatoes and parsnips with another root veggie I have never cooked before. My choice: beets.
As a kid, we had the canned ones fairly often. I didn’t really like them. But in the past few years I’ve learned I like the fresh cooked ones I've had in restaurants. It’s high time I try cooking them at home.
[In the future, if I'm making a recipe up as I go, I should bring my scale into the kitchen. It can weigh more things than just yarn. lol]
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly oil a baking pan with a lip (to keep the veggies under control). My pan was about 8x14 inches.
3 medium parsnips
2 medium potatoes
3 medium beets
All veggies get well scrubbed. I tend to only peel off the ugly and inedible bits of peel. Then all are chopped to pieces about 1/4 inch thick & 1/2 inch long.
I tossed the root veggies with a little olive oil, about 2 Tbsp. And sprinkled with salt.
Spread them all out evenly in the pan and roasted for about 40 minutes. I stirred them once at the halfway point.
(As I cut up the beets I had an internal battle: to keep the greens or not. I know the greens are edible, but I’ve never had them. I decided to keep them. Hopefully tonight I’ll cook them up. I’ll report later. Cutting up beets also gives you the added entertainment of looking like you’ve been disposing of body parts. Check out the beet blood photo.)
Once they were cooked, they looked amazing. The deep red of the beets had dyed pink some of the creamy gold color of the potatoes and parsnips. I made enough for maybe 4 servings. I put the rest in a container in the freezer. Hopefully they will warm up well. I’ll report on that later next week when I bring the leftovers to work for lunch.
After I put them on my plate, I decided to sprinkle a little goat cheese on top. The slight tart flavor of the cheese was fantastic with everything – the creamy flavor of the potato, the sweetness of the parsnips and sweet almost nutty flavor of the beets. I will make this again and again and again. I’m officially in love with beets.
In the dinner plate photo, the root veggies with goat cheese are the upper left section. The top right features a pair of chickpea patties, and there at the bottom is some fresh baby spinach with a little thousand island dressing. I put some spicy brown mustard with horseradish (Genaurdi’s store brand – one of my new favorite things) on the patties.
The chickpea patties are a blend of mashed chickpeas, breadcrumbs, vital wheat gluten (found by the fancy flours usually), a little soy sauce, olive oil and spices. They’re formed into patties (or a thinner cutlet) and then baked or pan fried. Since my oven was busy roasting, I opted for pan frying. I can post the official recipe if you’re interested. They’re from a vegan cookbook, The Veganomicon. I love them and they are very easy to make.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
It’s an easy to find little vegetable that was located in my Acme’s cold vegetable section next to the leafy greens. A large one was a bit smaller than a fist, and resembled a really big garlic clove with the papery skin on. Peeling of the skin, that resemblance continued – there were basically two really gigantic cloves inside the paper. I diced it up and it seriously made me blink and tear… I don’t know if that’s normal or if I just had a particularly strong one. The flavor is great; slightly milder than onion and a bit garlic-like.
As I was making my fried rice, I added a can of Bumble Bee tiny shrimp to the mix which you won’t see on the recipe. That’s because they completely disintegrated, leaving only a faintly fishy flavor behind that I didn’t care for (and Ted swears is all in my head – he couldn’t taste them). At any rate, I do NOT recommend the tiny canned shrimps.
Other than that, it turned out great – and must have been pretty good because Ted and I couldn’t keep our forks out of the wok while he was finishing up the meat dish he prepared for Kyle and himself to go along with.
As for me; I had my fried rice and half a baked butternut squash with Splenda brown sugar and ‘I can’t believe it’s not Butter’ spray. Noms!
Vegetable Fried Rice
• 1 cup ‘Texmati’ rice
• 1 small square package of frozen peas
• 1 large shallot
• 1 bunch of scallions (green onion)
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
• 4 tbsp. soy sauce
• ½ tsp. garlic powder
• Pam non-fat cooking spray
1) Set out the frozen peas to thaw a bit, you don’t need them soft – just loose in the bag and not a solid block of ice. Run under warm water if necessary.
2) Cook the Texmati according to package directions; takes about fifteen minutes and yields 3 cups of cooked rice.
3) While rice is cooking, chop up the shallot small and cut the scallions into small rings.
4) Coat a wok with Pam cooking spray (I like the butter flavored one) and sauté the scallions for about three minutes.
5) Add the frozen peas and continue to sauté until their color begins to turn bright green.
6) There will be liquid from the ice on the peas – this is okay, the rice will suck it all back up later.
7) Add the cooked rice back into the wok and stir together.
8) Push the rice mixture to one side, and crack the two eggs into the bottom of the wok.
9) Scramble the eggs on the bottom of the pan, then mix in with the rest.
10) Add the soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic.
11) Add the scallions.
Mix all together – and enjoy!
Cook time: About a half hour
Serving: 1 & ½ cups
Fat Grams: 5
Fiber Grams: 19
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Daily Plate has succumbed to this temptation.
I logged in yesterday and got a message: “We are retiring Classic Plate at the end of this month and switching all users to New Plate etc…”
The new Plate isn’t terrible, in fact parts of it are kind of cool. It now breaks down what you ate by meal; so that you can add items and catalog them as breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, midnight snack, etc. That way you can easily see where most of your calories are going and what areas you need to work on. And the click and drag customizable modules are pretty neat.
However they made the ‘week at a glance’ function where I could see my calorie totals for the past seven days handily located at the bottom of the screen a Gold member function. Basically if I want that part back, I’ll have to pay for it.
Not that the Livestrong Foundation doesn’t deserve to get paid for the nifty service they provide, they certainly do. And considering how heavily I rely on the Plate I should really just suck it up, stop being cheap, and get a membership. It’s about $30.00 / year so… really not that big a deal.
I guess I always just get irritable when I have to re learn something I knew how to use perfectly a few days before. Like many stubborn mammals, I dislike change.
The other reason why this is a *sigh* day is the fact that it’s St. Patrick’s. In my office, this means food. I managed to avoid the Irish Soda Bread yesterday by not being here; but today there are chocolates, Irish potatoes, doughnuts, cookies… well, you get the idea.
I got some good advice this morning though; is it really worth scarfing down that Irish potato when it will only give me pleasure for about five seconds – but wind up as a lump of cellulite on my butt for the next YEAR?
They’re good, but not that good.
P.S. I got some fat free Archer Farms fruit bars from Target in pomegranate flavor because the granola bars I used to snack on are too fatty. BLECH! Like a fruit roll up gone horribly wrong. Avoid these!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
VictoriasSecret.com Customer Service
Your response to my message confuses me a good deal as it has virtually nothing to do with the email I sent to Customer Service.
As I stated in my first email -
The issue I have with the corporation is simply it's refusal to place a woman who wears anything larger than a size two in any of their print or television advertisements.
I apologize if my statements made this in some way unclear, although I believe it more likely that my letter simply went unread and this is a standard form letter you send to unhappy 'fat girls' who can't fit into your sizes.
I write and run a nutrition oriented blog that often touches on incidents of discrimination in the food, beauty and clothing industries - and rest assured that my letter as well as your bizarrely unrelated response to it will be appearing there for my readers to see.
As I said - until I see more models in your advertising who look a little more like people I actually know; I will not be patronizing your establishments. After your inability to even address the issue I sent clearly, I will be encouraging others to find their undergarments elsewhere as well.
VictoriasSecret.com Customer Service
Saturday, March 13, 2010
My friend and fellow foodie, Joanna, is on a quest to conquer, cook and eat new and intriguing vegetables.
As meat-free people it’s a great idea for us to expand what we eat regularly so as not to get into the rut of eating the same things over and over. So once a week (or so) I’m going to be posting Jo’s reports on the new plant life that she has met along the way and how well she liked the recipes she’s tried. Without further ado, here is her first one!
