Archive for April, 2011

Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

Hey! My mother did make this meal!

This is a family recipe that, as legend has it, my great-grandmother made up as a meal to eat on Ash Wednesday. Whether the story is true or not, when I was growing up, we always had this meal on Ash Wednesday, and never on any other day.

Well … I like it, so I make it whenever I want 🙂

Since it’s been passed down, there weren’t measurements to go along with the ingredients. As I made these earlier this week, I measured things out, but the measurements are rough. The Big Man said they’re the best eggberts I’ve ever made.

If you experiment with this at all and find other ingredients that go well in/with it, let me know!

Eggberts

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni, or other short, round noodles
  • 1 jar (15 oz) marinara sauce

Directions

  1. Scramble eggs in a bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs, parsley, and basil. Mixture should be just thick enough not to be runny. If mixture is runny, add more breadcrumbs. If mixture is too thick, either add another egg or add a bit of water.
  2. Spoon mixture into oiled or sprayed frying pan on medium-high heat. I make patties about the size of small hamburgers, but you can make them as large or small as you’d like. Just keep them fairly thin so the insides cook before the outsides burn. Brown on each side, about 3 or so minutes per side.
  3. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish in marinara. Put the eggberts on top of the sauce. Cover with remaining sauce and bake at 350˚ until the remaining steps are completed.
  4. On the hot burner, put a pot of water. Cook and drain noodles according to package directions.
  5. When noodles are ready, serve them onto a dish. Top with an eggbert and sauce from the baking dish.

This recipe makes 5-6 eggberts of small hamburger size. The Big Man and I will typically eat two each, with one or two left over. The only logistical issue with making more is fitting them in the baking dish, but if you have two dishes (and room in the oven for both), then there’s no problem!

Also, I have made these on-the-go without baking them (since they’re already cooked when they go in the oven). Baking them allows them to soak up some sauce — they are much more moist that way. But if moistness is not a concern of yours, cooking them on the stove and just adding sauce will work.

Healthy Eating Is A Disorder?

I saw this headline in Yahoo! News:

New Eating Disorders: Are They For Real?

Naturally, I was curious, so I clicked through. (If you’d like to read the whole article, click on the headline).

The two disorders?

  • adult picky eaters: adults who limit themselves to an extremely narrow range of foods
  • orthorexia: an obsession with healthy eating

I have to admit, my blood started to simmer when I read the second one. Just because eating unhealthily is the norm doesn’t make eating well on a consistent basis a disorder! But I continued reading.

The example case for orthorexia was a woman who eats only broccoli and cauliflower.

Obsession with healthful?

That is definitely disordered eating, and it’s not an obsession with being healthful. While both are great sources of many vitamins and minerals, they’re not sufficient to live on.

However, under the “What do they eat?” heading was the following:

Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.

So anyone who considers themselves “raw” is disordered?  Eliminating processed foods and pesticides is disordered?

But wait!  The next section, “What are the risks?” makes me want to bang my head against a wall:

Social Isolation: Going to extremes in an effort to eat only healthy foods can also be socially isolating and can undermine personal relationships.

(The “also” was in there because social isolation was a risk factor for picky eating as well.)

Being highly restricted would definitely limit eating out with friends. That said, if the only activity you share with others is eating, there are other factors at work. Of course food is part of just about everything social that we do, but I can pretty easily go to a ball game, a concert, a movie, a dance, etc. without eating anything and without it being conspicuous. I can attend a potluck and bring a dish I can eat (which is what I do as a vegetarian anyway).

From what I understand, the raw community is pretty tight, so if you wanted to eat raw and live in an urban area, you are likely to find other like-minded people.

There are also quite a few other reasons that come to mind that would limit people’s ability to socialize with food. The first that pop into my head are food allergies/sensitivities.

So what do you think? Am I overreacting or is this a little bit crazy?

Things I’m learning

This is my list of things I have learned/ am learning in my quest to get skinny healthy.

1. Vegetables can be delicious. I have tried many, many vegetables over the last 9 months and now I will eat (alphabetically) arugula, asparagus, bok choy, chard (Swiss and red), cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, spinach, sprouts (alfalfa, bean, Brussels), squash, sweet potatoes, and zucchini.

(Anyone who knows me may try to throw my “I refuse to eat fungi” statements in my face, so once and for all, my bad. Mushrooms are fungi and I like fungi.)

2. Shopping for clothes is FUN! and I’m really, really good at it. Someone give me a black Amex and I will go to town, as long as that town has a mall, a Kohl’s, and a Target.
Last weekend, I went to Kohl’s. They have a big ladies section there, but I never used it because I am not a grandma. I’m not even a mom. Not even close to being a mom (unlike some other people who write on this blog). I don’t even have a date! How do you expect me to dress like a mom when I can’t get a date to be my boyfriend to buy me a big diamond ring and make me a mom (sob…). I need a moment.

Ok, so I went to Kohl’s with my best friend to find new shirts to go see David Sedaris. I was eyeing some cute tops and my mind was telling me there was no way on God’s green earth I would fit into that top, but I tried it on, and it fit, and it was made by Candies, and it was from THE JUNIORS SECTION! I almost left Kohl’s with 45 of those shirts.

That’s my list for now. Next week we will talk about 2 more lessons I have learned in my quest to get skinny healthy.

Seriously, you do not want to know what goes on in this head of mine.

What You Need To Do Vs. What You’re Willing To Do

[In today’s post, I use weight loss as an example, but any goal could be substituted.]

How many people do you know who want to lose weight, who know how to lose weight, but don’t lose weight? The problem isn’t a lack of desire or a lack of knowledge, so why not just do it?

That question, of course, can be answered in a myriad of ways, and different “why”s will apply to different people. But there are some common underlying reasons.

Question: What do you need to do in order to lose weight?

Answer: Change your habits. You might need to eat less. You might need to eat more. You might need to eat the same quantity, just different quality. You might need to exercise more, or differently. You might need more sleep. You might need less soda or alcohol. They’re all habits.

Let’s say you set a goal to lose two pounds per week, but you’re only willing to make changes that net half a pound per week loss. The goal and the path don’t match.

So what should you do? Well, either change the goal to half a pound per week, or make changes that net two pounds per week. Neither is right or better, but one of them has to change.

A pound is 3500 calories. If you’re not willing to make 7000 calories worth of changes per week every week, then two pounds per week is not a good goal. (And if you’re currently on a “gain a pound per week” plan, you’re going to need to make 10,500 worth of changes.)

If you make what you need to do and what you are willing to do match, your goal becomes much more attainable.

Start small. You can always up the ante later if what you’re doing turns out to be easier than you expected in the long run. If you start big, it’s a lot easier to burn out.

How Much Wine Is In Your Glass?

A while back, I wrote about cereal and portion control, and how the bowl very much affects consumption unless you use a measuring cup.

Unless your weakness is going back for seconds (and thirds?), using smaller dishes and bowls can significantly help you manage your portions when you eat at home. For most of us most of the time, the plate/bowl/glass needs to be full in order for us to be satisfied with the serving.

I was chatting online with a friend recently. “I have a picture I have to send you!” he said.

His parents had received wine glasses as a wedding gift in 1977.  Many of them had broken over time, and they were recently gifted a new set.

The picture he sent me was a side-by-side: 1977 glasses on the left, 2011 glasses on the right:

Now, I don’t know all that much about drinking wine — I have never tasted one that I liked — so he filled me in.

The standard serving size for a glass of wine is about 5 ounces (four servings per bottle), and that will fill the glass on the left a smidge over half way. Five ounces of wine “looks pathetic” (in his words) in the glass on the right.

Suppose you know that a serving of wine is roughly half of a wine glass and pour that way. You’re getting about twice as much in today’s glasses! So your one glass of wine is really two glasses of wine.

I suspect — though I haven’t looked — that you can find wine glasses that aren’t enormous, but you’d need to do some looking around.

How big are your dishes, bowls, glasses, wine glasses, etc? Do you think this helps or hinders your eating and drinking habits?

Other People’s Handiwork

Happy Easter, if you celebrate it! The Big Man and I play holiday services at a local church, so that’s where we are for half the day today, then we’ll be with his family the second half of the day.

Just one link for you today. It’s very real.

To Anyone Who Needs This Today from Get Fit Slowly

Meatless Meals (I Wish) My Mother Made

Last week, I gave you our recipe for Empty-the-Pantry Bean Burritos. Well, on Sunday, we took the leftovers and made breakfast.

Breakfast Burritos

ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2-3/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • shredded Mexican cheese
  • chili powder
  • tortillas
  • salsa

Scramble the eggs in a fairly large frying pan. Just as they start to cook, add the black beans and rice. Stir/scramble frequently. Add some chili powder to taste.

When the eggs are just cooked, add cheese and continue to stir.

When the cheese is melted, spoon out your desired amount into a tortilla. Add salsa and enjoy!

This made too much for the two of us. For two people, two or three eggs would have been plenty. With two eggs, less beans and rice would also have been appropriate.

This Week in Pregnancy: Week 13

Ah, the end of the first trimester. I have heard that nearly everyone feels great in their second trimester (aside from the poor women who are just sick the whole pregnancy), and my feeling-great-ness has kicked in a bit early.

Well, not feeling greater than pre-pregnancy, but definitely back to my old energy levels, ability to focus, etc. My days are much more productive now when I get enough sleep. Yes, the flip side to not being exhausted is going back to my not-always-great habits about when I get to bed.

Still focused on getting enough protein. I have eaten so many eggs in the last month. I’m taking this week off, mostly, and just looking for it in other sources. It is amazing how a few grams here and a few grams there will add up!

Getting back into exercising a bit more, or a bit more rigorously, which is also helping my energy level. It feels great! Nothing too crazy, and not lifting a lot of weight or running too fast (ha! as if that’s an option!), but moving moving moving.

I hit 130 pounds this week. I haven’t been 130 pounds in many years, so it’s a little funky to see it on the scale. It’s OK, just funky.

My pants officially don’t come anywhere close to fitting any more. I went and bought a BE Band (by the makers of Bella Band — I don’t know what the difference is, but this was what I could find in a brick-and-mortar store). It has been working well enough. I don’t have it all figured out yet (my pants come out in the back when I sit down, for example), but I am able to get around without being half naked 😉

Food stuff seems to be about the same – no weird cravings. I haven’t been eating any of the foods I was averse to, so I can’t tell you if I still don’t like them.

I read Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care by Allan Greene, M.D. While I knew most of the information about chemicals, there were definitely many pieces that were interesting and worth looking at. Also, it is about “green” in the grander sense, not just specifically about avoiding chemical contact with the baby.

In the next few days, we’re going to start looking into health insurance. Both of our policies allow for children to be added on … at great expense! We’ve been told that some carriers offer affordable plans for babies. Time to start looking so we can start to plan some sort of rough budget…

Back in the saddle…finally!

Technology rules. I’m writing this from my iPhone, and the last bunch were written on an iPad. Don’t know why I bother with the laptop anymore. Oh wait… Free Hulu, that’s why.

So this week I am back on track and my sister, Rachel, has rejoined the fun. We ran Sunday, did Nike Training Club Monday. Running tonight… On the ball! And it’s a great reminder of why I’m back in this saddle. I’ve been stuck at the same weight for a couple weeks and as of this morning, 3 pounds gone!

Its also a really good reminder to keep going because I tell you what! Rachel and I were struggling through NTC, even the beginning work-outs are rough. But to struggle through week 1, day one of Couch to 5K? That was sad, especially considering how well we were doing before.

I’m glad to be back though. It feels good. And I’m very excited I have a working out buddy again. We really push each other and I think Rachel would agree that it’s better for both of us. We are making weekly schedules now and were going to have Friday and Saturday off. Last night we decided to utilize the laying around pilates and yoga DVDs I bought a million years ago and do one once a week, either Friday or Saturday.

That’s about all for now. I should probably get back to work, see you all next week!

Cholesterol and Your Diet

It has been common knowledge for the last several decades that eating foods high in cholesterol will raise your blood cholesterol level.

Unfortunately, this common knowledge isn’t exactly accurate.

In most people, eating foods with cholesterol in them will only negligibly affect blood cholesterol level. (In what I read, authors disagreed on the percentage of people whose cholesterol level is affected by dietary cholesterol — between 10 and 33%.)

However, eating foods high in saturated fat and/or trans fat has a much more significant effect, regardless of your sensitivity to dietary cholesterol.

Is all cholesterol bad?

No. The cholesterol in your food and the cholesterol in your body are similar. Your body requires cholesterol and in fact produces quite a bit of it on a daily basis. These are measured in blood tests as LDL and HDL.

LDL is “bad fat” and HDL is “good fat.” While keeping an eye on the numbers is important (low LDL — ideally below 100 — and high HDL — ideally above 60), it is more important to keep an eye on the ratio. Roughly 3.5 to 1 is ideal according to the American Heart Association.

What foods contain cholesterol?

Pretty much anything that comes from animals. Meat, eggs, milk/dairy. Skim milk products contain less cholesterol (but not zero) than their partial- or full-fat counterparts.

Plants do not contain cholesterol (fiber serves that cellular function in plants).

But some plants have saturated fat!

Yes, several plant products have saturated fat; they simply don’t contain cholesterol. Be on the lookout for  coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter. So if you were only watching out for cholesterol, you might consume these products with reckless abandon. (OK, maybe not that much, but still.) But since you know now that sat fat is on the watch-out list, these are ingredients you should be aware of.

What about trans fat?

There is no recommended dose of trans fat. Your body will be happy if you eliminate it entirely. Remember, labels that say “0 grams trans fat per serving” are slightly misleading. Food can have up to 1/2 gram trans fat per serving and legally list it as 0 per serving.

What’s the bottom line?

Reduce your intake of saturated fat. Be aware of your cholesterol intake. Eliminate your intake of trans fat. Increase your intake of fiber. Maintain or increase your intake of unsaturated fat from healthy sources. The simplest way to do this is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

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