Weight Loss Basics

You know that old saying “don’t reinvent the wheel”? It basically means don’t duplicate a basic method that has already been optimized.

I’m carrying this thought over in today’s post to weight loss.

Heads up…I may get on my soap box regarding this topic…..

So I may be a little passionate about it

I’ve seen plenty of those weight loss “health and wellness” posts from companies lately and they just make me twitch. You know the multi level marketing gimmicks your neighbor may sell or the current hype a celebrity is pushing?

Yeah, those.

Why does it bother me? Because there are so many people desperate for a quick and easy fix to get rid of their fat and feel better about themselves that they are willing to throw money ( and a lot of money) at a bunch of hyped products and supplements that will give them the good life.

The reality is, for the most part, all the majority will lose is a lot of their hard earned money.

And listen up, if they have a secret group, will “PM you” info or won’t publicly share what their great weight loss programs are about, run.

Run far away.

If their stuff is so awesome they should be willing to shout from the roof tops to anyone who will listen.

Also, if they can’t discuss their miracle products with you and refer you instead to the cookie cutter company video on it, run. They should be educated enough on it to discuss with you. Sadly, most of them are clueless to what’s in those “amazing” products they pedal.

If your new daily diet consists of using more of their products than eating good food…..well……you better be getting away from that too.

The other reality is this……

No matter what vehicle you try to use to lose weight, it comes down to relatively simple science.

You have to expend more calories than you take in for weight loss to occur. It’s not a complicated. Yet on the daily people try to way over complicate the process.

They keep trying to reinvent the wheel for losing weight.

They keep looking for the easiest way out, the fastest way to get there.

There is no fast way, weight gain doesn’t happen overnight nor will weight loss.

Let’s get back to the wheel

I know the old school way for weight loss isn’t cool or trendy. It’s not a current diet fad or an over priced “health” program.

But somehow, it works. And if you get going and stick with it you will develop a new way of thinking and behaving. It will become a lifestyle for you, a way to simply live.

You don’t have to reinvent ways to lose weight nor does it need to be made harder than it is.

The basics

You don’t have to count calories and log every bite of food although if doing so keeps you on track, do it.

I’ve used an app called Lose It that calculates your daily calories by what you enter. Or you can use pen and paper to keep track.

To have an idea of how many calories your body needs you might find a BMR ( basal metabolic rate) calculator online. You plug in all of your info, including purposeful exercise you do ( or don’t do) and it will tell you how many calories you need to live each day. From that number you can make small reduction of calories to help with weight loss.

A reasonable, healthy and sustainable weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week. You may lose more in the first week with water weight and some weeks you may lose a bit more ( or nothing)

Any program promising big losses week to week is not realistic or sustainable.

Eat real food. Crazy I know. Don’t get caught up thinking you have to eat some weird diet foods or starve to lose weight or worse you use a companies “fat burning ” products haha ( which are nothing more than pills loaded with caffeine)

A sample of what my breakfast can be like

Eat real, nutrionally dense foods. Think single ingredients or five or less on a label. Eating real food, and enough of it, will keep you satisfied and not hungry. Eat foods you enjoy.

Oh and that….you don’t have to starve and be hungry all the time to lose weight. If you’re hungry eat a healthy, snack. It’s ok to get hungry before a meal ( those are natural given signals for us to eat)

Speaking of….get back in tune with your body. If you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be hungry, get back to that. Learn to eat when hungry and stop before you “feel” full. This could take a bit of training but it’s the best way to build a healthy relationship with eating. You don’t have to empty your plate.

Practice mindful eating. Be aware of what you eat, how it tastes, smells etc. Being mindful helps you slow down and savor the experience.

Don’t deprive yourself. Eating what you enjoy leads to success. Learn to eat smaller amounts and allow that to satisfy you. In time this will become a habit.

Weigh in weekly to check your progress . Anymore than that becomes counter productive.

Allow for treats. Life is going on, enjoy the birthday cake or an evening out. Just get back on track with your goals the next day

Exercise. You don’t need it for weight loss, ( it helps) but it does make you feel good and strong not to mention it helps clear your head too. Find activities you enjoy and pursue them. Get good at doing it.

In summary

Know how many calories your body needs for daily living then subtract 10-20 % to create a deficit.

Eat real food, enough of it, to satisfy hunger.

Set realistic weekly/monthly weight loss goals.

Relearn your bodies cues for hunger and satisfaction

Eat mindfully.

Allow for occasional treats.

Plan for purposeful exercise, most days of week ( this helps with your calorie deficit) find exercise you enjoy doing.

Be patient with yourself on your journey. Change takes some time!

You don’t need magic pills, potions or other extreme measures to lose weight . The old tried and true method works perfectly, you just need to implement it and give yourself time to reach your goals.

Tell me, do you fall back on other things to lose weight or approach it like a slow and steady lifestyle?

Spotlight On Kale

Ok please tell me you didn’t see the title of this and bolt off somewhere. That you didn’t decide to read an article on basket weaving…..over kale.

Are ya still with me? I hope so! I thought we would take a look at this super power veggie and learn a little about this meme inducing food.

It’s good for you….really.

Got the themey green thing going on…kale, my shirt, my eyes….

Kale is a super food with staying power.

The dark, leafy green has been on dinner plates since Roman times and has long been common across much of Europe. The vegetable hails from the cabbage family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and collards.

Kale is more popular than ever, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. Kale is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins B6, C, and K; copper, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. However, it has many other benefits to the body. It’s an anti-inflammatory, containing both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Kale is also an antioxidant, thanks to vitamin C and beta carotene.Kale is also good for vision, as it contains lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which have been shown to prevent vision issues such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Furthermore, kale aids in your digestion thanks to it being high in fiber and water.

Benefits of kale

Kale can be curly, flat, or even have a bluish tinted mixed with the green.  The flavors differ so you may try them all. Whether you buy it from store or pluck from your own backyard, look for dark crisp leaves.  When you get ready to cook or eat it remove the leaves from the tough stalks.

  • Nearly 3 grams of protein
  • 2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full)
  • Vitamins  A, C, and K. (And lots of it per 1 cup serving!)
  • Folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development
  • Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. (While kale has far less omega-3 than fish, it is another way to get some of this healthy fat into your diet.
  • Lutein  and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep, dark green coloring and protect against against macular degeneration  and cataracts. Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.
  • Kale is great for digestion since it’s extremely fibrous
  • It is also high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Yeah read that again. 😅
  • Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that offer up one of their electrons to the free radicals, thereby neutralizing the free radicals and keeping them from stealing an electron from our cells. At its best, this strong network of warriors can stop up to 99 percent of of free radicals from damaging our cells. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers

How to cook kale

Don’t say….add coconut oil so it will slide easier into the trash can 😜

Saute it: A splash of olive oil and a little onion or garlic are all this veggie needs, and it cooks up in minutes. The leaf is tougher than spinach leaves, so it won’t wilt as quickly in the pan.

Make a kale Caesar salad: You can eat kale raw in a salad. The leaves can stand up to heavy dressings. Kale Caesar salads have popped up on many restaurant menus. You can whip up a homemade mustard-based dressing that has all the thickness of Caesar but fewer calories.

Bake kale chips: Bake kale in the oven with just a little olive oil drizzled over lightly salted leaves. Store-bought kale chips can sometimes be deep-fried or come with a coating of cheese, so check labels to make sure you’re not reaching for a high-calorie snack.

There are some tasty recipes out there for the often shunned, yet nutrionally packed,kale. Here are a couple for you.

https://pin.it/4bRrP8m

https://pin.it/3awefne

https://pin.it/jwMVcZa

Happy eating! Now tell me….are you a kale fan? If not, are you willing to try it?

Immune Boosting Foods

It hasn’t escaped my attention these past few weeks, people asking questions on Facebook about what they should “take ” for a strong immune system.

I discussed it in yesterday’s Monday Musings post. My response on Facebook was a post on what I observed on a shopping trip.

I couldn’t help but notice when I was trying to pick up a few items last week that a vitamin I’ve taken for years was sold out as were many other vitamins/supplements

I joked that people were picking a fine time to decide to be healthy..

Seriously though, you can’t just throw a bunch of vitamins and supplements in and expect it to be some magic potion.

I actually read an article yesterday where a doctor said the same thing.

Keeping your body healthy and strong should be a daily goal for all of us, not just when you want to avoid a virus.

Let’s talk about food

Your best line of defense is feeding your body foods that help build and keep your immune system strong.

Real food. Your grocery cart is your best line of defense.

What are some of those foods? Let’s take a look.

》 Citrus fruits …interesting factoid…do you know your body doesn’t make or store Vitamin C? This is what most people turn to after they’ve caught a cold. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. They are key to fighting infections.

Popular citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, and tangerines.

As mentioned with your body not producing it, this should be a vitamin you get daily fir immune health.

》Red Peppers

If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

》Broccoli
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.

》Garlic

Garlic is found in every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

》Spinach

Spinach made the list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.

》Yogurt

Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.

Yogurt can also be a great source of Vitamin D so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

》Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat soluble vitamin meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

》Papaya

Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Papayas have decent amounts of potasium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.

》Kiwi
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin k, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.

-》Berries of all types.

Blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, elderberry etc. ( be sure to check out my post The Benefits of Elderberry) these dark fruits pack powerful antioxidants. Berries are a great source of vitamin C which is thought to help prevent damage to your cells and also protects the immune system against deficiencies. Dark berries like blackberries, strawberries and blueberries not only taste great but they are also a great source of flavanols which are highly effective antioxidants.

》 Poultry

When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.

Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.

》Shellfish

Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.

Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.

Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:

  • crab
  • clams
  • lobster
  • mussels

Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.

In conclusion

Keep in mind, these are a few foods to help build a strong immune system. Remember your best medicine is heading to the produce aisle for all of those wonderful colored fruits and veggies and making them a part of every meal.

I realized writing this, I eat almost all of these things, but wow, I need to try papaya!

Tell me do you have favorite foods that support a strong immune system?

Monday Musings

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings, an eclectic gathering of my random, yet sometimes thoughtful reflections.

You never know what’s gonna come out of my head…..

What on earth?

Unless you’ve been in a cave, it seems like people have lost their minds with the current situation regarding this virus.

I’m not camping on this topic long as I feel the majority of us are overwhelmed and saturated with it all.

Thank you media for contributing to hysteria that has led to people literally ripping store shelves bare and hoarding things they don’t need.

This aisle usually has paper products at my store…..

Hold on…I’m going somewhere..

I made a trip to the store the other day for a few things I actually ya know, needed.

One of those items was a vitamin I’ve taken for several years. It never occurred to me that the vitamin section would get hit and so many things wouldn’t be there.

Here’s my thought about that.

You can’t decide to throw some vitamins at your body in the moment of anxiety thinking it’s gonna “help” you fend off something.

If you want to help yourself, it needs to be something you do every single day

Eat healthy, natural foods. Drink plenty of water, exercise, get rest, and depending on your personal needs, then use vitamins if needed.

The best way to keep your body and immune system strong is to take care of it daily.

Not in an impulsive moment thinking it will be some kind of quick fix.

Rant over….stay healthy out there. Wash your hands and be smart.

Speaking of exercise….

If you’ve followed me for awhile you know that I kinda like running.

Unfortunately, I’ve had a crappy injury that’s kept me off of it. I’m still cycling and strength training but I miss the hard work and satisfaction of putting those miles in that running gives me.

I’ve used an elliptical in the past and it was the closest thing to running I could do without actually, you know, running 😛

I set out trolling all my local online sale sites watching for someone to sell off their “better idea turned towel and clothes holder.”

Not to hard to find I might say. I just had to wade through mediocre ones that were to much and then the nicer ones, if well priced, got sold or they were to far away etc.

Until…..

The other night I found a Nordictrack, a short drive down the road from me, selling for only 50.00.

I couldn’t respond fast enough. This time I was the one quick enough to get the prize.

The couple told me they had each gotten a gym membership and it was never used. This originally 800.00 machine ( she had the receipt and manual in a bag for me) had all the bells and whistles on it.

I happily loaded my game on the trailer and hauled it home.

I got it all set up….today was my maiden voyage on it.

Gosh, it felt awesome to be working hard like that again.

Heart pounding and sweat in my eyes…good times 😁

Do you like ellipticals?

On topic of healthy lifestyle

In other recent events in my life, hubby was in the hospital for a number of weeks so needless to say I found myself frequenting the hospital cafeteria for more than shots of coffee.

I have to say their food selections were nice and varied.

Often though, I hit up their salad bar. It offered a good selection of colorful greens and other veggies with protein options too. I got some dressing in a container so I could control what I had. ( remember dressings can contribute a huge amount of calories to a otherwise healthy salad) it was a satisfying and filling lunch.

I wrote a post before addressing the myth that is perpetuated suggesting healthy food was more expensive than fries or burgers ( The Cost of Healthy Eating) You can also check out my post (Weight Loss and Salads and Salad Bar Strategies)

On average I paid 4.00-5.00 for my salad. ( you pay by weight) those cucumbers and chick peas were heavy!)

On one day I just wanted a burger and fries, because, why not? I paid 7.50 for it.

The bottom line is, we make our choices. You choose to eat healthy foods or you don’t.

Not only do I have plenty of colorful veggies, eggs and chick peas covered my protein.

Doesn’t it look delicious? 😁

Speaking of healthy food

https://pin.it/4osmBfX

I made this recipe for dinner recently and it is amazing!

https://pin.it/1WBX33I

I just found this salad recipe and it is definitely on my list to try soon.

Ok and one of my favs…

https://pin.it/7hUVgjK

In other life stuff

In ways of things fun and not stressful, how about a look at a few of my vintage projects?

One of my other plates I juggle is a growing vintage business which involves flipping often old,sad and falling apart furniture.

It brings me tremendous satisfaction to make things pretty again…like this custom order I just finished this week…

Here’s the before:

And the after:

This turned out so cheery and is such a happy piece. My customer…”oh my gosh, I wanna cry, it’s so pretty!”

Makes my day.

I got this super cool piece last week. Its an old wash station. It does have a seriously abused marble top but I’ve got plans to spruce that up.

I think…it would repurpose to make a great coffee bar. At first I thought it would make a great pastry table but it is a bit short for that. How would you repurpose this cute piece?

Then there was this.. I love old telephone benches. I can’t keep them around, a good problem to have..

This is how I got it….

And after..

Boring magazine holder…

Turned kitchen utility crate 😛

Enough of my creativity for now… I got more projects this weekend

And before I go…

Isn’t it pretty? And it’s really black coffee. I love the nitro cold brew from Starbucks. It has no cream, the nitro gives it the smooth creamy foam and it slowly settles and swirls down through the coffee until it’s black. It packs a powerful caffeine punch, yet is ridiculously smooth and satisfying to my soul

My current guilty pleasure 😉

Your turn…..tell me…how are you doing out there? How is your piece of the world doing? Have you tried the nitro coffee? What’s new with you?

Why Diets Fail You

Before we get to the weird sweet potato photo…….

Often one of the hardest parts of writing a post for my blog is nailing a title. The idea for the post can come effortlessly and then the only thing remaining is a clever, witty, thought provoking title to draw in you, my 4.5 readers.

And that I can often spend more time pondering than you know….

Therefore, when I have ideas come to me that present me with the title first, I’m thrilled. I then quickly save it into my working folder as an idea to bounce on.

This is one that’s been patiently waiting in that folder. I figured I’d drag it out, dust it off and do something with it 😜

For the love of diets

If you’ve hung around me for awhile, you know I’m kinda “anti diet”. This is not to be confused with “anti weight loss”.

Why anti diet?

They just don’t work.

Oh now wait. I can hear you ready to tell me about Karen at work and how her keto plan has the weight falling off her.

Or maybe it’s someone else working Paleo or any one of the other current trendy things to follow.

There are lots of “vehicles” to get us started on weight loss. The more troubling issue is, which vehicle can get us to our destination and still be usable for us when weight goals have been attained? Which one can we follow for the rest of our life?

Calorie Deficit

I’ll say it again for the kids on the back row. There is no magical, miracle wonder diet that makes you lose weight. There are lots of programs to help you lose your money but you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to lose weight.

It’s simply science.

Expend more calories than you take in through exercise and what you eat, i.e. create a deficit, and you will lose weight.

You could do it with Oreos and milk but I don’t recommend it.

Sustainability

Diets don’t work long term because the large majority just aren’t sustainable. And by that I mean it’s not a plan you can or will do the rest of your life.

I cannot tell you the times I’ve heard someone reference looking forward to a “cheat day”. This means falling off plan to eat the things they have been withholding from themselves. It’s a grasp to feel “normal” and enjoy things that have been on a forbidden list. If you’re on a plan and you spend to much time looking forward to having restricted foods, you may need to rethink it.

For me, that’s not how I wanna live, and really, most people don’t.

It’s why they toss the towel on a plan that withholds enjoyable things.

Deprivation

When people think of diets, no wonder feelings of deprivation come to mind.

Eating less food, not having favorite foods or treats, not getting to have birthday cake, being hungry, eating boring flavorless foods….the list could go on.

No one, not a single one of us, wants to feel deprived which is another reason diets fail.

Lack of balance

Many popular diets totally cut or eliminate food groups. Where there are some people who need to for food allergies or health reasons, the majority of us don’t need to remove healthy and nutritious foods from our daily diets. However, demonizing food groups has become cool in some circles.

Demonizing food isn’t cool.

We love routine

Maybe you have certain things you like to grab for breakfast or you do your coffee in a special way. You have foods you enjoy. It’s all like….comfy…right? None of us want to give up our familiar routines. Diets really upset that apple cart.

Diets offer a quick fix…sorta

Let’s face it. How many times have you started a structured diet and were already longing to get back to normal life? You bite the bullet thinking you can get 6-8 weeks done. You jump into it, get excited over your big “loss” of water weight the first week and prepare for week 2. You’re all on fire and are excited for the weight you’re going to lose.

And then just like that…you’re done. Maybe a week to 10 days into it, you’ll take your few pounds you lost and call it a day. This wasn’t as fun as you thought it would be.

Sadly you’ll gain that weight back with a few more pounds too.

Now about the weird sweet potato pic…

I had gotten in from a sesh of physical therapy and dove into dinner prep. One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is to cube them, add some onion and a bit of olive oil and roast till they are soft with crispy edges.

Heaven.

Anyway, I had started writing this post earlier in the day and had the ideas bouncing around when once again I was reminded of this simple truth.

Diets will almost always fail.

However if we make our daily nutrition about eating real foods, preferably single ingredients or close to it, we will not only be satisfied but will provide our bodies with optimal nutrition. Eating real food is satisfying. Eating real food allows for special occasions and treats and removes feelings of deprivation.

By the way…. I did write a post called “The Single Ingredient Diet” a few months back be sure to check it out…

When we focus on each day, making healthy food choices, eating in balanced ways and allowing for treats, we don’t need to diet.

Learning to create a small calorie deficit in our day will lead to slow and steady weight loss.

Living this lifestyle is not only balanced, sane, and allows you to build your own routine, it is also long term sustainable which will lead you to lifetime success.

Tell me. Have you had success with a particular diet? Or do you find yourself back where you started when you get off it? Have you figured out now how to make it your lifestyle and not diet?

The Cost Of Healthy Eating

Occasionally I can keep things to myself, but not often.

Sometimes I just have a really hard time seeing nonsense and not calling it out… especially when it involves food and nutrition.

This is made harder by the fact there are sheer volumes of nonsense involving food and nutrition in the world today.

It hurts my head.

So in today’s episode of “Are you kidding me” I want to explore this thought about a food post I’ve seen multiple times circulating Facebook. I’ve seen it in other forms, this just happens to be the current edition of it.

Ah yes. The old “they make it so hard to eat healthy because it’s expensive ” line.

Let’s not miss they are comparing a cheap carton of fries available at any fast food place to a prepped carton of fruit in grocery store. ( insert eye roll here)

I’m just gonna cut to the chase on this topic.

What you eat is your responsibility.

Really.

I’m not sure why this is often hard to grasp and far to overlooked. Every single day I’m responsible for what goes into my mouth and the foods I feed my body.

Whether it’s optimally nutritional or not, no one is stuffing food in my face but me.

I call the shots.

Why then is this food post shared around like there are victims who have to eat junk food…or let’s just say…not optimally nutritional food?

You..me…we make a choice to what we choose to eat.

We are individually responsible for our food choices. It can’t be blamed on anyone but us.

So yeah, the first step to being real with this is taking ownership of your eating and the foods you eat as well as what you buy at the store or when you eat out.

With that being said….

Let’s get to the intent of this food post.

That it’s cheaper to eat non- nutritional food over healthy food.

Like anything in this world, there are a variety of price points on lots of things, food iincluded.

I may not often buy meat out of the fancy meat counter, but it doesn’t mean I can’t buy good meat in the other areas of the meat dept. I buy lean meats that are on sale and chicken which is always reasonably priced.

I have a budget to operate in, as do most of us. You can still operate in your budget and make good food choices.

Since they use the idea of fries for 1.00 ( obviously at a fast food restaurant) and the fruit is obviously the prepped and packed kind ( you ALWAYS pay more for that service!) at a grocery store I don’t find that much of a fair comparison.

Here’s what I will compare. Our local Wendys restaurant is a fast food place but they also offer lots of healthy options.

They have value menus with those 1.00 fries for sure, but they also offer 1.00 salads too.

I love their “real” salads on the menu though. They are often a tasty mix of veggies and fruit with nice serving of protein added with grilled chicken. I skip the creamy calorie laden dressings and opt for their light choices. Water is always my standard drink.

I can’t help but note….the salads are similar in price to a burger/fry/soda combo.

So what’s the difference?

The choice I make.

I love fries. They are like…pure deliciousness.

I also understand they aren’t an optimal food choice which is why I limit them to maybe…twice a month as a treat…

I fully understand though if I walk into that fast food business and decide to order a meal with fries then I am doing it because I choose to, not because it’s a good financial move.

We need to stop using that as a reason for poor food choices.

We are individually responsible for how we choose to fed our bodies.

What about the grocery store?

Pretty much a similar strategy applies.

Really, you don’t need cokes, cookies, and cheese puffs filling up your basket.

Is that stuff cheap? Yep.

But so are canned fruits, beans, tomatoes and other veggies. Add to that lowfat yogurts, cottage cheese and lowfat puddings

Eggs are an amazing and versatile food that are economical and can be used so many ways, for meals and snacks.

Buy real cheese in brick form and cut into cubes. Opt for healthier whole grain crackers and breads. Whole grain pastas and noodles are also other healthy low cost meal choices.

I noted the store brand “wheat bread” was 2.00 but for 89 cents more I got a more nutritional bread made with several grains.

What about fresh produce?

As the photo shows in my post, they’ve used a container of prepped fruit. I see this often in the store and it can be handy. However, you do pay for that convenience….quite a bit. Therefore, I really don’t see this as a fair assessment in this food post to eating healthy not being cost effective.

I do buy some prepped items. One of those is broccoli. I buy the huge bag but it’s convenient for me to use in salads, as a snack, or to throw in a pan and roast. I don’t mind paying a bit more for the convenience.

Mostly though I buy fruits and veggies I prep myself. You can buy many of those already prepped but since we are talking about eating healthy and affordable I’ll suggest prepping your own.

And shop seasonal foods! Last year the blackberry crop was amazing and almost every other week the large cartons were like …1.48…

I seriously ate my body weight in them!

Shopping seasonal on fruits and veggies is an economical way to eat healthy.

One thing our store has started doing is bagging produce that needs to move and marking it 50% off.

Let me tell you… I troll that dept heavy now looking for those tags! I’ve also experimented with new foods because they were on sale.

You may check to see if your store offers those mark downs.

Frozen foods

I understand sometimes the fresh stuff can go bad on you. It won’t if you plan meals with it 😉

Anyway, frozen offers healthy foods, and they won’t spoil.

Corn, broccoli, mixed veggies, snap peas, black eyed peas, stir fry mix, edamame and fruits are all good frozen choices. ( I personally do not care for the green beans or cauliflower as I think they are bland and the beans are usually tough) if you can’t get fresh green beans ( the best) canned are a tastier choice.

The bottom line

I buy a variety of foods for my family. Treats are an enjoyable part of life but I also shop to buy nutritionally healthy foods too.

Buying a bag of apples or oranges is usually wthin the price range of a package of Nutter Butter cookies or Oreos.

Do both have an appropriate place? Yes.

Is one more important to a healthy lifestyle than the other? Absolutely.

Can we then suggest eating healthy is more costly than eating food that offers less nutritional benefits?

No. And why?

Because it comes back to what I started with. We are responsible for what we buy and eat. We are responsible for the food choices we make, good or not so good.

There are many, many healthy and affordable food options. We are not victims who have to eat junk food because it’s more “affordable”.

That’s the lie I’m sick of seeing circulated.

Healthy eating is quite affordable, however, you must be willing to eat that way and choose the healthier options that are available.

