Tag Archives: nutrition

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!

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.


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.

Clean Eating

Last autumn I did Beachbody’s Ultimate Reset, a 21 day detoxing program.  A major component of the program was a comprehensive eating plan.  Briefly, the food in the program consisted of whole, unprocessed foods-raw as often as possible, and vegan the last 14 days.  I feel I had been eating sensibly for a while prior, but this program really gave me an opportunity to reassess my eating habits.  With only a few exceptions, I have been eating clean since I ended the program.

Clean eating, or thoughtful eating, may seem intimidating to one who isn’t familiar with it, but it’s actually quite liberating.  Sure, it took a few weeks to kick the Doritos cravings, but there’s actually less involved in thoughtful eating than you might expect.  Here’s the big difference:  thoughtful eating is pro-active, not reactive. Once you get past that paradigm shift, you’re golden.

Why do people…

…take an elevator to the second floor?

…stand in line for an escalator when stairs are adjacent?

…say they have no time for exercise while they watch hours and hours of vacuous television?

…tell their spouse/partner/children that they should get fit and healthy while themselves  sofa spudding?

…eat far too much cheap, nutritionally barren food when a lesser amount of whole, fresh food would do the job right?

…guzzle artificially colored and flavored sugar water or chemical witches’ brew (soda and diet soda) when our bodies were designed to crave water?

…spend thousands of dollars a year on prescription medications when 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise would obviate a lot of health problems?

I don’t know the exact answers to these questions.  I have my suspicions and theories, many of which are not politically correct.  I think if more people took personal responsibility for their own health, a lot of America’s health issues would greatly diminish or disappear.  Conversely, I personally don’t believe that the corporate medical industry has any interest in promoting health, as much as selling symptom treatment.  What do you think?