30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

Market Day: 5 Delicious Ways to Use Fresh Asparagus

fresh asparagus for lunch
Image by annethelibrarian via Flickr

We’re half way through May, and asparagus is in season! This beautiful vegetable is often featured in decorative art as a sign of spring and good food. But how on earth are you supposed to cook and eat it?

First of all, choose thin, tender stalks. Asparagus starts to get tough and woody as it matures. Trim the cut ends and rinse well with water, then steam, roast, etc. Yum!

  1. Simply roast it. All you need to do is toss the asparagus with oil, salt, and pepper, and roast alone or with onions, garlic, and potato on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400F. (Potatoes and other vegetables will have longer cooking times, so roast them until they have only 10 minutes left, then add the asparagus.)
  2. Add it to a wrap or pita sandwich instead of lettuce. Toss the asparagus into a pot of boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes, let cool a bit and then chop. (You can also rinse under cold water to cool.) Mix into salads like tuna or chicken. Ta da!
  3. Make a simple salad. Steam asparagus in a vegetable steamer for 5-6 minutes, then toss with arugula, chopped bell peppers, minced garlic, lemon juice, and whatever other yummy greens or herbs you have on hand. Add a bit of oil or vinaigrette, and you’re all set.
  4. Enhance a simple risotto or couscous: Cook rice or couscous in vegetable broth instead of plain water, and add roasted garlic, steamed and chopped asparagus, lemon juice, and chives. A tip for making a creamy risotto: brown the dry rice in oil for a couple of minutes before adding boiling water and steaming.
  5. Use up leftovers in a creamy soup: Chop up only the stalks (saving the tips), and add to a hodge-podge vegetable soup. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, then add the tips back in and reheat for 2-3 minutes. Presto! (Even if you don’t want to puree all of the soup, consider pureeing some cooked rice with some of the broth, and then adding it to the soup. It adds creaminess without dairy or extra fat and calories.)
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May 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Three Weeks to Healthy Habits

Hamcation 2008: Junk Food
Image by PrincessFroglips via Flickr

Day 22: Revelation of the Week

I had a revelation this weekend, a personal Aha! moment, and I want to share it with you. It involves a boring day at home alone and several pieces of sour cream cake on display in the privacy of my kitchen.

My husband was out of town, and I was spending the weekend cleaning up my work room and studio. When I went downstairs to find some lunch, I found six or seven fat, glistening slices of sour cream cake. (It’s like pound cake, kind of, but with icing and, apparently, sour cream.) Mr J had brought it home from a work day at the amateur radio club.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything like that in my house. I’m not a big cake person anyway, but it did look so delicious, and I had worked up an appetite cleaning and organizing upstairs. What shocked me was this thought: “Ooh, that looks so good! Now what shall I eat for lunch?” I was amazed that I could see the cake, think “Oh so delicious,” and then move on! Later, when I did have some, I cut a couple of slivers off one of the huge, gigantic pre-cut slices and I savored it. I was amazed how much I could taste, the richness and the cream and the fat in it, and that was all I wanted.

Here is the Aha! part: Years ago when I lived a dismal life in a dismal home in a dismal town, I used to eat junk food like this a package at a time. I would eat it, but not taste it. And I would still feel hungry. At that time, I did not think it possible to eat a little bit of a rich food like this and be satisfied. I believed that people who just took a little piece and said “Oh, delicious!” and moved on were either lying, or had tremendous will power and were just torturing themselves by eating any at all.

The thing I’ve just discovered for myself (although I’ve read about it many times and not believed it), is that my body has become accustomed to eating fresh, nourishing, whole foods, and it has let go of its obsession with high calorie, high fat comfort foods. I realize that I could become accustomed to those foods again, and that it isn’t necessarily smooth sailing from here, but it is encouraging.

On that note, here is today’s Tuesday Weigh-In: Actually I am away from home right now, and I don’t have my scale, but my most recent result is 211 pounds! That means I’ve lost a total of 9 pounds in these first three weeks. Yay, me! And Yay, you!

If you’re using the Lose It! App on your iPhone or iPod touch, add me as a friend: fitness at thelandlockedsailor com

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April 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last Day to Enter the Giveaway!

Hello Everyone.

Next week I’ll be posting more information about how you can join the 30 Day Fitness Experiment. Until then, make sure you’ve entered Giveaway #1 . Today is the last day to enter!

Happy living!

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April 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Are You Eating? No, Really.

Meet the Food You Eat
Image by Mark Wubben via Flickr

Day Twelve: What can help you to steer clear of mindless eating?

First of all, what is mindless eating? Well, mindless in this case is the opposite of mindful, which according to the Oxford American dictionary conveniently installed on my Mac, means “conscious or aware of something.” Have you ever been so engrossed in a movie or game and you suddenly look down and think, “Hey, where did all my popcorn/peanuts/Dodger Dog go?” Assuming that it was not eaten by your dog, friend, child, or significant other, you’ve probably been a victim of mindless eating. If all you have is one serving in the first place, all you’ve missed out on is the joy of savoring tasty food. (Which is a lovely thing in itself.) But has it ever happened to you when you have an entire family-size bag of tortilla chips in front of you? Or a box of donuts? Hopefully you haven’t consumed the entire package on your own, but still. You may have eaten way more than you intended to.

So, let’s take the obvious things first:
1. Think about what you choose to eat and why. Don’t just grab whatever’s handy.
2. Take out one portion and put the rest away. When you’re first starting out, it helps to actually weigh or measure out one serving. You may be surprised at what it actually looks like.
3. Eat at a time and place with few distractions. Take time to taste and enjoy each bite.
4. Even if there is still food on your plate, stop eating when you feel eight tenths (80%) full.

A few more tips:
We do tend to grab and eat whatever is convenient, so make healthy foods (in healthy portion sizes) convenient. At my house, we like to prep our week’s food on the weekends. We pre-chop vegetables so that weeknight cooking will not be such a chore. Leftovers: We take out portions of whatever we’ll eat the next day and freeze the rest. If we’re cooking a dish with some kind of meat, we’ll cook extra meat and put it in the fridge for the next day’s meal. We make sure we have fruits and veggies handy for snacking.

Why am I always talking about cooking? Because 1) it makes you more mindful of what exactly you’re putting into your body, 2) it saves you money and 3) realistically, there are very few people who consistently make good food choices when eating out.

Check out the results of this study from 2006: “Americans reported eating out five times a week. Fast food was the most common choice for breakfast and lunch; for dinner, casual dining and fast food were the most common options. The survey found that those who ate fast food three to six times a week had a BMI that was “significantly greater” than those who ate less than one or two fast food meals a week.” (quoted from Matt Ford’s Ars Technica article)

What have you been eating?

Don’t forget to enter the Healthy Heart Cookbook Giveaway!

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April 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments