July, 2011 - September, 2012
- Stop Eating Processed Foods It's the biggest DON'T and I did it. One day you're in and the next, you're out. I feared what might happen to my body with a continued presence of processed foods. Tortilla chips, Wheat Thins, pizza, whole wheat pasta and multi-grain cereals are no longer welcome in my home. These are processed, high-carbohydrate foods - even though I considered them comparatively healthy. Now, I maintain a 97% fresh diet that contains legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
- Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables I eat a diverse and abundant selection of fruits and vegetables. In return, I get high quality nutrients and antioxidants (for bolstering the immune system). They also contain the fiber we desperately need to keep our digestive system working. What number are you on the Bristol Stool Scale?
- Eat Legumes For Incomplete Protein Legumes are a key source of protein and a good low-fat source of carbohydrates. Legumes include alfalfa, clover, green peas, beans (black, kidney, pinto and the like), lentils, lupins, chickpeas, mesquite, carob, soy, and peanuts. They do not contain all nine of the essential amino acids and most be combined (in a twenty four hour period) with its protein complement: brown rice or quinoa or nuts or seeds or dairy.
- Eat Nuts To Complete Legume Protein Nuts provide a healthy source of fat and a long-lasting form of energy. They are my go-to snack for those times I crave tortilla chips and Wheat Thins. (Those times are diminishing.) Nuts do not contain all nine of the essential amino acids and most be combined (in a twenty four hour period) with its protein complement: legumes or quinoa or dairy.
- Eat Quinoa For Complete High-Quality Protein
Instead of brown rice, eat red Quinoa. (There are lighter varieties as well.) Like amaranth, it is a complete source of high-quality protein - just like a New York steak (which is really not high-quality anyway.) From a culinary point of view, they are used like rice. But technically each is a dry hard fruit with a single seed at its center. Amaranth and quinoa are each a complete protein: high in total protein and having all essential amino acids in ideal proportions. No complementary protein is needed. I haven't tried amaranth yet but quinoa can be made quickly and tastes great!
Quinoa mixed with sauteed red pepper and onion,
raw organic spinach, black beans and pounded garlic
- Eat Edamame An incomplete protein source that baffles those (my mother) who don't frequent Japanese restaurants. Edamame has even less protein than the more mature soybean it would've grown into had it not been picked as a child. Other protein sources include tempeh and tofu although I am not a fan of either. Great salty snack. Edamame.
- Use Flax Seeds and Walnuts These items supply essential fatty acids, a must-have nutrient. I add ground flax seeds (from my coffee grinder turned flax seed grinder) to my daily oatmeal with a handful of mixed nuts and blueberries mixed with a spoon coated with honey (dip spoon in jar and remove). See #26 for more on my oat meal. I also throw walnuts in a vegetable sauté. These are most important foods so be creative.
- Smear Peanut Butter On It Smear natural peanut (or any old kind of nut) butter on as many foods as you can. Put it on dates, figs, bananas and apples. Mix it into hot oatmeal. Add it to blended drinks. Use fruit conserves (sparingly) to top it for a PB & J. (See #9.)
- Allow Sprouted Breads Sliced bread is not the easiest thing from which to wean yourself. Sprouted breads are an excellent alternative. Sprouted grains are easier to digest compared to whole grains, and the sprouting process increases the bioavailability of certain vitamins and minerals in the bread. If you must, make sure it's sprouted like the loaves baked by Food For Life Bakery. And if you're a lover of PB & J, skip the jelly and fruit conserves and top the nut butter on sprouted bread with mashed berries - better sugar and more fiber.
- Use Frozen Foods Sparingly
All types of foods are now frozen. Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers only contain carrots, onions, string beans, oat bran, soybeans, zucchini, peas, broccoli, corn, soy flakes, spinach, expeller pressed canola oil, red peppers, arrowroot, corn starch, garlic, corn meal, salt, parsley, black pepper. I now forgo the bread and use two patties to sandwich my spinach, sliced onion and mustard. I also buy natural burritos (read no preservatives and additives) and keep them in the freezer - even a frozen corn meal crust pizza. They're there if, once in a while I want it, but no worries because the next time my meal is again focused on legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables.
