Monday, October 27, 2008
So... I was reading someone's blog today and commented on it with my tactics towards those unhealthy foods we love in spite of our desires to be healthy living people.
I posted a comment and I wanted to come back and post about it here so that I commemorate it and share with those who may read my blog but not heard me ramble on this subject before. SO HERE GOES!!!
Strategy #1: Find a healthy version.
I have made so many "healthy version" recipes of foods that are craved that it is one of my favorite go-to weapons. So many things we eat out at restaurants are seemingly PURPOSEFULLY made unhealthy, when there are simple things we can do to make a healthy version. Use less oil. Use leaner meat. Use different/less sweetener. No salt added ingredients. Increase the veggies to add volume with less calories and decrease the calorie dense ingredients. If you are feeling wary of trying to modify recipes on your own, there are PLENTIFUL resources out there with healthified versions of recipes, including our SparkRecipes.com. I am personally in love with Ellie Krieger's boog, The Food You Crave. :D Also, try eatbetteramerica.com (I think that's right...)
Strategy #2: Fit it in your calories.
If you can't find a healthier version, or just don't enjoy the ones you've tried, or it's something that can easily be enjoyed in smaller amounts without any modifications -- this is a great way to go. Try smaller portions and you can fit many treats in on a daily basis (or ok, if you want to be more super healthy, maybe a couple times a week or something...). I've used this strategy with things like ice cream (buying a light version and portion control has allowed me to enjoy ice cream fairly frequently...), dark chocolate, nuts, potato chips, tortilla chips, stuff like that. Some things can be found in portion controlled packaging! Individually wrapped is a good option, and 100cal packs can be useful -- as long as you don't double up! :)
ALSO: SUB STRATEGY for this one: Remember you can always enjoy this little treat tomorrow, or next week. If your calories are already too high today, you know this is something you can easily fit in tomorrow, then just wait. You're not denying, just postponing. :D This can also be helpful with strategy number 3....
Strategy #3: Enjoy on the rare occasion.
There are some foods that just do not stand up to modification or portion control. Fried mushrooms? Pecan Pie? Those are my two that come immediately to mind. No, I'm not going to have a tiny bite of pecan pie every day. I don't even think I'd want to. But I can allow myself to enjoy a reasonable small slice once in a blue moon without feeling guilty. SO CAN YOU!!! If you allow yourself a cheat meal from time to time... maybe once a week, maybe twice a month, maybe on special occasions like birthday, anniversary, thanksgiving.. .WHATEVER. But indulging on occasion is OK and does not RUIN ALL HEALTHY EFFORTS. :) You're human. Your hard work and dedication for the majority of the time won't be foiled by that slice of cheesecake -- as long as it doesn't become a regular occurrence. Then you need to employ strategy #1 or #2 to that cheesecake. Healthify and/or fit into calories.
Lastly I'd like to share my vacation strategy:
Exercise, and follow a 2/3 ratio of healthy to free choice.
Meaning -- keep up the activity, and each day eat two nice healthy meals that would fit into your regular healthy lifestyle, and for dinner (or whatever meal you choose to splurge) choose what you want. This doesn't mean you have to eat crazy unhealthy food each day for one meal, but that's the beauty of it. It's vacation. You're allowing yourself the opportunity to indulge, and if you want to, go for it. Or if you feel like enjoying your beachside locations fresh delicious seafood and some steamed vegetables, ROCK IT!!! :D
As for exercise -- if you can walk, do body weight ST, and optionally take some resistance bands -- you're golden. And if you're lucky, you can make use of your hotel's gym if it has one!!! :D
These are the strategies I've used to continue to enjoy the foods I love throughout my healthy lifestyle change and deal with holiday and vacation temptations and I hope it can help other Sparkers out there!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Ate in the break room at work and then headed straight to the gym.
Did some ST. (Kicked butt.)
Went upstairs to the cardio floor and hit up the rowing machine.
I REALLY LOVED IT!!! :D Not a super high calorie burn from it, but actually pretty decent. I can't remember how much really... but it was something like 100 from ST and 100 from 10min on the rower... maybe less, but by the time I got downstairs and changed and ready to swim I was at 230-250 I can't remember... then I swam and got up to 450-470 calories before my knee started bugging me and I really didn't feel like swimming anymore anyway, it was getting on my nerves, so I decided to go upstairs and bike, I changed, and then when I started to go up the stairs my knee was like DON'T DO IT. So I turned back around and showered and went home.
