Saturday, October 29, 2011

We ate healthy tonight! Uh, maybe.....

We had a yummy supper tonight! It consisted of grilled trout, caught by Jim and his dad a few weeks ago, (and frozen since then), broccoli florets with parmesan and herb topping, and Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice. Yummmm!

But was it healthy? I don't know any more.

This all started a few weeks ago when I was bored one afternoon. I had some laundry to fold so I turned on Netflix. We get it through our Wii. Innocent, little naive me went searching for something interesting. I found a documentary entitled "Forks Over Knives." Ok, it's about food. I'm doing Weight Watchers now. Maybe this will teach me something.

Boy, did it ever!

"Forks Over Knives" is a documentary espousing the benefits of a plant-based diet. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I just accepted that idea and went with it while watching the whole film. It wasn't until about 75% of the way through the film that I started to wonder just exactly what they meant. It was also about that time that they first said the word...


Yes, a plant-based diet means Vegan. I feel stupid for not recognizing it earlier.

There are several good reviews of this film on various blogs. I wouldn't even begin to try and review it here. My first overall impression, though, was WOW! You can REVERSE heart disease? That caught my attention. I've got a family history riddled with heart disease. I've been on Lipitor for the last 4 years or so (except when I was pregnant with or nursing J4). So I was intrigued.

But after reading Denise Minger's review on her blog, Raw Food:SOS and Rhys Southan's review on the blog Let Them Eat Meat, I'm coming down from the plant-based mountain.

And really starting to question whether anyone knows what's good for us or not.

The premise of this film was simple: ALL animal products are bad and will kill you. No, really. That's pretty much it. Watch the film and see for yourself. But what about fish? One time in the film, some guy (don't know names, but he was a professional looking fellow with credentials) says that if it walks, runs, swims, or flies, then it's bad for you. Really? Fish? I thought fish were ok.

So that's one view. Here's another:

My Weight Watchers program has you eating lean protein. (22 slices of Hormel pizza-style Canadian bacon are only 1 point! woohooo! Had them at lunch today with crackers and Laughing Cow cheese thanks to Hungry Girl.....) Fruit and veggies are all (well, almost all) 0 points. They figure that even though some are high in sugar or fat, no one ever really got fat by eating too many fruits and veggies.

Hungry (my newest food find) claims to "provide a happy medium -- a bridge between the average junk food diet and the idealistic way of eating perfectly healthy at all times." Ok. Most of her recommendations are good, natural foods. But she lists some that are low fat and no fat. I thought we'd moved beyond the "fat is bad for you" stage. She also lists plenty of sugar-free foods. But these usually contain artificial sweeteners. While I'm nowhere near being a health nut, I still don't want these chemicals in my body.

Then there's the whole organic, local food movement. Strawberries from the corner of Joyce and Crossover? Good! Strawberries from Walmart flown in from California? BAD!!!

So what's healthy? What's "good for you?" When I was growing up, popsicles, cookies, and candy were all junk food. They still are. But Hamburger Helper was healthy! Today, it's not. (too much salt, possibly too much sugar, white pasta, red meat, processed, processed, processed!) But that's what I grew up learning was "healthy!"

Peanut butter is healthy! No, it's junk food, No, it's healthy!

Alpha had some dental work done the other day so I fixed her some jello. I've always heard that it's good to eat when you can't chew because it's a good source of protein. While calculating the WeightWatchers points on it, right there on the back of the box next to the 2g of protein it said, "not a significant source of protein." ****sigh****

So what am I "supposed" to eat? What do I feed my family? Am I killing my children by giving them chicken? Only if it's fried, but not if it's grilled? (oh, wait. Charred parts cause cancer...) What if it's already diced up and cooked and comes in a bag so that I can have supper on the table in about 20 minutes Tuesday night when I have to go to a meeting at 6:00? Is that bad?

I bought Pillsbury Halloween cinnamon rolls for our breakfast tomorrow. I'm probably going straight to mom hell for that one.

So I'm confused. I don't know what's healthy and what's not. It depends on who you ask. And no one group seems to have any better evidence than any other group. You can show almost anything with a "study." (I worked briefly in the biostatistics field. I've seen it happen.)

But for now, I'm going to enjoy having eaten our fish dinner! I'm going to try and have us eat more fruits and vegetables and maybe a little less meat. My family doesn't know it but they've all been put on Weight Watchers! Muhahahaha! (except that they've been able to eat almost endless amounts of early Halloween candy while I've had to count all of mine.....) Is this the best plan? Who knows? But it's the best I can do at the moment. I guess only time will tell.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creamy Mexican Dip

So I've been on Weight Watchers for a month now. I've lost 4.2 pounds! Isn't that awesome???? I can't wait until I lose more. I hope it continues. I'm afraid that right now the pounds are coming off b/c I was just eating SO much and have now gone back to a more reasonable amount of food. I think I'm going to hit a plateau at some point and then need to increase the activity. Which I'm trying to do now, but I'm still leery of doing too much with my knee. And I'm just lazy....(for those who care, I go back to the orthopedic doc this Thursday. Maybe he'll clear me for more activity.)

