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Old 12-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #1
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Hi everybody! Happy Thursday!
So, after years of being in caloric denial, I have been tracking my calories daily since October and am so proud to say I am finally seeing some results. But I am a bit confused about whether to count my veggie intake. At first, I was doing it, but then ran across a few articles that basically propose that that was needless since the amount of energy (calories) the body requires to digest them are actually higher than the actual amount the veggie contains. So, I stopped. Now, I seem to have hit a weight plateau and have alloted myself 100 calories per day allowance for veggies. And, I eat a lot of them-- mostly steamed.

So,what do y'all think? Is this negative calorie thing a buncha hogwash? Should I go back to counting out my veggie intake in a more precise way?
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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So,what do y'all think? Is this negative calorie thing a buncha hogwash? Should I go back to counting out my veggie intake in a more precise way?
1. Yes, I think negative calories are a bunch of hogwash.

2. No, I don't count veggie calories (except, as bg124 notes, the calorie-dense veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and the like. Carbs are not an issue for me, but calories are).

3. Are you really plateaued? Is it 1 week without a loss? 2? I don't think that is a plateau and might just give it time. Is your profile correct that you've lost 27 lbs since October? If so, AWESOME. Maybe it is just cyclic/something else and if what you are doing works for you and is working, keep at it.

4. If you really are plateaued, I recommend examining OTHER areas of your diet and reducing calories there, instead of worrying about tracking your veggies. To gain 1 lb from eating broccoli, you would have to eat 113 (roughly) EXTRA cups of chopped broccoli. So I do not think veggies are the problem, and I don't think it is a great idea to worry about limiting them. Although generally I presume that I eat 200 to 300 calories worth of veggies per day - I just work that into my plan. I don't measure/count them. So my advice is to find other places to cut and make your presumptive calorie count from veggies slightly higher.

(Also: if you limit your veggies to 100 calories per day, you may not get enough. You should eat 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies per day, at least. 100 calories is JUST enough for 5 servings of celery. What if you wanted broccoli or cauliflower or carrots or tomatoes, which have minimal calories (30ish/serving) but still, 5 servings = 150 calories.)
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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Thanks so much bg124! That makes lots of sense. Yea, I try and stick to pretty much the same veggies I love (mushrooms, red peppers, onions, eggplant, zucchini) and am only now becoming more aware that there are BIG caloric differences amongst the veggies.

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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Wow, Mnemosyne! Thank you so much for the hyper-informative response. It really makes me look at my 100 calories a day differently. I think you are on to something here. I think I will up my daily veggie calories for a while and see what happens. And, yes, I have lost just about 30 pounds since October. Thanks for noticing!! It's all thanks to calorie counting! (and working out 5 days a week and eating a high protein high fiber diet.) Ten years ago I would have totally dismissed the idea of calorie counting. Funny what an extra 80 pounds will force you to do. hehe. Anyhoo...your point about plataeuing is also well taken. I guess I am just getting frustrated and want to see faster results. But I have to keep reminding myself I didn't put on the weight fast so it ain't gonna come off fast. Thanks again for your input. So helpful!!
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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I like the way you think re:getting the bulk of your calories from lean proteins. Cuz while I am now a veggie lover, they just don't satiate me like my proteins. I am going to re-examine my eating plan to see how I can incorporate more lean protein. Have a happy Thursday!
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:25 PM   #6
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I like the way you think re:getting the bulk of your calories from lean proteins. Cuz while I am now a veggie lover, they just don't satiate me like my proteins. I am going to re-examine my eating plan to see how I can incorporate more lean protein. Have a happy Thursday!
I usually incorporate veggies into each component of my meal. Ground meat can have shredded or chopped veggies mixed right into it before cooking, pieces of meat can be pounded and stuffed with veggies, etc.
I have a big long post that I've written before and pasting so I don't have to rewrite it (lazy!):

Volumetrics eating is an awesome way to stay really satisfied and get a lot of nutrients in. I've been known to make obscenely large meals that are low in calories/points, just because they're bulked up so much with non-starchy vegetables.

For example, you mentioned pasta. I'll take my 2oz portion of pasta (sometimes even cut it down to 1oz), sauté onions, an array of colored peppers, sliced mushrooms, and spinach and mix it into my pasta and add tomato sauce. It's a huge bowl of food that sometimes I can't even finish because I've added so many veggies.

Peeling zucchini and/or yellow squash into ribbons (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/e...ipe/index.html) and mixing it 50:50 with fettuccine and making an "alfredo" sauce is another favorite pasta dish. I even add in asparagus and peas for more bulk, nutrients, and general deliciousness . You can also mix your pasta 50:50 with spaghetti squash or just eat the spaghetti squash instead of pasta (http://homecooking.about.com/od/vege...gsquashsbs.htm) .

My Asian noodle bowls and stir fry meals are mainly veggies. I'll use mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and usually a frozen stir fry mix too. A little bit of oyster/hoisin/sriracha or whatever you like, and you have a great meal.

I shred zucchini and/or squash into my burritos and enchiladas (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/03/c...nchiladas.html) so that it's mostly veggie, and the beans are a smaller component of them. Usually my rice and beans are filled with all kinds of peppers.
Burgers (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/05/t...-zucchini.html), meatloaf, and meatballs can be made with shredded zucchini or any other veggie, but zucchini is my favorite, and veggie nuggets with squash, zucchini or a mixture (http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitch...icken-nuggets/ OR http://skinnymom.com/2012/02/03/skin...eggie-nuggets/ )

Cauliflower is great to add into everything. I make my dal half cauliflower (http://magicoven.blogspot.com/2011/12/lentil-dal.html) , mix it with potatoes in baked potato soup (http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/02/b...tato-soup.html) or mashed potatoes (http://paleocomfortfoods.com/recipes/cauliflower-mash) , or I'll make mac and cheese with cauliflower puree mixed in (http://www.grandparents.com/gp/conte...delicious.html), or just mix a little pasta with a lot of broccoli and cauliflower to give it more nutrition.

I love eating soup - and I'm a thick soup kind of woman - so I use pureed veggies in my soups. I love broccoli soup (http://www.cestlavegan.com/2010/01/r...broccoli-soup/ ), carrot soup (http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/rec...up112533.shtml) , and tomato soup (http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2009/1...el_symons.html OR http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/03/creamy-tomato-soup/ ), and I puree them all. I make chili with about every vegetable under the sun (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recip...?recipe=233278) . It's not vegetarian, but it can EASILY be tweaked.

If you’re using ground beef in a recipe, food process 8-16oz – your preference - of mushrooms into small pieces for each pound of beef when you brown it. You’ll never notice it.

Be creative! Whenever you're making something, think of how many vegetables you can add into it to make it more nutritious. It will fill you up!
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:14 PM   #7
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This is frigggin FANTASTIC!! Thank you so much, Munchy!! Being someone who is very big (no pun intended) on eating in volume, I can totally use these ideas. Nothing makes me happier than heaping piles of food on my plate, but with low calorie, fibrous water dense vegs I can still do that. Mushrooms, cabbage and zucchini are like my new best friends. I will be rereading your response again for sure!! Thanks again!! You rock.
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:28 PM   #8
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I guess I am the odd man out, here. If it has a calorie I count it, simple as that.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:58 PM   #9
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Yes, I think it is a bunch of hogwash! But I would also add that for those low cal veggies, you can pretty much eat all you want of them and are not going to gain weight. You would have to eat a LOT of celery, etc., to put on a pound LOL
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:19 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your feedback!
And to Bargoo: I think you, odd man or not, have found a system that works for you. Congratulations!!

So....I think that a good point raised by y'all that shouldn't be lost here is that even amongst our beloved veggies there are some that, for example, are kinda on the caloric side (relatively speaking) and that there are others that we can eat much more of since they are more dense with water and higher in fiber. That's what I am understanding anyway.
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:22 PM   #11
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I count veggies too, it's good information for fiber intake and if I go back to see what went wrong on some days (ie, was it just low volume so I was hungry?), and also to see if I'm getting 5-10/day which I should be easily. But i'm not too worried if I'm over calories but still starving if I have a carrot or something.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:17 AM   #12
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I wouldn't rely on negative calories.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:13 AM   #13
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This is frigggin FANTASTIC!! Thank you so much, Munchy!! Being someone who is very big (no pun intended) on eating in volume, I can totally use these ideas. Nothing makes me happier than heaping piles of food on my plate, but with low calorie, fibrous water dense vegs I can still do that. Mushrooms, cabbage and zucchini are like my new best friends. I will be rereading your response again for sure!! Thanks again!! You rock.
Aww, thanks! I know exactly what you mean about sitting down with a big plate of food - it seems so comforting. Honestly, I've had to cut down on some of the veggies because over the years, I just can't eat as much volume, and with this it makes it too easy to end up with 600 calorie days. That sounds ridiculous, but when you have a huge pile of cabbage and carrots mixed with egg noodles and turkey kielbasa (as an example), you have a satisfying and HUGE plate and it hasn't "cost" you too many calories.

I have a five year old, and I do a lot of this with her foods. I make a lot of traditional "children's foods" like nuggets, meatballs, burgers, mac and cheese, and even fries (use turnips or other root veggies cut into fry shapes) and I cook them then keep them frozen in baggies. That way I can have the convenience of processed foods you can buy at the store and still feel like I'm setting her up for a healthy lifestyle. Since I've always done it, she has no idea that meatballs don't usually have zucchini in them

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Old 12-14-2012, 05:28 PM   #14
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I just had a baby girl almost 4 months ago and I plan on making her world one much like the one your lucky daughter inhabits. What a wonderful mom you are!! So many of our food habits are set up in childhood so I will do everything in my power to make my daughter love her veggies and fruits. I know we don't live in a bubble and that she will eventually be exposed to unhealthy food choices, but by that time I think I will have to trust in her and my job. Baby still isn't on actual "food" yet, but when she is I am planning on stealing all your super ideas. Thanks again!!!
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