A total of 493 burned, but.... that is including changing and going in between areas. So *shrug*. But well below my goal for the week. If we count 400 of the calorie burn from Saturday, that puts me at roughly 1100 calories burned last week... (although I didn't count that one day of ST so a bit more maybe), so I was like 800-900 calories short of my average burn for how much food I've been eating.
This week, even if I don't start running again right away, I'm going to excercise more and use my HRM for every session. I know I can get closer to 2000 if I don't do just like... one day of ST, one good workout day but knee aggravating, and one truly good workout day.
I'm optimistic about being able to run again at some point this week and attempting the bunny 10K on Saturday. I might have to revise my goal and do a 5K instead, depending on how I'm feeling... but we'll see. This could just be considered a massive taper before the race... right???? ;) BAH.
Can't wait till Friday -- HALLOWEEEN!! I promise to take pictures of my costume.
SO FOOD STUFFS ETC.
I cooked twice yesterday -- I made this incredible roasted butternut squash pasta dish that I ate WAYYYYYYYYY too much of. One serving would have been enough but I was so blown away by it I ate two. Then I was stuffed all day, made pizza for dinner, and ate not that much of the pizza (which was fine with my DH! hahaha). I MUST share the pasta recipe. SO GOOD.
8oz your choice pasta (I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Penne, the recipe actually calls for Farfalle (bowties) but I had this on hand and for fewer calories)
Butternut Squash 3.5lbs ish, then peel and cube (I ended up with 2lbs 4.9oz of actual squash)
5 cloves garlic
2 big handfuls of Spring Mix torn up (or escarole or curly endive or some other crap, I used Spring Mix)
1 medium to large onion, diced to your preferred size
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
Red Pepper flakes (I just kinda sprinkled dried versions of those last three in, but the actual recipe calls for 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves torn and 13 sage leaves or something like that... and 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes)
Salt and Fresh Ground black pepper
1/2 cup fat free half and half
3oz Italian Cheese Blend (I used Great Value for 80 cal per serving -- the recipe actually calls for 3oz of asiago cheese. This blend contains asiago, so I just used this instead.)
OK! BIG TASK! Preparing the Butternut Squash. Cut the sucker in half down the middle, scoop out seeds/guts. Then place the cut half down on the cutting board and cut crosswise into inch wide slices. Then you can more easily remove the hard rind - PREHEAT THE OVEN AT THIS POINT TO 450 degrees! w/ a Sheet Pan or shallow baking dish inside!
and just cut the crescents into inch cubes. (This suggestion came from the cookbook.) This was the longest and hardest part of the recipe -- everything else was a PIECE OF CAKE. Chop up that onion. Then mix everything in that middle section. (the veggies, the herbs - salt and pepper) and turn it all onto that sheet pan carefully and roast for about 25 minutes.
While it's roasting, boil up that pasta! :D
You should turn around the squash mixture 2-3 times while roasting. When the squash gets tender, turn on the broiler and broil until things start getting caramelized. (About 5 minutes -- watching and turning every couple of minutes.)
OK! Then turn the squash mixture into the serving bowl, add the pasta, and then add the half and half and cheese. Stir everything until well mixed and SERVE.
I did not weigh the results, so I'm not sure how big a serving really is, but it was probably about 2 cups. -- it makes FOUR SERVINGS.
And here are the nutrition facts:
423 cal/ 13.9g fat - 1.2sat/2.2poly/5.1mono /1.5mg chol/ 488.9mgsod / 649mg pot / 70.9 carbs - 7.2gfiber/1.6g sugar / 15.8g protein
So not too shabby! As long as you don't eat two servings like me. ;) HAHAHAHA. And really, one is PLENTY with this recipe. The butternut squash is so creamy/sweet with the melty cheese in there and everything -- just soooooo good.
SHOPPING: I want to change my shopping habits. I normally go shopping at WalMart, once a week, for all my grocery needs. My DH and I recently watched a very disturbing documentary about WalMart and now it makes my heart hurt when I go in there. I have had to go a couple of times since watching it, but my new plan is to avoid it at all costs. (Well -- not at ALL costs, but you know what I mean.) This past weekend I went to the local health food store (Manna), and bought a bunch of bulk items. I made my first purchase of bulgher and wheat berries -- exciting! -- and I also bought a bunch of nuts and some unsweetened banana chips and sesame sticks and made our own nuts and snack mix instead of buying a premade nut mix. I asked my DH if he minded if I left it unsalted and he did not! So we have a couple of 5 cup containers of this stuff and I'm so jazzed about it. :) There's one of my regular sodium contributors CUT drastically. :D I also bought some beef jerky that is nitrate free. It's still got the sodium of course, but it's lower in calorie also. WOOHOO on that!
I got some collard greens from a local farm! And honey from an alabama honey farm also! I would love to be able to buy everything there, but it's so expensive. I went to a different grocery store to pick up some other items and that was that.
But then I forgot some things I had to go back for the next day and I just swung by WALMART on the way home after church out of habit. *DANGIT*
But I'm going to try. I have a plan to start buying meats at a MEATS place down the road from us. I'm thinking if I can purchase most produce from the farmer's market (which unfortunately is shutting down for the winter, but I'm thinking long term), good healthy staples and other special items from Manna, regular processed items that we still use (like Dannon Activia Light for example, or possibly also some Kashi products that they have at Manna but might be cheaper...) at the regular grocery store, and cut WalMart out of the picture except for prescriptions we are currently filling there. I'd love to be the kind of person who buys meat at the butchers, pickes up produce at a farmers market, stops in a little health food store for everything else... I'm not quite there, but I think I can make these changes. And hopefully some of the changes will be better financially as well (The meat from the meat store??? maybe finding good sales at a local grocery?) to compensate for some of the more expensive items.
All this reading I've been doing has made me want to shift my mindset about food and try to think ecologically about things and also about supporting local business, etc... I hope we're financially capable of doing this and I think with some good planning on my part, it will work. The bulk items at Manna are really well priced, so I know where I will be buying my beans/couscous/quinoa/nuts/etc in the future.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Wow. I'm a bit sleepyheaded.
I knew I wouldn't be getting to bed EARLY last night -- I'm just not on the right sleep schedule for it -- but I didn't think it'd be like 2AM.
I made it to work, got the start up done in time and whatnot.
AND last night I packed a gym bag and food items to fuel up before heading to the gym after my shift. HURRAH! So I am all prepared to head over there and brave my fears.
Rowing machine, swimming. And!!! My first time using my HRM in the cardio area of the gym. Didn't think about that before. Oh and in the pool of course. Well.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I just realized I met my goal of running a 10K distance by the end of the month!!! :D
Even if I can't run a long run again until Nov 1st (Bunny 10K!), I did run 6.55 miles last weekend which is more than a 10K distance. WOOHOO!!! HaHAH I was so caught up the the downer that I forgot to recognize the accomplishment.
Also -- I work tomorrow morning, but here's my plan. Bring my gym stuff, go to the gym after work, swim, try the rowing machine, do some weights. :)
Friday, October 24, 2008
I didn't oversleep to the point of being late to work -- but it was close!!! My alarm was set as a backup giving me 30 minutes between waking and when I'd have to leave and I slept right up to it.
I also forgot my lunch at home in my rush, but my DH is bringing it to me. :D YAY!
I made the most amazing dinner last night!!!!
1lb tilapia filets (chop into 1/3" cubes)
1/2 lb shrimp
1-2 red chili peppers (chop those up!)
1 green onion (chop that sucker up, too)
1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1-2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg white (beat till frothy, using only 1 Tbsp of it)
OK! So put all of the above EXCEPT for the tilapia in the food processor. Pulse until you get a thick paste. THEN mix the paste with the tilapia cubes, heat a skillet with either more olive oil or some cooking spray (I used spray). Form the mixture into 4 patties and COOK EM UP!! :D Get them nicely browned on both sides and they should feel springy when done.
OK PEOPLE -- SO FREAKING GOOD. My DH is flipping out at the delicious offerings I'm presenting this week. :D hahahaha. I made sweet potato fries to go with these and served them one patty per pita half w/ some fresh spinach to accompany them. The patties come out to about 165 calories each (if I'm remembering correctly... you can check my tracker from last night for ALL the details) and they're really nicely sized - and of course, delicious. Add one 60 cal pita and a bit of spinach and the calorie count is not astounding. We each ate two and some sweet potato fries and I think that came out to around 600 calories. I had about 8oz raw potato worth of fries, though. So let's say you had less potatoes and one patty, even with a whole pita -- still a very satisfying meal for not much. YAY FISH AND SHRIMP for being a lean protein! :D hehehehe.
*DH just brought my lunch. What a sweetface.*
Um, but I guess that's about it. Nothing to report in excerciseland. I have to work tomorrow morning. Yeah. Gonna go to the library today but not going to check anything out -- just have to drop off some books. (I say that, but I'm sure I might see something screaming my name...)
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