Friday, March 25, 2011

Recently a new follower posted on a back post so here it is:

"A little birdie told me you've had great successes in the weight loss/control department. What did you feel were the secrets to your success? Now that spring is coming, and gardening will begin soon, what are your tips for healthy snacks come harvest? How do you put up food for the winter - as we all know grown in the yard trumps bought-in-can-in-store for healthy? What do you like to make for snacks? We make hummus at home, but what else can be made easily? And what can be approximated at home in healthier ways than are found at the store? I think that's all I have for the instant, but I'll be back!"

I'm glad you asked about weight loss. As you know for everyone it can be a different experience. Some people lose easier by eating carbs and exercising. Some people can eat what they want and they lose weight loafing on a couch. For me, it was matching foods up towards being diabetic that did it for me.
For every carb, I have 6-8 oz of protein, and two servings of fiber.  Fiber can be MANY things. People think of fiber as being like a laxative. It can be at first if you are not used to it. But your body will adjust.
Some examples of fibers you can have as a free food (meaning there is no limit to serving size), are:
Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:
legumes (peas, soybeans, lupins and other beans)
oats, rye, chia, and barley
some fruits and fruit juices (including prune juice, plums, berries, bananas, and the insides of apples and pears)
certain vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes
root tubers and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and onions (skins of these are sources of insoluble fiber)
psyllium seed husk (a mucilage soluble fiber).
Sources of insoluble fiber include:
whole grain foods
wheat and corn bran
nuts and seeds
potato skins
flax seed
vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower, zucchini (courgette), celery, and nopal
some fruits including avocado, and bananas
the skins of some fruits, including tomatoes
If you would like other examples, please check the chart at :

I didn't do this diet without exercise. I hauled heavy firewood from outside, down into a basement level days at a time. Of course at the time this was a necessary thing to do and I lived in the middle of what seemed nowhere.
Now I can just go to the gym for an hour and walk a treadmill and do some weight lifting.
The key to losing weight, actually is eating. You want a sensible breakfast.
An example of my day is:
a bowl of one serving plain oatmeal with sprinkle of cinnamon, spoonful of splenda brown sugar, and a pat of Smart Balance
Before lunch snack
Fiber One snack bar
Small Tupperware of fresh spinach, chopped red cabbage or Cole slaw mix dry, handful of dried wasabi peas or dried cranberries, and low cal or homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing
apple or banana
one cup popcorn dusted in paprika, garlic salt, sweet and low
6-8 oz. meat (burger, steak, chicken, fish, etc)
1/2 brown rice 
1-2 cups steamed vegetables with small handful of crushed cashews, almonds or peanuts, spices, and dash of olive oil and cooked together
one cup of fresh strawberries, sliced and cooked in a pan with lemon/lime juice and served over one serving of low fat or sugar free vanilla ice cream

See, you don't even go hungry. It really equates to a lot of food.

To address the next question, I'm not much of a gardener. When I can find deals at the store on produce I go for it even if I don't need it. I also like to hit the farmer's market and support local growers over the supermarkets.
If you are able to purchase large amounts of produce but know you can't eat it all before it goes bad, there are several options for you.
I have been known to love squash, and usually after the holidays, the stores are trying to get rid of it after seriously overpricing it. 
You'll want to cook up batches of it. If you can scrape it out of the shell and into a mixing bowl, you can make, soup that freezes nicely, puree for baby food, and you can even sprinkle it over a food dehydrator plate, and dry it out. This can later be used in soup.
Speaking of which, if you can, invest in a food dehydrator. They run about 25-30 bucks new or you can find them used on Amazon, and Ebay.
You asked about winter stuff, and my favorite thing to do is make my own soup mix. For a while I got my mom hooked on it.
What you'll want is an old Mason jar, or several. If you can go to the store and look in the pasta section they have tiny pasta, or rice like pasta you can get rather cheap. 
Get 2 bags of Puntalette (to the left), small macaroni, or my favorite Alphabet noodles (pasta shaped like letters and numbers)
1 bag of lentils
1 bag of small beans
5 mason jars with lids

All you do is make sure the mason jars are sanitized and completely dry. If they are not dry, you will get mold, and that's the last thing you want.
I like to take the items above, and layer them in the jars. No particular order. Just a variety of the items you like as long as they are dry items.
After the jar has about 1-2 inches left on top, I like to add spices and seasons before sealing it up. I like adding garlic powder, paprika, bullion cubes, dried onions, dried carrots, bay leaves, etc. Be creative!
The jars will look pretty like these:


When the time comes, you will just add enough water to cover the mixture inside plus 1-2 cups more while it cooks. You can add in fresh sliced chicken breast, hamburger, or whatever meat you can find on sale. It's really easy, and cheap to make, and you can make a bunch of it and reuse the containers!

Another thing you can do is go berry picking in the summertime. There is always something wild growing around outside, or crab apples, wild strawberries. Just check out what's close to you or find out by word of mouth. If you are not sure you can always pick something, and have a ranger check it out for you.
In this case, lets say you picked a bunch of wild blueberries and you don't know what to do with them?
Wash them really well. Get a cookie sheet, and put wax paper over the surface. Dump your blueberries on top and try to spread them out as best as you can. Freeze them until they are hard. Grab some of those really good freezer bags, and the blueberries can easily be poured into one since they don't stick to wax paper. It keeps them whole, and unbruised by freezing them this way. You can use this technique for most fruits and vegetables.

You asked what I like to make for snacks.. What don't I like to make for snacks!
I like getting pita bread and cutting it into triangles. I'll drizzle a little olive oil and spices on top, and bake them until they are crisp.  You can also mix 1/2 cup wheat flour to a mixing bowl, and add 2 cups of vegetable puree (frozen peas, carrots, squash, potato, etc) some spices to taste (curry is a good one), and bake it until crisp and you've made your own vegetable crisps!
Fresh fruits and veggies are always my favorite snacks. I love ranch and fattening dressings, but a good substitute is buying those salad dressing packets of the dry herbs and seasonings, and adding them to nonfat yogurt. It makes a good substitute for actual salads as well.
If you like cheese, and you can find a big bag of it on sale, get a non stick cookie sheet, and put small mounds of shredded cheese about 2 inches apart from one another, and bake those until melted and crisp. Carb free cheese nips made of all cheese. No flour or chemicals :)

You asked what can be made besides hummus...
Hrmm that's a tough one. Most people like their fattening dips.
I like getting a can of low fat to no fat re fried beans and making my own bean dip with stewed tomatoes, diced jalapenos, lime/lemon to taste, and paprika/Cayenne to taste, with a little low fat cheese thrown in. It's really good warm but can be eaten cold as well.
If you have the time, you can also slow cook beans and make it yourself.

Another thing I like is fresh non to low fat plain yogurt, with chopped garlic or oven roasted garlic, and fresh chopped mint, with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

As to your last question, about making things approximated as to compared to the store.. That's different for everyone.
When you are cooking stuff from the store (from boxes, cans, bags, etc), Always always always pay attention to the label. The best food has high fiber, low sodium, and low to no carbs. Depending on your diet you want the least amount of sugar too. Many times you can find stuff with sugar alcohol, which is better than regular sugar.
Pay attention to the serving size listed. It will probably seem pretty small, which is why I prefer to cook fresh than from a box. 
I've noticed one box of mac and cheese is equal to 4-5 servings. Really?
I know I've probably missed a question or an answer here somewhere, so if I have or you'd like a recipe on anything I mentioned above, just comment and I'll get it up on here. This was a pretty big entry and I know I've missed something!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing.