Join Date: Aug 1999
I don't know if this whole thing will post - it's what I'm doing. I have taught exercise classes for 18 years and my class asked me how I was getting leaner so I typed this up:
WHY I WANTED TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Mostly, I wanted to try a different eating style because I was tired – tired of a lot of things. Tired of always craving something, eating what I would thought would fulfill that craving, and an hour later, being hungry again. I was tired of writing everything that went in my mouth down and of measuring and weighing food. I was also tired of not looking as in good a shape as I am. I know that sounds strange, but I exercise quite a bit; weight lift, aerobics, etc., but look quite pudgy. No one, who doesn’t work out with me, could possibly think I’m in as good of physical condition as I am. I also started worrying about the adult onset diabetes and the heart disease we have in our family, and about menopause, which is just around the corner for me.
SO – I basically wanted to find a plan that would take all the things I was concerned about and either eliminate them all together or reduce them to such an amount that I wouldn’t find them annoying anymore. It also needed to be a plan, that with a few modifications to raise the calories, I could live with for life. Here’s what I wanted in my plan:
· Reduce or eliminate cravings. Not necessarily eliminate feeling hungry on occasion, but just get rid of that constant desire to eat, eat, eat.
· Reduce or eliminate having to weigh, measure and write everything I eat down.
· Retain lean muscle tissue while getting rid of excess fat and my puffy, soft appearance.
· Get my blood sugar in balance so I don’t experience any diabetes symptoms. Most of the people in my family control their diabetes through their diet; only one aunt is insulin dependent.
· High in soy and in other nutrients that appear to work in reducing pre-menopausal symptoms and are also heart-healthy.
· Something I could live with for life.
After doing much reading and reviewing many current diet plans, and after a life long battle of the bulge where I’ve tried just about every diet known to man, I finally decided to try the plan outlined below. I decided that my current eating style relied too much on processed carbohydrates and that they could be the cause of my cravings. Being a vegetarian, I knew I couldn’t go on a traditional high protein diet, plus, I just don’t think it’s healthy to eliminate or greatly restrict the amount of fruits and vegetables you can eat. I feel fruits and vegetables are essential for maintaining a healthy heart and that they help to reduce your risk of cancer. The plan I modified for myself includes all the vegetables I want at any time and up to six servings of fruit a day – something I know I could never eat. Basically, what it reduces is the processed carbohydrates – cookies, cakes, crackers, etc., but I still get to eat plenty of unprocessed carbohydrates. I have soy just about every day in one form or another. I also believe a good diet includes fat – I’ve had problems in the past eliminating too much fat and my skin has dried out and my hair has started to fall out. There are also soluble vitamins that can’t be processed by your body without some fat.
I don’t believe that there is a miracle plan, that by combining certain foods in some mystic way, all the excess fat will be eliminated from my body. I believe weight loss is actually pretty simple – less calories in and more calories burned will equal pounds lost. What I want is to get rid of cravings and be satisfied with less food or less caloric food AND to make sure I’m getting a nutritious enough diet where my body goes to it’s fat stores for energy and doesn’t have to access muscle or bone for missing nutrients.
Can I keep this up for life? Who knows? It is a change and I won’t know until I try. I’ve heard it said it takes at least twelve weeks to adapt to a new habit, but since my weight has been a life long issue with me, I’m sure I’ll always have to be vigilant. As far as maintenance goes, my idea is to follow the plan below for weight loss. Then, when I’ve reached my goal, to add one serving of carbohydrates (including pasta, bread, more processed carbohydrates, but still whole grain versions) per day, upping the servings gradually every week until I reach a number of servings that maintains my fat loss. Also, to occasionally allow myself a treat – like a slice of cake at a birthday party or a sundae every once in awhile.
I will be writing a weekly evaluation of the plan and of my maintenance approach. So, here’s the plan.
Breakfast – One to two servings of protein (approximately 200 calories worth)
One to two servings of fruit
All the vegetables I want
Feel free to save some of this for a mid-morning snack.
Lunch - One to two servings of protein (approximately 200 calories worth)
One serving fruit
All the vegetables I want
One tablespoon olive oil (or approximately 120 calories of “good for you” fat)
Snack - Protein bar, soy shake, or yogurt and fruit (approximately 200 - 300 calories)
Dinner - One to two servings of protein
All the vegetables I want
Two servings whole grain starch
Snack - 1 serving sorbet, frozen yogurt (measure these so you don’t go overboard!) or
a couple of servings of fruit (approximately 200 calories or less)
Optional - Another tablespoon of olive oil or good for you fat sometime during the day
My only real rule – EAT THE STARCH ITEM AT DINNER. This is my rule – you may find you can have yours earlier in the day or even split them up, but not me! It seems to set me up to crave carbohydrates. I don’t know if this is all in my head or not, I just know it’s true for me. Feel free to mix and match things up if you wish – if you want a huge fruit salad and cottage cheese for breakfast, and then veggie sticks for your afternoon snack, feel free. Many times, I have a soy shake and salad for lunch and then some chopped fruit with ½ a container of yogurt for an afternoon snack. It should go without saying to drink water, water, water – at least ½ ounce for each pound of body weight per day.
PROTEIN SOURCES – I eat a variety of beans, vegetarian protein substitutes (Gardenburgers, soy turkey, etc.), tofu, baked tofu (comes in lots of flavors), soy milk, 1% milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese. I try to watch my fat content too (mostly because it raises the calories), so I sometimes have measured portions of nut butters. I always measure cheese. I like soy nuts and they come in flavors like bar-b-qued, honey roasted, etc. I sprinkle them on salads or stir them into yogurt for some crunch.
VEGETABLES – By “all the vegetables I want”, I’m referring to non high starch vegetables – potatoes and corn I put under whole grain starches. Check the food pyramid or a good diabetics exchange guide for reference.
FRUITS – Usually, a portion is one piece of fruit or ½ a cup of fruit. I don’t drink fruit juice, I’d rather get the fiber and “fill me up” effect from the whole fruit.
WHOLE GRAIN STARCH – These include any unprocessed grain (barley, bulgur, rice, millet, quinoa, etc.) as well as all varieties of potatoes, corn, and hominy. A good health food store can be an eye opening experience if all you’ve ever had is white processed rice.
GOOD FOR YOU FATS – By these I mean olive oil, unsaturated vegetables oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, heart healthy mayonnaise (I use a canola oil based one), salad dressings (I like the “Lite Done Right” dressings), etc. with occasional “treats” of animal based fats like cream cheese or butter. I’ve been experimenting with making my own homemade salad dressings – no unpronounceable gunk and the flavor varieties are only limited by my imagination.
· Check the labels on protein bars, soy milk, or anything that’s processed – the contents can vary greatly. Try and find protein bars where some strange name for sugar is not listed as the first ingredient (how about “evaporated cane juice” or “brown rice syrup” – can’t they just call it sugar?). The two I’ve found sold in Ridgecrest are Balance Bars and Luna Bars. Soy milk can also vary greatly in calcium content, fat and calories. When I go out of town, I go to Trader Joe’s and get fat free calcium enriched soy milk – but here in town, the only calcium enriched one I’ve been able to find is a full fat version – at twice the calorie content of the fat free variety. Also, I use firm tofu in my shakes – the protein content is much higher than the soft version and it doesn’t make any difference in my shake’s consistency.
· If you hate to measure like I do, invest in a variety of small Rubbermaid or Tupperware containers. That way, you can fill them up and forget the measuring cups. I’ve found that much of what I eat on this plan is sort of pre-measured anyway – ½ can of beans is a meal size protein serving, medium size baked potatoes are a dinner starch portion, and rice triples in volume, so if I cook a cup, it equals three servings. You get the idea. I use the serving sizes on the Food Pyramid as my guide and also check the calorie contents on packages. If any food is a “trouble spot” for you, I suggest you weigh or measure it, that way the portion size won’t get out of control.
· I take my vitamin and calcium supplement right before bed. I figure that way they get 7 to 8 hours to be absorbed into my system without being interrupted by one of my 20 daily trips to the restroom!
· For some reason, hot food keeps me fuller longer than cold food. I have no idea why and have not seen this discussed on any medical web site. For example, when I make an egg casserole and reheat it in the microwave for breakfast, it keeps me fuller longer than two servings of fruit stirred into yogurt. Both of these things have about the same calorie count however. If you find yourself getting hungry, you may want to experiment with this for yourself.
WEEK ONE EVALUATION – Well, I started my new eating plan this week. No fooling, no sneaking anything extra, following everything as planned. Result – The scale shows I’m down five pounds and that was the day I started my period – a day I usually show a gain or at least stay the same, no matter what I’m doing! Here’s what I think after a week:
· The first two or three days, it seemed weird not to have some bread or crackers or SOMETHING like that for breakfast and lunch. Then I started thinking about people in Japan who eat fish soup for breakfast, and told myself, “who says breakfast has to be toast or a bagel”??? This morning, (day one of week 2), I had celery sticks and bell pepper hummus (a garbanzo bean spread found in the deli case at most markets). You know what – it was filling, low cal, and delicious!
