Saturday, 31 March 2012
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
I’m usually not a fan of health fads. But I have kept up with one particular trend…
And not just the green smoothie concept [although those are pretty great]. I usually add a scoop of wheat grass to my smoothie, which most people would say is a waste of money.
What is wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is derived from the wheat plant and contains iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C and E (although depending on the type of grass purchased, these may not be present in large quantities).
What are its proposed benefits?
Assists in red blood cell formation, boosts the immune system, kills pathogenic bacteria, treats various diseases, and detoxifies the body.
What does the research say?
There have not been any credible or large scale studies conducted to substantiate the health claims of wheat grass.
Is it safe?
Generally safe to consume; however, pregnant women or anyone who is immune compromised should avoid use as it is considered a raw product and may be contaminated with bacteria/mold.
And the bottom line?
- If you’re looking for scientific evidence that wheatgrass = magic juice of life, you’ll be disappointed. However, some aspects of holistic nutrition are beneficial despite lacking substantial evidence.
- Wheatgrass contains a variety of nutrients that are beneficial for the body, but I take use it for the micronutrient properties because the kind I buy doesn’t contain them in significant quantities. I also appreciate the phytonutrients (no DRI/RDAs for these).
- A diet high in fruits and vegetables can provide adequate phytonutrients and antioxidants. Wheatgrass is not a substitute for good nutrition.
- Wheatgrass may be beneficial as a dietary supplement, meaning it may be a beneficial way to help meet nutrient needs. The absorption of specific nutrients from wheatgrass is unknown.
Am I wasting my money? Maybe according to the research, but I honestly note a difference in how I feel when taking wheatgrass, and that’s something I feel is worth the extra cash. While I eat a ton of vegetables, I’ve also found that drinking wheatgrass helps my immune system (exposed to 60 billion germs working at a children’s hospital).
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend (yes, I know it’s Wednesday. I’m just looking ahead…). Hopefully, I’ll be eating local food, running, and enjoying the spring weather as much as possible.
Speaking of local food, I’ve was just at Marie Catrib’s, a restaurant in Grand Rapids that uses local produce and is delicious (although a bit pricey); at any rate, it’s a nice treat.
This salad was fantastic. I forgot how amazing goat cheese tastes. Especially when combined with pesto. This dish might be recreated in the near future.
What are your thoughts on wheatgrass?
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
An unseasonably warm 80 degree day today…pretty fantastic if you ask me. I’m officially done with [pseudo] winter. If it’s going to be summer weather, the warmer temps better stay. Can’t wait to spend more time here…
This weekend Dave and I attempted to duplicate the Mediterranean veggie sandwich made by a certain bread company. I have to admit that he did most of the work, baking bread and blending pesto. I chopped veggies…and ate.
1] Things started with homemade tomato basil bread…
2] And lots of chopped veggies: red onion, tomato, and cucumbers.
3] Basil pesto: the pesto was amazing. Incredibly excited for more farmers’ market fresh basil.
4] Final product: it didn’t taste exactly like Panera’s version; I actually thought it was much fresher (there’s also a sprinkling of feta cheese in there).
My sister is also here on her last spring break ever. We are going to eat vegetarian food and ice cream (it all balances out, right? right??) and probably yoga. I’ve been doing this yoga podcast almost every morning before work, and it’s pretty nice to start out the day in a de-stressed fashion.
Do you have a famous dish that you’ve tried to recreate on your own? Success or not?
ps. wheatgrass post is still forthcoming. and so is a new little series i’m pretty excited about…
Sunday, 11 March 2012
It's the same one I attended a few weeks go for a weekend, but this is a 6-week online version. I think the reinforcement will be nice. Anyone want to join me? :)
- I've been doing the light therapy for about 3 months--that is, 20 minutes every morning in front of a bright light. It is suppose to help with mood and sleep regulation. During vacation, I didn't do it, of course. I suppose I could have brought along the bright light but that seemed a bit much. By the end of the vacation I was waking up at 5 am instead of my planned 7 am. I will start up the light therapy now that I have returned, every morning at 7 am like I did before. But I have mixed feelings about it. I wonder what my body would like to do. If it wants to wake up at 5 am, I can do some yoga (as I have been the last few days), read (I'm usually too tired at night to get very far in my reading), and work. Then take a nap later on if I need it. I wonder if that's so bad. I suppose I can just experiment. The experiment I want to do right now is see if the light therapy works at this time of year. This is the time of year when I wake up really early. This is because the length of day is increasing rapidly and it really affects me! I'm curious if the light therapy helps me sleep longer. But after doing that experiment, I might try the other one of just letting my body choose when it wants to sleep and wake up. Without drugs like caffeine and alcohol, I can see what my natural pattern really is. Which brings me to my next point.
- After I became a nutritarian and learned what to eat and how to do it, I started feeling better without the coffee and alcohol and sugar, so eventually stopped using those drugs. I felt more at peace without them, but I also was more in touch with the raw emotions: wo, I'm cranky, groggy, lonely, sad, happy (that one was okay!). I'm at a meeting where everyone else is hyped up on sugar and caffeine and I'm just here with a little morning grogginess (which, admittedly is peaceful). In the past, I could wash my feelings away with my morning cup of coffee or an evening glass of wine or beer, or a donut at a meeting. Just feeling the dullness or emotions of no drugs, well, it is different. That took some getting used to. Meditation is helping me see that that is a good thing. I'm more in touch with my feelings than I have been in years. I've been resisting this but I guess I will embrace them. Fun journey ahead.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
- It's okay to feel sad, lonely, angry, whatever you feel. I think over the years I felt those were "bad" thoughts and tried to avoid them.
- You don't have to become a better person or accomplish some goal(s) (such as losing weight, improving your health and fitness) in order to be happy. Some of my best role models for happiness live in very unhealthy bodies. This was was extremely liberating for me. As important, accomplishing your goals does not necessarily make you happy.
- the meditation books tell me to face my fears. I realized one of them is leaving the healthy diet and losing my health again. The reason for this fear is that I would like to be a health coach---so I have to be a good example, and that makes me fear I'll blow it. I explored this fear and realized it's okay if it happens, because of point #2 above. I can still be happy. I'll just do something else. Then the fear loses a lot of power.
- Finally, I had a very important realization about work and my goals for the future. I'm not ready to talk about this on my blog but it explains a lot about my recent malaise. Just knowing this makes me happier. I can make a plan now.
- and today, from the Fuhrman forums, someone noted that a lot of people seem to struggle and this person asked if there are examples of people who love eating this way and find it easy. That gave me a nice perspective jolt. I do love eating this way and I enjoy all the food prep and have it down pat. In truth, I can't imagine eating any other way (making my fear in #3 start to seem more silly). On vacation I saw more up-close what most people eat---the free breakfasts and "fresh-baked" cookies in the hotel, the food in the gas stations and fast food joints. It was so fake-looking and ugly. And it's harmful effects are evident in the people eating it.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
It may be slightly cliché, but usually I find myself eating a giant salad around dinner time, not just because it’s easy and fast to prepare, but because it’s a really good chance to sneak in some veggies. You may think that eating vegetables comes naturally to a dietitian, but I definitely have to be intentional about working them into my meals.
And salads can certainly be more refined than the icky iceberg lettuce and dried out carrot shreds that compose most packaged mixes. I have found this spiralizer super helpful in making my salads a little more creative. The above salad contains:
- spiralized cucumber
- spiralized sweet potato (roasted in olive oil and dijon mustard at 400 for 15-20 minutes)
- candied almonds (slice almonds and heat in a frying pan with a slight sprinkling of sugar)
- feta cheese
- spring mix
Tahini is a nutrient packed and makes a great salad topper. I like it mixed with a little balsamic vinegar or BBQ sauce (weird, I know but so good). I also will often top my salads with hummus. I find that eating so many green things at once is both energizing (hate eating heavy meals and then going to bed a couple hours later) and definitely filling.
If you find that salads just don’t fill you up, add some extra protein in the form of nuts, seeds, cheese, or an egg.
Also a new soup recipe for you (adapted from here).
