Road to Healthy Eating 3

So, I’m almost caught up with updates about our journey to real food.  (Read part 1 and part 2).  I was almost caught up when I started this a couple of weeks ago.

Week 5: Try two new whole foods – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

The weekly challenge page included a list of several whole foods to try.

  • Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”)
  • Barley
  • Parsnips
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Steel cut oats
  • Papaya
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Bok choy
  • Swiss chard
  • Radicchio (pronounced “rah-DEE-kee-oh”)
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Watercress
  • Dates
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Pomegranate
  • Fava beans
  • Lentils
  • Spelt
  • Pine nuts
  • Star fruit

We had actually tried most of the items on the list except quinoa,  barley and fava beans. Several items like steel cut oats, chickpeas in the form of humus, bok choy, radicchio, spaghetti squash, kiwi, egg plant and pine nuts often appear on the menu. I decided to try barley & quinoa.  I found a recipe for Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa on Pinterest. I liked it but the Big Guy didn’t. If you like broccoli and rice I would recommend it.  For barley I made vegetable and barely soup based on my chicken soup recipe. It was pretty good.  I will post some recipes later, hopefully this week.

Oh, one plus to the Real Food Challenge is weight loss. It isn’t a diet plan but rather about changing eating habits. Since January 1st I’ve lost about 13 pounds. By eating less empty calories I’m actually eating less and less hungry.



Road to Healthy Eating 1

This is a follow-up to a post I wrote earlier this week.  Since January 6th or so we have been doing the  100 Days of Real Food: 14 Week Mini Challenges. The Big Guy and I have both been trying to loose weight. I wanted to get a better handle on my food allergies and food issues. 100 Days of Real Food is not a diet or weight loss program. It is about eating healthier foods and reducing processed foods/junk. A plus is that eating less junk and making healthy choices has helped with weight loss.It’s that making smarter food choices thing.

Since the beginning of January I’ve already lost about 10 pounds.  We haven’t strictly followed the 100 Days of Real Food rules. I’ve made modifications as needed to fit us. I decided the mini-challenges were much easier to start with than jumping in the deep end of all  the real food pool. I had intended to chronicle progress but I’m kind of behind. This is summary of our progress:

Week 1: Fruits and Vegetables Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.

Is was fairly easy to include 2 servings of fruits or vegetables in each. Breakfast was difficult unless the juice from my favorite bean counts as a vegetable.  So does coffee count as vegetable juice. I try to buy local produce as much as possible. I buy as much through the local farmer’s market and have been using many of the same farmers for about 10 1/2 years.  While it may not be certified organic I am able to talk to the growers, who also eat what they grow.  One thing we have tried this week is making our own trail mix for snacks. I keep a big tub on the counter and pack a bag for each of us to take to work. This really helps control my snacking.

Mini-Pledge Week 2: Real Beverages Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup). One cup of juice will be allowed throughout the week, and wine (preferably red) will be allowed in moderation (an average of one drink per day).

So we are still doing week one and have added week two. I don’t follow this one as closely. I do allow 1 soda with real sugar on weekdays. That is my reward for making to lunch time. As for the juice some weeks we drink more than one cup a week and sometimes we don’t.  The Big Guy drinks those Bolthouse Farms type drinks. I prefer Simply Juice.  For coffee I’m using organic 1/2 and 1/2, which doesn’t cost much more the the regular 1/2 and 1/2.  Since I don’t like to use granulated sugar in my coffee, its a texture thing. I have experimented with both honey and maple. I really like the taste of maple.  Also, I’m still using Sucanat for tea. Another change I have made is I still make homemade lemonade.

Eating Habits

The Big Guy and I have been trying to eat better and lose weight. I have tried to diet or make better food choices for a couple of years but life just kept getting in the way Also, I just don’t do well with the word diet. I found a plan to change my eating habits for several years. It was really just making better food choices but life just got in the way. Anyway back to the diet thing. I already have a lot a lot of food allergies and food intolerances that restrict what I can eat.  So I don’t do well with things like diets that further limit my choices.

About a year ago we started getting serious about tackling one of my worst food intolerances: soy. Thankfully I’m not allergic to soy but have a serious intolerance for soy or certain forms of soy. So basically where soy is a primary ingredient especially soybean oil, flour and protein. Thankfully I can tolerate soy lecithin that is used a  preservative any many things including chocolate. You may be wondering what the big deal is about an intolerance. Well for me it makes a big difference. I’ve had a lot of unexplained stomach issues throughout my life. Limiting the amount of soy I consume to a minimum has cleared up a lot of problems.

This year my goal is to get as much junk out of our diet as possible. My research lead me to 100 Days of Real Food. I liked the idea of trying to eat only “real” food but I was overwhelmed by the rules of the original challenge.  I decided to try the 14 Week Mini Challenges. I found the rules from the original challenge overwhelming and too restrictive. Even with the mini-challenges that step into things I’m not strictly following the rules. Sometimes I’m just not able to follow them.

So far even though we are baby stepping into eating less processed foods we are already seeing improvements. I had intended to give weekly updates on our journey but we are now in week 6 and 7 (doing 2 weeks at a time) and I’m just now getting anything posted. I will try to get a summary of our progress for this weekend.

Lunch Box Police?

A Chicago public school, Little Village Academy has banned lunches from home. The school now requires all students to buy a school lunch for $2.25 a day. The only exemption to the rule is if the child has food allergies. The schools say this is necessary to improve students health.  Children’s Success Academy in Tucson, AZ has banned white flour, refined sugar and processed foods. The schools justify their extreme actions by saying it is promoting better health of students.

Schools banning sodas or limiting sweets is a common practice. However these extreme measures are out of line. Little Village Academy has essentially said that parents do not have the right, ability or knowledge to select appropriate foods for their children. Also, forcing parents to spend money on school lunches may cause unnecessary burden on families. As a teacher I have seen some children whose lunch was a little more than a junk food feast. Most students had a relative healthy lunch.

Another reason given for the ban is that the school lunch was healthier. I find this laughable.  I realize that school lunches have improved but I doubt the average school lunch is much healthier than a home packed meal.

Allergy Rant

Newsflash, I’m ranting again. A blog is such a good platform for ranting. The Big Guy would rather I rant on here than to him.  The topic for today’s rant is allergies. At least I haven’t used this title before I checked.  Well, the other day as I was picking up a $1 sweet tea for the Big Guy I noticed the drink machine at a local McDonald’s drive through. It was one of those evil kind that has one line for all drinks and a push button thing to select the drink. I asked the guy at the window about it. From his shirt I think he was actually management.  He responded that the line clears each time. My response no it really doesn’t and it is death waiting to happen. Unless the machine is completely flushed and cleaned including the nozzles cross-contamination is possible. For a food chain that caters to children it is surprising how oblivious McDonald’s as a company is to food allergies and cross-contamination. I had an allergic reaction once from a shake, the shake machine is similar to the drink machine. Both times even management doesn’t seem to know or even care about food allergies. With shake the “manager” lamely asked do you want a new one and then informed us to get out of line and move on. No are you okay, do you need an ambulance, or even talking to us to the side of the line.  So McDonald’s is not only unhealthy, they are now becoming a dangerous dining establishment.

Gator Blood

AlligatorsResearchers in Louisiana became intrigued that alligators live in swamps, often get cuts or other injuries but rarely die from infections. The researchers studied alligator blood. They discovered that alligator blood can destroy 23 different strains of bacteria including strains that are resistant to antibiotics. Researchers hope that this discovery may lead to new drugs that might even be useful in treating HIV/AIDS.

One interesting note is that one of the researchers involved is from Louisiana State University (LSU). Maybe he has learned that Gators are superior. Go Gators!!!

Article source: National Geographic News

Things to Ponder …

  • voluble: characterized by a ready flow of speech.
  • Apparently towns in Texas occasionally move around. I noticed this one when I was watching Good Morning America coverage about the removal of women and children from the polygamist sect near Eldorado, Texas. Can’t remember who was giving the news but what caught my attention was when he said this was happening at a ranch near Houston. I could clearly tell from the scenery it was in west Texas (geographic region not the city) and not the coastal plain where Houston is located. The next clue was the footage showing the van from First Baptist Eldorado. Well, the last time I was in Eldorado it was near San Angelo which is in west Texas hours away from Houston. We are often amused by how many times we catch little mistakes like that.
  • People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer.
  • At the store whenever we get a bulk shipment we of Bibles we always get several copies of the Duct Tape Bible. It is a normal Bible with a cover made from duct tape.
  • Dave Barry On Golf: “Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it’s open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.”
  • If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
  • “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers
  • Interest in college philosophy programs is growing.
  • Found this interesting article in the NY Times about the similarities between composer Maurice Ravel and an artist inspired by his music. Dr. Anne Adams was a scientist and teacher who became an artist after a traumatic experience. In 1994 Adams became fascinated by Ravel piece Bolero and translated the score into a musical form. Both, Ravel and Adams suffered a rare brain disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD). FTD is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s. Ravel begin showing signs of the disease at the same time he composed Bolero. Adams begins exhibiting signs of FTD near the time she became fasincated by Ravel’s work. Both were 53 at the onset of the disease.