· I LOVE not having to write anything down, count anything, or really measure anything (except for oils or cheeses – I think I will continue to measure high fat (i.e., high calorie) items. I really don’t want to eyeball oils or fats). It’s giving me a feeling of normalcy. How many people can really keep up a running account of everything that goes in their mouth forever? OR carry measuring cups around in their purses for eating out? It’s also less time consuming. I kind of felt guilty at first and had a small panic attack about “how could I possibly lose weight without keeping track or measuring?” but I hung in there and the scale did good!
· I’M FULL! I skipped an afternoon snack ON THE WEEKEND because I wasn’t really hungry. I can’t remember the last time that happened – I’m always hungry!
In an effort to maintain muscle mass (in fact, I’d like to increase my strength), I’ve added a third day a week of weight lifting to my routine. It’s what I’m calling a heavy day – I’m using barbells that are 2 pounds heavier than what I use at my other two weekly sessions and trying to complete my routine with those. I only drop down in weight if my muscles have reached fatigue (i.e., I can’t lift the stupid thing anymore!). Hopefully, an emphasis on strength training as well as plenty of aerobic activity while I’m trying to lose fat will help me to retain muscle. I am also taking a multi-vitamin as well as a calcium supplement daily.
WEEK TWO EVALUATION – Things went well this week also. I did have a couple of days where I got hungry, not cravings for anything, but actual hunger. I’ve decided that this is not that bad of a thing to have happen – I really had lost the ability to tell when I was hungry because I was constantly feeding myself. I’d eat some crackers, then an hour later, want some more – just constantly eating simple carbohydrates. One thing I did notice is that I didn’t eat my tablespoon of fat at lunch every day last week – I was finishing up some fat free dressing – and that may have been a contributing factor to the hunger. SO – this weekend I made up a big bowl of an adapted Oriental salad with vegetable and sesame oils that also had some almonds and sesame seeds – all sources of “good for me” fats. I substituted steamed (until they were limp) bean sprouts for the cooked noodles in the recipe and it worked quite well. I also made an eggplant dip with walnuts and a little sesame oil to dip jicama “chips” in. I sliced the jicama into thin slices and cut them in triangles like tortilla chips. We’ll see how these recipes go as far as keeping me satisfied. I’m going to do some more experimenting with substitutions – another thing I thought I’d try is steamed broccoli salad mix for spaghetti in a spaghetti pie recipe. I’ll try that this weekend. OH YEAH – I’m down another four pounds! I know it’s a lot of water – I’m sure with eating as many carbohydrates as I was every day I was retaining a lot of water, but it still feels good to see that number on the scale moving downward, whatever is composing the loss! I also feel a lot less puffy and I can see that in the mirror. I even wore a shirt tucked into my pants to work today! I really need to remind myself not to get discouraged next week when I look at the scale, I’m sure the loss will slow down – I might even see a plateau as my body “substitutes” real fat loss for water. I’ve read a lot of scientific research that says it’s impossible for your body to metabolize more than 2 to 2.5 pounds of fat per week, so that’s what I’d like to shoot for – it would be great to maximize my loss. Seeing the drop on the scale is very encouraging and makes me more determined to keep going.
WEEK THREE EVALUATION – Well, the scale showed exactly what I thought it would – no loss for this week. It sure is too bad that we’re so wrapped around that number – I wish I could get my body fat tested, but there’s no place here to do that accurately. Even though I knew what to expect, it was still disappointing. However, I know I should be saying to myself “nine pounds in three weeks, that’s great” instead of “no loss this week, I’m such a failure”. Oh, the mental games we play with ourselves. SO – what was good about the week – I didn’t get any cravings and I followed my plan. I just need to believe in myself and believe in this plan. Other good things – I tried the broccoli slaw in the spaghetti pie recipe and it was great – it will make good leftovers for lunch or dinner during week 4. The eggplant dip and oriental salad were also good and I’ll make them both again, I think making sure I get in my fat is important. I got some barbequed soy nuts to sprinkle on things for week 4 – I just need to make sure I measure the fats. OH YEAH – I discovered chocolate sorbet – a good thing! I also got in my three sessions of weight training and used the ski machine on Saturday, plus (except for the dog walk), I took Sunday off to rest. Just lazed around, did a lot of knitting and watched four movies – all with no extra snacking on bad for me stuff – just fruit and yogurt – a definite sign of progress.
WEEK FOUR EVALUATION – This was the first week where I’ve had a weekend with most of my meals at a restaurant – breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch and dinner weren’t too much of a problem, but I had to be creative with those breakfasts! I almost had a moment of weakness, said “oh, well”, and ordered pancakes (have you ever read the calorie count on the back of a bottle of syrup? And who the heck only pours one tablespoon?). BUT I DIDN”T. Friday, at Denny’s, I ordered a Gardenburger with tomatoes instead of french fries, removed the bun, and had a breakfast salad! Saturday, I had a salsa omelet, got fruit instead of hash browns, and said no to toast (that was hard!). Sunday, at Del Taco, I ordered a small taco salad with beans instead of chicken, skipped the tortilla chips and had a piece of fruit when I got home. Like I said it was hard, but I’m sure since I made it through the weekend, other weekends will be easier because I know, with a little creative thinking and some willpower, I can do it! And NO MONDAY GUILT! I hate that, when you have a bad weekend and go into work on Monday, having blown your eating plan, and feel you have to “start all over again from the beginning” regardless of the progress you’ve made. Another one of those head trips we play on ourselves that we’d certainly be better off without. I’m also down three more pounds for a total of twelve pounds in four weeks!
WEEK FIVE EVALUATION – I’ve come one full circle of my monthly cycle – weighed again on the day I started my period. Down a pound! This from a person who usually gains between 4 to 5 pounds of water during that time of the month. I’m not sure if it’s the lower carbohydrate intake or the fact that I’m eating very few processed foods. The sodium I’m taking in I’m mainly adding myself and I’ve never been a heavy salter of my food. As with most things, it’s probably a combination of the two. Even though in the past I would know what the weight gain was from, it would still depress me and usually end up in a binge. This month, I did have a day a couple days before I started that I felt tired and depressed and almost went to the refrigerator. But, I didn’t. I went and took a two hour nap instead – glad I was home from work! I am finding it easier to do other things besides reach for food since I’m not having cravings for sweet, gooey foods – a good sign. Next week will be week six – half way to the idea that it takes twelve weeks to create a new habit!
WEEK SIX EVALUATION – Half way to that twelve week habit idea, so I thought I’d think about how I feel about that. Is eating this way becoming a habit? I know I am reaching for fruit for snacks now instead of crackers, even though there’s a big bag of pretzels, some popcorn, etc. on the shelf at home. I also think I’m doing well with the restaurant menus. I haven’t taken a long trip out of town, so I can’t say yet how I’ll do on the road. We’ll be going away for four days on week nine’s weekend, I’m already kind of nervous. Guess I’ll take a lot of tight clothes! What is making it easy is seeing some form of progress on a weekly basis. This is the first time I can remember when I’ve tried to lose weight that I can see the changes in the mirror and feel it in my clothes. Actually having results on a regular basis is making it very easy to stick to my plan and to make me want to go on. Every week I get on the scale and pray I don’t see a plateau – I still don’t know how I’ll react to that if it lasts longer than a week. In the past, it made me run for the refrigerator! Speaking of progress – down two more pounds for a total of fifteen pounds in six weeks! I am SO HAPPY!!!!!!
WEEK SEVEN EVALUATION – No great revelations this week – just been “keeping on keeping on”. I’ve been trying to experiment with new and unusual recipes, I love that, and it helps keep my interest up. Maybe the reason I can’t come up with much to say this week is because the scale stayed the same! That’s OK though, I still think I’ve made significant progress in seven weeks. Looks like I’m having a “stay the same” week about once a month (week 3 was the last one), so I should show a loss next week as long as I just keep doing what I’m doing. I certainly plan on doing that.
WEEK EIGHT EVALUATION – You know, when I sit down to write these, I look at what week I’m on and it seems like it’s been such a long time that I’ve been on this plan, but it really hasn’t been. It’s like when I’m really monitoring myself, watching what I’m eating, how much I’m exercising, etc., the time passes so slowly, I’m aware of every meal and workout. But, when I’m just running amok, not noticing those things, I look at the calendar, suddenly, two months have passed, and I’m in the same place I was two months earlier. I wonder if I’ll ever get to a place where it’s all just part of life and doesn’t feel like it’s something “special” that I’m doing. Things went fine this week – even though it was a four day stay at home weekend. The biggest eating challenge was going to the buffet at Pizza Hut for lunch. Boy, what a dilemma! I ended up having a salad with fat free ranch dressing, and a bowl of garbanzo beans off the salad bar, covered with some pizza sauce they had set out for breadsticks, garnished with some sliced green olives and Parmesan cheese. I guess that’s real determination and I am proud of myself for that – it was a strange choice of food, I really had to think, but it filled me up and was pretty tasty (thought that pizza sure looked good)! AND, I’M DOWN THREE MORE POUNDS FOR A TOTAL OF EIGHTEEN POUNDS IN EIGHT WEEKS!
