Monday, July 21, 2008

My Favorite "Diet" Foods

One (of the many) benefit(s) of being a part of this study is the personal attention that I get from the study dietitian. The last time I went through my diet foods with LR, I was eating mostly a low-fat diet with a 50:25:25 ratio of carbs: protein:fat.
To anyone out there wanting to taste what my life is like and try some of my favorite foods, I thought I would do a bit of promoting. Here are some of my favorite foods that help keep me happy on my CR diet: (in no particular order)

1) La Tortilla wraps. link Anywhere from 80-110 calories depending on size and 10-13g of fiber (!!) these are a must! I have been having a difficult time finding them recently but I think I have found one supermarket that usually has a few varieties on hand.

2) Weight Watchers Bagels. 150 calories, 9g fiber. The only thing that could make these better is a variety of flavors. Currently plain bagels are the only option. Also, I am always buying the last bag in the store... These are popular suckers. link

3) Fiber One granola bars. Oh heaven. I eat one a day. Everyday. 140 calories, 9g of fiber and now with two new flavors (Apple and Strawberry chocolate- both yum!) I do not go anywhere without a fiber one bar in my bag. link

4) Greek Yogurt. I usually get the flavored cups from Trader Joe's, but they are a bit more expensive than my typical organic Stonyfield Farms yogurt ($1.20/container vs. $0.89)... But they have way more protein (12-20g) than regular yogurt so it is all good. link

5) Cereal. Breakfast makes me happy and it usually involves cereal. Right now my favorites are Special K Red berries and Cheerios (multi-grain and the strawberry yogurt one). I also always mix them with fiber one cereal and slivered almonds. LR wanted me to try my cereal with walnuts for the omegas, but it is not the same- I do not like walnuts as much as I like almonds. Since the summer fruits abundant- blueberries have also been making a regular appearance with my cereal each morning. link

6) No Pudge Brownies. These brownies are not as good as non-diet brownies, I know. But they get the job done and you can make individual brownies from the mix. Mmm chocolate :) link

7) HungryGIRL OK not a food. But I get a ton of ideas from this website. My recent favorite was their list of 80 calorie snacks.

8) Kashi Blueberry Waffles. My second favorite breakfast. Two waffles (170 cal, 6g fiber), 1.1Tbsp of chunky peanut butter (now all natural!) and apple butter. Mmm. link

9) Seltzer. Usually citrus/lemon-lime flavored. TE and I drink about 2 liters/day. I also order seltzer and lime at bars to help space out my calorie filled alcoholic drinks.

10) Welch's fruit snacks. Gummy junk food, yes. But they are made with fruit juice and have vitamins in them- so not all bad. link

That is it for now. I am sure, now that I am writing this I will remember 10 more foods that I forgot, so I will save them for my next installment!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Halibut Recipe

This was a great dinner. TE and I both enjoyed it!
The original recipe is from Cooking Light, and the recipe below is how I made it...
Halibut in a Tomato-Shiitake Broth
Serves 2
400 cal/serving
4 oz Barilla Plus Spaghetti
1t olive oil
1t bottled minced garlic
1 2/3 cups bottled clam juice
2t red curry paste (I used a mild Indian curry paste instead)
1 pint thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 3.5oz of mushrooms)
1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
crushed red pepper
1lb halibut steak
2T jarred chopped basil
Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
While noodles cook, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic; cook 1 1/2 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly.
Add clam juice and curry paste, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and pepper to pan; bring to a simmer.
Add fish
Cover and cook 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork (mine took about 15min).
Serve over noodles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weekend BBQs

This past weekend my friend hosted a BBQ at her house, and I jumped at the chance to make some new recipes! My personal favorite was the spicy peanut slaw, but everyone loved the corn salad- a recommendation from LR, the super-dietitian!

Here are the recipes
(Sorry for the crappy corn salad picture, that must have been taken after I had a beer or two... my critical assessment of photograph quality was amiss...)
Macque Choux ("Mock-Shoe")
Recipe from Eating Well, August 2008
Adjusted for how I made it, quantities doubled from original recipe
Serves 20 at about 1/2 cup each
95 calories/serving
1/2 of a large vidalia onion
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1T chopped jarred garlic
20oz Frozen sweet corn (recipe called for fresh corn, but my local market did not have any great looking ears... thus the corn was a bit more mushy than I would have liked)
1/3c water
2 Medium tomatoes, chopped
5 scallions, green parts sliced thinly
1tsp fresh chopped thyme
1tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Heat oil in pan, add onion and cook until onion softens (~2min)
Add bell pepper and garlic and cook another 2 min more
Add corn and water and cook until tender crisp (mine was never...) about 5 min more
Remove from heat, and stir in tomato scallions, thyme and cayenne.

Confetti Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
Cook's Illustrated
Again, estimated serving 20
68 calories/serving
32 oz shredded cabbage and carrots (Bagged variety. The chefs at CI would be very disappointed- there are explicit directions to slice fresh cabbage and add salt to wilt it for up to four hours...)
4T smooth peanut butter
2T Walnut oil
1T Canola oil
1T Toasted sesame oil (recipe called for all peanut oil- but I didn't have any... this seemed to work well enough
4T rice vinegar
2T soy sauce
2t honey
1t chopped garlic (jarred)
1.5in piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 Jalapeno chili
6 scallions, green and white parts sliced thinly
Salt to taste
Lime juice (1/2 lime)
1/2 lime for decoration
Dump bags of cabbage into bowl
Puree the remainder of ingredients in a food processor
Add dressing to cabbage, stir
Add lime juice, and lime
(so easy, right?!)


Monday, July 14, 2008

Vegetarian Diet vs. CR diet

I must apologize for my long absence. Things have been pretty boring and uninspiring recently. But boring and uninspiring be gone! From now on this blog is going to be filled with more interesting recipes, more diet commentary, and more updates on my progress- how much more exciting can you get?!

So to start off this exciting new trend, my sister asked a fabulous question on the last post and I think it deserves its own post.

...when you were a vegetarian for like 5 years, there were always things that
you couldn't eat that you wanted to but you never caved. How is it different
with CR, like knowing that you can eat whatever you want just in limited
I started eating a fish/vegetarian diet in 2001 and beginning this past winter I decided to eat meat again. The decision was made partly because if I remained a vegetarian throughout the study I would have had to eat the same meal every three days for the entire month of packaged foods, and partly because TE and I were feeling that our vegetarian diet was getting a bit monotonous and very unhealthy.

So back to the question: how is item restriction different from calorie restriction?
Very different!
Mostly because I still ate most of my favorite foods as a vegetarian (cheese, cookies, pizza, wine, etc.) and I could eat as much as I wanted. Dinner parties and restaurants were always a source of amazing food and drinks- and I never thought about quantity. Even though I avoided the meat options, there was always something just as good/satisfying to choose from. For example, my favorite restaurant has amazing steak tips (so everyone says), but my favorite entree, the macaroni and cheese, is so amazing I never felt like I was missing out by not eating the tips. Now on my CR diet, the tips may be the better choice...
Also, when I was a vegetarian and craving something meaty there were always fake meat products that satisfied my craving. In my seven years of living meat-free, I found the best veggie meatballs (Trader Joes), turkey/chicken products (Quorn), veggie burgers (boca), veggie sausage patties (Morningstar Farms)... and I could go on. I could eat almost anything I could think of- I rarely felt unsatisfied. And it is not that I feel particularly unsatisfied now- but there are times when I am eating such a great meal that I want to keep eating past the point of fullness or calorie restriction. It is unsatisfying to stop eating, and it is unsatisfying to knowingly go over my calorie prescription. But now when I chose to stop eating I have a team of people telling me constantly why that's the best choice. Hopefully after two years I will have built up enough good, healthy habits and a separation from my old "bad" ways so that I can make better decisions for myself alone. My preliminary success with CR can be attributed to the fact that I am not just doing this for myself. If I was the only person I had to answer to when faced with the "eat more" vs. "stop eating" decision, I would chose the "eat more" side every.single.time. That is why I knew if I was going to be successful on any diet, I needed a face, someone to keep me honest, someone to tell me I was doing well, how to be better, and charting my success along with me.

Blog posting helps too! Let me know what you would like to see more of here- Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vacation on a Diet

Last week I went on a week-long vacation. No cell phones, no internet, no supermarkets within 30min, no distractions- just pure, blissful relaxation. It was wonderful to be away.

How did I maintain CR while on vacation, you may be wondering? It was not easy.

My food recording has never been more difficult- even though I brought my digital scale and measuring cups. I have also not had that many days over my calorie prescription in one week since I began the study (4 days out of 6)... I could not plan meals as well as I do when I am home and when I did plan out my day to try to eat within my calorie prescription, I still ended up over. It was frustrating and not too fun or relaxing.

By the 3rd day of vacation I was feeling guilty- specifically for eating a piece of blueberry cobbler the night before, even though I knew when I ate it that it would put me well over my calories for the day. (BTW: it was totally worth it!)

Thankfully TE, my wonderful husband, helped me maintain perspective. He reminded me how well I had been doing before the vacation, and that if I am having a hard time maintaining the diet while on a vacation, that fact in itself is valuable information. At that point I decided I was not going to feel bad about what I was eating. I would record all the foods to my best knowledge, try to restrict calories when possible, and ultimately be honest with myself. He helped me remember something the diet counselor told me when we were talking about lapsing- the way you handle the lapse, mentally, determines how much damage it can cause and how easy it will be to recover from it.

I felt much better about the rest of my vacation after that realization- that is not to say it helped me stay under/at my prescription- but it helped me feel better about the situation. So in keeping with my honest approach of learning from my vacation lapse- I gained 2 lbs. That is 7,000 calories over what I burn (2226cal/day)- which if the weight gain is a true reflection of food consumed (and not something else like water weight) I ate a total of 10,336 extra calories while on vacation! Harsh.

On a positive note, I have been back for 2 full days and I have maintained my "pre-vacation" eating habits; staying at/under my calorie prescription, weighing and measuring everything, and eating healthy foods that keep me feeling satisfied. It is a vicious cycle: eating "bad" foods makes you want to eat more "bad" foods- break the cycle and making healthy food choices get easier.

It also helps that I don't make blueberry cobbler... :)