Archive for May, 2010

grilled meat

There is a lot of confusion about grilled meats, so it seems.  (For purposes of this post, “meat” includes flesh from mammals, birds, and fish.)

From the perspective of decreasing fat consumption, grilling meats is better than most (all?) other cooking methods, for a couple of reasons: you’re not cooking it in fat, and fat from within the meat itself drips off as it cooks.

Unfortunately, grilling meats significantly causes their carcinogen content to increase for a few different reasons.

When meats are cooked at high temperatures, chemicals within the muscles react and create carcinogenic compounds.

When meats are grilled, the fat drips off of them into the fire and flares up, causing different carcinogenic compounds to be released onto the meats.

The risk factor of eating meats prepared this way are for digestive tract cancers (stomach, colon, rectal) and breast cancers.

For more information, see here, here, and/or here.


Sunday update & links

No update today, except to say that some vacation time is approaching.  I’m working on getting posts done ahead of time, but posting in the next 10 days might be spotty.  Just to warn you…

In the mean time, enjoy some links!

Convert from plastic to glass … recycling! from Step into Health

Six Reasons Why People Don’t Change, and What To Do About That from The Positivity Blog

Sitting Out the Summer — A Diet From Fun? from A Weight Lifted

Portion Size Control vs Calories on the Menu — What Works for Weight Loss? from Live Fit Blog

Living the Examined Life: Personal Data Collection is a Powerful Tool for Change from Get Rich Slowly

Dreading a Workout from MizFit

Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

Today’s recipe comes from  It sounded like a somewhat odd combination of ingredients, but it turned out to be great!  We made only a couple of small modifications: we used cooked dry beans instead of canned and we used vegetable broth instead of vegan “chicken broth.”  Also, we used sweet potatoes as the recipe calls for — not yams, which are different.  If you try it with yams, let me know how it turns out.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

These enchiladas are delicious and different – and gluten-free.


1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh lime juice from 1 lime

2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, smashed
1 Tbs chopped canned green chiles
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp gluten-free curry or chili powder
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

To Assemble::

8 corn tortillas (*tip:: wrap in paper towel and reheat briefly in microwave before stuffing, to soften)

1 cup vegan “chicken broth”
1 Tbs white rice flour or arrowroot starch
1 cup salsa verde (green salsa) or chopped canned green chilies
cumin or chili powder, to taste

Preheat your oven to a moderate 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a non-stick spray into a rectangular baking dish that would hold 8 enchiladas.

In a mixing bowl combine the drained black beans with minced garlic and lime juice. Toss to coat the beans and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine the smashed sweet potatoes with a tablespoon of chopped green chiles; add the spices. Season with sea salt and pepper.

To make a vegan sauce: combine the vegan broth with a tablespoon of rice flour or arrowroot; heat in the microwave till thickened. Whisk in the salsa verde. Add cumin.

Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Begin stuffing the warm (*see above) tortillas by laying the first tortilla in the sauced baking dish; wet it with the sauce to soften.  Spoon 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture down the center. Top with 1/8 of the black beans. Wrap and roll the tortilla to the end of the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top with the rest of the sauce. If you like, top with a sprinkle of GF vegan cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling.  Serve with a crisp green salad spiked with Mandarin oranges or halved grapes.

Servings: 4

two quick tips for not overeating at parties

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means parties, BBQs, picnics — many events centered on food, eating, and drinking.

If you are going to one of these events and are watching your consumption (whether you’re counting calories or not), one plan of attack is to decide ahead of time what you will consume, and then stick to it!

If you are going with a partner (spouse, friend, child, etc.) and they are supportive of your changes, let them know what you’re planning to consume and ask for help.  You probably will not want them nagging you out loud in front of whomever you are with, so some sort of gesture or sign might be more fitting.

Also, it will be much easier not to munch mindlessly on food if you are not hanging out near it.  If you’re sitting at a table with a bowl of chips in front of you, you’re probably going to eat more chips than if you were seated somewhere else, out of arm’s reach of the chips.


another one on HFCS

Here is another article on why high fructose corn syrup is a chemical to be avoided.

If you missed my original post regarding HFCS and weight loss, you can find it here.

expect setbacks

This has come up a few times in conversations recently, so I thought I’d put up a little post…

When you are on the path of self-improvement — I am assuming that the changes you are making in your life are positive — besides not necessarily being easy, it is often a “two steps forwards, one step back” sort of process.  My struggles with keeping the kitchen counter clear during the week illustrate this.

The critical step is not giving up at the “one step back” part.

Let’s run through a couple of scenarios:

If you have been working on your eating habits — let’s say to eat smaller portions — and you’ve been doing well and you go to a barbecue over the weekend and eat way too much and are stuffed…  1- Stop eating!  2- The next day, pick up the old (new) habits again.  [If you have eaten too much food with some nutritional value, you probably won’t need to eat as much the next day to feel sated.  Listen to your body.  It knows what it needs; we just have forgotten how to listen.]

If you have been working on your eating habits — let’s say to stop drinking soda — and you’ve been doing well and you go to a barbecue over the weekend and decide to have a soda…  1- That’s OK!  2- Just drink one!  It is easy to fall into the “well, I’ve fallen off the wagon already anyway, so I might as well just keep going” mindset.  Don’t be lured!  If it is “impossible” for you to have one and not another, then don’t have one.

If you are getting into exercise and, for whatever reason, you miss a day or a week, get up and get back into it!  It has been my experience that the longer you stay out, the harder it is to get back in.  No excuses — just do it!

A personal anecdote: before I was diagnosed with cancer, I was exercising six days per week, usually at the gym, lifting weights, doing cardio.  It felt great and was fairly easy to maintain.  Cancer made that more difficult, and a blood clot (as a complication from hardware) made it impossible.

When the blood clot disappeared and I was cleared to exercise again, it was incredibly difficult for me to get motivated.  Even though I knew I felt better when I exercised.  Even though I knew once I got back on the wagon, I’d love it (because I’d done it already).  All the knowledge in the world didn’t matter.  I just needed to do it.

The habits you have didn’t form quickly, and the habits you’re trying to replace them with don’t form quickly, either.  Don’t let a setback be a quitting line.  Imperfection does not equal failure.

If you repeatedly or consistently struggle, it might be time to examine what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why you are doing it to see if there is perhaps a better route.

The only way to get something done is … well … to do it!  Now go do it!


Now that you’ve been thinking about your shoulders for a couple of days, let’s try something different.

How often do you hold your breath?

When this question was first posed to me, I answered, “I don’t hold my breath at all.”

I was wrong.

When was I holding my breath?  When I bent down to pick something up.  When I got into or out of the car.  When I was listening to or watching something exciting or suspenseful.  When I was doing situps.  When I got into or out of a chair.

I don’t need to hold my breath to do any of those things.  I don’t know when, how, or why I started holding my breath while doing those things.  Doesn’t really matter, I suppose.

I hold my breath much less often now (though I still do it unintentionally sometimes).

Notice your breathing.  Are you holding your breath more often than you thought?  Can you let yourself breathe?

%d bloggers like this: