Current Favorite No-Lettuce Salad

September 17, 2010

I’m sick of lettuce, so I’ve been leaving it out. Feel free to add it if you have a burning desire.

– 1 baby cucumber, peeled and diced (or about 1 cup regular cuke, peeled, de-seeded and diced)
– 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
– 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, whole or halved
– 1/2 cup garbanzo beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– 1/3 cup feta, crumbled
– 1/2 cup snap peas, whole or halved
– 2 tbsp low-fat dressing of choice (I use Newman’s Own Light Raspberry & Walnut)

Mix all of the ingredients together and eat with a really big spoon. Or pack it into a piece of flatbread (nutritional info below is sans flatbread).

397 calories, 16 grams of fat, 48 grams of carbs, 15 grams of protein, 40 grams (?) of cholesterol, 8 grams of fiber, 28 grams (?) of calcium, 987 grams (?) of sodium, 415 grams (?) of potassium.

Obviously, I don’t know what unit of measurement to use for many of my nutritional values.



February 18, 2010

I’m back to tracking my food intake/calories over at SparkPeople again (my handle is “geckotlc” if you choose to join – I think it’s a decent site). I don’t enjoy doing it – it’s tedious and time consuming – but I realize that I just have to if I’m going to make any headway with the Battle of Midsection.

I started tracking again on Tuesday, during which I consumed 2,003 calories. I thought to myself, okay, that’s the baseline of how I “normally” eat (badly), so I need to remove around 500 calories from that number in order to start losing weight at the rate I want to. I entered Wednesday with the goal of better nutrition in mind. I thought I did decently – not GREAT, but not horrible. Until I tallied things up this morning. And discovered that I ate 2,125 calories.

CHRIST ON A CRACKER (with cheese, and bacon… mmmmm… baaaacon…).

Things add up so frikkin easily and quickly (and yes, I am completely and totally honest with what I enter in the nutrition tracker – no low-balling for me, if anything I high-ball). I was derailed by bread (a spinach tortilla is 158 calories, a french roll is 180 calories), dressings (Ranch dressing, 3 tbsp, 180 calories; mayo, 2 tbsp, 180 calories), and, well, the M&M’s that I just had to have at about 2:30 p.m. (1 packet, peanut, 250 calories). Oh, plus, you know, the BACON that I added to the chicken breast sandwiches that we had for dinner last night.

Frickity frick frick frick. I suck at this. I’m frustrated, and it’s totally with myself. I don’t know what the hell it is with the gap between my intentions and my actions. Clearly, I have mental issues.

SO! Back at it today. If I follow what I INTEND to consume, it should be around 1,425 calories. I have other goals, too – the breakdown between fats/carbs/protein, getting enough fiber/calcium/potassium, etc. But for blogging’s sake, I’m just mentioning the overall caloric goal. No need to get too blessedly specific here, right? Unless you guys care about that kind of thing.

Hell, even I don’t really care, and they’re MY goals. Feh.


As an aside, SparkPeople also provides an exercise tracker, but I’m not going to use it at the moment. Mentally “tracking” my intent of at least 30-45 minutes of exercise daily is specific enough. A person could make themselves crazy trying to calculate every little calorie burned. I’m making myself crazy enough with the calories I EAT, thankyouverymuch.

Why Substitution Doesn’t Work

November 15, 2009

consciouscookOne of the gifts I got for my birthday was a cookbook called The Conscious Cook, by Tal Ronnen. Ronnen is apparently a highly respected vegan chef who is trying to bring meatless cuisine to the forefront. There’s much discussion in the book about why removing animal products entirely from one’s diet is the best way to eat. Although the self-righteousness is definitely present, the attitude is more…cultish: well, don’t you see that it’s just simpler, and just right, to think the way that we do?

For over a year now I’ve been trying to keep meat out of my diet as best as I can. It started because I had to lower my cholesterol, but then I found that the less meat I ate, the better I felt. There are fewer calories in non-meat protein alternatives, so it’s easier to lose or maintain weight with them, and they are much less expensive.

The issues I have with vegetarianism and veganism are another post for another time (I’ve written and deleted hundreds of words here because they’re off-track), and I’m really just trying to get at something weird in this cookbook that I’ve noticed elsewhere in the vegetarian world. That thing is the matter of substitutes.

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Confession time.

September 28, 2009

I haven’t done any purposeful exercise (meaning, a WORKOUT, not, say, a walk with Jen after lunch) since sometime in July. I haven’t been taking my vitamins, or paying attention to how much water I drink during the day. I’ve been eating whatever the hell I want, too. Now, other than perhaps one or two pounds, I have been able to get away with this shameful behavior with little consequence. My clothes still fit, I still look the same in the mirror.


I FEEL like crap. Slothful, and achy, and I haven’t been sleeping well. Aha, there lie the consequences of my actions! I knew they were around here somewhere.

Calvin got the results back from his doctor – the high blood pressure and high cholesterol haven’t done any damage to his arteries or heart, so far. All the tests and scans and whatnot came back normal. BUT, the doctor literally said, “If you don’t start getting exercise and eat much better than you have been, you’re going to die.” How’s THAT for some scare tactics?

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Changing our Lifestyle

August 19, 2009

Well, one way to dedicate yourself to changing your lifestyle is to basically be ORDERED to do so by your doctor. Calvin’s seeing a heart specialist because he’s been having weird, random palpitations. He’s got hypertension and (very) high cholesterol, and the doc has basically told him, “Change your diet and exercise habits, OR ELSE.”

So he and I have been talking a lot about the small, gradual changes that we can start making together (since healthy eating is my goal as well), in order to ease him into a pretty significant overall lifestyle change. Gradual adjustments are best, since changes that are adopted over time tend to stick.

First off is the beer. Calvin and I both tend to prefer the darks, the lagers and porters, ala 1554 and Black Butte. The carbs in those types of beers are off the chart, so we’re switching to lights and ultras. And then cutting back on the overall consumption of alcohol, in general. Strangely enough, the doctor advised against quitting altogether – he understands that one should not cut all the things he or she enjoys out of their lives entirely. Moderation is the name of the game. Calvin has already significantly increased the amount of plain old water that he drinks every day, which is a HUGE step for him.

Next is the salt. We’re foregoing the salt shaker altogether (the doc says we should just throw it out!), and we will no longer purchase packaged, sodium-filled foods. The biggest culprit in our pantry is the boxed rice pilaf dishes, so I came up with a brown rice cooked in sauteed garlic and chicken broth that more than adequately replaces Near East. I have become a Certified Label Reader, now, checking the sodium on everything.

Then we’ll tackle eliminating the simple carbohydrates – or, “The Whites”. White bread, pasta, white rice, corn, and potatoes. This is very much in keeping with the South Beach diet plan, which I’m quite familiar with. Calvin has expressed a (TINY) bit of interest in accompanying me to the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, so that we can explore more fruit and vegetable additions to our diet. Getting him to eat wheat bread is going to be a bitch, though. And we practically LIVE off of potatoes. Le sigh.

Following that is food preparation. Roasting instead of pan frying. Olive oil instead of butter. Sauteed, braised, or broiled, instead of coated in flour. Our consumption of red meats will be reduced, and our consumption of fish will be increased. And I’m going to start exploring various recipes for beans that can be prepared in the crock pot.

Calvin needs to be reminded to eat at least three meals a day during the week – he’s always been one to skip breakfast altogether, and sometimes he gets so busy at work that he plows right through lunch, as well. So, often times dinner is the ONLY meal he’s eaten in a day. Which, as we all know, is Not Good. The problem is, he’s on the road so much that his typical lunch option is a drive-thru, which is pretty much opposite of the kind of food he should be eating. He doesn’t want me to pack his lunch, but I’m willing. It’s hard to make healthy choices when you’re faced with a never ending repetition of Wendy’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell.

The only thing we’re not too clear on at the moment is increasing his exercise. He works so physically hard at his job every day that he’s wiped when he gets home – but the exercise he gets on the job isn’t cardio, which is what the doc wants him to increase. We have the bikes, which we’ll ride on the weekends when the weather cools off. We really need a treadmill, but we can’t really afford one at the moment, and have no place to put one, anyway. AcronymCo has a gym that’s free to employees and their family, but that would require actually going somewhere, which is something neither one of us are interested in. So. That’s still something to work on. We have the tools at our disposal, we just have to get off our asses.

It’s going to be an interesting few months as we get used to all of this, I think.

Hypocrisy? The Good Kind.

July 17, 2009

I did something this morning I used to tease my female coworkers about…

I cut a donut in half and left the other half.

We’ll see if that other half survives the day, though.  Odds ain’t good.


July 13, 2009

Laura’s recent post (and our seconding of her post) reminded me of just what a difference a little awareness can make.  We talked about eating our food in a bowl or on a plate rather than out of the bag or box, and Shari mentioned the handful-size bowl.  These ideas are key not just because they keep the rest of the bag or box away from us but also because they make us more aware by actually:

(1) making a choice about what our serving size will be,
(2) actually seeing the sum total of what we will be eating at once.

As Laura said, sometimes it’s the most obvious things that we really need to have us slap in the face so that we will see them.

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