Caryn’s New Year’s Diet

Sneakers on a Pier3 copyI’m starting off the new year with a  diet.   I want to set myself up for success, so I will not make this an all or nothing plan.  I will start with 30 days and if I have a slip up so be it.  Yoni Freedhoff says slip ups happen so I will accept that it will happen and move on. After 30 days I will assess my progress and decide what the next step is.

My diet is about social media.  I don’t think I consume it in a healthy way.  I spend an excessive amount of time on social media.  Since I did not have it growing up, it is a novelty that I cannot get enough of, kind of like junk food for some people.

I long for those days of simplicity with paper and productivity.  I remember fondly writing little notes in class and passing them to my BFF known then as my best friend.  I remember hours of phone conversations instead of endless digital chats.  When I wanted to learn something new, I would get a book on the subject or read an article in a journal.  Now I just scroll through my Facebook feed and click on the many links to learn about stuff I don’t really need to know.

One of the problems has become too much information.  I can’t take it all in. Too much of anything is unhealthy.  Too much food, even good food, is not healthy.  Eat less, is the message top nutrition scientists have been saying for years.  I am going to implement this same advice for social media consumption.

My high school buddy Dr. Tanny is also dieting.  He proposed the idea and it was just the impetus I was looking for to stop the insanity of Facebooking. Partnering up with someone who has the same goals is motivating and fun.  Exercising with someone helps with accountability and reduces the chance of missing  a workout.

We will see how far we get and what positive experiences stem from this approach to reducing the consumption of social media.  Dr. Tanny will wean himself off slowly by ranting on twitter. I will relax on Pinterest for now.

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Dr. Joe’s Goulash Recipe

GOULASH with tofu and hungarian paprika

Place enough canola oil in a 2 liter saucepan to just cover the bottom.

When the oil is hot, add two chopped onions and sauté until the onions are light brown and translucent.

Add two cubed tomatoes, a cup of cut green beans and three chopped peppers of different colors. Green, yellow and red are ideal.

Add 4-5 cloves of crushed garlic and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well.

Add 2 tablespoons of Hungarian paprika and stir well.

Peel about 10 red potatoes and cut them into approximately 2 cm cubes. Add these to the pot along with a cup of water. Stir well.

When the potatoes are starting to get a little soft, add two cups of mushrooms. Stir.

The goulash is done when the potatoes are soft, roughly five minutes after adding the mushrooms. At this point you can add more salt, depending on taste. A little black pepper may also be added.

In a separate pan, sauté some onions and garlic in a little canola oil. Take a one pound package of hard tofu and cut it into little cubes. Sauté tofu in the onion-garlic mix until the tofu starts to get a little brown. Sprinkle with paprika and keep cooking. Add a chopped red and a chopped yellow pepper. The tofu is done when the peppers get soft.

Place the goulash in a serving dish, and add the tofu mix to the top. Sprinkle liberally with fresh chopped parsley.

Enjoy!

(If you are the kind of person who likes to walk a little on the wild side, add a spoonful of sour cream. Even with this, the goulash will be low in fat. Your taste buds will thank you.)

Goulash soup

Dirty Nutrition

According to the great Wikipedia, an aphrodisiac is a substance, such as food and drink, that increases sexual desire.   However, it’s never been scientifically proven that such a link exists.  Anecdotally, there are those folks who swear certain foods increase the libido.  I am certain my second son was conceived due to a delectable cheesecake eaten at a popular restaurant 😉

Chocolate has the reputation for being a prominent aphrodisiac.  Painting your lover with chocolate will probably do more for enhancing the experience than relying on any chemical in the food to spark an erotic response.  No food can magically make a person horny.  Even the most reputably known aphrodisiac, the oyster, has never been proven to make sex better.  Oysters are high in amino acids which in turn make dopamine which is a happy hormone.  Oysters do resemble a certain part of the female anatomy and that can be titallating.  

Fruit can be very erotic.  All you have to do is slice an apple lengthwise to find out why.  Many fruits have a suggestive shape like strawberries, mangos, kiwis and bananas. Bet you never thought about fruit like that before!

