Category: dieting

Twinkie Conundrum

So Hostess has closed.  We have all heard that.  Another American brand down the drain, no bailout for those 18k workers, no recourse for a union that flushed workers down the drain.

Here’s the funny thing since the news came out I have heard basically this same conversation from almost all of my friends/family (even my Dad!):

“I’m not going to miss all those unhealthy foods.”

or  “America is sure going to be healthier with out all the trans-fats clogging their arteries”

but then the statement is almost always followed by ‘I will miss those cupcakes though’, or ‘I wonder how much longer we can get a snowball?’ or ‘hard to imagine no more wonder bread or twinkies’.

What makes me laugh is that almost everyone I know plays the part of the healthy eater, glad Hostess is gone and ridding America from its guilt-ridden treats but secretly are lamenting the loss.  I guess it is the definition of a guilty pleasure!

I wonder if part of the remorse is like watching Saturday morning cartoons. They are syrupy and stupid but you kind of like them.  They remind you of being a kid again and for those of that had pleasant childhoods the remembrance is pleasant.  Perhaps we like such food because when we were a kid we didn’t have to worry so much about carbs, organic food, clean eating or any of that crap? We could just eat a twinkie if our Mom told us it was okay.

Perhaps we like things like hostess because we secretly LIKE THEM! In one Washington Post article about the mass selloff of twinkies on ebay a vendor described the situation well:

“If buyers do not bite, Mr. Edmonds is not sure what he will do with his supply. He does not even like Twinkies.

“I do like to have a Ding Dong every once in a while though,” he said.”

(I swear that same caveat is being said by nearly every American)

I remember when I saw Martha Stewart making her own peeps and I felt tired and a little disgusted.  What a waste of time when the original are delicious. I’m sure she would be insulted at the idea of store bought peeps but at Easter I wouldn’t want them any other mixed up, gussied way, just gooey, crispy peeps.  I like gourmet food but I also like familiar food where I know how it will taste and what it will be like.  I think that is the appeal of a lot of foods like Hostess. They are easy to eat, absorb and enjoy.

What foods do you like that you are slightly embarrassed to admit liking?  Come on, let it out.  I can think of some:

1- Chicken Nuggets- not fancy chicken strips (although those are good too).  I’m talking about crunchy little chicken pieces of manufactured yumminess and I get all the sauces I can muster.

2- pizza- This is really a guilty pleasure but I like all variations of pizza, not just the bubbly gourmet kind with fancy cheeses but the greasy pepperoni from Little Caesars (and I love Crazy bread!)

3- Movie popcorn- I love popcorn in general but I like the salty, yellow, intoxicating smelling popcorn at the movie theater.  I do! (With extra butter of course).

4- Sweet/Sour candies. When I went on my sugar fast the thing I craved the most was sour patch kids.  Strange but something about that lip puckering sweet and sour sounded so good.

5- Ice Cream- I’ve never met a flavor or brand of ice cream I don’t like.  I love the fancy gourmet kinds but also the big buckets of generic vanilla.
I also love ice cream novelties like drumsticks and fudgicals

6- Popsicles- I love those double popsicles in cherry, root beer, grape, banana, orange, etc.  You know the one’s?

7- Ramen noodles- I don’t like canned soup- ever, ever, ever!  I don’t eat it unless I’m forced and if I’m sick I’d much rather have ramen than canned soup.  I just don’t like the tecture of it.

8- Really hot fresh french fries.  They just aren’t the same baked.  Need the deep frier.  I love sauces.

9- Pillsbury- I think those crescents and biscuits are delicious.

10- Slurpees- Love all the favors, all the time.

11- Donuts- I love chocolate, maple donuts, simple glazed, powdered, whatever!  The smell makes me crazy.  Even those little powdered one’s make me happy.

12- Crackers- I love Chicken n’ biscuit, ritz, saltines, club crackers whatever.  YUM!

13- pudding snacks- not fancy kind.  Just standard pudding cups.

14- On same line lunchables.  Ah the decadence!

