Tag Archives: eating

Time For A Change

Two days ago I started an new workout program, The Masters Hammer and Chisel, a weights and sculpting program, having completed two rounds of Body Beast, a weights program.  I’m pleased with the results from Body Beast with one exception: my belly.  I can’t seem to get rid of my excess middle!

So I’m going to try something for a while.  I’m going to consciously minimize-not eliminate-my intake of refined carbohydrates.  For example, last night I had leftover organic spaghetti with homemade marinara.   While the spaghetti was organic, it was still a refined carb.  Ever since I went vegan, I think I have unconsciously gravitated toward carbs.  When I do have refined cards from this point on, I’m going to seek out whole grains.

Lucky for me, I have a Fitbit that I can use to help me track my intake.  So far today by mid-morning, my refined carbs have consisted of two fig Newtons.  Wish me luck!

My weakness!

Living Simply in the Summer

Summer is a great time of the year, up here in Maine.  The cold of winter has receded and snow is just a memory (for a few months, anyway).  Now is a good time to just slow down and take a deep breath.

One of the wonderful things about summer is that farmers’ markets and roadside stands are open for business. Summer eating can be simple and at the same time fulfilling.   Early in the season there are often a lot of greens from which to choose, as well as last fall’s root crops.  A nice salad or a plate of veggies and humus are a great way to eat a simple and satisfy meal that will actually do you some good, nutrionally speaking.  Later on, tomatoes arrive-there are not many things as pleasant to eat as a fresh, vine-ripened tomato, in my book.

A great way to spend time outdoors in the summer is to grab a good book (or e-book in my case) and set yourself down under a shady tree.  It doesn’t matter whether you are sitting in a lawn chair, a blanket on the grass, or on the grass itself.  With a book in one hand and a glass of iced lemonade in the other, you can experience the simple pleasure of relaxing.  That’s something which is often in short supply in our modern, hectic lives.

Another simple and fun summer activity is to drive to one of Maine’s many tourist-enticing coastal towns, and just walk around.  Do some window shopping, eat at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and people watch.  If you take your own lunch and eat in a park or by the water, all it will cost you is the price of some gasoline.  What a deal!

A basket of ripe tomatoes.

One of the simple pleasures of summer: fresh tomatoes!

Simplified Eating

A couple of weeks ago I made a decision to no longer eat meat, based largely upon ethical choices.  There’s a lot more to this decision than that simple sentence suggests, but this post isn’t about why I chose as I did.  It’s about how I have simplified my cooking and eating.

First, I make my life easier during the week by pre-cooking a few staples during the weekend.  I make a big batch of organic pasta of some variety, a couple (dry) cups of brown rice, and some quinoa.  I also steam a good sized bunch of kale or other greens to about the half-done point, as well as other veggies depending upon what’s on sale or strikes my fancy.  I store these in containers in the fridge, and when I am ready for supper I can mix and match, along with tofu, tempeh, beans, or lentils and fresh veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers for soup, stir fry, pasta, and so on.

I also make a big pot of something that can be frozen, like chili or stew.  This gives me an option of just popping something into the microwave.  That’s about as simple as supper gets during the week for me!

The other thing I do is make sure I have lots of herbs and spices on hand.  (Nothing is worse for my appetite than blandness.)  I add these at the last minute so that an entire batch of rice, for example, isn’t curried.  Also, I’m not above buying pasta sauce and so forth, but since it’s so easy I usually make my own by blending drained diced canned tomatoes (organic if possible) with herbs and simmering until I like the consistency-this seldom takes more than 15 minutes.

In truth, I rarely eat salads at home-I want a real meal when I get home from work.  By having the majority of my cooking done on Sunday, I can easily and quickly whip up a tasty meal in very little time during the work week.

SIMPLIFY

Dinner Decrappified

I’ll be honest here.  I enjoy eating good food-sometimes I enjoy it a bit too much.  But I am not so much a fan of cooking.  Since the alternatives are cold cereal or dining out, I cook anyway.

But I’m not in the mood to get into some time-consuming process when I get home from work at night, especially since I do most of my workouts in the evening.   So I decrappified the process!

I took about an hour of active work time last Sunday and prepared three large batches of food for the coming week.  I made a crock pot of corn chowder with cubed extra firm tofu in it; a pasta dish consisting of sauteed mushrooms, onions, and grape tomatoes with white wine over spaghetti; and a mixed vegetable and tofu stir fry with brown rice.

So, when I get home from work this week, I’ll nuke a plate or bowl of already-prepared food, whip up a mixed greens pre-mixed salad and grab a piece of whole grain bread, and I’m all set to go!  A little investment of time and effort up front thus leads to a much simplified evening routine for me.

Now, if I could just figure out how to get the cats to clean up the house while I’m at work.

Points in Favor of Eating Organic

There’s a lot of information available on whether eating organic food is any better for you than eating conventionally raised food. There are some fairly strict standards in place for a product to qualify as organic under Federal definitions. Skeptics (and Food, Inc. lobbyists) claim that organic food is not significantly more nutritious than organic food.

Duh. No kidding. That’s not the point. It’s more than just vitamin content that’s at stake.

For example, I have read that the USDA finds pesticides on a regular basis in the skins of things like peaches, apples, tomatoes, and potatoes. That alone is enough to convince me to eat organic. I go out of my way to avoid eating additives, preservatives and so forth. I sure as heck don’t want to eat insecticide in any amount! Bio-accumulation anyone?

As a rule of thumb, organic produce and meat are raised at smaller, often family-scale farms, so buying organic generally helps small businesses. As to organic meat, it’s a foregone conclusion that the animals had a better life on a small farm than they do in commercial facilities like hog or chicken factories, making this an ethical choice as much as scientific. That’s another pair of points in favor by my reckoning.

Finally, certified organically raised produce does not include any genetically modified organism (GMO) seed stock, nor are animals given GMO feeds. I’ll come right out and say it: I don’t trust Frankenfood! Nothing Monsanto or Con Agra says will convince me otherwise.