A beautiful bountiful bowl of lush fruit can be very appealing before and after love making.  Imagine blind folding your lover and feeding them luscious fruit dipped in, what else, chocolate.  After a satisfying romp why not recharge and replenish with a healthy bowl of fruit.

Wine and other types of alcohol are known to get people in the mood.  A little dulling of senses has led to many a one night stand.  Be aware that alcohol is a known depressant and it dehydrates the body both of which can dampen the mood quickly.  If you are going hot and heavy, keep a bottle of water nearby.  Sex is considered exercise!

Since sex is a physical activity, treat is as such.  Have a light meal before the fun and  replenish with milk!  Milk is a very popular post workout drink.  It’s got carbs and protein, a perfect refueling combo. If you went extra hard go with the chocolate milk 😉

Do you stick to one supermarket?

I was standing in line recently at my local grocery store, wondering why I shop there.  It’s dirty, very small and it’s not the cheapest. So, what’s the deal with this place?  I guess it’s the familiarity.  It’s the neighborhood presence, the place where I feel like Norm from Cheers.

There is a cast of characters at this supermarket that amuses me greatly.  I love the fishmonger guy with the funny haircut and the good recipes.  It’s fun to watch the banter between the German lady at the fast food counter and the heavy set woman who does the BBQ chickens.  I love the milkman who is endlessly restocking the dairy section.  Then there is the religious Jewish guy at the Kosher counter who can’t figure me out .  But the best is the cashiers.  There is the happy guy who dropped a 100 pounds and is now a personal trainer on the side. The girl who keeps changing her hair color but never seems to wreck it.  The big lady who never cracks a smile. I also love those car order guys because they are some of the politest young men I have ever encountered.

I really appreciate the fact that if I have a suggestion or a complaint the managers take me very seriously.  They have really done wonders with the coffee section.  No need to got to Starbuck’s anymore.  The vegetarian section has some good stuff too.

At my store I know where almost everything is. I just want to get in and out as quickly as possible.  The longer I linger the more I spend.  Especially since I am of the dietitian persuasion, I feel it necessary to buy every new so called healthy product out there.  My dad the accountant says that is considered a business expense.  But who has time to separate the grocery bill into family and business?

Whenever I find myself at a fancier store I tend to over spend because I find every new food product invented.  I’ve tried hitting the bargain supermarket in the name of frugality but it is just not the same.  I miss the gang.

 

Addendum: The above article was published several months ago in a local newspaper.  I got a call from a reader who thanked me for this article, stating that what he got from it, was how important it is to support local business.  That wasn’t my conscious intention when I wrote the piece.  However, the subtext is just that. I do support local business even if it costs a bit more.

Aside

Scratch it baby

These days, most people know that maintaining optimal health begins with what we eat.  The problem is in today’s world everything is fast paced including food.  In the olden days the mom would be home home cooking and keeping house all day long.  There would be time to bake homemade breads and cook all meals from scratch with wholesome ingredients.  This is just not possible anymore with 2 income families.  Even if one parent stays home there are tons of activities and things to get done that make this type of cooking nearly impossible.

Here are some ways to facilitate the process of making healthy foods.  Consider small appliances as tools to make quick and easy recipes.  For example, a small immersion blender turns a pot of chunky vegetables into a smooth soup.  It does the same for a pot of meat sauce and the bonus is the kids won’t know you blended veggies into it!  A food processor is the king for chopping and grating.  I use mine to grate large blocks of cheese.  This saves me money because pre-grated cheese is a fortune.  I use the grated cheese on homemade pizza, over pasta, in casseroles and for omelets.  The standing mixer is da bomb when it comes to baking.  It’s easy to buy cookies and other snacks for lunches but nothing beats homemade especially since you can control the amount of sugar and the type of flour that goes into the recipe.  Home baked goods can be a source of whole grains and fiber.  Store bought less so.

When making a meal from scratch why not make a double batch and freeze it right away?  Chop the vegetables the night before and your meal will be half prepared when you get home from work.  Order your groceries online which creates more time to cook. As you can see, the key to healthy eating really is in the planning.  Take some time to make menus and grocery lists so you already know what to make for supper or go to a website like www.thescramble.com which does it for you.

These are just a few ideas to motivate you to cook more and order or eat out less.  Stay tuned for some cooking short cuts to create easy and healthy meals.

 

Weekend Tips from Diane – Travel Edition

It struck me yesterday that my diet habits change very drastically when I’m on “vacation”. The excitement of being somewhere different compels me to explore restaurants and eat out more often especially at places that aren’t available at home. Naturally, I forget about proper vegetable and fruit servings, portion control and eating regularly. It sometimes seems like there’s not much I can do about it. Visiting relatives means eating big meals with them all the time. Visiting friends means going out and eating too much. I am snacking all the time and trying new foods. It seems there is always a good reason to eat more than we can handle……

I thought about some things that have helped me be more careful with my diet when I’m on vacation and here they are!

1. Do groceries!
Find a grocery store where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits are something that a lot of people love, but for those who can live without it, it’s good to get your favorites. For example, I really like grapes and watermelon. Picking favorites will ensure that I will want to eat it and maybe even leave space for it. Find a way to get your favorite healthy foods.

2. First thing in the morning: Heathy Breakfast!
Eating a healthy breakfast starts your day of right. Opt for more fruits and even vegetables if you know that you will not be eating that much of it during the day.  Having oatmeal or whole wheat toast also helps with your day’s fibre intake.

It’s not that after eating a really wholesome breakfast, you can forget about eating well for the rest of the day, but it helps me reach a healthy standard when I know I will be BBQing with family, eating at restaurants (probably more high fat/high sodium) or too busy sightseeing to stop for a decent meal.

3. Set aside one meal where you pay more attention to the nutrition in your meal!
As a student, traveling means spending more money. Doing groceries saves money and helps me stay healthy. I like to save money and watch my total caloric intake very carefully while I am away.  I pick meals or days where I make sure I eat lower calories or just get more nutrients in much the same manner as I watch every dollar I spend.

I hope these tips are helpful! I admit that I don’t always follow them, but having them at the back of my mind helps keeps me in line.

How do you eat when you travel? How do you remind yourself to stay on top of your nutrition? What are some of YOUR tips?

With a satisfied stomach,
– D the Intern

Weekend Tips from Diane

Howdy from Ohio!

1. Dress up your salads

Making salads interesting is a great way to start liking salads. Growing up, I hated eating greens and vegetables; it wasn’t until CEGEP that I fell in love with them. Having a wide variety of ingredients and a tasty dressing really makes a big difference. The downside is that adding cheese, pita chips or a thick dressing also adds calories. Try mixing lettuces and spinach with thin slices of apple, pear or mango, or even blueberries. Always incorporate a crunch from crushed up pita chips, toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds or almonds. Even though these more tasty, filling and flamboyant salads are more caloric, they also contain a lot of fibre, vitamins and minerals that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

My miso salad dressing will be posted soon, it’s amazing, just ask my roommates who always ask me to make it for them.

 2. Shop with your kids!

For all you parents out there, think about involving your kids when you go grocery shopping and when you cook. Living on campus has made me realize that young people nowadays are lacking general cooking and grocery knowledge; whether it’s how to pick good produce, price or being able to try new things. Encouraging them to be part of the meal-planning and prepareation will help your kids get interested in nutritious and fresh foods in a world where fast food is everywhere, including their schools.

 3. Uninterrupted Sleep

Letting our bodies rest is not only important in maintaining overall health but also crucial to controlling body weight. Our body needs adequate rest in order to metabolize all the energy we get from our food in the form of calories. If you’re looking to lose weight, make sure you get a good night’s sleep! One tip I have for improving one’s quality of sleep is to keep all clocks far away from the bed and out of sight. A lot of us wake up throughout the night and check how much (or how little) time we have left to rest. What’s great about not knowing the time is that we can fall back asleep not worried and anxious and get a sound night of zzzzzzz’s.

With humidity and a smile,

– D the Intern