- 'Cause I Eats Me Spinach This super vegetable is delicious and packs a nutritional (and fibrous) punch. I put raw spinach under (or on top of) everything I eat. (See frozen pizza in #10.) I never use pre-made salad dressings. If I decide I'd like to dress the spinach, for a particular meal, I use only enough olive oil to slightly coat the spinach leaf - a tablespoon or so. I then add balsamic vinegar, mustard, spices and maybe some hot sauce.
- Don't Label Your Eating Habits I recently read an article on veganism and commented underneath it that I consider myself a vegan but will eat as I choose from the menu when in a restaurant. Well, one would've thought I had murdered a puppy for the flames I endured. You are not a vegan! You can't call yourself a vegan! You have to stop that! You are confusing everyone! I was a vegan for many, many years and now, on occasion, work my way over to the dark side. Oh, maybe that's what they meant. Ah, who cares. Don't eat based on a label. Find what works for you.
- Don't Label My Eating Habits A Diet This is a life style. If I went back to eating the way I had, I would gain 30 pounds. And I thought I was eating healthy! 2014 UPDATE: Losing weight is something you must really want to do. I love my bread, my pasta, my pizza, my Wheat Thins and especially my corn chips but when I get the desire to pop some of that crap (yes, crap) in my mouth I weigh it against what it will do to my weight and how much I have to increase my exercise regimen to counteract the empty calories. Usually (but not always) the desire is quashed because I like the way I look and don't want to go back to the beast called the belly. If I have pizza, I top it with spinach. If I have chips, I make a bean salsa with avocado to (hopefully) counteract the chips. To date, I've lost a good 45-50 pounds.
- Roast Your Vegetables Roasted vegetables are delicious!! I roast broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, baby carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans, beets and other root vegetables. For example, preheat oven to 350-400°. Open a bag of Brussels sprouts. Cut in half. Throw in a big bowl. Coat in olive oil. Salt. Pepper. Pounded Garlic. Toss. Dump on cookie sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes. Shave fresh Parmesan (or the vegan Rawmesan) on the cooling sprouts.
- Don't Rely On White Potatoes If you must, preheat oven to 350-400°. Julienne them. Throw in a big bowl. Coat in olive oil. Salt. Pepper. Pounded Garlic. Toss. Dump on cookie sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes. Sweet potatoes and yams are better nutritionally. Anything with color is better for you nutritionally. (I will order fries or onion rings in a restaurant if I feel so inclined. I'm not a nitwit.)
Don't Rely On White Anything
Anything with white flour is processed. Sugar is the devil if you are the type that is scared by that. Any food that is white has little to no need for ingestion in a human body - including iceberg lettuce, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, cow milk. Yea, I went there. If you must, spend the extra money for local and organic cow milk. Anything with color is better for you nutritionally - although I'm not referring to chocolate milk. See #25.
- Eat Garlic Pounded With A Mortar and Pestle You might have been intrigued by the term pounded garlic in my roasting recipes. Although I eat raw garlic in daily abundance, I know longer crush garlic in a press - and certainly would never just slice garlic (which does not release the healing properties of the onion). I pound my garlic in a mortar and pestle. It's also great for pounding other herbs and seeds (fennel, mustard). Best ten bucks I've ever spent. Eat garlic once a day, minimum. 2014 UPDATE: When I joined Facebook a few years back, I connected with a friend I hadn't heard from in 25 years. The first question he asked was if I still eat raw garlic each day. I was somewhat surprised because it made me realize how long I have been eating it. I am (touch wood) rarely sick, mosquitos never bother me and the people I kiss never seem to notice as long as I brush my teeth (and maybe shower). Garlic - it's good for what ails you!
- Move Yourself For 35 Minutes* Every Day
It doesn't matter what. Run. Bike. Dance to disco in your living room. Walk! Do it the same time every day and as early in the day as you can. I swim. Late morning with all the other old broads at 24 Hour Fitness. It's a nice overall exercise that works for my schedule. Sometimes I bike instead but I had an accident last year that involved a cemetery and a tombstone which I'm scared of repeating. Find what works for you. Remember this is a life style so we must work the time into our daily routines. Now it's your turn.
*Why 35 minutes? Because if you make 35 minutes each day, you will never waiver below 30 minutes. Trust me. It's only five more minutes.2014 UPDATE: I swam when I lived in California. When I moved to New York City I started running. My first day it took me 16 minutes to walk a mile. It's been six months now and I jog a mile in about 10 minutes. I jog six miles which takes me about an hour. I have never sweat in my exercise routine but now I understand why that is so important to the metabolism and what people mean by a second wind and endorphins. It really kicked my weight loss into high gear as can be seen by the 2014 picture.
- Vary Your Food Choices Take the time to rotate the foods you eat for each meal. This involves planning. I choose to make one vegetable, grain or legume the cornerstone of each meal. When I'm in a restaurant, turkey, fish, or pork (but never beef or chicken) might be the cornerstone. (And I loves me some unagi nigiri.) Whatever the cornerstone is, I roast it. See #14.
- Supplement With A Multiple Vitamin That's what my doctor said. It can't hurt.
- Get Sufficient Calories
I'm not sure what this means because I don't count calories but I do sometimes get hungry now. Shock! When I do, I eat nuts or a low-fat yogurt or a juicy apple (the latter can be quite filling). I assume that hunger means I needed the calories. Maybe not. Larabar and Trio bars are great packaged snacks to keep in the freezer.
- Hydrate! Eat Watermelon and Grapes Just do it. Drink half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water each day; I think I weigh 190 (don't have a scale) so half of that in ounces is 95. I don't think I drink that amount but I eat a lot of fruit also. If you're exercising and sweating profusely, add another liter with half a teaspoon of sea salt to ensure proper electrolyte replenishment. And eat cool watermelon - it's like an orgasm in your mouth. And the water counts towards your aqua needs. Eat grapes for filling hydration. And organic is not always best with these two fruits; pick and choose.
- Eat More Frequently I have two large meals in which I balance protein with vegetables, fruit, beans and grains as most do. In between those meals, when I get hungry, I reach for the nuts, edamame or fruit. No more crackers, tortilla chips and organic, all natural pop tarts.
- Weigh Yourself Once a week. Only. On the same scale. Nude. After your thirty minutes of exercise. It is what it is. Move on.
- Allow Chocolate The antioxidants and flavonoids in cocoa are what makes chocolate (made with cocoa, butter and sugar) a good choice for this life style. The best option is dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. (White chocolate is made from the fatty part of the cocoa bean so no cocoa; therefore, no antioxidants or brown color.) I make a mixture of equal parts cashews, almonds and chocolate bits and I'm still here - albeit 30 pounds lighter.
- Eat Oatmeal Every Morning
Eat old-fashioned oatmeal (organic is readily available and inexpensive) mixed with walnuts, coconut, raisins, blueberries and sliced banana. Top with cinnamon, crushed date sugar (from your mortar and pestle) or honey, and ground flax seeds. Your digestion will be singing in no time. Plus look how many other tips this one encompasses.
2008 - 2012
- Reach For Juicy, Not Dried, Fruit The water in juicy fruit counts towards your aqua needs. Throw a roll of paper towels in the back seat of your car to wipe your hands but eat the juicy fruit. I rarely eat dried now (except raisins); try to reach first for juicy.
- A Nutritional Label Is Your Friend There are many salsas and other topical sauces with ingredient names that can be pronounced and can sit in your refrigerator. Most of them have little to no calories. Look to the nutritional labels and buy these particular types of sauces to enjoy. Trader Joe's is a good place for this type of thing. This is the only time that I allow eating based on a label. (See #12.)
- Use Brown Rice Sparingly I rarely eat brown rice now - opting to splurge any rice allotment on sushi (despite rule #12 and 16). I've been eating quinoa when I might have previously had brown rice. Quinoa is much lighter and a complete protein. (See #5.) Feel what food does in your body. I find the gluten in potatoes, rice, pasta and the like to be very inflating and don't want them sitting in my digestive tract. As the not quite elegant Kate Moss said Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
- Enjoy The Food I eat food. I don't eat the taste on food. I learned to use herbs and spices to enhance the food - not engulf it. I found I love crushed fennel. Go know. I always include turmeric, a wonderful-tasting spice with many healing properties. Cayenne pepper, the same. Black pepper. (Minimal) Sea salt. Here's a spice mix that increases your metabolism which, in turn, helps weight loss: crush chili powder, turmeric and mustard seeds in your mortar and pestle. Rub the mix over a lean protein, toss with olive oil on a vegetable before roasting, or throw it on plain microwave popcorn tossed in olive oil.
Put me on your fridge.
This article has been edited and republished on GlobalFit.com.