Tell me, do you think eating healthy is more eexpensive than eating non healthy foods? What are some of your favorite cost effective healthy foods/meals?

Saturday Snippets

Happy Saturday boys and girls!

Today’s post is short and sweet. This past week I hit on two pretty relevant topics that impact a whole lotta people.

Did you get to read them?

The first is called Diet Disasters.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/08/21/diet-disasters/

I touched on just a couple examples of extreme diets that people resort to in an attempt to lose weight.

Most diets attempted are failed with the person eager to get back to their normal way of living. Nothing extreme or depriving ever works long term.

I constantly preach an old school approach, but only because it’s true and works.

Consistency, with small daily, healthy changes lead to a permanent lifestyle change that is long term sustainable!

The other topic I hit was our relationship with food, The Emotional Impact Of Food

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2019/08/23/the-emotional-impact-of-food/

This generated some interesting dialogue and I appreciate the feedback.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a relationship with food

Good or bad.

I took a hard look at how we can use it to support everything from our hunger to deeper unaddressed emotional needs and other issues. Understanding why we use food to medicate us is the biggest, most important first step to achieving permanent weight loss.

Tell me, are there other topics on food/nutrition/healthy eating/weight loss you’d like to see here?

Spotlight on Tomatoes

Summer is rapidly approaching here in Texas. Last weekend we rocked the ridiculous temps over 100, and closer to 110 with the heat index.

It was so sweltering it almost took your breath away.

With the arrival of summer there are some fruits and veggies that seem to just be a part of the season.

Tomatoes top that list.

Is there anything better than a warm, vine ripened tomato sliced with some salt and pepper? I could eat more than my share 😁

So as a nod to delicious summer food I thought the tomato would be a good one for our food spotlight post.

The 411

The tomato is from the nightshade family native to South America.

Despite botanically being a fruit, it’s generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable.

Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Some nutrition facts

The water content of tomatoes is around 95%. The other 5% consists mainly of carbs and fiber.

Here are the nutrients in a small raw tomato:

  • Calories: 18
  • Water: 95%
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Sugar: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

Carbs comprise 4% of raw tomatoes, which amounts to fewer than 5 grams of carbs for a medium one.

Simple sugars,such as glucose and fructose, make up almost 70% of the carb content.

Other plant compounds

The main plant compounds in tomatoes are:

  • Lycopene. A red pigment and antioxidant, lycopene has been extensively studied for its beneficial health effects.
  • Beta carotene. An antioxidant that often gives foods a yellow or orange hue, beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in your body.
  • Naringenin. Found in tomato skin, this flavonoid has been shown to to decrease inflammation protect against various diseases in mice.
  • Chlorogenic acid. A powerful antioxidant compound, chlorogenic acid may lower blood pressure in people with elevated levels.

Studies show that tomatoes and tomato products may reduce your risk of heart disease and several cancers. This fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns.

So now that we’ve discussed how good they are for you….

How about a few recipes? Tomatoes by themselves are perfect. I also love tossing them in some olive oil and roasting with asparagus.

Cherry tomatoes are also good in my veggie scramble for breakfast.

As mentioned earlier, they also make perfect light dishes when the days get long and warm.

https://pin.it/jo45ey6w64arnv

https://pin.it/7g6t56mrcvhrj4

https://pin.it/x23cek5gadiep7

By the way….I made the rustic Italian cucumber and tomato salad for dinner last night…it is definitely a keeper.

Tell me, do you have any favorite tomato recipes?

Spotlight on Watermelon

We are approaching that time of year here in south Texas.

The time of year where there are longer days, warm evenings and easier dinners.

One of the foods that make frequent appearances at our summer meals is the sweet and flavorful watermelon.

And not just for dinner but it’s also a cool, sweet, refreshing treat on a hot afternoon.

Let’s take a look at how this delicious treat breaks down…

Watermelon consists mostly of water (91%) and carbs (7.5%). It provides almost no protein or fat and is very low in calories.

The nutrients in 2/3 cup of raw watermelon are:

  • Calories: 30
  • Water: 91%
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Carbs: 7.6 grams
  • Sugar: 6.2 grams
  • Fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams

You can eat a whole lot of it for minimal calories!

Watermelon contains 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup.

The carbs are mostly simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Watermelon also provides a small amount of fiber.

