Saturday, January 5, 2013

Oops! And a Few Updates from the Land of Non-Consumption

Well, I pretty much failed at getting the Critical Thinking Thursday post up this week.  I didn't realize the time had come and gone until late on Friday night.  Oops.  That's okay -- I have something special planned for next week.

Today is the beginning of Week Two of our participation in the 100 Days of Real Food mini-pledges.  We're going a bit out of order and modifying things a bit to fit our needs, but the spirit is basically the same.  The goal is to add on each pledge, one at a time, and hopefully within 14 weeks we'll be eating 100% real food (or close to it, anyway).  I'm pretty excited about that.

Greek-style spaghetti squash with tomatoes, olives and feta.
I'll be subbing this squash for noodles more often now that I know how delicious it is. 

Anyway, last week was "Eat Two Fruits or Vegetables With Each Meal."  As someone who definitely doesn't eat enough veggies on a regular basis, this was a challenge, but a fun one.  I quickly discovered that the easiest way to incorporate more vegetables was to replace grains with them -- which probably points to what I've been eating too much of in the first place.  So instead of hamburger buns, I used lettuce wraps for my turkey burgers.  Instead of bread or crackers for my tuna salad, I loaded it up onto celery stalks.  Instead of ordering a side of rice or noodles at Panda Express, I got their mixed veggies.  I also bought a bag of frozen mixed berries and ate them with nearly every breakfast this week.  Delicious.

This week is "Only Real Beverages" week.  I've talked before about all the reasons why you should stop drinking soda and some substitutes if you're trying to wean yourself off.  If you're looking for an easy way to lose weight slowly and without much effort at all, just stop drinking calories.  You rarely feel full from calories you drink (thanks to the lack of fiber), and you can guzzle down a thousand calories a day in soda, flavored coffee, fruit juice and other beverages without even trying.

When I go out, my go-to drink is unsweetened iced tea. You can get it just about anywhere, including most fast food places.  You can even order an unsweetened tea at Sonic and add in a shot of flavor if you don't want to feel left out when your friends are guzzling Rt. 44 Ocean Waters and Limeades.  The sugar-free flavors like peach and raspberry will leave you with a 10-calorie Rt. 44, and the regular flavor shots are only worth about 50 calories, so ordering tea at Sonic is definitely the way to go.  (Of course, the artificial flavorings in the flavor shots definitely do not qualify as "real food" by any stretch of the imagination, so it's up to you if you want to go there.)

I made another lovely realization when I set out on my "real beverages" quest:  I can still get fancy coffee drinks!  I don't actually drink a lot of coffee, but I do like to go to coffee shops to write sometimes.  Normally I drink a grande white mocha with a shot of almond (which, by the way, is delicious).  That's about 500 calories (add more with whipped cream!) and includes more than 50 grams (!!!) of sugar.  But you can switch over to a latte of the same size for just 180 calories.  Even better, get a cappuccino for just 93 calories -- or an iced coffee with nothing in it.

You'll still feel fancy, you get the coffee shop experience, and you don't end up drinking an arsenal of syrup.  Win-win all around.  (Drinking plain coffee does take some getting used-to, but it's actually quite nice to be able to really taste the coffee in your drink.  If you can't stand plain coffee, try drinking it iced first -- for some reason, iced coffee tastes better without sugar than the hot stuff.)

One last update before I head back to work.  I made homemade mayonnaise last night for the first time.  If you're intimidated by the prospect of making your own -- don't be.  It's super easy.  All I did was beat two egg yolks with my electric mixer while slowly adding in a mix of olive and vegetable oil.  At the end, once it's emulsified, you can add the seasonings of your choice.  The end result is flavorful and rich and a bazillion times better than the preservative-packed crap in the store.  Mayonnaise, like tortilla chips, is now on my list of "foods so stupidly easy to make at home, why do I ever bother buying them."

I'll catch you guys tomorrow with updates on the publishing industry.  Until then -- peace out!

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