Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sigh

I am missing my old whole foods, low fat, plant based diet. I wish I had the finances to be able to have a completely different menu than the rest of my family. I just feel so much better when I can eat that way. Ugh I wish this was easy.

I get groceries tomorrow and I will try to get more vegetarian foods to eat while still sticking to the foods on the Green foods list. I need to feel good as I lose weight.

COWGIRL CASSEROLE (Vegetarian)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup canned or frozen corn
  • 1 15oz can vegetarian baked beans
  • 1 tsp barbecue seasoning or barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
  • 3 oz smoky cheddar or smoky Edam cheese, diced or shredded
Heat oven to 375. In a non-stick skillet, saute the onions, carrots and pepper until soft but not browned. Add the green beans and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the corn, baked beans, seasoning and ketchup. Cook 2 minutes until heated through. Pour into a baking dish and scatter the cheese on top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese has melted.

6 main-dish servings, 4 POINTS each

Most of the points are in the cheese, but the recipe's originator say the smoky cheese flavor really makes the dish special.

I don't know why this cake is "wacky" but it's a much requested recipe. It's very similar to a WW cake recipe that's been around for years.

Planning

I did up a menu plan for when I get groceries this week. But truthfully, I think I was overthinking it a bit. I am going to go through it and simplify a bit. This is not a complicated diet plan, I don't need to have a new complicated recipe every day. There are a few I would like to include, but otherwise, I like the freedom to put things together myself as long as I have enough basics to get us through.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

HUMMUS

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip or spread. Eat it on crackers, wedges of pita bread or as a dip for celery and carrot sticks.
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (more if you like)
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 19oz can chickpeas, drained
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Chill.

1/4 cup = 1 POINT

POTATO BRUNCH CASSEROLE

  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 pkg. Simply Hash Browns (not frozen, found in the refrigerator section
  • sometimes near the eggs)
  • 8 oz Velveeta Light, thinly sliced
  • 7 oz Butterball Fat-Free Turkey Smoked Sausage (1/2 package)
Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Layer potatoes, smoked sausage, and cheese. Mix egg substitute and milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over hash brown layers. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

9 servings, 3 POINTS each

Monday, March 29, 2010

Planning my groceries

I decided that budget or no budget, this week when I get groceries I am doing it right. I am doing a menu plan for the next two weeks with every meal being on plan. I am taking my list of green foods with me. I am having as many healthy whole foods as I can in this house. Prince Charming is even encouraging me to stay Vegetarian. He knows that I feel so much better that way. See, that's why I love that man, he looks out for me.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I bake them, cool them and mash them)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
Topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Mix sweet potatoes, egg whites, Splenda, pumpkin, vanilla and milk together until smooth. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour sweet potato mixture into the dish. Combine the brown sugar and pecans and sprinkle on the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes.

22 points for the entire recipe

Sunday, March 28, 2010

UPSIDE-DOWN GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • 2 Tbsp light butter
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup packaged shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • Betty Crocker German Chocolate Cake Mix (2.5 grams of fat per serving)
Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the water. Stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Pour evenly into the baking pan. Sprinkle the coconut and pecan evenly over the melted sugar mixture.

In a large bowl use and electric mixer set on high to beat the egg whites for 30 seconds. Beat in the buttermilk, sour cream and applesauce. Add the cake mix and beat on low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Cook pan on a rack.

16 servings, 5 POINTS each

Saturday, March 27, 2010

CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND RICE

  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 (1oz) package dry onion soup mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups (6oz) uncooked instant rice
  • 16 oz chicken breast, skinned and boned and cut into 36 pieces
  • 1 cup sliced canned mushroom, drained
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine in the crockpot the chicken soup, dry onion soup mix, water and uncooked rice. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Gently stir just before serving.

6 servings (1 cup), 3 POINTS each

GI Grocery List

If you're new to the G.I. diet, this is a good starter grocery list to get your pantry and fridge stocked. Some recipes will require additional ingredients, but this is a great base list that you can use to make a lot of great dishes, or just to snack on "as-is":

PRODUCE:
Apples
Citrus fruits like Oranges, Satsumas, and Grapefruit
Berries
Grapes (freeze these for a frozen treat!)
Carrots
Celery
Salad Greens
Tomatoes

CANNED/JAR ITEMS:
Canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Canned Black Beans
Canned Tuna
Spaghetti Sauce (No sugar added)
Broth (Chicken or Veggie)--I recommended buying bouillon cubes
Unsweetened Applesauce

BAKING ITEMS:
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or Spelt Flour
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Agave Nectar (I prefer Light as opposed to Amber), Splenda (or another sugar substitute)
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Vanilla Extract
Almond Meal (Ground Almonds)
Ground Cinnamon

MEATS:
Fish (Salmon and Halibut are highest in Omega-3)
Skinless Chicken
Lean Beef
Low-Fat Tofu and/or Veggie Burgers as a meat substitute
Shrimp
Canned Tuna

ADDED SOURCES OF PROTEIN:
Yogurt (Goat Milk Yogurt or Soy Yogurt if you're lactose intolerant)
Cottage Cheese
Eggs (Egg Substitute or Liquid Eggs if you want less cholesterol)
Skim Milk (Unsweetened Almond or Soy Milk if you're lactose intolerant
Hummus (a middle eastern "dip" made with chickpeas/garbanzo beans, olive oil, and spices)

BREADS/GRAINS/CEREAL:
Whole Wheat Bread (check the label to make sure it's not made with honey or sugars!)
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Sprouted Wheat Bread (Ezekiel)
Plain Oats/Oatmeal (not instant)
Whole Wheat Pasta
Basmati Rice
Brown Rice
All-Bran Cereal or 100% Bran Cereal

GOOD FATS:
Olive Oil
Canola Oil
Non-hydrogenated Margarine (Earth Balance if you're lactose intolerant)
Natural no-sugar added Nut Butter (Peanut is cheaper, but Almond is super tasty!)
Almonds

SEASONINGS/FLAVORINGS:
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt (With Iodine!)
Ground Pepper (Or buy a pepper grinder and peppercorns for more flavor!)
Garlic
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Fat-Free Mayo

BEVERAGES:
Unsweetened Apple Juice
Orange Juice not from concentrate
Water Purification Pitcher or Device for your Sink Faucet (If you don't like tap water, like me! Brita and Pur are two popular manufacturers)
Seltzer Water (mixing this with juice helps satisfy your soda craving!)

Once you've purchased the above, purge your pantry and fridge of the following:
*White Rice
*Cereals that aren't all bran or plain oats
*Muffins (English and otherwise)
*Sugar
*Soft Drinks
*White bread
*Butter
*Artificial Juices/Juice Blends
*Sugary Peanut Butter
*Potatoes
*Fried Frozen Foods
*Honey
*Molasses
*Ice Cream
*Pretzels
*Chips
*Pudding
*Jello
*Popcorn
*Breaded Frozen Foods
*Baked Beans
*Refried Beans
*Bagels
*Regular Mayo
*Cream Cheese
*Donuts
*Cookies
*Crackers
*Rice Noodles
*Macaroni and Cheese
*Rice Milk
*Bacon
*Salami
*Hot Dogs
*Chocolate (other than 70% Cacao-or higher-Dark Chocolate)
*Full-fat Cottage Cheese
*Full-fat Milk
*Watermelon and Canteloupe
*White or All-Purpose Flour

Depressed? Don't be! There are plenty of ways to please your sweeth tooth and your snack cravings. I promise. The best thing about the G.I. Diet is that you eat often, so you won't be hungry. If anything, the G.I. Diet has you eating more than you ever did before.

*I've put an asterisk next to these foods to help you remember to AVOID them

The GI Diet

Explanation of the GI Diet:

Rick Gallop's "The GI Diet" is one version of a glycemic index based diet. He splits food into 3 groups:

Green
(eat freely)

Bakery: 100 per cent stoneground wholemeal bread; wholegrain, high-fibre breads (about 3g of fibre per slice)

Fish: all fresh fish; fish tinned in water; sashimi; smoked fish; squid; mussels; oysters; prawns; lobster; fresh crab; fresh clams

Meat: lean minced beef; back bacon; lean deli ham; tenderloin; chicken, game or turkey breast without skin; veal; venison

Pasta: all unadorned pasta - wholemeal is even better

Grains: barley; basmati rice; brown rice; quinoa, buckwheat; bulgur wheat; wild rice

Fruit and vegetables: all fresh green vegetables; tomatoes; peppers; fresh peas; carrots; cauliflower; mushrooms; new potatoes; most fresh fruit

Dairy: skimmed milk; cottage cheese; non-fat yogurt

Drinks: water; decaffeinated coffee; diet soft drinks (without caffeine); light instant chocolate; weak tea

Also: tinned tomatoes, tomato puree; dried beans; low-fat baked beans; tinned chick peas; tinned butter beans; vinegar; olive oil; low-fat low sugar dressings; olives; hummus


Yellow
(very limited quantities)

Bakery: wholemeal pitta bread; rye bread; sourdough; thin wholemeal pizza crust; wholegrain breads

Fish: salt cod; seafood salads

Meat: sirloin beef; fresh ham; pork shank; roast or casseroled chicken or turkey; turkey bacon; lamb loin chops

Pasta: rice noodles; basil pesto

Fruit and veg: artichokes; corn; beetroot; pumpkin; squash; sweet potatoes; apricots; bananas; mango; pineapple

Drinks: most unsweetened juice; non-alcoholic beer; vegetable juices; diet soft drinks with caffeine

Dairy: one per cent fat milk; low-fat cream cheese; low-fat cheese; low-fat mozzarella; soya cheese

Also: most tinned vegetables; sesame oil; vegetable oil; sunflower oil


Red
(avoid these)

Bakery: bagels; baguette; croissants; crumpets; white bread

Fish: breaded fish or seafood; seafood pate

Meat: sausages; beef on the bone; streaky bacon; spare ribs; duck; goose; offal

Pasta: pasta filled with meat or cheese; pasta sauces with added sugar; cream sauces

Grains: arborio rice; millet; instant rice

Vegetables: broad beans; parsnips; swede; turnips; mashed or baked potatoes; melons, including watermelon; tinned peas

Dairy: cream; full-fat milk; goats' milk; rice milk; most cheese; full-fat yogurt; sour cream

Drinks: all sweetened drinks; coffee; alcohol; sports drinks; tonic water; watermelon juice

Friday, March 26, 2010

PARMESAN CHICKEN CUTLETS

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Italian-style dried bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 4 (4oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 400. In a ziplock bag, combine cheese, bread crumbs and paprika. Shake well. Pour crumb mixture onto a plate. Dip each chicken piece into the crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides. Arrange chicken on a non-stick baking sheet (or spray the pan with cooking spray). Bake until chicken is cooked, about 20-25 minutes.

4 servings, 4 POINTS each

Weekly weigh-in

Well, I have surveyed the damage from my fall from the path to a healthier me and it wasn't as bad as I thought. I am 0.2 lbs heavier than I was exactly one month ago. That is not so bad. I can fix that. Prince Charming likes me new weight loss plan and has agreed to doing this with me, or at least giving me the freedom to cook only meals that suit my plan and to get better food in the house. It will be so much easier to do this if I am not trying to afford two sorts of groceries in the house and cooking yummy food for the family that I am not allowed to eat. I am going to keep trying to get more active with my family and I will be getting the groceries to suit my new plan on April 1st.