(Note: Initially she was going to try out kohlrabi for her first experiment, but found it difficult to obtain. Also – I would REALLY like the recipe for that curried white bean salad with spinach. Yum!)
Good morning Food Science Team!
Last night I got to Whole Foods and wandered around the produce section with the growing realization they didn’t have any kohlrabi. D’oh! Thanks to my handy iPhone with Epicurious app, I was able to find a new recipe featuring a different veggie I don’t know much about: fennel.
I’ve had fennel in soups and I’ve always found the anise flavor to be overpowering. However, a coworker very recently was raving about the subtler flavor of roasted fennel. I decided to give it a try. Since it’s just me, I halved the recipe (amounts to follow). I also just used bagged baby carrots. The little stems of fresh ones would be very pretty, but bagged ones are pre-cleaned and cheaper. Color me just a little lazy. :)
At the end, the fennel had a cabbagey sort of texture and was only mildly flavored of anise. Roasting tends to bring out the sweetness of veggies so with the carrots this was very nice. I like it! It’s also dead simple to cook. In the picture, it’s the right side of my plate (which you are all smart enough to know but I like to be thorough).
On the left is a curried white bean salad that was warmed up with some baby spinach. Dessert was a pair of blood oranges that I dipped in a homemade chocolate sauce (1 T cocoa, 1 T agave nectar, ¼ tsp peanut oil, and a little warm water to smooth it out = 82 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g fiber)
Please note: the whole upper third/lower third thing going on in this recipe is in the event you have a roast going on in the middle of your oven.
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 45 min
6 bunches baby carrots, peeled and trimmed, leaving 1/2 inch of stems intact
2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks discarded and bulbs cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450°F. (If you are making just this dish, you can put oven rack in middle position and roast vegetables on that rack throughout.)
Toss carrots and fennel with olive oil, water, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper and arrange in 1 layer in a 17- by 11-inch shallow baking pan. Cover pan with foil and roast vegetables in lower third of oven 10 minutes, then uncover and roast, turning occasionally, 10 minutes more. Switch pan to upper third of oven and roast until vegetables are tender and browned, about 10 minutes more.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Yesterday I consumed a total of 20 grams of fat. According to the Daily Plate that’s 31% of the fat grams I could have eaten and still attain my weight loss goal of 2 – 3 lbs. lost per week. My calorie total for the day was 1,382.
Now keep in mind, I wasn’t even bothering to check the calories all day – and that is way, WAY low for me. I can have up to 1,951 per day – and on a good day I’d usually come in at around 1,800 or so (and that’s a GOOD day). I’d also normally consume roughly 50 to 60 grams of fat on an average day. Believe it or not, for a typical American that’s really not bad – it’s just way too much for an average homosapien.
We were built to be hunter / gatherers who consume little fat and sugar (because presumably in the wild we’d have a hard time getting our hands on those things). Now we live in a society when those foods are not only readily available, but they’re also the inexpensive (read: easy) prey.
According to Dr. Ornish’s book – this has changed for us so quickly (only in the last few hundred years) that we haven’t been able to evolve quickly enough to keep up with the switch. Our bodies are still expecting to starve for fat and sugar so they store them like crazy.
It makes a heck of a lot of sense to me.
Yesterday I hit 1,382 and was quite stuffed after dinner. I had half a baked potato, two helpings of corn and a garden burger on pita. A lot of food. Just not a lot of fat.
And yet I was really low (for me) on my calorie count and that’s just from policing my fat content all day and keeping it under 25 grams.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m kind of excited… The American diet is so fat-rich that when you deliberately pull that content down – you’re saving calories big time.
LOTS of calories!
I’m not saying it’s easy; I did spend a good deal of time squinting at labels. At first I pulled out the tortilla wraps, noticed that just one of these thin bread products contains SIX grams of fat, put it back – and instead reached for the kinder, gentler, two gram pocket-less pita.
However I’d imagine that will become easier as I get more used to it and learn what products I can rely on.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I’ve tabulated breakfast and lunch, and I’m at 12 grams right now – I have thirteen left just for dinner.
I can do this I can do this!
Yesterday I was laid low by Indian Food, which I adore – unfortunately even the vegetable dishes are made with things like clarified butter and coconut milk. I was trying to tabulate for lunch and I eventually just gave up, which led to a downward spiral toward dinner since I figured the day was ‘blown’ already – so why keep trying?
I seem to wake up ready and raring to go – I get through breakfast and lunch in control and feeling good. And then when night falls I turn into a weak willed dietary gremlin in search of salt, sugar, fat and grease. Unfortunately since I live with two thin, high metabolism males – these things are readily available to me when I’m at my most vulnerable.
Last night I had fruit and vegetable soup readily available to me – and I still ate potato chips and a devil dog anyway. My frustration knows no bounds.
A plan is needed to combat this effect somehow. Taping my mouth shut after 7PM is tempting, but probably wouldn’t be reasonable in the long term. Would it..?
I adore food, I adore pretty much everything about it. But some days I wish I could take a pill that fulfilled all of my nutritional requirements so that I didn’t have to try to figure out what (and what not) to eat.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
That may sound like a lot, but you can kill 25 grams pretty easily. As in, a single serving of McDonald’s French fries contains my entire daily allotment of fat.
A single teaspoon of olive oil contains 4.
This means re-evaluating certain healthy, beloved, but fat-rich foods that I’ve been desperately clinging to since going partial vegetarian. Like nuts and avocadoes.
The lack of meat isn’t nearly enough; it’s going to take a lot more commitment than that if I really want this.
Basically it boils down to a pretty simple concept; if you eat fat you are fat.
I’ve noticed in totaling up my daily plate that if I simply watch the fat grams and keep them low, it’s remarkably easy to stay within the calorie allotment too. And there’s a lot of flavorful food I can enjoy as much as I want of, like the ro-tel and black bean spicy southwestern vegetable soup I whipped up on Monday night when I was ravenous and Ted was late getting home from work.
But… I might need to cry just a little bit over avocadoes.
Monday, March 1, 2010
It was fine; yes the roast beef smelled wonderful and no I did not eat it. I had a Morningstar Farm vegetarian Chick Pattie and all the vegetable side dishes that everyone else was eating.
The hard part came when they broke out the brownies for desert. I survived it, I didn’t have one. But I was feeling pretty morose and sorry for myself afterward as I wandered through the grocery store with Ted picking up a few odds and ends for the upcoming work week.
Then I noticed something on the shelf; “No Pudge Fat Free Brownies”.
Sure, I’m thinking to myself, fat free and probably taste like cardboard. But I was desperate enough to buy the pink box and bring it home.
I mixed in one 6 oz. container of organic, vanilla, low fat yogurt and the dry mix turned into something thick, gooey and very chocolaty smelling.
I became tentatively optimistic.
The package directions said to bake for 30 minutes. I like brownies to me mushy (not cake-like) so I shortened that cook time to 28 minutes instead.
I don’t know who sold what portion of their soul to whom at the No Pudge company, but these things taste like the real deal – I am not kidding you. We are talking chewy, sticky, brownie-goodness here.
The company name is slightly offensive (seriously… No Pudge?), the serving size is not huge (1/12 of an 8 x 8” pan), and they do contain both sugar and the extremely evil “unbleached white flour”. But they come in at a mere 130 to 140 calories (with yogurt) per serving and have no fat. None.
That means I can eat them without worrying about blundering over my 10% dietary fat mark. I can have a warm, gooey, chocolate rich desert without worries.
When someone is as chocoholic as I am… that made for one very happy Lacto-Ovo-Pescatarian-Brothavarian-Vegetarian-Ornish-Disciple.
Now if I can just figure out how not to eat the whole pan…
Ingredients: Pure cane sugar, unbleached wheat flour, Dutch cocoa, dark coffee,
egg whites, cornstarch, wheat gluten, salt & baking soda.