Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bread Facts ~ Which Bread is Best?

Which Bread is best?
Before 1900 most people made their own bread with freshly ground whole wheat flour.  In the late 1800’s, food processors found that if they sifted away the bran and the germ from the flour, they’d get flour that wouldn’t spoil.  That's great right?

In 1910 white flour became available to everyone. White flour is made only from the endosperm of the wheat kernal.  The bran and the germ, which contain the vitamins, are removed and discarded.  Immediately, people starting developing vitamin B deficiencies and other health problems.  Around the 1920’s they figured out the cause of their problems, but instead of adding the bran and germ back in, they decided to “enrich” the flour by adding only iron, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and later folic acid back in.  What about the other 30+ nutrients which were lost?  How do we get them back?  We eat 100% whole wheat bread.

Here are some helpful definitions:

Whole Wheat Flour - flour made by grinding the entire wheat berry including the bran. It is more nutritious than white flour. 
Enriched White Flour- flour made from the endosperm of the wheat berry. It has a longer shelf life than whole wheat flour because it does not contain the oils found in the wheat germ.
Bleached Flour – enriched flour which contains bleaching agents.  The white color is achieved as the chemical bleaching agent oxidizes the surface of the flour grains. Most people can’t taste the chemicals in bleached flour. Bleaching changes the texture and stiffens soft flour.  This explains why my cookies spread too much when I use whole wheat flour.  It’s commonly used in prepackaged cookies, bagels pancake mixes, pie crusts, and waffles. 
Unbleached Flour –Enriched white flour that hasn't been chemically bleached. As flour ages, it softens.  Unbleached flour bleaches naturally as it ages. Unbleached flour contains more protein than the bleached flour.  It is used most often in yeast bread.

Have you made the switch from white bread to 100% whole wheat?  
When looking for whole wheat bread make sure it lists "whole wheat flour" as the first ingredient.  If it says “wheat flour” or “enriched” or any other flour, it’s not 100% whole wheat.
My family likes Nature’s Pride 100% Whole Wheat bread.  It is the only brand I’ve found that doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.   And it’s soft and it doesn’t taste like cardboard- always a plus. 
Or if you're feeling domestic, make your own.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mediterranean Quinoa

  • 1 cup Quinoa dry
  • 1 14.5 oz can Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil Or Oil From The Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 2 whole Thin Chicken Breasts, Cut Into 1 Inch Cubes
  • OR 1 can Garbanzo Beans instead of chicken, drained.
  • 2 pinches Dried Oregano
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 2 whole Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 small jars Artichoke Hearts (or 1 can) drained
  • ½ cup Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 5 fresh mushrooms chopped.
  • 1 small Lemon, Zest And Juice, Divided Use
  • ¼ cup dry parsley

Prepare 1 cup Quinoa using 2 cups chicken broth (I use 1 can plus enough water to equal 2 cups liquid.)  Prepare it like you would rice. It only simmers for about 12 minutes until liquid is absorbed. So, while that’s simmering:
In a large saute pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil or use the sun dried tomato oil. Add cubed chicken and sprinkle with oregano. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.
*OR heat 1 can garbanzo beans with the oregano (instead of chicken). Only takes a couple minutes.
Push chicken (or garbanzos) to the side of the pan to make room for the onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic. Push the onion mixture to the side to make more room and add the artichoke hearts. Mix it all together and lower heat.
To this mixture add the sun dried tomatoes (save the rest of the jar for next time), mushrooms and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Finally, add the cooked quinoa to the mixture and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients and flavors.

And just because- I was comparing these two pictures today. My son says I look the same.  Yet I still allow him to live here.

November 2010
June 2009

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Start Small to see Big Changes

You might look at what I’m eating right now and think that it’s pretty weird stuff.
I admit my tastes have changed.  But you don’t have to eat quinoa or black bean burgers or go vegetarian to see some big changes in your weight and especially changes in how you feel.
(Speaking of quinoa: I made quinoa for the first time a couple weeks ago and loved it.  Recipe coming soon.)
You don’t have to totally overhaul your (or your family’s) way of eating right away.  Start small.
Are you eating at least 5 different fruits and vegetables every day? 
Here's how I gradually changed how we eat:
I still made the meals my kids  liked, but I tripled the amount of fruits and vegetables at each meal.  My kids still got their chicken pasta alfredo, but they got a lot more veggies to choose from.  My plate would have a small amount of pasta, but at least half of it was LOADED with veggies.  I’d chop up a bunch of cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, whatever I could find and steam them. 
It’s a lot easier to eat a cup each of 3 different veggies than 3 cups of the same vegetable.  This is also a good plan for dinner because my picky eaters can always find at least one vegetable that they like in the mix and they’ll eat at least that one.  You could also add a bowl of cut fruit or just add half an apple to their plates.

Here's what I ate in a typical day when I thought I was eating healthy.  And then in Blue, a change I'd make now to make it healthier.
Breakfast-Before:  2 shredded wheat biscuits, toast, juice  CHANGE: replace 1 shredded wheat w/ a banana. Make sure your juice is 100% juice.
Lunch- Before:  BLT  and 1/3 cup broccoli  CHANGE: Replace BLT w/Meltshroom sandwich (see healthy recipes page) and eat 2 cups steamed mixed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.  Add a bunch of red grapes
Snack- Before: coke, 1 bag lite microwave popcorn and a few M&M’s.  CHANGEreplace w/ some air popped popcorn and add a bowl of fresh berries topped w/ 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt and sprinkled w/ grapenuts. No coke!
Dinner- Before:  1 ½ cups Taco Casserole w/ sour cream ½ cup corn, milk  CHANGE:  only do ½ cup taco casserole skip the sour cream, add 1/2 cup Cowboy Caviar, 1 Green Smoothie (has 1 cup fruit, 1 cup packed spinach- see Healthy Recipes page for recipe.
I figure I added about 8 more servings of fruits and vegetables to my day but still made basically the same meals for my family. 
So, what do you think?  Is it realistic?  Would it work for your family?  I know if you try it, you'll feel better and see the scale start going down.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One Solid Stomach Flu

I am 1 solid stomach flu away from my goal weight. 
I heard someone say that once, and I  had to laugh.  Actually she said she was 13 or 14 solid stomach flus away from her goal weight.  But in my case, it’s one.
I’ve been 1 solid stomach flu away from my goal weight for about a month and a half.  It seems like the closer I get, the harder it is to lose each pound.  I’m guessing that’s because my body is approaching (or maybe it’s already there) the weight it’s supposed to be.  In the beginning it seemed like those pounds were just flying off.  Now, not so much.   It’s a little frustrating because I want to reach that magic number- just because.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Favorite Dinners that are actually Good For You!

If I could eat anything for dinner, this is what I would eat.  These aren't just healthy meals.  These are my favorite meals that also happen to be healthy.  You definitely need to click into the links to see the pictures to get the full effect.  So yummy!
Day 1: 
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan & Best Ever New Potatoes and Fresh Green Beans .  The sauce on the fish is not low fat or low calorie so I just about half as much on my own piece and it's about perfect.
Day 2: 
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes.  I throw in some semi sweet chocolate chips and then top them with Vanilla Yogurt and Blackberries if I have them.  Poppy Seed Fruit Salad. I pass on the watermelon and add Kiwi instead, or apples. Just use your favorite fruits.  It's the dressing that makes it delicious.
Day 3:
Sweet Potato Enchiladas & steamed brussel sprouts and yellow squash.
Day 4:  
Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Lime Mayo.  Or skip the mayo and dress it like you would a regular burger.  Steamed Fresh Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots mixed.
Day 5:
Cashew Pasta Bake and Spinach Strawberry Salad
I thought it was weird to have nuts with pasta, but this is really good. I double the recipe so I can have it for lunch the next 2 days.
Day 6:
Minestrone Soup and Best Whole Wheat Bread.  I'll add 1/2 cup of alphabet pasta to this soup just because my kids like finding the letters.
Day 7:
Zupas Nuts About Berries Salad.  But please get your dressing on the side.  They give way too much dressing. I use about 1/3 of it.