Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bean... beans... good for your heart.. the more you eat...

I have to admit… before LDL, we ate beans, but not nearly enough of them. I really didn’t know how to cook them…so when I bought them, I bought them canned.


We ate lots of green beans, and the only kind I would buy were the “refried” kind in the can and black beans… OH… and we liked three bean salad in the huge jar at Costco.

When I started LDL, {Let’s Do Lunch) I noticed the amount of beans eaten were pretty high… I was intrigued, so I started researching them… HOLY COW!!! I’ve really been missing out! They are a real powerhouse of nutrients… fiber…protein, minerals and just about everything else!!! I mean.. I knew this… but it never REALLY sank in…

Now? I’m a total Bean Conniseur. I’ve graduated from cans of beans, to bags of beans… lots and lots and lots of beans… {nothing wrong with canned… they just take up a lot of room, and there are more varietys of dry beans} I don’t think there is one recipe I don’t add them to at least twice a day. I have one pot dedicated to making beans… My Mom can’t believe it.

Every soup contains beans… every stirfry I make… has beans… when a recipe calls for Milk or cream… I just puree up some beans and it “liquor” and an instant creamy texture is done… without added fat, and with TONS of fiber. I even add puree’d beans to my burgers and meatballs now…

I made homemade refried beans the other day… and HOLY COW… were they superior to that canned stuff I used to buy… my boys DEVOURED them as SNACKS!!!

My favorite method for cooking a plain pot of beans… came with a lot of trial and error…



Here goes my way…
1 bag of beans
1 large stock pot
water
1 bowl more water

Sort beans and discard rocks and inferior beans place in large bowl and SOAK OVERNIGHT with tap water, about 4 inches above the beans
The next day, drain the water (most of the gas producing elements should go right down the drain with the water)and place them into the stock pot, and cover with more water to cover 3 inches over, ADD A PINCH OF BAKING SODA (if you live in CA and have hard water like I do) (the baking soda softens the water and helps the bean shells to soften)

DO NOT ADD SALT… JUST KEEP IT WATER AND BEANS…

Cook on high until a good boil comes, then reduce to a simmer, put the cover on loosely, and cook for about 1-2 hours, checking for doneness after 1 hour.

When they are done, I put them into Lock and Lock with it’s “liquor” (juice) and let it come to room temperature, them put the lid on, and refrigerate until I’m ready to use them.

I make 2 lbs at a time so they last all week… I don’t add salt so I can control the salt for each dish I add them to.

Eat your beans… they are great for lowering cholesterol, adding fiber, protein rich…and they TASTE REALLY GOOD!




Enjoy!

Healthy Eggplant Parm


IIII LOOOOOVE EGGPLANT!!!!


My favorite dish my mom makes me for my Birthday meal, to this day, is her Eggplant Parmigiana… oh my God… it is sooooooo delectable…BUT it’s also a little lot on the heavy side.

Enter my new eating regime, and weight loss, and frame of mind… and my desire to reformulate every recipe I love, to fit my new healthy world… and you have this recipe.

I hope you try it and like it

First… the sauce… NO SELF RESPECTING ITALIAN WOULD EVER CONDONE USING STORE BOUGHT JARRED SAUCE.. sorry… I have to put my foot down on this one…it’s who I am…

Do this instead…

Chop 6-10 Roma Tomatoes into little pieces OR open two cans of whole peeled tomatoes in their own juice, (no seasonings) and chop them up a little with your hands by squishing them.
chop 2 cloves garlic (or more)
chop 1 onion (small) (or more)
grab a tablespoon of dried oregano, parsley and fresh basil (or whatever herb you like)

a little salt and pepper

Saute’ onion and garlic in some olive oil… toss in tomatoes and herbs and seasoning… stir and simmer on low…

IN THE MEANTIME…


Gather 2 large eggplant
a wedge of HARD grating cheese (I use Pecorino Romano) BUT YOU can use whatever floats your boat.
{{for my family and others that aren’t on the no dairy, no bread plan that I am on… I add a little mozzarella cheese and bread crumbs to the dish… }} Just a little, because less is more…

I cut the Eggplant into long, spaghetti like strands… oh man… I need to get pictures… I’ll do it soon…OR you can slice them into ’steaks’ and brush them with olive oil and broil them…


Heat up a pan to piping hot with a little olive oil in it, and saute the eggplant strands until they are done and floppy

Mix in your homemade sauce, sprinkle with cheese (here’s where I add the bread crumbs and mozzarella for my family after I’ve taken my portion out) and place into a baking dish and sprinkle with a little more hard cheese…


Bake on high at 350 for about 15 minutes…

It’s not EXACTLY like my Mama’s Eggplant Parm… but it’s a really close second… it’s healthy, and it tastes like a billion calories…

Chefs in lab coats with safety goggles....

The first thing people say when I tell them I am on a healthier eating path (because they’ve either noticed I’ve lost weight, or they notice I’m munching on salad or fruit at football games instead of nachos and hot dogs) is say… “Oh… man… in your line of work, I bet that’s really hard… all that bread you bake and all those cookies you cater.. all those weddings and showers you cook for… it must be really hard…”


PRIOR to this eating plan… when I was on OTHER diets… yes… that statement would have deflated me. It would have reminded me that I wasn’t eating the things I loved… that I wasn’t living my life OUT LOUD… that I was being deprived of something… BUT NOW? Now…after admitting my addiction to bad food, after eating in such a way that REVERSED all my ailments that I THOUGHT I had to live with the rest of my life… after eating EVERYTHING I LOVE, in abundance day after day… after SEEING and FEELING the results of a plant based, meat sometimes, eating plan, don’t worry about portions, eating plan… all I have to say to those naysayers is…

‘NOPE…I’m worth the time it takes to cook for myself and my family… I’m worth health and vitality… I’m worth eating the purest, most nutritious food available… It’s not hard at all… because I love myself enough to change my outer appearance to match my inward spirit and zest for life…”

Okay… maybe I don’t say ALL of that… but something like that, that gets my point across without alienating the well meaning person… and letting them know… that under no circumstances am I deprived because I choose to eat a huge bowl of fruit at a game instead of plastic, chemically engineered, food-like substances… then I smile.

I don’t really know how to express my discontent with our current food system… now that my eyes have been opened… now that I feel the enormous guilt about what I have chosen to put into my body, and worse, the bodies of my children and husband, my heart and mind are bursting with the need to share why CHOOSING to eat processed, packaged, boxed food-like substances will shorten lives. I shudder at the thought of what I have put into my childrens stomachs that MAY have adversely affected their health in one way or another.

Food coloring, MSG (which is akin to Satan, in my book), saccarhin and aspartame (Satan), soda, partially hydrogenated oils (Satan again) HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (Satan comes in many forms),modified food starch, “natural flavor”, cellulose gum, yellow 6, red dye #5, blue lake, guar gum, carageenan… THESE THINGS DO NOT SOUND LIKE FOOD! They sound like a science experiment and WE are the mice…

I’ll venture to bet… that those scientists in those “food” labs… DON’T EAT THE CRAP THEY MAKE… I’ll venture to guess… that they are probably WHOLE FOOD EATERS… because they KNOW what they are doing to our “food” supply AND WOULDN’T FEED IT TO THEIR DOGS! {{Did you know that DOG FOOD, has less preservatives and almost NO altered ingredients in it? DOG FOOD IS BETTER THAN HUMAN FOOD!}}}

When people condemn me for not eating bread… because it is such a staple food, and there are healthy versions of it… I chalk it up to their own fear of thinking they may have to give it up too. NOT SO… I always tell them that I DON’T EAT BREAD as a personal choice because my body does better without it…but my family does, and they eat only the bread I make myself whenever possible. Same goes for rice… I feed my family organic brown rice at lots of meals… because it’s GOOD for them. Many times, when someone puts down a way of eating, or tries to make excuses for eating the processed foods, it’s because they are afraid they may be doing harm to themselves… and they know it.. but it would require a lifestyle change, that they may not be ready for. THAT’S OKAY… I’m not here to shove anything down anyone’s throats… I don’t make anyone read this… it’s a choice…

I just know… that we have epidemics of childhood obesity, childhood diabetes, adult onset diabetes, autism on a huge spectrum, heart diseases, more cancer, more pills, more antibiotic resistant diseases, more obesity, more everything… AND I BELIEVE OUR ALTERED FOOD IS TO BLAME FOR ALL OF IT…

Yeah… I said it. Chemical companies are now the purveyors of our “FOOD”… I won’t have it. I won’t allow it in my home anymore. I’m done with other people, in labcoats, deciding when I will die, and of what disease… because of the food choices I’ve made… from the food provided in such abundance.

IT MAKES NO SENSE.. that one can buy a six pack of soda for $1.69, and bottle of juice costs $5. Why are cheeseburgers from a drive thru for a family of 4, $4, and a bag of fruit $10?