Black Bean and Quinoa Soup
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can tomatoes
- 3-4 cups homemade vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot, add diced onion and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until onions are just starting to brown. Add minced garlic, chili powder, and fresh-ground black pepper and saute 1-2 minutes more or until spices are becoming fragrant. Add cubed sweet potatoes, black beans, and stock. Simmer on low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked.
And wouldn’t you figure…after a crazy weekend of snow traveling and skiing, it was 60 degrees today, and I ran a lovely 4 miles outside in the sunshine in shorts. Crazy winter, but I’m not complaining.
Fave ways to eat vegetables??
p.s. post on wheat grass in the works…
Sunday, 4 March 2012
I got really good at swapping between the paddles. It was a very enjoyable trip with different scenery and lots of big birds to view. We are entering the dry season as you can see by these mangrove trees:
This is the first time I've seen snails in a long time:
I thought for sure this was a crocodile:
It was bigger than any gator I've seen--saw it all the way from across the lake, and there was supposed to be a croc in this lake. But after reading up on them, I can't tell from the picture.
Okay, that had nothing to do with nutritarian eating. That was an aside. This does though: The hotspot of this town (Florida City) is the Robert is Here fruit stand. And he's still there after 52 years, ringing up your order and finding you the best ripe produce. They have live music on weekends, and crowds all the time. It is the place to go! Granted, most people go for the milkshakes, but I'm here to tell you that the mangoes taste as good. I have never had better mangoes in my life, except for the last time I was here. These are Kent mangoes. They slice them up for you to eat on the spot. Here I am eating around the seed:
Of course, there is lots of other produce, so I'm enjoying great salads, surprise. Here's the festive place from the outside:
I've got two more days to enjoy the mangos and other produce before heading up north again.
Friday, 2 March 2012
- manatees are nutritarians. They weight about 1000 lbs and eat about 100 lbs of salad (sea grass) per day. From that perspective, my few lbs a day doesn't seem like so much!
- I tried some prepared foods from Whole Foods, and a fun raw/vegan place. Amazingly, these were completely nutritarian, with no salt, oil, or refined sweeteners. One of them was very good (from the raw/vegan place): raw carrot cake. It wasn't too sweet or big, and was a nice treat. The others were some raw goodies that I didn't think were very good, definitely not worth the calories. All of them were combinations of fruit, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, some oats in one of them. I also checked out the Whole Foods hot and cold bars. It's great to see so much "health starts here" foods available. These probably have more salt than I would like, but they have no oil. I think they are fine for occasional eating--and great convenience food on the road. The funny thing is, my salads are better than all these things! I guess there's nothing like high-quality fresh produce. I seem to prefer fresh ripe fruit to dried fruit, so that explains why the raw treats are usually a disappointment for me. Except for the carrot cake. I'm glad I had that treat.
- Today I took some medications! I hurt my back taking the kayak off the car. It was full of water and started tipping, and this was all unexpected and my lurch to right the kayak wrenched my back a bit. I had plans for kayaking and snorkeling. I went kayaking first and felt okay until I got out of the kayak and loaded it back on the car. Then I decided to take some ibuprofen. What was interesting to me was realizing I don't think I've taken this in 5 years or more! Before becoming a nutritarian I took it several times a week because of my hip pain--that disappeared with healthy eating. Sure makes me appreciate the benefits of healthy eating! Snorkeling was fun. I will rest more tomorrow--just some easy walks, though perhaps I will kayak. Fortunately it doesn't hurt when I'm just sitting or lying around. Hopefully it will get better in a few days....
- I have fun trying out the local produce and seeing how it compares to Wisconsin. Of course Florida wins on length of season. I had sweet cabbage and bitter cabbage here. My Wisconsin locally grown organic cabbage is almost always sweet and yummy. So Wisconsin wins on that. Kale is good here, but at home I get it fresh from my garden and it's more tender, so that wins. Wisconsin totally wins on carrots and sweet corn. Florida totally on the oranges and grapefruit. ha. and mangos. Today I had a luscious mango from my favorite fruit/produce stand: Robert is Here. It was from South America since they are not in season here, but it was still probably the best I've ever had. Okay, Florida wins on all fruit, except blueberries. California wins on strawberries, though.
Nutritairan on vacation:
I like snorkeling shots because I look funny: