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Thursday, January 27, 2011

My daily vitamins

Fasting & Calories

For all of you who chose to do a 2011 fast, hats off!  Great job!  Fasting is such a break for your body.  Think of all those enzymes and cells that constantly work for you 24/7 breaking down foods, storing, and then creating energy for you. Even your liver needs a break from processing all that fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and possible medicines you take regularly.  I've had a few friends ask me, what about calories, carbs, and protein needed during a fast, such as the Daniel fast.  So I want to answer a few common questions.  First, a fast is just like the word explains, you are limiting yourself in order to achieve a health benefit or spiritual benefit.  If you are a Christian, a fast can get God's attention for a needed break through.  Hallelujah, there is a way to get God's attention more that praying alone. Try fasting and praying and just see how much more quickly your break through comes.  I believe, even a partial fast, such as giving up processed sugar or meat, can get God's attention too.  Keep in mind, doing a fast requires a goal.  Set your goals high!  Tom and I chose to write down all our 2011 goals, needs, and wants for the year, then we fasted sugar (21 days) and meat (7 days).  Each time we craved a food, it reminded us of our goals and to pray for them.  We even wrote down on our list goals for people we know.  Plus, fasting meat forced us to think outside the "meat=protein" box that we so easily get caught up in.  We started eating lots of beans and felt great!
So back to how many calories do I really need.  I recently finished the amazing book, Breaking the Food Seduction, by Dr. Neal Barnard, and he has a great rule of 10 that I believe is easy to follow.  He states that you take your current weight (say 150lbs) and multiply by 10X (150lbs x 10 = 1500 calories).  This gives you the least amount of calories you want to consume in order to keep your metabolism working correctly.  In other words, you would not eat less than 1500 calories because if you did, then your body might think you are starving and slow your metabolic rate down.  All the calorie calculators out there on the internet are not completely accurate.  Every person is different based on factors such as age, genetics, lean muscle mass, fat mass, etc...  We learned in school that the most accurate way to know how many calories your body uses daily is to use this thing called a bod pod.  The only problem is these contraptions are thousands of dollars and usually owned only by athletic departments.  Georgia Tech has one that is used for it's athletes. My advice is to not focus on calories, but more on quality of the foods your are eating and how you feel.  Do you have energy?  Are you sleeping well?  Do you get sick often?  Are you constipated? Everything you put into your body affects so many aspects of your life.  Personally, I take a probiotic (New Chapter Organics) in the morning first thing on an empty stomach.  This helps keep me regular and increases my immunity.  Also, I don't have to think about getting my yogurt.  Most yogurts have way too much sugar anyway.  Then I eat breakfast, usually oatmeal with dates and pecans or some other non-processed grain (stay away from cereals).  Then take a whole foods based multi-vitamin (New Chapter Organics), 2500mcg of biotin (for my skin, hair, and nails), and fish oil (costco brand).  At lunch I try to get a protein and vegetable in.  I'll have a few snacks such as dried apricots and apples, then a protein and vegetable for dinner.
If you are having lowered energy, drink more water, get more rest, decrease your stress, and increase your carbs.  I challenge you all to fast that food that your feel like you have to eat or cannot live without!
I would always love to hear your questions and feedback, so feel free to leave your comments.  It might help someone else too!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kale Pancakes

So I'm staring in my refrigerator, starving, thinking that I should make something with this kale, but all I want to eat right now is pancakes. For any one who does not know what kale is, it is a leafy green vegetable that is loaded with nutrients.  I bought mine organic at Whole Foods. You want to take out the vein parts too.  Then I thought, why not chop up a few kale leaves in my pancake mix.  This way I get a serving or two of vegetables while still having my delicious pancakes.  Now, I don't put syrup on my pancakes because it would be kind of gross with the kale and I'm still on my sugar fast.  I believe the key to these pancakes tasting really good is to use a high quality yummy pancake mix like the one I love, Pamela's pancake and waffle mix.  At first I thought I would use my buckwheat mix, but that could be too much of a good thing all in one.  I recommend using the buckwheat pancake mix with blueberries or apples chopped up for a sweeter flavor.  Then after I tasted my kale pancakes, I decided I would use some left over mashed sweet potatoes along with the rest of the kale in the next batch.  I love taking a loved item, like pancakes, and mixing in something healthy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Split pea soup and herb tubes.

Last night I made split pea soup.  It's so easy to make this soup without breaking out a can.  Just buy a bag of split peas (Whole Foods has organic for so cheap), follow the directions on the package, which tells you how much water to add and how long to boil them.  Then add a few ingredients.  I simmered mine for over an hour because I like them soft.  I also cut up half a bag of baby carrots into small chunks and added that in too.  A little mined garlic and parsley flakes adds a nice touch of flavor.  Oh, and I tried throwing in some garlic salt which gave the soup a different taste than regular salt.  This is one of those few veggie type meals that my husband will eat.  I'm working on learning how to prepare various vegetables that do not make his face churn.

Have you seen the "fresh herb" tubes in the refrigerated herb section at the grocery store.  My husband came home with one of these when he could not find the actual herb, parsley, and I love it.  I know it's not as fresh as a piece of parsley, but it sure tastes close to me.  Although in the long run, I'd recommend buying the bunch of whatever you are cooking because the cost of this herb tube is no joke.  Once I get my chef's knife, and I cannot wait, I feel like I'll be more motivated to chop herbs.  Have you ever watched the food network and admired how they just chop everything up so perfectly?  Well, I think it all starts with having the right tools (knife and cutting board).  I'm just realizing this.  So I went to Sur La Table at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, and they let me try different knives.  They even have a cutting board with carrots that you can practice on with German or Asian knives.  I prefer the German, mainly because I like German manufactures.  The sales associate informed me that it's all about how the knife feels in your hand.  Also, I never knew the reason chef's always cut on wooden cutting boards is because they need a softer surface than their knife.  It some how protects the knife blade when the surface is soft, like wood.  So interesting to me.  I took a picture with my iphone of the knife I want and will make sure my hubby sees it before Valentines Day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dates & Oatmeal.

I have this new yummy breakfast habit, dates on my oatmeal.  I will have to thank my Mama for the idea, and I started doing this for a sweet addition to an old favorite.  Oatmeal can become so boring, the same old butter, sugar, cinnamon story.  Well, instead of the sugar, add some pitted chopped up dates!  Look at your food labels and make sure there is no added sugar in the dates.  My husband and I have a week more of our "processed added sugar" fast, so I'm looking for alternatives to sugar for a sweet affect in my morning oatmeal.  I was excited to find that dates are so naturally sweet.  They have this brown sugar like flavor too.  I add some chopped pecans and a little butter too.  Today we went to Whole Foods, glorious food shopping, and I found some organic dates that look like they are on steroids.  I'm looking forward to using them tomorrow in my oatmeal, and I'll let you know how they compare to the packaged ones I bought at Kroger.  Oh, one more note about oatmeal.  I'm reading the book, Breaking the Food Seduction, by Dr. Neal Barnard, and he explains the benefits of choosing "old fashioned" oats versus quick packaged oats.  I never knew that the quick oats were chopped up more finely and this actually digests faster which could leave you a lot more hungry than the old fashioned oats.  Plus, the old fashioned oats only take 2 minutes in the microwave, sounds quick to me!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What would Jesus eat?

I love the book, What would Jesus Eat?.  It breaks down healthy eating and reminds us as Christians that our bodies are not our own, but temples of the Holy Spirit.  Wow! What a thought!  So while this may make us feel guilty about putting some junk in our bodies, let's not let the enemy win that battle, and fight for what we know is true.  We need to treat our bodies as temples with love and respect.  Why you may ask?  Well, to put it simply, if we put a bunch of junk in our body, then we will eventually become ill, sick, overweight, depressed, etc.  In all of these states, we are not well equipped to do the work of God.  Whether that work includes influencing others, being the light at work, or just being a great spouse.  Let's not take it lightly what we put in our bodies.  Let's not joke about it or think it trivial.  There are so many people that need our love and energy, and we need to be functioning at optimal levels in order to do all God wants us to do!!  Yippie! I love nutrition and health! Praise God!