Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I know Victoria Secret! Don't eat... EVER!

I know… I may the ONLY WOMAN in the entire world who thinks these “women” up in the picture are too skinny…BUT OH WELL! First of all… if ANY of them are over 18, I would be hugely surprised… Second of all… airbrushing does WONDERS to “lift the girls up and give cleavage” But really… HOW MANY women REALLY look like that, almost naked? Even at my thinnest ever… I never looked like that!!! Ever! and I’m 5.7″! They look slightly anorexic. They look entirely undernourished… and they look like they are what little girls and some not so little girls are going to try to emulate, every single day… and push a healthy meal away from them… in the quest to look just like them. It breaks my heart.


Ladies and men… THAT ISN’T REAL! I know you’ve heard it over and over… but real women, the majority of real women… DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT IN THEIR UNDERWEAR! We have stretch marks, and tan lines, and age spots, and cottage cheese thighs. Women also do not look like those Gawd awful OC housewives either. How big do boobs REALLY have to be? We never had “twin” envy in my family of women cousins and aunties… always being well endowed… and not enjoying it due to back pain and strain… but women are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY sure that getting newer, bigger “girls” are going to give them the self esteem and man attention needed to live a wonderful, stress free, love filled life… GAG ME!!!

Ahem… I’m off subject here…

How is putting pictures like that on billboards going to promote health and vitality? Don’t get me wrong… I don’t believe people should just be heavy and lumpy like me and everyone else should just get over it… No… not my intention at all… I’m just saying that in this world of obesity on the rise for kids, and women going under the knife in record numbers, how is THAT going to HELP? IT’S NOT!!!

Don’t women feel badly enough about themselves as it is? If any man, and they do, walked into VS to buy his love a piece of lingerie… and his love wasn’t a size 0 to 4… how do you think she will feel opening up that bag? I know they don’t only sell tiny sizes… but unless you look like those models… it just won’t look the same… ya know?

It’s unrealistic. It’s feeding the frenzy of unhealthy living. The overweight women may look in the mirror and say “Well… if that’s what beauty is… then I might as well continue eating… I’ll never be 14 again, and my body won’t morph back to not having stretch marks… I give up”… and the healthy weight women (or young girl) might look in the mirror and say… “Ugh…I need to lose 20 lbs to look like that, so I’ll just eat mustard and saltines everyday for a month, and then I’ll be perfect.” COMMMMME ON!

Can’t we all just celebrate being women? Light ones, dark ones, heavy ones, thin ones, tall ones, short ones, freckled ones, blonde ones, brunette ones???
Dove and their models are more of what needs to be shown. Have you seen those lovely women? Real women?


I showed my boys that picure of the VS models. Initially, they were like… “Woo hoo!” My oldest said, upon looking closer… “They are really skinny… look at that… she has no leg meat. She looks fragile! I’d rather have a girl with a more sportlike physique”…

I don’t know… it could come from having a heavy Mama… but I believe he sees women for who they are… all the girls he’s had crushes on have come in all shapes, sizes, and colors… THANK GOD! He says he wants a girl that is strong, and can do a lot of different things, and isn’t always looking the mirror or worrying about her makeup. All three of my boys say that…

Maybe having a not perfect Mama has helped my men to see women for WHO they are… instead of only what they look like. It seems to me that real women, raise “real women” seeking men. I’m not saying that my boys should look for women that look like me… not at all… I’m not of the norm either, I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum from “healthy sized”… for now… far from “normal sized”.. but not for long…

I think women should get out of their own heads, stop fussing in front of the mirror, and start working on themselves from the inside out. A gorgeous woman is nice to look at… but if she can’t hold a conversation, or has no other interests besided catching a man, or worrying about her looks, her beauty dims… tremendously. Men don’t like women that need to constantly ask… “Do I look nice? Is my makeup okay? Do I look fat in this?” Not real men anyway.

Even at my heaviest… my self esteem had never dimmed. I’m lucky… I know. I have some REALLY, REALLY, REALLY gorgeous, model perfect friends that don’t have even 1/100th of the confidence I have and feel… and it breaks my heart…. and it is also baffling to me.

I owe a lot of it to my Mama. She wasn’t ever critical, or overly complimentary. My looks, when I was young, were an asset… I was just shy of pretty, cute almost, but attractive enough. My Mama would always say “you are a beautiful girl… INSIDE and out” “INSIDE” ALWAYS CAME FIRST! We never lamented over our bodies, she never put herself down in front of the mirror while I was looking, even though, she too, had a weight problem after having kids. She never put herself down. She walks into rooms, owning the place… and I do too. To know us is to love us… or hate us for having confidence that obviously we shouldn’t be allowed to have.

I can honestly say that having a weight problem has been a true blessing… I’m ready for it to be over, however… but it was a necessary evil that needed to be a part of my life. I shudder to think who I might me or what I may have allowed myself to feel about myself if I had always had a normal body. I can’t change the past and the fact that I let myself become so overweight… but I can learn from it and embrace it and take the positive from it. It’s all a choice…after all.. isn’t it?

The next time you see a billboard or ad in a magazine featuring underweight, undernourished, heavily airbrushed girls… breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have the pressures they have, find something positive to say about them, and go eat a healthy sandwich and drink a big glass of green tea. Love yourself enough to do that… and treat yourself by looking in the mirror and telling that lovely reflection 5 things you really like about her.

Enjoy your lives… but eat…and choose wisely.

Cucumber or Greek Salad


I love me some cukes. Especially the Hothouse variety. There are two salads I make… all the time… using this wonderful veggie… that I’d love to share with you…

 you can… using a food processor or fine mandoline will be great…
Do the same with the onion… shredd the carrot
Combine all the rest of the ingredients and pour over the cukes… cover and refrigerate for 2 hours… EAT UP!!! My kids FIGHT OVER IT!
Cucumber Salad
2-3 English/Hothouse cucumbers (why those kind? less bitterness, no need to peel, and no wax)
1 thinly sliced red or white sweet onion
1 carrot… shredded finely
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cups olive oil
2 TBS honey or 2 tsp sugar (please… no splenda or other concoctions if you can help it… be kind to yourself)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dried dill weed (or not)
THINLY slice the cucumbers into rounds… as thinly as
AND…

Greek Salad

2 hothouse cukes cut into chunks

1 thinly sliced onion

5 roma tomatoes, small chunked

1 jar kalamata olives (optional)

1/2 cup crumbled Feta Cheese

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil
Pinch dried Oregano (if not… don’t worry)
Salt and pepper to taste
Let all the ingredients marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. *** Add Feta just before serving, or it will get soupy…

My family loves these salads, and they keep really well in the refrigerator for a few days. One way I like to serve it for my family, after I take a portion out for me… on the Greek Salad… is to mix in chunks of cubed sourdough bread. It turns it into a Panzanella, that is a hearty meal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trying on "new" clothes!

I went through my closet last night… trying to figure out if I can fit into some old clothes I unfortunately outgrew.




Happily… i have a bunch OF NEW CLOTHES NOW!!! I went shopping in my own closet, and after 70 lbs, I can wear soooo much more of my wardrobe now! I still have a very long way to go before I can start wearing dramatically different styles and such… but progress is being made!!!



So that got me thinking… I decided that… I’m going to buy myself a ‘DREAM OUTFIT”… you know… an ensemble that is the size I want to be when I have reached goal, to help me see the end goal in sight…



I have to be careful not to buy something trendy, or with a pattern, so it will always be in style… but the size is what matters anyway… even if I never wear it out the door, if I fit into it… I ‘m gonna have a photo shoot in it!!!



It is so wonderful to be able to wear all my shoes I’ve bought over the years… because my feet and ankles are no longer swollen. I have to get my wedding ring sized down, because now I can’t safely wear it… hallelujah!!!



I hope all of you on this plan experience this joy too. I hope all my ladies that are following on this plan, find something for yourselves that motivate you to keep going, and don’t give in to eating poorly!!!



What would motivate you? A new pair of snazzy heels? A bright red dress? A new hair cut? DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF to treat yourself… now… and set yourself up for success by getting yourself something juuuussst a little out of reach… so you strive for it…



Thank you all for reading me… I am so truly honored to see that readership number go up… Please tell your friends about this site, if you like it…



Ciao Bellas!

Self Image...Self Esteem

Have you ever thought… “If I just lose the weight… my life can begin”… or “Everything would be perfect with my life if I just lost the weight”. How about…”I don’t want to go anywhere outside this house until I lose this weight”. Ever? Come on… be truthful… have you?


We all have. You know it… and I know it… but is it true? Has it ever been true? NO… AND AGAIN… I SAY NO!!!! Everything will NOT be perfect when you are a size 2… Your life began at birth… not when you are the right size… and not living your best life isn’t going to get you any points upstairs missy…

I have been overweight and out of shape for about 13 years now. What’s the LAST place you think would be my most favorite place in the world…as a fat person?

Trying on clothes? Nope. Guess again.

A weight loss convention? Nope… guess again.

THE BEACH? YEP… that’s my favorite place to be in the entire world… and as a fat person… it’s usually the LAST thing people expect me to say. Why? Because… didn’t you KNOW? You can only love the beach if you can fit your butt into a bikini… otherwise… it’s not normal to go to the beach… when you look like me. I am required… as an overweight woman… to LOATHE any place that requires skimpy clothing. I am supposed to be ashamed… and afraid… and self conscious, and self loathing. (Hell to the NO… I don’t wear a swimsuit.. Oh gosh… NO!!!!)

