Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lots of interesting stories on NPR yesterday related to food and health

Here are some links - all stories can be listened to.

Not from today - but I want to eat at this French school

This morning - some interesting stuff happening in Fairfax County VA - taste tests to get the kids interested and hiding veggies for middle-schoolers - not a bad idea for that age group and that environment. Meaning - they are unsupervised and highly influenced by peer pressure -so hiding white beans and veggies in the nacho sauce isn't the end of the world.

And this one about how we are no longer the tallest population. Another sign of America's decline...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sake Salmon

Nigella Lawson's delicious sake salmon over rice.
I intended to write a super-quick post to reference a recipe I like and had kind of forgotten about....but it ended up being longer and more introspective.

I know I've blogged about Nigella Lawson's sake salmon in passing before, but this recipe is so good that even I concede to stick to the recipe and I use various measuring spoons to make both the marinade and sauce (not without getting annoyed though). It's pretty and a great party pleaser too, as if it's done properly it is one big dish of fluffy rice (of course I switch from white to brown), glistening seared pink salmon and bright green cilantro clippings all over the top. It's kind of dramatic to put it in the middle of the table and dollop out huge spoonfuls to eagerly awaiting guests. And it's totally delicious. I didn't get to that part in my first post. It could use a tad of something sweet, like a drop of brown sugar, in the sauce, and it certainly needs to cook longer than she says for my liking, although you can see in her photo that she serves it pretty raw.

OK - now on to the more introspective part...

I just read the post where I originally referenced it. Kind of an unhelpful post as I hadn't even tried the recipe I referred to. But more noticeable to me is my overall challenged tone. It's strange now to remember how much I was struggling - that was at the -25 lb and 3 month mark. It was right around the time where I made the decision that I wasn't going to go below 21 points (I can't believe I went below 23) and I wasn't going to add points back after reaching goal. Somehow that comforted me. It made me feel like I could do it. I could stay plodding along at the B+/A- pace I was at - all my life I was that kind of student.

The truth is, I did add points back into my diet after I reached goal weight. I also upped the exercise. But I did so quite slowly, over a long period of time. Eventually I got much less restrictive and haven't really gained weight (+/- 3lbs from 140), except for a period last winter where I was snacking a lot and in my usual winter sedentary-ness. I don't count points anymore, although I did for a good long time after reaching goal. I do have that intuitive sense of what a normal portion is but I still must often consciously try and stick to that. If I'm still hungry I eat a little more. I also try not to snack too much but that is still a challenge. I do taste the little goodies around the office much more often than I did while losing, which was almost never. It's also possible that one could say I'm still really restrictive but it doesn't bother me as much anymore. Meaning, I still don't eat a lot of things that are tempting and caloric but that just seems normal to me now. Usually. I am surprised at how little I pay attention consciously anymore. Yesterday I did have to eat the home made jelly-shortbread concoction that wasn't even left for my branch at work. I wrote a series of posts on "what I did right" about 10 months ago, which was 1 year after I started losing and 6 months past goal weight. I think even since then I've let my guard down a fair bit, and perhaps more importantly internalized portion size a lot more. At that point I thought I had done all the changing I would do, but as it turns out, it takes a REALLY long time to become an intuitive eater. Of course I still make mistakes - getting overly full, or overly hungry. But I rarely count points.

I suppose now I eat an average of 24-26 points and I probably do about 3 points of exercise a day. Certainly the exercise varies from 2-4 points but I bet 3 is the average. I also have much more muscle mass, which burns calories all throughout the day. I think back when I wrote that post I was eating 21-22 points a day and doing 2 points of exercise. But of course, that was before I hit the 150 lb mark. Once you get there it gets a lot harder to earn exercise points. Weight Watchers is kind of ingenious that way - upping exercise alleviates plateaus.

It got easier over time for two reasons. 1. In reality I don't have to be as strict as when I was losing weight and 2. I don't want treats in the same compulsive way I used to.

I did eat a lot of that salmon last night- way more than the 3 or 4 oz I would have had while losing. It was good (good meaning tasting and good meaning healthy) and I was hungry.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two new Jackie Warner DVDs

Somehow I missed this - but not surprising since she has a new TV show out called Thintervention and we're almost in the holiday season. It got great reviews on Amazon. I really have no need for a new DVD. But I'll buy it at some point for sure. I am enjoying watching Thintervention. I am only so-so on Bob's new DVDs. Kind of a waste of $40. Had I known about these two Jackies I would have skipped the package deal.

One out now, and another for abs out in Dec.

At any rate - back to Thintervention. First I should note that I am a Bravo junkie. The only TV I watch these days is really bad reality programming. Or news. Or maybe they are the same thing. I can't even take the news anymore.

