Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Healthy Obsessions

French Toast!


Yeah, it's healthy, when done correctly.

Firstly, I use my spray bottle to lightly grease the pan. You could use real butter as well, but keep it to a teaspoon to keep it light and let it spread over the pan at a very low heat.

As for the batter, here's the secret. I use egg substitute (you can use egg white, too, all you "it's fake eggs with chemicals!" whiners) and non-dairy milk like Almond breeze. I add a teaspoon of real vanilla, and a touch of sea salt. Then, I paint it on my bread of choice with a basting brush. Voila. French Toast, at a fraction of the usual calorie count using light ingredients, all natural, or a combination.

Ooh la la!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ubiquitous Must Have Item #10

Unsweetened Almond or Soy milk.

This stuff, especially the almond, is a kind is magic! The fat in the soy or almond gives you the unctuous taste of the fat, the health benefits are a plus and the light/unsweetened varieties are low calorie. I use it as creamer for my coffee, but this stuff is great as a swap for creamer in sauces, milk in scrambled eggs, and a nifty use in one of my healthy obsessions.

The boxed kind are also shelf-stable until you open them, so you don't have to worry about spoilage the moment you buy it. You can get the one in the dairy case, but I tend to prefer the box kind.

I learned about it from hungrygirl.com as she uses it in a ton of her recipes. I wasn't really amazed with it, it was also a pain to find at the time.

But, I became fond of it when I found it at Trader Joes (Trader Joes!) and gave up fat free half & half. The thing with FF Half & Half was I never used enough of it, and it would spoil. With the almond milk, the sheer volume difference in servings makes me love it. I was using 2-3 40-cal servings (2 tablespoons) of FF half & half everyday; the unsweetened almond breeze has the same amount of calories for a whole cup, and I don't use a cup's worth in day. I save money, calories, and get additional nutrients. That's why this is a must have for me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Healthy Obsessions


I'm really digging tea & tea infusers lately. For a while, I just thought of tea as the beverage of the sick, the really mellow people, and of hippies. So, either tea has become awesome, or I've become a mellow, sick hippy. Either way, I'm kind of obsessed with teavana. Their tea is pricey, but with a nifty tea infuser you can yield several cups out of each 3 teaspoons of tea. I've swapped out 2 whole cups of coffee with tea, and I'm marginally less cranky. I also tend to stick with the rooibos types, which are good for the tummy and the mate, which are good for the crankiness.

My favorites:

Energy chocolate chai blend (combo of rooibos chai & matevana)
Haute chocolate Rooibos
My Matevana
Tiramisu Treviso Rooibos

They have a Facebook page, mailing list, and probably a twitter page as well, but I don't twit/tweet. If you sign up, it alerts you to the occassional free shipping they'll put out, usually around a holiday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Q it up!

My very first question!

(Remember the following answer is merely a suggestion. Any alteration to your diet should be discussed thoroughly with a licensed health care provider or a physician. My answer is just something to consider, or to use as a starting point when speaking with your providers)

Q: I have high cholesterol. How do I take care of that while also trying to put on healthy weight?

A: Quantity and quality. The phrase "everything in moderation" is also a good summary, but it's become very cliched. The concept of quantity and quality comes from anatomy & physiology where the basic items organisms need to function (water, heat, food, pressure and oxygen) should be of good quality and abundance. If you're drinking water that's junk, your body will have junky functions.

So, how does this relate to cholesterol?

A co-worker of mine is a good example of quantity & quality. He is predispositioned for high cholesterol, so he avoids a lot of the typical things we associate with bad cholesterol such as smoking, heaving drinking and fried foods. But, when he really craves something, he eats something "bad" and very specific on that rare occasion. He chooses something he deems of quality and limits the quantity. Meanwhile, in his daily regimen he eats healthily -- recently he's been eating cooked rice & meat add adding fresh baby spinach for lunch -- and drinks nearly 1/2 gallon of water everyday. He's jubilant and although he works a desk job, he moves to and fro.

Also, the idea of quantity can be applied to limiting the amount of saturated fat consumed when eating animal fats. When choosing a protein, lean is best, but if you must go for fattier cuts, either trim the fat yourself before cooking OR select cuts of meat where it's labeled the animals were fed an organic or whole grain diet. These animals will be naturally leaner because the quantity and quality of their food was considered and will have less fat than the animal that was fed random feed.

Be choosy, limit amounts of alcohol: if you're going to have beer and cocktails, select quality and reduce the amount of alcohol you consumed by alternating water in between alcoholic sips.

Lastly, exercise the mind and body. Stress will ruin your body faster than a fattier meat, mainly because you'll stress out and pig out on the bad stuff to feel better! Exercise releases toxins in the body (such as lactic acid) and keeps the blood flowing. It may also release endorphins, which will give you a nice "pick me up" feeling. It can also improve blood flow. If your circulation remains good, the likelihood of clogged arteries can be reduced.

Also (lastly lastly) water is also a key factor because it's responsible for a lot of the movement of bodily functions, so you need to supply your body with it.