My Eat to Lose Plan 2015

Foodie Friday: My Eat to Lose Plan 2015

Hello People!

This is the one you have been waiting for!  Or at least it’s the one I’m most interested in when I’m looking closely at what one eats to lose weight. In the video I made for you I mentioned that I don’t measure things out; now I do. Some stuff has changed since then so here is the gist:

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I did a lot of searching on the internet at what different people eat to look a certain way.  Mostly I viewed the strategies of James Bond girls, and was led to many of the conclusions that I present here. Also, I got a lot of good nutritional information in the book Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy by J.J. Virgin.Unknown-1  For the record, I am not on a crash diet or any type of boxed food ordered meal program that I pay to eat (other than my vegetables that I will explain later).  This is a diet designed by me, for me, and works with my metabolism which thrives on the macronutrient ratios of: 50% Complex Carbohydrates, 40% Protein & 10% Fat.  This information I gathered doing lots of experiments through eating meals and by reading the book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek.Unknown-5

I eat 3 meals a day and sometimes an afternoon snack, but not always.  It depends on my hunger level and when I eat my meals in regards to spacing; also how much I ate at the last meal. Meals are generally spaced about 4 hours apart. I try to eat meals that will fill me up with lots of fiber so I am not constantly thinking about food which tends to happen to me when calories are restricted and I’m eating too many carbs, of any kind. I drink coffee with whole milk and 2 tsp of Manuka honey and one more cup with 1 tsp coconut oil and whole milk every day.  I am not omitting dairy, caffeine, fruit, carbs, saturated fat or chocolate from my diet.  This works for me, but may not work for everyone especially if you have an intolerance (like to dairy) or cannot eat one square of chocolate and be satisfied. The diet is varied and I cook all my meals myself.  I eat as close to “clean” as possible.  There are some exceptions due to the fact that I am not trying to be a body builder or become weird about food.  I love to cook and that will never change.  I love flavor andUnknown am not afraid to use marinades, sauces, dressings or seasonings/salts to make my food taste good. If you don’t know how to cook or what to cook I suggest the cookbook Cook This, Not That! by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. Let’s talk details:

Protein

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I eat a lot of protein because it tastes good to me and fills me up. I love animals and wish that I could be a vegetarian, but I feel like crap when I omit animal meat from my diet.  Sorry. Therefore, I buy the least offensive meat possible when I can in the form of organic and/or free range.  Most of the meat I eat is in the form of: Chicken (all parts, not just breast, but no skin due to calories), Skirt Steak, Lean Ground Beef, Eye of Round Steaks, Lean Pork Chops, Pork Tenderloin, Canadian Bacon, Whole Eggs, Salmon, Mahi Mahi, Talapia, Sole, Scallops, Shrimp, Ground Turkey, Turkey Breast on the Bone and Turkey Cutlets. I eat about 150 to 200 calories worth at every main meal which is roughly (depends on the protein source) 3 oz weighed after cooking.

Carbohydrates

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I’ve gotta have these or I won’t be able to stand up.  These have probably been the most limited in variety in my diet as compared to everything else I eat. The carbs I mix and match are: Sweet Potatoes, Brown Rice, Basmati Rice, Squash, Carrots, Sprouted Grain Bread, Beans/Legumes, Fruits and Oatmeal.  These I try to keep low glycemic due to my body processing them like fire and leaving me starving in an hour if they are too high on the glycemic index.  Beans in the form of black, pinto, white, pinquito, lentils and black-eyed peas leave me feeling the most satisfied.  I put them in a crock pot with water or broth, a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of enchilada sauce and let them party in there for 6 to 8 hours on low heat.  I use a rice cooker to make rice and steam vegetables and fish.  I bake my sweet potatoes with no oil but eat them with butter. Squash, Carrots and whatever other veggie is laying around gets roasted in a hot oven with a splash of olive oil. I eat about 1/2 cup or 1 serving of Carbs at my meals. My carbs usually total about 80 to 100 grams a day.

Fats

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I am not afraid of fat and nor should you be.  Fat makes you feel full and gives your brain something to fuel itself with.  We can live without carbs and protein for a while, but not fat.  I cook with fat and eat fat on my salads and in the form of sauces.  I love Butter and Coconut Oil in organic form.  I sauté a lot of vegetables with garlic in Olive Oil and dress my salads in Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Flavored Oils.  I eat Avocados and Nuts a lot too.  Cheese (1 oz daily) is also a fat source for me as well as Whole Milk in my coffee and black tea.  These are of course all measured out using spoons or scales because a little goes a long way.

Vegetables/Produce

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I don’t love vegetables, but force myself to cook them or eat them raw or find recipes to make them taste good.  Sometimes I make soups with them or chop them up raw and eat them mixed with romaine lettuce.  I recently went back to my twice monthly order of a box of mixed organic vegetables delivered to my front door.  This helps me eat them and use them in recipes.  Otherwise, I may not buy them or eat them in the quantities that I should.  I aim to have 5 to 7 servings of fruits (no more than two of these) and veggies a day. Lately I have been planning my meals around the fresh Vegetables I have and not the protein.  My favorite salad dressing recipe is: Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the highest quality, fresh Meyer Lemon Juice, Crushed Garlic, Salt and Pepper.

Calories

Bean Chips

Bean Chips

I messed around with the number for this for a few weeks because I need to lose weight, but I need to not feel constantly hungry too.  Hunger can be tamed by the types of food you eat and the ratios, but know that when you are on a diet to lose weight, there will be a bit of hunger; you are eating less food and creating a caloric deficit – so one must get used to it!  Maintenance will add a few more calories back in, but not MANY more. I initially started with 1,400 but was not losing weight.  Then I dropped it to 1,000 to 1,200 but felt I needed a snack at the mid-day point sometimes.  So, I have settled on 1,300 for now. This seems to be a good set point for me and works with my BMR.  This number may be fiddled with again later on, but for now it is working like a charm.  I do add in 3 cheat meals a month.  These are chosen carefully in advance and I enjoy them without guilt.  It is 3 cheat MEALS though and not DAYS. Also, on Sundays I am allowing myself to eat 1,500 calories and take it easy on exercise. Variety will keep my body guessing.  I also have alcohol occasionally, but it is rare.

Is that what you wanted to know?  Hope so…I am tired of writing now and need a snack 🙂

 

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Eating Sugar = Storing Fat

Hello People,

Yes, I said it.  And, it is true.  Don’t believe me?  You think that if you work out and eat low-calorie that you will burn it off?  No, you are wrong. That would be true if you are running a marathon or are in a triathlon.  You work out like that every day?  I don’t think so.  Please watch this viral video (over 4 million have analyzed and touted it) in your next opportunity of free time and educate yourself about the horrors of sugar and what it does in the body.  I’m talking about table sugar, the white stuff, the processed refined granulated sweet evil that can come in a variety of names.  Don’t be fooled by the words: Turbinado, Granulated, Castor, Powdered, Organic Cane, Brown, etc.  These are all sucrose, which you will learn in this very important video are glucose and fructose linked together.  It isn’t the glucose that is the problem, it’s the fructose.  Yes, fructose is also fruit sugar, but with fruit, you get fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Plain sugar gives you nothing but an addiction. He touches on the dangers of drinking fruit juice which is fruit without the benefits.

I am in my 3rd week of being sugar-free (YAY me!!!)  Yes, I felt the full effect of head-aches, mad food cravings, desperate desires for “one more hit!!!”, the shakes, and hormonal mood swings for 3 days.  Then, it all went away.  The funny thing is, if you don’t eat sugar, you don’t crave it.  You also won’t be starving in general anymore due to low-blood sugar swings.  You do know how sugar works, right?  It raises your insulin and then tries to shuttle the excess sugar into cells, who don’t want or need it and then…just watch the video.  I know it’s long.  Trust me, you won’t be sorry.  It talks about how we metabolize alcohol too.  It is very similar to sugar.  I’ll stop talking about it now.  Please watch it:

Flavor Boosters

Foodie Friday: Boost the Flavor in Your Food

Sorry for my brief absence.  One of my younger sisters just got diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and my family and I have been dealing with that.  She is only 38 and it is such a blow to all of us.  This is in addition to my other younger sister who was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer when she was 29.  I have often felt that there is a bit of an estrogen dominance on the maternal side of the family.  We, women of the family, suffer from terrible hormonal imbalances in different forms.  All I can advise to you reader, is, get yourself checked for illness/cancer/hereditary diseases/etc., on a regular basis.

Ice Cube Yumminess

Today I wanted to share a quick tidbit with you all than can help disperse of some almost used up lemons, limes and the like that are bumming around in your refrigerator.  I often make what I call “flavor boosters” in ice trays.  They can be used in a myriad of ways, like sauces, smoothies, pasta dishes and so forth.  Here’s what you need:

  •  Ice cube trays (I have two non-stick ones)
  • Leftover juice, pesto sauce, tomato paste, coffee, etc.
  • Patience and time

So, you just fill the tray with whatever you have lying about and freeze these up.  Pop them out when they are set and put them in baggies to store in the freezer indefinitely.

I like to use the coffee cubes in protein shakes.  The lemon juice I can use in sauces for chicken or fish.  Pesto is good on anything. Just go CRAZY! No, not really.  The beauty is, I don’t have to open a whole jar or bottle or brew up a whole pot of these flavor boosters when I only need a small amount.  If you have ever needed just a tablespoon of tomato paste, but to get it you had to open an entire can, then let the rest spoil, you are able to understand how convenient this can be.  It may be more trouble for some, but I only see it as a win-win.

Note: I also freeze leftover wine, but it doesn’t completely freeze (alcohol doesn’t freeze, basic science – blah, blah), and so it just turns to slush making it not-so-neat in the ice-cube trays.  Therefore, with wine that’s left in the bottle that doesn’t quite make a full glass, dump it into a sealable plastic baggie or glass container like an empty jar, then toss into freezer.  When needed, scoop out the appropriate amount with a spoon/fork for your recipe.

I hope this proves useful to you!  Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Health Nut: Pro-Biotics

Foodie Friday: Homemade Pro-Biotics

Hello People,

So, last year, summer, I was super preoccupied with holistic concepts.  I became smitten with anything regarding living extremely health-nutty.  You know, those granola-half naked people on YouTube who do water fasts and only eat fruit for 2 months? Yeah, I was watching their videos with abandon, absorbing all of their advice and enthusiasm for living an extreme lifestyle. I learned many a good thing from them.  While I can’t say I will be going raw vegan anytime soon (or never), I think that most of what they practice is great.  Think about it, we all could benefit from adding more vegetables and fruits into our diet.  Letting our bodies rest from digesting high amounts of  saturated-fat laden animal protein once in a while seems like a wise idea.

One of the major take-aways I learned was from a former raw vegan master named Natasha.  She then lived in cold Canada, now she lives in the tropics of Thailand.  I watched every video on her YouTube channel and loved every one of them.  She made me feel the most inspired to eat and live better. One of her videos talked about pro-biotics and how great they are.  As a raw vegan (one who eats only raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds), she did not eat dairy; which is where most of the population gets their pro-biotics, in the form of yogurt. She was not a fan of the oft used Kombucha by vegans, which is a fermented tea product made of fungus, because it is usually full of white processed sugar.  So, she resorted to other ways to get her pro-biotics.  Creating something she called “Fermented Coconut Water” became something that I rely on as I am dairy intolerant. She also has a video on live kefir globs, but I can’t go there.

The best and most optimal way of doing this is by breaking open a raw coconut and draining the liquid into a jar or container.  This is the most natural way of getting the sweet juice.  ALL store bought coconut water has been “flash pasteurized” to kill any critters (spoilage-type bacteria) running around before it is mass marketed. This means that the coconut water has been tampered a bit with heat and does not contain all of the pure nutrients in it as the liquid straight from the nut has. In a sense, some of the good stuff has been cooked out.  Do what you need to do. I use both raw nuts and store bought water depending on what is available. If you use a raw coconut, you will also be stuck with the meat or fat of the fruit.  You can use it for lots of things (after you painstakingly pick out the bits of shell lodged in it), but I like a little of it in smoothies. Don’t use a lot or you will make yourself sick! I use the white, cone shaped coconuts.

Also, you must use pro-biotic pills/tablets that are REFRIGERATED! Do not use the stuff on the dry shelf.  It is dead and completely useless. The way this works is sort of like fermenting alcohol, or exactly like it.  You combine a sugar in liquid form to a yeast and it becomes fermented.  The remaining juice is a transient pro-biotic, meaning that you have to take it every day in order for it to be effective.  The live bacteria that you swallow help with digestion in your gut and help you absorb more of the food you are eating. Don’t be surprised if at first you hear a little rumbling in your bowels the first few times.  I swallow a 1/4 cup each morning.  It tastes terrible (tart), but the benefits are worth it.

prep ingredients

prep ingredients

Recipe:

1 1/2 cups Coconut Water

1 Capsule of Store Bought Pro-Biotic

1 Glass Jar

Pour C.Water into jar. Open capsule and dump powder into C. Water. Seal lid tightly. Place in warm area for 3 days (do not refrigerate or the bacteria will not multiply). Place in refrigerator after 3 days and drink 1/4 cup before breakfast every day.

Also can be put into green juice and smoothies.

drink till your gut's content!

drink till your gut’s content!

Snacking: Good/Bad ?

Foodie Friday: Snacking – Is it a Good habit or a Bad habit?

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We American’s are notorious for our snacking.  We even have an entire food line named after it (Snackwells). My favorite all-time snack has to be: crackers with havarti cheese, hard salami and an ice-cold glass of wine.  This is a childhood memory for me and it always makes me feel nostalgic. However, that type of snack can be deadly to a dieter’s goals.

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You’ve also probably heard of a popular diet plan that includes several (5 to 6) small meals a day in the hopes that one never finds themselves hungry or “keeps their metabolism humming all day long.” I’m not sure I buy in to that hype, I think that this is a body builder way of eating and I am by no means interested in becoming a body builder. These so called “meals” seem more like elaborate snacks to me, and I just don’t want to eat that way.  I much prefer the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner with optional dessert style of eating. Perpetually eating snacks all day will end up making me yearn for a proper meal and therefore I may never be quite satisfied with my snacky small meals.  So, what about the traditional snacks?

Traditionally speaking, snacks are meant to slightly curb one’s hunger until the next proper meal.  There is a general consensus that we should eat approximately every 4 hours. So, we can use snacks to fill in the gap between meals, especially those meals that may be farther apart than 4 hours.

Personally, I snack in two ways (on a good day!). One way is to only have a snack between lunch and dinner and it should be about 150 -200 calories total. That’s because if I eat lunch at 12:30 and then dinner at 6:30, I will be going longer than 4 hours between those two meals.  So that I don’t pig out at dinner, having a snack around 4:00 will help me eat sensibly at my last meal of the day. The other option is to eat an additional snack in between breakfast and lunch as well as the afternoon snack. I choose this option when I have to get up at 6:00 A.M. and eat breakfast at 7.  Knowing that my next meal will be at 12:30 or later, I must have something to eat in between or my stomach will be rumbling out loud as it has many times.  This only happens when I am working. I am also extra hungry on those days because of my early rising, driving an hour to work, teaching intensely for 4 hours (teaching is an exhausting profession) and so forth.  Believe me, I need that extra morning snack! Again, that morning snack is around 150 to 200 calories and I try to make it something that is substantial.

NOT substantial snacks!

NOT substantial snacks!

When I say substantial, I mean it has to carry me through until my next meal and not give me a sugar crash thus ruining the rest of my day.  (One sugar crash for me, especially early in the day can wreck my eating for the rest of the day.) I often post about snacks I like while watching my weight, and unfortunately, the crackers-cheese-salami-wine choice doesn’t make the list.  I often choose things like nuts, 1 oz. of cheese, rice cakes with hummus, fruit and so forth.  You can find a plethora of healthy snack ideas all over the web as I know you know.

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So that’s what I would call “good snacking.” What about “bad snacking?”  That is snacking with abandon – you know, bag of chips, popcorn, crackers, cookies in lap; mindlessly dipping hand in over and over again while watching some type of screen.  You may or may not be hungry for these types of foods, but the act of eating is comforting, familiar and down-right fun in the moment.  However, as I’m sure you can guess, it is also a great way of packing on the pounds. Healthy snacks should serve a purpose, and if you are weight conscious, you cannot mindlessly snack ever again and expect to lose weight.  If you choose to do this, expect the ramifications of that choice.

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By the way, if you do go 4 hours and you aren’t hungry, you don’t have to have a snack if you don’t want it.  You shouldn’t eat if you aren’t hungry.  But be realistic.  I know people who say they aren’t hungry, but really are; yet they don’t eat because it is more important for them to be stick thin. Then I watch them sit there with their hands shaking violently because of the dip in blood sugar.  BAD IDEA! Shame on you if you do this.  Plan your meals better and snack responsibly when necessary. Enough said…

Super Food: YOGURT

Today’s Foodie Friday Post:

_MG_0587Yogurt: the dreamy, creamy white stuff of angels.  So much has been written and waxed poetic about it.  But I think it’s yucky. It’s not the look of it or the smooth texture.  It isn’t that it is eaten cold and it is a healthy dairy product.  It’s just that darn sour part; oh, and the weird chalky aftertaste I get on my tongue.  EWWWW…. Also, I do have a lactose intolerance problem, so even if I adored the natural pudding,  it would leave me sick in a short while.  Therefore, if I indulge in such a thing, I have it in small doses (1/4 cup at most) and I mix it in with a plethora of other devices to mask that sour taste.

Here is the awesome news about yogurt; and I’m not referring to that abomination that is candy colored-artificially sweetened-dessert inspired- nonsense:

“Low fat or fat-free plain yogurt is higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients, including protein and potassium. It can also be enhanced with other good-for-you substances. Yogurt is a vehicle food that can be enriched with probiotics for a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, and beneficial, heart-healthy plant stanols. And lactose sensitive people may tolerate yogurt better than milk. Look for plain yogurt fortified with vitamin D, and add your own fruit to control sweetness and calories. Versatile yogurt can also be used in entree and bakery recipes, in dips for veggies, etc. Don’t like yogurt? Skim milk is another super dairy food that has only 83 calories per cup and is easy to slip into coffee to help you get one of the recommended three servings of dairy each day. ‘Dairy foods contain practically every nutrient you need for total nutrition — and in just the right balance,’ says bone health expert, Robert Heaney, MD. ‘No other food group in the diet is as complete or as economical.’ ”

This info was swiped from the article “10 Everyday Super Foods” from WebMD.

So, what did I do with my yogurt research? For the record I used 2% Greek Yogurt for my recipes and wouldn’t have it any other way diet or not.  Eating it any other way wouldn’t create the proper texture I was after.  And, it must be said, I did not eat a lot of it at once.  So having the slightly higher fat version is ok in my book if that is the way you will eat it too.  Otherwise, if I were to dig straight out of the carton, I would probably eat a 0% fat version.

First Recipe: Yogurt Sauce

_MG_0568This sauce is more commonly known as Tzatziki in Greek cultures. It usually has cucumber in the sauce, but since I wanted it to last several days in the fridge, I omitted that part so it would stay fresh and not sog out from the water being leeched by the grated cucumber.  Feel free to add or take away as you please. For heaven’s sake, it’s just a sauce…but will you ever WOW your friends with this one!

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

3-4 garlic cloves crushed and chopped

Fresh or dried dill and mint to taste (1/2 – 3 Tbsp depending on which you choose)

2 Tbsp good olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Salt & Pepper

Mix and season to taste with whatever you think it needs more or less of.  If less, add more yogurt to even it out.

Second Recipe: Spiced Yogurt Chicken

_MG_0572MMMMM….this was as good as it looks.  I grilled these babies and used chicken breasts that weren’t full sized.  I just don’t need all that meat in one sitting.  But do as you please.  The recipe calls for normal sized breasts. This one I stole from here.

  • 2 1/4 cups plain yogurt (18 oz; preferably whole-milk)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 lb total)

Marinate chicken in all the spices and yogurt-olive oil-lemon juice for 30 minutes to 24 hours in a plastic bag or bowl of choice.  I say, the longer the better. Then grill, bake or saute to your delight. This can go in a salad or by itself or chopped up into a casserole………

See the way I paired my chicken with a simple cucumber and tomato salad and plain potatoes.  That sauce really hit the spot for all three elements to come together:

_MG_0577And oh yeah, there’s one more: Yogurt-Banana-Oat Smoothie

_MG_0582Great for breakfast or afternoon snack.  This may not sound appetizing at first, but it really is and it fills you up. Yes, I did go over my dairy allowance, but you could substitute Almond Milk or Soy for regular milk. Also, it has been mentioned before and I probably will continue to do so, there must be credit the GREAT Martha S. for this one on her iPad app Whole Living Smoothies: Banana + Oat

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (your choice of fat)

1/2 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1 tsp flaxseed

1/2 chopped up frozen banana

1/2 cup ice

cinnamon/nutmeg/vanilla extract if you want

Blend, blend, blend-then apply to face.

PLEASE TRY! 🙂

Comfort Food Recipes

Hello there, all!  Today’s Foodie Friday post has everything to do with one of my favorite tools in the kitchen: my Cook This, Not That! cookbook. If you are dieting and craving your favorite dishes that you USED to eat prior to the diet, look no further than this little life-saver. The boys over at Men’s Health have really put together a fine collection of scrumptious dishes that are careful on the calories but big on the flavor.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this little nugget.  There are not only recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but dessert, appetizers, salads and guides on how to create a gajillion stir-frys, crock pot wonders and skewered delights. Plus more!

Some delicious examples for your tastebuds:

Dr. Pepper Ribs

Shrimp and Grits

Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Sauce

Might I just say that this is just a taste of what you can expect from this gem.  One would have to have proper kitchen equipment and at least a small desire to enjoy cooking as well, but I think that is common sense.  However, the recipes are EASY!  Even if you are not “the best cook” or have trouble making food taste good, give this a try because the recipes seem to be foolproof and not lengthy to follow. The ingredients are also easy to find.  Happy cooking!