The glycemic index (GI) — a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels after meals — of watermelons ranges from 72–80, which is high.

However, each serving of watermelon is relatively low in carbs, so eating it should not have a major effect on blood sugar levels.

Don’t listen to health “experts” who criticize fruits because of sugars in them. These are naturally occurring sugars and not the simple sugars in cokes, candies or other sweet things.

Those…you definitely need to do in moderation.

The benefits of a fruit far outweigh the natural sugars in them that some people try to demonize.

What other good things does watermelon offer?

  • Vitamin C. This antioxidant is essential for skin health and immune function.
  • Potassium. This mineral is important for blood pressure control and heart health.
  • Copper. This mineral is most abundant in plant foods and often lacking in the Western diet.
  • Vitamin B5. Also known as pantothenic acid, this vitamin is found in almost all foods to some extent.
  • Vitamin A. Watermelon contains beta carotene, which your body can turn into Vitamin A.

Watermelon is an exceptionally healthy fruit.

It’s loaded with citrulline and lycopene, two powerful plant compounds linked to lower blood pressure, improved metabolic health, and decreased muscle soreness after exercise.

What’s more, it’s sweet, delicious, and packed with water, making it excellent for maintaining good hydration.

For the vast majority of people, watermelon is a perfect addition to a healthy diet.

Tasty ways to eat it

Really the best way is just a big slice, still in the rind, cold, and juicy running down your hands while you eat it.

Yeah, super messy but it’s also one of those fun easy ways to enjoy it

When I serve it with dinner I do cut it from the rind into neatly sized pieces for more manageable eating 🙂

Check out these ideas for watermelon

https://pin.it/k2nvmzfzkrea5n

https://pin.it/yfrlea4m2u4nxm

https://pin.it/cxm47jhlwk4kfm

Is watermelon a favorite summer fruit for you? How do you like to eat it?

Spotlight On Asparagus

Asparagus. It’s one of those grown up foods that took me awhile to get into.

When I say a grown up food I mean I literally started eating it like, a year or so back.

I know. Late to the party but better late than never, right?

There are so many amazing, tasty, and healthy veggies in the world I’m not sure how I almost missed out on this one.

Ok, why should you eat it ?

I can imagine some of you curling your lip at the idea of eating this stalk looking tree type veggie.

Hold up…don’t dismiss it just yet

This giant veggie is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables — high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins, B6, and C. A 5-ounce serving provides 60% of the RDA for folic acid and is low in calories. You can enjoy this veggie raw or with minimal preparation.

The name for asparagus — a member of the lily family — comes from the Greek word meaning “shoot” or “sprout.” Now widely cultivated throughout the world, this regal vegetable is believed to have originated 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region, where it was prized for its unique texture and alleged medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities.

Asparagus spears grow from a crown planted in sandy soils and, under ideal conditions, can grow 10 inches in a 24-hour period. The most common types are green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier.

It could help with your weightloss goals

Asparagus—purple asparagus in particular—is full of anthocyanins, which give fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals. When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. Although cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, letting it boil or sauté for too long can negate some nutritional benefits. Overcooking asparagus could cause the vitamins to leech out into the water.

It can help with bloating

It can make your urine smell.

I know. Gross 101. It is.

But why??

According to Smithsonian magazine, asparagus is the only food to contain the chemical asparagusic acid. When this aptly named chemical is digested, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds, which have a strong, unpleasant scent. They are also volatile, which means that they can vaporize and enter the air and your nose. Asparaguisic acid is not volatile, so asparagus itself doesn’t smell.

What’s weirder than a veggie causing stinky urine is that not everyone can smell it. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why this is. Most evidence seems to suggest that not everyone can smell the odor, though some scientists think that not everyone produces it.

Ok but that really is the least of your worries. Eating Asparagus and all the health benefits it offers far out weighs the unpleasant effect of stinky urine ( this won’t last long)

Let’s eat

My favorite way to eat it is tossed with some olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and roasted till tender. I usually throw in garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes too. I add a little fresh parmesan at the end.

It’s amazingly delicious.

You can also grill or steam it. Honestly roasting veggies is my preferred way of eating them. I think it really enhances their flavors.

It’s really, really delicious with bacon wrapped around it ha

Your turn to weigh in. Do you like Asparagus? If so, do you have a preffered way to eat it?