WEEK NINE EVALUATION – Got my period on weigh in day AGAIN! Maybe it’s all in my head! But, still down another pound, just like this time last month. Writing and re-reading these weekly evaluations is really helping me see my body’s patterns. I did play a bad mind game with myself this week that I want to write down so I don’t repeat it. Last Sunday (my weigh in day), I went a little crazy with a bag of sliced almonds – didn’t measure what I was eating and kept going back to the bag for “just a few more”. This is the kind of mental gymnastics I used to play when I went on a simple carbohydrate binge. Monday, I went into kind of a panic, thinking I really blew it, feeling guilty about overeating, etc. and starting worrying about everything I put in my mouth. I even wrote everything down, calculated the calories, cut portions, skipped my carbohydrates at dinner, all in an effort to “make up for” probably what was only about 300 calories in sliced almonds. It took me until Thursday to stop and say “Whoa – what are you doing???”. Mainly because I was so hungry, I really thought I was going to devour a half pound block of low fat cheese all in one sitting. I really reverted back to old thinking patterns! Friday, I finally took hold of myself, ate normally, and today, (the following Monday), I feel fine, both physically and mentally. I even splurged on a Friday afternoon snack of a $2.99 pint of raspberries covered in ½ a container of vanilla yogurt. A delicious low cal, high fiber snack even if it is too expensive to do very often! What should I have done about those almonds instead? Should I have gotten into them in the first place? NO. Should I have known it was probably just PMS? YES. If I do something like that in the future, what should I do? WRITE IT OFF AND GET BACK ON PLAN THE NEXT MEAL – NO “MAKING UP FOR IT” AND STARVING MYSELF. OK – lecture over! Back to work nurturing myself and getting healthy! This is the weekend we’re going out of town for four days and I have to be in a good mental place to navigate all those restaurants and desserts!
WEEK TEN EVALUATION – I decided to weight before I left on my trip – down another three pounds. Seeing the drop on the scale helped keep my resolution strong, but I still was not “perfect” on my plan. I discovered it’s very hard when eating out of town for dinner to find whole grain starches. So, I ended up with white rice two nights and pasta another. I don’t really think I was over calorie wise, but I was concerned about cravings. I also had three “treats” of cookies. I wish I could say I didn’t enjoy them, but I loved every bite! On a calorie basis, I’m not too worried about the increase over the weekend – we hiked about two hours on Friday, six on Saturday and three on Sunday, so I’m sure I used them up. What I don’t want to have happen is for my resolve to get right back on program and keep going to waiver. This has been a real problem in the past – hey, I had one cookie, I’ve blown it, I might as well eat the whole package! I recently read an article on perfectionist thinking saying that 51% of all dieters have this problem. They figure if they are not “perfect” in sticking to their plan, that they might as well go all the way, and end up in a binge situation. I am determined for this not to happen and also not to have a repeat of starving myself to make up for it, but just to accept it and move on. Onward and downward – if the scale does what it did last month, this week’s weight in should be a maintenance week, so I’m prepared for that too.
Here’s a few menus, I did actually write a few days down, but only for illustration! Portions in recipes are approximate – I didn’t get out my measuring utensils except to measure oils and the ingredients for my soy shake. For example, with the sorbet, I buy pint containers and eat ¼ of one as a serving. Remember, I’m a vegetarian, so NO MEAT for me, but chicken, turkey, etc. could be substituted. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the way I eat on this plan. Recipes are included after this section.
A SUNDAY MENU – I like to cook on Sunday, so this day has a little more cooking than usual. I make many four serving dishes, divide them up and eat them as meals during the week –
Breakfast – Bluto’s Revenge
Morning Snack – A cup of blueberries with ½ cup vanilla yogurt
Lunch - GIANT salad of spinach, pickled beets, red onions, red bell pepper, tomatoes with ½ can garbanzo beans, about 2 tablespoons of reduced calorie feta cheese and olive oil vinegrette
Snack - A really big plum (I wasn’t that hungry!)
Dinner - Steamed chayote squash with butter buds and lemon pepper
Two vegetarian hot dogs (make your protein subs as desired)
Snack - 1 serving bosenberry sorbet
1 lemon lift Luna bar (I got my protein bar in here – I do that sometimes when I really want a treat that’s more like a dessert. Usually on the weekends.)
A MONDAY MENU – I do most of my cooking on Saturdays or Sundays and eat leftovers during the week. Sometimes I’ll stir fry, but that’s about as complicated as it gets!
Breakfast – 1 cup low fat (1-1/2%) cottage cheese with 1 cup fruit salad
Morning Snack – a big red bell pepper (I eat them like apples!)
Lunch – GIANT salad of baby greens, celery, tomato, green onions, the other ½ can of garbanzo beans from yesterday, 3 slices chopped vegetarian pepperoni and 2 tablespoons Lite Done Right Ranch dressing,
Mango Soy Shake
Snack – 1 cup blackberries
Dinner – Leftover vegetarian stuffed cabbage (3 rolls), slices of baked sweet potato with a tablespoon of homemade cranberry/orange relish spooned on top Note: I could have had a salad too, but during the week, my dinners are usually pretty light because of teaching class
Snack – ½ cup orange sorbet
Breakfast – 1 cup fat free mango orange yogurt with ¼ chopped cantaloupe
Lunch – Lots of stir fried veggies – cabbage, onion, garlic, ginger, celery, bamboo shoots, red bell pepper with 2 tablespoons teriyaki barbeque sauce and ½ package teriyaki baked tofu cubes added
Tofu shake with 1 cup mixed frozen pineapple, mango and strawberries
Snack – 1 cup fruit salad
Dinner – Leftover potato gratin, leftover steamed chayote squash and 2 vegetarian hot dogs with mustard
Snack – ½ cup mango sorbet (I seem to be on some type of mango kick!)
WEDNESDAY’S MENU –
Breakfast – 1 cup low fat (1-1/2%) cottage cheese with ¼ cantaloupe, cubed
Lunch – Leftover stirfried veggies and tofu (see yesterday)
Mango Soy Shake
Snack – 1 cup fruit salad
Dinner – Potato Salad
Snack – ½ cup raspberry sorbet
Breakfast – Greek Casserole (see spaghetti pie recipe)
Snack – 1 plum
Lunch – Mexican salad of ½ head of shredded iceburg lettuce, 1 tomato, chopped, 1 green onion, sliced, ½ can of fat free green chili refried beans, ½ container nonfat plain yogurt and about ½ cup salsa – all mixed together
Mixed fruit (strawberries, mango, blueberries, pineapple) soy shake
Snack – 4 oz. Container (I know because my tupperware was that size!) eggplant dip with jicama dippers.
Dinner – Rice and Lentil Pilaf
Snack – ½ cup mango sorbet
MEALS OUT ON THE TOWN
I thought I’d put in a three day weekend’s worth of menus where I ate out a lot. I find many people that say they have a hard time eating out in Ridgecrest and sticking to any kind of a meal plan. I lost three pounds the week this weekend is from, so I think it is possible, you just have to keep your thinking cap on!
Breakfast – Breakfast at Denny’s. I ordered a Gardenburger with tomatoes instead of french fries. I took the bun off the burger and made a salad of the cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and gardenburger patty with the low fat honey mustard dressing they serve it with. You could have this for lunch too if you wanted.
Snack – 1 nectarine
Lunch – Went over to Bakersfield to shop at Trader Joe’s (my favorite food store – I go and stock up on all sorts of things!) and had lunch at an El Torrito. They have a vegetarian burrito on the menu and also tostada salads with meat. I asked if they could make me a tostada salad with the grilled vegetables instead, and they did. SO – I skipped the tortilla shell and had grilled vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, onions, carrots) with lettuce and tons of salsa. Next time I’ll ask for some beans too, kind of low on the protein. AVOID THE CHIP BASKET AT ALL COSTS!
Dinner – Back in town, we went to the Good Wok on Balsam. I had the teriyaki vegetable bowl with some egg drop soup and the salad. They swore the hot and sour and egg drops soups don’t have any meat or chicken broth.
Snack – Baskin Robbins for a regular size vanilla frozen yogurt
Breakfast – Breakfast at the Cowboy Café. I had a salsa omelet (it was a cheese omelet with salsa on the side) which I couldn’t eat all of, it was so big! Next time, I’ll remember to ask for eggbeaters. I skipped the hash browns and had a fruit cup (watermelon and cantaloupe) and NO TOAST!
Lunch – Went to Niccoletti’s. They were serving minestrone soup so I had a bowl of that and a salad with cheese and Ranch dressing on the side, which I very sparingly used on my salad (who the heck knows what’s in there?). The salad would have been plenty and I ate around the pasta in the soup.
Snack – 1/3 cup Trader Joe’s soy nut trail mix – it had roasted soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and dried fruit
Dinner – Barbequed at home so I had two soy hot dogs with mustard and made an Indian vegetable dish from Cooking Light magazine – it had potatoes, onions, green beans, and carrots all cooked up with a sauce made of vegetable broth, jalapenos and cashews. Very yummy!
Snack – ½ cup chocolate sorbet
Breakfast – Breakfast at the Del Taco – I got a small taco salad made with beans instead of chicken. I put on lots of salsa and skipped the two small tortilla chips on the side (not very tempting, but at least I thought before I just gobbled them down!)
Lunch – Went to Sante Fe Grill. Had a Sante Fe salad with a side order of black beans and lots of salsa. I’ve been told they don’t use lard in their beans.
Snack – Luna Bar – Chai Tea flavor – a new one for me
Dinner – Barbequed at home again so I had a griller and some kale stir fried with onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Also made a corn relish recipe from Cooking Light. It had fresh corn, leeks, and tomatoes with a lime basil dressing. Another great recipe!
Snack – ½ cup passion fruit sorbet
SOME SIMPLE RECIPES
I love Cooking Light magazine and cook or modify a lot of recipes for my new plan. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to up their intake of fruits and vegetables, especially in-season produce. Here are a few old favorite recipes and some I’ve modified:
2 cloves garlic
½ chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 gardenburger, defrosted and crumbled (try the barbeque flavor)
½ cup eggbeaters or 3 egg whites
2 cups baby spinach leaves
lemon pepper, to taste
Lightly spray a pan with oil spray. Saute garlic, onion and mushrooms until almost tender. Add garden burger, eggbeaters, spinach leaves and sprinkle with lemon pepper. Cover pan and cook until eggs are almost set and spinach has started to wilt. Uncover and stir until done to your liking (I like my eggs dry!). For you meat eaters, you could substitute some cubes of chicken or turkey for the garden burger. This makes a great dinner too – you can add a sliced leftover baked potato or a cup of cooked brown rice to add your starch.
2 large (about 1 pound) white potatoes
3 – 4 chopped garlic cloves
½ cup chopped parsley
3 – 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
½ cup roasted bell pepper, sliced into strips
lemon pepper, to taste
1 12 ounce can evaporated fat free milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice potatoes as thin as you can. Spray an 8 by 8 pan with spray. Place in pan a layer of potatoes, a chopped garlic clove, a sprinkle of parsley, a tablespoon of freshly grated parmesan, a few strips of roasted red bell pepper and a sprinkle of lemon pepper. Continue building layers until all potato is used, finishing with a sprinkle of parmesan. Pour milk over the top. Press layers down. Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Uncover and bake approximately 20 to 30 minutes more or until all liquid is evaporated and top is browned. Allow to cool approximately 20 minutes (it slices better this way). This is great cold too and you can vary the cheese and flavorings, just make sure everything is in thin layers (no big chunks) so the potatoes can meld together.
½ pound baby red potatoes, cut in half and cooked until tender
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon capers
¼ cup chopped roasted bell peppers
3 slices vegetarian pepperoni, chopped
2 tablespoons low fat feta cheese
Mix in a small bowl with a fork:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. This is good hot or cold – it’s always a good idea to have some cooked potatoes in the refrigerator for quick meals. Again, vary or increase the vegetables to taste. I also experiment with the basic vinegrette recipe all the time – try adding up to a cup of fresh herbs and blend it in the blender or food processor – good choices – basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, even mint is good for a change. It comes out sort of thick, like pesto, but once you stir it into something, the water from the other ingredients thins it out perfectly.
1 package broccoli slaw mix (1 think they’re a pound size package – in the veggie section)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings (or basil)
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup egg beaters (or 4 eggs)
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
Your favorite tomato sauce (optional) or salsa
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch pie pan with non stick spray. Steam broccoli slaw mix until tender crisp (I do mine in my tupperware microwave steamer and it takes about 4 minutes). Place in a large bowl, and add rest of ingredients except for mozzarella cheese. Put into pie pan, patting down so it’s even. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, or until eggs are not runny and top is fairly dry. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake an additional 5 minutes to melt, or if you want it brown, run it under the broiler. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce, if desired. It’s also good cold or reheated for a minute or two in the microwave. I take it for breakfast all the time.
Greek Casserole variation: Use a package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted instead of broccoli slaw (no need to steam). Add 2 greek-style gardenburgers, defrosted and crumbled. Substitute feta cheese for the mozzarella.