( I could keep going…)

What about you?  What do you have to talk yourself into getting a salad for?  What transfat nightmares do you linger over in the market and then head for the whole wheat section…

Be honest!  Who out there is secretly going to miss the twinkie?

Two Perfect Foods

My trainer says if you are going to cheat make sure it is ‘Oh heck yeah’ cheat.  No lame brownie from a store.  No dime ice cream.  Something that is really good! Being on day 5 of Jenny Craig this becomes even more important as my cheats are few and far between.

Here are 2 recent discoveries and the best thing is they aren’t necessarily that bad of cheats but oh are they good!

1. Cocoa Metro Drinking Chocolate

For years I have been on the hunt for the perfect chocolate milk.  Almost all chocolate milks have corn syrup and corn starch added in- yuck!  It has a gritty, chalky taste to me.  I am perhaps hyper-sensitive to that kind of taste.  Most people probably don’t even notice it, but it is like runny glue to me. It’s why I hate protein drinks or bars.  I have tried so many different kinds and they all set my gag reflex off.  (And  please don’t tell me that I will like your kind…Heard that before!).  I figure people were healthy decades before protein drinks so I can go without!

Anyway, I have tried just about every kind of chocolate milk and hot chocolate concoction out there and so far nothing has been able to beat good old Hershey syrup and milk…until today .

I found the Cocoa Metro Drinking Chocolate- yes, its not only chocolate milk but drinking chocolate.  Look at the ad:

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Holy cow was it good! I like one reviewer said ‘this stuff is crack for chocolate fans’. Another said ““It actually tastes like chocolate—not some weird amalgam of chemicals—with a touch of vanilla to balance it out.”.  That is so true.  It is strong but still a milk chocolate flavor. The vanilla does come out but mostly it is just chocolate deliciousness.  It is thick but not so thick it feels goopy. You can tell the milk is really good too.  Some chocolate milks have a background sour milk taste.  Not this.  Its fresh and creamy. Perfect.

Seriously one of the best things I have ever eaten (or drunken. Is that a word? ). I wish I could get the liter jars but it will definitely be in my Harmons shopping cart again. Wish I could buy in bulk! (Luckily I can see the Harmons from my apartment!) Wow!

2. Honeycrisp apples.  Every year I live for these apples.  Some apples claim to be ‘like honeycrisp’ (Envy, galla, you know who you are) but alas nothing can beat my honeycrisp.  They are a perfect food.  Crisp, tart, sweet, delicious. I have literally been dreaming about them for months and anxiously awaiting their return, looking longingly at the apple section but none until today!

Last year I gave them away as gifts to friends and once they tasted one they eagerly awaited my next visit and the presentation of the honeycrisp.  They are expensive.  I spent over $10 on a bag today but worth the price.  Holy cow! I literally yelped in the supermarket when I saw them.

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So while I’m eating my frozen meals I will be supplementing them (its part of the program) with fresh veggies and my delicious honeycrisps! What more can a girl ask for?

Oh and I might get a drinking chocolate every now and then (doesn’t that sound sophisticated?)

Seriously hunt these products down.  You won’t regret it!

(And yes, if either Metro Chocolate or the honeycrisp people want to send me samples I will gladly accept and plug their fabulous products 🙂 )

Aren’t the simple joys the best?  Whoever said you can’t be excited about food and really love it while dieting is crazy!

Foods I Fantasize About

So today I am starting Jenny Craig.   You see,  I’m a tricky dieter because I love to cook but 60-90% of the time I don’t have time to cook.  Plus, I spend all my day at home which means I want to be out, not tempted to work, in the evening.  I finally decided I needed to find something that was easy.

I had always been skeptical about meal diet plans but what sold me is that with JC you get to supplement the meals with your own dairy, veggies and fruit from the very beginning.  You also only eat exclusively JC meals for about 4 weeks and then you reduce to 6, 5, 4 days ect.  I can still have the bountiful baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables along with the packaged meals. A nice combination.

I also thought the weekly consultations was very attractive, at a great price (for a 8 weeks consultation at my gym you get a year at JC).  The meal is personalized.  Like because of my goals and exercise regiment I’m actually eating 1800-2000 calories a day.  This surprised me but gels with what my trainer has been telling me (my reflex is to starve myself when I get diet desperate).

We will see how things go but I’m pretty determined.  I am still going to eat socially but you work that out with your consultant.  Like I had a treat at the wedding I went to tonight but that was discussed and worked into the plan.  Next Saturday I will have breakfast with book club and we will work that into things.   Love!

So, in the meantime I thought I’d tell you about some food I routinely fantasize about when dieting.

1.  Any food from New York including bagels with shmeer, greys papaya hot dogs with grilled onions and sauerkraut, deli sandwiches, pizza (one time I had a thin crust pizza with homemade mozzarella ricotta and sliced meatballs! Been dreaming about it since)

2. Hawaii food- shaved ice…., Ted’s Bakery, Dole whips, anything at grass skirt grill, or cafe haliewa. Shrimp truck shrimp,  fresh pineapple, mangos and coconuts cut open from the stand, thai food, more dole whips

3. All food Italian- maybe it was going to Italy when I was 17 but I love Italian food.  I love pizza, spaghetti and meatballs (my favorite food and they kind of saved my life at one point…), stuffed shells,just good pasta with butter and garlic, caprese salad…sigh

4. Indiana food- pork tenderloin sandwiches that the pork is twice as big as the roll, Mug-n-bun, frozen custard, homemade noodles, chicken and noodles, sweet cream pie, tomatoes with cottage cheese and salt, goulash, cheesy potatoes, lots of potatoes! Love really hot crunchy french fries (and yes Dad I’ve occasionally dipped them in my ice cream!)

5. Other favorites- asian noodles (ramen, pho, whatever), Bombay house Indian food (where I’ve always wanted to go on a date and haven’t to this point), crispy moist fried chicken (harmons is so good),  Cafe Rio pork salad, good sushi (love this place in Midvale called Nagoya Sushi), good barbeque that isn’t too fatty with a good tangy slightly sweet sauce, biscuits and gravy, perfect grilled cheese, light fluffy buttermilk pancakes, fresh baked bread with butter, tacos in almost any form, Maryland blue crabs, all thanksgiving food, my Mother’s pie- any flavor, greek food.  A really good burger or sandwich.  I think I could eat jamba juices every day of my life and never get sick of them.   Our German Christmas meal, pastries, good cheese and ice cream.

6.  A really good steak medium with herbed butter and a baked potato, perfectly roast chicken, turkey.  Love me some meat (could never be a vegetarian).

Oh and I love the scotch kisses at See’s.  Could do without everything else but I love those scotch kisses…

Ok.  Those are some of the best things I’ve ever eaten. There you go! That was fun and I didn’t eat a thing…

A Defense of Curves

Got Curves? I do!

I’ve mentioned the infamous Maura Kelly op-ed in Marie Claire many times on this blog . The one where she compares fat people to heroine addicts

“”I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine [sic] addict slumping in a chair.”

and

“I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other… because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.”

It is hate speech of the worst kind and the fact that a major fashion magazine would publish and then defend the smut is unbelievable.

Anyway, I came across an article by Josh Shahryar for the Huffington Post refuted each of Kelly’s claims and her subsequent apology.  It is so awesome!

http://huff.to/992Yrd

I was particularly moved by his last segment called The Conclusion.

I don’t normally share whole articles on this blog but I was so moved I wanted all of you to read it.  Being on a new diet this last week I think I needed to read this article.  So beautiful and moving:

5. The Conclusion

I’m not a personal issues expert. But I’m a human being living in the West who knows what’s going on. And what I see is this: there is an incredible amount of bias perpetuated against overweight people in the media. They are almost never the central character — always neatly tucked in as a secretary, the nurse or a character who’s too old to rouse romance. The last time I saw overweight people in a movie as the central character was in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and recently in Precious. Both the movies had a bit to do with weight.

When they appear on TV shows, it’s about weight. Guess who the loser in The Biggest Loser is… Guess who’s huge on Huge (by the way, a very witty show that got canceled). And when it comes to commercials, There’re always those damn ‘fatties’ that can’t seem to lose their weight without this or that new magical drug or diet.

Criminals can and do get central characters, otherwise. Druggies do. Even rapists and child abusers get more frequently featured. Fat people just aren’t good enough. (And to come to this realization right now just truly, deeply and profoundly upset me.)

The only shows, commercials or movies in which they get treated as normal people are those oriented towards the African-American population. Kudos to them for having the empathy. Only the oppressed can feel the pain of the oppressed.

Overweight people have become marginalized by the media simply because they’re overweight. Just like African Americans were marginalized because they were black and more recently, gay people because they’re gay. I understand fully that unlike the color of someone’s skin or someone’s sexual orientation obesity is a medical condition and a problem, but obese people aren’t. That is the issue. That is the problem. That is what both overweight, “normal” weight and underweight people need to come together and fight against.

The first step towards losing weight is not putting your mind to it. It is not making a list of things you will absolutely not do. It is not locking up the fridge. It is knowing that even if you fail at losing weight, people will still love you for who you are and not the number of pounds you’re packing. That people will judge you by your character and not because you are unhealthy weight-wise (and some people are perfectly healthy even when they are overweight). It is that feeling that you are doing this for yourself not because you have to fit a mold created for you.

That cannot be accomplished as long as Western culture continues to brand people who weigh more than what it deems aesthetically pleasing as unacceptable. It’s gotten so bad that even a few people who’re skinny live in constant fear that they might add a few pounds and not look beautiful enough to not be judged by people. And since media plays a huge part in formulating our cultural perceptions, it needs to change immediately — whether people like Ms. Kelly like it or not.

To that end, I urge everyone who finds size-ism in the media as a menace to view this as a watershed moment. It’s time to come together and fight this bigotry to the bitter end. Change does not come without someone pushing for it. If we want this to change, if we want for us, overweight or not, to not be judged by our BMI, we need to not let this fire die down.

We need to stand up and demand change. Even if it means we need to force the issue daily on social networking sites. Even if it means we have to boycott media that continue to practice this bigotry. Even if it means we have to hold peaceful demonstrations for the end of this practice. If media does not change, we cannot change this culture that seems to have been forever marginalizing overweight people.

It’s not just people judging you on the street. It’s about losing job opportunities. It is about equal treatment in the health care system. It is about being able to breathe, knowing everything’s gonna be alright.

The media’s side-stepping the issue and pretending all’s well reminds me of a scene from the movie Good Luck Chuck. Chuck is hexed so any girl who sleeps with him ends up meeting the love of her life in the next few days. His overweight secretary finds out about this and like any woman, she wants to find the lover of her life. She corners him one night and begs him to have sex with her, but he won’t. It goes on for a couple of minutes. Then, finally when he’s on the ground and she’s on top of him and he refuses, she tears up and says, “It’s okay. Close your eyes and pretend I’m someone beautiful.” He looks up, visibly moved, and says, “I’ll pretend it’s you.”

Well, pretending is just not good enough anymore.

(So awesome!  I hope I can keep the discussion going and show people a different version of what a fat American can do.  I bet Maura Kelly couldn’t swim a 5k!)

It’s not just girls that need the positive body image messaging

Diet Before 10

I shared this with my facebook community but thought I’d do the same with my blogging community.  I think this photo tells a lot.

I can relate to this photo because I was on diet before I turned 10.  I have almost no memories of not being on a diet in my life.  In fact some of my most vivid memories are being put on diets or being told I was fat by kids or even coaches, other adults.  As all my readers know I was also bullied for nearly 2 years (4th and 5th grades) because I was overweight.

I have to say compared to some of my overweight friends, my parents have actually been pretty great.  They did put me on a diet when I was young but overall they tried to be supportive and loving.  I did not get a ton of pressure from them to lose weight and I certainly was never told that I was ugly, embarrassing, fat, whatever.  I hear such stories from some of my friends and I’m grateful for good parents.

