Thursday, March 31, 2011

I gots ta go!

Apparently, as we age, some of us lose some amount of control over our bladders and 'leak'. Hmmmm. So, is this normal and is it everyone? By everyone, I actually mean women. I'm told that it's even worse if you have babies. As fetuses we wreak all sorts of havoc on our mothers' bodies and when our mothers are older, we continue to wreak said havoc. So, how can we prevent this through diet and nutrition? Well, we can't. We can, however, prevent the phenomenon known as leakage by going and not holding and by not having babies. So, everyone, pee often. To those of you who have already given birth, I'm sorry, but I can't help you any further. For the rest of us, well, keep leakage in mind when making your birth control choices.

I'm told that the average healthy adult pees 7 to 12 times a day...really?? I pee A LOT, or rather, I pee often. I decided to count today. I had my normal grande americano from the 'Bucks this morning and water throughout the day and went about my business. The only difference, I kept track of how many times I went to the bathroom. At the end of the workday it was only 6. At this time tonight, I'm up to 9. Still within the 'normal' limits. Good. I guess I don't pee as often as I think. At least something about me is normal!

Ta-daaaaa. My grande americano! My egg looks a little weird today...tasted good though! These were the last of strawberries, time to get to the grocery.

By the way, I missed my snack today...and didn't eat lunch until almost 2pm! Best laid plans, right?

I got a little lazy last night (and ran out of lettuce!) so I brought some chicken, the other half of the sweet potato from the other night and steamed broccoli for lunch. Yummers! And always nice to have a little change. I managed to not go to the grocery tonight and didn't cook, so tomorrow I'll test my resolve in the cafeteria for 2 meals. Will I be able to avoid the pizza?? You'll have to read tomorrow's post to find out!

And lastly, my dinner out. Notice the lack of vegetables?? Delish steak tacos, rice and beans from Dorado on Harvard Ave in Brookline. I've noticed that when eating out it's difficult to get plenty of vegetables. I've found that the easiest places to eat out are Panera Bread (they've got an awesome nutrition/meal planning section of their website), Longhorn Steakhouse and Legal Seafood. At Longhorn and Legals, remember to ask for the chef not to use butter! All three have great salads and at Longhorn and Legals you can get steamed veggies for a side.

Oh yeah, and I live at Panera Bread. Go ahead, ask me anything about it...I even had a cappuccino from there before dinner tonight. Don't worry, it was made with skim milk (which means the foam didn't really foam so much as melt).

SO, other than not enough veggies at din-din, I'm still on track!! No sugar and reasonable amounts of fats. Carbs were a bit off balance today (all consumed in the evening), but not in outrageous amounts and four major sources of protein (egg, chicken, steak and black beans).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obessessing on food throughout the day

Wow! I spent the day hungry. Not a good feeling, not good at all. I stayed on schedule, I ate what I prepared and brought with me, I kept it to real food, no sugar and low/no fat and avoided the birthday cake at the office party. So what did I do wrong??? I thought about food and what I would write about tonight all day long. I forget where I read it, but just thinking about food can make humans hungry. I was thinking that at 11am I can have a snack, at 1pm I can eat lunch...I made myself hungry all day.

When I wasn't thinking about what I was going to eat, I was wasting time here and there looking up nutrients on the internet. What can I say, I was curious as to why the hell there is chromium in my vitamins. Anyway, turns out, WebMD has a really easy to use website that talks about all the various dietary supplements. Yes, dear readers, I was thinking of you and what I would write about my day all day long.

Coming back to vitamins though, I take a women's formula multi-vitamin, acidophilus and a calcium supplement daily. I'm supposed to take a dose of fish oil (in oil form) daily as well, but it's super-gross! Kinda like that old SNL skit, super-star! but super-gross! Lucky for me, those wonderful Norwegians who bottle it, make it taste all lemony. It's a very special taste. My nutritionist recommended, and I agree, that I should take a whole food vitamin. What does this mean? Simply that it smells worse than any vitamin ever created by chemists in a lab. Oh joy. Actually, I take this kind because I'm not a scientist and certainly not a food expert, but even they'll tell you that we don't know everything about what our bodies need and how to get it and why it works. The experts do agree that the best place to get our nutrition is from food, not from pills and powders and capsules. They also agree that there are probably micro-nutrients that we don't know exist. This is why I buy vitamins derived from actual food, so that just maybe, if vitamin X is out there, it's in me too. Vitamin X, the abominable snowman of the nutrition world!