I make many variations to this, you can use just about any vegetable – a package of defrosted chopped broccoli works well or about 3 cups of any cooked vegetable – if you’ve got an abundance of zucchini or yellow squash, it’s good with grated squash. Corn is also a nice addition if you’re allowing and I also try different spices and cheeses.
Rice and Lentil Pilaf
1 cup brown rice
1 cup dried lentils
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 vegetable bullion cubes
1 can (12 oz.) roasted tomatoes
2-1/2 cups water
Mix all ingredients in a big pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour, (or until water is absorbed.) Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese if desired.
“My” Soy Shake
I have one of these just about every day during the work week – they are very filling and I love experimenting with different types of fruit. Mango and any type of berry are my favorites. Also, try mixing fruits, like strawberries and kiwi or pineapple and peach. Another variation is to add spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, various types of extracts (pineapple and peppermint is good, also nutmeg with peaches). If it’s winter time, I use defrosted fruit so it’s not so cold!
1 cup frozen fruit, cubed
1 cup vanilla or plain soy milk (try chocolate for an occasional treat – it is usually higher in calories but really good with berries or (I’ve heard) a banana (I HATE BANANAS!))
¼ block (usually 3 to 4 ounces) tofu
Blend everything in a blender until smooth. Sometimes, I have to add a little water to get it mixing smoothly, usually not more than ¼ cup.
1-10 ounce package frozen baby peas, thawed
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (I like lots of garlic!)
juice of ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder (I use New Mexico)
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tomato, chopped
¼ large red onion, finely chopped
½ bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped (I also love cilantro!)
In a food processor, pulse peas with garlic and lemon juice until finely minced. Place into a large non-metallic bowl and add rest of ingredients. Chill about a ½ hour before serving, taste and readjust seasonings. This is not overly spicy. If you like your guacamole a little hotter, you can add more chili powder or some diced jalepenos. 2/3 cup of peas has 70 calories, while ¼ of a medium size avocado has 140. What does that mean to this recipe? It means you can have a whole cup of this mock guacamole for the same calories as about 2 tablespoons of the regular kind!
Parmesan Cheese Dip
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup non-fat sour cream
1 cup non-fat mayonnaise
½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Place tomatoes in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and allow to soak for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain tomatoes and chop. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a small (4 cup) casserole dish with non-stick spray. In a medium size bowl, mix all ingredients. Transfer to casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with vegetable dippers. Makes approximately 3-1/2 cups dip, 15 calories per 1 tablespoon serving.
Make this the day before serving.
1 (1-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into ½” thick slices
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves
½ cup fresh parsley sprigs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; lightly coat both sides of eggplant with cooking spray. Bake at 500 deg. for 15 minutes, turning after 8 minutes. Allow to cool, peel eggplant.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add walnuts, oregano and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Drop walnut mixture through food chute with food processor on, and process until minced. Drop parsley through food chute with food processor on, and process until minced. Add rest of ingredients (including eggplant) and process until smooth. Spoon eggplant mixture into a bowl, and sprinkle with parsley if desired. Makes approx. 1-1/2 cups, 10 calories per 1 tablespoon serving.
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup diced zucchini
½ cup chopped, drained canned artichoke hearts
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup diced bottled roasted red bell peppers
¼ cup minced onion
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill. Yield 3 cups (serving size: ½ cup, 39 calories). To turn into a quick meal: add a can each of drained and rinsed garbanzo and kidney beans or add a package (4 oz.) of crumbled feta cheese (try some of the flavors little sundried tomato or herb). Serve any of these suggestions on a bed of greens.
1 cup parsley
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 -2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Finely chop parsley and garlic cloves in food processor. Add lemon zest, garbanzo beans, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and process until smooth (or slightly chunky, depending on your preference). Remove from food processor, add salt and pepper and taste; add more lemon juice, salt, and/or pepper if you wish. ¼ cup serving = 30 calories.
Frozen Pineapple Coconut Yogurt
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple in it’s own juice
1/3 cup shredded coconut
2 containers (8 oz.) low fat or fat free vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix everything together and chill until cold. If you have an ice cream maker, mix according to manufacturer’s directions – this recipe can be doubled, tripled, etc. If not, you can pour it into a pan and place in the freezer. Every 15 minutes, remove pan from freezer and stir, scrapping frozen parts from the sides of pan. If it freezes solid, allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or until softened. This is the only version of this I’ve made so far, but I intend to try other combinations of yogurt, fruit, and extracts – like maybe crushed strawberries and strawberry yogurt. I have a small hand crank ice cream maker that works great, I’m glad to get to use it!