Words for the Weekend Feed

Cookies were eaten

Not gonna lie -- there was a lot of unnecessary eating going on at the house this past week. The week before Irma arrived it was "perishables week," which meant nothing from the pantry. Lots of omelettes, yogurt, things from the freezer. Fine -- so far we're doing well on the healthy scale. 

Cuban crackers -- zero fiber!

Then my sister and niece arrived with a bunch of groceries that included doughnuts, chips, and other assorted shelf-stable goodies. I had been on a mission to finish all my kale, which I did, but the desire for garbage got the best of me and I ate a doughnut and a couple servings of chips. At the same time.

Bleaaaah. Kale and junk food do not mix. I swear I've had a stomach ache for a week.

Every Floridian's favorite app this past week.

The next few days were a blur of chips and salsa, sandwich cookies, wind, rain and fallen trees. Aside from the trees and a green pool, there was no structural damage to the house. We only lost power for a day and a half, and I was able to wheel the contents of my fridge across the street to my neighbor, who had an extra fridge hooked up to a generator (MUCH THANKS!). I also took some brussels sprouts and carrots to a FWP's house (FRIENDS WITH POWER) where I performed a minor miracle and convinced a bunch of people that brussels sprouts were tasty. All I did was clean up the sprouts, cut the carrots the same size, sprinkled on some chopped scallions I found in my fridge, put everything on a sheet pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in my friend's oven at 400 degrees for around 25-30 minutes. 

Florida avocados are a lot different than California ones.

My friend (hi, Ruth!) gave us a lovely parting gift of a bag full of Florida avocados, which are all now ripe, so I'm feverishly looking for ways to use them up. I think I may just freeze a bunch for smoothies.

Yay, lights!

That evening we returned home to see the lights shining through the front door windows, which was great because I DO NOT handle heat well. Perhaps it's all the extra insulation in my caboose. That right there was extra motivation to "un-insulate" myself. 

Once the power was back, we were able to eat more normally, although my stash of frozen bananas for smoothies is now a solid blob of frozen goo. I think I may have to dump it.

I made it over to the gym yesterday and it felt GREAT to get on the bike and the treadmill, and heave some weights around. 

But yeah, cookies have been eaten. Like demolished. Like I skipped breakfast this morning because cookies. Like, do I have a picture of the cookies? No, because they're gone.

I found that it wasn't really the stress as much as the boredom that set off the Cookie Monster in me, because when the storm was really bearing down, food was the last thing on my mind. So next time (and, yeah, there'll be a next time) I'll make sure I have more things to offset the boredom.

And less insulation on my caboose.

Sometimes a rest day is foisted upon you

I was going to workout.

I was going to blog.

But, alas, a stomach virus had the final say.

I made it to the gym but then ...

image from jrosenberry1.files.wordpress.com

I went next door to Winn-Dixie and bought a bottle of regular Coca-Cola (my stomach virus miracle drug), a big bag of white rice and went home.

Watched the teen heist movie "The Bling Ring" ("Let's go to Paris -- I want to rob!") and four episodes of "Mr. Selfridge" (kinda the opposite of "The Bling Ring").

My non-exercise guilt was assuaged by the fact that there was no way in hell I was able to exercise.

So I sorta got the blogging in!

It's not about the scale / it's all about the scale

Good scale bad scale edited
Are you confused yet? Read on and I'll explain.

Back when I was on diets that required a weekly weigh-in, I got into the habit of thinking weigh-in day was a free for all because I'd have the entire week to work it off. Then that day turned into a weekend, which turned into "Don't worry, you have more than half the week to work it off," which became "OK, three days of being perfect and we'll be OK," which became ...

Get the picture?

It wasn't the "Last Supper Syndrome," which is the free-for-all that can occur before someone attempts a restrictive diet. It's kind of the opposite, more like the high school wrestler making weight before a big meet.

This was what I was doing up until a couple weeks ago. I wouldn't get on the scale until I sweated outside for an hour and made sure I was good and dehydrated. Then off would come everything, including my glasses, before I got on the scale.

So my Retrofit advisor suggested I get on the scale every day.

And while the anti-scale crowd may rage against that,  I did that this week and it really made my life less stressful.

Wake up, do my bathroom business, get on the scale, get off the scale, get on with my life.

All the scale does is tell me whether I'm on the right track with my eating and working out. If I have a particularly "salty" day, I know it'll show up on the scale the next morning, so I'll watch the salt and it'll go away the next day.

The number doesn't define ME; it just tells me how much all my water, bones, fat and muscle adds up to on any particular day.

By stepping on the scale every day, I take away its power to define whether my week was "bad" or "good."

Every day is weigh-in day so there are no free-for-alls. What a revelation!

Weighing every day and not counting calories (yes! really!). More on that Monday.

And I dropped 2 pounds this week.

I'll drink to that! (Coconut water, of course. It's still freaking hot down here and it's a great post-workout drink.)

This is more than just an ad for butter: A rant for the weekend

Watch this video and then we'll talk:

Lately, I've become dismayed at the lengths people will go to put together a "healthy" meal. They'll jump through a dozen hoops to approximate the taste and texture of bread, pasta, meat, ice cream, even a damn cup of coffee.

Kevlar is meant to be bulletproof -- coffee is not. I seriously doubt Fred Flintstone was downing a 300-calorie mug of oily coffee before heading over to the Slate Rock and Gravel Co.

If you want ice cream/a burger/spaghetti bolognese/coffee with something in it, then have it -- just don't have them all at once.

I don't have "diet butter spray" in the house. I have expensive, grass-fed, organic real butter than you can't spray (or even spread for that matter). Frankly, I think that makes it an even better diet food. What better deterrant to using butter than the 7-dollar-ice-cold butter missle defense system?

There's also no gross sugar-free yogurt in the house.

Wait, I take that back. I have a quart of it but it's called "plain" and it's awesome with a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts on it.

What that delightful little ad up there so beautifully illustrates is the magic of real food. The woman in the ad isn't busting open a box of Tuna Helper or reconstituting a package of Suddenly Salad (yes, it's a thing).

She's also not gnawing on the stick of butter like a Snickers bar.

No, she's practicing what I like to call extreme moderation. While preparing her real food for a real meal, she's having a little smidgen of butter on a piece of bread.

Call the gluten police!

(That's a whole other can o' worms that I won't get into but, yeah, Americans eat too much glutinous food in general and we should probably eat less bready stuff, but I'll give you my pizza when you pry it from my cold, dead, slightly greasy hands.)

If you have to put air quotes around your recipes, if dinner feels like a workaround, then are you really enjoying it? Food should be enjoyable, not a freakin' science experiment.

I'll end with Michael Pollan's reminder:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

(And maybe a little smidgen of butter.)

Rant over.


A dose of super-tough love from Steve Siebold

Die tootsie pops
In Steve Siebold's world, there are no Halloween leftovers.

I love getting press releases from Steve Siebold's publicist. If you're not familar with Siebold, he wrote a book a few years ago called Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People.


There's no other way to say it: He's a weight-loss hard ass.

In his world, there is no slippage, corner cutting, no "just this once." And that's hard and it sucks.

That's why I love the press releases. They're like a bucket of cold water, a smack upside the head.

Today, I'm offering his tips for avoiding holiday weight gain. You may not agree with his all-or-nothing methodology, but he offers a no-nonsense approach to just getting it done.

This is from Steve:

  • 99% compliance on a diet is failure, even at the holidays! Sounds harsh, but if you’re going to get fit, it’s all or nothing. If you are in a committed relationship you wouldn’t cheat on your significant other just one time, so why would you cheat on something as important as your diet?
  • Before you put anything in your mouth, always ask yourself, “How is this food going to impact my health?”
  • If you’re on a diet during the holidays, don’t look at dieting as drudgery, but see it as a strategy for a lifetime to keep you healthy, looking good and feeling great.
  • Expect challenges such as cravings, and when this happens, have a plan in place to push forward and stay compliant.
  • Find happiness in the holidays not from food, but in time spent with friends and family creating a lifetime of memories and new traditions.
  • Realize that ultimately being fit and healthy is completely your responsibility, and blaming the holidays for your weight gain is just as bad as blaming other outside factors the rest of the year such as restaurants, the food manufacturers and portion sizes.

A Halloween-lean pumpkin smoothie

Pumpkin smoothie
Leftover canned pumpkin has been staring me in the face every time I open the fridge. Sure, I can stir it into pasta sauce and annoy the family with my experiement but let's try it again in a smoothie.

I say "again" because the last time I concocted a pumpkin smoothie I thought "If a half cup is good, a full cup is better!" Uh, it's not. It's a beautiful orange and pretty gross.

So this time I got the proportions and flavors just right in my smoothie, which I call:

Halloween-Lean Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond/rice/soy/hemp/oat/cow/whatever milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup ("pancake syrup" should be against the law)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a combo of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and ginger)
  • Crushed ice

Blend and slurp.


Back to the farmers market

Haven't been to the Plantation Farmers Market in ages, but I had been watching a Cooking Channel show on food trucks and was inspired to check out our local food sources.

Last time I went, the produce section had been joined by a few new vendors -- a hummus guy, a baker, and some plant sellers.

But, wow! Lots more to choose from today.

FM sauces

Nonna Rizzo's, a really creative lineup of sauces. I bought a puttanesca and one called Ceci della Basilicata -- made with chickpeas, plum tomatoes, garlic and rosemary.

FM picklesThere were homemade pickles (Pickled Pink, love the name), orchids, local honey, smoked fish, dog treats, even a barbecue truck. And, of course, the produce.

FM produce

See those avocados at the bottom of the photo at right? There are California ones and Florida ones. California ones are darker, smaller and higher in fat than the often football-sized Florida ones. Their texture is firmer and the fruit is sweeter, so it can be used in savory and sweet dishes, like...

FM chill spot

Avocado Italian ice! That's Tessi, from The Chill Stop, scooping me out a cup of Florida avocado Italian ice. I had walked up to their cart and I must have had "OMG, avocado Italian ice!" written all over my face because her Chill Stop partner John said "wanna try a  sample of the avocado?"

It was creamy, light, sweet and not at all like frozen guacamole.

So I walked out with sauce and cookies and had avocado Italian ice and a slice of tortilla espanola for lunch.

Where were all the fresh veggies? Those had to wait until I got to The Fresh Market (I was market hopping today). The farmers market selection was a little thin -- guess it's the end of the growing season. But I did pick up some nice organic collards and Perfect Foods bars at The Fresh Market.

But it's great to chat with and buy from locals -- the honey people let me sample some very cool varieties -- avocado, local wildflower and even mangrove and palmetto honeys. There aren't any mystery ingredients, nothing's overprocessed -- it's all real food and real friendly.

And here's this week's HealthBuzz: