Tuesday Morning Mashup

by Christine on August 3rd, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

Good morning Revolutionists!

It’s another busy week chez moi.  It never slows down, but I hope it does soon because I’m starting to get really zapped on energy.  Tonight I’m meeting a girlfriend for a drink/appetizer and gabbing.  We are meeting at Ruby Tuesdays, which is great because they have their menu online and I can pre-plan what I want to order.  I’m always a sucker for guacamole, but the chips are a poor choice.  The Asian Dumplings would be low in calories, since they are steamed.  The avocado quesadilla sounds good, too, but only if I can share it with my friend. Hmm, the options!

random act of kindnessTomorrow my hubby and I are planning a random act of kindness for one of our neighbors and friends! The other day when we were hanging out, they said, “Ha ha, honey, do you remember what we used to eat all the time before we had kids?” They giggled like little kids themselves and reminisced about eating chicken patties with hot sauce and jalapeño peppers.  Well, we’ve latched onto this idea! We’re going to cook them their pre-kids meal, and set it up all romantic-like, with candles and sexy music! Then we’re going to order pizza for their kids, and we are going to babysit the kids for a while, while they get a little time to have a nice dinner together. I wonder when the last time they had dinner together, just the two of them? It had to have been a long time ago; they have three kids (10-15 year old, I think) so their scheduled keep them busy! I hope they like our surprise for them!  I need to go shopping for the ingredients tonight after work.

I need to do a little research about food/supplements/vitamins this morning. You see, I have this problem currently with bruises. I have no less than 12 bruises on my legs, and I have no idea where they came from. I have one bruise, on the back of my right calf, which is easily the size of a softball. It’s huge!  I’ve gotten four comments from people about the bruises, so I know they are noticeable. I have no idea why I’m bruising so easily, and I have no idea why I have so many of them. I suspect that because I am not eating a lot, perhaps I’m experiencing an iron deficiency? Does anyone else have any idea why I might be bruising?

I did a good job making healthy food choices yesterday. My day started off like normal: almonds for breakfast, a small can of Red Bull, some cucumber slices with ranch dressing for a snack. Lunch was just a tiny bit of leftover Chinese (nearly no rice; I got the chicken almond ding), and in the afternoon I had two crackers with a little peanut butter. When I got home, I got the urge to cook! I’ve been wanting to try a recipe by Shelly from The World According to Eggface.  Here is her recipe, although I made a few modifications:

Shelly’s Cheesy Onion Bites

1 Yellow Maui Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Italian Blend Cheese, shredded (Parmesan, Mozzarella, Romano blend)
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions till golden, set aside to cool. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into a lightly greased (Pam non-stick spray works great for this) mini muffin tin.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Let them cool a few moments they pull away and pop right out. Makes 24.

My version made 18 servings. I added more veggies to the mix (1/2 a yellow onion, ½ a green bell pepper, and about 7 mushrooms, all diced up) and I replaced the Italian blend cheese with some leftover cheddar cheese I had in my fridge. I calculated the calories this morning, and each little “mini-muffin” had 47 calories. What a great bargain! With the veggies and egg, it’s a great, healthy dish as well! I put the leftovers in the freezer and will pop them in the toaster oven in the mornings to reheat.

For dinner, I got creative again. I decided to use some of the onion and pepper that I had out and make shrimp skewers. I just bought these awesome jumbo shrimp at the market on Sunday.  I added just a little bit of pesto sauce on the top, then we grilled them (my hubby had a grilled chicken breast). I made four skewers, but I only ate two. Very yummy and light and very healthy!

Today I need to send an emailing apologizing to Jack for my very terrible behavior at the party on Saturday.  Although it was all in fun, and we were horsing around anyway, there was absolutely no excuse for my rotten behavior, and he certainly didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of it. It’s been bothering me so much I hardly slept a wink last night, I kept dwelling on it and feeling quite awful about my behavior. I hope he knows that I feel sincerely, genuinely bad.  I hope I can make it up to him, maybe by taking them out to dinner sometime.

And speaking of bad feelings….I have written a very hard, deep blog post, that I think I will post tomorrow. I’ve been going back and forth about whether I really want to post it or not. It’s extremely personal, extremely hurtful to me, but if I’m being honest about my weight, and underlying issues, then it’s something that needs to come out. The problem is that the story I want to share is not flattering some a certain person, and I don’t want to hurt that person by posting the story. On the other hand, I want to be honest, with myself, and stop hiding from the things that have hurt me. I need to stop internalizing my inner pain. Now, I that person doesn’t read this blog, so it’s probably no big deal, but I’m still not sure if it’s right to post or not. Hmmm.  What do you think is appropriate?

Oh yeah, I ordered a new camera! It should be here on Thursday, so you only need to suffer through my bad Iphone photos for two or three days! The camera was nearly $250 cheaper than when we bought it in December!

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12 Healthy Foods that will Make You Fat

by Christine on July 29th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Sushi

  1. Salads. I love salad. I know, that’s unusual. How often has it happened that you show up at a restaurant and look over the menu and all you see are high-calorie-value-options. But then you see “salad,” and you think, “Ah ha! I can eat healthfully now!”  The problem with salads are two-fold:  Firstly, the toppings.  Cheese. Almonds. Dried fruit. Croutons.  Bacon Bits.  All of these items add up significantly! The second problem: Dressings. Most are laden with oils, salt, and fat. In moderation, that’s not a problem, but if you’re like me, you want to douse your greens with some flavor.  Your best option if you’re going to pick a salad: Mix up some homemade dressing and carry it with you. My homemade dressing is: equal parts red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Add a little water, some salt, and some dill.  (Add a dash of olive oil if you want, but I typically don’t.) On its own, this dressing has ZERO calories. It’s worth putting in your purse or keeping in the fridge. Just in case.
  2. Sushi. I have several issues with sushi. For starters, they are filled predominantly with white rice. White rice (CARB) doesn’t do a thing for you other than raise your glucose levels and then make you crash about an hour after eating it. It’s bland, meaningless filler, devoid of nutrition and vitamins that you can find in other foods. Secondly, let’s talk about the sodium. In a typical serving of Sushi (9.5 oz) there is about 1182 mg of sodium! That’s a whole heck of a lot!  You can typically find the salt in the seaweed wrap, in the rice, and in any sauces.  And let’s talk about the salt. In Wegman’s Hoisin Peanut sauce for sushi, there’s a ton of sodium (620 mg) and a ton of sugar (12g). There’s nothing healthy in it.  So, sushi, I say shame on you! You are not a health food!  If you are stuck with Sushi or Sashimi at a party, pick that bad boy apart and just eat the fish or veggie in the middle. THAT part is good. The rest is naughty!
  3. Dried Fruit. While I admit that dried fruit is healthy (it’s fruit, after all), they pack more calories than if you got them served fresh. For instance, 10 rings of dried apple is 156 calories; a regular apple is less than 100 calories. Half a cup of raisins is 219 calories; half a cup of regular grapes is 52 calories. If you LOVE your dried fruit and must indulge, do so in moderation!
  4. Granola. Holy calorie nightmare, batman! One cup of granola has about 597 calories! Plus, many types of granola are high in saturated fats.  I don’t know why granola is associated with a skinny, hippie lifestyle, but if you eat this stuff regularly, you’re going to be anything but skinny.
  5. Wraps. Many people opt for wraps instead of regular bread when enjoying a sandwich.  The problem with wraps is that there’s more surface area to them than regular bread, so you can pile more food in the middle. Case in point: A Honey Baked Ham Turkey Bacon Ranch Wrap has 705 calories. Red Robin’s Caesar Chicken Wrap has 1244 calories.  A Ruby Tuesday Turkey Burger Wrap has 658 calories.  None of those are diet-friendly choices. If you really feel like indulging in a sandwich, why not wrap the outside with a big hunk of lettuce?
  6. Veggie burgers. These bad boys are becoming pretty much standard in most restaurants and offer a “healthy” alternative, especially for vegetarians.  One good reason to choose a veggie burger is because it cuts out saturated fats. Also, the portion sizes of a veggie burger is typically much less (2.5 ounces, as compared to 5.0 ounces for a burger).  They are also higher in protein.  These all seem like great choices, right? The problem is when you start slapping on the extras. Have you ever seen just a plain veggie burger, on a bun? Nope. They’re loaded with cheeses, sauces, veggie-chili, ketchup, etc.  A quick perusal of calorie counts shows an average veggie burger cashes in at 650 calories!  At that nutritional price tag, you’re better off choosing something else.
  7. Diet, microwaved meals. While many of these frozen meals offer yummy variety, quick cooking, and low-calories, the amount of salt they put in the dishes in order to preserve them on your grocery store shelf is deadly.  Most meals clock in around 600 mg (or more) of salt in each meal! Holy smokes!  You’ll be so bloated it’ll be a shock if you can squeeze your butt out of the cafeteria chair after that. Steer clear, my friends.
  8. Bran Muffins. I checked out a few bran muffin recipes, and most of them are extraordinarily high in cholesterol and carbs. That being said, they are an okay (not good, but okay) source of fiber and protein, and don’t always have high amounts of calories and fat. Not all bran muffins are created equal, so if you must have one of these, read the labels carefully. Personally, I wouldn’t touch these with a ten foot pole.
  9. Rice cakes. Remember back in the 1980s when everyone was chowing down on rice cakes as the latest diet craze? I don’t know about you, but rice cakes are inexorably linked in my mind to weight loss and waifish figures delicately grazing on them. But are they really that healthy? Well, they are low in calories (about 35 calories per cake) and can be filling. The downside is that they offer pretty much zilch in terms of nutrition. They have very few vitamins, devoid of fiber, high in carbs, and a high glycemic index. For the same caloric price tag you can wolf down a big cucumber, and I guarantee it’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  10. Half and Half. Most people enjoy their coffee in the morning, and there’s a lot of people out there that put enough sugar and cream in the coffee to kill a small village. But not you, health-conscious person! You use half and half! But is it really as good as you think?  For a little container of half and half, it’s 20 calories. “What’s wrong with that?” you ask.  But think about it…8 oz of half and half is 160 calories, whereas 8 oz of skim milk is only 80 calories. If you’re watching calories, this is a significant difference. My advice? Replace that half and half with a dash of skim milk.
  11. Bottled Tea. Tea isn’t necessarily that bad for you. Lipton’s Unsweatened Tea has 0 calories, after all.  But if you grab a SoBe Green Tea found in so many convenience stores, you’re chugging down 240 calories and a whopping 61 grams of sugar.  At that calorie price-tag, you might as well chug a Red Bull.
  12. Juice. Most of us are aware that juice is pretty high in sugar. Many companies add a ton of extra sugar as well. For instance, a regular 8 oz cup of Tropicana Orange Juice has 108 calories and 21g sugar, whereas 8oz of SunnyD has 128 calories and 30 g sugar.  But let’s take a look at the carbs in these drinks, too: 25g and 31g, respectively!  Between the sugar and carbs, you’re better off just saying no.  If you’re going to drink some juice, get a fresh piece of fruit and juice it yourself. You’ll cut out a lot of added sugar by going the natural route.
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The Mediterranean Diet

by Christine on June 15th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Red WineI have been scouring medical journals and recent medical reports in the last few days (yay for PubMed!) and I consistently see references to the “Mediterranean Diet” and the benefits this diet has on the average human body.

So I can figure that this diet plan probably involves lots of fish, limited red meat, ample wine and healthy fats…but the details are a little fuzzy for me. I thought I would delve into this diet in today’s edition of The Phoenix Revolution Blog News!

Who lauds the Mediterranean Diet?

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

What are the benefits?

  • A 2007 study showed that the Mediterranean diet leads to a decrease risk of heart disease and cancer
  • The Mediterranean Diet has been associated with lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • High life expectancy, up to a six percent reduction in mortality according to the Mediterranean Diet Foundation
  • A high-fat diet like this can help keep you “regular” on the potty.
  • This diet keeps blood circulation healthy and prevents blood clots from forming (mostly from the red wine)
  • A 12 year study showed that those following this diet have significantly lower body weights, low blood pressure, blood fats, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • A four-year study from Columbia University medical Center showed that those following this diet had up to 40% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A new study from the Institute of Epidemiology at Ulm University in Germany suggests that the Mediterranean diet may cut risk for respiratory disease.

How is it different from other diets?

  • Drink red wine, in moderation (5 oz per day for women, 10 oz per day for men)
  • Limit consumption of red meat
  • Eat fish or shellfish twice a week
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt
  • Consume healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Consume nuts, in moderation
  • Eat in small portions, especially because many of the foods on this diet are high in calories
  • Partake in beans and peas, especially white beans, lentils, chick peas, and capers
  • Eating whole grains is okay, such as couscous, polenta, rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes.
  • Consumption of cheese and milk is okay, in moderation. Yogurt is an especially good choice.
  • Choosing eggs is allowed!

Of course, like other diets, the Mediterranean Diet requires lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and an average of nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. (Many people in the Mediterranean area have fruit for dessert.) However, it is the consumption of healthy fats that makes this diet unique.  The goal is to choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which contain linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid). These can be found in canola oil, walnuts, and fish.  Avoid bad fats that can be found in butter and heavy sauces as well as bacon and fatty meats.

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Lose weight the Star Wars way‏

by Christine on June 9th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, Exercise, General Information

Luke Skywalker Working Out with YodaHey there, you scruffy looking nerf herder. Are you looking to get in shape? Lose weight? Get motivated to turn your life around?  Then look no further than your Star Wars mentors! It may not be obvious, but the secret to weight loss is hidden in the movies.

The most important thing to remember about weight loss is that you need to be fully committed to your goals for the right reason: for yourself.  Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after Han: “It is for ME, sister. Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess.”  You’re in it for you, and don’t forget that. There’s no more important lesson that you can take away from the movies.

Are you interested in losing weight and gaining powers with the force? Luke Skywalker taught us that running around, somersaulting, and jumping around a thick and sweaty swamp with Yoda strapped to your back is the best way to get into shape.  If that doesn’t do it for you, consider running away from white-faced storm troopers to burn calories. Did you know that there are exactly 26.2 miles from Docking Bay 327 to Prison Cell 2187 where Leia was kept on the Death Star? Get into shape – get running!

The martial arts can be a great way to get in shape. A great example of burning calories engaging the martial arts would be the Duel of Dates featuring Darth Maul and Qui Gon Jinn in the reactor core. While we cannot condone killing your exercise partner, working out with sticks instead of light sabers should work for the at-home duelist.  Pop the video in and repeat after them. I recommend watching in slow motion.

If you’re looking for great looking buns, look no further than Princess Leia. Tie braided buns to either side of your head; it will help you achieve a great sense of balance. For you yoga-ites, after a week of bun-training, try Garudasana pose (eagle pose) again; you’ll discover that it’s much easier!

Slave Leia doesn't eat candy barsAre you interested in eating well so you can look good? Well, you probably don’t want to have the skinny chicken legs of Kal’Faln C’ndros.  But Jar-Jar Binks keeps a low body fat percentage: take a tip from him and eat an apple when you’re walking from school to a friend’s house.

“Donuts, cookies, and ice cream. These are the ways to the dark side,” said Yoda. Princess Leia clearly works hard to maintain her figure, especially that Slave Leia outfit. We never see her eat in the movies. Are you thinking about eating that candy bar? Put it down and keep your slave outfit in mind!

Pizza the Hut leads to looking like Jabba the Hut. Stay away from the pan-fried pizza! Eating slimy frogs probably doesn’t do much for slimming your hips either.

When it comes to losing weight and looking good, there’s no such thing as luck – only good effort and pre-planning.

Are you interested in strengthening your mind so you can be powerful inside as well as out? Strengthen your mind and not just your arms! Pick up rocks with your mind and let your arms hang free.

Han Solo had confidence that oozed off him in wet, sexy drippings. “What are you looking at? I know what I’m doing,” he said. If you have anyone that questions you, let them know that you are fully capable of acting to your fullest potential! C-3PO, despite his awkardness at times, was equally confident. If someone tries to belittle you, just tell them “Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease.” That’ll show them.

Follow your movie-mentors and learn the proper way to lose weight and maintain overall balance in your life.  When you harness that ability, you’ll achieve the highly-sought-after Jedi Master ranking.  You can do it – start today!

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145.5 (79.5 pounds lost) Steering Wheel Gap

by Christine on June 3rd, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

MedifastToday I woke up and discovered that the scale was down! Hooray! I think I can now safely say that I’ve lost 80 pounds and am working on my 85 pounds-lost-mark!

It’s the little things that I notice — and love — the most about losing weight. Today I noticed that there is  SO MUCH SPACE between my body and the steering wheel in my car. It’s astonishing!!! I feel so far away from my steering wheel, but I can’t move my seat up because the leg length is just right. I have such a big gap between me & the wheel that I could easily bend my knee and put my foot on the seat (kind of like a halfway “perching” on the seat). It’s strange seeing all that room!  As my friend Sandy said, maybe I need to bring a pillow with me in the car to put on my lap to fill that gap? Nahh, I like the space!

I have had ZERO appetite the last few days. Today is no exception. So…I’m doing the Medifast protein shakes for a day. I remember how disgusted I was after my Medifast period, and how much I craved real food. I know I need the calories, but I’m just not hungry for food. The protein shakes will be a good way to ensure that I get the calories I need, yet doesn’t require that I choose food that sounds or tastes good. So yeah….protein shakes for the day. If I’m still feeling “blah” about food tomorrow, I’ll do protein shakes for another day!

The Medifast shakes were required by my surgeon prior to the gastric banding surgery. You can buy them online at http://www.medifast1.com/shopping/shopexd.aspx?id=155.  At only 100 calories per packet/shake, it’s a great low-calorie meal replacement!  The website also has areal food for sale (like Nutrisystem) but I have never had any so I cannot vouch for their effectiveness. My friend Christy has used them though and has lost 30 pounds with the Medifast meals. I had lost 25 pounds in 8 weeks drinking only the Medifast shakes.

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