Archive for June, 2012

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Vacation Eating, Trying To Do It Right

June 29, 2012

I’m on quasi-vacation which is my way of saying my doctor told me to get some “real” rest and I translated that into “just don’t go into the office for a bit.” So here I am, still doing some work (the stuff I enjoy anyway) and trying to remember that I can’t just go eat out at restaurants like crazy anymore. We’re out on the Lake Erie shore (by the Ohio Islands and Cedar Point) and, well, restaurants abound. We’ve been here for a day or so and have only gone out to eat once, Mexican (El Mocajete which I will explain and try to recreate later is amazing and ok for me). Most places out here will cook your stuff in PAM instead of butter so that’s a good step I think. 

Anyway today I had eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken and veggies for lunch and my salmon dish for dinner. I didn’t even steal a few kernels of popcorn at the movies (Ted was awesome BTW) like I usually do.  The problem came after dinner when my wife wanted to roast marshmallows, my will power lost and I broke down and had one. Considering that normally I would’ve had seven or eight I guess one is not too bad. The problem is NOW as I’m sitting here typing this post and doing some other work for my “real” job I am CRAVING more. Luckily all the roasted ones are gone and I don’t care much for raw marshmallows. I really hope I don’t gain 20 pounds by the end of this forced exile….wish me luck. 

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Diet Pills

June 27, 2012

I read this today and it got me thinking. I’ve never been a big believer in the “pills for anything that ails you” philosophy.   I’ve never been a drug user or really a big drinker either so maybe it is that sort of lifestyle that informs this? It could also be what I do for a living which involves a heavy amount of pessimism regarding vendor claims and marketing spin. Whatever it is I have no faith that you can achieve meaningful weight loss with a pill and I’ll go even further based on what I’m learning, I doubt they can even assist you in it. The best of them have a placebo effect and are harmless and others have such terrible side effects you might want to just stick with being heavy. I think the bottom line is the only way to really get to where you want to be is to eat less, eat better and move more. That’s it.

I know, I know, I know, I used to always read that sort of thing and think “no way, too hard, can’t do it” but I swear it really is that simple. I was never really taught much about nutrition growing up, there wasn’t a lot of that sort of info around (I’m old so this was pre-internet days) and anything that was around was almost cult-like. I was very set in my ways and just doing whatever I wanted. Once I realized I was doing almost everything wrong, I simply changed it. I didn’t attach a lot of emotion to it and I didn’t try to make it sound like I was horribly punishing myself, I just did it. Believe me I didn’t want to, I wanted to just take a pill and make it all better but the world simply doesn’t work that way and neither does your body. In addition all the pills out there tell you they don’t work anyway if you don’t alter your diet and exercise.

I’ve recently taken to walking along the lakeshore where I live with my two dogs, it’s the easiest exercise ever. I do it about three times a day on the weekends and twice during the week. I lift some weights when my insides aren’t rebelling and currently do very little cardio (bad lungs). The whole process takes less than an hour, now don’t tell me you don’t have an hour to spare. One day I will post my schedule and you’ll see how that’s simply not true, you can find an hour for yourself in your day if you really want to. There are no easy fixes and everything worth doing or having requires some work and effort. I’ve always applied that philosophy to my work life and now I’m starting to apply it widely to my real life. It is strange but good.

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Lettuce wraps

June 26, 2012

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Wife made a surprise for dinner. Lettuce wraps. Brown ground sirloin, add a teaspoon of Walden Farms Asian dressing, fresh garlic and onions. When nearly done add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Top with the Asian dressing and serve on or wrapped in lettuce. Awesome treat.

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Wood Grilled Zucchini And EggPlant

June 25, 2012

Chop zucchini and eggplant, put in a dish, coat with olive oil and season with black pepper, garlic, ginger and just a sprinkle of brown sugar (I use the Splend Brown Sugar Blend), toss vigorously. Put in a grill-safe basket and place over wood fire, stirring/moving around frequently to avoid major burning. Once veggies are tender, serve. I think the next time I’m going to make a sauce to go with them but they were pretty good this time, here they are with my previously posted Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin  Enjoy.

 

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Wood Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

June 25, 2012

Acquire some pork BBQ rub or simply use some asian spices as a rub (I used ginger, black pepper and dry mustard) and rub down the tenderloin then marinade (12 hours or so) in low sodium teriyaki sauce in the fridge.

Get some fire wood, start a fire (fun for pyros everywhere) and a grilling grate. I use a triangle camping grill over a fire pit. Sear the tenderloin, then move from direct heat to allow thorough cooking. Cook until done safely.

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Ever Cook With Wood? No? You Should

June 25, 2012

Recently my wife and I acquired a fire pit and while I have cooked with wood on occasion (wood-fired pizza can’t be beat) it’s not something I have done on a regular basis. Seriously, what was wrong with me? Yesterday I accidentally used wood because I couldn’t get the charcoal hot enough and was too lazy to go to the store and buy more. I made some grilled zucchini and eggplant and teriyaki pork tenderloin (recipes coming) and I tell you it was some of the tastiest stuff I’ve ever grilled. More to come on wood cooking as I experiment and get better at it.

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Turkey Sausage, Spinach and Asparagus Frittata (first time)

June 24, 2012

I really liked this dish but in the future will probably dress it up a little more, I’ll add any updates to the comments section:

 

Saute turkey sausage in butter substitue (Olivio, yum) until nearly done, add asparagus, red onions, mushrooms and cook until tender. When all that is about done add a teaspoon of olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper, add in spinach and cook down. This will mix all the flavors together REALLY nicely.

