Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why do all the best foods have to be so bad?

Yesterday I had plans to go out to dinner, so like any calorie conscious individual I tapered my calorie intake during the day so leave plenty of room for dinner.  With a 2,030 calorie max, I consumed only about 600 calories, leaving 1400 for the delicious dinner that awaited me.

Outback Steakhouse.

Now mind you, props to Outback for adding calories to their menu.  I'm sure the waitress giggled a little when she saw this chubby brown man looking at  the menu angrily as he tried to figure out what to order, counting the calories with his fingers, and grimacing as he realized he'd be over his limit if he ordered everything he wanted.

Despite that, I persevered.  My order consisted of the following (Disclaimer: I didn't take these pictures, as I forgot to last night!):

Ceasar Salad (300 calories)

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (1/2 order) (Not including that steak!) (150 calories)

Green Beans (1/2 Order) (25 calories)

Outback Special (9 oz) (400 calories)

I was good to go.  Add to that half a loaf of bread and some butter, and my order consisted of about 900 calories, well below the 1400 calories I had set aside for this meal, and I was ready to chow down to my heart's content.  And then I realized my fatal mistake.  I had left out the most important part:

The Bloomin Onion (1949 Calories)

That's right.  That deliciously battered and fried onion soaked in that exquisite, slightly spicy yellowish secret sauce is utter perfection, and just under 2000 calories.  Of course, I had no intention of eating the whole onion, but half?  Half of the onion is certainly doable, and I can shamelessly say I've eaten have a Bloomin Onion in the past.  But that's still 1000 calories, shooting me well above my maximum.

What's a fattie to do?  Well, I dug deep and ate only 1/4 of this onion, lamenting as the rest of it went into the to-go box, never to experience it's former glory again.  I shall eat you today, Leftover Bloomin Onion, but I know that you'll be but a mere shadow of your former glorious self.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Beginnings

This past week was a bit tough for me, emotionally. I got a little down in the ruts and wallowed in my food for awhile, but I'm back in the game once more.

At the insistence of Mike, I've decided to use myfitnesspal instead of WW. Here's to hoping it works. It seems to be a pretty nifty site/mobile app. I think I prefer the mobile app to the website because the mobile app lets you view all the nutrition info you've consumed for the day more easily than the website does. 

Anyway, last week I teased you all with the claim that I would share a delicious recipe inspired by a restaurant I ate at in Los Angeles. Sorry for leavin' y'all hangin'. Truth be told, it didn't turn out that spectacularly. It was good, but not spectacular enough to post here. 

I did have one amazing success this past week though!

Bean sprouts that I sprouted myself! I've always had trouble in the past with sprouting. Either it just didn't work, or they ended up smellin' a bit funky. So, in the hopes that I am not alone in my troubles with sprouting, I will share with you all how I went about achieving sprout success:

1. Add desired beans (I used mung beans) to a large jar. Cover with a cheesecloth and secure with either a rubber band or the metal ring that secures the lid piece. 
2. Pour filtered water over the beans until they're completely submerged, shake it up a little, and pour the water out. Repeat once or twice more. 
3. After rinsing, the beans should be wet but not submerged under water, simply leave them either in the sun or on top of the stove and leave the stove on so it's nice and toasty. 
4. Rinse the beans 3-4 times a day using the same process as step 2.

Voila! Keep doing steps 2-4 until your sprouts are the desired length! The sprouts pictured above took about 2 full days to make. 

Try it for yourself and let me know how it turns out! Good luck! :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dino Diet Gone Extinct?

I'm not one to say I told you so, but... Okay, I am one to say I told you so.  The problem with any diet that advocates eliminating entire food groups from one's diet is that you'll miss those foods.  And now that Lindsey has seen the error of her ways, it's time for the victory dance!




Okay I'm done.  Like Lindsey told you in her last post, we just got back from our road trip, and we cheated a lot, to the tune of way way too much fast food, and not nearly enough healthy food.  I swear they must put something in those french fries because they are really addictive!  I lost all of the progress I had made thus far, and so I'll basically be starting over.  Note to self: do not cheat for a week and a half.  However, it does present me with an opportunity.

At the insistence of both EJ and Mark, I've started using a website called MyFitnessPal in place of Weight Watchers.  It essentially functions in a similar fashion, calculating calories to determine what you need to eat to be healthy and lose weight.  The main difference is that while Weight Watchers assigns point values to different combinations of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibers, MyFitnessPal monitors calories directly and makes suggestions for different nutrients as well.

In addition, there are several other features that sets MyFitnessPal apart from WeightWatchers.  For one thing, it's entirely free.  To take advantage of the official WeightWatchers, you actually have to pay a membership fee.  I was previously following it unofficially, and didn't have access to their official applications.    I don't know if the official application for WeightWatchers includes a database of point values for various foods, but MyFitnessPal has a user developed database, and for many foods, simply typing in the name will bring up its nutrition information.  Furthermore, MyFitnessPal takes into account exercise to adjust an individual's allotted daily calorie intake.  In other words, if you exercise more, it allows you to consume more calories.

One thing that MyFitnessPal and Weightwatchers have in common is that they both stress the importance of community.  WeightWatchers, if you're paying for it, actually has meetings where members regularly support each other.  Of course, as an unofficial user, I wasn't part of that.  MyFitnessPal instead uses social networking to put that same support and pressure behind its program.  If your friends are using it, you can see what they're eating, what sort of exercise they're doing, and you can compare their progress to your own.  Let me tell you, it's a real pain in the ass when your friend is doing an hour long workout and you're winded after a brisk walk around the neighborhood.  It's a real eye opener.

Anyways, at my preliminary weigh in this Sunday I was back at 304 lbs.  Today, I did an unofficial weigh in and found myself at 299, but I attribute that primarily to just not stuffing my face with McNuggets all day.  I have high hopes for MyFitnessPal, because it seems to have all the important attributes of a successful program.

Monday, May 20, 2013

We Have Returned!

Sorry for the two week absence, guys! Mike and I were roadtripping up the pacific coast! It was quite lovely.

However, whilst roadtripping, we were both very very very bad and ate awful foods. I know, I know -- we're terrible.

I have a new outlook on the whole weight loss/diet thing though. I've decided not to continue on the paleo diet quest. Quite frankly, I love legumes and a bunch of stuff that is forbidden on the paleo diet. Also, as Mike has pointed out to me and as I already knew myself, restricting oneself too much will only result in an eventual binge. A terrible, terrible binge.

My solution? Weight watchers! I still plan on eating mostly veggies, and a lot of my recipes that I post will be vegan friendly, mostly because I love vegan food. I might even continue to use nutritional yeast because I just love the flavor, and it's healthy to boot! However, should I decide to have some legit cheese once in awhile, I'm going to allow myself that! Our diets should be bent around our preferences; it's all about moderation.

I have no new recipes to share today, but on Wednesday I will have something super special to share with you all. It's a recipe I developed that was inspired by a dish I had at a Thai BBQ restaurant in Los Angeles. Check back on Wednesday for the deliciousness! ;)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Buffets are the Devil

I love buffets, but they are the devil.  Even more so than a normal meal out, buffets have this added pressure.  If you’re a fattie like me, I know you’ve experienced it.   When I go to a restaurant I tend to be rather cost conscious.  I’ll usually order just what I want to eat, without packing on a bunch of extras.  Buffets, however, are a whole different story.  The salads whisper, “You paid $20 bucks for rabbit food?”  The water chuckles, “That’s right, fill up on me so you won’t eat much.”  And that oh so delicious, not very nutritious taco bar, well, that says, “Hi, I’m a fuckin taco bar.  Need I say more?”

Buffets always tend to make me eat more than what I need to feel full.  There’s this internal cost analysis that seems to tell me I’m making money by eating more, and because of it, I’ll end up stuffing my face until all I can think about is rolling into bed and passing out.  I’m often satiated before that third trip back to the counter, but I just can’t help myself.  It’s really bad.

The worst is probably the all-you-can-eat sushi places.  They had you a menu with a grid, and you check off what you want each round, and the waiter brings the dishes to you.  The first time I went to one of these places was with my brother.  The lady handed us the list, and the grid had 3 columns, which we took to mean we could order 3 times.  We asked the waitress what would happen if we wanted more after a third time.  She just laughed and said we’d be done by then.  So what are two fatties to do, when the gauntlet has been laid down?

We ate.  We ordered a ton of sushi on the first and second rounds, and by then we were full.  We should have stopped there, but we had to prove that waitress wrong, so we ordered yet another round.  By the end of the third round, we were just about ready to burst, but we couldn’t let the waitress know that she was right, so we ordered a fourth round.  That fourth round was complete and utter torture.  The sushi that just 40 minutes earlier had our mouths watering now had us gagging.  20 minutes later, we had successfully completed that 4th round, and we paid our check and walked out, full of pride, and about 30 pounds of sushi.

What have I come to realize?  I don’t even like feeling that full.  At the very least, it’s uncomfortable, and when it’s really bad, it actually hurts!  Why do I do this to myself?  Because buffets are evil, but I love them anyway.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wait, Dinosaurs?

Well, Mike stole my post day, but that won't stop me from posting anyway. MY POST DAY, MINE.

Anyway, congratulations to Mike for actually doing research on a diet.

By the way, dinosaurs, Mike? Really.

On to more important things, like delicious food. This week, I had some fresh chickpeas that I had soaked sittin' in my fridge. What was a girl to do? I decided to make some yummy hummus. If you know me at all by now, you should know that I didn't just make regular no-flavor hummus. I added my own twist.

