Healthchat

Conversations about optimal health.


Habit #5 Measure all Fats

It’s so easy to add extra calories with fats. One tablespoon of oil has 100 to 125 calories. So if you don’t measure you will end up with more fat in a recipe or on your food than you need. Keep a tablespoon measure handy and when you are making a peanut butter sandwich use 1 Tblsp per slice of bread. I know, the TV ads always show a whole knife full of peanut butter spreading like a tsunami over the bread, however, it’s surprising how far 1 tablespoon will go to make a satisfying sandwich.

Mayonnaise, cooking oil, olive oil, butter, nut butters and salad dressings w oil all need to be measured if you want to improve your diet and lose weight. For most recipes it only takes 1 tablespoon of oil to sauté an onion. Or when you eat a salad place the dressing in a small container to the side of your plate and dip your fork into the dressing before you fork up your bite of salad. Fats add flavor so add them to your food, just get into the habit of keeping track of how much fat is in your diet by measuring it before you eat.

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Butternut Squash Soup Recipe for Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year and I switch from eating lots of salad to soup. Two days ago I read through several soup recipes using Butternut Squash and decided to come up with one of my own. It was delicious and is now in my favorite recipe notebook. If you are looking for some good tasting soup recipes using Fall vegetables this will satisfy.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

1 butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes

1 medium apple, peeled and sliced

1 medium or 1/2 of a large red onion

1 Tblsp fresh ginger, grated

1 Tblsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ancho chili pepper

1 cup turkey or chicken broth

1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes

2 medium fresh tomatoes cubed

1 1/2 cups fresh coconut milk ( So Delicious is one brand)

Heat oil in large soup pot. Add onion and saute’ until it begins to brown, then add ginger and spices toasting them until they become fragrant, under 1 minute. Add Turkey broth and scrape up browned bits on bottom of pot. Then add squash, apples and tomatoes. Simmer until squash and apples are soft. Stir in coconut milk and make sure soup is warmed through. Remove from heat and puree preferably with a blender stick or wait until it cools slightly to blend in conventional blender. Return soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.


Overcoming, Results and Rewards

Following my new habits for the first 90 days produced measurable results, especially with weight loss. It was an exciting time, the visible changes motivated me to continue with my wellness plan. Then, the second 90 days, not so much. This is the time when my new habits were tested. Life and the deep triggers toward addiction surfaced. The question on my mind was, “will I be able to do this long term even if the results are slow?”

I realized that longterm change is harder when there are challenges to my new routines. Family gatherings, birthdays, eating out, emotional upheaval all happened in July. Also, a set point in my weight loss continued for the whole month. My usual go to for handling challenges is sugar but that is off the table now. Like I said earlier, this was a testing month. Do I have the right habits in place to make healthy choices no matter the circumstances?

The answer is yes and keep going no matter what. August has been a breakthrough month. Less weight and making healthy choices even when traveling. I’ve eaten a sugary dessert 4 times and actually left one dessert uneaten because it wasn’t worth the calories. I no longer have to think about my new habits but I do have to keep logging my food choices. There is still an urge to return to former unhealthy ways when I’m tired or discouraged. So on to September and the next 90 days. I will keep you posted and if you are stuck in your journey toward optimal health trust your new habits and don’t give up.


Habit #4 Prep ahead.

This habit helps with two challenges. This first being what to cook especially on nights when you are tired. The second is produce that can be pricey, dying in your refrigerator before you get a chance to eat it. The answer is planning your menus and prepping your food right after you bring it home.

When I had to feed four children on a budget I used to plan out my menu for about 2 weeks, shop for food every two weeks, buy in bulk as much as I could and then I would do a marathon cooking day, prepping the ingredients and freezing or storing them in the refrigerator. It was a grueling day but it saved me lots of time and money. Plus we ate healthier meals.

I took the same approach with my new healthier eating plan. I plan out two weeks worth of menus then make a list with the needed ingredients. I take my list to the grocery store every two weeks and yes stick to a budget. Then every other Saturday afternoon I spend about 2 hours prepping the fresh produce. One big help is dividing romaine lettuce into leaves, washing and drying them then placing them in a large baggie or container for salads. A second head of romaine is torn and washed and spun dry then put in a second container. I am more likely to make a salad if the greens are washed and ready.

I also travel to my favorite farmers market and pick up produce in season. Here are some ideas on how to prep and preserve it from spoiling. Corn can be shucked and placed in a large baggie. Do not wash it ahead of time. I chop the tops off of beets and cook them until they are fork tender then slice and store in the refrigerator for salads. Tomatoes should sit on a window sill until you are ready to use them. Cucumbers can be peeled, sliced and refrigerated. Carrots, celery, scallions, peppers and radishes are cleaned and cut into dipping sizes. I usually make some hummus and black bean dip to accompany them. Chopping and slicing red onions and garlic are really helpful for quick dinners when I’m tired. Lately I’ve been cutting up a small watermelon and refrigerating it. It makes a great dessert on hot nights.

Finally I make sure I have a healthy sweet snack available. Fresh blueberries and a cut up pineapple are satisfying. Also, I portion almonds and raisins, 1 ounce each combined in a baggie for snacks when I want something sweet. Remember a craving only lasts for about 15 minutes so if you have something healthy prepared you are less likely to run out for ice cream.

