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Omnivore's Dilemna is Right

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ok, I know this is an old book. I am late to the party. I was reading this while on the plane, and I'm totally depressed.

(Apologize in advance if my thoughts aren't quite polished. I'm still very fatigued from travel.)

Ethical eating on a mass scale is zero sum. We're doomed.

This is only touched on very briefly in the book, but know all the recommendations to eat fish that are high in Omega-3's because they are good for you? We're told to avoid red meat because they are low in omega-3s and high in omega-6s, right?

Did you know grass fed beef is high in omega 3s? Buffalo meat? Game meat? Animal protein rich in omega-3s comes from an herbivore diet.

Fish get it from eating algae and plankton. Salmon are carnivores who get rich in omega-3s by eating other fish that eat algae and plankton. Ye olde food chain.

Modern cattle are high in omega-6s because they are force fed cornfeed - not their natural diet. Omega-6s comes from grain diets.

I was horrified when I read in the book that farm raised salmon are being engineered to tolerate cornfeed. This means all those benefits to eating salmon for omega-3s will disappear. At least, for farm raised salmon. They will become rich in omega-6s, just like the factory cow.

My heart sank at quite a few turns in the book. There's no point in buying organic milk anymore. Organic milk just means the cow was fed organic cornfeed. Not that the dairy cow ever lived in a pasture and ate grass. They are raised exactly the same way was 'conventional' milk cows. They are still fed cornfeed. It's just organic cornfeed.


The title of the book sums up what I am feeling succinctly. I try to eat mostly fruit and veg, but I am not able to hold the discipline to be 100% vegetarian. I have tried at various times in my life, but I find it to be something I am not able to commit to.

I take a native American approach to eating meat. Native Americans respected the earth and all the creatures who live on her. Buffalo was an important animal for their existance. The buffalo gave them clothing and shelter, in addition to food. They respected the buffalo, and thanked the animal for its life.

I grew up in Colorado, where there is a strong hunter culture. Backyard barbeques with venison and elk from someone's hunt were common. I believe it is honorable for a person to be able to kill the animal themselves, than for it to be an anonymous package in the supermarket.

Factory farming of livestock is disrespectful. Cattle were not meant to be force fed corn. The problems we have with e coli and salmonella, and antibiotic resistant bacteria are directly related to factory style farming. They live in unsanitary conditions, and this makes its way into the food chain. This is not normal. This is why I am absolutely against irradiation. It shouldn't be happening.

I try to buy grass fed beef when I can. I thought I was doing the same with organic chickens, but after reading the book, it seems misleading.

Omnivore's dilemna is right. I'm not sure how to reconcile my desire for ethically raised animals and sustainable farms, and what it really is. I'm not even sure going vegetarian or vegan would even address the underlying broken system in modern American agriculture. Even organicly grown vegetables and fruits doesn't mean it came from a sustainable farm.

I have much to think about.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARCHIMEDESII 5/17/2011 3:47PM

    I loved Ominvore's Dilemma !! I thought that was a marvelous book.
It's one of a bunch of really good books on food and nutrition I've read in a long time. I should re-read it.

I was talking with a friend of mine and I said one day if I ever teach a class on nutrition, I'm going to use two books in particular. What were those two books ? One is Upton Sinclair's the Jungle and the other is Fast Food Nation. 100 years separate those books and yet, we are still having issues with our food supply !!! astonishing.

I also got into a minor argument with another friend who said we should be eating only sustainably grown foods. he doesn't believe in industrial organic. Well, I told him that industrial organic is the only way to feed over SIX BILLION people !! while it's great to have small sustainable farms, there is no way they can provide food for the entire population of the US, let alone the world.

That's where industrial organic comes in. If we can get more larger farms to go organic, that's more land that isn't going to be strewn with pesticides or chemicals. And the better the quality of the land, the better the quality of the food.

It's tough to be an ethical "eater" these days. I say we just do the best we can, making small changes where we can. I suspect with time, all those small changes will start up. Think of the health food market. We used to think only granola types bought food at health markets. Well, guess I'm a granola type now !

LOL !!!!