Spicy Roasted Veggie Hummus

1 1/2c chickpeas, dry
1/4c tahini
1/4-1/2c olive oil
water for thinning
1 red bell pepper
1 head of garlic
6 scallions
1T chili powder
2t garlic powder
2t onion powder
1/4-1/2t salt
1/2t cayenne pepper

1. Soak chickpeas overnight in plenty of water.
2. After the chickpeas have soaked, roast the bell pepper, head of garlic, and scallions for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. I cut my bell pepper into four pieces, cut the tips off the garlic, and brushed all the veggies with olive oil.
3. Put the chickpeas and tahini in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add the olive oil and water until it reaches a good consistency. Add the veggies and spices. Blend until well combined, adding water and/or olive oil as needed.

Even the color of this stuff is fabulous. I love the flavor of this stuff, but I have to warn you, this makes A LOT OF HUMMUS. I really wasn't intending on making this much hummus. So after filling my large mason jar with hummus and still having a ton leftover.. I was left wondering what to do with it. I decided on making pizza! Remember my pizza dough? Well, I did that except I didn't use flax this time. I used mostly oat flour, with a little buckwheat flour. Fresh ground for both of course. I really see no reason in buying flour when it's so easy to ground your own. This recipe also utilizes another creation of the week, vegan cheese.

This stuff is really easy to make.

Super Cheesy Vegan Cheese!

2c cashews
1c nooch
2T miso
1 1/2c water PLUS water for thinning
2T agar agar
1/2t xanthan gum

1. Begin by soaking the cashews for at least 24 hours in a warm place. They get a nice smell to them when you do this, I think maybe they start to ferment. Regardless, it adds extra flavor to the cheese so don't skip this!
2. Blend the cashews, nooch, and miso until well combined in a food processor. Slowly add water until it reaches a consistency you like. 
3. Add the mixture to a bowl, cover and let it sit for at least 24 hours in a warm spot to ferment some more.
4. After the cheese has set for at least 24 hours, add 1 1/2c water to a small saucepan along with the agar agar and xanthan gum. Heat on the stovetop and let it come to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, until it's a gel consistency.
5. Blend the gel with the cheese mixture until well combined.
6. Pour into a bread loaf dish, cover and refrigerate all night.

Voila! Cheese!

So with all this on hand, I went forward with my pizza. 

Scrumptious Pizza

1 recipe of pizza dough
1t olive oil
1t garlic powder
1t onion powder
1/4t salt
4 slices vegan cheese
1-2c spicy hummus
4 slices of a large tomato
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1 c baby argula

1. Roll the dough out in a 8x8 baking dish.
2. Combine the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Brush onto the dough.
3. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes.
4. Spread the hummus on the dough. Top with the cheese, tomato, and onion. 
5. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Top with the arugula and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Pizza pizza! Who needs to order pizza when it's so easy and delicious to make your own? :)

Dinosaur Diet?

Lindsey will probably be upset that I’m posting this today instead of yesterday, which was my day to post (Oops!).  Hopefully she’ll forgive me when she finds out I decided to do some real research into the Paleo diet to better understand what she’s working on.  (By the way, I had been pronouncing it Pa-Lay-O, when it’s supposed to be Pay-Leo.  Linz got a good laugh the first time she heard me say it.)  Anyway, on to the content.

The diet basically calls for a return to the caveman diet, under the assumption that cavemen were healthier than Americans are today.  Of course, that’s not really a far stretch, since Americans are as a whole, obese, overeaters who don’t exercise enough, myself included.  Cavemen on the other hand had to spend all day foraging for food, hunting, and fighting/running away from dinosaurs.  I assume the hunting/fighting dinosaurs may have gone hand-in-hand, but who knows.  Some cavemen may have just done it for sport.

So, what did cavemen eat?  Well, they ate nuts, fruits, and vegetables that grew naturally, which means yes to apples, berries, bananas, and no to refined grains (bye bye bread, bye bye rice!), and they ate meat, dinosaur meat to be precise, but in the absence of dinosaur meat, fish and lean meats are preferred.  Now, the Paleo diet advocates not drinking milk, which I find a little confusing, as I would assume cavemen drank milk.  Perhaps cave buffalo were harder to milk than our modern day cows.  Who knows?

A few years ago I tried the Atkins diet, which had a similar premise – cut out the carbs.  I had some success with it too, but it and the Paleo diet share a common “flaw”: it involves the complete elimination of certain food groups.  That’s one of the major reasons I failed at sticking to the Atkins diet: I missed the rice.  As a Filipino, rice has been a staple in my diet pretty much from the time when I first began eating solid foods.

But enough about my person weaknesses, let’s look at the good and the bad of the Paleo diet.  The good: very low salt content and carnivore friendly.  The bad: some people with low will power (like me) may find it hard to follow, and completely leaving out certain food groups does present some health risks, namely not having all the right nutrients.  For example, there is a deficiency in vitamin D, calcium, and carbohydrates.  You really have to go out of your way to get these nutrients.

It’s definitely not a diet I’d be able to stick to, if past experience is any indicator, but it certainly has some good points.  It would definitely take a lot more discipline than I’m capable of, dietwise.