Monday, April 12, 2010

The end of the experiment, but maybe a new lifetyle

Okay, yes I should be more dilligent at posting but i still trying to get blogging more as a habit.

The end of lent came and went and yes we had a big fat juicy steak, grilled asparagus, and some "potatos en papieollte" (SP?). It was awesome but I could not eat near as much, and portion control was one of my goals. I will warn all those who do a "cleanse" like this, that the first foray into the old food has some gastro effects.

But what did I learn? Well, I learned that I liked meat but I didnt need it to live nor was I going to be deprived of good tasting food. I learned that meat was not the only taste in food. I learned that in abstaining meat, I was also avoiding fast food, and that was huge for me. I learned a new way of cooking (and since I consider myself a pretty damngood cook this was especially hard to swallow), and I had to work with items I never even considered before.

But what was the most important thing I learned? Control. I thought just because 8 years ago I quit smoking (25 yrs/3 packs per day) that I was so tough I knew what self control was.....I didn't. This expermient made me learn a new type of There are so many meat products out there in so many food products you would just never expect!

I found myself more energetic, my belt tightened up a couple of notches, and over all I just felt better in a a way I can't explain. Oh yeah It might help I had the support of a woman that has stuck by me 20 years as well.

So far, I have eaten some meat but I have eased my way into it. I still find myself craving salad,  and I give into that craving. I will eat meat, but I think it will be the exception and not the rule. I wont avoid soups just because it is "chicken based", but I most definately will read the label to see if it has any useful vitamens. Right now....I read EVERY label of everything I buy and I have decided "If in doubt, don't"

This weekend I went to grill out at my best friends house and he made a big point to have a special steak for me and the missus. It was AWESOME, I just couldnt eat much. My belly has shrunk and my weight reflects that. This 5 week experiment resulted in a net loss of 15 pounds, new ideas, and some great new recipes and most importantly, a new perspective.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two weeks in and still holding

Well it's been about two weeks now and still going strong. Still no real fast food or snack cravings between meals. I have to say I am liking this way of eating. It takes a little more thought, and sometimes a little research but it has been anything but uninteresting and unfufiling.

I did try the faux meat/Hamburger Helper experiment and it was not impressive. I think it was more my fault than anything. I think that the helper depends on the moiture of the burger to help it stay moist. The faux meat is a little drier and just absorbed EVERYTHING. I think it can be done, just need to adjust the amopunt of water added to it when cooking. Tastewise it was just fine, just dry dry dry. I would most certainly NOT be the next Top Chef doing that.

I think tommorow I am just going to make a tub of mashed potatoes and some corn niblets then just stir them together and eat em up. Not as nutritious as I would like but as a kid I used to always mix them together on my plate and it was like kid invented comfort food. There's something about the two mixed (and lots of it) that just gets me salivating.

Oh, on a side note I did try some egg substitute as well just......well because I could. Better than I thought and has better vitamins, but just doesn't quite satisfy the egg craving.

Wanna cook the PERFECT hard boiled egg? You know when they aren't when the whites are rubbery, the yolk has a green tinge, and eating a rubber ball might be a better choice.

1. Put a single layer of eggs in a pot and fill with cold water till all the eggs are covered by about an inch of water.
2. Bring water to a boil, but just as the water starts to boil, remove the pot from the heat and cover with a lid. Seta timer for 15 minutes (this is an important step).
3. When the 15 minutes are up drain the water and give the eggs a good ice and water soak to stop the cooking process.

No rubbery stuff, flaky yolks, and easy to peel.

Got it from Chef Anne Burrel on Food Network and it never lets me down.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Vegetarian Experiment (Day 9)

I can't remember where I heard it, but it has been said that it only takes seventeen days to create a habit. This is day nine of my new way of eating and I think I just may be well on my way to creating a new habit.

All I know is that is been just a tad over a week, and I find that I don't really miss the red meat. Sure, I take a multi-vitamin just in case I miss something, but I have always done that anyway. I didn't think your palate could change even just a teensy bit that quickly but I think mine has a little. Vegetables that I always assumed didn't have much taste and where just bit players to the main course, now have a very distinct flavor.

I can say for sure, that I feel like I have more energy, and I definately don't feel bloated and tired after a meal. I take antacids daily for GERD, but I have not needed the pills as much. I have a bit of a gut gut, yet I have lost 8 pounds even though it was not the purpose of the experiment. And lets just say.....the digestion process from start to end is just generally better.

Reading package labels how now become a bit of an obsession. I have been trying to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, but when it's something packaged, I am a label fiend. If I don't see any real nutrional value, or contents that contain too many syllables, it doesn't go in the shopping cart. I compare one brand to another, as well as "regular" products as opposed to "light" versions. Let me just say from what I have seen so far, "light" versions of a product aren't all that light and from the ingredient list, use a lot of chemicals and things I can't pronounce. Given that choice, I'll take the product that has 20 more calories per serving that is more natural, and just keep the portion size down.

Speaking of portion size..... I'm finding it's easier to get full now, and feel satisfied without eating enough for two people. It wasn't something I was really trying to watch, but it seems to have just developed as a good by-product of eating better. Last night I ate two mushroom burgers on buns with cheese, brocco sprouts, ketchup, and french fries. Just for giggles I added up my estimate of the calories and fat for the entire meal and it did not even equal ONE burger I like to get from a popular chain. Since I like to get TWO of those burgers at a time with fries and sometimes a milkshake, that is a MASSIVE difference in just about any nutritional category you can name.

I have also found that I crave snacks a lot less. Maybe I was just eating mindlessly because I was bored and not in need of nutrition? I'm starting to think it is exactly that. I adore a certain sponge cake with creme filling whose name I shall not mention, but processed sugars that used to be a staple, are just not appealing to me right now. I didn't set out to avoid those products, but I don't seem to miss them so much either. I ate a few nacho cheese chips last night and they just didn't really taste good to me, so again I had to ask....why the heck was I even eating them? I have just decided if I have to ask myself "why am I eating this", then maybe I shouln't.

I still don't count calories, nor do I weigh everything or keep a food diary. I just figure common sense and moderation are pretty good rules to eat by.

I'm gettting ready to make Hamburger Helper using a meat subsitute, mostly because I am curious if they will even work together. I'll let you know later :).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Great (sorta) Vegetarian Experiment

Just before Christmas last year the wife and I decided that when Lent rolled around in 2010 we would go (mostly) vegetarian for that time. We decided we woud become pescetarians, which is vegetarianism, but we will allow ourselves, dairy, eggs, and very small amounts of fish. Will I stick to this after the observance of Lent? I don't know but I doubt it, animals are pretty damn tasty and I believe if humans were not supposed to eat meat, then why would we have canines and incisors? There only purpose is for the rending and tearing of meat. If we were mean to be true herbivores, then we would have square flat top teeth like a horse. Well enough of my preaching. I believe what I believe, and I believe everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, and that is just peachy with me.

We didn't enter into this as a religeous observance, but more as a way to try new foods, rethink what we eat, modify how we eat, and to see if we learn anything we can apply to our habits after the Lenten season is over.

We are looking to answer several questions for ourselves such as:
  1. Will we miss red meat and chicken?
  2. CAN we do without meat? We have been trained from birth to be carnivores.
  3. Can we get enough daily nutrition to satisfy the bodies needs.
  4. Will we be going hungry? Can a non red meat diet be filling?
  5. Can we learn how to balance health with taste?
  6. Are we being green in our food choices, and if not how can we do so.
I guess we are going to find out!

Among other sources we have read, we are also reading books by vegetarian Chefs such as Tal Brosnan and his book "The Conscious Cook"., and magazines such as Clean Eating, Eating Well, and Vegetarian Times.

Bon Appetit!

Mario Batali, if you are reading this, YOU ARE STILL THE MAN! even if we are vegging out for a while!