Tuesday, January 27, 2009

oh, dang.

Luckily, I've been doing better with my eating than with my blogging. Although, a combination of some hard times and a surly uterus did contribute to a couple un-diet-y indulgences this past weekend. For the most part I'm going okay. Thirteen pounds down, and I'm feeling good about it. Just over half way to my first goal of twenty-five pounds. Woot!

And, I've definitely been doing some good eatin'. Last night I made this recipe for Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh, recently featured on 101cookbooks.com. As Heidi promises, it's lick-your-plate good. It's a recipe that she tweaked by Jude Blereau. Her new cookbook (that contains this recipe) isn't available in the US yet, but I found her previous one used on amazon, and it should arrive any day. I can't wait.

I paired the tempeh with wheatberries, per Heidi's suggestion, and Barbara made some garlic green beans to go with it. It was a taste and textural dream! Really. Make this tonight.

Other recent highlights have been:
-Heidi's firecracker cornbread with spicy rice and beans
-homemade flour tortillas for burritos with leftover spicy rice and beans
-chili verde with seitan (using one of my holiday gifts - some of Chef Bill Fuller's home-canned green chili sauce)

And, just for fun, here's a picture of our dogs in their new coats!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I've just gotten started, and I'm already struggling. When it's zero degrees (or less) outside, all I want is some comfort food--something, anything that is warm and gooey and bad for me.

And, I also feel pretty depressed--possibly the weather, or just a regular bout of what I'm prone to.

I know, logically, that eating well and making progress on my goal will make me feel good, but in the moment it's tough to remember that.

Also, work has been sucktastic for the past few months, and I'm just feeling stressed.

But, I'm trying to soldier on. I went swimming with Kramer at the Oliver Bath House a few days ago, and we're planning on going again today (though the thought of being damp even for a second in this frigid air is scary!). I'm trying to remember that it felt really nice, and was a great low-impact exercise that doesn't hurt my feet and my ankle.

At least it's Friday, right?

Monday, January 12, 2009

another one bites the dust!

Actually, another five. Pounds, that is. Down ten in total so far!

It's really satisfying to see some movement on the scale going down instead of up. It's always slower than I'd like, but I'm just glad it's happening.

The weekends are more challenging for me since there's more time around the house for snacking and such, and more opportunities to feel like I'd like to indulge, but all in all, I did okay. I did splurge on making pancakes on Saturday morning, which didn't seem so bad until I entered them in the recipe calculator. And, there were other, more reasonable splurges, like some homemade vanilla-coconut frozen yogurt with fresh mango (with the 0% Fage Greek yogurt).

Tonight I have my monthly "Queers: They're What's For Dinner!" dinner, and I'm not sure what the menu will be, but i just have to keep portion control in mind, and I think I'll be okay.

Friday, January 9, 2009

the week in review

I don't remember how long they (the ever-present "they") say it takes to make a habit, but it hasn't happened yet. I've been doing well, but it's always a struggle in the evenings. When we're huddled around ye olde television set watching some "Lost" or "Office" dvds, I want something to have, something for snacking. Usually chocolate comes to mind.

But, I've actually done okay, despite my cravings. I've been tracking my food and intake on www.sparkpeople.com. It's really helpful for me to have to log everything because it completely cuts out the mindless snacking--which was happening A LOT, at work especially.

I didn't stick exactly to the meals we'd planned, but pretty closely, which was really nice to not have to turn circles in the kitchen for a half hour before deciding what to make for dinner. And, nice to have leftovers to bring as lunches. I've been planning out my days at work every day, and that's been working great. I bring breakfast, a.m. snack, lunch, p.m. snack, and then I feel well-fed all day, and am not ravenous as soon as I walk in the door at home.

Here's a sample of my feed bag for work:
from l-r:
1. Steel-cut oats, soaked overnight (not cooked) w/ red grapefruit, raspberries & blueberries w/ Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey
2. a raw carrot, sliced into bite-size pieces
3. leftovers from the night before--Thai pineapple curry
4. 2% milkfat cottage cheese with a little fresh pineapple
5. down in front, a whole-wheat lavash roll-up with cheddar, avocado, spinach and a little diced quorn

Taking snacks like this, I feel satisfied and healthy all day.

I've also been having water chug-offs with my favorite work-pal every hour on the hour. That guarantees that we've gotten our eight cups by the time we leave for the day.

And, here's the curry before the brilliant colors were dulled by a night in the fridge. I just threw this together, but next time I'll add tofu and onion for sure. And, a little more heat.

I bought myself a rice cooker for ease of making grains (confession: I suck at making rice), and I love it!! That was the first run, and the rice was perfection. I LOVE it.

Okay, have a super weekend, and keep on keepin' on.

Monday, January 5, 2009

the first week

So, today officially marks a week into the Health Quest 2009! (I started a couple days still in 2008). I am planning to weigh myself each Monday morning to chart the progress, and this morning I was down by 5.4 lbs! Woot! That's encouraging to see! I attribute this all to all the water I've been drinking. And, I was thinking that I'd start to keep a list of some tips that are helping me.

1. Drink LOTS of water. I'm trying to make sure that I drink, at bare minimum, 8 cups of water per day.
2. Track everything I eat. For one, I find this fun, for two, I'm less likely to mindlessly snack when I know that I have to log everything.
3. Try to be flexible.

Number Three is a hard one for me. I'm rigid by nature, and I find this trait to be both a positive and a negative, depending on the circumstance. When I began my Health Quest in 2007 I was so strict that I ate no (zero) processed foods. I didn't eat out. I didn't eat at other people's houses. I spent pretty much all my time cooking and logging and blogging. Which did help me learn to cook a lot of things that I'd never attempted before, but also contributed to my feeling of being so completely invested in the strictness of my program that when I fell off the wagon, it felt overwhelming to have deviated from the plan.

So, I'm trying to be much more relaxed about it this time. The truth of the matter is that it's going to take a long time to lose the weight and gain the health that I want, so I need to be realistic in settling into something I can live with for a long time. So, if I eat something out that is higher in fat or calories (or whatever), then I just need to balance that the rest of the day(s) to make sure that I'm continuously heading in the right direction, but not feeling constantly hungry or deprived. I don't want food to be a reward or punishment tool anymore. Instead I want it to just be something that I love--to cook, to learn about and to eat.

To those ends, I did a little cooking this weekend. Just some simple things. I made the Caesar Salad from Veganomicon (just tweaked a tiny bit to cut back on some of the oil while retaining the fantastic flavor), some egg salad (replaced half of the mayo with greek yogurt), and some awesome peach frozen yogurt that I made with some home-canned peaches I got as an xmas gift (in the work Secret Santa exchange from Chef Bill Fuller). I love yogurt. I especially love frozen yogurt. And, I especially-especially love having the taste of REAL peaches in the dead of winter.

Here's my uber-simple peach fro-yo recipe. I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker, but here's a great article by David Lebovitz about making frozen treats even if you don't have a machine.

Peach Frozen Yogurt
makes 6 servings

8oz 2% Fage Greek Yogurt
8oz 0% Fage Greek Yogurt
4 peaches (separated)
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Using a food processor or blender, combine the yogurts, 3-3.5 of the peaches, the sugar and the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust sugar and lemon juice as necessary.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. About halfway through the freezing, throw the remaining peach (cut in small chunks) into the mix.

My machine finishes in about 20 minutes, and comes out the consistency of soft serve. If I can wait to dig in, I freeze it for about a half hour to firm it up a little.


Oh, and Number Four is a big one: Plan my meals for the week in advance! I've always just sorta cooked by inspiration, and by digging around in the pantry, but I tend to WAY overbuy groceries and often don't have that one ingredient I'd need for whatever it is. But, again, I don't have to be super rigid in the plan. Things can change. The loose sketch for this week's dinners is:

Monday: Beans & Greens with pasta and a salad
Tuesday: Butternut-Bean veggie burgers
Wednesday: Big Salad
Thursday: Thai Pineapple Curry over jasmine rice
Friday: leftovers or a stir-fry or big salad
Saturday: Wheatberry Salad & Sloppy Janes
Sunday: Veggie Chili and corn bread

I'm trying to think about what ingredients may be used in various meals, as well as planning for lunches to take to work. Another project for this week is that we're going to start washing and prepping all our veggies to have them ready at a moment's notice for salads, stir-fries, etc.

Anyhow, keep on keepin' on, peeps. And again, please share any little words of encouragement or tips you have up your sleeve. It really does help.

Friday, January 2, 2009

re-dedication 2009

When I first started this blog, I had a couple of months under my belt of Health Quest 2007. In the preceding months, my father had died of diabetes complications, I'd discovered Michael Pollan and Heidi Swanson, and I was afire with dedicating myself to get my health and weight under control. And, I did really, really well for six or seven months, and then I started gradually adding back in sweets and processed foods until I'd gained back all I'd lost (plus four extra pounds), and found myself in the doctor's office with a mysterious rash that was explained as a pre-Diabetes warning sign. And, then a few days later I saw a picture of myself, looking not unlike Jabba the Hutt, shoving a forkful of food into my mouth. Yuck.

So, this is my re-dedication to Health Quest 2009. I'm going to start blogging more regularly because it helps to have to be accountable. And, I'm starting fresh. Making sure I am drinking my 8 cups of water (at least). Cutting out all the processed crap that eked back into my diet over the past year and a half. Keeping an eye on my nutritional intake. Exercising.

And, all the while trying not to get so obsessive with it that I give it all up when I have one misstep.

I fired up my old www.sparkpeople.com account to track my food and exercise. I like data. It helps me stay focused. And, it's a free site. If you're trying to lose weight and get healthy, you should check it out. It works much like a Weight Watchers-style plan.

If anyone has some supportive words of encouragement, a personal story, or any such thing, please post it in the comments!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, Xmas/Chanukah/Kwanza and New Year!