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.

Good Eats This Week

I have no real purpose for writing this particular blog post other than to show you how pretty and colorful these foods are. 😊

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I am getting back into my fall foods program. During the summer I eat a lot of veggies that aren’t cooked; peppers, salads, carrots, summer squash, watermelon.  However, when the temps start to drop I like cooked veggies, warm soups, and lots of apples.

This week, as you see in the photo I am having: Green Cabbage, Rapini, Asparagus, and Broccoli.  Lots of ‘cruciferous ‘ veggies, which are very good for you.  I just listened to a broadcast this week that stated how broccoli helps fight against cancer.  These four vegetables are at the top of my favorites list.

I also marinated my last two pieces of King Salmon that I ordered from Alaska last Christmas. Boy! Is it delicious. It is going to be a tasty week.

I white vinegar washed and cut up everything after church this morning.

I sautéed all the veggies in a bit of coconut oil, added Himalayan salt, ground pepper, onion, and garlic powder.

What are you having this week??

❤️ & ☮️

 

 

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!

Eggggg-cellent!

Ha! That title so corny, but it cracked me up [pun intended] 😂 Seriously, I’m about to discuss eggs… just in case my corny introduction has failed. 😏

I remember back when the poor little egg got a very bad rap for the cholesterol it contains. Everyone treated the egg like it suddenly got “cooties” and I’m sure ‘somebody’ made a whole lot of money ….. but it wasn’t egg farmers.  Thousands of yolks went down the drain and the world of bland egg white omelets was born. *blech*.

I wasn’t a huge egg eater anyway, and my cholesterol levels were toward the low end at the time anyway so I paid little attention to how many eggs I had in my diet.

Fast forward years later, I run across an article from a doctor who was touting eating up to 12 eggs a day for health.😳🤔  Then I started seeing more and more egg promos.  So, why the gradual fading of the Scarlet ‘E’?  I don’t know.

deviled eggs

Anyway, a year ago when I started focusing on my health, I needed a good protein sources that didn’t involve a lot of beef and chicken. Eggs seemed to be the way to go, but I wondered about their benefits or risks.

I found a newsletter on healthline.com (Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Eggs)  that pretty much sums up what a lot of other articles stated. You can read it here.   The following is an excerpt from the newsletter.

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1. Eggs Are Incredibly Nutritious
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. A single large boiled egg contains :
Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
Folate: 5% of the RDA.
Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
Selenium: 22% of the RDA.

Eggs also contain decent amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc.
This is coming with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats. Eggs also contain various other trace nutrients that are important for health.

2. Eggs Are High in Cholesterol, But They Don’t Adversely Affect Blood Cholesterol
It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol. In fact, a single egg contains 212 mg, which is over half of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg. However… it’s important to keep in mind that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood (4, 5).

3. Eggs Raise HDL (The “Good”) Cholesterol
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. It is often known as the “good” cholesterol (9). People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and various health problems (10, 11, 12, 13).Eggs

4. Eggs Contain Choline – an Important Nutrient That Most People Don’t Get Enough of

Choline is a nutrient that most people don’t even know exists. Yet, it is an incredibly important substance and is often grouped with the B vitamins.

5. Eggs Turn LDL Cholesterol From Small, Dense to Large, Linked to a Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

LDL cholesterol is generally known as the “bad” cholesterol.  It is well known that having high levels of LDL is linked to an increased risk of heart disease (19, 20). But what many people don’t realize is that there are subtypes of LDL that have to do with the size of the particles.

6. Eggs Contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Antioxidants That Have Major Benefits For Eye Health

7. In the Case of Omega-3 or Pastured Eggs, They Lower Triglycerides as Well

8. Eggs Are High in Quality Protein, With All The Essential Amino Acids in The Right Ratios

Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body. They’re used to make all sorts of tissues and molecules that serve both structural and functional purposes. Getting enough protein in the diet is very important and studies show that currently recommended amounts may be too low.

Well… eggs are an excellent source of protein, with a single large egg containing 6 grams.

9. Eggs do NOT Raise Your Risk of Heart Disease and May Reduce The Risk of Stroke
For many decades, eggs have been unfairly demonized.

It has been claimed that because of the cholesterol in them, they must be bad for the heart. Many studies published in recent years have examined the relationship between egg consumption and the risk of heart disease.

10. Eggs Are Highly Fulfilling and Tend to Make You Eat Fewer Calories, Helping You to Lose Weight

Eggs are incredibly fulfilling. They are a high protein food… but protein is by far the most fulfilling macronutrient (47).

Eggs score high on a scale called the Satiety Index, which measures the ability of foods to induce feelings of fullness and reduce subsequent calorie intake (48).

[Above excerpt from Top 10 Benefits of Eating Eggs]

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My Personal Experience with Eating Eggs.

For most of my adult life, my cholesterol was in the range of 170 – 200, even when I had put on excess weight.  I was good with that. So when I lost 57 lbs over the year, I was excited to see how my cholesterol changed.Yes, I ate a lot more eggs.  Each Sunday I boiled 6 eggs and ate them over the week.  I didn’t think that was so many. I usually have one in the morning for breakfast with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.  It satiated me and kept the hunger away for a while.

Last week I had my cholesterol checked; one year ago it was 201.  This week it was ….. 230!!!!!   …. even after losing weight!   I told the nurse my weight loss journey.  She looked over my numbers and explained that even though my number was high, a doctor would not likely put me on any meds because my HDL (good cholesterol) was 71!!!!  about double what they like to see, and my LDL (bad cholesterol) was low.  Most important she said was that my overall ration was 3.2, which is lower than the <4.7 ratio they like to see. 🙂

So,  even though  it was high, it was high because of the elevation of all the good cholesterol I now have.  Interesting huh?

I’m no doctor so I don’t know how to explain this any better than I have already. I’m NOT advocating that YOU go out and eat a dozen eggs per week. I’m just sharing what happened to me….and passing along some info.

Anyway…. Happy crackin’!

Peace and Love! ❤
 
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Eating Out … Then Eating Right

The past month of my life included more than usual travel. Some for business and some for pleasure; some in planes and some in cars.

It also included a whole lot of eating out.  I’m not fond of eating out on a regular basis because restaurant food tends to have ‘more’ … more sodium, more fat, more sugar, and just plain more food. I chose carefully but still ate more than I usually do so I am glad to be home.

After a grocery store run this morning, my refrigerator looks normal again. I’m looking forward to eating mostly fresh vegetables, fruit and a bit of protein.  Mainly because after eating out so much I feel … sluggish and … sleepy. It’s amazing how energetic I feel when I eat better. I really need not slip back into bad eating habits too; it’s sooo easy to do. The more junk I eat the more I crave. After a year of good eating, I rarely had cravings…but the last few days I have craved all kinds of stuff…and caved too. 😣  Oh well, the key is to get back on track right away.

So, this is what the meals this week will include:

1. Lettuce – 2 heads of Green Leaf and 3 small bunches of Romaine lettuce 🥗

2. Red, yellow, and orange peppers

3. Cucumbers🥒

4. Onions

5. Watermelon🍉

6. Cherries🍒

7. Nectarines

8. Yellow summer squash

9. Organic carrots (organic) – *more about this later

10. Breakfast will probably be a boiled egg 🥚 and cottage cheese ( sounds nasty but is actually pretty good and a good hit of morning protein).

Lunch and/or dinner will include these foods along with a ton of water and a couple mornings of fasting.

Regarding the carrots, I don’t buy organic veggies unless they are on sale except for carrots (I buy whole carrots in the bag).  I wash everything in vinegar water. CarrotsHowever, I’ve noticed something about some non-organic carrots; they have little to no taste compared to organic carrots. Plus, non-organic carrots get slimy after a couple days when I cut them up. Organic carrots taste so good and carrot-y. 🥕🥕🥕

A couple summers ago I jarred my cut vegetables and it worked out nicely. Last year I was too lazy to do it and I was busy eating too much junk and gaining weight. 😏

I decided to use jars this week.

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…. oh, also having pitted prunes… because I like them. Haha!

Tomorrow is Sunday, a good day to get back on track.

Be Inspired!

☀️

Jan

 

 

Is This Considered ‘Cooking’?

I don’t cook.

That is my standard answer when asked about cooking. However, I think I will have to change that statement because I now cook nearly every week.  Not because I enjoy it, but because I want healthy food in the house. Every Sunday I cook a bunch of stuff and have it for the remainder of the week.  My evenings are typically filled and busy with things I need to get done, so I like to finish my day job, eat, then move on to my projects/commitments.

After stating “I don’t cook” to a person I met recently, she looked at me and said, “Well, what do you eat, do you eat out all the time?”  I’m sure I had a crazy look on my face because in actuality, I DO cook.  I guess in the past I thought of cooking as preparing a meal that included all the food groups for people to eat and survive on.  I don’t do that. I just cook for myself, and there is no one to complain, and no one who has picky food choices, etc.  I cook most vegetables the same way, in a little coconut oil, salt, pepper, and lot of spices … boring but tasty.

So, a typical Sunday includes getting home from church and washing, dicing, slicing, sauteing, steaming food … I guess you call that cooking, huh?

Today, I decided try a new vegetable.  I went to a local farmer’s market and bought Swiss Chard.  I recently watched a video to see how to prep and cook it.  Looked simple enough;  like the way I cook collards, spinach, kale, etc.

Swiss Chard

I gave it a bath (in water, white vinegar and baking soda) along with the other fruits and vegetables I bought today at the market.  Everyone gets a bath, then a vegetable brush scrub – sometimes with dish soap. I know it sounds excessive…. but when I watch all the hands that touch vegetables at the markets its a wonder (if you know me) I don’t come home and throw them into the dishwasher.

File May 21, 5 53 16 PM

Anyway, I ‘cooked’ the Swiss Chard and it was pretty tasty.  Tastes similar to other green leafy vegetables but with it’s own distinct flavor.  I will definitely add this to the food rotation list.

The way I handle eating healthy, by cooking all at the beginning of the week, might not be for everyone because by Thursday, I am usually completely sick of whatever I cooked; but fortunately it is mostly all gone by the end of the week. I have to have a large number of options because I cook 3-5 veggies per week so I need enough options to rotate.  This week was this:

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  1. Red/Orange/Yellow peppers – I wrote about this in a previous post; a good snack veggie.
  2. Collard Greens – I cheated this week and used bagged ones – I knew I was not going to want to spend all afternoon picking greens.
  3. English Cucumbers – another good snack food
  4. Yellow Squash – I eat a lot of this during the summer.
  5. Swiss Chard – I bought one bunch.  It shrunk down to about 3/4 of a cup.  It was more expensive than I imagined – $2.49/bunch.  I will have to catch this on sale in order to have enough for the week. LESSON LEARNED:  Don’t be afraid to try new foods.
  6. Decided to try Quinoa too – I read it is a great source of protein, which I need because as you see, I didn’t cook any chicken, or other meat for the week. I’m not vegan or anything, it’s just that I had beef twice last week and I’m not craving anything ‘meaty’ so I decided to skip a week of meat and just have eggs, cottage cheese, and quinoa as my protein.  It was pretty tasty. Will likely add this to the rotation about once per month.
  7. Bag of apples – was really inexpensive at the market
  8. and Cantaloupe was on sale; not my favorite but will satisfy the craving until juicy, red, decently priced watermelons arrive.

Before you decide you can’t cook and eat like this all week, fret not, because I don’t either.  This food makes up about 70% of my diet now.

I might throw in a slice of Ezekiel Bread and peanut butter one evening, or I might go out with friends and have a salad with chicken on it … or sometimes I might decide to have popcorn with sprinkled with hot sauce for a snack.  The Sunday cooking is primarily a way to not get caught in a state of being really hungry and going for junk food because I don’t have good food in the house.  It works for me…. might work for you.

Sooooo, maybe I am a cook after all…. but I still wouldn’t count on me to cook a full meal for ya…. unless you want a Veggie Plate. 🙂