Public Nutrition Stats and Parsnip Fail

20 04 2010

Party People! (Remember that Nelly song?!? It was the first time I actually thought he should retire from rapping. May his E.I. days RIP).

ANYway, how was your Tuesday? Mine was pretty standard. Nothing too earth shattering, which I suppose is a good thing! I’d rather have a typical day than a memorable, bad day. What?!? Does that even make sense? What a pessimistic thought! I should hope for memorable, good days everyday!

There – that’s better! :grin:

I want to discuss a topic that I’ve pondering since last week. However, since that time, I’ve seen it pop up on other blogs and decided I didn’t want to overdo it. Today, I noticed Terri mentioned it again and I decided that I can talk about anything I want to on my blog even if I feel it’s overkill! So, I apologize in advance if you’ve already contributed to the convos on other blogs.

What am I talking about? I’m referring to President Obama’s decision to create a clause within the Health Care bill, which will require large, chain restaurants around the country to post their nutritional information on menus (even drive-thru menus!). You can read more about it here. As many of you know, New York has been practicing this “menu transparency” and it will soon be mandatory for chains in all states.

I am SO enthusiastic over this, folks! I am a menu “stalker” – if you will. During the time I attended grad school, take-out from fast-food joints became a staple in my life two nights a week. I was working full-time and had a small window of opportunity to eat dinner before starting class. By the time I packed my breakfast, lunch and snack for the day, I couldn’t fathom packing dinner. Instead, I opted to eat out at quick stops, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Quiznos, Subway and D’Angelo. Luckily, I’m a smart shopper and always prepared what I was going to eat ahead of time based off of the nutrition information I found on the companies’ websites. Unfortunately, this habit is not practiced among the masses.

It has been proven time and again that when Americans eat out, they eat worse and they eat more. Hopefully, by paying attention to servings sizes and calorie intake, diners will begin to make better choices for their bodies. I realize that this will not affect everyone, but I’m hoping that the fast food “junkies” out there will start to take a look at their habits.

I also think this will FINALLY be the spotlight needed to expose all of the unhealthy foods that pose as healthy! I want people to understand that a reduced-fat pastry often just means more sugar and a high calorie count! It seems as though we always pick on McDonald’s, but the company has truly changed and become an example for how other companies can offer healthy choices among the not-so-healthy. Their grilled chicken salads are SO scrumptious and can be paired with low-fat dressings from Newman’s Own Organics (I realize these things are still higher in sodium, but one step at a time). At least the Golden Arches never tried to convince us that a Big Mac was good for us like KFC did with their chicken at the beginning of the Atkins craze (REMEMBER THAT?!?). And, the Big Mac is also not touting itself as “reduced” of ANYTHING like the aforementioned bust-you-out-of-your-pants-while-not-keeping-you-satisfied muffins! These companies should have to tell consumers THE TRUTH about their products.

You might be chuckling at my delivery, but it’s true. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know which items to stay clear of. But the truth is, the general population doesn’t. They are either not informed or simply don’t care. I think forcing people to look at the facts is at least presenting them with the educated choice when deciding what to fuel their bodies with.

Don’t get me wrong, kids. I’m still going to indulge in a Quarter Pounder now and then. I realize I just made some of you gag aloud, but I truly think McDonald’s burgers taste phenomenal. However, I’m also well aware of the impact these tasty burgers could have on my waistline and cholesterol levels. My health is far more important than my desire to eat burgers, so I only eat McDonald’s one to two times each year. During these times, I am fully aware of my decision and go into it knowing that I’m going to indulge and eat too many calories. Truthfully, a sign at the drive-thru will only reiterate why I don’t do it every day. I can only hope it does the same for the rest of the population.

My favorite part of the law is that it will include posting nutritional stats on vending machines. THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY! If I could solve one epidemic in the world, it would be childhood obesity. Vending machines run rampant in schools and encourage kids to indulge in overly processed, salty and sugary snacks. I’m hoping that if children AND their parents are forced to face the truth about vending machines, they might just start packing an apple for after school activities.

I’ve actually read on other blogs that this move is “controversial.” Now, I know we are all entitled to our own opinions in this wonderful country, but I can’t – for the LIFE of me – figure out how this is controversial! As consumers, we should strive to keep our businesses honest. This frame of thought should be applied to the food industry, as well. Companies should practice transparency in what they are feeding you. If you don’t like what you find then, chances are, you’re simply feeling guilty about what you’ve been consuming.

Lastly, I would just like to say that I hope I’m not sounding preachy. I think you guys know me well enough by now to see that I enjoy splurge meals a lot. I actually rarely view them as “splurges” anymore because my overall diet is extremely balanced. If I want a peanut butter cup dessert from Uno’s (for all of you who asked…get on it now and when you die and go to Heaven, you can thank me when I get there!), I’m going to eat it and move the heck on! I don’t think twice about it! Seeing the nutritional stats will not hinder my decision. I’ve been to The Cheesecake Factory after learning a slice can run you 1200 – 1800 calories. :shock: I saw it and thought, “Oh, dang! That’s REALLY excessive. I better ensure I eat really well the rest of the week.” I am simply hoping that this new law will inspire people’s inner KD, so that they eat it and move on to clean food tomorrow!