But it was Jackie's first show, also on Bravo, called Workout that was one of my motivators. I think I blogged about it at some point, but I used to lie in my bed all smug and superior because I was not obese and wasn't a whiner like the people on the show. Part of me was wondering if I could handle her workouts...I assumed no but I still felt slightly superior. But in reality I was overweight, and I was a bit of a whiner. There was something slightly self-loathing about watching those people struggle. I guess deep down I knew I wasn't really superior to those people. I didn't have the deep-seated emotional eating problems they had, but I was not in control of my body or my health. Hmmm....

At any rate, I bought the DVD. I did it once with light weights. It was fine. It went fast. It was almost fun. Had I realized then how effective it was I might have done it more than once! Inconsistently doing exercise along with paying no attention to food intake is just a waste of time. At least that was my attitude. It was more than a year later that I started actually dieting and then another several months before I added jackie's DVD into my repertoire. Now here we are. It's interesting to me to watch the new show. Now when I watch Thintervention I don't feel superior to the contestants. I feel hopeful that they'll get it. I want more converts on my team! Of course they will eventually, or at least they'll fake it for long enough for the show to be filmed. But it is nice to be on the other side of the battle. While I may not have been obese, Thintervention is not Work Out. The people on Thintervention area all losing 60 lbs or less. They're a lot like I was. I hope they succeed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spaghetti tacos

I'm not sure I can make spaghetti tacos, although if they had some protein and veggies on the side or on top, I guess why not. The originator of the idea, iCarly, is a favorite show of Natasha's for sure. I just can't believe such a long story was squeezed out of the notion of spaghetti tacos. I'm just so done with smiley faces and hiding vegetables. My kids aren't even remotely done with arguing about what they eat, and but I just don't have the willingness to make dinner a game. They eat what I feed them or they fight about it. Usually the latter and then the former. Last night we had turkey burgers and roasted cabbage and cauliflower. Natasha ate her burger with some sugary ketchup, because she knew half a Georgetown Cupcake awaited her. First she screamed and protested when she found out the flavor of the cupcake (chocolate peanut butter) and that it was to be cut in half. Two big disappointments, but that's how the free GC giveaway works - one per customer and only the flavor of the day. Alex was not feeling well and refused both the turkey burger and some tomato-y couscous that was perfectly delicious. I allowed him that reheated left-over as I know he doesn't like burgers of any sort, and I didn't either as a kid. He basically didn't eat dinner but he did eat about 20 sugar snap peas so I allowed him his half a cupcake. By the way - the sugar snap peas were an alternative to the roasted vegetables. I knew that fight was going nowhere. They do eat cauliflower sometimes, but not when it's so browned.

The following slideshow of foods kids like annoyed me to no end. Most of the food is gross. See below example of farina.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Peanut butter sandwich

Recently a friend said to me something about wanting to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Her larger point wasn't so much about the pb&j but more that she likes food, isn't willing to eat rabbit food and more importantly isn't willing to restrict herself unduly to lose a few pounds. Well there is some rabbit-food eating that goes on in my house, and sometimes I do it when I really want something else. But I also eat a lot of foods that are indulgent (more now than when I was losing for sure0 but I eat them. And I eat peanut butter and jelly all the time. I can't restrict myself from all the foods I like either. And one shouldn't have to.

So using peanut butter and jelly as an example, here is how I handle the classic (I don't mean the tone to be overbearing. it's just how i do things):

  1. I eat it on good bread. Good to me means, whole wheat, fresh, not enriched wheat flour with a bunch of fiber additives, no or very little added sugar.
  2. I use nut butter with one or two ingredients: the nut and optional salt. No added sugar.
  3. I use a lower-sugar jelly. I actually compare the labels for this one. As posted earlier sometimes I use fruit slices altogether.
  4. I'm generally reasonable with the amount of peanut butter and jelly you use, but don't skimp so much that it's not really good.
  5. I eat it as part of a set number of calories, more or less, that you eat in a day. I don't just add it in as a little extra snack. 
  6. I recognize that a pb&j is enough calories for a full meal in and of itself, but I can eat it so quickly that I'm not full right away...as such....
  7. If I'm starving I try and eat one with a glass of milk or coffee or a bowl of yogurt and fruit. It is very easy to eat one, not realize that was enough and then eat another one and then end up with a brick in my stomach. I of course learned this the hard way.
Some Weight Watchers advice...A pb&j is a calorie-dense food. WW is very anti calorie-dense foods. I understand why, although now that I'm more in control of my food intake I do eat them. But the reason that WW is against calorie-dense foods is because they are way too easy to overeat. WW tries to direct you to water and fiber-rich foods, so that your stomach gets full before you overeat and then when real fullness sets in you haven't overeaten. This is a pretty good theory in general but, as my friend pointed out, sometimes a sister wants a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! So ultimately you need to be able to control yourself with a reasonable portion size. I tend to eat a regular-sized sandwich but for breakfast, right after I've exercised. If I eat it as my afternoon snack I eat half a sandwich.

OK - that's enough about a sandwich. Must go try to figure out what to do with spaghetti squash.