Why? Everyone needs to ask the question… and make themselves heard… Vote at the grocery store for real food.

A bag of grapes at the grocery store may cost $10, but the prescriptions and hospital bills acquired from eating CHEMICALLY MODIFIED, ENGINEERED food, COST’S A HECK OF A LOT MORE!

So when I get the “But fruit is so expensive…” arguement… I just say… “it may be expensive, but a long, healthy life is the trade off I’m willing to make”, it kinda shuts them up…

I haven’t had a cold… in almost 10 months… Before eating healthily, I got one every six weeks in the winter. Something is working. I want it to work for everyone!

Fresh Healthy Hummus


I love Hummus. It’s a great alternative to thick, dairy based dips and the high salt content packages that we mix into it… Hummus is very versatile. You can mix in roasted red peppers into it, or roasted garlic, or a host of other flavors you love…




Heres a heart healthy version without Tahini, (sesame seed paste)(it’s not on my eating plan)… I love it with celery sticks and red pepper slices… my kids love it with my homemade flaxseed bread sticks or grissini..



Gather your ingredients and have a great time!

2 cans garbanzo beans or two cups dry, cooked garbanzo beans
1-2 cloves garlic
juice of 1-2 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil (to drizzle in to combine and creams the garbanzo’s … use whatever amount you like)
1 tbs cumin (or more if you like)
1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro… or not…
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Dump all the ingredients into your food processor except Olive Oil, and pulse until creamy, then add Olive oil while it’s processing to get the consistency you like… DONE! Want to add roasted red pepper? get about 1/4 cup or so, drain and dry them and add them in!!!

My FAVORITE ADD IN? Roasted Eggplant… OF COURSE! Also… roasted garlic is DIVINE!!!! For an extra special treat, once in a while… after it’s all processed, stir in some mash avocado….so rich and creamy… you’ll think you are eating pure junk food…
Mangia Bene!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Food Rules... a Book Review



BUY THIS BOOK… review over…


LOL… Just kidding… but really BUY THIS BOOK! It’s a quick, easy, pocket sized read that WILL MAKE MORE SENSE THAN ANYTHING YOU’VE EVER READ… if you want to really change how you eat, buy, cook, and give food.

It’s a comical, smart, common sense, important book. I just got my copy today, and it’s just a reinforcement of everything I believe now… only now I have a reference for when I may lack resolve. Amazon has it on sale for $5, and I am going to order more as Birthday Cards for my family and friends… and on the inside book cover (it’s paperback) I’m going to write… “I’m giving you this as your card, so you will have a 100 more birthdays… read up, eat up, and live it up..”

So, again… my book review is 2 thumbs up! A quick, intelligent read. Bravo, Mr. Pollan… Bravo!

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Dip

Sun Dried tomatoes are a staple in my kitchen. I do a lot with them. They are delicious, savory, easy to work with, and have great color… all the things I love when I cook.




For my kids and hubby, I make bread for them with olive oil packed chopped sun dried tomatoes in the bread. It gives a flavorful punch of yum in their midday sandwich bread, plus a little shot of lycopene, so beneficial for heart health. I buy them dried (dry packed) and soaked in Olive Oil.



If you have a little mini food processor, this can be whipped up in small batches and popped in the fridge… but we love it so much, I make big batches and add it to soups, breads, as a pizza spread or as a dip for red peppers, celery, and jicama.



Here’s the recipe for a good sized batch…



2 cups either reconstituted dried tomatoes, or oil packed tomatoes



1 cup cooked or canned/drained/rinsed white beans (use any color you like, I only use white to show the lovely color of the tomatoes, it’s a chef thing)



1/2 cup fresh parsley (or basil, or watercress, or whatever herb you enjoy!)



Olive Oil (to drizzle in the food processor while it’s going to make the dip the consistency you want)



Salt to taste (taste the dip before adding salt, the cheese is plenty salty most of the time)



pepper to taste



1 clove fresh garlic



4 oz grated Romano or Parmigiana cheese (Romano is what I use…it’s a Sheep’s milk cheese, and I have used it since day of eating this way… I will never give it up)



1 tsp lemon juice



***



Place all of this into a food processor and whiz away until it’s the consistency you like. I like ours a little on the chunky side, but not too chunky. The next time I make it, I’ll try to snatch it out of my kids hands to get a quick picture, so the wolves don’t attack me for taking their dip away…



***



You can puree this and squirt it out of a pastry bag onto boats of endive, or on celery halves, for your next bunco or card game, and feed your family and friends healthy, yummy food, instead of chips and dips that will surely send them to an early grave. (yeah, I know… sooo dramatic I am)



Normally, pesto recipes have pine nuts in them, but I wanted to take the fat out and have it be even more nutritious, so the beans give it body and a creamy like texture, plus… they add a ton of fiber and minerals.



I hope you enjoy this recipe… and tweak it to suit your tastes…



Mangia Bene

I'm pro CHOICE and PROUD!!!

Ha ha ha!!! Gotcha! I will not divulge my political/personal beliefs on a food blog… ever…but that title was provacative…no?


HERE’S what I am PRO-CHOICE about… FOOD. We all have choices to make… every day of our lives. We choose which gas to fill our tanks with, we choose our mates, we choose what religion we are going to raise our kids, we choose brands of toothpaste… EVERYTHING in life is a choice, big choices and small choices. Some would say that life matters are BIG choices, and what to eat for dinner would be a small choice… but I beg to differ. (bet ya kinda thought I would… huh?)

Next time you go to the grocery store… do this for me… heck, do this for you… make a conscious effort to look at the produce dept. as a pharmacy.

Yes, you read that correctly… A PHARMACY.

Look at the lettuces, radishes, cucumbers, and carrots as the Metamucil or Laxative aisle.

See those oranges, lemons, cantaloupes, broccoli and cauliflower? Those are your new Antibiotics and Anti-inflamatory section.

Go to the bean, legume, apple and pineapple aisle, that will be your new diet pills that keep hunger at bay for a longer period of time.

We have choices. Lots and lots of choices.
Everyday, I see and hear commercials on TV or the radio for ailment after ailment and the pills that will cure it or help it… 20 years ago… WE NEVER heard so many drug commercials… it’s ridiculous! They want us to believe that there is a pill FOR EVERYTHING… when we have the capability to heal ourselves in our refrigerators! I’m not talking about big things like MS, Cancer and such… however, I do believe that making good choices severely lessens our likelihood of getting those diseases… but that’s another blog post.

I’m talking about, Acid reflux, incontinence, ED, allergies, morbid obesity… and a host of other things that MAY be helped with a better diet. My grandparents WOULD BE MORTIFIED to hear all that stuff on male enhancement and people peeing their pants… just so easily talked about on air…

Has anyone stopped to think that WHAT IS IN OUR FOOD IS … QUITE LITERALLY… KILLING US? Slow… painful deaths. I wish I had opened my own eyes sooner… so that I could have helped my children earlier in their lives… it’s been hard to break habits that have been cultivated for years. All these diseases… everywhere… have been multiplying in epic proportions… and THE USA is the worst culprit for it. OUR WAY OF LIFE is killing people in other parts of the world too, with the introduction of our FAST FOOD restaurants all over the globe…particularly one establishment with golden arches.

WE HAVE CHOICES…we can choose to make our own food, or we can choose to allow these places to flourish and dole out their poison.

I have a friend that doesn’t eat fast food… ever. She is a self proclaimed “food snob” and I use to think she thought she was so smart and uppity.. and you know what? SHE IS 50 AND A SIZE 4 and as healthy as Jack La Lane! She has NEVER had a weight problem, she and her husband make all their own food, for themselves and their own 3 kids, always have, and she doesn’t take any medications… and her mother lived to be 97 years old. I asked her how she does it… and her answer was simple.. “I NEVER EAT JUNK”. “If it has orange dust on it, or comes in a bag, or in a box, and not in it’s own wrapper, I never eat it.” They eat meat… on occasion. They drink wine… daily. They eat cookies and pies and cakes… THAT THEY MAKE FROM SCRATCH… and in moderation. She reads her labels, prays daily, and has been blessed with a wonderful life…because of the choices she has made in every aspect of her life… food in particular… she LOVES food… I remember being in Dallas with her on a business trip, and we were eating at a lovely restaurant, and her steak came, and as she dug in, she exclaimed, loudly… “I love GOOD food!” I love it too, but to hear a 110 lb woman say it… was comical, and thought provoking.


Her love of food was just another aspect of her life… not her total reason to live. When she was in the moment, she enjoyed herself… and indulged… within reason. A lesson for all of us. I, too, will be 50 and fabulous in 8 years, because of the choices I am making now… Won’t you join me on this quest?

Not eating fast food or processed food for the past 7 months has been the single best thing I have done for myself.. bar none. I want everyone who reads this to feel this way too.

Now… get in your car, and go visit your local pharmacy and pick up your vitamins, antibiotics, anti inflammatories, and go whip yourself up a delicious stir fry with them!

I know I jump around a lot when I write… thank you for bearing with me

Cheeseburger Salad... (trust me)


Okay… bear with me… You’re gonna like this… I PROMISE!


I’ve been selling Pampered Chef for 10 years, and a few years ago, they came out with a Demo Recipe called Cheeseburger Salad. IT WAS AWESOME! Tasted JUST LIKE a cheeseburger. Tonight, my Alex asked for it for dinner… (they eat regular meals, just LDL style, all day, with no protien restriction and a tiny bit of cheese and bread only for breakfast and lunch… not dinner) I agreed… but needed to tweak it to make it less fattening, more fiber filled, more nutritious, but with all the flavor intact…

So here is my version… NOTE:… you can add or take away any veggies you like… the meat is interchangeable… you can use ground beef, chicken, lamb, what have you…



Healthy Cheeseburger Salad



Hamburger mixture

1-2 lbs ground meat of your choice (lean or leanest is best)

2 cups frozen corn

1 cup cooked beans (black, white, lentil etc…)

1 cup chopped onion

1 TBS Old Bay seasoning (or steak seasoning or anything you like)

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste



SALAD

1-2 heads of romaine, artisan, or leafy green lettuce, washed and dried well, and chopped

2 tomatoes, sliced thinly

10 dill pickle chips



DRESSING

1/2 cup ketchup (don’t be scared)

1/4 cup mustard (it’ll be okay… I promise)

1/2 cup chopped dill pickles (no, I’m not crazy.. trust me)



DIRECTIONS
In a large saute’ pan, add a tiny bit of olive oil and cooked chopped onion until soft, and add ground meat. Saute’ until cooked through. Add corn, salt, pepper, beans, and seasonings. When cooked… set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In the meantime, wash and dry the lettuce, and slice tomato.

Now back to the mixture. While the meat mixture is still in the pan, add the ketchup, mustard and chopped pickles and stir until fully combined.

Lay the lettuce on a platter all pretty like, and top the lettuce with the meat mixture, spreading it out a bit.
top with sliced tomatoes and dill pickles

FOR NON LDL EATERS… this is where it becomes cheeseburger. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, and add cubed, whole wheat hamburger buns as “croutons”

FOR THOSE OF US WANTING TO CONTINUE LOSING WEIGHT… take out some mixture for yourself, and put it in a container to enjoy the next day at lunch, over crisp lettuce. Enjoy your smoothie or veggie soup while your family sings your praises of what an ingenious salad you made.

*** I’ve added black olives sometimes, shredded cabbage, grated carrot, radicchio, watercress… use your imagination… you won’t be dissapointed.



Mangia! Mangia!

Shopping Tips #1

If shopping were an Olympic event, I would be the Gold Medalist…for all other shopping EXCEPT grocery shopping…it is a necessary evil I do not enjoy. However, just because I don’t enjoy something, doesn’t mean I can’t be good at it, and teach others to make it palatable.


You’ve heard all before, go with a list and a budget, never go shopping hungry, bring cash and spend only that… etc… So yeah, do all that… it’s good advice… but I go just a little bit farther… Take from my list what you love, and leave what you don’t… if I can help make your experience a little easier, then writing this post was well worth it.
Make a master list of all the food you eat and like. EVERYTHING… right down to salt, toilet paper, cleaning supplies etc… when that list is done, separate which store you purchase items in… for example…

I shop for Toilet paper, lettuce, eggs, cukes, all fruit, frozen veggies and fruit, coffee, flour, sugar, spices, meats, etc… at Costco.

I shop for Salsa, yogurt, green onions, catering supplies, nutella, cabbage etc… at Smart N Final

I shop for celery, all organic produce, pasta, dried fruit, cream cheese, organic milk, flax seed meal, oat bran meal etc… at Trader Joes. and for quick shops, I go to Stater Bros. Do I go to all these places every week? Nope. But I like shopping at different stores for different things because of the prices, sales, and they are all in close proximity to my kids schools… so since I’m out there anyway…might as well shop at them. I know, I know… for someone who hates food shopping, I sure do make it an event… well, yes… but my JOB is providing the best I can for my family and myself, and to save a few bucks in the process so we can enjoy other aspects of our lives…

Use your receipt as your shopping list for the next shop. I love doing this. Receipts now have the description of what you bought, not just the price like in the old days…{remember the voting… they use this list for their own records too} so I just keep my receipts on my glove compartment, and take them out when I shop, so I know what I need to replace…

Stock up on great deals and freeze. I know this one is a no- brainer, but did you know you can buy cherries in season and FREEZE THEM… they are sooo delicious as a dinner in the summer when they are at their peak. I buy BUCKETS of them, freeze them on a shallow cookie pan and HIDE THEM from my family and take a bowl a night… kinda like grapes.. only waaaaay sweeter… Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melons are awesome frozen too, just seed them and cut them up into small chunks and put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze, them put them into plastic bags… Lots of other fruits can be frozen too, and are way less expensive to do yourself, than buying that small bag for 5 bucks. I do the same with bulk meats and produce… saves a ton of money.

I certainly hope this helped you. If you have other ideas, please leave a comment and let me know!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Frustrated because the scale isn't moving as much as you'd like?

FEAR NOT! Rome wasn’t built in a day… and we can’t resculpt our bodies in a week either.


Those of us with a lot to lose tend to lose more weight in the beginning than our skinnier friends… it’s just the nature of the beast… HOWEVER… it all kind of evens out in the end… after all… our goal is to lose excess weight… no matter where we start… so we are all in the same boat… whether we need to lose 10 lbs or 100 lbs.

The most frequent complaint I get from my friends and family that are embarking on this weight loss journey with me is… ‘I’ve been on the plan for a week, and I’ve only lost 2 lbs!”

My first reaction is to say “2 lbs is great… shut up!” But I don’t…and instead, what I know to be true on this particular eating plan is… “Don’t worry… you are in detox… your body is holding on to the fat, because you drastically changed how you eat… and it’s fighting back because it thinks you are going to starve it.”

Let’s face it… if we were eating right all the time, we wouldn’t need to lose the weight… We have trained our bodies into believing that processed, fat laden, gooey, ooey food is normal, and it should just shut up and digest it all and be happy. So, to get back at us… it STORES this horrible food, ON OUR THIGHS, STOMACH, CHINS, BUTT, ARMS AND ANKLES!!! It really showed us… huh? So when we switch to fresh fruits, lean meats, veggies and green tea instead of soda… it thinks we are just kidding around, and decides to preserve itself. It’s used to being on this kick over and over again, and just decided to hold on to the fat until this phase is over…

THIS PLAN MAKES A FOOL OF OUR DEFENSE SYSTEMS!!! When people see how easy, and livable, and doable this plan is… it starts running more effeciently. Our bodies starts to say “Hey… she’s serious this time… this phase has gone on longer than it has before… we have to start getting rid of these fat stores so we can motivate her to keep it up! This feels too good to stop now!” And off comes the weight… in greater numbers… after about 3 weeks.


Can I promise you this will happen? Almost. As long as you adhere to eating fruit in the morning, a good, large, protein packed lunch complete with fruits, veggies, salads and soups, and eating fruit/veggies/veggie soups in the evening… YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT… AND… start to see your numbers such as your blood pressure, A1C, cholesterol etc… COME DOWN!

Our bodies are smart. It’s ready for famine. But… come on… we live in America…if you are on a computer, reading this, you probably aren’t hungry for days on end… so famine is unlikely.

We need to feed our bodies all the nutrients and foods that will provide optimal health and strength… so we can live our best lives…

Don’t fret over the stupid scale… its only a number… and so many other numbers may be moving downward while your weight catches up to losing… YOU ARE GETTING HEALTHIER!

THAT should be the ultimate goal… with weight loss as a nice dividend…

Thanks for reading… leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Happy losing!

ButterNut Squash and Pear Soup

You’ll notice that all my soups start off with onion. It’s just a staple. It adds flavor and nutrients, and I really love onions… if you don’t like them, don’t use them…



1 large onion, chopped

2 TBS olive oil

1 and 1/2 pounds chunked butternut squash

2 pears, chopped (bartlett, bosc)

5 cups stock or water
2 cups cooked, pureed white beans until very creamy (I say white, for the color of the cream we are NOT using, but any bean can be used)

Salt and pepper to taste…

Optional – add a tsp of curry… yum!

Cook onion in Olive oil until soft

add chopped butternut and pears

add stock and cook until soft

Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree… add bean puree and pulse a couple of times
Serve hot and enjoy!!!
Can also be done with apples…

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower... a great "MEAT"

As I’ve said before, I LOVE roasted vegetables. I just read that roasting, steaming or BBQ’ing as opposed to frying and boiling (ewwww!) helps to retain much more of veggies vital, life giving nutrients.