The time is well spent because when I need ingredients for a shake they are ready. When I’m craving something sweet I have cut up fruit or an almond raisin snack. Salads are easy. This prep has really helped with sticking to my eating plan.

Try it and share your recipes and prepping techniques. I would love to hear from you.


Are you stuck on the same breakfast?

I don’t know about you but I tend to get in a rut in the morning with the same breakfast everyday. I usually have a protein smoothie before going out to exercise. When the same ingredients are on hand I grab what is easy and make the same boring smoothie. However in order to stay on a healthy eating regimen I need variety.

Summer is a great time to shake up my dull tastebuds by adding fresh, local produce into my morning routine. So today I invited some friends and family to come try some new smoothie recipes. They were pleasantly surprised by the variety of ingredients and flavors. The smoothie bar was a success and I’m sharing our favorites with you. Buy local as much as possible and make some new healthy, delicious breakfast shakes. Now you have no excuse.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

1 cup Lactose Free Milk

1 Frozen banana

1Tblsp pure peanut butter

1 scoop Chocolate Protien Powder, or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder Chocolate flavor

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup ice.

Blend on high until smooth.

Raspberry Beet Protein Smoothie

1 baby beet, steamed and skinned.

1/2 cup Coconut Milk Yogurt

1/2 cup fresh red raspberries

1/2 cup Coconut Water

1/2 cup ice cubes

Splash of real Vanilla

1 scoop Protein Powder or Nutrilite Organics Plant Protein Powder, Vanilla

Blend all ingredients in blender on high until smooth.

Green Superfood Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 cup Soy or Coconut Milk

1/2 cup green seedless grapes

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 scoop powdered greens or Nutrilite Organics Green Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Pear Raspberry Collagen Smoothie

1/2 large Anjou Pear cored.

1/2 cup red raspberries

1/4 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup cold water

2 tsp honey

1 envelope Collagen Peptides or N by Nutrilite #nofilter Collagen Peptides

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

Then here are two recipes for coolers which are thirst quenching on hot afternoons.

Jasmine Green Tea w Mint

Cover 12 stems of fresh mint with 48 ounces of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove stems and stir in 1/3 cup of sugar.

Steep 1 Jasmine Green Tea bag in 12 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add to mint tea and adjust for sweetness. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Watermelon Immunity Cooler

1 cup watermelon

1 cup Black Cherry Juice, no sugar added

1 cup ice

1 scoop of Immunity powder, or Nutrilite Organics Immunity Superfood

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Pour into glass, sit on porch and enjoy!


Habit #3 Responsibility vs Resistance

All healthy habits require action but the action originates in your mind. You think of it before doing it unless you are touching a hot stove and then the recoil bypasses the brain and becomes automatic.

I am a food addict and when I stuff my emotions with food it is hard to take personal responsibility for my actions. I blame my obesity on my genetics or on the eating habits that I learned from my parents. The choice to eat is mine but I feel pressured into it by circumstances and feelings.

Conversely when I am building healthy habits around food and exercise it is always someone else’s idea to give up sugar and refined flour and get up in the morning to go to the gym. The resistance l feel when starting a new eating plan comes from putting the responsibility for success on the plan, not owning it as my idea, my choice.

I am 67 years old. No one is making me do this, not my mother or my children, my trainer or society. I choose to be a healthier version of myself. These are my plans, I own them and will follow them because I am committed to a new life with new habits. When I take full responsibility for my life choices and totally own my day, my resistance melts away because no one is making me do this but me.


Re-Set and Food Sensitivities

If you suspect that you may have sensitivities to certain foods or additives in foods a cleanse and reset may be a good way to find out. For instance, two years ago I was living with a lot of acid reflux, weight gain and joint inflammation. My Chiropractor recommended a cleanse to reveal if I had food allergies and to jump start weight loss.

Since I work with the Nutrilite company I wanted to design the cleanse around their shakes and supplements. After researching several published cleanses and reputable nutrition authors I designed a cleanse and diet reset that I hoped would identify my food sensitivities and help me form healthier eating habits. It began with protein shakes and a whole food plant based diet, then gradually re-introduced animal protein, dairy and gluten in order to discover what foods if any were causing uncomfortable reactions.

Basically you remove certain food groups from your diet for a two week period and then gradually re-introduce one group at a time over the following two weeks. I found that Bovine dairy products, except for yogurt, were causing the reflux and a lot of the joint inflammation. Wheat products came in as mildly irritating and I actually lost my taste for a variety of animal proteins.

Now, I’m working with a whole foods, plant based diet and the weight loss is happening gradually. Joint swelling and pain have almost disappeared and acid reflux is a thing of the past. See some of my former posts here on Healthchat to read about my progress.

As a disclaimer I do have a graduate degree in Nursing and I’ve worked with one of the top Vitamin and Supplement companies for over 30 years so I know a lot about nutrition, however, I do not have a degree in Nutrition or any certifications in that field. Also if you have ever had a violent reaction to food, ie., hives, difficulty breathing, or anaphylactic shock, definitely follow your doctors recommendations when it comes to changes in your diet and eating habits.

Ask me questions and post your comments here. I would love to hear from you and share more of the details.