A few times… when I’ve taken my boys for day trips to the beach… as I was crossing the boardwalk where all the joggers and cyclists ride… I’ve been honked at and yelled at and this was said to me… “Move over Fat A**!” or “Get your fat off the road, Bi***” I’m not kidding… actual people have actually said those things to me… and yes… in front of my kids. Such fun…

What the idiots didn’t realize I guess… was who they were dealing with, number 1, and that they had to turn around and come right back about 100 yards away.. so I would be seeing them again… real soon. If you haven’t guessed by now…I’m not one to let ANYONE talk to me or attempt to put me down without a fight… just saying.
Soooo… on these classy people’s (guys, girls have never said those things to me) return… I caught their attention. Once… and I’m not proud of this… {okaaay… maybe a little proud… okaaaay… A LOT proud} but it did happen… I grabbed a huge bucket of sand.. and hurled it at the cyclist as he was racing back by… yeah.. .he stopped… and came back around… and started yelling at me… until he realized I was the one he hurled the insult at… and put his hands up… and said… “I guess I deserved that… I’m sorry” I was shocked… I was ready for a verbal attack and some fist throwing if I had to. I was soooooo mad… and I just wasn’t going to let him do that to another person again. I told him to watch his mouth next time… that I bleed red… just like him.. and the next woman might not be so generous to only throw sand at him… AND THEN.. he says…”I was 200 lbs heavier a few years back… I should have known better”. HOLY SCHMOLY!!! That guy didn’t know it… but he taught me something… I WILL NEVER BE SO STUCK UP AND FULL OF MYSELF to put other people down… when I am at goal weight… THAT GUY… had self esteem issues… The only way he could rise above… was to put someone else down…unbelievable… and so what if he was fit and thin… HE WAS A TOTAL JERK!!! A loser!


Another time, the dude was with his kids when he hurled the insult my way… and on his return… his little girl fell and cut her knee up a little. I got my first aid kit from the car… and handed him a bandaid for her, but first I said… “I am sorry my fat has to take up your space, but your daugther needs a band aid and a father who sets a better example for her on how to treat others… Maybe she’ll learn it from me… that you treat people how you want to be treated… here… take the bandaid.. and apologize to your daughter for being such a class A jerk, and I hope she never has a weight problem with a Father like you.”. He just said “thank you” and nothing else…

Here’s why I mentioned those two idiots… and how I stuck up for myself


First of all…NO ONE has any right to think I am lesser of a person the more fat I have on my body. Second of all… I’ve never been one to just shut up and take anything off anyone…it’s who I am.


Ladies… YOU ARE NOT YOUR FAT. You are who you are… lovely, strong, smart, witty, inventive, curious, do-anything you put your mind to… WOMEN!!! Okay.. so there’ some extra padding here and there…

BUT YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELVES WHERE YOU ARE AT!!! YOU MUST… YOU MUST… YOU MUST!!! Otherwise… how is anyone else going to love you!

Self esteem is just that.. SELF esteem. No one can GIVE it to you… you must give it to yourself… otherwise it would be called “Other people’s esteem”!!!

I HATE the commercial on TV.. of all those overweight people saying what they would do if they lost the weight… “I would go visit my sister more”, “I would do this… or do that” GO DO THEM NOW!!!! Right NOW!!! Tomorrow is NOT PROMISED TO US!!! We only have today!!! It takes a long time to lose weight… if I had waited until I lost all my weight… I wouldn’t have gone to Chicago for 9 years in a row to have a great time at business conferences… or I wouldn’t have gone to Italy in 2006 for a month with my hubby and kids and Mother. I WAS THE FATTEST PERSON IN EUROPE when I went… and DIDN’T CARE!!! I was there… against the odds… doing once in a lifetime things… seeing and doing things people only get to READ about in books… with my kids, because life is way to short!!! AAAAANNNND… I lost 15 lbs there, because I ate like they did!!! (small breakfast, huge lunch, fruit at dinner). I’ve been to Alaska, and New York City, and Miami, and Canada, and Mexico, and the Carribean… FAT!!! Why wait?

Don’t get me wrong.. I am aware of what I look like. I am aware that I am not normal, and I do want to feel better and look better, and just be healthy… BUT I REFUSE TO PUT MY LIFE ON HOLD until it happens… I just REFUSE!

There are people left and right having the bypass surgeries and lap bands put in… and that is fine… great even. I just really hope they realize that losing the weight is going to be only one aspect of changing themselves. It changes the size of the stomach… but it doesn’t change ones mind… it will help them wear a smaller size waaaay faster than me… but in the end… self control, good food choices and exercise are still going to be necessary… and I hope in that time warp of weight loss, everyone learns to see themselves as more than a dress size, and more of a person with infinite potential, that has always been there… no matter what size she was.

We are worthy of love, care and devotion just as much as anyone else, and the most important person to get those things from is YOURSELF! Our bodies are God’s temples, and though some of us have abused these temples in one way or another… He will help us rebuild, renew and replenish it… for His glory… so we can share our adventure with others… but He wants us to love ourselves first… and treat what he gave us with respect and dignity.

What I said and did to those people at the beach may not have been the best choices… but I did feel compelled to do so… so my kids would see that we have to stand up for ourselves sometimes…

I will never forget what it feels like to be overweight… it will keep me grounded, and sympathetic, and hopefully nurturing to others. The one thing I know for sure… is that no matter what size I am… I am important… I matter… and I’m relevant… no matter what the media says… no matter what anyone says…

I want you to feel this way too… if you don’t already…

On we go to our wonderful journey’s shall we??

Starchy veggies... 2 ways.

Remember when people in the BILLION dollar diet industry told us to “BEWARE OF CORN & PEAS” like those two veggies were the devil incarnate? Remember when EVERYONE seemed to be on a Bacon, egg, steak, sausage eating frenzy, and no salad or fruits or veggies kick of eating no carbs at all? Remember when those same people doing those diets were going to hospital for severe ketone overload? Sure… they lost weight… but one regular meal, and they were back to their old ways and habits…


When looking for a new way of eating, try to look for something that entails having and making habits that are doable for a LIFETIME… Eating well, and trying to lessen the frequency and severity of illnesses should be what we look for when “shopping” for an eating plan.

I am instantly wary of any ‘DIET’ that completely discards an entire food group, like… say…. fruits and veggies. IT’S NOT NORMAL. We should all be wary of any plan that says you HAVE to eat something for 7 days, then something else for 7 days, then you can go back to your old ways… THAT’S NOT NORMAL EITHER…

BALANCE is the key to a healthy eating plan. Even the one I’m on… the books says… ‘BREAD, POTATOES, AND RICE’ are bad and fattening… I take issue with that… and I don’t believe it… HOWEVER… I don’t eat those things because all of my inflammation is GONE now that I have stopped eating those things… so on some level… FOR ME… those things are bad, and the book is correct… FOR ME… my family has no problem with those foods, and my husband has lost 45 lbs while still eating them.. so it depends on the person.

What’s am I trying to get at? Well… all that stuff up there was actually leading up to just a simple recipe or two of my favorite ways to make peas and corn dishes… Two “no no” foods on a LOT of food plans… but that are to be eaten in ABUNDANCE on the Let’s Do Lunch plan, because they are good for you, AND… eating these veggies help to curb cravings for things like bad bread, chips, and pastries of all kinds.



My (Sandra’s) Favorite Peas Side dish recipe
1 10 oz bag frozen peas
1 onion sliced
1-2 tbs olive oil

mushrooms, sliced (optional)

In a large frying pan, heat oil until screaming hot and then add the onion and saute until just brown… then add frozen peas and mushrooms (if using) and continue to cook until the peas start to wrinkle a little bit… THAT’S IT!!! When I serve these, my kids literally TIP THE PAN ONTO THEIR PLATES… and complain that I didn’t make enough again… The peas get sweeter and sweeter as they cook, and the onion does too…. soooo good! Sometimes, in the morning, I’ll make a batch and then whisk up some egg whites and add them to the peas for a great, quick breakfast…

Corn
I add frozen (not canned) corn to EVERYTHING! All soups, all stirfries, and I even pulverize them to make a corn mush and add them to ground turkey to make my burgers…


We eat it on the cob, saute’d with peas, roasted on the BBQ, but I really love it roasted in the oven…

Just rinse a bag of frozen corn in cool water to take the frost off, and place them in a shallow cookie sheet with sides… sprinkle with olive oil, salt and your favorite seasoning, and roast until golden brown… then just scoop up and eat them… or add them to salads, soups, whatever…

They have a great smokyesque quality, and are a little chewy… sooo good!!!

Whatever eating plan you choose… remember… eating a VERY, VERY light evening meal is the KEY… make your main meal of the day your lunch and you will start to transform your body…
Ciao!

So... what kind of "diet" is this anyway?

I get asked this question a lot. I don’t mind rehashing it either… because… let’s face it… hardly anyone goes into the archives to read stuff… so I would love to explain my new way of eating…

At first, I was strictly using a book called “Let’s Do Lunch” by Roger Troy Wilson. I dropped weight quickly and effortlessly… JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT!… Then, as I got healthier, I started doing more research, and reading more about healthy living, and sort of “re wrote” for myself the sort of plan that would be best for optimal health and longevity.