So each week at our meeting, we get a little brochure/magazine/handout thingy. The ladies at my regular meeting refer to it as the "weekly reader" because its title is Weight Watchers Weekly. I smiled when I told them I was old enough to understand why they'd call it that. :)

This past week, the weekly contained an awesome recipe! It's called Creamy Mexican Dip. I have just found my salvation from sour cream! Look at the recipe below:

Creamy Mexican Dip
1 cup plain, fat-free yogurt (Greek variety recommended)
1/2 cup salsa, hot chipotle variety suggested in the weekly. I just used medium heat Pace b/c that's what we had. Would also be good with homemade salsa, too.
1 medium avocado, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (Walmart Market didn't have any so I just used dried.)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste (I used Kosher salt.)

1/4 medium avocado, diced
1 Tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp chopped red onion

In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt and salsa until blended.
Stir in remaining ingredients except garnishes.
Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

When ready to serve, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with garnishes. Yields about 1/4 cup per serving. 1 points plus value per serving

This dip was YUM! I mean, I wondered how many 1/4 cups there were in the entire bowl b/c I wanted to eat the whole thing! (ok, so that's not exactly WW's intent.....) I've heard before about substituting yogurt for sour cream. Yogurt? Yuck! I hate yogurt. Can't stand it. It has this wang that is just disgusting to me. So I've never used yogurt instead of sour cream. But this time I decided that if it was mixed with enough stuff, I might like it. I did. I LOVED it! I will definitely be buying more Greek yogurt to have on hand and use in place of sour cream.

I even ate the avocado! I've never cared for avocado before either. Guacamole doesn't interest me. But covered in this dip, it was delicious! It added just the right amount of creamy, smooth texture. The onion was ok, too. Not a big fan of large pieces of onion. I like onion flavoring, but not onion pieces. But this red onion was ok. Bonus: I bought a container of already diced red onion! It was not that much more expensive than a whole onion. I've got plenty left over so I may freeze some to use the next time I make this dip. (like Tuesday......)

But the best part? THE GIRLS ATE IT! Yes! Both girls dipped chips and their quesadillas in it for lunch. So it's healthy AND the girls (and Jim) will eat it. WIN! WIN! WIN!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Turning a corner

I can't believe this is happening. I actually missed vegetables last night.

On Wednesday nights, our church has a children's Bible study as well as several adult classes. It starts at 6:00 so they serve a meal beforehand.

Last night's meal was grilled cheese sandwiches and tater tots along with dessert and drinks. The food was good. Not great, but ok. However, as I'm counting points, I thought, "oh no! This is going to be a whole lot of points for not a lot of yum." Sure enough. When I got home I looked up the points. These sandwiches were two Texas Toast-style slices of garlic bread with a slice of cheese in the middle. One slice of garlic bread is 6 points. So 2 was 12 points. The cheese was an extra 3. So my total sandwich came to 15 points! Then there were the tater tots.....I tried to share with J4, and I did. However, the girls kept handing me theirs to feed him so I had a lot on my plate. I ate some. Not a ton, but more than a few. So I had to factor in those 7 points as well. I should've had water to drink, but I like their lemonade. Another 3 points. So my total meal came to 25 points! Yikes! Luckily my week starts over on Tuesday so I have those 49 weekly points to use, but still.....

What I noticed myself doing, though, was asking, "where are the vegetables?" The meal had none. Nothing even close! I ACTUALLY WANTED SOME VEGETABLES!!!! What is wrong with me? I NEVER actually WANT vegetables. I'll eat them if they're there, but I've never missed them before.

So I think I've turned a corner. By beginning to eat healthier, I actually WANT to eat healthier. Now, I'm not against the occasional vegetable-less meal. (Hellooooooo, cheeseburger and fries!) But I truly did miss eating vegetables last night.

This is new for me. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This is harder than I thought.

Well, yesterday was Weight Watchers again.

And it went well!

I lost 0.2 pounds.

Which brings my total weight loss to 1.6 pounds!

So I didn't lose another pound this week, BUT I also didn't gain anything either. Yay me!

I did not get to exercise as much this week as I did last week. A rescheduled piano lesson, work, and a sore throat all conspired to prevent me from taking an hour long trek anywhere interesting. I did eek out 15 mins on the treadmill and a 30 min walk with the dog and the boy. But I still need to do more than that. Ah well. This week will be better!

Yesterday was interesting. From weight watchers, I headed down to my piano job. I had to stop and get J4 some McD's on the way b/c it was his lunch time. I did good and only got a smoothie. I wouldn't have gotten anything except that my throat (sore, as I mentioned above) was killing me and I was very thirsty. I didn't want a soft drink.

Ok, so I had a few of his fries. And his last chicken mcnugget that he wasn't going to eat. But I did better than I would have before WW!

Then last night, there was an ice cream social we were invited to. Jim took the kids while I was at PTO. Then I showed up later. AND I SHOULDN'T HAVE EATEN ANYTHING!!!!! But I did. I had half a bowl of mostly melted chocolate ice cream that Jim had gotten for me....and two cookies.

When I got home, I had to account for all that stuff. So I did. Thankfully, my "week" restarted yesterday so I had those 49 "extra" weekly points "so you don't feel deprived." I ended up using about 10 of those points because of the McDonalds, ice cream, and cookies.

So it's not like I went off the plan. Or even did that bad. However, that was basically just mindless eating. Well, maybe not the McDonald's. (I was STARVING.) But the ice cream and cookies I could have (should have) skipped. Basically, I hate to use those points on stuff that's not just "the most awesome thing you've ever put in your mouth!"

This is going to take more discipline than I thought. You just don't realize how many times you are faced with food until you have to count every morsel!