In a mixing bowl whisk six eggs together until not bubbly (sorry don’t know the technical term). In a cast iron (my favorite) or other oven safe pan, coat with a little Olivio and add about 1/2 the egg mixture, cook on medium until the eggs have started to set. Once the eggs have start to set a bit, add in the sausage/veggie mixture evenly to the top, then cover with cheese and the rest of the eggs. Top with cheese if you wish and then bake in oven at 350 for about 25 minutes or until everything is done all the way through.

This was my first frittata and even my picky wife (she knows it) liked it. I will definitely be trying more of these. Hope you enjoy.

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Willpower, Yeah It Still Sucks

June 22, 2012

A couple of friends and a couple of coworkers look at me like I have a foot growing from my forehead because of my diet. “I could NEVER do that, I love milk too much” or “How are you doing that? I love chocolate too much!” Guess what, SO DO I! It sucks having to deprive yourself of things you really enjoy (and being reminded of it nearly constantly) but given my plethora of health issues and my generally overwhelming feelings of hatred towards myself because of those issues, something had to change. Again what I did was extreme and I recognize it’s not as easy for some people to just quit things that are bad for them. It took me a long time to reach this point in my life and sometimes I wish I would’ve done it sooner but you know what? That’s life, we don’t always make the decisions we should when we should, it takes time and you have to do it for your own reasons. As I explained to one of my friends, I’m a very competitive person and in this instance I’m just competing with myself. I’m not interested in weight loss betting pools or contests, etc. I’m interested in feeling better. If losing weight is a side benefit, great. Here’s the truth, I wasn’t (and am not currently) all that unhappy being a big person, I’m pretty sure even I get down to where I want to be I’ll still be a “fatty” and I’m okay with that. Being a big guy never really limited me in anything I wanted to do and I don’t really feel like I was discriminated against. What I’m learning though is the food I was eating was killing me (partially anyway) and removing those bad foods have for the most part made me feel better. It really is as simple as that.

I still miss milk, pizza and chocolate for what its worth but it gets easier every day.

 

 

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Sugar, Sugar, Everywhere

June 22, 2012

I read this article yesterday (http://news.yahoo.com/diabetes-doctors-nyc-big-soda-ban-just-start-040234025–sector.html) basically about personal responsibility and how the government should not intervene because the big, bad cola companies want to keep serving their sugary concoctions. I have to tell you I’m very torn. I’m very much a live and let live sort of person and would consider myself at least a reasonably bright guy who thinks the government screws up everything its involved with but soda is really only part of the problem with diabetes and obesity. Prior to actually being diagnosed with diabetes (years ago) I was drinking 5 or 6 20 oz bottles of Coke a day when I found out, I quit, cold turkey or so I thought. I hadn’t quit, I merely switched to diet soda. This caused a modest drop in my blood sugar and my weight but not nearly as significant as one would think given that kind of consumption. Want to know why? I’m glad you asked

Even though I had undergone at that time (circa 2004) some diabetes eduction training (don’t drink soda, don’t eat candy, exercise, blah blah blah) there was surprisingly little in there about nutrition. I figured, I got rid of all the bad stuff in soda and candy so I should pretty set and in listening to the training from both the hospital and insurance companies I should’ve been. The training was simply wrong, dead wrong and it took a few years and several events for me to figure out just how wrong. It stressed only removing the “bad” sugars as they were called at the time and not overall sugar so I and many others I suspect focused on the bad stuff. Soda, candy and any sugary treats were all gone. The problem is that’s only half the story really.

What I have learned on my current journey through massive weight loss and really trying to get better overall is that what really matters is overall sugar and carbohydrate consumption not just the bad stuff but all of it. The rub, as they say is it isn’t all that easy to discern what the carb count is in a lot of foods. I mean sure, you can look at the side of the box but I have to tell you, even now that I’ve learned a lot of this stuff, labels are pretty hard to read intelligently. Now you have a whole ranking system of carbs and it is very confusing (my nutritionist put it simply, it is “lying”).  If the government wanted to do something useful, they could force labels to be more clear and talk in consistent serving sizes. There’s no reason for them to be deceptive, people are going to eat what they want regardless but it helps for people who are trying to be cautious or need to be to figure out what is actually going on in the food. Sugar on its own I don’t think is bad for you, it is just the large amount we get, sometimes unknowingly, that really get you. I know of people, some I consider intelligent say “hey these cookies aren’t THAT bad, only 24 grams of carbs in here” and now when I point out that that is just in a single 1/4 teaspoon. Do you know anyone that only eat a 1/4 teaspoon of a cookie? I sure don’t.

Also I’m not trying to be preachy here, I’m just putting this out there because I’ve had to learn this stuff the very hard way. Hopefully someone else can save themselves some anguish when they come across this post. My new food motto is “No more than five or six ingredients and it has to be recognizable on my plate” — I think that’s a pretty simple motto to stick with, hopefully it keeps working. BTW, since changing my life around like this, my blood sugar readings have gone from around 230 to a consistent 85-90 no matter when I test. It does work.

 

 

 

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Food Break & Thoughts

June 19, 2012

Haven’t been feeling too well so I haven’t cooked much the last couple of days. I have been thinking though as I lose weight and wardrobe, I think I’m going to like being small. I already fit in booths and theatre seats better and I can shop in “regular people” stores without worrying if they’ll have my size and being embarrassed when the sales person apologizes with so much pity in their voice. Its a really nice feeling after so many years of being “too big” and having to have custom clothes to just be almost normal. I still have a long way to go but I’m feeling really good about it.