Cauliflower is a POWERFUL anti-tumor/anti-cancer veggie… AND it’s PACKED with Vitamin C and folate… SO EAT UP!!!



As soon as we boil any veggies, they lose a TON of vital compounds and nutrients. I DON’T BOIL ANY VEGETABLE AT ALL.. ever, unless I’m making a stock… then I boil it until its unrecognizable. I roast or BBQ all my veggies. Boiling turns them gray, and get’s ‘em soggy. Gross. Oh wait… I can’t say I don’t ever boil… When I make Broccoli salad with olive oil and lemon juice, I 2 MINUTE BLANCHE the broccoli, and I mean 2 minutes, and place them into an ice bath to stop the cooking… so, I guess that’s not technically boiling. Okay, back to the cauliflower…



Ahem…



I didn’t eat meat yesterday, {I only eat it every other day if I feel like it} so I made my veggies “look” and “taste” like meat. Cauliflower was my muse…



Here’s what I did… I washed it, patted it dry, took off all the green leaves, cut the stem to make it level with the head, and CUT IT INTO CAULIFLOWER STEAKS…






Cauliflower "steaks"

and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and dill. I placed them on a foiled lined cookie sheet (to ease clean up) and heated my oven to 400.







All roasted and gorgeous!

And after about 30 minutes or so, this is what they looked like… Its delicous like this… I ATE THE ENTIRE CAULIFLOWER myself for lunch… It takes on a very different, sweeter, nuttier flavor after its roasted. There is so much you can do with this… Cut it up and sprinkle with lemon juice, for a delighful salad, puree it to make “Mock Mashed Potatoes” and add white bean puree to it to give it texture…



It makes a gorgeous side dish, placed on the plate whole, or serve it to a vegetarian as “steak” so they can eat with everyone else… I do this same method with Eggplant, broccoli, carrots, big red onions (all onions really) and large, steak like slices of cabbage…SOOO GOOD!!!

The side effect of losing weight

A lot of people equate losing weight with wearing a smaller dress size. While that’s a fun gauge of one’s progress, I’d like to tell you about my personal side effects that have equal importance to my health and well being.


Yes, I’m getting smaller. My winter coat from last year, that didn’t quite get all the way around me, overlaps halfway around me now… my wedding rings fall off me with just a shake of my left hand… and I am thrilled…
When I started LDL in July 2009, I noticed SIGNIFICANT bodily changes very quickly, within days of starting. Summer was always a killer time for me… being overweight in the summer is not pleasant. My feet, hands and ankles swelled to enormous sizes. I got cranky, I was always thirsty, and craved salt, and when I ate anything with a speck of salt, my body swelled with up to 10 lbs of extra water weight. I always said it feels like walking on hard jello all the time… my shoes never fit, my rings never went on in the summer.

Last summer was different. JUST THREE DAYS of LDL’s eating plan, and my cankles were ankles, my wedding rings fit, and I was starting to notice my feet weren’t swollen, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS OVER 105 DEGREES OUTSIDE! Why? Why was this happening? I was thrilled, but was curious too. It was the fruit. I was eating my weight in watermelon for dinner every night, and the next morning, I eliminated all of it, and ate more fruit in the morning. MY BODY was thanking me, and rewarding me for not eating salty, fatty foods.

I felt so good, I purged my entire pantry, that weekend, of anything processed. Boxes of crackers, bags of tortilla chips, pretzels, cake boxes, canned soups, dry soup mixes, virtually everything that had preservatives and unpronouncable ingredients in the lists… I drink only coffee, tea, and water now… EVERY single packet of Equal, Truvia, Splenda, etc… has been thrown out, it’s chemical garbage in my book, and I haven’t looked back.

Just a month after starting, my blood pressure was down 20 points, I had lost almost 20 lbs, my shoes were slipping off my feet, I was sleeping better, I had tons of energy, I wasn’t tired except at night, my hypoglycemia symptoms were gone, my hair grew faster and my skin looked healthier. It was a miracle. I spent one full day kicking myself for not doing something like this years sooner. It was SO SIMPLE! Fruit for breakfast, huge protein lunch and loads of veggies, fruit for dinner… I COULD DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE… no problem!!!

My ankles haven’t been swollen since July 2009. I’ve been famished exactly one time on this plan, and that’s because I forgot to eat breakfast, otherwise, I never get ravenous anymore.

I used to dread going to the doctor, and now… I CAN’T WAIT! I know my numbers are all in the healthy range, and I just need to keep losing weight. He used to tell me my only option was to have surgery, now, he loves this plan I’m on, and says it is very sensible. My Mom had {weight loss surgery}, and my little brother recently had it done 6 months ago… It’s just was never an option for myself. Ever. Nothing about it interested me. My Mom will tell people it was the best thing she ever did, but she won’t tell people all the complications she’s had from it, and how horrendous the first 6 months was for her. I am happy she is happy, but it’s not for me… ever. That surgery changes the size of the stomach, but it doesn’t really change the mind.

This plan, changes everything, mind, body and soul. I’ve made modifications for myself and my family. {NO processed foods of ANY kind, and my hubby and kids eat bread once a day, not me, I eat no bread, dairy or rice at all, ever} My Mom is now on plan, as is my MIL, SIL, Aunts, friends and neighbors. There have been positive changes for everyone…

What a blessing… to find a way of eating that meets the needs of so many…

Choosing our words carefully

I had a friend, that the second she found out she was diabetic, every conversation became a dissertation of what each of her meals contained, what she can’t eat, what spikes her blood sugar… everything became about Dale and her new condition. It was exhausting. It was boring. It got to the point that when we would go to lunch, and the server would ask her if she wanted a potato, side of pasta or bread, she would say, very loudly… “OH NO!!! I CAN’T HAVE THAT…I’M A DIABETIC!” It was awful… that poor server couldn’t have known that, and Dale made it seem like the poor girl was trying to kill her.


I had to have a “come to Jesus” with Dale one day… She had to know that her words were not helping her condition. I told her that just because she was a diabetic, she had full control over what went into her mouth, and each bite was a conscious choice. If she was going to live her best life, she needed to change how she saw herself, and how she ate. She needed to verbally, and quietly, announce that A. she was CHOOSING not to have foods that will spike her blood sugar, B. other people are just doing their jobs and offering her choices, and not trying to kill her, and C. she needed to banish the word “can’t” from her culinary vocabulary. She was an adult, and no one was forcing her to adhere to her new eating plan.

She saw the light… and miraculously, the “Diabetic Dialogue” stopped. She ate happily, kept her blood sugar under control, and apparently her husband had the same talk with her.

I was reminscing about her today… and I realized, that ANY change in lifestyle prompts that type of behaviour. I was guilty of it too.

In December, after a catering job delivery in San Diego, my family and I all went out to dinner. When the server was taking our orders, she asked me if I wanted potato, rice or whatever, and I answered, politely, but answered nonetheless “Oh… uh… no, I can’t have that stuff”. Do you think she cared AT ALL that I “can’t” have potato, rice or bread? No, she doesn’t… it didn’t need to be said… AND…it stunted me. Saying “I can’t” stunted my thinking and growth in my new way of eating. I was stifling myself. I announced, right after she left the table, to my Mom, kids and Hubby, that I was going to stop saying “I can’t”, and internally start saying “I choose” or ‘It would be better for me if I didn’t”. “I can’t” makes me seem like I am disobeying a direct order from the DietGod, and I’m doing something bad.

When we make a major lifestyle change, it may be difficult in the beginning to change our minds before we change our actual actions… but it’s worth it in the long run to remember to change our thinking early on.

Being positive in our self talk can make a world of difference in how we view the lifestyle change. What we say, how we say it, when we say it, can mean the difference between the lifestyle change lasting an actual lifetime, or just a little while.

Here are some words to change by:
1.Instead of “I can’t” …………..say… ‘I won’t”

2.Instead of “Ugh, I cheated, I’m a bad person”…….. say “I really need to eat better at my very next meal to get back on plan”

3.Instead of “I wish I was a size 6″ ….. say… “I can’t wait until I can slither into a size 6, or 10 or 12 or even 14!”

4.Instead of “Chocolate cake tastes sooo yummy… I wish I can have some…one slice won’t kill me”… say……”On my one year anniversary of my new lifestyle change, I am going to reward myself with a new wardrobe, so that chocolate cake can suck it!”

5.Instead of “I’m not allowed”…….say……”I choose not to”

This can be applied to virtually any aspect of life… except “the chocolate cake can suck it” that one is definitely for a diet plan…LOL.

So… the next time someone offers us something we know we shouldn’t have… we can just smile and say “No, thank you”… and know we are taking care of ourselves.

Roasted Veggies and ANY meat... mmmmmm

I LOVE roasted vegetables! LOVE THEM… I make them winter, spring, summer and fall… they are sweet, smoky, crunchy, tidbits of goodness… You can make them into soup, into chutney, eat them as a low calorie meal, as a snack… they are just plain awesome…





Here’s a list of veggies that roast beautifully:




1.carrots

2.broccoli

3.eggplant

4.sweet potatoes

5.onions

6.zucchini

7.cabbage (yes, cabbage)

8.mushrooms (portobello, button, crimini)

9.cauliflower

10.peppers

11.string beans

12.asparagus

So, amass your arsenal of chosen veggies, a couple or all of the above, and cut them into 1- inch sections. Cut the cabbage into 1 inch thick long slices, and leave them together within the slice, and as for the cauliflower, cut the head lengthwise, into “steaks” and it takes on a very meaty like flavor and texture… yum!



Place them all into a large bowl, and drizzle, kind of liberally, with olive oil, salt, pepper, and ANY OF YOUR FAVORITE SEASONINGS…



My faves are:



1.Old Bay

2.Pampered Chef Smoky BBQ Rub

3.steak seasoning

4.cumin and cinnamon

5.or just leave it salt and pepper… can’t go wrong with it…

Pour the seasoned and tossed veggies onto a shallow backing sheet with a one inch at least, side. Place in oven at 375 for about 20 minutes or so. Don’t overcook them, you don’t want them to burn or get soggy… yuck! Don’t over crowd either…otherwise they will steam and not roast.



MY FAVORITE thing to so with the veggies is… after the 20 minutes of roasting, I have at the ready, a bunch of chicken, or shrimp or salmon, soaking in orange juice, salt, pepper, and a little Worcestershire, and I PUT THE MEAT DIRECTLY ON TOP OF THE VEGGIES in the oven and continue to cook until the meat is done, (with chicken, you’ll need to add the chicken on the veggies before you cook them… chicken takes longer to cook.) Then, my meal is done, all at once… in the oven, hardly any fat, tons of flavor, and it’s all in one dish!!!



If you try this, please let me know how you like them… try not to over do the olive oil, otherwise the veggies tend to get soggy… ask me now I know… just make sure the veggies have a light coat of oil so the seasoning will stick to them

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eating out doesn't have to be difficult.

I get asked all the time, “Sandra, what is your most favorite meal?” My answer… all the time is… “Any meal I didn’t have to personally cook or clean up after, is my favorite meal.”




I love going out to dinner… at least I used to. My tune changed after attending my Food Handler’s Class, but that’s an entirely different story. From time to time, everyone ends up eating at a restaurant… fast food or otherwise.



I want to tell you here and now, you can make good choices at restaurants, if you want to. If you are of the mind that says ”Since I’m here, I’ll indulge now, and start back up on track tomorrow.” I’m here to say… “Why go off track, why can’t you enjoy a good meal out AND stay on plan?”



Here are some guidelines.



1.Instead of a potato (mashed, fried, baked or otherwise) ask the server to sub an extra helping of veggies, sans butter.

2.Having a salad? No problem. Ask to have the bacon, cheese and croutons removed and ask for more cukes, carrots and tomatoes instead.

3.Want soup? Stay away from cream based soups, and opt for the vegetable broth based soups or chicken noodle

4.Choose fish entree’s without batter, and stay away from anything with the words “Fried”, “Battered”, “Coated”, “Breaded” or”Smothered”.

5.Get your dressing on the side, and dip your fork into it, then into the lettuce.

6.Don’t be afraid to ask how a dish is prepared.

7.Tip well, always, but tip more when making substitutions and the server really comes through for you.

8.Drink water or iced tea with your meal, and drink an entire glass before the meal gets to the table.

9.When your meal arrives, immediately as the server to give you a “to go” container and put some into it before you start eating…(if the place has huge portions)

10.Don’t eat the bread… munch on some veggies instead, or better yet, have a piece of fruit or two before leaving the house, so you aren’t famished.

I went out to Chili’s today with my midde son. I had already eaten my protein for the day, three hours prior, so I opted for a “cobb” style salad, and asked for the bacon and bleu cheese to be taken off, with the dressing on the side. She was happy to oblige, I ate well, and enjoyed my sons company for an hour. These days, eating out isn’t about the food… its about the company I’m keeping… and it has made the entire experience so much more enjoyable!

Processed Foods... they are truly KILLING us!

After watching Food Inc. I started to think. (Could you smell the smoke?) Corn is in EVERYTHING it seems. I was floored to see that even BATTERIES and CHARCOAL have corn in them…Really? Batteries???


I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt… that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are evil and should be destroyed… Sound like strong words? I’d post stronger ones if I didn’t sign this blog up to be “G” rated one. This country is making “food” that isn’t really food! There are scientists dedicating their lives to manufacturing things like texture, taste and looks of food, without any care about if the “food” they are making is toxic or not…as long as it feels and tastes the same as the original, we will buy it, because it’s on sale or just plain cheap! THIS HAS TO STOP!

I love those commercials and signs on the freeway that boast a beautiful Mom saying “This is my kitchen, and I say what my family eats.” If only that were TRUE! I am a Fat Mom, but my kids are no where near heavy or overweight. I have ALWAYS been the one deciding what foods they eat and what I will prepare… I didn’t nor do I care now if they love a certain junk food, I didn’t buy it. BUT being thin isn’t the only sign of health. The processed, boxed, prepackaged “convenience” foods are literally poisoning our kids. My sons weren’t allowed to eat hot dogs until they were 5 years old, and even then, it had to be Hebrew National. NOW? I have a coniption fit if I see a hotdog near their mouths. Those things are cancer in a tube. I have always known that whole foods are the way to go, but something stopped me all these years. Convenience. Well… I’m over it. I spend a great portion of my days now cooking and prepping food for my family. It’s my job. Their health is my responsibility…MY health is my responsibility. It’s my responsibility to get the word out about processed foods… READ THE LABELS… if you can’t pronounce easily EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT… DON’T BUY IT! If HFCS is anywhere near it…DON’T BUY IT! Stand up for yourselves and say NO to your kids… I don’t care how much they like the junk stuff in a box!!!

We wonder why soooo many kids are diabetic these days… convenience foods. Period. We wonder why little girls are having menstruation at 10… hormones in our meats and milk. We wonder why antibiotics aren’t working any longer… why we have so many flesh eating diseases… OUR FOOD IS TAINTED BY CHEMISTS, AND MONEY MONGERING CAPITALISTS.

I know I sound like a lunatic. I don’t care. We have to tell our food producers that we aren’t going to take it anymore. We are America! We should have the safest, most wholesome food in the world. We should feed ourselves the best and provide the best to countries that can’t feed themselves!

Instead of prescription medications… we should look at our organic produce department as our new pharmacy. We need to put Cancer Doctors OUT OF WORK by healing ourselves with good, pesticide free, non GMO food. Get rid of aspartame, saccarhin, artificial sweeteners in all forms. Europe banned the use of HFCS when it came on the market… they live a lot longer and healthier than we do. They don’t take nearly as many medications as Americans do. Their kids aren’t obese by 11.

I would rather my kids eat a cup of raw sugar than ingest any artifical sweeteners. It’s plain poison.

I am so thankful for the Let’s Do Lunch plan… it has opened my eyes to so many new and wonderful ways to nourish and feed my family and myself. I am truly an addict now.. to good, healthy food. Like I’ve said before… I just need for my outside appearance to catch up with my inward verve…

A lovely lady on the LDL plan wrote something her husband said, in a message to me… Linda, this one is for you… her husband said, “You either spend the money now on organic and good food, or you can spend money on a huge list of medical expenses at the doctors” or something to that affect… BUT IT MAKES SENSE!

Look into your children’s eyes. Aren’t they worth the very best in nutrition? Aren’t they worth long life? How sad that this generation is the first generation that is predicted to not live as long or longer than us. That breaks my heart… We HAVE to change those statistics… or we will outlive our children… that is the worst nightmare imaginable.

Food Inc. Movie Review...

Have you seen this movie? If not… RENT IT! Watch it with your family. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT FOOD!!!

Don’t be afraid to watch it…please… do your body, mind and family and favor and watch it.

Also, after you watch it… go to www.takepart.com and join me in telling the big industries that WE WANT SAFE, GOOD, CLEAN, FOOD… all the time…
Tell them we want them to STOP using poisonous chemicals in and on our food! High Fructose Corn Syrup SHOULD BE BANNED!!!
ahem…
Sorry, lost my head there for a second…

Please watch the movie. My favorite quote from the movie is “When you are at the check out counter, and you are buying food, you are VOTING for what you want to continue to see in your grocery store.” That statement was powerful!



Thank you for listening to me rant…

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP!!!

1.Buy organic or sustainable food.

2.Go without meat once a week.

3.Read labels—know where your food comes from.

4.Drink more water, fewer sugary beverages.

5.Support companies that treat workers, animals, and the environment with respect.

Monday, January 18, 2010

PREP... what it is... and why it WORKS!

I make, prepare, cook, almost everything I am going to eat for the week, in one day, with the exception of smoothies.


Why? So I don’t have to think about what to eat. So I can eat when I’m hungry and not get lazy and just “go get something” from that line of death called the “drive thru”. Yah, I said it.

So I can concentrate on all the other wonderful things in my life, and not concentrate on food. So I can do the things I WANT to do, and not the things I HAVE to do.

My defintion of prep is anything that can be done ahead of time for any recipe. Here’s my list of things I do, in no order, and they are not done every week, only when I need them…

1. make soups, (two) for variety.

2. chop all onions, wash and prep all salad greens, slice all cucumbers, chunk all tomatoes

3. Make all the bread (usually focaccia) for my hubby and kids lunches and make ALL THE SANDWICHES FOR THE WEEK! Yep… I do… I only have to make them once a week!


4. Make a stock with all the leftover tops of veggies and roots of veggies, for soups NEXT WEEK.
***
Now, please… I am not super woman. Lots of people do this… restaurants do this, caterers (of which I am one) do this, Mom’s do this. It’s a way of coping. For me… it’s a way of surviving the weeks of chauffering back and forth to school and three different sports, and meetings and volunteer responsibilities. {{Whoever said the phrase “Stay at home Mom” was Mom that actually “stayed home” was a moron!}}

I know your question even before you ask it. “You make your kids lunches FOR THE WEEK? How do they stay fresh?” Simple. Foil and a refrigerator, and simple, fresh, non dairy ingredients.


Today, I am making stock FOR NEXT WEEK, and I’m going to use stock from LAST WEEK to make my soups for the week. My boys LOVE to just take the Lock n Lock container out of the fridge and grab a cup of soup as a snack or we all eat it as dinner together. EASY… when all we have to do is reheat and enjoy each other’s company!!! What’s in the pot?


Tops and bottoms of onions, cut carrots, 10 peppercorns, 5 cut in half, skin on garlic cloves, onion skin (that’s what gives it that gorgeous color) and celery butts. yah, I said celery butts… LOL! It’s been cooking for about 2 hours now… I’ll just drain it and put it into a Lock N Lock container and use it within a week. YUM… Oh! Never add salt to stock UNTIL THE DAY YOU MAKE SOUP WITH IT! I love this base for Rags Soup and the 2 bean chili soup…

***

I hope this helped you out. I know I enjoy cooking and all, but not every single day. I like to live my life without worrying about what to make for lunches or dinners.

Sure, I’ll sometimes have to prepare something, but with most of the ingredients, the staple ingredients chopped and at the ready, it takes minutes instead of hours to prepare something yummy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What if I want a Modified Food plan to include BREAD?

I get this question all the time.


I understand this question. My husband, when he lost all his weight {40lbs in two months} I modified the LDL plan for him so he would be able to eat bread… Why? Because it was a total deal breaker with him. He just plain and simple wasn’t going to go without eating any bread. We made a compromise… I promised him I would make him a fabulous, healthy, delicious LDL lunch with homemade, no preservative, no corn syrup, bread that I make every day, if he promised to stop buying himself soda and fast food on his drive home.

DEAL!!!

Listen… many of us… me especially, need to cut bread out of our lives completely. I believe, women especially, because we tend to develop what I call “wheat gut”, and our outer “lady” organs just suffer if we have too much gluten in our diet. Men… well… they are a completely different animal. They burn more calories, have higher metabolisms, and have more muscle mass than we do, so they burn calories and food differently than women do. You’ve seen that commercial on TV… where the women says she starved herself for a month and lost 5 lbs, and her hubby cut out soda and lost 25? Yeah… that’s what I mean.

My answer to the above question is initally “yes, but”. Yes, you can have a modified food plan to include bread, and still lose some weight… BUT!!!!! remember, the reason bread isn’t on the LDL plan is because bread triggers cravings and feeding frenzies of so many other really rotten foods that we consume far too much of…For example… cake, pies, crackers, chips, dips, soda… etc… You’ve read the bag of chips… it says right ON THERE… “Bet ya can’t eat just one!” Yep… it’s right… and then the entire bag is consumed… and no nutrition was had…

My three boys are also on a modified with bread plan… BUT… (there’s that word again)… I MAKE EVERY PIECE OF BREAD they eat. All of it… hamburger buns, pita’s, breadsticks, focaccia, sandwich bread, rolls YOU NAME IT! Why? Because I’m a bread baker, as a profession, so its easy for me. If I wasn’t a bread baker, I WOULD NOT ALLOW my boys to eat nearly as much bread as they do, (they don’t eat it except for their lunch, now, I’ve weaned them from eating it at all meals, they are much healthier and happier for it). The bread in stores is FULL of High fructose corn syrup, bad flour, fillers, modified this or that… and AIR!!! Why pay for Air? Before I started making all the bread in the house, I used to buy a bread from Costco, with 5 GRAMS OF FIBER per slice…

If you are going to eat bread… PLEASE make sure it has a ton of fiber in it… and is dark. White flour sucks. I fortify all my breads with Flaxseed Meal, and wheatgerm. Always. It’s adds an additonal 10 grams of fiber to the bread, per 1/4 cup of flaxseed.

Am I saying you should only feed bread to your family if it’s homemade? Well yeah! No, I’m kidding, I know that’s not feasible… but I’m just saying that you can eat a really healthy balanced diet for your hubby and kids by choosing a good, solid, heart healthy bread that actually FEEDS your family with nutrients and fiber.

Here’s how I work stuff like this out in my head… I imagine I’m holding a thick, globulus, fat filled, mayo laden burger in one hand, and a gorgeous, roast beef, tomato, lettuce, roasted red pepper sandwich with Balsamic Bliss salad dressing, on rich, dark, fiber filled bread, in the other hand. If I had to make a choice to feed my kids…which would I choose? Yeah, the sandwich… it still has bread, but I know it will actually get digested and the vitamins and minerals would DO SOMETHING FOR them… not DO SOMETHING TO them…

To maximize weight loss, and curb cravings, no bread is the ticket… but when “no bread” won’t do… make the good choice, and watch their bodies flourish and stay healthy…

It’s all about choices…

P.S. ~~ Remember… fruit only(or veggie soup or salad) for dinner is the way to go… serve the breads early in the day to your family, and the weight will come off, slower, but it will come off..

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rags Soup... My Reader's Favorite!

This recipe was developed by my sweet Zia Saletta... who made me this soup when I was a child, whenever I asked for it.  The original had rice in it... but since I no longer eat rice on a regular basis, I left it out... and it's still wonderful... enjoy.

2 quarts fat free chicken stock or veggie stock (make your own and save tons of sodium)
2 cups snipped green onions1 large handful fresh or 1/2 bag frozen spinach (optional)
6 egg whites or 3 eggs (I use egg whites only to save on the cholesterol and calories) beaten well.
Boil the stock, onions and spinach until boiling
Gradually whisk in the beaten eggs and whisk the soup until the eggs turn into “rags”… serve and enjoy!!!

Ever have one of these days???

You know the days… You don’t want to cook, or clean, or go to work… you just want to stay in bed, eat ice cream and not wake up until tomorrow? Have those days been increasing in number? Have you ever stepped back and wondered why you feel this way?

I have a couple of theories. One is the sun. It’s just not as abundant in the winter as it is in the summer here in America… plain and simple. The sun, is a mood lifter. It provides us with Vitamin D. It makes me personally giddy. I live in sunny Southern California, and I even feel the effects of less sun during the day. My house get’s dark earlier, and so does my mood. I have to make sure and drink my coffee in the sun, in the morning so I can feel the warmth, and the essence that it provides.

Less sun also makes us want to eat more. It’s a primal thing. It’s chilly, or freezing if you live anywhere but here, and that makes us want “comfort food”. You know what I’m talking about… Mac N Cheese, Stew, Casseroles filled with butter and cheese… all the stuff that adds width to the hips and sludge in the arteries. Here Theory #2… What if we REWIRED our brains to think of “comfort food” in another way. What if comfort food ACTUALLY helped us FEEL comfortable? Wouldn’t that be a great thing?

Being Italian, my comfort food has always been Spettini orPasta and Meatballs and sauce. Yours would be something else… we all have our favorites. Be truthful with yourselves… after you eat those things… do you feel sluggish? Too full? Weighed down? Spongy? I did. I remember feeling swelled up, like the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka.

In the past 6 months, I’ve learned to fill myself up on loads of tasty, healthful foods, WITHOUT deprivation. I can eat an entire table of food in one sitting, and NOT feel too full or bloated! HOW? I eat the rainbow, and don’t eat processed foods anymore… at all.

Someday, do this on your kitchen table, and report back how you felt… it’s pretty eye opening. Go through your cupboards and take out EVERY SINGLE thing in there that isn’t healthy, isn’t whole, and isn’t good for you or your family, and place them on your kitchen table on one side. Get a calculator and add up all the calories you’d consume after all that food was eaten. Or the fat grams… or whatever… but remember you have to multiply the serving size, so it’s not just what the box says, it’s the calories or fat grams per serving times however many servings in are the box/container. Yeah.. I KNOW!!!

Then go and get the lean meats, veggies, fruits,… all the good stuff, and write down all the fat grams and calories in those things…

See what I’m getting at? What you’ll find… is you GET TO EAT almost an entire TABLE FULL OF GOOD FOOD FOR THE SAME CALORIES AND FAT GRAMS as just one box or bag of the poison stuff! Did you see it?

Those chemicals in the processed food, the partially hydrogenated this or that, the MSG, disodium phosphates, palm kernal oil… ALL THOSE thing affect our hormones, our moods, our ability to think, to even digest food!!! I’M GUILTY!!! I used to eat those foods… all the time!!! The absolute WORSE PART??? I FED THAT GARBAGE TO MY FAMILY…MY KIDS… it’s like I was killing them slowly!!!!

We have stopped the madness. We are all better off for it. My mood swings aren’t as volatile. I sleep better. I FEEL clean and clear in my digestive system… know what I mean?

It’s a great feeling. I wish I had known about how great this feels earlier… it would have saved me a lot of grief, pain and weight gain… but I’m here now… and that’s what important.. I can’t change the past. I choose to look to the future… I hope you do too.

Your health is your most important commodity. Without it, nothing tastes as sweet, feels as good, runs as fast, or is as rewarding. We OWE it to ourselves to be the best we can be… at this moment, and looking only to the future. What’s in the past… is GONE… forget about it. Make changes today and it will benefit you 30 days from now…

We can change our moods and how we feel by what we eat. Isn’t that amazing? It makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Start learning about everything you put into your body, and your families bodies

As Mothers and Fathers, we need to help our kids make the right choices...it’s never too late.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Turkey or Beef Lunch Burgers



I LOVE eating these burgers… especially on busy days. I make a huge batch up for the week, and at each lunch I feel like having them, I’ll eat 2 or 3 depending on my hunger

2 lbs ground beef, turkey, chicken or a mixture of them

Old Bay Seasoning, 1 TBS

Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

1-2 cups pureed bean either canned or homemade.

2 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Any or all of the following veggies chopped 1/8 cup each if you use 3 or more otherwise, use a 1/2 cup if using only 1 or 2. … carrots, onions, green onions, black olives, ortega chilis, roasted red peppers, fresh red peppers, pureed frozen corn… or any veggie you love.

Add all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, and either with bare clean hands, or gloved hands squish them all together until very well mixed, and the veggies are evenly distributed.

Line a baking sheet with a one inch lip all around with foil.

Make patties and place them on the pan. They can touch, it’s okay… they shrink while they bake. So make them kinda medium sized for a small patty, and kinda large for a medium patty.

Bake at 400 until done to your taste.
Cool them on an absorbent towel or paper towel and package them up for the week… they store great in the fridge, and microwave up in 30 seconds.

My “bread” is lettuce leaves, or two pieces of grilled or broiled eggplant, and I top my burger with mustard, ketchup, pickles, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, avocado… you name it!!!

Enjoy! Let me know if you try these!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ADDICTIONS

We all have them, in one form or another. I have a few. Purses, Kitchen gadgets, shoes, scarves, oh, and did I mention… food?
I know everyone shudders at the thought of being an alcoholic, or a drug user, or even being addicted to something as pleasurable as… say… sex… All of those things are taboo, horrifying, “not for me”, and should be dealt with in strict, rigid manner… they need to get “help”. What happens when those people “fall of the wagon?” They take a drink, they shoot up, or they find another willing partner for the moment…

What do all those things have in common? THEY CAN BE HIDDEN. The drunk can drink in private, and many people will have no idea. The drug user, sometimes, looks like just a Mom, a little frazzled, but that’s common right? And the sex addict? Well, most of the time, I would guess, would certainly be in private. What about a food addict? Can they hide?
Well, yeah… they can… but not for long. Sooner or later, the food addict’s problem becomes obviously apparent. The addict gets bigger, and bigger and bigger. No amount of eating in private can cover anything a food addict does. It’s written all over our bodies… stretch marks, fat, shame, guilt… what have you.

What’s different about being a food addict and being the other type of addict? Food is one of the basic necessities in life, like clothing and shelter… it’s in the holy trinity of basics.

It breaks my heart when I hear polls on the radio or read them in magazines, that women polled were asked “Which would you rather be… homeless or fat…” and the women overwhelmingly said “homeless”. Why does it hurt? It hurts because the “thin” people of the world see me as something beneath them, that homelssness would HAVE to be better than being me. That living on the street, standing in soup kitchen lines, pushing a grocery cart with all their worldly possesions ranks HIGHER than being me. That sleeping in shelters, and not having regular showers or basic shelter HAS to be better than being overweight.

In some sick and twisted way… I wish I felt the same way… then maybe I wouldn’t have allowed myself to morph into this body shape… Alcholics get called Drinkers, Lushes, Alchies and Drug users get called Junkies, Speed freaks, or Tweakers… say those names out loud… they sound almost like dog names… almost cute…

Not so with Fat people. WE get called OBESE… MORBIDLY OBESE. Can you imagine calling a cute little dog… “Tweakers… where are you Tweakers!!!” Now.. how about that same dog as…’Morbidly Obese… come here Morbidly Obese!!!” Doesn’t have the same ring does it?

Another addiction is being too thin. Having never experienced that before, I have read up and seen enough anorexia programs and seen the women that have it around, to know that they too, have a big problem… but thin is “in”, therefore, their problem is much more accepted and they get an awful lot of sympathy and almost “respect”.

What do food addicts get? “Here’s an exercise for you, PUSH yourself UP from the table once in a while!” or “Doesn’t he/she have a mirror… can’t they SEE?”

Yes, we see. WE see what you see. We see past it also.

I can only speak for myself… but when I look in the mirror, I do see a fat woman. I have for the past 13 years. I know… it’s a long time. Every pound hurts. Every pound represents some sort of failure, I suppose. That’s what people would like me to believe… wouldn’t they? In truth… when I look in the mirror, I see a slightly thinner person than all of you see. I don’t know why, maybe it’s that Body Dismorphic Syndrome… or something… but I see alot more than most people choose to see about myself.

Having been brought up in an Italian household, food was/is/always will be… love. We celebrate with food, we cry with food, we welcome people into our homes with food, we console others with food. If you ever leave an Italians household hungry, it’s your own dang fault… I didn’t just get food as love though. I got a deep sense of who I am as a person too. I got self esteem, loads of it! Pound for pound, I know for a fact, I have more self esteem than any skinny friend I have. I know how to walk into a room and own it. Always have. Just because I got fat, didn’t mean I had to change who I was! When I look into a mirror… THAT CONFIDENT woman is who I see. That’s a fact. It really pisses people off. They really want me to be self loathing. They really NEED me to be down on myself. They really don’t understand how I can LOOK like this… and smile every. single. day. Wanna know how I do this?

I LOVE MYSELF WHERE I AM AT. Plain and simple. An alcoholic can stop cold turkey and be done with alcohol in an instant… forever… if they want to be. A drug user can do the same thing. When they are done… they can be done… and no one will know about it unless they say something…

Not so with a food addict. A food addict has to wait. We have to wait for our bodies to catch up with our minds. We have to wait for the weight to come off, pound by pound, day by day. We have to wait for how elated we feel inside to have broken the bondage of food addiction, to be shown on the outside… sometime months… sometimes years…

It can be agonizing, it can be brutal. It often is. The rewards far outnumber all that agony. I’m far from thin, even now having lost 67 lbs… but I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I know, for the first time in 13 years, I won’t be a fat peron my entire life. I don’t have to resign myself to that any longer. Something clicked. LDL works… like no other eating plan has.

Oprah had the star of “Precious” on her show a few months ago, and Oprah, a heavy woman, said to the lovely girl, “You just have so much self confidence, you just are right out there” or something to that nature… it irked me. WHY SHOULDN”T that young lady have self confidence? Why is it such a commodity? Why isn’t it okay to be comfortable in one’s own skin? Just because my skin happens to cover a larger body than other’s doesn’t mean that self loathing needs to be the norm!

Wanna know what else irks me? The fact that the W.H.O or C.D.C whichever it is… came out with what I call the OBESE-O-METER, and tried to cram down our throats that a woman who is 5.5″ and weighs 150 lbs is consider OBESE! Really? Ya wanna go there? Why contribute to women’s already low opinions of themselves? Can’t a woman have a couple of curves and be beautiful in this society? I’m not talking about my size, I’m talking about NORMAL sized women. Why can’t a 12 be beautiful? Why does only a 2 constitute beauty?

Addictions are horrible things. Even being addicted to exercise (which I have never been… duh!) can be detrimental to one’s health. OVERDOING anything is just problematic. Being overweight is no worse than being addicted to drugs or alcohol, or even sex, for that matter! Anything done to the extreme is bad. Too bad society see’s obesity as the worst one possible.

Don’t get me wrong… I have known for years I needed to lose all this weight. I’m not HAPPY about my size. It makes living more difficult. I’m not saying that being overweight is a good thing, and everyone should just get over it.. no… not my intention at all. I’m finally admitting that I had a problem, kinda like, “HI, my name is Sandra, and I’m fat.” The world already knew that, I can’t hide it, no matter how big and loose I buy my clothing. I’m on my way to being a healthy size, that I decide, not some stupid think tank decides.

I pray that all the skinny women {who think that the 3 lbs they need to lose will make them happy forever, lose it and them find something else wrong with themselves} read this . I pray they get even 1/2 the self confidence I have in myself. I pray they realize that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and we are all worthy of love, affection, and respect. I pray they begin to understand that self worth is more than a size of jeans or a number.

Addictions suck. Acknowledging the addiction is cathartic. Breaking the addiction is miraculous. Knowing I won’t go there again… is a gift.

Thanks for reading this far… Leave a comment if you like… I’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2.4 or 6 Bean Chili Soup!


2 quarts stock, chicken, beef, seafood, or veggie… if you don’t have stock… use water!
2 cans diced stewed tomatoes
1 onion chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 chopped zucchini
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups any beans you like, kidney are nice or choose two different or 4 or 6…no matter how many
1 cup green onion chopped
1 CUP SALSA… ANY FLAVOR! yikes… sorry.. forgot to add this before!!! (it’s great without it… but better with)
2 tbs taco seasoning mix
1/2 tsp cayenne (less if you don’t like it spicy)
1 tsp old bay seasoning (or not if you don’t have it)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
in a large stock pot, put a little olive oil in it and saute the onion until tender, add stock and everything else… stir until combined and simmer on low for 30 minutes…
Serve with shredded cheese (for non LDL’ers) and fresh cilantro and guacamole…
Deeeelightful!
***Add whatever veggies you have on hand at the time… whatever you like… I LOVE this soup with bean sprouts!!!
***LDL’ers Alert!!! Make this soup ahead of time, and put it in the fridge… you can eat it all day long! BUT… for lunch, for protein meal, have some meatballs, or shredded chicken separately and add it when reheating!

Healthy Taco Salad

I cook for the week, so you can pare down for one meal, or do what I do, and make a bunch and portion it out for lunches for the week!

2 lbs ground turkey or lean ground beef ( or both)
2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy)
1-2 tsp cumin

salt to taste
pepper to taste
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup green onions chopped
2 cans green chilis (or not)
1 cup zucchini (or not)
Any type of canned or cooked beans you have on hand... rinsed and drained (this adds tons of fiber and protein and nutrition)
Cook meat with a little olive oil... drain any visible fat when done, (I rinse my meat after cooking...I know... I know... but I add a lot of flavor back in)
You can either saute the onions separately or cook them with the meat, I cook them separately...
add the green onion, onions, cabbage, zucchini, frozen corn, green chili's and the seasonings all at once and continue to cook it all until the veggies have the consistency you like, (I like mine crisp tender) and taste for seasoning and add as needed... (remember, it's easier to add than to take away...)
I spread this mixture out on a big platter when we are eating it right away, and I have at the ready,
More shredded cabbage, raw
more raw green onions,
a lovely fresh or store bought salsa
fresh avocado or a good guacamole
fresh cilantro
and tabasco and sprinkle all these things in layers over the meat mixture...
You'll notice... no cheese... believe me.. it's not needed... nor is it on plan...
You can add or take away whatever veggie you love or hate... it makes no difference... just eat what you love!
** When I make a batch for the week, I just package up the meat mixture into lots of Lock n Lock containers and put them in the fridge, and have all the precut toppings ready to go separately so they don't get all soggy when I heat the meat up for lunch...
This make a gorgeous salad to take to potlucks(put the toppings on just before serving) or to have for informal dinners with friends...
(You can have some cheese available on the side for others not eating the way you do... )
Buone Mangiare!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Zucchini Pesto Soup

This soup is so yummy. You don’t miss the “cream” and all the fat… it’s just gorgeous and satisfying.



Ingredients
1 chopped large onion
3 chopped cloves garlic
3 cups stock (chicken, beef, veggies, fish whatever)
4 zucchini grated or finly chopped
1 -2 cups pureed white beans (depending on how thick you want your soup) pureed with 1 cup fresh basil, olive oil, 1 clove garlic, and 1 tsp salt ( you can substitue spinach leaves, parley, or arugula if you don’t have basil around, it will change the flavor.. but will still be delicous!!!)
***
Heat olive oil and onion and garlic and saute’ until tender…
add stock and zucchini and bean puree with basil
Sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan or Romano cheese in… (it’s lowfat cheese, and hard cheeses are better for us than soft)
Heat through and ENJOY!!!
I triple this recipe, so I have it on hand for the week… it just gets better and better…
For my kids and hubby, I add a lovely salad with salmon or tuna mixed in, and crusty homemade whole wheat sourdough…
Buono Mangiare!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let's Get Started!

Like I mentioned before, I didn't always have a weight problem... at least not as big a weight problem as I have now...but that's changing!!! When I was younger, I maybe had about 10-20 lbs I needed to lose, and all it took was a meal skipped here and there, and it would be gone in no time. Well...needless to say, that wasn't a healthy way to go about losing weight, and it sure didn't teach me anything. I was also a lot younger and more active back then, with four nights a week of dance classes that included tap, jazz, ballet and rythym... it was easy to keep the weight at bay.




Skip ahead to my 40's and holy cow! I feel like I could walk around the entire equator and still not lose a pound... UNTIL NOW! This Let's Do Lunch eating plan is just the ticket my body was waiting for.



It's easy. It's affordable {just a book to buy, no meetings, no weigh-ins in public, no special food} It's easy on the household budget, {buy whole, fresh fruits and meat when in season and on sale} and did I mention IT'S EASY?



There are a few simple rules...



1. EAT UNTIL VERY FULL!



2. Bread, potatoes, pasta, grains and dairy are not on the eating plan... BUT WAIT... before you click off of here... TRY IT OUT!... There is a magical thing that happens when you start this plan... YOU WON'T WANT THOSE FATTENING FOODS ANYMORE!! And, you don't have to say goodbye to them forever... just view them as a very occasional food when you have reached your goal!



3. Stay away from processed, pre packaged foods. They are chemical garbage that is not feeding our bodies what it needs.



4. No measuring, no portion control, no pills, no injections and chalky shakes.



Did I mention that you eat until you are very full? I eat only fresh, whole food, and I have never felt better...



So... if you want to join in, or want to say something... please comment and let me know... it's lonely starting a brand new blog... I need some other people to talk too...:)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Basics

Here's the plan in a nutshell ~~~ TRY, at all times, to eat your largest, protein filled meal at lunchtime... somewhere between noon and 3 p.m. everyday. Eat fruit or fruit smoothies for breakfast, an egg or two now and then, and fruit for dinner, as much as you can possibly eat.


Yes foods = all veggies except potatoes, leans meats, all fruit, fish, lean poultry, some condiments like ketchup, mustard, dill pickles...
***
No food = breads, pastas, potatoes and rice and dairy.
***
Don't cook like this = deep fry, shallow fry, battered, breaded
Cook like this = steam, broil, BBQ, dry fry with a little Olive Oil, poach, bake, and microwave.

Think this way = I can either eat an entire table of fruits and veggies... or one plate of burgers and fries...

Eating well, and feeding my body FEELS better than any food will ever taste!

Do I really want that Pizza? or will something else satisfy me....like Pizza Soup maybe? How sluggish and weighed down will I feel afterward? Is it worth it?
Eat your colors!
DON'T think like this = I won't be able to get all this weight off. {YES YOU WILL...}
I cheated today, so I'll just eat badly all day long and start over tomorrow...{{ NO! START EATING BETTER IMMEDIATELY!}}}

I need bread, I love bread, I can't do anything without bread... {{bread isn't out forever... after you reach goal... it can be an occasional thing} {very occasional}
I need to lose weight for my _______ )husband, kids, mother, brother...etc... {{NO.. DO IT FOR YOURSELF!}}}YOU DESERVE IT!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome!!!

I left Wordpress... and am back to Blogger... where it doesn't take a full day to load a page up...