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THINRONNA 5/14/2011 3:51PM

    My grandmother began learning about diet and the conditions that animals are often living under and what they are fed. She had been raised on a farm...a real farm and was so dismayed about the current conditions that she became a vegetarian. She was 90 when she made this change.

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 5/14/2011 1:00PM

    It is overwhelming when you look at the number of products with corn in them. Things you would never expect...

My son was recently diagnosed with a corn allergy and we have had to overhaul our diet and the products we use. It is frightening when you realize that corn or one of the many derivatives, is in practically everything processed in the US. Not just food products...prescription and over the counter pills, shampoo and toothpaste and of course cleaning supplies. We eat as little processed food as possible. But even fresh is no guarantee as the lovely shine on fruit and vegetables in the grocery store and the mold inhibitor used to spray lettuce etc is probably a corn derivative.

I think we all have to do what is right for ourselves and our families. Everyone has a different situation. Honestly, if my son wasn't having a problem I wouldn't have known that corn was everywhere. I didn't think about it. I'm not sure that people are aware of the amount of corn they ingest everyday in its various forms. But I do know that if more people insist on knowing what is in their food, the government and the marketplace will respond. We all have a lot to think about!

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CAROLJEAN64 5/14/2011 12:07PM

    "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale
When I read about and am faced with the choices you speak of, I try to remember this quote. I will do what I can and encourage others and I will not give up. This our second year supporting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for our vegetables in the summer. I eat very little beef and pork.

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KAYOTIC 5/14/2011 9:53AM

    I've read a bunch of Pollan's books, and they inspired me to try to make better choices. Can they all be "perfect"? No, but I do my best. Sometimes convenience wins out over the healthiest choice, and I know for some folks money can be an issue when choosing mainstream over organic. (and yes, the "organic" choices sometimes don't mean what we think they mean), but I have to live in this world, and not some idealized version of it, so I do my best. And that also means I'm planting my second garden in two years, and looking at the ingredients in my packaged foods for the least amount of unpronounceables, and then after that I don't worry about the rest of it so much.

We can only try our best to make what small changes we can with the food that is available to us at this moment. Or we could bemoan our choices, throw our hands in the air and give up....I choose the small changes where I can make them, and keep looking for opportunities to make more of them. After all "perfection is the enemy of the good" (Voltaire) so don't don't throw out the good with the imperfect bathwater...

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VHALKYRIE 5/14/2011 9:26AM

    You are right. We have to try our best to make ethical food choices. The growing "organic" market in the US shows that consumers want to make ethical choices. It just seems like we are getting misled and not getting what we want. It was much easier for me to buy local when I lived in Seattle. I actually used to go to a farm and pick lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cabbages, squash, etc straight from the ground. I even picked vegetables I had never heard of before. In Colorado, it is easier to find pasture raised cattle. You can drive by and see them grazing on the grass and napping under trees.

A friend of mine raised chickens in her backyard. Just 3 hens, but she needed help eating all those eggs! I was happy to help her out! Her hens just wandered around her yard, eating bugs and worms. The eggs were unlike anything I had ever had. The yolks were bright orange, and they tasted just as 'bright'.

Where I live in Georgia now, there is still some of that old derision towards wanting organic food as 'hippie stuff'. I belong to a co-op that obtains produce from local farms. It's a small movement, but it's growing. They rely mostly on volunteer workers, and is run mostly like a non-profit.

Comment edited on: 5/14/2011 9:31:21 AM

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KRAEG3 5/14/2011 6:41AM

    All this kind of information scares me. Corruption is prevalent everywhere. I have recently signed up with a local farm for "organic beef". I will have to what the cows are fed. Enjoy your trip.

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ZURDTA- 5/14/2011 4:22AM

    It's hard. Unless you live in the countryside and buy local, and SEE those cows in the fields or chickens or pigs or whatever... eating grass and roaming free. I'm lucky I am cusp of the countryside and can do that.

Over here (UK) we have a couple of crusading TV Chefs (Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall) who are campaigning for better welfare for animals. The public is demanding more information and higher welfare meat - and so a lot of rules are changing, more information clearly displayed on packaging so we can make an informed choice.

Its hard to be ethical all the time... we can only try our best!

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JUSTBIRDY 5/14/2011 3:13AM

    I have pretty much given up on buying commercial organic food. I tried some "local" eggs, and they didn't taste any different. Maybe they were fed corn somewhere nearby, but they didn't taste like eggs from chickens that run around and eat bugs. I don't know where to buy the good stuff. I just can't read Michael Pollan anymore, I feel too helpless.

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I Must be Underestimating Calories

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Yesterday I blogged about being disappointed about my weight and measurements staying static. I've spent so much time carefully plotting and planning my meals and exercise. All my data says I should be losing about a 1/2 per week.

It's a very small margin because I am very near my goal weight. 10lbs left doesn't leave lots of margins for error. I burn 1700-1800 calories a day if I do nothing, and it is easy to overshoot my targets of 1300-1400 calories consumed.

I spent most of yesterday obsessing about it. I'm eating clean. I'm working out. It should be working.

I feel confident that my calorie burns are correct. I use a BodyMedia Fit and a heart rate monitor. I use one and the other to cross check each other. BMF gives me a full day picture. 1700-1800 calories burned per day is correct.

This morning, I've come to the conclusion there is only one possible explanation.

Calories in = Calories out.

I must be underestimating my calories eaten.

If my calorie burn is correct, then my calorie counting must be wrong. Since my margins are so slim, if I calculate a -100 deficit, but I am forgetting to track a tablespoon of honey, then that means my weight/measurements should be holding stable. Which is exactly what is happening.

So I am going to be adding a correction to my daily totals. I'm going to add 10% to what I *think* I am consuming. I'll have to work harder to stay near 1300 calories consumed, or no more than 1500 with the 10% correction.

I get the scale out and weigh everything again. I've been eyeballing it lately. I'll eyeball it, but then use the scale to double check myself.

I don't know that it's technically classified as an 'eating disorder', but my problem with food is portion distortion. I am a chronic sufferer. It is not surprising to me that I may be underestimating my calories.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 5/13/2011 5:58AM

    I do it too. I am back to counting calories and working on weight loss due to some creeping on the scale I was ignoring. I tend to underestimate calories and Patrick tends to over estimate calories...guess who is losing? I think it is a good plan that you have come up with!

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GIVENTOFLY_ 5/13/2011 12:36AM

  The 10% rule does it for me; sometimes it can be frustrating when I know I might be cheating myself out of something delicious, but you just have to keep reminding yourself that you may have missed those calories somewhere else. Keep it up!

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VHALKYRIE 5/12/2011 8:27PM

    Definitely. ;) I've been on a plateau for about 4 years! LOL

Things are going to be shaken up due to me being in CO next week. So there's a change in my routine by default. We'll see how it goes.

Comment edited on: 5/12/2011 8:28:31 PM

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EATNBOOGERS 5/12/2011 8:23PM

    Hmm. Have you read every last plateau article? ;-P ;-) I want you to update us on this in a couple of weeks... I'm intrigued.

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NEURONERD 5/12/2011 7:12PM

    I definitely suffer from portion distortion! It sounds to me like you have a great plan. It will be interesting to read how your "eyeballing it" differs from the scale.

In all, this might be what you need to do to kick those 10 lbs right off your bod!

Good luck!

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ZURDTA- 5/12/2011 10:13AM

    Makes sense...

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Ups and Downs

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

This morning I woke up in a downer.

I suppose it is inevitable. All my enthusiasm and hyperfocus on my fitness goals is exhausting.

This past week, I haven't seen much in the way of measurement or weight changes. My 1lb loss Spark reported on my feed yesterday, unfortunately, is water weight changes due to monthly cycle being over. You know the one I'm talking about. My measurements are static. No change.

I've been at this a long, long time. Longer than I care to admit. ;) I am long past the point where I would be in tears wondering what I'm doing wrong, why isn't it working, maybe I should just give up.

However, I would be dishonest if I said it wasn't just a little disappointing. Does it mean I will give up and console myself in pizza and cookies? No. I am not that person anymore. Pizza and cookies are not a punishment, nor are they a reward. Truth is, most days I honestly don't want them. And I like it that way.

One thing that is bugging me is dining out. I used to love going out to eat. Now I hate it. The only time I get into trouble with staying within my calories is when we go out to eat. I think I do a good job ordering my meals to be balanced. Then I come home, put my calories in my tracker, and I'm furious.

I know a lot of people say, don't worry about it. It's just one night. All things in moderation.

I totally understand that. But I don't want it. I'm tired of oversized American portions. When I was in Europe and Asia, I could go to a restaurant, have a right sized meal, and correctly balanced calories. 400 calories, tops. Even with a glass of wine and dessert. I actually lost weight every time I've gone to Europe and Asia. I didn't even have to count calories. It was all just nutritious and correctly balanced by default.

In America, no matter how I order, it always comes out wrong. Think the salads are healthy? Wrong. Many of them are worse than a McDonald's quarter pounder. Applebee's Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad is 1350 calories, 17g saturated fat. It's a freaking challenge to even find the healthy salad in an American restaurant.

I'm tired of the "To-go" box. Why should I have to take a to go box? Why can't I just order a right sized meal that I don't need to cut everything in half and put in a box? When I travel, I often don't have a fridge in the hotel for a to go box. Why should any salad have over 1000 calories? Even if you split it in half, it's still 500 freaking calories. Why, why, why?!

I'm sick of it. I'm to the point if we don't go to a fine dining establishment, I don't want to go. I don't mean that in a snobby way. But it seems the only way in America I can get good tasting, appropriately portioned, correctly balanced macronutrient meals is if I go to a 4 or 5 star restaurant.

Applebee's, Chili's, Olive Garden, etc all have a restaurant 'lab' where they design their food to make you want to eat more. They are not designed to be nutritious. They are specially designed cocktails of salt, sugar, and fat to make you eat and eat. I recommend reading the book "The End of Overeating" for more details.

Anyway. So my weight and measurements are both stable. The success I am celebrating at the moment is my cardiovascular health is making improvements. I started consciously making fitness goals on 4/20. Since that time, my resting heart rate has improved by 5%. My recovery heart rate has improved by 9%. I'm feeling great about that.

But static measurements and weight. I'm going to keep with it. I'm eating clean, and getting good exercise.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn't annoyed that my measurements didn't drop the past week. Drop, darn you. Drop!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 5/12/2011 2:01AM

    Living in France as I do, the only thing I can add is that here people have a different attitude to food, it is a pleasure, to be enjoyed, in moderation. I avoided the book "French Women Don't Get Fat" like the plague, cos she obviously hadn't been to my neck of the woods, however, got in in a charity shop, and it makes a lot of sense.
I can feel your frustration, and I am sure that in my case, that makes me "hold on" to stuff....more of that in another blog.
Keep up the good work, you are doing well, and will overcome the plateau with your positive attitude!

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SOUTHGOINGZAX 5/11/2011 10:50PM


I kind of hate traveling for work because my boss is not choosy about where he eats (I kind of have to be, because of my celiac disease) and we often end up at "American" restaurants. Blech. The food is so salty and everything has a sauce or breading or is fried or something. I typically order only from the appetizer or salad menu, and make sure I get only grilled chicken or fish. That way, I keep my meals simple and relatively light.

As far as the plateau goes - oh, boy! I hear you. I was at a plateau for 2 1/2 years - I could not (or would not) get under 130. SOOO frustrating! I would work really hard for months, get frustrated, give up, gain 5 pounds back, get disgusted with myself, work really hard again for months, get stuck, and do it all over again. No fun.

I'm not sure what, exactly, happened to change that....except that I have gone through some emotional stuff where I pretty much lost any desire to eat for a week or so - that temporary shift in my caloric intake, along with a "work-out like a fiend" phase seems to finally have given my body whatever boost it needed to start losing weight again. I'm not recommending you starve yourself, or anything, I'm just saying it took something wacky for my body to reset - but it did happen, so I know it can happen for you!

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LILOATS 5/11/2011 3:05PM

    Yes, I agree with America's oversized meals. Then we have the "All You Can Eat" and the super Size Fries with that. It is hard to eat out in America.

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THINRONNA 5/11/2011 2:48PM

    Ohhh! Fast food and chain places make me so mad! It's like it isn't even food! I hardly ever eat it any more but what angers me the most is eating all of those calories and still being hungry afterwards! Since I don't eat it much and I have a fairly trained palate I really taste all the salt and the sweeter in it...and frankly don't find the actual flavor to be that good. It just isn't worth it! Over the weekend we were out and about a lot and I carried a whole bunch of little sandwiches for us in my back pack and some fruit. It works great when you have kids and don't really know when the hunger will strike. Works for Pat and me too since we can feel good about what we are eating.

I think it is great that your heart rate stats have improved! That is real progress that will ultimately help you achieve your long term goals. People who try to lose weight without improving their fitness have a much harder time of it. Good going!!!!!

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CAROLJEAN64 5/11/2011 2:29PM

    I know the dining out dilemma... one of my favorite tricks is to split an order with someone or order my main dish from the appetizer menu.

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TRAXINA 5/11/2011 1:02PM

    I feel for you -- have the same issues! And when I "have" to eat out (traveling w/people), I end up eating at the same lame places because I know the healthy things on their menus. Sushi is still a winner, though!

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PETUNIAPIG 5/11/2011 11:44AM

    Ugh! I know what you mean about dining out! It is nearly all junk and overportioned. It seems even harder in the midwest where it's all chains and diners. The few places I don't mind going to anymore are sushi restaurants (fill up on the miso soup first) and those stir-fry places where I load up on a bowl of veggies.

If I "have to" eat at a fast food place I'll often just get the kids meal and sub out the fries and soda.

I'm like you ...if it's not fine dining it's rarely worth it anymore.

Keep up the good work - you ARE making progress!!

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TIGERJANE 5/11/2011 10:59AM

    Improving your resting heart rate is definitely something to be proud of! That's a concrete measurement, if your inches aren't changing. I know you realize how much you've made over your life - and that you should be damn proud. That being said, I completely understand the fatigue that sets in when you're trying and trying and it's like, damn scale, can I see just a LITTLE change??? I know this is just a temporary blip for you, and that you're gonna find some way to see the results you want :)

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Goal Adjustment, and Preparing for Travel

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I've mentioned a few times that my goal was to eat zone diet ratios of 40% carbs/30% fat/30% protein. After looking at my nutrition stats and trying my hardest to juggle things around, I've come to the conclusion that this likely isn't going to be realistic. I won't be able to do it without increasing my meat consumption significantly, and reducing my vegetable/fruit intake. I'm not willing to do that.I'm getting 60-70g protein on normal days, and that should be fine. So I am just going to resume my clean eating, and stick with 60/20/20 ratios.

I also took a page out of spark friend ArchimedesII's advice and got new clothes that I want to fit in. I bought some pants that I can fit in now, but are a little snug and I have to squeeze into. It's a bit risky to buy clothes that I don't fit in yet, but I'm sure I can do it. I bought a bikini that I want to look great in, too.

I'm getting ready for a trip to visit my parents for a week. Usually this leads to weight gain due to gorging myself on mom's food. Mom makes healthy food - I just have a tendency to eat too much. I have a plan.

I won't have access to a gym. I bought a jump rope and some resistance bands.

I later realized that they probably won't let me take the jump rope on the plane. Jump ropes are extremely cheap ($3). I'll just pick one up at Target when I get to CO.

I'm keeping the jump rope, though. I tried it yesterday and totally got my butt kicked. How did I do this as a kid? I stumbled a few times as I tried to remember how to coordinate swinging the rope and jumping! I could only manage 20 jumps in a row, and only about 3 minutes of jumping. I'm not in bad shape - I was shocked by how something so simple could be so challenging! I have the cardio endurance to handle it, that wasn't the problem. Jumping rope uses some muscles that I haven't used in some time, I guess. My calves are feeling the burn this morning - I'm loving it. Some goals to improve!

I also bought some resistance bands. These I can definitely take with me. I'll use them with a resistance band workout in one of my fitness magazines.

I'm also planning on doing some hikes with my best friend and her boyfriend. They have been doing a lot of hiking lately. I hope I can adjust to the high altitude quickly! I've been at low altitude for so long that it takes me a few days to acclimate to the high altitude in CO.

To manage the food situation, I'm going to hit the grocery store when I get there so I can have my standard yogurt and cereal breakfast. No need for me to make big changes there. My daily breakfast is so basic, I can have it anywhere.

I'll just have to be good with remembering to enjoy small portions of mom's food. I just miss it so much, I tend to gorge.

I'll just have to keep a mental image of bikini, bikini, bikini. Pants, pants, pants.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRAEG3 5/11/2011 9:37AM

    Jump roping will kick anyone's butt even the athlete! What a great way to burn major calories. I love jumping rope, if you get tired of just straight jumping and want to add a challenge/mix it up try www.pecentral.org and search.

I here you about having mom's food...there's nothing like a mom's home cooking.

Good luck with your new goals! emoticon

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FREDDYB29 5/10/2011 11:06PM

    That looks very helpful

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EATNBOOGERS 5/10/2011 6:07PM

    I'll drag you on a hike--let me know if you're interested. ;-)

I love the jump rope, resistance bands, etc for their portability.

Have you looked at coach nicole's jump rope video? (Intervals) worth checking out...

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VHALKYRIE 5/10/2011 5:30PM

    Ronna: You know, I hadn't even thought about the knee issue when I bought it! I haven't noticed a problem so far, but I have been jumping on my carpet and in grass, so I think it is cushioning the impact a little bit.

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THINRONNA 5/10/2011 5:09PM

    It sounds like you have a good plan. Probably tracking your food will help you to keep focused as well. You will be there for a week so you will be able to enjoy the food all week having normal sized portions. I love the jumping rope idea. Is it hard on your knees? I should get one if it isn't. The hiking sounds wonderful too!

Have a terrific time!

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JSPEED4 5/10/2011 12:26PM

    Yes, 2-3 days of just hanging-out helps me adjust to high altitudes. And eating lightly on those days, helps, too. Sounds like you have the plan! I love that your breakfast is simple and can be found everywhere. That's a huge help. emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 5/10/2011 12:06PM

    Yes, I have been to a few concerts at Red Rocks. :) I am not ready to run up and down the steps!! Yikes!

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JESS0107 5/10/2011 12:03PM

    When I went to CO, I had a hard time with the altitude. Have you ever heard of the Red Rock Amphitheatre? People run up and down that thing like there is nothing to it. That would be a good workout! I sure wish I tried it when i was there.

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KELPIE57 5/10/2011 8:41AM

    Keep that mental image in mind

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ZURDTA- 5/10/2011 8:32AM

    Great idea... I have a jump rope (we call it a skipping rope here in the UK) and I have not done any skipping with it yet... but I intend to when my back is stronger. All that jumping - I loved it as a kid... time to get back into it!

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Yogurt Update - 3 Different Types

Monday, May 09, 2011

Quick recap.

3 weeks ago, I bought a yogurt maker. I got interested in making yogurt because I eat it every day for breakfast. There was a recipe in a recent issue of Clean Eating magazine for homemade yogurt. I had never heard of such a thing! Given how much yogurt I eat a week, I had to have one.

Here is the yogurt maker. The one I bought is the Eurocuisine YM100 with an auto shut off timer.

You don't to have a yogurt machine. There are a number of different DIY methods. Do a Google search and find a method that works for you. Personally, I find the machine to be convenient and easy. The shut off timer is nice. Last night I timed it so it would shut off an hour before I woke up in the morning. When I woke up, the containers were perfect temperature to put the lids on and store in the fridge.

In 3 weeks, I've made the yogurt three different ways.

1) Whole milk with commercial container yogurt for the starter.
2) Soymilk with freeze dried yogurt culture starter (YoGourmet brand).
3) Spark friend PetuniaPig's recipe using lowfat milk, dry milk powder, and YoGourmet starter. Recipe here: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai

Of the three, my favorite is #3. It has great taste, texture, and the dry milk boosts the protein to the levels I like in store bought "Greek" yogurt. All around winner.

The best taste was #1 using whole milk and Chobani as the yogurt starter. I'm not sure the reason why, but it was incredible. It's not just the whole milk. The Chobani was better than a generic store brand starter, too.