And the chromium? Well, it's supposed to help my body process sugar. It's thought to work with and give a boost to how well insulin works, which is great for someone who's pre-diabetic. (I'm not.) Which, reminds me. At my last visit to the nutritionist, she asked me to measure my waistline. I had visions of Scarlett O'Hara, 'Mammy, you've just got to make it 18 inches again!' If only corsets were practical (and comfortable)! I haven't done it yet because I need to get a tape measure. I was at the tailor's this morning, I should have borrowed his...anyway, a waistline greater than 32 inches is considered a risk factor for diabetes. I don't know about you, but I'd really like to NOT develop diabetes.

I did skip the egg at breakfast this morning...and still no blueberries in the cafeteria. I might have to bring some frozen ones tomorrow.
 My 11am snack...yummy creamy yogurt!

You'll see this salad a lot...the container is 5 cups. Did you know that most vegetables are 80% or more water? AND, 'they' now say that we don't necessarily need to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Instead, we should follow our thirst...and that it's ok to get our water from food and caffeinated beverages. I'm not too sure about the caffeinated beverages. On the subject of water, the experts also say you should pee 7-12 times a day.

Mmmmmmm, such a tempting afternoon snack! My favorite apple, a pink lady.

And, my dinner. I'll bet you're wondering where the starch is or if I meant to eat corn. Right? Well, corn is considered to be a starchy vegetable so it counts as a starch, as do the lima beans in that mix. And yes, I meant to eat corn. I added Frank's brand buffalo sauce to the chicken. Amazingly, many sauces and condiments have negligible calories or anything else, so you can have as much as you want. Salad dressing, mayonnaise and barbeque sauce are not three of these. However, mustard, ketchup and frank's buffalo sauce are!

And, yes, I had popcorn again tonight...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Staying on track despite the hurdles

Today was a strange, strange day full of hurdles and reminders. Every other Tuesday I represent my office at another office's staff meeting. I should be used to the fact that this meeting NEVER runs less than an hour and a half. What does this have to do with a food blog?? Well, the meeting starts at 10am and my morning snack time is 11am. Just a little off schedule...I like schedules and plans and rules. Normally, I would eat my morning snack off schedule but I had a second meeting immediately after the first. So it was straight on past morning and no food 'til lunch!

But here's where the reminders came in...a friend was posting on the FB about grass-fed vs. corn-fed beef. Forget the politics and why we should or should not eat meat. Cows taste good. End of my politics. HOWEVER, we are what we eat...that means that we are also whatever that cow (or chicken, or pig, or fish, or...) eats. I don't have to tell you that most processed food isn't good for you...but did you know that most processed food consists mainly of corn and soy in some form?? Today, corn is the evil little bastard that I'll talk about. We'll save soy for another day. In America today, most of our food is raised on corn...hopefully, I don't have to tell you that corn is not the natural diet of a cow, chicken or salmon. Yes, salmon. (PS, there's your argument for wild-caught...)

Most of us know and accept that our food, even real food, is genetically engineered to some degree...corn more than most. OK, ok, the thing is that kinda like you can carbon date crap to see how old it can corn-date (my own made-up phrase, you won't find in the 'the literature') people to see what their diets were. AND, it turns out that modern humans in America eat more corn, where it is NOT a major part of our traditional western diet, than other modern humans whose traditional diets are largely based on corn! So, I was talking about all this on her post. Later, I was wasting some time between getting yelled at on phone calls and answering e-mails and found this blog. Between the text and the comments, they made my argument...Don't stop eating corn, but do know when you're eating it and make sure you actually intend to do so!

So not what I thought I was going to talk about today, but that's ok....
Pretty standard breakfast, no surprises. I was looking for some blueberries this morning, but clearly did not find any. Did I mention that my cereal is full of flax seeds...good for poop! Don't worry, that's for another day.

I tried to make my salad look a little better today. Doesn't that purple cabbage look pretty? Today, I went with 2 chicken tenders instead of an, the egg came before the chicken. :-D Get it?

Here's a great example of an easy meal portioning method I learned, the Plate Method. 1/2 of the plate should be vegetables, here, I have steamed broccoli. 1/4 should be protein and 1/4 should be a starch, but not a white one! I went with 4 oz. of pork tonight. I thought I already had enough chicken and chicken products...and 1/2 of a baked sweet potato with a little butter. Normally, I'd say no to the butter, but I looked back on my day and realized that I didn't have enough fat today. It's generally a good idea to avoid dairy fats, but this was less than 1 TBS.

And how do I know it was 4 oz. of meat? Well....

Now, I'm going to wash dishes and then pop some popcorn. Have a great night and thanks for reading!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

An overall success for the day!

I stress-eat. When I'm feeling stress, I want to eat brownies, cookies, cake, chocolate, and ice cream. And let's not forget about potato chips and pizza. What do all of those things have in common? Carbs. Processed sugar would be the other recurring theme here...Well, today was a little bit of a difficult day at work. For me, stress can trigger sugar cravings. The temporary rush that sugar provides feels good. The problem is, is that it doesn't last long. Next, my body just wants more. When I give in, I take in a whole lot of extra calories. Point is, today, I didn't give in!

The work day provides structure that helps me to stay on track with my eating. Generally, I try to eat each meal at the same time each day, bring my meals to work, and stick to my planned snacks. My company's eateries offer plenty of grab and go snacks, pastries and soft-drinks. What I've found is that if I've brought all of my food with me for the day, I have little reason to visit the cafeteria or coffee shop and can avoid temptation. What this means, though, is that I must plan ahead and prepare breakfast and lunch the night before. Some days this works better than others. Today it worked well.

My 'busy time' at work is anywhere from February through October. March and April are particularly busy and stressful. Today, I anticipated this. Knowing I'd want a sweet snack, I brought some mango for dessert!

So, here you have it, what I ate today:
Breakfast: 3/4 cup Uncle Sam cereal with approximately 1 cup berries and skim milk and a hard boiled egg. And don't forget the coffee (black, no sugar)!

Lunch & Snack: a nice big garden salad! An egg for protein and some sunflower seeds. All those veggies are full of fiber, mix that fiber with protein and you'll feel full longer! A naval orange for a snack...juicy!

Monday nights are school nights, so I'm usually eating dinner at school. It's a pain to bring three meals, so I usually head to the cafeteria before class for a sandwich. Today, turkey and swiss on whole grain with spicy mustard. Mango on the side. How sweet it is! They had apparently run out of things like lettuce and tomato...Luckily, there was an event with food and I was able to get a veggie snack to go with the sammy.

And, my weakness....Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn! (and a few handfuls of nuts with dried fruit and chocolate...a girl has needs!)

All in all, a good day!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

First bLog...EVER

OK. Here goes. My attempt to document what I eat. It's not fancy and it's not cuisine. But hopefully, it's healthy real food. I want to eat healthy and I want to eat healthy consistently. The problem is, it's really difficult to do. Eating healthy takes more time than I have, more time than many people have.

My desire to eat healthy is part of my overall desire to be healthy. Being healthy involves diet and exercise. Well, right now, I don't get much exercise. I work full time and go to graduate school at night. Work and school, that's my life these days and both involve sitting still for lengthy periods of time. Not exactly conducive for buns, abs, or anything else of steel. The result? 20 pounds and 2 years of school yet to go.

Seeing as how a focus on 'calories-out' isn't realistic right now, I'm going to turn my focus to 'calories-in'. No, I'm not going to actually count calories, but I am going to focus on reducing (not eliminating) carbs, eating lots of veggies, and minimizing fats, processed sugars and non-foods. What do I mean by non-foods? Well, read Michael Pollen's In Defense of Food. I will try to:
  • Avoid 'foods' that my great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
  • Avoid 'foods' with ingredients that I wouldn't keep in my own kitchen, are unpronounceable, or include high-fructose corn syrup
  • Shop on the peripheries of the grocery store
  • Eat lots of plants
That's it, really. That's what I'll try to do, and document it here. My lunch today: Maryland crabcake with russian dressing and salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Dinner: garden salad with 2 chicken tenders, sunflower seeds and Ken's Italian dressing
Ok, so I didn't do so hot at lunch with fried food and russian dressing...I'm sure there's waaaay more sugar in there than I'd like to have...But dinner was a much better attempt.