My Secret Weapon for the Holidays

It’s that time of the year when I switch to eating more winter vegetables, i.e. leafy greens, squash, rutabaga, etc.  With the holiday season upon us, I anticipate my diet will include out of the ordinary foods.  I mean, I will likely have more party foods, sugar, snacks, etc. 😏

I do have a strategy that I use to combat the  deluge of food associated with this season. You do know that the more sweets you eat the more you crave because it is addictive in addition to being delicious, right?  Have you noticed how on the day after you eat a lot of food you tend to be more hungry than usual?

Well, the way I combat this is to KEEP a selection of ready to eat vegetables in my refrigerator so when the muchnies hit.  If you are like me, when the hunger strikes I start rambling through the pantry in search of anything….and before I know it I have wolfed hundreds of calories in a matter of minutes.😩. I don’t even think I realized how many calories I could shove into my mouth in such a short time until I actually started tracking with MyFitnessPal. I was shocked! I easily added 500 to 700 calories (or more) in no time. Those little snacks over time add up to extra pounds.

Soooo … my secret (not so secret, really) weapon is having readily available vegetables. I have several Christmas parties scheduled in upcoming weeks so I decided not to purchase too many groceries this week. Instead I cooked some frozen veggies I had already.

This afternoon after church I made three favorites: okra, green beans, brussel sprouts.

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Whole Okra, Whole Green Beans, Brussel Sprouts

I used to majorly dislike okra until about five years ago.  Now I love them. You know what? If you get a hunger attack, grab a couple cups of vegetables like this, drink some water and wait about 10 minutes, and the hunger subsides.

Vegetables are full of fiber and vitamins….and low calories! Even if you have other snacks afterwards you won’t want to consume nearly as much, therefore, you will eat less calories.

I am pretty basic in my veggie cooking. I use a teeny bit of coconut oil or olive oil in either my cast iron pan or my copper pan. I use a little bit of water because I’m not making soup here. Water seems to wash out all the flavor. I use high heat, cook them fast. So, my veggies stay green, and are done but not mushy. I add a variety of spices: Himalayan salt, fresh ground pepper, ginger, smoked paprika, curry spice mix, and whatever else looks yummy.  By the way, adding spices reduces the need to add a lot of salt.  That’s it. 😊

Anyway, just thought I’d pass this along in case you needed a strategy to help you get through the season.

Peace and love.

Looks Yucky … But Tastes Great 👍🏽

The hardest part of eating healthy for me is keeping the food variety going strong. Once I find a healthy calorie-smart delicious food I tend to stick with it, but after a while even the most fave food can become b.o.r.i.n.g. So, I am always in search of new and different (but not too crazy) foods.

Here are some foods I rarely ate before that are now a part of my regular food list:

  • cottage cheese
  • Spaghetti squash
  • mustard
  • eggs (straight from the farm)
  • riced cauliflower

A couple weeks ago I discovered a new food. Flatout light flat bread! Oh my! It’s perfect!  I eat a lot of red/yellow/orange/green peppers, cubes, sweet onions, and lettuce…basically salad…but after eating so many of them, even I was getting a little bored with them.

FlatoutThese wraps come in plain, wheat, and spinach as far as I know. I bought spinach, and I wrapped up some veggies, tuna salad (made with tuna, a boiled egg and cottage cheese, yes cottage cheese). It looked sorta nasty but great day it was so good.IMG_5886

I’ve since had wraps with egg salad, veggies alone, and turkey breast slices.

Needless to say, I have an extra package of wraps in my freezer. Going to try making a flat bread pizza next.

Let me know if you ever try this product.

Happy wrapping!

Looks Yucky … But Tastes Great 👍🏽

The hardest part of eating healthy for me is keeping the food variety going strong. Once I find a healthy calorie-smart delicious food I tend to stick with it, but after a while even the most fave food can become b.o.r.i.n.g. So, I am always in search of new and different (but not too crazy) foods.

Here are some foods I rarely ate before that are now a part of my regular food list:

  • cottage cheese
  • Spaghetti squash
  • mustard
  • eggs (straight from the farm)
  • riced cauliflower

A couple weeks ago I discovered a new food. Flatout light flat bread! Oh my! It’s perfect!  I eat a lot of red/yellow/orange/green peppers, cubes, sweet onions, and lettuce…basically salad…but after eating so many of them, even I was getting a little bored with them.

FlatoutThese wraps come in plain, wheat, and spinach as far as I know. I bought spinach, and I wrapped up some veggies, tuna salad (made with tuna, a boiled egg and cottage cheese, yes cottage cheese). It looked sorta nasty but great day it was so good.IMG_5886

I’ve since had wraps with egg salad, veggies alone, and turkey breast slices.

Needless to say, I have an extra package of wraps in my freezer. Going to try making a flat bread pizza next.

Let me know if you ever try this product.

Happy wrapping!

Why, Oh Why, Can’t I Eat That?

Lots of people have asked, so here I am answering how I started losing weight.

On July 6, 2016, I was sitting around munching on some goody or another, just pacifying myself with some deliciousness, and watching a video about the current state of Venezuela that popped up on YouTube; people starving, eating their pets, standing in long line all day long just to end up with nothing to eat. Honestly, I felt a bit gluttonous watching the video.

At the same time, I started to think, ‘what if I was the one who couldn’t get food to eat?’  What if things were like that here in the United States?  People in the States like food, lots of it, all kinds of it, we like it all the time, we have food shrines everywhere.  Yes, we have people who have less access than others for sure, but we are by no means in a 3rd world situation with people by the droves who are starving. We have been, indeed, a blessed nation overall.  So blessed that the obesity rate is extremely high… and I’ve always been obese according to those little charts doctors use (… we all know those charts are wrong though).

Anyway, after a few pensive moments I wondered how much food do I really need; how much could I survive on and maintain good health?  I figured if a Venezuela situation happened in the States, there will be a lot of anger and rioting going on simply because people will be HUNGRY!  Imaging going from a daily diet of 3000+ calories of processed, chemically-laden, fast foods, mixed in periodically with an occasional vegetable cooked in butter or fat back, then suddenly (or even gradually) having to live on about 1000 – 1500 calories (or less, God forbid).  People are going to be MAD!!! I’m talking food fight kind of mad…. without the food. It certainly won’t be a pretty scene.

My curiosity took over and almost instantly I decided to retrain myself to eat less.  I had no real weight goals.  At the time I was not on any medications for anything so that wasn’t a real motivation.  I just wanted to find out the minimum number of  calories I needed to live and be healthy. ‘Healthy’ by my standard was hair and nails staying healthy, not feeling tired all the time, and mostly not feeling hungry all the time, because hunger was always a deal-breaker. Like I said, I didn’t have any high blood pressure or diabetes issues so that wasn’t a goal.

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Initially, I thought about all the ways I could accomplish this: Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Boiled Egg Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Cheez-it Diet ( I did that in college once, yep, Cheezits and grapes – lost a lot of weight… lol) … I even thought about accomplishing this with some sort of surgical procedure.  Surgery was not an option however because although I was overweight (or obese according to some uninformed medical people) I was not overweight enough to have Bypass or stomach bands. I was too cheap to spend money on Weight Watchers (and didn’t want to fit group meetings into my schedule), and somehow having little processed boxes of food delivered to my house seemed to be the opposite of my new goal of healthy eating.

So, I had to stick with one of the old-fashion weight loss methods:  eating less and moving more.

Honestly, the change started in my mind.  I wanted to be healthy, and able to sustain myself on a normal amount of calories, which after some Googling, I learned should be around 1500 calories per day.  I also learned that 1500 calories would mean cutting my calories to more than half what it was.  Dang!  I was munching back to ton more than I realized. I had to do it though.

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What I didn’t do was toss all the food in my pantry, or go out and buy diet food.  To this day I still NEVER eat low-fat or substitute sugars.  I decided to eat real foods… i.e. real sugar, real butter, real milk, just less of it.  My 1,500 calories today had to be a good mix of fresh veggies, fruit, good grains, and a tad of any of the sugary things I liked (still got a  Sweet Tart stash).  I wasn’t about deprivation and denial, just using good sense in making choices and deciding to used my calories wisely.  I always think of calories like money.  I am a decent money manager (OK, some would say frugal) so to me calories became money.  I have 1,500 per day, use them wisely or you’ll have to wait til the next day to get your bank filled again.  That worked for me … I’m a good ‘saver’, so I started saving calories and using them when I really wanted or needed them.

Now, all of what I just wrote about was way easier said than done.

In my next blog I will tell you about the drama and trauma of the first couple of weeks of doing this…. food really is a drug people.