The soymilk yogurt tasted good, but the texture was extremely thin. It was much more liquid than the other two milk versions. I'm not sure the reason for that, or how to thicken it. If you aren't trying to make a vegan yogurt, then whey protein might help enhance the texture. Cornstarch might work, but it might also give it a 'starchy' flavor if the cornstarch isn't cooked down somehow. I'm not sure what a vegan solution would be to thicken it?

Overall, the homemade yogurt experiment is a resounding success. I've used it in the following ways:

1) Daily breakfast. My flagship of yogurt, blueberries, cereal, and granola.
2) Cucumber raita.
3) Sour cream substitute for Mexican dishes.
4) Cream replacement in a pasta dish.
5) Cream replacement in a pan steak sauce.
6) Cream replacement in an Indian madras dish.
7) Mayo replacement in salad dressing.
8) Healthy dessert with a touch of honey and fresh raspberries.

Here is an "action" shot of my breakfast:

On average, it is costing me $2.10 per week to make 1 quart of yogurt. $1.85 for the quart of milk, and $0.25 for the yogurt starter. I used to pay $7 for a quart of Chobani per week. In 4 more weeks, I will break even on what I paid for the yogurt maker.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 5/10/2011 5:21PM

    I've been thinking about doing this for a long time... Thank you. It is time for me to get a yogurt maker!


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CAROLJEAN64 5/10/2011 4:55PM

    Very awesome. I love yogurt. DId you know you can make your own Greek yogurt. Just line a sieve with a coffee filter and put in some regular yogurt. Put a container under it to catch the whey. Take it out of the filter when it is the consistency you like.... you can almost make it the consistency of cream cheese.

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JSPEED4 5/10/2011 12:31PM

    I used to have a nice yogurt maker. It automatically turned off after 8 hours. Also, for large batches, and living in a cold-winter area, I would heat milk, add the starter, put it into 1 quart mason jars, wrap them in bath towels, and put them over floor, heater vents all night. It worked really well.

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MONA_MONA 5/9/2011 9:34PM

    I've been thinking seriously about getting a yogurt maker since I really like eating the stuff. Glad to hear you've had success trying a variety of methods. emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 5/9/2011 9:17PM

    That's a good idea! Get men to eat more yogurt and fruit by putting it in a dessert cup! ;)

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MRS.CARLY 5/9/2011 9:09PM

    Ha, I was reading your blog and My husband saw the picture and said "ooh that looks good". HA!! it is even pleasing to men!

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TIGERJANE 5/9/2011 1:12PM

    omg your breakfast looks amaaaaaazing . . . . .. I love that you use a nice dish for it and take the time to make it look nice. Makes it something special, even if it's just your daily breakfast! I don't even eat much yogurt anymore, but your blogs are making me wanna go out and get a yogurt maker, haha :)

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MAUIMA 5/9/2011 11:11AM

    Love this magazine btw...Clean Eating. A friend brought over 5 issues for me to browse while I rest my injured foot. Home- made yougurt looks like a must do for me too...we eat it every day. Thanks for sharing!

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THINRONNA 5/9/2011 10:35AM

    Wow! I have breakfast envy!

(I agree with the first comment about thickening the soy yogurt...agar agar might do the trick...)

Comment edited on: 5/9/2011 10:36:24 AM

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KELPIE57 5/9/2011 9:58AM

    I've gone back to making my own yogurt too...for the same reasons!

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LUGNUT_9754 5/9/2011 9:17AM

    Thanks for this blog!!! Going to get this maker as soon as I get money!! Soooo excited!

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EATNBOOGERS 5/9/2011 9:11AM

    But also--*yes*--yogurt can be and should be used in everything! :-D

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PETUNIAPIG 5/9/2011 9:06AM

    I'm so glad you like it!!

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VHALKYRIE 5/9/2011 9:02AM

    Yeah, you're right. The whey probably wouldn't work. I guess I was thinking of it in terms of adding protein the way the dry milk does. But it probably would not enhance the texture.

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EATNBOOGERS 5/9/2011 8:59AM

    I'm pretty sure that in vegan soy yogurt, there's some kind of thickening like pectin or agar. I don't believe the proteins behave the way the milk proteins do. Whey won't thicken it (think about it--whey is the runny part in dairy yogurt).

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