While the book was a great starting point, I don’t necessarily agree with all of the concepts, and foods, and needed to make it fit around my personal needs and my families needs. It is a GREAT idea book, meaning, the MAIN IDEA or CONCEPT is brilliant and the basis for my health and great numbers now.

In the book, it can be a little confusing about the types of foods to eat, if cheese is okay or not, and there were a lot of types of foods that I just can’t readily find in California. I found that staying away from (almost) ALL cheese, ESPECIALLY the fat free, and processed kinds was better for me personally. The book advocates use of a lot of “fat free” types of dairy, on occasion, and I just don’t believe that is feeding our bodies anything worth a darn. If you must have a cheese, make it a good, minimally processed, fresh, REAL cheese, without colors or rennets, and use it sparingly. The ONLY cheese I allow myself is the sheep’s milk cheese Pecorino Romano, shaved onto salads.

No bread, is also in the book. While I agree wholeheartedly about that FOR ME… my family still eats bread every single day. Bread and carbs cause cravings for other unhealthy foods like chips, cookies, cakes and pies… and for me, a food addict, I need to stay away from it… But my kids and hubby, I feel, need the good wholesomeness of my flax seed filled, wheat germ added, whole grain bread, to help them play sports, and to feel full, and for optimal energy through out their day.

MY TAKE on bread is this…

1.Make it yourself from scratch…(I would be happy to share my recipe and technique with you… call me and come over!!! Seriously!)

2.Buy only WHOLE GRAIN, no preservative bread (did you know they add SUGAR in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup to almost every bread on the market?)

3.Stay away from all bread that contains more than whole wheat flour, water, yeast, and salt… EVERYTHING ELSE IS POISON…

4.Eat it ONLY for your midday meal

5.Don’t eat it at night or after 4 p.m.
 
My husband followed those rules, and lost 45LBS in two months. He has transformed his body… look at those pics to the right!!! 7 months later, he still never touches bread at night, and only eats fruit or soups for dinner, and continues to lose a pound here and there…


The book says no potatoes or rice. I don’t eat those things… but I don’t agree with it on some level…

Brown rice and sweet potatoes are VERY HEALTHY, and if eaten on occasion, are not going to be detrimental to ones health. I believe that margarine and fake sugar are extremely more unhealthy than any potato or brown rice can be, so… my family gets served brown rice with beans for dinner. It forms a complete protein when combined, and is better for them than any meat.

Speaking of meat… it’s eaten ONLY at the midday meal, lunch. Lean meats like chicken breast, sirloin, filet mignon, tenderloin etc… The plan has one concept that is true genius, and quite frankly, the way most of the world eats anyway… HAVE YOUR LARGEST, PROTEIN FILLED MEAL BEFORE 4 P.M. That is the basis for this entire way of eating… and IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE BUT THIS… You WILL lose weight. I can almost guarantee it.

Basically, the plan advocates doing away with all processed foods. Those orange Cheetos, while I used to love them, aren’t even real food! Our bodies have to work 7 times harder to digest and get rid of the ingredients in them! White bread, white rice, sour creams, mayo, white ANYTHING is not healthy. (I can’t wrap my head around whole wheat pasta for my sons and hubby, so I still use regular pasta for them, sue me, I’m Italian…some things don’t/can’t change).

I believe the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes is our American way of eating… when we were in Italy in 2006, the grocery stores there DIDN’T HAVE ALL THE JUNK WE HAVE on their shelves. Europe had a BAN on High Fructose Corn Syrup, all of it! While our American way of eating is infiltrating other countries and killing their people, more and more of them are going back to their old way of eating, because they were gaining weight and dying younger… America has an extremely high rate of obesity, diabetes, and cancer. I believe it’s our food, and our choices.

So… here’s my Way Of Eating (I hate the word “diet” the word ‘die’ is in it!)

BREAKFAST = fruit in abundance or egg whites and veggies


LUNCH= lean meats, salad, veggies, fruit, (whole grain breads if you choose) or (rice, brown only) EAT UNTIL VERY FULL! Also, eat it as late in the day as you can closest to 3-4 p.m… I eat my lunch around 1-2 p.m. everyday… REMEMBER, MAKE THIS MEAL LARGE… IT SHOULD THE LARGEST ONE YOU EAT!!!

DINNER = FRUIT or fruit smoothies (with no dairy)… all you can eat until full. OR lean, veggies soups, or veggies any way you like them… steamed, bbq’d, roasted

BEANS!!! HOW COULD I FORGET THE CORNERSTONE OF THIS PLAN!!! Beans are THE HEALTHIEST, the MOST NUTRITIOUS, THE MOST FIBER FILLED food you can buy… EAT THEM BY THE TRUCK LOAD!!! (buy Beano to counteract the effects)… BEANS ARE A STAPLE FOR LIFE!!!!

Please let me know if you are starting this plan… or if you have been on it…

There is soooo much more to write… but let’s face it… I’m lucky if you even read this far… so I’ll post more tomorrow!

**To my LDL people, as I stated in my copyright stuff, I started this blog to be able to talk about my personal way of doing this plan. Roger Troy has done a wonderful job of planting a seed. All credit for Let’s Do Lunch are HIS… the way I do things are my personal preferences…I will never post my opinions of my way on the boards, out of respect for RT.

Chicken Cacciatore... mmmm

So today’s lunch was a feast.


Since I had my men home for the past 3 days… I made us a huge lunch to send them back to work and school with good food!

Truth be told, we always eat huge lunches… but this was especially large…

Lunch was green beans with lemon and sesame seeds, GINORMOUS salad with red cabbage, artisan lettuce, cukes, radishes, corn, carrots, tomatoes and my special dressing, Israeli couscous for my men, homemade sourdough for my men to sop up the juices, and the Chicken Cacciatore…

So… grab some great chicken, with bones but no skin, salted and peppered, and add them to a screaming hot frying pan with a tiny bit of olive oil… when it is brown and luscious, take them out, and add little more olive oil.

Grab a big onion, chop it up and add it to a screaming hot olive oiled pan, then chop up a red bell pepper into strips and toss them in. Then peel and chop 4 garlic cloves and add to the onion/pepper mixture… Open a can or two of tomatoes or chop 5 fresh romas and add it to the onion/peppers…
Add oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and any other italian seasonings you enjoy.

Add about 1/2 to 1 cup of any wine you like to drink.


Simmer until reduced.

Add chicken back in, and continue to simmer about 1/2 hour until the chicken is soft and the sauce is bubbly.



I didn’t have mushrooms today, or I would have added them in. I like crimini, but you can add button or portobello.


We had leftovers, so I will have a treat tomorrow for lunch!
Enjoy!

Trigger Foods... what are they... what are yours?

Have you stalled in your weight loss? Are you comtemplating eating a better way, but don’t know how to start? Do you need to do something… anything… to get a few pounds off?


Are you aware of “trigger foods”? Do you… on a daily basis…begin to eat well in the morning… and then by the afternoon, you’ve lost all resolve and just give up and go to the drive thru?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, or all of these questions… YOU HAVE COME TO RIGHT PLACE!

I am experiencing a major stall in weight loss. PRIOR to eating this way, I would have thrown in the towel, and gone back to my horrible choices in food…for comfort, for ease and for just plain laziness. NO MORE! A couple of months of staying the same weight IS NOT going to send me into a tail spin…I REFUSE to let it happen!… and to be quite honest with you… IT WOULD BE VERY EASY TO DO!!! Yes, you read that correctly… I’m human, and I feel the same way everyone else does when the scale isn’t cooperating… I get frustrated and want to do the easiest, fastest thing to do to make myself feel better… I want to just thrown in the towel and give up… BUT WHY DON’T I? Well… simply because I HAVE NEVER FELT THIS GOOD ON AN EATING PLAN IN MY LIFE… it would be such a waste to ruin all the good things I’ve done… and after I would have thrown in the towel… I would be no better off than I was 70lbs ago. I DON’T WANT TO KEEP LOSING THE SAME WEIGHT OVER AND OVER AGAIN… I just want to get to goal and STAY THERE FOREVER! I want to be normal again… I want to feel on the outside… the way I have always felt in the inside…THAT I LOVE MYSELF, AND CARE FOR MYSELF, and I want my outside to be proof of what I feel.

TRIGGER FOODS… what are they? How do I avoid them? They are insipid things, really. A trigger food is any food that you love, {that is basically bad for you} that ’sets off’ your eating binges, or sets off cravings for other bad foods. For instance, my trigger foods are bread, pasta, and pizza… see a trend? Carbs. I’m a carbaholic. In the past, I’ve tried all the other diets that limit them and told me I just needed to “count’ them and weigh them, or only eat them in this little container only… and quite frankly… it just made my cravings worse. I can’t eat even a little bit of that stuff, if I want to really keep the weight off. EVENTUALLY, I know I’ll be able to eat a little bit now and then, but not until I am at or very close to goal weight. Your trigger foods may be different… some people may have a candy trigger, or a chip and dip trigger… or even a fancy coffee drink trigger. The sad truth is…we must get RID of the triggers to truly stay on a good weight loss path.