I am making a list of the Green Light foods and putting it on a green sheet of paper and sticking it to my fridge. Then, when I go grocery shopping, I will take that paper with me. Smart, huh?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

RASPBERRY OATMEAL BARS

  • 2 cups Reduced Fat Bisquick
  • 1 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (1 stick) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter light margarine (or other
  • light stick margarine)
  • 1 cup Smucker's Low Sugar Raspberry Preserves
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray cooking spray in a 9x9 pan. In a bowl, mix Bisquick, oats and brown sugar. Cut in margarine using a pastry blender or fork until the mixture is crumbly. Press half of the oat mixture into the pan. Spread with the preserves to within 1/4 inch of the sides of the pan. Top with remaining oat mixture. Press gently into fruit. Bake 25-30 minutes or until
lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool before cutting.

24 bars, 3 POINTS each

Gotta Wear Shades

I am feeling better about the brightness of the future of this weight loss venture. One thing that has been a problem is budget. I can't afford to get special foods for me. But this plan that I have come up with is basically a GI diet. And I can make the foods that I cook for everyone be GI diet friendly. I printed off a list of Green Light, Yellow Light and Red light foods from the GI diet plan. I can grocery shopping for the Green light foods and we will be healthy and find.

On this plan I will still concentrate on low fat, whole foods and I will go plant-based as much as I can. But if I don't have a plant based meal available to me, I will still be able to eat on-plan. And in this way, I will be sneaking healthy eating into my family's life as well.

Tomorrow I will weigh in and survey the damage from fall from the wagon. I will let you know how badly I have fallen. I will not let it get me down. It is only a fall, I can get back up and do this again. I know that I can lose weight, I have done it before and it took me a couple of different diets to get it done that time. There is no failure except the failure to get back up and keep going.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

PASTA PRIMAVERA

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 can low-fat Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1 large carrot, cut into match stick slices
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 nonfat Parmesan cheese topping
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti
In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the spaghetti. Cook uncovered over medium heat until the veggies are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in cooked spaghetti. Heat thoroughly.

4 servings, 4 POINTS each

Activity

Well, my diet lately may not have been spot on, but I am continuing to increase my activity. Which is amazing considering my babies have not been letting me get enough sleep. I have been taking the opportunity to get activity when I do homeschool gym with Princess Belle. She enjoys it and it is good for me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HOT COCOA MIX

  • 1 cup fat-free non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
For a Mocha, add 1/4 cup instant espresso or instant coffee granules

For Mexican chocolate, add 1 Tbsp cinnamon

Add 3 tablespoons of mix to 8oz hot water.

9 servings, 1 POINT each

Struggles

As you might have guess, I have been struggling a little. I feel like a boat lost at sea. I just don't know how to get to where I want to go. I keep grasping onto different things to try to keep me afloat but I am just not sure what I am doing. I have insulin issues to keep in mind, I have IBS, difficulty digesting fat, and other stomach issues to keep track of as well, I have budgetary issues to remember and I have to keep in mind that I am a homeschooling, stay at home mom of three kids with limited amounts of time to devote to my weightloss goals. It would be nice to have an easy, inexpensive, family friendly plan that balanced out my blood sugars and didn't irritate my stomach. Prince Charming wants me to write to Dr. Oz to see if he can help me come up with a plan to work for me.

For now I am trying something new. This is the plan I have come up with:

I DO NOT eat:
- refined sugar
- refined flour
- white rice
- highly processed grains
- honey
- fruits with high glycemic values (bananas, watermelon, pineapple, raisins)
- vegetables with high glycemic values (corn, potatoes)
...or any foods containing appreciable amounts of these ingredients
- no man-made fats

I DO eat:
- meat (sometimes, if not vegetarian meal, preferably fish and chicken )
- vegetables (except those mentioned above)
- fruit (except those mentioned above)
- cheese and other dairy products (low fat)
- whole grains that are high in fiber
- Drink a lot of water daily

- get moderate form of exercise
- Fats/Oils (olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, walnut oil, etc.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

AU GRATIN POTATOES

  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 lbs potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Heat oven to 375. Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour. Add milk slowly, stirring. Add potatoes, stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into the baking dish and spread out. Bake
for 1 hour uncovered. Cover and bake until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes more. Change oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes and broil 6 inches from the heating element until the cheese is golden brown (about 1 - 2 minutes). Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

8 servings, 3 POINTS each

Sunday, March 21, 2010

FESTIVE FRUIT SALAD

This is a lighter version of the beloved Ambrosia salad. You have to start 24 hours before you plan to serve this.
  • 2 cups non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 20oz can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
  • 2 10oz cans mandarin oranges
  • 4 large bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
First make yogurt cheese. Put a layer of cheesecloth into a sieve or funnel and put over a bowl. Pour yogurt into the cheesecloth. Let it drain in the refrigerator over night. The creamy mixture that remains is called yogurt cheese. There should be about 1 cup.

In a large bowl, combine the fruits and marshmallows. Add the yogurt cheese and toss to mix. Cover the salad and chill 1 to 3 hours before serving.

12 servings (2/3 cup each), 1.5 POINTS

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SHRIMP SCAMPI

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 20 oz (1 pound, 4 oz) shelled and deveined medium shrimp with tails left on
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until just pink. Ad garlic and cook, still stirring, about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer shrimp to a serving platter. Keep them hot. In the skillet, add the broth, wine, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Increase heat to High. Boil uncovered until sauce is reduced by half. Spoon over shrimp.

4 servings, 5 POINTS each

Add points if you serve it over pasta. The parsley adds something to this dish.

Items on the menu

Deciding on the right diet plan is tough sometimes. My goal is simple, I want to be a healthier, smaller, me. But the path to get me there is sometimes unclear. I sometimes feel like I am sitting in a restaurant, happily enjoying my meal (my diet plan). But as I eat, waiters (successful dieters) are going by with all the other delicious items (diet plans) on the menu and I look up from my choice and look longingly at the other items that are passing me by, thinking, "Oh look that worked for them, I'll have what they're having". Thinking, "This one is good, but that one looks good too. Oh I like that one! and what about that one?" For me, the destination is so much more important than how I got there. I just want to get to the healthier place and my mind whirls with all the options available, I am not sure which way is best for me. You see like food on a menu tastes different to each person depending you personal tastes, diets work differently depending on your metabolism and your lifestyle. I know certain things I want included in my plan, I am just trying to the exact right thing for me, tasting a little of each item until I find the one that works for my metabolism and my life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

  • 2 lbs frozen broccoli
  • 32 oz fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilis (I used Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with
  • Green Pepper and Onion)
  • 10 oz Velveeta Light
Combine broccoli, broth and tomatoes and simmer for 1 hour. Take off heat and add Velveeta cheese cut into chunks. Stir until melted. If you like a smooth consistency, puree in a blender.

Makes 10 cups - 2 POINT per cup (2 cups are 3 points)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

HERB ROASTED GREEN BEANS

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and blanched (plunge into boiling water for
  • 1 minute)
  • 1 tsp olive oil (or use olive oil flavored cooking spray for 0 points)
  • 1/2 packet Good Seasons Dry Italian Dressing mix
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (fat free is 0 points)
Toss green beans with the rest of ingredients. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes or until tender.

0 or 1 point depending on cheese and oil.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ooh I can't wait.

I just got a copy of the new health/wellness book that was just released called The Perfect 10 Diet, by Dr. Michael Aziz. The Perfect 10 Diet balances 10 key hormones that are key to weight loss and improved health (and often reversal of disease). The latest research shows that HORMONES ARE THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS. I am interested in reading this book not because I am interested in changing from a low fat, whole foods, plant based way of eating but I know that hormones play a big roll in my weight loss. I know that in the past, the relationship between my hormones and my diet has kept me from ovulating and I also know that my hormone issues make it more difficult for me to lose weight, so any book that explores this relationship and explains a good way to deal with them is very interesting to me. I am trying to get healthy and any tool that I can add to my arsenal in this battle to get to a healthier me is a welcome addition.

CBS’ The Doctors devoted an entire segment to the book, talking about hormones and weight loss, what to eat and what not to eat and Dr. Aziz also appeared on the program. Dr. Travis Stork opens the segment with;

“Two out of every three Americans are either overweight or obese and the latest research suggests hormones are part of the problem. In fact there’s a new book - called The Perfect 10 Diet - based on some of that research. There are 10 key hormones according to this book when it comes to weight loss, hormones like cortisol, which is one of those that responds to stress. You’ve got thyroid hormones, you’ve got your sex hormones, and of course we all know about insulin, which is such a major player. Insulin is what goes awry when you have diabetes. What happens when you sit down to take a meal? You’ve got to think about what’s going on inside your body.”

That is all I know yet, I just got the book today. When I read it, I will let you know what I think.

BALSAMIC ORANGE GRILLED CHICKEN

  • 4 small chicken breast fillets, skim removed (about 4 oz each)
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 head of butter lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced lengthways (I think regular cucumbers will work
  • fine)
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved (I think that's a small grocery store box of
  • cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • 1 medium avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup WW Italian dressing (use any light Italian dressing)
Combine chicken, orange juice, vinegar and garlic in a bowl. Marinate the chicken for 15 minutes or as time permits. Heat a grill or barbecue. Cook the chicken, brushing often with the Balsamic marinade.

In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado slices. Drizzle with the salad dressing. Slice the cooked chicken and serve over or with the salad.

4 servings, 5 POINTS each

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RATATOUILLIE

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 zucchini squash, sliced
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
Spray a pan with cooking spray. Brown the onion and the garlic (do not let garlic burn!). Add all the veggies and the bay leaf and simmer covered for 2 hours. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

5 servings, 0 POINTS each (if you eat the whole thing, count points for the bread crumbs)

Monday, March 15, 2010

TACO SOUP

  • 1 lb ground round beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
  • 1 16oz can pinto beans
  • 1 16oz can hot chili beans
  • 1 16oz can whole kernel corn
  • 1 16oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 16oz can diced tomatoes and chilis (i.e. Rotel mild)
Brown the beef and the onion together. Drain the grease. Stir everything together in a large pot and heat through.

1 cup = 4 POINTS

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Update

I have to admit the funeral preparations and everything going on has put me off-plan. But the funeral is Tuesday and then after that I am back on plan! Prince Charming has said that if I can find some family friendly recipes, he would consider trying this diet!! I am going to try to at least have some meals that are on-plan that everyone will eat and enjoy. So my next project will be searching for family friendly recipes that are fat free, whole foods, plant based foods. I am excited about that. And when I start homeschooling, I will be including a food preparation part in which I will be teaching her how to cook healthy food that she will enjoy!

The 10 Healthiest Packaged Foods

The 10 Healthiest Packaged Foods
by Jeff Novick

The healthiest foods are the foods that come straight out of the garden and are consumed in their natural form or as simply prepared as possible. These foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, legumes, and intact whole grains and should be the focus of any healthy diet.

Packaged and processed foods are usually loaded with fats, free oils, salt, refined sugars/sweeteners and refined carbohydrates/grains, They are also almost always calorie dense.

However, there are some packaged and processed foods that can be included as part of a healthy diet. And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can actually make following a healthy diet, easier.

Everyone always wants to know what foods I personally eat and/or recommend. So, I went around my house and looked around to see what packaged and processed foods I had in my house and would recommend to you, and why.

Here they are.


1) Frozen Vegetables

Vegetables are the most nutrient dense food there is and including more of them in your diet is a key to improving the nutritional quality of your diet. Unlike many canned vegetables, plain frozen individual vegetables usually have no other added ingredients. Frozen peas and beans may have some added salt, but they usually make my 1:1 sodium/calorie guideline. Frozen vegetables can easily be thawed and including as part of a healthy recipe and/or meal. These are one of the main ingredients in my Basic Recipes

Caution: Be careful of all the new fancy frozen vegetable mixes as many come with added sauces that can be high in salt, sugar and or fat. Look for the plain bags of single individual vegetables of vegetable blends.


