I am in a bit of a food rut. I've made chili and wild rice meatballs as my main stays for the past two weeks. Don't get me wrong–these are great, balanced meal and snack options. Two of my favorites as a matter of fact. But I am in desperate need of some fresh food ideas, particularly for dinners.
2 Great Low-Carb Recipe Sites
I haven't tried any of the recipes on these sites, but I am looking forward to it. And a bonus: both of these sites work with my recipe manager app for iPad and iPhone, Paprika.
- Elena's Pantry: My sister turned me on to this site, and it looks fabulous. Elena does a lot with almond flour to make paleo baked goods (careful here: still consider things like the Paleo Tag-Alongs as a treat, even though they are a better option than the real thing!). Her roast chicken recipes look simple, easy, and delicious, especially the Rosemary Apple Chicken. She has many gluten and dairy-free options. I am going to try one of her breads and serve it with my corned beef and cabbage this year!
- Simply Recipes: Elena is often inspired by this website written by Elise Bauer. I really liked her take on vegetables (I need to eat more of these!), like the Hoison Glazed Brussel Sprouts. She also has many gluten free options. She does use flour in many of her recipes. Simply adapt the recipes with coconut or almond flour for gluten-free, low-carb eating.
Share your favorite recipe site with me in the comments.
Julia Ross's revised and updated edition of “The Diet Cure” came up today during my nutrition educator training. My fellow nutrition educators were raving about it. My initial thought was, “Ugh, not another diet book.” I have spent so much money on diet books in my life lived with fat, only for them to present such a narrow and incomplete picture of what it takes to lose weight for the long term.
Despite my reservations, I bought a copy, opened to the first page and read this:
“This is not going to be like any diet book you have ever read. I won't mention calories except to forbid you to eat too few! I won't tell you to tune in to your “real” appetite because I know that if you could have you would have long ago. I won't tell you to discipline yourself because I know that your weight and eating habits are not the result of laziness, gluttony, or weak willpower.
You are trapped inside a body that is malfunctioning, and that body needs help. Years of dieting, psychotherapy, and the best pep talks about fitness can't help much when what you really need is a biochemical overhaul.” –Julia Ross, The Diet Cure
I almost cried. “What if I had read this statement when the book came out in 1999?” I asked myself. I couldn't help but think that I could have started to get good information about the real, biochemical reasons for my obesity (I topped out at 270 lbs) a full decade earlier than I did. Would my weight have gotten so out of control had I known about this book? All the time I spent beating myself up over my weak will, would I have felt differently about why I was obese?
I highly recommend this book to you as you start or continue on your weight loss journey. It answers so many of the “whys” of compulsive eating and weight gain. It also includes an awesome section called, “Depleted Brain Chemistry: The Real Cause of 'Emotional' Eating.” I have always thought that the concept of “emotional eating” is code for “you're fat because you can't control yourself and you are weak willed.” Ross clearly outlines why will and emotion have nothing to do with compulsive eating.
Have you read the book? Let me know what you found helpful!
I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about her struggles with weight. She knows my story very well, and I have gone out of my way to encourage her to try a path similar to mine (work with a nutritionist, give yourself lots of time, focus on eating real foods in balance, etc.). She resists this path because she is on a quest that many of us are familiar with–the search for the quick fix to weight loss. She was telling me about how much weight she had gained, and that the Green Coffee Bean extract that she bought after seeing an episode of Dr. Oz hadn’t worked.
Her story made me so sad, and then mad. People make billions of dollars a year peddling this type of modern day snake oil to desperate people who have tried everything to lose weight. And in the first weeks of the new year, the advertising accelerates trying to capitalize on the guilt we feel after holiday indulgences. I used to be one of these people, chasing every fad diet and weight loss pill that promised quick and easy weight loss. A cruel promise because it offers hope but never delivers results.
I want you to be well informed about these products and their promises. So, I invited Brenna Thompson, registered and licensed dietitian with Nutritional Weight and Wellness and nutrition blogger (Eating Simple), to give you some researched information on the topic.
Brenna Thompson, LD, RD comments on Dr. Oz and his weight loss supplement peddling
Dr. Oz is about as bad as a politician when it comes to health and wellness. One day he tells us a healthy diet is low in fat, the next day he invites Dr. William Davis on to discuss wheat and gluten, and then the next day he has a nutritionist touting the newest weight loss miracle pill. So which is it Dr. OZ, what is the ultimate secret to weight loss? At this point I’m not sure even he knows.
Recently he spot-lighted the magical benefits of green coffee bean extract (GCBE). Supposedly, taking this supplement will melt away the pounds without having to change one’s diet or increasing exercise. Sounds too good to be true to me. However, unlike the famous
raspberry ketone show, there are a few studies, that have shown supplementing with GCBE may actually help people lose weight. Don’t get too excited just yet. The most recent study is very small (16 test subjects), who took a placebo, 700mg, 1050mg, for 6 weeks with 2 weeks between doses. Results showed an average weight loss of 6-10 pounds during the highest dose period. Unfortunately, there is no information on how long these people kept the weight off.
During the show, Dr. Oz went on and highlighted two audience members who took GCBE for 1 week. Both lost 2-5 pounds and stated that they had fewer cravings and more energy. But can we really trust them? They’re on Dr. Oz! Of course they’re going to say they felt great taking the supplement. In the words of Dr. House, “Everyone lies.” The Dr. Oz Show Medical Unit went on and conducted its own larger study using 100 overweight women and found that after taking 400mg of GCBE for two weeks the GCBE group lost 2 pounds and the placebo group lost 1 pound. Both groups were told not to change their diets. So then how did the placebo group still manage to lose one pound? Obviously this is not a very scientific study, and its results should not be trusted.
Currently no large, long-term studies have been performed on GCBE, so we don’t know how long a person can take it and possibly lose
weight. We also don’t know if there are any negative side effects from long term use. As usual, it doesn’t address the reason a person gained excess weight in the first place–poor diet habits. Sure people might lose weight, but they are not necessarily healthier. Body weight is not the problem, it is a symptom. Inevitably, once someone stops taking the supplement they will probably gain the weight right back.
For people willing to tune out Dr. Oz, long-term sustained weight-loss can be theirs. But it takes time and effort, and there are no magic pills. This year make a commitment to yourself. This year you are going to eat real foods. You are going to eat balanced meals and snacks and not starve yourself. This year you will stop believing in magic pills and quick fixes. This year you will begin believing in your own power to make good choices and to nourish your body.
I felt the need this week to highlight Nutritional Weight and Wellness's new website. It is such an unbelievably helpful resource if you are seeking weight loss and good health. You can access articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide range of health topics with a simple search. You get all content related to that topic in one place. I have a friend struggling with Fibromyalgia, and this will be a great resource for him.
The recipes have all been re-organized and have lovely photos with them. I have a pot of the Chicken Wild Rice Soup simmering on the stove right now! It is a complete and balanced meal that will help me lose weight.
One of my biggest struggles I have with eating real food, in balance (aside from all the planning and prep), is transporting food to work, events, etc. I also bring a huge container of water to work every day, which adds to the problem. Most insulated bags do not have the space or strength to contend with the number meals and snacks that I have to carry around. Until now!
2 great bags from Whole Foods
I stumbled upon two of the most well-designed insulated bags at Whole Foods the other day (believe me, I've gone through many in my day): the insulated messenger bag and the square insulated bag.
They have nice wide straps that make carrying even the heaviest loads more comfortable. The square bag is smaller than the messenger bag, but it can carry a lot because it doesn't taper at the top like most bags. I use two ice blocks in the large bag and one in the smaller bag to keep stuff cold.
And what's best–I just saw that they have new colors. So you fashion-conscious people can get the bags in berry and blue or whatever color will match your outfit!
What's your favorite tip for transporting real food? Leave a comment.
I have wonderful readers. This week, I wanted to feature a question I got from Jane, and my response. I thought many of you could relate to her question and my response.
Question from Jane
I also am getting all my meals and snacks in so I am not hungry. I have been doing this ever since I got back from Paris–when I went on a bread and beer binge–and my cravings have never been quieter. Now that my cravings are quiet, I can focus on getting good food, and I am SLOWLY losing those 10 pounds. I asked my nutritionist about this and she told be that glutamine works so well for cravings because it is the only amino acid that the brain can use to make glucose. So, with your brain getting the glucose it needs from the amino acid, you don’t crave bread. It also heals your gut, which is key to metabolism and weight loss.
I get many questions from people about how I maintain my 90-pound weight loss, and even better, lose weight. It's pretty simple and a bit boring–I plan, plan, plan, then cook, cook, cook. The key to my having healthy carbs, fats, and proteins at the ready is my weekly two-hour cooking session. Here's what I made today.
I will use the food from these recipes to make: meals for my family, my son's lunches, my husband's snacks, and my ample snacks and meals (remember, I eat 5-6 times a day to keep my blood sugar balanced–the best way to lose weight for the long term).
How I make it fun and easy: apps, podcasts, music
Seems like a tall order–making food prep and cooking a fun activity and not a chore–since I have a long list of things I'd rather do. I use Paprika, an iPad/iPhone recipe manager app, to help me keep my recipes organized and easy to follow. I enter recipes into the app or load them from the browser, and then when I'm ready to shop I simply add the recipe to my grocery list. The app is also on my iPhone, which I use to shop and track what I buy.
I like to listen to nutrition podcasts while I cook (yes, I'm that much of a nutrition nerd). I use Downcast to download them and keep them all organized. If I'm in more of a music mood, I turn on the 70's station on Spotify.
Food planning is self care
This is what it all comes down to. When you make food that nourishes your body, you are caring for yourself and your family. I've found that unless it's fun, or at least enjoyable, I won't do it.
I hope you can use these tips and apps to inspire your self-care cooking session!
Have a favorite app that helps you plan? Share a comment now.