I know… I know… ALL THE EXPERTS talk about portion control, and “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION” and all that mumbo jumbo… but many of us are addicts and don’t know or are willing to admit it. That’s okay… no one needs to come out of the proverbial closet, as long as you know how you react to food inwardly, you can start to make a change.

I’ve found, that the foods I tended to “miss” the most in the beginning, were also my trigger foods. Remember… I actually CRIED over bread! Bread! I bake it every. single. day. I’m over the trigger. I have lived a wonderful, yeast free life the past 8 months, with not one illness, cold, or infection!!! DON’T GET ME WRONG.. Bread is WONDERFUL food, expecially when you buy fresh, whole grain, dark, preservative and process free bread… but for me… I need to stay away from it altogether. My hubby lost 45 lbs while eating my bread every day with lunch only… so it isn’t a deal breaker on an eating plan… but for women… mostly… it should be avoided most of the time if your trigger is bread and carbs.



This morning… my scale finally moved DOWNWARD… only a pound.. but still… IT MOVED!


For the past month or so… I have been tasting my bread for salt. I do it all the time… and for the past two month, I have been making homemade, whole grain sourdough for my family because fermented bread is 100 times better for your digestive system than unfermented… {more on that in another post} {remind me if you don’t see it soon}. What I haven’t been doing, that I USED to do… is SPIT THE TASTE OF BREAD OUT, after chewing it. I know… I know… gross… but true… a good cook MUST taste the food being prepared… but not ALWAYS SWALLOWING THE FOOD!…{Every been wine tasting? Yeah, they spit too)… I mistakenly thought that since I’ve lost so much, that a few bites here and there weren’t gonna hurt me… BUT THAT IS SOOOOO NOT TRUE!… Ever since I’ve not been spitting, I’ve been OVERLY FAMISHED all the time… and eating tons of GOOD FOOD… BUT … still… too much of a good thing is still calorie filled… even veggies…

SO MY WEIGHT HAS STAYED THE SAME.. for two months…

Eating healthy, with lots of veggies, and salads, and beans is a great way to eat.. but even too much of that can stall a good weight loss track record… and the reason for my hunger at all times… was that little piece of trigger food every day… It was very small, like the size of a quarter… but twice a day, for weeks, starts to add up.

Soooo…figure out what your trigger foods are.. and steer clear of them. If you start to make excuses for wanting to eat your trigger food like… “It’s only this one time” or “I deserve to treat myself, I’m worth it” or “I’ve read that if you can’t eat all the things you love on an eating plan, it’s not a good one”… think again. I love chips and dip… but they are garbage.

The dang bag says right on it…”Betcha can’t eat just one!” AND THEY ARE RIGHT!!! HELLOOOOO… TRIGGER FOOD ALERT!!!! If you want to lose and keep weight off, there HAS to be some sacrifices in exchange for your best health… period. The sooner we all learn that… the thinner and healthier we will all be.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Guacamole... use sparingly... but use it...mmmmm

Here’s my favorite way to make guacamole… WARNING… this is a GRINGA recipe… meaning… hardly any heat… add jalapeno all you want… it’s not for me…



5 large Haas Avacado’s (the bumpy kind) peeled and mashed slightly

1 small onion, chopped finely

3 roma tomatoes, chopped small

bunch of cilantro, chopped

juice of 2 limes

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Jalapeno (optional, but according to my hubby, necessary) 

Mix it all together,cover and refrigerate for about an hour…

I love using this on my bunless burgers, and mixed into a green salad, topping homemade refried beans or shelless taco salad!!!

Enjoy!

Eat your water... Fiber... A love story

Does your only source of fiber come out of a plastic container that you have to scoop out with a spoon and swirl in a cup of water… THEN DRINK IT?


Do you eat a piece of white bread and a granola bar all day, and think “I’ve got my fiber in today”?

This is gross… but I’m gonna say it anyway… Do you spend a LONG time on the “loo” waiting… and straining? Did you know that doing that means something? Wanna know what it means? It means eventually, you’re gonna get hemorroids if you keep straining like that… EEWWWWW!

But really, it means that you aren’t eating NEARLY enough fiber every day… AT ALL!

Fiber is UNdigestible, so it’s a great filler for your tummy. It helps us stay fuller, longer. It transports bad things from our bodies.

Ideally, when it’s time to “go”, you should literally sit down, and immediately “go”. No straining should be necessary, if you are getting enough fiber.

You know me.. I’m a food snob from way back… Good food is the basis of good nutrition… and the “bottled” stuff should only be used in severe instances, or in emergencies only.

When choosing bread, choose a dark, sugar free brand, with at LEAST 5 grams of fiber PER SLICE… Costco sells one… and before I started making my own bread… that’s what I bought, or make your own using sourdough starter, and double your benefits! Also… eat LOTS OF FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES… they are loaded with fiber, and other phytochemicals that inhibit cancer growth, increase good cholesterol levels, and carry out all kinds of bad cooties from our environment and bad eating choices.


When eating each meal during a typical day… try this trick I use to “FILL UP”… I eat a piece of fruit BEFORE each meal. My favorites are an apple, or a slice of watermelon, or an orange. You’ll eat less, digest better, and won’t need to drink as much water.

Speaking of water… there’s a huge push for everyone to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. That’s great… BUT… I believe the reason they say those things is because of the typical American diet of fast food, cheetos, alcohol, white bread, cheeses, and fruit snacks in plastic packages. Come on… you know I’m right… I was guilty of it too… The truth is… if you eat enough fruits and veggies, YOU’LL HARDLY EVER GET THIRSTY! You’ll get enough water from them to quench any thirst… and remember… when you get thirsty, you’re about a 1/2 hour late in getting your water, on your way to mild dehydration.

I used to drink water by the trough all day… back when I was eating bread, and cheeses, and processed foods… now I RARELY get thirsty, and if I do drink something, it’s usually Rooibos or Green tea… something that is nourishing as well as thirst quenching.

What you ‘DRINK’ in your foods as as important as what you eat… choose water filled produce and not only will your taste buds do a little dance… but you’ll have less “jiggle” in the middle when you dance… soooo… EAT YOUR WATER, and chew your fiber!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ya Gotta Eat!!!

Have you ever heard that before… on an eating plan? YA GOTTA EAT!… Remember way back when… when we all thought we needed to be hungry all the time to lose weight? Remember when the daily meals consisted of half a grapefruit for breakfast, some awful cabbage soup concoction for lunch and some carrot and celery sticks for dinner were gonna MAKE SURE we were skinny by Friday?


Those days are OVER!!! YEAH!!!!!!… Finally, people realized that to burn calories, and to lose weight, you need to keep fuel in the tank. Of course… it matters what kind of fuel we use. I’ve said over and over and over again… staying away from processed, unhealthy, and sugary foods is the best plan of defense to shed unwanted poundage… so it goes without saying that… hellooo… that is still the rule…

Why eat to lose weight? Why isn’t it that hunger pangs all day aren’t smart… to remind us of how well we are doing on our DIEt? Well, quite simply… if you want your car to run, you have to put gas in it… it’s the same for our bodies… if we want to be able to do all we want/need to do in a day, and to make good food choices all day, every day, we need to eat to keep up with our body’s metabolism. We need to put energy in… so we can expel that energy to do what we must…

I have found, on my eating plan… that if I don’t eat enough during the week, I WON’T LOSE ANY WEIGHT…

My Plateau… the one I finally broke after two months? Yeah… I looked back at my journal, and I wasn’t eating enough to sustain myself those two months. I was eating… but I wasn’t eating FULL meals… I was eating maybe a cup of coffee and a cup of blueberries in the morning… when I should have added a banana to that to help sustain me. For lunch, I wasn’t eating enough beans, and eating too much salad, so I wasn’t full for long stretches, and ate too much in the evening meal of fruit, to make up for my lack of food in the most important part of my day… the morning and midday meal…

Once I figured it out… and got back to eating the right way, I dropped 4 lbs in a week. I was eating all the right foods… just not enough of them at the right time of day… and my body was going into starvation mode, and holding on for dear life, the weight I so wanted to lose… My body wasn’t getting the calories it was used to… and it panicked.

Now… I find that I am not hungry in the evenings any longer, and I only eat something so I don’t wake up at 4 a.m. starving. So I eat a small bowl of frozen blueberries, one at a time, savoring the sweet goodness, while I watch my favorite evening shows.

I can’t WAIT for watermelon season… THAT is my favorite fruit to eat at night. Last summer, I would buy 6-8 watermelons a week, all at once.. and cut up one whole one a night for all 5 of us to eat for dinner. My kids are the MOST happy when watermelon is their dinner. HOW’S THAT for brainwashing!!! I would sprinkle in frozen blueberries and frozen mango for color and tartness, and we’d all fight over it… and each try to get the most… it sad and funny at the same time… LOL!

Here’s what a typical day could look like for you… if you follow this plan… (I’ll do one with bread and one without)

No Bread, Dairy or potatoes Plan

Breakfast = fruit… all you want until full preferably between 7 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Nothing in between…

Lunch = Salad, dressing (lowfat, homemade preferably something with olive oil and vinegar) 1-2 meat patties, veggies, beans, soups, etc… EAT UP! (preferably between 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)

Snack = some sort of fruit only if your are famished

Dinner= fruit till full, or veggie soup, or veggies, or salad (but fruit first)
With bread or rice

Same as above.. except eat the bread with breakfast or lunch… NOT BOTH.. .and not after 3 p.m. (Note.. this is NOT a “Let’s Do Lunch” idea… it’s my own, you won’t find it in the book)

Fruit for dinner is the KEY to this plan. If fruit doesn’t float your boat… have a nice salad, or corn or peas, or beans… just be careful of the oils and fats so late in the evening…

***Sometimes, you can switch your lunch for dinner and eat out with clients or family… but restaurants ALWAYS have the ability to make dishes to order, and have lots of sides that are veggies, or nice big salads you can order with dressing on the side….

It’s not a big deal, if once in a while, you eat two meals with protein in it… at lunch and at dinner… no food police are gonna come and bash in your door… just do the best you can, and make good choices and you will see the weight come off… and you will be sooo happy… your blood pressure will be happy, your blood sugar will be happy, your scale will be happy… YOU will be so healthy..you won’t know what to do with yourself!!!

Lettuce Wraps... My favorite!


Since I no longer eat bread of any kind (personal preference, I’m not saying you should) I’ve had to get creative with my sandwiches. When I eat my Turkey Bean Burgers, I put all the fixings of a burger on them, then wrap it all up in a lovely lettuce encasement and eat up. I truly don’t miss the bread, and my kids have taken to eating them this way from time to time also!


But… one of my all time favorite meals to eat in restaurants (especially the CheeseCake Factory) is Lettuce Wraps. I. LOVE. THEM. LOOOOOOVE THEM! Catch my drift?

I am always trying to duplicate them at home… and I love it. There’s a lot of prep, but the ingredients last for a week in the fridge, and I can have a few wraps every day and be sooo happy! Word to the wise… I have yet to find alternatives to some of the ingredients, so until I find good tasting condiments that are minimally processed, I’m not worrying too much about the ingredients in this recipe… you will… however… notice that I have some ingredients that I wouldn’t necessarily eat, like nuts or peanut butter, but I do make it for my family… I use a good bottled hot asian sauce I enjoy…you can add what you like…

1 head buttery lettuce or Romaine lettuce (iceberg is a waste of time, don’t even bother)

4 carrots, shredded or julienned

2 english cucumbers very thinly sliced and marinated (see below)
bbq’d or broiled chicken breast or shrimp or fish, seasoned and marinated how you wish
thinly sliced green onion finely diced red pepper (or yellow or green)

A bottle of our favorite Asian peanut or Thai sauce

Wash and dry your lettuce and set aside, chop your veggies and place them into separate bowls

To the cucumbers after slicing, marinate them in a little olive oil, 1 tsp sugar or 1 tbs honey, balsamic vinegar, celery seed and hot pepper flakes.

If you don’t want to buy a bottle of sauce, mix up 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1-2 tbs soy sauce, 2 tbs honey, 1/2 tsp grated gingeroot and one clove of garlic.

Then… just build your wraps adding any or all the ingredients you like…
Sometimes, I eat the wraps without the chicken or shrimp, if I’ve already eaten my protein for the day. It’s just as delightful vegetarian

Plateau's... how to deal...

I’ve hit one. I was hoping I wouldn’t. I really didn’t want to… but I hit one anyway… What did I hit? A plateau, or in other words… I haven’t lost a pound in two months. THE GOOD NEWS? I haven’t gained either.


I think my body is saying this to me… “Uh.. Sandra… I’ve gotten rid of 70lbs… consistently… I’m taking a little break” I want to slap it and say… in the infamous words of Cher in “Moonstruck”.. “SNAP OUT OF IT!”… but alas…I can’t. I must wait. I must be ever vigilant.

I MUST NOT REDUCE MY REGULAR INTAKE OF GOOD FOOD… I don’t want my body to hoard the rest of the pounds… HOWEVER…I am going to try and break the plateau with some exercise. I haven’t done much exercise as of yet, and I think it’ll be much easier for me now. Sooo…. tomorrow… I will be doing yoga as a starter, some freestyle dancing around my house to loud music for 1/2 hour and more yoga to cool down…

Hopefully it’ll break this cycle.

I’m still eating all the right foods. I am over any cravings, I can be around all the junk food in the world and not be tempted… my resolve is still stealthy… I’m just not losing like I was.

What keeps me going is the metamorphosis of my body. Although I don’t yet LOOK like I’ve lost a lot of weight, (when you have as much to lose as I do, it’s not noticeable for a long time} I am still noticing that my pants are all baggy on me, and some blouses slide off my shoulders and my rings are all too big for me. So… something is happening. Maybe it’s redistributing. I don’t know… I’m just happy to have found an eating plan that never leaves me hungry or wanting more. It truly has become a complete way of life for me. I rarely think about it anymore, except when I write about it.

I’m dealing with the scale. We’ve made friends. As long as I don’t see the number increase, it will stay intact and not get thrown through a window. That’s how I am dealing with my plateau. My scale will face certain death if it gives me the wrong number.

I’m not complaining. I know I’ve done really well. I just really wanted to be down another 20 lbs by now. It will come… I know it will. I’m just impatient.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sugar... a not so love story...

Sugar.


Sweet, fancy, pure white, powdery sugar. It comes in so many forms, there isn’t enough room to type out all the names… but here are a few…

Glucose, Dextrose, Corn Syrup, Fructose, Sucrose… basically any “ose” out there

It comes in powdered form, syrup, rock, colors, liquid, and it even comes on a stick for ease of eating.

It gets added to almost EVERYTHING on the grocery store shelves… yogurt, bread, pizza dough, drinks, alcohol, lunch meats, chicken, tuna, pasta, canned processed foods, every kid food imaginable, sauces, and of course in cereal, by the truckloads…

Why? BECAUSE IT TASTES GOOD…and if something tastes good… it will be purchased… over.. and over… and over again.

Why? BECAUSE IT IS ADDICTING! Really? Yep… it is. Corn syrup is banned in Europe… FOR A REASON… it makes people crave bad foods… all the foods that corn syrup is used in.

You will hear arguments between groups of people, talking heads mostly, that “sugar is sugar, no matter where it comes from”. Well…. not so fast there bucko.

Do the math. Hold in one hand… a candy bar, and hold in another one, and nice, juicy, ripe, ice cold peach. Both have sugar. Both are sweet. One has fiber and roughage as a delivery system to our bodies, and one had corn syrup, modified food starches (sugar), food coloring, guar gum, and a host of other ‘things’ in it. Duh… which one is better for you?

Sugar is not sugar. That’s just too simplistic. I believe in natural sugars. Those that come cloaked in a peel, under a wrapper of edible lusciousness. Yes, I know… cane sugar is “natural” and for some things, it is useful… but not to the abundance the American Diet is using it. It is LITERALLY in EVERYTHING! You can’t swing a dead cat in a grocery store and not hit something that has waaaaay too much sugar in it! Did you know that Domino's Pizza adds sugar and LARD to their dough?  Yeah.. just saw it on a show called Food Tech...

Cancer loves sugar. Sugar breaks down cell walls and allows cancer cells to invade. Sugar in fruits carry away bad cells with the fiber of the fruit, and the natural sugars are used much more rapidly by our bodies. Our bodies know EXACTLY what to do with fruit sugar. We are made to break it down. Our kidney’s don’t get overworked using fruit sugars.


Our kidneys kick into overdrive to break down and use other sugars, and all the other horrid ingredients it comes with.

Eating sugar lowers our immune systems. Try going completely “bad” sugar free for a month, and see how much MORE energy you will have. See how much less tired you become, how your allergies may lessen in severity, how your face will clear up, how much less you get ill. It is amazing. You can do anything for a month. You will start to notice that if you were to eat something with white sugar in it after a month, it will taste entirely TOO sweet, and you won’t crave it. During the month, eat all the fruit you want… morning, noon and night. Mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, frozen grapes, peaches, blueberries, apples, pears etc…. Do this FOR yourself… don’t think of it as something you are doing TO yourself.

Those canned sodas(all sodas)… are the worst. Something like 16 teaspoons of sugar per can… YIKES! Diet soda? just as bad… I promise… all that aspartame and chemicals in it… they are timebombs clothed in aluminum.

I want you to live a really long time.. unless your initials are “A”… oh nevermind… that’s not nice…

Cut processed sugar out of your life…and add years to your life… in the process…

White sugar… bad… fruit sugar… good.

Turkey, zucchini, garlic meatballs... YUM!!!

I know what you must be thinking… zucchini… in meatballs? Yes. I have to admit… I am addicted to turning traditionally fatty meals into figure friendly ones… and adding zucchini is just the ticket in the recipe I came up with yesterday.


Here’s what you’ll need (and feel free to make this into either meat loaf, patties or any shape you like)

2 lbs ground Turkey

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (or a grating cheese you like, except fatty ones like cheddar or swiss)

1 large zucchini, grated

1 egg white

as much Italian seasoning as you like

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

4 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, mashed or minced… OR… some roasted garlic!!!! YUM!

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl.

I put gloves on, because raw meat between my fingers makes me gag… BUT you just use your hands to squish it all together and get it all good and mixed up, then form your meatballs, patties or loaves…

I use a special raised meatball pan, but you can place them on a foil lined, lipped baking sheet, and bake them at 400 for about 20 minutes or so…

They are awesome in sandwiches between lettuce leaves… or made into burgers.

Make them tiny and dip them into white bean dip for lunch, or put them on a skewer for kids to dip into BBQ sauce or marinara…

It’s a great way to “sneak” zucchini into the diet…

Add any minced veggies you like!!!

Enjoy!

Prep... it just makes sense!

Whether you are eating for health or to lose weight… or even if you don’t give one iota about what foods you eat… PREP is a great habit to get into.




So you are probably asking “Sandra… what exactly do you mean by the word PREP?”



Well… I’ll tell you!



OKAY! HERE IT IS!

I get asked all the time…”Saundra, how is it that you have 3 kids, your kids play in 4 different sports sometimes at the same time, you have your own home business that you do truly at home, a husband that works far from home, and you cook almost every night?!?”

My answer to that is simple “ORGANIZATION AND PREP TIME” & I do with my time what I deem important to me and my family, not what others deem important.

Ladies… women are natural organizers. We compartmentalize everything in our lives. Our kids, our work, housework, even our free time!

I know everyone likes to say they don’t have any free time. We seem to be brainwashed into thinking that the less time we say we have, the more important we become. Well, we all get the same 24 hours in a day, and we all get a choice on how we use them.

We ALL have “busy” lives. Just because I have 3 kids DOES NOT automatically make me more busy than a woman with one child or even no children! Just because I don’t have a “regular” 9-5 job does not make me less busy than a Mama that works 10 hour days.

Our times are just shifted.

Everyone has their own priorities, quality of life, family time, reading time, craft time, sport time etc…

We all have choices… and if one of your choices is to find time to do the things you have been wanting to do, but don’t get too, this is the place for you!

I have had 25 years experience in how to do things in an organized, methodical, (my hubby says “sickeningly methodical” ) way. (He just doesn’t “get” my way of doing things… but he sure isn’t complaining when he sits down to a 4 course, hot, ready meal 5-6 nights a week, and made for pennies on the dollar) And yes ladies and gents… the kids do the dishes… every night.

Here is the rule for this post…

Use what you love, don’t listen to what doesn’t sit well with you or your family, and comment on what works for you!

My way isn’t the only way… for everyone, but it is for me. If I can help even one guy or gal get a good, hot, easily made, satisfying meal on their table a couple times a week, I am a happy girl.

Seem like a plan?

Good!

So let’s journey on… shall we?

Prep is meant to be a helper to you. To help you “just get it done” so you don’t have to worry about it during your busy week. Whether your prep is paying your bills up, ravaging the freezer for items that will expire soon, shopping for staples and food needs for the week,

or cutting and chopping all my dinner and lunch items for the week, so all I have to do is dump and cook it, as long as it creates peace for you…IT’S PREP!
 
Since my business is about food prep, and my kids are human garbage disposals these days,


my food prep has become my “peaceful place”. When it’s done… I feel like all I have to do for dinner is put it together… all the brain work is done on Sundays.

I just don’t fret anymore. I rarely ask myself… “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?”

And now… I frequently have an answer for my men when they ask “What’s for dinner?”

The key to cooking a hot meal every night or at least some nights is…

ADVANCED PREPARATION!



In my household, it is key to success.

I set aside about 2 hours every week, usually on Sunday Evenings when Desperate Housewives is on, to cut, chop and cook whatever I can ahead of time.

I, ideally, like to plan what I am cooking ahead… but sometimes life gets in the way, and I have to rummage through my freezer and pantry and plan from there. THIS is where real recipes come from.. necessity.

90% of the time… I know I will need at least a few onions, some peppers and celery, and some ground beef, chicken or turkey browned up.

The picture below… is how I get all that prep done in a SNAP!!! Ask my cousin Elena… she reads me every day… and she’s seen this baby in action… it is truly AWESOME!
 
There is nothing I can’t do with this tool. It’s called the Genius Nicer Dicer and it does to onions what it takes professional culinary students a week to do perfectly! I can chop, into PERFECT dices, 10 onions in about 10 minutes flat… I’M NOT KIDDING! I just put all the onion into some Lock N Lock and I have onion at the ready for a week. Same goes for peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, hardboiled eggs, celery, carrots, etc… BUY IT! IT IS WONDERFUL!!!


I make all the lunches for the school week on one day… I cut all my onions, make soups, brown meats, chop veggies, make bread dough, bake morning muffins, wash and dry and cut all the lettuce, and whatever I can do to make the rest of the week just a quick throw together for meals. MY FAMILY… SITTING AROUND THE TABLE TOGETHER…is what’s important… not how long it took me to make the meal.

Now that we eat our larger meals during the day, and don’t eat meat or bread in the evenings… IT’S EVEN EASIER to do the prep, and to get a meal on the table at night. Since my soups are already made on one day, and all the beans are soaked and cooked in one day, I can whip up a great salad, soup, and wonderful bean dish in minutes flat!!! On weekends… we eat a feast together at 1 p.m. and have some nice fruit for dinner.

Whatever you do to make life easier for you… do it all in a couple of hours…and ENJOY YOUR FAMILY!…

Avocado, Corn & Bean Salad

While I made my family and father in law homemade pizza, taco dip, potato skins and whatever else their culinary hearts desired for the Super Bowl feeding frenzy… I made sure to supply myself with some tasty, festive morsels too…


One dish I made for moi was my Black Bean, Corn and Avocado salad…

Here’s what you need:

1.2 cans black beans rinsed and drained or 3-4 cups home cooked

2.2 cups frozen corn, thawed

3.4 diced tomatoes

4.3 cloves crushed garlic

5.1 small bunch cilantro or parsley, chopped

6.1/2 diced red or yellow onion

7.1 seeded jalapeno (optional) chopped

8.2 diced avocados

9.1/2 cup olive oil

10.3 tbs balsamic vinegar (add more to taste)

11.salt to taste

12.pepper to taste

13.juice of one lemon or lime

14.1 tbs cumin

15.1/4 tsp cayenne

Dump everything into a large bowl and gently mix it all up. Refrigerate to develop the flavors for 2 hours, but it’s great eaten right away too. This makes a lot of salad. I mixed some into a tossed lettuce salad yesterday, and it was delicious. It makes a great side dish for any lean meat, and my family likes it over brown rice for a complete protein.



Mangia!

What I learned this weekend.

There sure are a lot of people out there that want other people to fail… Have you ever felt that way? I’m trying to better my life, become more healthy, live longer, not get sick etc…and every once in a while, I come across someone that says stuff like this…”Oh Sandra…I know you’ve lost 70 lbs… but you HAVE to know that most people gain back all the weight they lost, plus gain back more!” or my favorite…”Oh come on… you can eat it this ONE time can’t you?” I wonder if they say the same things to Alcoholics or former Drug addicts. Can you imagine offering someone YOU KNOW is on the wagon, a drink… ‘just this once’? Granted, I am no longer addicted to bad food, and the insensitive oaf didn’t nudge me along to “cheat” at all, but still… it really pissed me off!




After thinking about it for a few seconds, I came to the conclusion that ’she’ was either jealous of my new way of life, or scared of my new way of life. Mind you… I was NOT talking about my eating habits, or even mentioned it! (I know you probably think this is all I do, write, talk and eat food… but I really do have a ton of other interests too, and really only talk about it here… LOL)


On your particular journey, you are going to meet people along the way that will pick your choices apart and try to make you re-think your decisions. If you MUST brood about it afterward… please only allow about 1o seconds of it.. then move on. I have found that those that really love me, are embracing my new way of eating, and those that are threatened by it, aren’t around so much anymore… and truthfully, the naysayers arent missed.


People who say things like “I’m so proud of you” and “You are doing so great” are FOR you… and those that say things like “Ugh… you don’t eat bread? I could never do that” and “You know… fruit is sugar too” are AGAINST you. They either haven’t learned how to have an uplifting conversation, or are just self hating losers that can’t stand it when others succeed.

I know it sounds harsh… but you would NOT believe some of the stuff people have told me in the past 8 months…. AND I’M NOT EVEN THIN YET! Can you imagine what will happen when I’m at goal weight? I think I’ll carry around a notepad and start quoting the dumb nuts who think they are witty and smarmy.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… don’t let people get you down. Whichever weight loss path you are choosing, {{as long as it isn’t extreme or harmful to yourself}} stick with it, and don’t let others dictate to you. If you happen to be on the same plan as I am, remember how good you feel when you’ve eaten well, and effortlessly the weight comes off, and how you don’t have cravings anymore… and just keep the naysayers in your prayers…
I like saying this prayer… Dear God, if you can’t make my friends be nice to me… please make them fat!

JOKING… I’M JUST JOKING!!! Calm down… LOL! All in good fun…:)

Sooo… if you’ve overindulged today, tomorrow is a new day, a fresh new start… Monday’s… ya gotta love ‘em!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

White Bean Dip

Or Black bean dip, or ANY BEAN DIP… for that matter.




Grab your favorite beans,2-3 cups cooked, and smashed in a food processor or blender along with 1 small jar of roasted red peppers or a few oil packed sundried tomatoes, salt, pepper, 2 garlic cloves, some saute’d till brown onions and some Olive Oil, and whiz the heck out of it until its creamy and thick.



Transfer to a dish and refrigerate for about an hour… enjoy with celery stalks, endive spears, jicama sticks, carrot sticks, or pepper slices

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to make fresh homemade bread...

FIRST… let me just say… I am in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM saying eating bread is okay on the LDL plan… IT’S NOT!!! However… since reading the boards on their site, I have noticed that a ton of people don’t follow the plan strictly like I do, therefore, they aren’t losing the weight as quickly… AND… I think they are succoming to the temptation of breads and sweets. I believe if we make our own food, and eat a tiny bit of it and less of the packaged junk… we all might fare better… and my belief is that cooking for yourself is ALWAYS better than store bought food… hands down… That being said… Bread homemade or not… for me… isn’t on my menu… but it is for my family.




The reason I am posting this is … 1. It’ my blog and I can do and write what I like … and 2. I’ve had many requests for the recipe of my breads… and since I LOVE to make bread, and it’s part of my business to do so… why not share?


First of all… remember, to be more healthy and to lose weight and keep it off, bread is highly addictive to some people, and should NOT be eaten… like me… HOWEVER… if not eating bread is a deal breaker for you… MAKING IT YOURSELF is a billion times better than buying it in a store… BECAUSE YOU’LL KNOW what’s in it… and remember… EAT IT ONLY EARLY IN YOUR DAY… AND NEVER AT NIGHT…


I haven’t purchased a loaf of bread, bagels, pitas, scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls, baguettes, pizza or ANYTHING really that has gluten in it from a store in almost 2 solid years. I make ALL of those things with this simple recipe, that I keep on hand ALL THE TIME… in my fridge…

I must give credit… where credit is due… I use a book called “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and by clicking here http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/ you can see the wonderful world of baking bread and making it every day… WITH OUT KNEADING!!! I just can’t get it all in like they do… there are also lots of YouTube videos with Zoe and Jeff making the dough. Buy the book, learn… and have a BALL!


I have graduated to making my own Sourdough Starter and Sourdough bread now, and have recently learned that sourdough is one of the worlds best kinds of bread to eat because of the fermentation process to make the starter. Since it is already “digested” by the starter, sourdough’s tend to be better for people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and people who want to eat a little bread but don’t want to feel weighed down, can eat it and not have any side effects of their stomachs trying to digest the yeast… It also is a “good” yeast to have in your digestive tract… much like the good yeasts in yogurt. Our bodies readily accept the sourdough and use the energy more efficiently.

That being said… I still don’t eat any of the bread (I keep saying that so my LDL friends don’t turn me in to the bread police).. but it sure smells good in my house… everyday. It could smell just this way for you too…


AND… if you don’t want to make bread for yourself, and you live closeby… I would be happy to bake and sell you fresh bread every day if you wish… I do it all the time. It makes me feel great that others are eating bread that is optimal in health. I add flax seed meal, and wheat germ and other wholesome things to fortify the bread… and no.. you can’t taste any of the ingredients except yumminess.

Let me know if you tried the recipe in the book… I’d be so happy to help you in any way I can… and am even available for classes to teach you how to make it!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Better ways to eat at Super Bowl Parties

Do you LOVE Super Bowl Sunday? Do you love all the food, and festivities, family and friends? I’ll bet you do… just like my family does. Super Bowl Sunday and food go hand in hand, don’t they? I just heard on the radio that Americans will ingest 14,500 TONS of chips on Sunday. Isn’t that sad? Yes… sad.


Now that I have had life changing success with my health, and have re learned how to eat better, hearing news about so much junk food being eaten makes me shudder. Just thinking about all the salt, fat and processed food makes my ankles swell and my blood pressure go up!

So… I came up with some ALTERNATIVES to junk food for Super Bowl Sunday, so all of you can take a few dishes to a party, and 1. have something for yourselves to choose from that’s good for you, and 2. maybe help someone else get some healthy alternatives into their bodies too.



Here are some alternative choices…

1.Instead of mayo based macaroni salad…. do a lovely pasta salad with a vinigarette dressing

2.Instead of Jalapeno Poppers from a box… stuff some red peppers with brown rice, tomato sauce, feta cheese, parsley and seasonings and bake them up!

3.Instead of chips and dip… make a huge bowl of cut up fruit with a dip made from Greek Yogurt, cinnamon, brown sugar and lemon zest

4.Instead of soda… make smoothies or add wine to the smoothies for a nice adult beverage, or better yet… MAKE SANGRIA!

5.Instead of store bought cookies and cakes… make your own from scratch… and indulge a tiny bit… and give the rest away

6.Instead of hot wings… make hot chicken tenders…{less fat, more meat, all the flavor}

7.Serve Hummus as a dip alternative, and make a huge platter of delectable veggies.

8.Instead of store bought potato skins.. make you own, or make SWEET POTATO FRIES from scratch… and serve with lowfat sour cream dip
 
I love layered dips… but they can be so fat laden… Here’s a favorite recipe that isn’t fat free, but is still better for you than the store bought stuff, and once in great while won’t hurt your waistline or your resolve…


TACO DIP

2 cans refried beans (or homemade… mmmmm)

2 bricks good quality, no preservative cream cheese

2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix

4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (try to get real cheese with few ingredients)

2 avocados, sliced and cubed into small dices

4 tomatoes chopped

2 cans black olives, chopped

1 cup chopped cilantro

In a large 12×9 or 12×15 baking dish, spread the two cans of beans to cover the bottom of pan… THEN combine in a bowl the cream cheese, taco seasoning, garlic, and 1 cup of the cheese and mix until well combined, and spread that all over the beans… SPRINKLE the rest of the cheese over that, and microwave for 5 minutes or bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes

When it’s all bubbly and warm, spread all the olive, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro over the hot, bubbling dip… and serve with whole grain crackers, organic chips or bread sticks…

I PROMISE YOU… no one will ever think this is somewhat good for them… just remember.. this is a “once in a while” food. Do I indulge? Sadly no, I can’t do cheese.. soooo…

I have devised a plan so I can enjoy some of it too…

I make a layered dish of beans, tomato, olive, avocado and cilantro and sprinkle over some fresh lime juice and a little salt, and make a gorgeous, light, “salsa” for my celery and jicama sticks… it’s pretty yummy.

Enjoy the Super Bowl and stay tuned for some great ideas for Valentines Day food!


Do you love salad? Do you think to really eat well, and lose weight, then salads should be a staple food in your everyday eating plan? Do you eat salads regularly? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions… you are on your way to a very healthy future. HOWEVER… CAUTION… what do you put ON TOP OF YOUR SALAD… meaning… how do you dress your salad?


Some think of salad as lettuce, tomato, maybe a cucumber slice or two.. and while that is GREAT… it’s pretty basic… and kinda boring. This post is going to hopefully help you see salad as more than just a bowl of lettuce… and to really open up some salad options for ya!

So… here’s a list of things to add to your salads for added, flavor, color, and nutrition!

1.fresh or frozen corn kernels and/or beans

2.black or green olives

3.bean sprouts

4.alfalfa sprouts

5.arugula (rocket)

6.fresh spinach

7.jicama chunks or grated pieces

8.shredded carrot

9.green beans

10.chopped egg white

11.onions

12.you get the idea… go to a salad bar restaurant and see what they offer in FRESH ingredients (no mayo based salads) and duplicate that at home!

The color of your lettuce is very important. Iceberg, in my book, isn’t a good choice for a salad. It offers little in nutrition in comparison to the greener, leafy lettuces. If you like a peppery punch, go for arugula and sprinkle it over a nice Romaine or Artisan lettuce salad…


In virtually EVERY salad I make, I ALWAYS add a hefty handful of shredded cabbage (green or purple) to the mix… it adds POWERFUL cruciferous qualities to it.. and a nice crunch. Frozen defrosted peas are also a favorite.


So add tons of veggies to your salads… and reap the benefits of all the wonderful colors have to offer your health.



DRESSING is another story. BEWARE of the thick, mayo based dressings. Making dressings yourself is the ONLY way to eat a healthier, process free dressing…

Use Olive Oil, good vinegar, salt and pepper for a good basic dressing. Use Lemon juice and olive oil for a light, flavorful twist. Add a teaspoon of sugar for a sweet treat. (Not artificial sweeteners) Love Honey Mustard? Combine Apple Cider vinegar and honey with a nice grainy mustard for a fat free, low carb, high flavor alternative to an oil based dressing… play around with it to get the sweetness and flavor you like. If you want it really creamy… blend it all in a blender and it turns into a creamy, luscious dressing… Use herbs in your dressings too… rosemary, parsley, cilantro, chipotle peppers, garlic.. all add immense flavor for little calories…



I like to wash and spin a bunch of lettuce ahead of time for the week.. and place it all into a huge Lock n Lock container and store it in my fridge. That way, I just have to grab a handful or two of lettuce and add my toppings in small amounts… it lasts all week. You can chop and dice all your toppings ahead of time too, and just add as needed from the fridge…

Eat your colors! Enjoy!

"I want to lose weight... but there's so much temptation around!"

I’ve said that sentence up there before… you’ve said it too, if you’re honest. Have you ever noticed, that as soon as you start a new eating plan, or announce that you are on a new eating plan, ALL THE GOODIES THAT ARE BAD FOR US… come out of the woodwork? Co-workers start bringing in cookies, and bagels with cream cheese, big bowls of pasta are ordered for catering events, soda is everywhere??? Ever notice that? Ever wonder WHY all that stuff suddenly starts appearing???


I have a secret to tell you… You’re not gonna like it… Ready? Okay… here goes… ALL THAT STUFF HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE, YOU JUST DIDN’T NOTICE IT UNTIL YOU DECIDED TO EAT RIGHT!… See? I told ya you wouldn’t like it. Think about it… its true right? The same guy brings in the same bagels and cream cheese every week, or on Tuesdays, the Donut Lady brings in the 2 dozen donuts…etc… THE DIFFERENCE? You (we) know we can’t continue to eat those things and be healthy, so we decide to stop… AND THEN ALL WE WANT IS THE BAD STUFF!

For the ladies… remember when you first got pregant? Didn’t it seem like everywhere you looked after that… all you saw was pregnant women?

Listen. I’m a bread baker/caterer. Making stuff that I can’t shouldn’t eat IS MY JOB! It’s all around me.. every single day. Have I ever been tempted? YEP… as a matter of fact…when I first started Let’s Do Lunch, about a week into the plan… I STARTED CRYING OVER THE FACT THAT BREAD WAS NOT IN MY FUTURE EATING… CRYING… PEOPLE!!! Is food worth crying over? Nope… Did I cry over it? Yep! Was it dumb? Yep Am I over it? Yep… Was it irrational? Yep. BUT it was real. Before I started eating right, I never cried over something as small as food. I never even THOUGHT about bread… and truth be told, I didn’t eat a whole heck of a lot of it… BUT THE THOUGHT OF IT BEING GONE… was too much apparently for that moment in time. When I started this plan, BREAD was on my mind 24/7 for a few days. It was ridiculous!

I am here to tell you… that piece of pie, that sandwich loaded with mayo and bad white bread, that drive thru burger and fries… DOES NOT TASTE AS GOOD AS LOSING WEIGHT FEELS!

When you think you just can’t resist that piece of chocolate cake… that bowl of morning sugar cereal, that Latte loaded with caramel from the coffee shop… stop and think about how you will feel AFTER you eat/drink it. Will there be guilt? Resentment? Anger? Disgust? Will you go to the mirror and tell yourself what a bad person you are? YOU HAD BETTER NOT! You are too precious, too incredibly made, too special to feel those feelings… HOWEVER… if, after you eat the bad food item, you won’t feel as good about yourself… then TRY YOUR HARDEST to remember that you are doing this FOR yourself… not TO yourself… AND if you must give in to your craving… EAT THE TINIEST amount possible to curb the beast… then THROW IT OUT!

Cravings, “reasons to celebrate with food”, “just one cookie”, “just one martini”, feelings will come and go…
The trick is to be present in that moment… feel it… recognize it. Don’t berate yourself if you give in… MOVE ON.. and jump right back on the proverbial horse, AT THE VERY NEXT MEAL… NOT THE VERY NEXT DAY… Start doing well again… AT THE NEXT MEAL!!!

Let me know if you’ve experienced this before, and leave a comment or two..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I scream, you scream, we all scream for...

I love ice cream. It didn’t love me. I should have just rubbed the stuff on my thighs and stomach instead of eating it…I can’t have it in the house… too tempting… even now… even though I’ve read the ingredients lists of most of them, and they are carcinogenic garbage… I remember what it tastes like… and I know it can’t be in my home… for both reasons… processed ingredients, AND sugar and fat and dairy…


So I had to come up with an alternative. I had to come up with a way to have that same sensation of icy cold goodness. I wanted it to have the texture and creaminess of good, well made ice cream, without all the dairy, and with virtually no fat.

So… I played around with ingredients, and what didn’t turn out… we ate anyway… because it was delicious. Now… don’t get me wrong… the suggestions I state on here ARE NOT going to taste just like Haagen Daas premium… BUT… it may cure the ice cream sweet tooth one may have… in a pinch.

Just so you know… I don’t add any sweetener to any of these recipes… I like the fruit to taste like it’s supposed to. Also, I never bother with artificial sweeteners… if my boys want theirs a little sweeter than mine, I allow them to add a TINY BIT real sugar… at least I know it has one ingredient it in… sugar… and no chemicals… I DON’T CARE WHAT ‘THEY’ SAY… THAT Splenda, Equal, Sweet N Low STUFF IS POISON!

So… gather a bunch of this stuff or pick and choose…

1.food processor or good blender

2.frozen fruit of your choice (i like blueberries, strawberries, mixed fruit, mixed berries)

3.bananas (fresh or frozen) Freeze them without the peel.

4.canned fruit like peaches or pears IN ITS OWN JUICE**

5.fresh fruit of your choice

6.plastic container with good locking lid like Lock n Lock

7.OPTIONAL – nonfat or 1% milk or fresh, natural, probiotic yogurt (I don’t use any of these in mine… but you certainly could)

Okay… so now it’s just a matter of combining flavors and pulverizing them in the appliance. The key to the creaminess in a NON DAIRY ice cream or thick smoothie, is the banana. While not entirely necessary, it is extremely healthy, with lots of potassium, so I use it. It is the emulsifier to the sorbet like concoction. If you add the dairy, it will come together and get thick and taste creamier. I don’t eat dairy anymore… so I leave it out. I have found that the natural pectin in Strawberries is also a nice emulsifier.

**Oh… those cans of peaches and pears? I forgot to tell you… THOSE are a great, awesome, in a pinch items. Take that can of whatever it is.. AND FREEZE THE ENTIRE CAN until solid. Yes.. you can put it in the freezer… go ahead… I’ll wait. The next time you need a quick dessert or just crave a sorbet… pull that can out of the freezer, let it sit for a few minutes or run some cool water over it. Open up both sides, and push the solid through the opening right into your food processor or blender, and pulverize until creamy. THEN… eat up… it TASTES EXACTLY LIKE A SORBET…

After you try it once, you’ll start storing cans in your freezer all the time. You can also empty the can into an airtight container and do it that way…try it! You won’t be sorry!

Okay… soo… you whizz up the frozen fruit, banana, milk if you choose and let it stay a very thick, frothy ice cream like texture then pour it into a lidded container and freeze it… instant ice cream… THAT IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! Eat all you want! {sometimes I have to let a few pieces of the frozen fruit get defrosted and juicy so my blender will turn. I try to stay away from adding juice…because of the sugar, and it tends to turn the frozen stuff to clear ice in the freezer and keeps it from staying scoopable.It won’t be as easy to scoop it as the regular ice cream, but it will be delicious, nourishing and refreshing… exactly what food should taste like

Water, Liquid everywhere... but not a drop to drink...

Water, soda, green tea, tea, wine, coffee, diet soda, Tall venti Caramel Macchiatos, beer, and juice…


Almost everything we eat or drink has calories. Some of those calories are loaded with good stuff like, antioxidants,polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, flouride.. and some are loaded with sugar, sugar, aspartame, sugar, processed carcinogens, sugar, and oh… did I mention sugar? To effectively and permanently lose weight, we have to make the right choices in our liquid intake… we need to drink to quench thirst… and ideally, it should be either water, unsweetened green,black or rooibos tea, an occasional glass of wine, or even a beer once in a while. Are you wondering why I left out juice? Juice is an okay drink… unsweetened of course… but eating the whole fruit is 100 times better than drinking the juice… that’s why I left it off the list.

Since starting this plan almost 8 months ago… I RARELY get thirsty anymore. I eat so many fruits and veggies loaded with water, that I don’t need to drink gallons of water. When we get thirsty, our body is telling us we needed water 1/2 an hour ago… being thirsty is our body’s way of telling us we aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies.

Water is great. Clean, calorie and fat free. You can drink it from the tap, bottled, filtered, reverse osmosis’d… warm, icy cold, hot… you name it…just drink all you want.


Green,black or rooibos tea, also calorie free if drunk unsweetened… goes one better than water. WITH the tea, you get a host of other good things… antioxidants, ECgC, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory properties… and a bunch of other compounds they haven’t even discovered yet. BEWARE… all green and black teas have some caffeine (unless marked decaf) so if you want to get a good nights sleep… drink Rooibos tea at night… it’s caffeine free, and has flouride, manganese and all the great things green tea has… just no caffeine… it’s also safe for babies to drink. It’s my favorite drink… hands down.

Wine has long been considered good for you in moderation… especially red wine. The tanins in it are good for your heart, arteries and blood. It is calorie laden… so be careful.

Beer… on occasion… ONLY non domestic, is good because of the brewer’s yeast… it too is loaded with minerals.


Soda and Diet Soda… I don’t know which one is worse… the aspartame in the diet junk… or the sugar in the regular. One can of regular soda has the equivalent of 25 tsp. of sugar in it… and aspartame? It’s the devil… no one quite knows what the ramifications of it are yet… PLEASE NEVER FEED IT TO YOUR KIDS… it’s just too risky.

Fancy box store coffee drinks – LOADED with fat, oils and garbage… {I used to love them, and had one almost every other day} and even if you order it nonfat and non dairy… guess what… my friend that manages one of them says… they just put whatever they have in it… you never know or see what they do…

Eat your colors, and thirst no more… but if you need some liquid nourishment… drink smart and learn to love water or tea… your waistline will thank you… as well as your heart, hair, nails, teeth and skin.