Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vegan ground beef?!

I found this stuff marked down for 99 cents (retail: $3.99) at the local SaveMart. I'm always up for trying new food, especially if it's healthy, and at that price, I had to! Way cheaper than real ground beef. I made tacos and mini "meatballs" with it. Smelled pretty amazing as I cooked it (10 minutes, tops).

Yes, it's incredibly bland, nothing that can't be solved with some seasoning. I would say it tasted amazing for 70 calories (per 1/4 cup) and being completely fat free. Even lean ground beef clocks in at about 170 calories and 8g fat for the same portion. Surprisingly has 8% fiber and 12% protein, too. Less protein than real beef, but it's a trade-off. It's made from soy. On a side note, 1/4 cup is a tiny portion, I went ahead and had 1.5 portions. I used these small corn tortillas from Costco (only 55 calories each, with 6% fiber!) & stuffed in corn, salsa and romaine lettuce. It was so messy, but delicious! Definitely not something I'd eat in public. I had a few of the "meatballs" with Sriracha (hot Vietnamese sauce) and a pinch of shredded cheese on top. Overall, a great product.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Easiest Switches to a Healthier Diet

Try whole wheat-bread instead of white bread. Make all your grain foods whole-grain or wheat instead of white, which will cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar. You get the added benefits of filling fiber, which may also lower risk of heart disease and cholesterol.

Look for "partially hydrogenated oil" in your snacks and foods. Something can be labeled as "zero trans fat" as long as it's under .5g per serving. Even 1g trans fat a day has been shown to be hazardous to health. All beef has it naturally, so enjoy in moderation.

One of the easiest is switching from regular soda to diet- no, it's still not health food, but it is 0 calories versus 150 (per 12 oz can). Also, most diet sodas only have 1-2% sodium per serving. Diet energy drinks tend to be way higher (6-8% per serving! A can has 2-3 servings, yikes). Steer clear of fruit juices (110 cal per cup), have Crystal light instead (5 cal per cup). I'm not a huge fan of water unless I'm working out, so this one is a lifesaver.

Ease up on the creamy condiments and dressings! To put it in perspective- a 4 oz. serving of chicken breast has 110 calories, 1g of fat. 2 tbsp of ranch has 140 calories and 14g of fat- which will fill you up more? I don't think it's worth it! Try a bit of BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce or honey mustard instead.

Stop snacking out of the bag- scoop a measured portion into a bowl. That way, there's no mystery on how much you really consumed. 

Watch your booze intake. Stick to light beers (about 100 calories a bottle). Common mixed drinks have about 250-400 calories, some even more! Vodka sodas, about 100. You can even add crystal light to them for all the flavor of a girly mixed drink. Those little packets fit in the smallest of clutches!

Try baked or popped chips instead of potato chips or Cheetos.

Skim milk has about as much good nutrients as whole milk, without any of the fat and only half the calories. Anything you miss can be easily replenished with a vitamin supplement. So, have skim or light soy milk instead!

Good rule of thumb: Whole grains (carbs) before a workout, lean protein after.


The popularity of blogging has been booming as of late, and weight loss is ever the popular topic today. Who better to take advice from than someone who has been through it all? Weight loss, relapse, learning to adjust to eating 'normally' and not as a hardcore dieter.

I had been overweight for almost all of my life. Sure, it was cute when I was a little kid! I never had healthy eating habits implemented growing up, I never had to ask to eat foods, I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. We had tons of cookies, chips, candies around the house. Nothing was portioned, my family always encouraged us to eat more at meals. Funny thing is, I'd never disliked fruits or veggies, we just never had them around. Also, this was back when fat kids were not as common as they are now, so growing up, I was constantly picked on by both girls and boys. Puberty is freaky enough without being picked on by all your peers. It didn't exactly work wonders for my self-esteem, and took me a long time to grow out of those insecurities, even long after high school ended. I find I'm still growing into being completely comfortable in my own skin, though looking at me (someone who spends time on their appearance), you would never guess.

The turning point was when I was 20. I feared the scale, always have, but would secretly weigh myself occasionally when I did come across a scale. The number would always be a small increase from the one before. I knew slowly but surely, I was buying bigger pants, and couldn't blame it on 'growing up' anymore. My lowest point, I can still remember clear as day- finding out I had finally broken the 200-lb mark. I mean, that's a high number even for a guy! So starting my real attempt at a healthier lifestyle, I was 5'9" and 205 pounds.

Dieting is a difficult, arduous process. Good news is, it gets easier as time goes on! Keep in mind, any new habit takes about 3 weeks to keep up and your taste buds take about 2 weeks to adjust. So if you're used a high-salt, high-sugar, high-fat diet, then yes, a complete overhaul on your diet will taste horribly bland at first. With so many healthier options out there now, it's pretty easy to cheat with a little know-how.

Looking back now, I can't even see myself falling into those habits again. I do still love food, but don't eat to the point of sickness anymore. Getting off your butt to exercise is hard, but you do feel better after it's done, both mentally and physically. You only have one life, one body, so why treat it as best you can?

Please feel free to ask me anything, I've probably read everything there is to read on dieting, working out, food, etc.! I'd feel very lucky knowing I helped anyone in anyway :)