Sunday, September 28, 2008

Diets for your health

It is time for another poll.

There is a bit of research coming out right now about the benefits of multiple diets on health and lifespan. People are skeptical about populations of people embracing any of them- so I am asking you- Which diet seems the most realistic? If you HAD to be on a diet which one would you prefer? Here are some descriptions of your choices:

Raw/Macrobiotic- not one that has been shown to increase lifespan, but it has minimal meat and dairy so could be closely related to veganism. From wikipedia: A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), from the Greek "macro" (large, long) and "bios" (life), is a dietary regimen that involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as vegetables and beans, and avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods. Macrobiotics also address the manner of eating, by recommending against overeating, and requiring that food be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.

Vegan Diet- No animal products of any kind. Again from wikipedia: Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.[1][2] Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. Vegans eat a lower protein diet with most proteins coming from plant sources which has been shown to increase longevity in lab animals.

CR: Calorie Restriction- You know this one: Nothing is off-limits, just calories are carefully monitored to be less than your body burns daily.

Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)- This diet states that you eat minimally on one day (0-500 cal), then unlimited (up to double your daily requirement) on the next day. Some studies in lab animals have shown enhanced longevity effects with this diet- but I have not seen any commentary yet from people following this diet yet.

Feel free to comment on why or why not you would consider any of these diets, or why you would never diet :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes

We are celebrating my lab-mate's birthday today and I made cupcakes!
*I must get some additional use out of my new cupcake carrier*
She is a big fan of margaritas so we are having drinks and margarita cupcakes at work. These are not good CR foods but they are so cute, I had to boast. Here is the recipe:

Margarita Cupcakes
1 package (18.25 oz. white cake mix - no pudding in the mix)
1 can (10 oz.) frozen Margarita mix, thawed (undiluted)
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin pan with baking cups.
In large bowl, combine cake mix, Margarita mix, egg whites and vegetable oil using electric mixer.
Stir in lime zest; mix completely.
Fill prepared pans 2/3 full.
Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely.
Frost cooled cupcakes with icing and garnish, if desired, with a strawberry and/or lime twist,

Yield: Makes 24* cupcakes.
*I only got 18 out of the batter.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing
Makes 3c of Icing- I used about 2/3c to ice all 18 cupcakes
I did not want to calculate the calories in this... It can't be good...
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon key lime zest or lemon zest
4-5 cups confectioners' sugar
Yield: Makes about 3 cups icing.
In large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, juice and zest with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time; continue beating until light and fluffy.
If icing is too thin add additional confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.

"Rim" the cupcakes with green sugar, and top off with a candy fruit slice (TE's idea inspired from all of our Ace of Cakes watching!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Favorite Burger Recipe

Eating Well is one of my newest favorite magazines. At some point they published a summer BBQ edition, and we have loved one recipe in particular: The Smokey Bison Burger. Below is the recipe as I made it. You can find the original here
As you can appreciate- I do not follow instructions well- but lucky for me the end result is just as amazing as the original (I did follow the instructions the first time!)

Smoky Beef Burger
makes 4 burgers- 225c not including buns or toppings

1lb Ground Beef (93% lean)
1/2c Wild Rice (I get this from Trader Joes)
1/2 Shredded Reduced Fat Smoked Gouda
2T BBQ sauce
1T Paprika
2t Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Kaiser Buns (4)
Sliced Tomato and Onion
Additional BBQ sauce for buns

Mix all ingredients together and form 4 burger patties
Grill to preferred doneness


*TE and I made these for my birthday camping trip this weekend and they were a hit!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nearing 30

Well - I am turning 30 in the next few days. I do not feel strongly about it- which I guess is good... If this whole CR diet actually is slowing my aging process- I may not really be turning "biologically" 30 this week.

Things have been difficult with my CR diet recently. To be fair, I have met my goal of not gaining any weight throughout the wedding/vacation season-- and that is great! I have discovered that it really stresses me out to not have time to plan out my meals and not being able to control the things in my meals at restaurants. Since school started up again, I have been going "240" (a family term for crazy) with work, writing cover letters (I am applying for jobs/postdocs!!), fixing my CV, and trying to learn anatomy (the class I am teaching this semester). Not to mention my actual lab work that needs attention. So quality food prep and planning has been neglected at best.

It did not help that I also lost my PDA (where I record all my food). But luckily it was time for me to get a new phone-- so I got a new Palm Centro! It is so fun and cute! It will be my diet recorder, my phone, and also mp3 player since it takes 4G memory cards! And do not worry people out there who know me- I got the insurance!

So now that I have my new phone/PDA, classes are underway, and I am settling down from the initial shock of everything-- I can slowly start working back into my good study participant/dieter status.
I am now going to try to meet the following goals:

1) Eat out less
2) Make 1 new recipe/week

I have to start slow. The first goal is really what will help me get back to my good habits. It is really difficult to know what you are eating at restaurants, unless all you eat is salad and raw things... which I don't- at least not every time. Anyway- getting back on track. Weight loss/slow aging will be mine again!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I know I have been absent recently. The whole "back-to-school" chaos has pulled me in tornado-style. So for whoever is left out there- reading and checking up on me- I have a special treat for you.

You will thank me for this one.
I promise.

This is the recipe that will put you on par with brilliant chefs in your guests minds. I can not take credit for it, and I probably should not be disseminating the recipe to the public. But since I have so few readers- who will ever know?! It is TE and my favorite restaurant's recipe for steak tips. The chef's were kind enough to share it with our friends who were getting married out of town and wanted to serve this (their favorite dish) at their wedding.
That is how good this recipe is.
And now without further delay:

ST's Steak Tips
(serves 8)
(calories 575/serving)
(you could stretch it further though)

2- 8oz cans of pineapple juice
1- small handful (1/4c?) brown sugar
3-4oz Molasses
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 oz soy sauce
2 oz Worcestershire sauce
2T Tabasco
2tsp salt
3/4c Canola Oil
3-4lbs Steak tips

Mix all ingredients together, except 1 can of pineapple juice (save it for the end) in a Pyrex dish
Lay the steak tips into the dish
Pour the remaining can of pineapple juice over the top

Let marinate for 1-2hrs
BBQ until preferred doneness
Serve with mashed potatoes (or cauliflower) and salad

** I want to add that the calorie info is calculated on consuming 1/8 of the marinade, which does not happen, so calories are actually less. Not sure how to calculate that...