From my other somewhat neglected blog (October of 2014)
So, anyway, you are about to embark on a journey…..
No, wait, that is not what I meant to say.
Here it is — much more self-centered than you and your journey: I have now lost 28 pounds.
Now, it may seem to you that it is taking me a long time to whittle down the pounds, but slow and steady is a GOOD way to lose weight. I started out at 145 pounds and now I weigh 117 pounds and someday in the not too distant future, I will weigh 107 pounds! So, there’s that.
I am just about five feet tall, if you need to know that. Seems like people are so hesitant to tell you what they weigh so you never have context for your own size in the scheme of things, so I’m just putting it out there.
On a side note — on-the-side but quite significant — since I have cut back extremely on the occasions I dine out, my blood pressure has gone down to an average of 115/65 instead of an average of 135/80. This is quite a happy change! Plus, I lost another couple of pounds.
It’s just extremely difficult to lose weight and maintain health if you frequently dine in restaurants. SO MUCH SALT!!!! and sugar and fat just built right in to even the most innocuous foods!
I went from dining out four or five times a week to maybe one or two times a week…and I choose carefully, avoiding dairy and meat and keeping bread to a minimum.
It’s tricky to eat out because restaurants love to put cheese in everything. I’m surprised they don’t put cheese in the drinks they serve – as soon as they figure out a way to blend it, I’m sure they will. Then people can order a diet coke with cheese , or a vodka gimlet with ricotta, or perhaps a coffee with cheddar and a double swiss.
Check it out next time you look at a menu. Many restaurants include cheese (aka SALT) with almost every single dish—it’s not even an either/or — you get meat AND cheese…chicken with cheese, fish with cheese, beefy cheesey sandwiches, cheese steak…even in the salads. I know, I know, you can tell them to leave off the cheese, but the point is, it’s in EVERYTHING! Do we really need cheese in every dish we eat?! I know, there are some who would say we do.
I read recently that cheese is being pushed because people have cut down on drinking whole milk so the milk people have all this milk fat that they need to unload…….hence, the ubiquitous cheese ingredient in every processed food. Cheese in crackers, cakes, cookies, frosting, potatoes, soup, deli salads, chips…..toothpaste (okay not in toothpaste–yet).
My rule of thumb…if a specific ingredient is listed in almost every processed food, it’s time to eliminate it. It was a gradual process: I started out eliminating hydrogenated fats (in most breads until fairly recently); then sugar; then soy (still in almost every kind of bread and many snack foods and soups, etc); then corn derivatives of one kind or another; then xanthan gum and guar gum, natural flavor (too non-specific and some natural flavor sources are downright creepy). It starts to be a matter of principle to me; it can’t possibly be healthy for every bite of food to contain the same processed, nutritionally bereft ingredient. Before you know it, processed foods are out of your day-to-day life completely and it happens fairly painlessly.
I used to eat Twinkies on occasion until I started eliminating hydrogenated oils—the massive amount of sugar, the list of unpronounceable ingredients that in no way resembled food didn’t faze me, but I was determined to ditch the hydrogenated oils, so I would read the ingredients and set it back on the shelf. I can do one thing at a time. One step at a time actually worked; it simplified the whole process.
After awhile, you don’t miss ersatz food-like substances, you don’t even like them anymore. I’m not even kidding around. Plus, you have the benefit of feeling better every single day. Even anxiety symptoms have been reduced, along with aches and pains and skin conditions. It’s amazing what a nutrient-dense diet can do. It’s not even all about the weight.
People have commented to me that they just couldn’t live like this; they must have cheese, for example, in order to be happy. I THOUGHT THAT, TOO! Turns out, you change and you thrive, and then you think, I can’t live like I used to live, this feels too good.
Now, if I keel over tomorrow from not eating enough junk food, I will be proven wrong.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Here are some ideas for vegan dishes. Sort of a visual recipe card.
Sometimes I just need a reminder that a meal can consist of some simple choices.
Italian green beans and tomatoes are from our garden so those choices were obvious. The arugula was from the farmers market and we added strawberries, a little sweet onion, and cucumbers from our garden.
Today I’m going to attempt to make a Kung Pao Tofu and if that turns out, I will post an actual recipe……and a picture, of course!
Why am I so crazy
Why am I so fat
Too much bread and sugar
Get enough of that
I can be a vegan
I can skip the meat
But butter, bread and sugar
Is what I want to eat
So simple. So visually appealing. So delicious.
Cut stuff up, season it, roast it or even microwave it.
I usually use salt, pepper, basil, garlic, parsley, sometimes dill; Alden Mill House makes some great seasoning combinations. Use what you like, experiment; it will taste good!
Fixing healthy meals can be, on many occasions, therapeutic, and maybe even artistic, creative, and an exercise in being in the middle of something worth doing. The colors involved are kind of amazing.
One more easy idea for a really good meal. Made up of left-over mushrooms, left-over marinara sauce and left-over vegetable broth; added in a can of beans (I used pinto), cut up some carrots, celery, sweet red pepper, onion and frozen peas; pressed a clove or two of garlic in and then there was soup. It’s a good way to use up whatever left-overs you might have hanging around in the refrigerator where they do not like to linger.
It does take more effort to eat real food and prepare it at home. All the chopping and cleaning and peeling and crunching and planning and shopping can be good therapy but sometimes enough is enough and maybe a person needs a break, already.
When you reach that point, it doesn’t always mean you have to rush out to a restaurant. Which is good, because while I try to eat nutrient-dense food because I feel so much better, it also leads to me weighing less than I did so…….what was my point?
OH, right, restaurants. I love eating out but that’s when I tend to gain weight because there is fat, sugar and I don’t even know what else in so much of what you get in a restaurant – – no matter how carefully you order. So I like to have some really simple meals sometimes as a way to eat well without all the effort and without eating out or eating ersatz, prepackaged stuff.
And that’s why I’m suggesting this idea for a quick meal. We bought a jar of organic marinara sauce from Aldi’s (by Simply Nature — for $1.89!); it is low in sugar and low-ish in salt and delicious. We threw in a little fresh basil and a cut-up zucchini, cooked up some pasta (gluten-free for me; whole wheat for him) and there you have it – a light and easy entree. We had some leaf lettuce from the garden so that served as a quick salad.