Phew – that was exhausting to write! Who knew I felt so passionately about this?!? I guess I always did, but the words just came pouring out of me :smile:

Let’s fly through the rest of this post because The Celtics are on tonight and I have my priorities!!

I had another good run this morning and alternated every 5 minutes (for 35 minutes) between flat ground and an incline on the treadmill. I felt good, but my new sneakers were tight around the toe of my right foot. I refuse to mess up my pedicure for further analysis, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose a toenail. :sad: I apologize if that’s TMI, but I needed a little sympathy. It’s not a nagging injury, but anyone that’s had this happen can tell you it’s annoying!!

Plyo was epic again and I’m really starting to see improvement in myself. It’s still a tough workout, but it’s definitely much easier on week 3 than it was during week 1. Hooray for small victories!!

After the workout, I had my standard protein shake, showered and got my butt to work.

Around 9:00, I indulged in some banana oats with cottage cheese. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the addition of cottage cheese. It makes the oats thick and luxurious. Yummers.

In the mix:
• ¼ cup oats
• ¼ cup almond milk
• ¼ cup water
• ½ banana
• 1/3 cup cottage cheese
• 1 tbsp flaxseed
• Pinch of salt
• Dash of vanilla
• Cinnamon

Toppings:

• 1 tbsp almond butter (FINALLY replaced my jar…it’s been too long!)
• ½ tbsp chia seeds
• ½ banana
• 1 tbsp Polaner all-natural grape fruit spread

If you haven’t tried the nut butter/jelly combo on your oats yet, I strongly suggest you try. In fact, this was SO good that I have the sneaky suspicion I’m going to recreate it sometime very soon.

Can you guys believe I used to be a part of the “No Breakfast Club” in high school?  I used to live off of iced coffee in the morning.  So many wasted years of deliciousness! 

Lunch included the remainder of my Amy’s black bean soup can from Sunday’s dinner. I had about half of the can left and enjoyed it with the standard these days: Spinach, arugula, strawberries, walnuts, goat cheese and caramelized onions. It was all laced with homemade balsamic. I think I’m pretty much obsessed with this combo at this point. Strawberries in salad are a total win. Just try it!

My snack was rather boring today, but it held me over, which is the point. I suppose.

One egg, one egg white (cracked and yolk removed at work) and pineapple:

Dinner was easy peasy, which I loved! I lost my desire to cook in the nicer weather. Does this happen to you, as well? Tonight we grazed on 96% lean, grass-fed burgers that were marinated with a touch of minced garlic and Worcestershire sauce. We slapped them on the George Foreman and grilled them up. On the side, I tried my first batch of parsnip fries.  Caitlin is always raving about them, so I thought I’d give them a try.  I tossed them with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and flaxseed.  I baked them at 400 for 25 minutes.

And, guess what?  I hated them.  Oh my gosh.  I am NOT a parsnip fan.  The flavor is very strong and was too “earthy” for me.  Icky, icky, icy.  Oh well.  You can’t love everything, right?

I also served up some corn because we have a TON in the freezer and I wanted to plow through the bag.  A burger and corn didn’t seem too appealing (or filling), so I quickly microwaved a baked potato.  Since my dinner looked void of vegetables, I added a small side salad of arugula and caramelized onions.  I drizzled it with some light raspberry vinaigrette.  I know I’m at arugula overkill,  but I wanted something green and needed something quick!

I ate everything except half the potato:

Random factoid: I always put mustard on my burger and then dip it in LOTS of ketchup.  I LOVE when the two mix together :grin:

Okay, my loves, I am off to relax and gear up for the Celtics.  GO GREEN!

Question of the day: Do you ever eat at McDonald’s or other fast food joints? Would you be disheartened to see the nutritional information staring at you?





All Cheer for Chia!

2 04 2010

Mornin’ :smile:

How is everyone on this fine day?  I’m spectacular.  Just got home from a great elliptical workout and an amazing bowl of oats.

I made a deal with myself this morning that I wouldn’t set an alarm and simply wake up when my body was rested.  Almost 8 hours on the dot, I was ready to hit the gym.  Felt so good! 

Because I woke up a little later, my belly was already rumbling, so I snacked on half of a Berry Whole Food Engery Bar by Amazing Grass.  Now, while I love berries, I’ve told you guys before that I’m generally not in love with berry flavored things.  So, I didn’t really expect much from this bar.

:shock:

Oh my gosh, you guys!  This thing was rockin’!  It tasted like the inside of a berry flavored Nutri-Grain bar!  It was soooooooooo delish and didn’t have that I’m-eating-something-healthy vibe to it like the original flavor had.

Unfortunately, it still looked the same:

I guess when you’re creating a raw, unprocessed product, it’s not acceptable to add a little food coloring to jazz it up :wink:   I HIGHLY recommend this one, guys!  Felt so good knowing I got some veggies in so early in the morning!

After my workout, it was time for a real breakfast and I couldn’t wait to use some of the package I got in the mail last night!!  I have been SO anxious to try chia seeds since perusing other ladies’ blogs.  However, the price of them made me think twice.  Well, last week, Kath and Tina both offered a sale via their Open Sky shops to get chia and flax seeds at a discount!  The bonus, they came as a package, so now I have BOTH flax and chia seeds!  So stoked!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with chia seeds, they are one of the most nutritious seeds on the planet!  I’ve probably visited 15 sites to compile this list for you!

Check out these benefits:

  • Great source of fiber
  • Complete source of protein.  This means, that on their own, the protein in chia seeds contains all of the 9 essential amino acids.  Ah-mazing, people!
  • Excellent source of calcium, so eat ‘em up, ladies!  In addition to this, they are rich in boron, which helps the body absorb calcium
  • They help your body maintain electrolytes, which in turn, keeps you hydrated longer
  • Great source of antioxidants
  • Many also believe they are a great source of energy (although I couldn’t find too much detail on this, so I don’t know if this has been scientifically proven)

The best part about them?  They are SO fun to eat!  They are BABY seeds!  So tiny!  I mixed them into my oatmeal this morning and while they have no taste, they added the cutest like “pop” every so often.   I would equate them to the seeds on the outside a strawberry or – better yet – kiwi seeds.  They are definitely a keeper and something I will be incorporating into all of my oatmeal and smoothies from now on :smile:   Yay, chia!

I also tried something different with my oats this morning.  The aforementioned Kath always mixes in cottage cheese at the end of her oats cooking.  It always sounded really weird to me, but I had an untouched container in the fridge, so I decided to go for it?

The verdict?  LOVED it!  They don’t make the oats cheesy, which is what I was so worried about it.  Instead, they simply make them thicker and more creamy.  What’s not to love?

Cottage and Chia Oats on the Stovetop:

In the mix:

  • 1/3 unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 oats
  • 1/2 banana
  • Cinnamon
  • Dash of vanila
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese (mixed in at the very end)
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds!!

Toppings:

  • Naturally Nutty Chocolate Toffee Butter (Yes, I did finish one jar, but I had another in the cabinet.  Muwahaha!)
  • Pinch of raisins

I served up the oatmeal with an iced coffee because America I run on Dunkin’.  I tried to get a picture of the chia seeds for you guys, but this is the best I could do.  Someday, I’m going to get a nice camera.  I promise.  The prices are just too outrageous for me right now!

Okay, loves, I’m off to get a bunch of stuff done for the remainder of the day.  Not sure when we’ll chat again, but I’ll be sure to update you on the Easter egg coloring and Fish N Chips sometime! 

Have an AWESOME Friday!!





Happy March!!

1 03 2010

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  February is OVAH, people!!  I hate to wish my life away, but winters in Massachusetts are just TOO long and at this time every year, I am itching for spring to start.  So let’s give a huge welcome to MARCH!! 

The ironic thing about that first paragraph is that while I sound excited to see March, I actually think it’s the worst month of the year.  I know, I know.  Life is too short to be so negative, but March is a loooooooong month around here, which generally still involves snow, cloudy skies and chilly temps.  Let’s look on the bright side though.  March 20th is the first day of Spring, so let’s hope the month goes out like this:

Just the thought of waking up in the morning and hearing birds chirping has me smiling from ear to ear!

I don’t have much to report this morning.  Just another start to another busy week of work and fun times on the weekend.  Mr. KD and I are hosting a party on Saturday night and I’m already excited for it!  More about that later on in the week.

More importantly, we have today’s eats!

I made a staple in the KD household: Overnight Banana Oats!  So delicious, so easy and the perfect breakfast to look forward to on a Monday morning!

In the mix:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetend vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • pinch salt
  • dash of vanilla
  • cinnamon

Toppings:

  • Spoonful of Naturally Nutty Chocolate Butter Toffee

For lunch, we have a ham and cheese sandwich on a deli thin.  Accompanying the sandwich is a delish Fuji and a less than stellar looking salad.  Thank goodness for those dried cranberries, eh? 

BUT HAVE NO FEAR!  My work has a salad bar and I plan to add veggies to this at lunch.  The only problem is, I work in an industry where I cannot use a camera phone in the office, so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you I plan to add:

  •  Red Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Green Peppers
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Balsamic Vinegar

For some 3 pm snackage, we have two superstars:

I looooooove cottage cheese and it literally serves as a treat for me at work when I pack it for a snack.  Yum, yum, yum.  The applesauce is actually a new product that I tried last week and I am very pleasently surprised by it.  It’s blueberry flavored applesauce and it’s only flavored with blueberry and apple juice.  It’s all natural and tastes FANTASTIC.  I promise you!  There’s also a strawerry flavor that I may have to buy after I’m through with these Bad Larry’s.

All right…work is calling, folks!  Can’t wait to chat with ya later and share dinner!

Until we eat again…