So what is my advice to parents who have a heavier child and don’t know what to do? Here goes:

1. Set the whole family on a healthy lifestyle regiment so that one child is not singled out. Then everyone wins.  It could even be a fun project to do together.

2. Explain that it really isn’t about appearance. Its about health, energy, happiness.  Perhaps give them examples of athletes, other adults who maintain a healthy weight.  (show them my blog about my swims 🙂 )

3. I think a lot of parents feel guilty about their overweight children and that just makes the child feel worse for failing their parents.

4. Do not EVER be embarrassed by your child.  This will only teach them to be ashamed of their bodies and could lead to behaviors later on that are far worse than being overweight such as self-abuse, eating disorders, and addiction.

5. Try to avoid using food as a reward or a punishment.  It will happen on occasions such as birthdays or at a party and that’s fine but in general find non-food related rewards

6. Avoid equating food as a sin.  Do not make a child feel guilty for what they eat.  Just encourage the good and move on from the bad. I still struggle with feelings of guilt and even sin when I stray from my diet and I don’t think that is a healthy behavior.

7. Introduce your kids to new food experiences so they don’t think that healthy food=boring food.

8. Involve your kids in the cooking process so they can see what goes into it.  A processed packaged meal will never give your children any excitement for fresh, healthy ingredients.  Also take them to farms, have them learn how to milk a cow, see where eggs come from, how to make cheese, whatever.  This may be a drag for some kids but in the end it will help them build healthy eating habits and a love for good food.

9. Be positive, positive, positive, positive!  Even today, I find I need overwhelmingly positive feedback from my trainers and other support.  I know what I could improve on.  In fact, I’m usually beating myself up more than I probably should and don’t need any help in that department.  Any added ‘tough love’ just makes me feel depressed and hopeless

10.  Make sure you explain all aspects of health to your child.  Meaning physical, mental, spiritual, emotional whatever.  All of these aspects are important for a healthy person.  Writing in journals, meditating, having honest discussion, learning new things, reading, prayer, other worship,  and learning to manage stress are all AS IMPORTANT as our weight.

11. Make sure they have correct information about weightloss, health, etc.  Despite all my dieting I never learned that type 2 diabetes was curable.  When they diagnosed me as border-line a few years ago, I honestly thought I was going to die. I was petrified.  Instead of just scaring kids with words like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.  Let’s explain what they really are and how they can be prevented and overcome.

Recently I did a wellness challenge where there were 10 categories of health including 15 minutes of spiritual reading and setting daily goals.  I think this type of overall wellness would be a great system for kids.

Now some of you may scoff and say ‘she’s single.  What does she know about raising kids?’.  Well, I was a kid once and I know intimately what it is like to grow up as a fat kid. I also have kids in my life who I want to support in the right ways; therefore I have given the topic much thought.

Its important to understand that as adults, we are all fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the health of the kids in our lives.  They have so much coming at them from the media and even other children and adults at school.  We must conscientiously work at fighting this messaging or our kids will get their self-worth from the myriad of other sources trying to claim it.

Unfortunately sometimes people that mean well can be a destructive influence.  Celebrities like First Lady Michele Obama have started a ‘war on childhood obesity’.  I really wish Mrs. Obama would rethink this wording.  I wish she was more focused on health of all children whether they happen to be heavy or skinny.  I certainly am proof that an active heavy person can do things that a lazy skinny person could not do.

Health, health, health not weight, weight, weight.

Fruit Trays

So everyone knows I love entertaining and making food look beautiful.  The item I’ve probably had the most practice on over the years are fruit and vegetable trays.  I used to work for BYU catering where we made hundreds of fruit trays.  It was there I learned how to cut a pineapple and could get a pineapple cored and cut in about a minute.

Soon after college I got introduced to the Barefoot Contessa and her amazing fruit platters always filled me with glee.  They just looked so pretty :).  Granted she has food stylists and a bevy of helpers (not too mention quite the budget) but I think if you invited Ina Garten to a party she’d bring about as pretty a fruit tray as shown in the pictures.   Incidentally I wonder if Ina Garten’s friends are terrified to invite her over to eat.  How could you measure up?

