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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Cooking is Cool Cooking

[Bwahahahaha! Carolyn has given me contributor access to her blog. I can now inundate you with vegetarian recipes. ~ Joanna]

This summer I’m experimenting with container gardening. My original plan was to have a big pot of cherry tomatoes and maybe a little basil. I planted a few plants and was happy. Then a friend of mine, who is a professional gardener, gave me 4 indeterminate tomato plants that she had leftover from work. Now every morning I’m outside watering three overflowing pots of tomatoes. (In retrospect, I should have planted the larger tomato plants in larger pots, but this was all an experiment. Next year will be even better.)

The cherry tomatoes are ripening up now while the indeterminate tomatoes are still mostly green. But there’s a magical thing about tomatoes; under ripe ones are just as edible as fully ripe ones. I was craving fried green tomatoes the other day, but the weather has been ridiculously hot. Turning on the oven was out of the question. I turned that green tomato craving toward gazpacho.

Other ingredients were picked up at the local farmer’s market. I couldn’t find any yellow or orange bell peppers, so I opted for a young green pepper. This makes for a sharper flavor (as orange and yellow peppers are much sweeter), but I’m still pleased. Also, I opted to omit the parsley. It also is an ingredient meant to counter balance the spicier flavors, but I didn’t want to buy a bundle of parsley for one recipe. I figured a slightly larger cucumber would do.

Aren't they pretty?

I made the soup early Saturday afternoon and let it refrigerate until today. It’s spicy and cool and wonderful. I’d love to have this with a side of grilled pineapple and miniature black bean burgers with a spicy mayo dipping sauce but instead I’m at work with rye crackers and a fresh grapefruit. The fancier meal will have to wait for another day.

Avocado and Green Tomato Gazpacho
  • 3 medium-sized (3-inch diameter) green tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 1 small (or half a medium) orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and minced
  • 1 medium-sized (7-inch) cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or light-colored honey
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Black pepper and cayenne to taste
  • Up to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (to taste)
Combine everything in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Using an immersion blender or a regular stand blender, puree all or part of the soup, as desired. Transfer to a container with a lid, cover tightly and chill until very cold. Serve cold — plain or topped with tortilla chips. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Pretty and green.
(This recipe by Mollie Katzen was published in the Washington Times. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/may/14/avocado-tomato-gazpacho.)

So Much Trouble

I am in so much trouble.

I just finished reading THIS article on 20 habits that make you fat.  Some excerpts that have me sweating:

FAT HABIT #1: Eating "low-fat"
Low fat foods leave you hungry and unfulfilled, save few calories, and plump up on sugar.  Note this mostly applies to processed, quickie, package stuff.  Naturally low fat things like fruits and veg are still just fine.  However the idea that intentionally low fat isn't the key flies directly in the face of the "Eat More, Weigh Less" diet I've touted in the past.  Does anybody understand why I frequently feel hosed no matter what I fricking do?

FAT HABIT #5: Drinking soda—even diet!
Apparently even diet soda makes you huge because it's nasty chemicals cause your body to be hungry all the time and screws up your metabolism.

Here's the one that really kills me though:

FAT HABIT #16: Having overweight friends
"Research from the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that when a friend becomes obese, it ups your chance of obesity by 57 percent. This probably has to do with the social norms that you’re exposed to. Rather than ditch a friend who starts to put on a few extra pounds though, suggest healthy activities that you can do together, and avoid letting him or her dictate the meal (“Let’s split the cheesecake!”)"

You guys aren't all gonna abandon me, are you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eat Less, Pay More

I’m trying to figure out the math here and it’s eluding me.

On Saturdays, my family usually goes out for eggs at one of the cheap, local coffee shops that are walking distance from our home.  A pleasant walk on a sunny morning, a trip through the farmers market to browse local fruits and vegetables and pick up some fresh baked bread, and then eggs with a great cup of coffee and conversation between me and my two guys.  All in all, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

I used to always order two eggs (over easy), a bagel with butter and some home fries plus cream and sugar filled coffee.  Financially it’s a cheap breakfast, about five dollars or so.  That breakfast, however, clocks in at more than half the calories I should consume in a single day so I’ve had to make some changes.

Nowadays I order either an omelet or scrambled eggs laden with spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, broccoli etc., with some fresh fruit on the side.  Sometimes the omelet is so huge that I can lop it in half and have a whole other serving for later, and that works fine too.  Generally these breakfasts are listed on menus at around seven dollars and come with a side of bread and home fries that I always tell them to hold.

The price of seven dollars does not come down at all when I tell them I don’t want any bread or home fries, and restaurants charge me MORE for fruit cup, generally another two bucks.  So I’m now paying nine to ten dollars for a breakfast that’s less than half the calories, carbs and fat as what I was eating before.

It’s starting to make sense to me why so many poor people are overweight: it’s annoyingly expensive to try to eat healthy.