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.
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.
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!
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.
Monday, May 09, 2011
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.
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