Anyway, I started a diet on Monday and had to bring a treat to activity days for the young girls at church.  (Age 8-10).  I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t derail my diet and as I had been a slacker leader the last few months store bought seemed too lame.  So I decided to put together a fruit tray with my famous chocolate yogurt dip (so good!).

I must say I think it is my finest fruit tray creation yet:

Isn’t it pretty? White platters are easy to use for any occasion. The best entertaining tip my Mom gave me.

The fruit tray included strawberries, cherries, envy apples, banana and just for fun star fruit.  I had my chocolate dip (recipe below) and some store-bought caramel sauce (I’ve never quite mastered homemade caramel sauce).

I didn’t know if the girls would like the dark chocolate sauce but I think you can tell from this after shot that they liked it!

That’s what you call a plate licked clean!

Here are Ina Garten’s fruit tray tips:

“Once the base is set, you can add any kind of fruit that’s available.

I like to have one thing that is taller than the rest, such as a large bunch of grapes or a decoratively cut papaya, to give the platter height.

Then I add raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and fresh figs in casual but organized groups. The platter can look like a bowl of M&M’s if there are too many colors scattered with no order.

Visually, your eye needs to have a focal point and to be able to see each type of fruit.

After all the fruit is arranged, I add flat green leaves around the outside of the fruit, to set off the colors. Use lemon and galax leaves from your florist, or fig leaves and grape leaves  from your garden. Make sure they are pesticide-free and well washed.”

Some day I will be so on the ball I have lemon leaves on my trays but I’m proud of my attempt.  I think even kids respond better to something that is presented beautifully and it really doesn’t taken any more effort than throwing it on a plate.   Ok maybe a tiny bit more effort but hardly anything.

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate sauce.  Its super good.  This makes a lot of sauce.

Chocolate Yogurt Sauce

3 Lindt Dark Chocolate Bars- Lindt has tons of flavors including roasted almond, sea salt, chili, mint etc.  They are the best!

1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt

2-3 tbsp whole milk

heat chocolate over double boiler until melted.  Add milk, mix together over heat.   Will get a little thicker as it heats up.

Add yogurt once its cooled down.

Since I was making this for kids I added about a tsp of agave to make it a little sweeter.

You can add chopped nuts, toffee bits or whatever you like.  Can dip anything in it.  Shortbread is amazing!

ingredients for sauce

I made enough this time that I am setting little servings of it aside and freezing them for a quick treat.

single servings of sauce

As best as I can calculate on myfitnesspal.com these servings have 120 calories, 18 carbs, 8 grams fat, 6 grams protein, 11 grams sugar.

Enjoy!

I love sauces and dips. It makes me very happy

Smoothie Cubes

So recently I made an exciting purchase.  I finally got a blendtec fancy blender. I’ve been watching craigslist for years to try and find a deal and finally last week one came up.  The lady selling it had only had it for a year but said she never really used it and so she gave me a deal.  I got about a $450 blender for $285.  It’s still a lot of money but well worth it.

My new toy. Blendtec!

But as I started to use my blender I came up with a problem because I couldn’t drink an entire blender of smoothie without going crazy on the calories.  However, I didn’t want to throw away half a pitcher of smoothie.  (Since I live alone I must solely consume all of the food I make unless I have company.)

Hmmmm…what’s a girl to do?

Here’s my solution-

Smoothie Cubes

Pour some for a snack/lunch. Still have a lot left over? What to do?

Take leftover smoothie and put it in silicon ice cube trays

Use silicon ice cube trays to put the smoothie in. The silicon ice cube trays I got at TJ Maxx 2 for $9.95

Takes longer than regular ice to get solid enough.Once it is frozen, press cube out of silicon and put into ziploc or other freezer container.

Smoothie cubes!

Then they are perfect for a quick treat or to make a new smoothie with a little bit of orange juice or coconut water added.

Perfect for a little poppable frozen summer treat!
Delicious!

Ah, best idea ever!