2) Frozen Fruits

The same reasoning for frozen vegetables also applies to frozen fruits. Look for the ones that contain just frozen fruit and avoid the ones with added sugars/sweeteners. Frozen berries are one of my favorites to keep on hand. Fresh berries are very seasonal, and they also often mold and rot quickly and easily. Frozen berries do not and are available year round. In addition, you can often find wild berries, including blueberries and strawberries, which are often sweeter and more nutrient dense.


3) Success Quick Cooking Brown Rice

My favorite kind of rice, is basmati brown rice. I love the taste and the aroma, especially when it is cooking. It smells like popcorn popping. However, I do not always have the 40 minutes to prepare the basmati brown rice from scratch. Nor do I always have some cooked up ahead of time. The solution, Success brand Quick Cooking Brown Rice. While I do not usually like to promote a specific brand, this brand and variety has to be the simplest and easiest version of quick cooking brown rice ever invented. Many other versions require the measurement of water and rice (which can be troublesome for some). :) However, with this version all you do is place a pre-measured bag in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes and wah-lah! perfect brown rice.


4) Eden Foods No Salt Added Canned Beans

Next to green leafy veggies, beans may be one of the most nutrient dense foods there is. They are rich in nutrients and fiber, very filling and relatively low in calorie density. The problem for most of us is that most beans can take hours to cook and most canned beans are extremely high in sodium. So, for those in a hurry, the solution is Eden Foods No Salt Added Canned Beans. There are about 12 varieties of beans available, including Kidney, Red, Black, Garbanzo, Pinto, Adzuki, etc and not only are they available online, and in health food stores, I find most local grocery stores are now carrying them also. Just open a can and add them to your favorite dish, recipe or meal. These are one of the main ingredients in my Basic Recipes. Again, while I do not like to promote a specific brand, Eden Foods canned beans are clearly the best out there and they are also the only canned bean that is BPA free.


5) POMI Shelf Stable Tomato Products

Tomatoes make a great base for many dressings, sauces, soups and meals (i.e., stews, chili's, etc). However, good fresh tomatoes are not always available year round and some of the one that are available in the off-season are literally tasteless. In addition, most canned tomato products are extremely high in sodium and contain BPA. However, POMI brand tomato products are salt free, shelf stable and BPA fre. While these tomato product could never substitute for a fresh "in season" tomato on a salad, they can help make excellent soups, sauces, and meals when fresh tomatoes are out of season or when you are in a pinch. These are one of the main ingredients in my Basic Recipes


6) Intact Whole Grains (Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, etc)

Whole grains that are consumed in their "intact" form are low in calorie density, high in satiety, nutrient rich and shelf stable. They are easy to cook (just add water) and can be the base of many healthy meals and dishes. They also make great additions to soups and salads. Oatmeal, buckwheat, and barley all make a great breakfast and a great way to start the day. Brown rice, cracked wheat, quinoa, and/or millet mixed with vegetables make a great meal, side dish and or salad.


7) Whole Grain Pasta

The problem with many whole grain processed products (like bread, dry cereals, bagels and crackers) is that even though they are whole grain, they are still calorie dense. The only exception is whole grain pasta. The reason is, when you cook whole grain pasta, it absorbs some of the water it is cooked in, which is absorbed into the structure of the pasta, lowering its calorie density. Foods with high water content, are lower in calorie density and generally higher in satiety.

So, unlike most processed whole grains, which have a calorie density of 1200-1500 calories per pound, the calorie density of most cooked whole grain pasta is the same as most intact whole grains and starchy vegetables, which is around 500-600 calories per pound. It is also very quick and easy to cook and can be ready in around 10 minutes. Mix in some fresh or frozen vegetables, some POMI no salt added tomatoes and some fresh spices and you have a healthy, nutritious and filling meal.


8 ) Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is natures candy. Unlike fresh fruit, it is shelf stable and will not spoil easily. Adding small amounts of dried fruit to dishes can add both nutrition and sweetness. A few raisins or dates can really sweeten up a bowl of fruit and they also go great in a bowl of whole grain cereal like oatmeal or as part of a dessert like baked apples. In addition, they make great additions by adding a little sweetness to a large vegetables salad, or even some cooked dishes like stews and rice.

However, due their high calorie density, go easy on them. Dried fruit is around 1200 calorie per pound where is most fresh fruit is under 300 calories per pound

Grapes 300 cal/lbs
Raisins 1357 cal/lb

Plumes 200 cal/lb
Prunes 1100 cal/lb


9) Unsalted Raw Nuts/Seeds and Nut/Seed Butter

Raw nuts and seeds, and the "butters" made from them, are rich in nutrients especially minerals. A few of them, like walnuts and flax seeds are also excellent sources of the omega 3 essential fat. They are also shelf stable and will not spoil easily. They can add creaminess and texture to some home made dressings and dips/spreads and/or soups. I sometimes make a salad dressing that is made from a little tahini (sesame seed butter)mixed with lemon and water. I also add a small amount of tahini to blended garbanzo beans to add some texture to my homemade hummus.

However, due to their extremely high calorie density, go very easy on them especially if weight is an issue for you. I recommend consuming no more than 1-2 oz a day at most. If you are struggling with your weight, I recommend either eliminating them or limiting them even more, to no more than 1 oz 2-5x a week. And, when you do use them, make sure you mix them with something low in calorie density, like vegetables or fruits.


10) Salt Free Spices/Seasonings/Herbs

As you decrease the amount of salt, sugar and oil in your diet, you will begin to appreciate the wonderful natural flavors of food. However, some people still like to add a little "spice" to their life. Fortunately, there are many salt-free spices, seasonings and blends available. Probably the most popular one is Mrs. Dash, which has many varieties available. In addition, for those of you who are not a chef and not familiar with the different flavor combination's of spices, you can now buy many salt free blends that can help. There are pre-mixed blends of salt-free Italian, Mexican, Indian, Southern and many other blends available.

There you go. My favorite 10 packaged staple foods that are not only good for you and can be included as part of a healthy diet. And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can actually make following a healthy diet, easier.

Enjoy!

In Health
Jeff


PS, shortly after writing the original version of this article, I saw a discussion of dehydrated foods. I would now include these in my list as that can be a valuable addition to keep around. However, I want to keep my list at 10 :) Maybe I will add it into the Dried Fruit point and change it to Dried and dehydrated fruits, vegetables and other foods.

SPAGHETTI SALAD

  • 8oz package of thin spaghetti, cooked (about 4 cups)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing
Combine all ingredients and chill.

5 servings, 4 POINTS each

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SUMMER SQUASH CASSEROLE

  • 2 lbs squash (yellow or zucchini), sliced
  • 2/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute (or 6 egg whites)
  • 1 4oz jar diced pimientos, drained
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350. Steam veggies covered for 10 minutes (or I'll bet you could nuke them in the microwave on High for 5 minutes). Combine veggies, cheese and next 4 ingredients. Spray a 2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Spoon veggies into the casserole. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes.

4 servings (1 cup), 2 POINTS each

Friday, March 12, 2010

BROCCOLI QUICHE

  • 6 oz cooked chicken (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups (one 10oz package) chopped broccoli, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup part-skim Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute (or 6 egg whites)
  • 6 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp margarine, melted
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Heat oven to 350. Spray a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Put half of chicken and broccoli into the pie plate. Combine the rest of the ingredients and puree in a food processor. Pour into the pie plate. Bake 30 to 45 minutes until set.

4 servings, 3 POINTS each

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trying my best

Well, I am here and trying my best under the circumtances. I am doing my best with the understanding that I will go back to doing as perfectly as I can after the funeral on Tuesday.

I do have to note that I am enjoying having the leftover crockpot oatmeal in the fridge. It has been really convenient. I also like using the leftover soup that I have previously frozen. It is great to have a quick grab and go meal.

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN AND COUSCOUS

  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked couscous
  • 1 large sweet red pepper cut into 1 inch pieces (I cut strips)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (approximately 2 large)
  • 1 /2 tsp garlic powder
  • 12 oz cooked chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil or oregano
Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the couscous. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

While couscous cooks, combine red pepper and green onions in a bow. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on High for 4 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender. Drain and sprinkle with garlic powder.

Fluff couscous with a fork. Add couscous, chicken, vinegar and basil to the cooked vegetables. Toss well. Cover with the plastic wrap and microwave on High for 1 - 2 minutes or until heated. Toss again and serve immediately.

5 servings, 5 POINTS each

The vinegar sounds strange, but it gives a nice Middle Eastern tang to the dish. Otherwise it would be pretty bland.

If you aren't familiar with couscous, it's a tiny pasta from the Middle East that cooks up very quickly like instant rice. Be sure to add enough liquid to cause it to swell up to its full size.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bad Bad Day

I had a bad day today. My family has had a loss (go over to my other blog to read about it in detail. The result is that I am not going to be doing well on my diet right now. I will get back to it, but right now, I am eating what is available and I am comfort eating.

I will share that I think Prince Charming may be willing to give this plan a trial run!!! He mentioned it as a joke a few minutes ago but that would be fabulous.

SCALLOPS EXCEPTIONAL

  • 12 oz scallops
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp basil
  • 1 box frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 8 oz Velveeta Light
  • 1/4 cup white wine
Spray pan lightly with cooking spray. Saute green pepper, broccoli, basil and onion in butter. Add scallops and continue cooking until scallops are cooked (they turn opaque after a couple of minutes - depends on their size - cut one open to test). Add the Velveeta and stir until the cheese is melted. Use the wine to thin the sauce and simmer until just warm. Serve over rice (add points for your rice).

6 servings, 3 POINTS each

4 servings, 4.5 POINTS each

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ooops

Well I am ashamed to say, I had a bad day today. Well a bad day is probably the wrong word for it. I had a weak moment at supper. You see, every day I cook my healthy supper and another regular supper for my family and normally it doesn't bother me, but today, it did. There supper looked YUMMY. I REALLY wanted it. And while I was eating my healthy supper, I still wanted one piece of theirs. And I had one piece. I feel bad but it is my first real cheat since I started this and I did go right back on plan again. I just wish I was strong enough to never give in to temptation ever.

I made a crockpot oatmeal for breakfast. I am still playing with the results and I will fill you in when I get it tweaked just right. I made a pot of fiesta soup for my lunch and I froze the leftovers to have for future quick meals.

UPDATE: Okay . . . truth? I feel really bad that I cheated. I don't know why I am not strong enough to pass that stuff up sometimes. So now I am sitting here stressed, depressed and beating myself up that I went and cheated on this diet. There is no reason. I am not hungry. This diet has great yummy food. I have just been stressed and their food looked good, and I couldn't pass it up. Sigh.

DELUXE MEATLOAF

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten (or 6 egg whites)
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 16oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained and mashed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 2 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup water
In a large bowl combine the eggs, 1 cup ketchup, beans, bread crumbs, onion, celery, Worcestershire sauce, lemon-pepper seasoning and seasoned salt. Crumble beef over the mixture and mix in well. Shape into two loaves. Place in a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with non-stick cooking spray. Combine the remaining ketchup with the water and pour over the loaves. Bake uncovered at 325 for 70 minutes.

12 servings, 6 POINTS each

Monday, March 8, 2010

kind of a rough day

I had a bit of a rough day today. There was a lot of stress. I had my typical thoughts of "I'm stressed so I feel hungry. I want some junk food now". I am glad that even though I thought that, I didn't go get junk. I did eat, but I got some low fat, whole foods, plant based leftovers. I was pretty good under the circumstances.

For supper, I was feeling and tired stressed and I just had some oatmeal with fruit. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.
COCOA KRISPY BARS
  • 1 Tbsp. light margarine
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate - 1 square
  • 1 (7oz) jar marshmallow crème
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies (not the cocoa ones, the regular ones) (11.5 pt)
Spray a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. Melt the margarine and chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the marshmallow crème, cocoa, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the cereal, stirring until well-coated. Spread the mixture in the pan, pressing down evenly. Let cool 10 minutes and cut into 24 squares.

24 servings, 1.5 points each

Or the following way revised it to lower the points:



COCOA KRISPIE BARS REVISED
  • 1 Tbsp light margarine 2pt
  • 1 square (little less than an ounce) bakers chocolate 3pt
  • 1.5 cups marshmallow creme 9pt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla 0pt
  • 1 pkg Swiss Miss light hot cocoa 1pt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies 11.5
Spray a 13X9 inch pan with cooking spray. Melt margarine and Bakers chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat. Add other ingredients except the cereal and stir until smooth. Add cereal and stir until well coated. Spread into the pan pressing down evenly (covering the mixture with saran wrap makes this easier. Let cool 10 minutes and cut into 24 pieces. If you wait longer it gets hard to cut.

24 servings, 1 POINT each

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Sum up

I had a fun day of looking for recipes to suit my eating plan and spending the day with my girls.

For supper I just threw some things in a pot: barley, lentils, brown rice, fava beans, tomatoes, spinach, jalapeno peppers and corn and some seasoning. It was really yummy and I LOVE the texture of it.

I look forward to experimenting with some of my new recipes finds and sharing them with you

PINEAPPLE RIGHT SIDE UP CAKE

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drain and reserve juice
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters) or 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9" square pan with cooking spray. Stir together the applesauce, reserved pineapple juice, milk, egg substitute, and vanilla. Combine flour, white sugar and baking powder. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spread batter in the pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with crushed pineapple. Sprinkle brown sugar over the pineapple. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick tests clean. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

12 servings, 2 POINTS each

Just the cake without the pineapple and topping might make a nice light cake to use for a strawberry shortcake. Try flavoring it with almond extract instead of vanilla.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Two PIMIENTO CHEESE recipes

PIMIENTO CHEESE #1
  • 8 oz. ff Cream Cheese
  • 8 oz. ff grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz. pimentos w/ juice
  • 4 T. ff mayonnaise
  • 1 packet sweet & low
Mix together. Makes 8 Sandwiches.

8 servings, 1.5 POINT each (Add points for bread.)

PIMIENTO CHEESE #2
  • 1 oz low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. pimientos
  • 2-3 drops hot sauce
  • 1 tsp skim milk
Mix well. 3 points for whole batch.

new combinations

One thing I have been enjoying is trying out different combinations of foods to see what I like. I made a soup I liked last week and I have been playing with it ever since, adding things to it, subtracting things each time it comes out yummy and different.

Last night was no different. I put in 1 can of diced tomatoes, 4 - 5 cups of veggie broth, 1/2 cup lentils, 1/2 cup barley, 1 cup corn, 1 can chickpeas, mushrooms, a little frozen spinach, bay leaves and seasonings (I think hot peppers would be great in this too). And I just let it simmer away for about 1 hour. It was really good. And the best part was I had two bowls for supper and was satisfied all evening. I didn't eat anything else until breakfast this morning. I love the combination of lentils and barley. I am going to experiment with this combination maybe trying Lentil Tacos with this combination. It is thick today, much like a casserole and there is lots left. I may have it with a baked potato for supper tonight.

Another thought I had was that I could make lentil tacos for me one night and make regular taco filling for my family. It would be an easy supper to satisfy everyone.

Friday, March 5, 2010

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Spoon applesauce into a fine sieve over a bowl and let drain for 15 minutes. Discard liquid. Scrape drained applesauce into a large bowl. Add sugar and butter and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in vanilla and egg. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until well-blended. Fold in chips. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking
spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pan 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.

3 dozen cookies, Serving size: 1 cookie
1 POINT each

Weekly weigh-in

I had a MUCH better weigh-in this week. Last week was the only week I didn't lose and I am going to chalk it up to Water Retention and not stress about it. I am down 2.2 lbs this week. Other than last week, I am averaging a loss of about 2 lbs a week. I like that. I mean, it doesn't seem like much, but when you think about the big picture, I could lose 100 lbs in one year!!! (not that I intend to lose that much, but you get the idea).

My plan for this coming week is to incorporate more activity. I have saved a few exercise shows on the DVR and I will be trying some of them out. I like the idea of the Yoga relaxation one and there is a Belly Dancing one and also a strengthening one as well as some calorie burning ones. So it should be fun to try them out to see what I think of them.

I really enjoyed the lentil stew yesterday, although I would like to try it with Basmati rice instead of Brown rice. I just can't seem to get Brown rice cooked enough. Hmmm . . . I will continue to work on it though. I am thinking of coming up with something with Barley for supper tonight.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sigh

I get so frustrated with my body. I hate that my very many health issues keep playing havoc with my diet plans. I am going to have to go back to just eating a Low Fat, Plant Based, Whole foods diet, like I was. In the last few days that I have been combining this eating plan with Weight Watchers, I have had the same problem every day. My blood sugar keeps dropping way too low and I can't keep it up. I am getting cold sweats, shakes and feeling awful. I can eat the way I want to, I just can't do it counting Weight Watchers Points.

The truth is, I based my eating plan on The Ornish Diet and The McDougall Diet and both of these Doctors say that you eat freely of the foods allowed and you lose weight. So that is what I am going to do. I am not going to continue to try to combine that eating plan with Weight Watchers.

Today for supper I made wonderful Casserole. But even eating one serving for my supper with a baked potato my blood sugar still dropped. And after my healthy lunch, it also dropped. I am eating all my points and I can't keep my sugar up. I can't afford the points to increase my protein which is what I need to do to level out my blood sugar. And this has happened every day. So, I am going back to simply doing a combination of Dr. Ornish/Dr. McDougall plan.:

Lentil One-Pot Casserole

POINTS: 6
Servings: 4

Ingredients
6 3/4 oz dry lentils, about 1 cup, rinsed
1/2 cup(s) uncooked brown rice
2 cup(s) carrot(s), shredded
3 cup(s) water
1 packet(s) onion soup mix, 5.5 Tbsp, reduced-sodium preferred
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
Instructions

* Rinse lentils.

* Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes. Yields 1 cup per serving.

About the Dr. Ornish Diet

Ornish Diet

The Ornish Diet was developed by Nathan Pritkin and Dean Ornish. In a study released in the 1990s, Ornish demonstrated how following the Ornish Diet brought about a slight but significant reversal of heart disease in a small group of patients.

The Ornish Diet involves following a low-fat food regimen. Only ten percent of the energy comes from fat. Only vegetarian food is allowed. The diet program involves exercise, meditation and counseling as an integral part.

Dr. Ornish divides food into three segments – foods to avoid altogether, foods to eat in moderation and foods to eat freely.

Foods to avoid

* Meat of all kinds
* Oil and oil containing foods
* Nuts and seeds
* Olives
* Avocados
* Sugar and simple sugar foods like honey
* High fat dairy products
* Alcohol
* Any commercial food with more than 2 gms of fat per serving

Foods to eat in moderation

* Nonfat dairy products — skim milk, nonfat cheeses, nonfat yogurt, nonfat sour cream, and egg whites
* Any commercially prepared foods with less than 2 gms of fat per serving.

Foods to eat freely

These foods can be eaten whenever you are hungry until you are full.

* Fruits
* Grains
* Vegetables
* Beans and legumes

Dr. Ornish says his diet program is more than just about food. He recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily or 1 hour three days a week. He also recommends some kind of stress management technique, like meditation, yoga, martial arts, massage etc.

People who have followed Ornish Diet swear by it. They say it has succeeded in maintaining their health over a long period of time.

BANANA SPLIT CAKE

  • 16 1/2 average graham crackers (8 full graham crackers and 1/2 of another)
  • 2 Tbsp and 2 tsp Shedds County Crock light margarine
  • 1 small package Jell-O fat free sugar free instant vanilla pudding with 2 cups
  • of skim milk
  • 2 cups Del Monte crushed pineapple in its own juice (drained)
  • 2 average bananas
  • 2 cups Cool Whip Free
Crush 16 1/2 squares of graham crackers. Set aside 1/4 cup for later use. Mix crumbs with 2 Tbsp and 2 tsp of light margarine (melted). Press this mixture into an 11 X 7 pan. Mix sugar free pudding with the 2 cups of skim milk according to the package directions. Spread pudding layer over the crumb mixture layer. Spread 2 cups of drained crushed pineapple over the pudding layer. Slice 2 bananas and layer them over the pineapple. Cover with 2 cups Cool Whip. Sprinkle top with remaining graham cracker crumbs (1/4 cup) and chill in the refrigerator.

8 servings, 4 POINTS each

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday's Wonderings

It is going very well. I am enjoying the idea of inventing new soups every day. I pick out random veggies and experimenting with different combinations. I baked some potatoes again today. I like having them on hand for quick starts to my meals. I intend to cut them up and make oven baked fat free home fries for my breakfast tomorrow. Add some veggies on the side and it should be a yummy breakfast.

Another thing I am enjoying is frozen spinach. I throw some in my soups and it ups the nutrition value and gives much needed iron and it is yummy besides.

I want to cook some brown rice and have that ready in advance too, but I find it hard to get it so that it doesn't have a bite in the middle. I am working on it, I guess.

PUMPKIN PIE WONTONS

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 16 packaged wonton wrappers
  • cinnamon & sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 400'. Mix pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar & pumpkin pie space in medium bowl. Place a wonton wrapper on flat surface. Spoon 1 Tbsp of filling into center. Moisten edges of wonton with water & fold in half to form a triangle. Press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining wontons. Arrange prepared wontons on an ungreased baking sheet. Lightly coat wontons w/ non stick cooking spray & sprinkle them with sugar & cinnamon. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Turn over and bake another 2 minutes.

16 servings, 1 POINT each

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day Two

I am on two days of counting points while also eating low fat, plant based, whole foods. I am never hungry and I do love making big pots of low points vegetarian soups and snacking on them whenever I want to. I think the points keep me honest and make me more aware of how much I am eating. On a sidenote; I also have to say that I do not miss meat at all. I find beans and mushrooms more than make up for any meat cravings I may feel.

Today I made another quick soup very similar to yesterdays, but I threw in some spinach as well and then ate it for supper and lunch. I will be making myself a snack of fruit and oatmeal. And even then I have two points left if I need them.

PUMPKIN BUTTER

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash salt
Cook pumpkin until tender. Drain off liquid & mash. Add the rest of ingredients. Cook over med. heat until desired consistency. Can and seal according to manufacturers instruction or store in refrigerator.

1 Tablespoon = 0 points

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thoughts

So I decided that I am going to eat the whole foods, low fat, plant based diet, but I am going to do so tracking my weight watchers points so I can know how much I am eating. At least for now. Today I had one point left at the end of the day.

Today for supper I had long grain rice, mushrooms, and these really great frozen veggies that have asparagus and peppers in it. It was yummy.

I have been making myself oatmeal every day as well. I have it with fruit in it while it cooks and I top it with applesauce. It is really good and feels like a treat, but it stays in my system a long time.

EASY FAT-FREE FROSTING

  • 1pkg. of ff/sugarfree pudding, any flavor
  • 1 1/2 cups cold skim milk
  • 1 envelope Dream Whip topping mix
Beat the milk, whipped topping mix and pudding on a low speed until blended and then on high for 4-6 minutes or until soft peaks form. Makes about 3 cups. Enough to frost a 13x9 cake. Refrigerate.

10 points for the whole batch

**NOTE TO MY FRIENDS**
Come on in for a nice cup of coffee and a chat about my weight loss journey as well as all the healthy recipes I have found, including WW points and/or nutritional information if available. I am eating a vegetarian diet and concentrating on getting healthy and hopefully weight loss will follow. Thank to all my readers for their ongoing support.