Thursday, May 14, 2009

Friday Foodie - diet

I'm not going to get in your face about eating meat though I could if you want. Okay, so one little rant. Try giving up meat at least one day a week. Your wallet, colon, heart, scale and of course the environment will love you. Not to mention the animals. Meatless Mondays it's the easy way. End of rant. I'll never mention it again. Move along.

I'm a huge proponent of scratch cooking. There are several reasons why I take such a militant stance on this issue.

One is economy. It is far cheaper to buy the fresh, frozen or dry good ingredients for a meal than it is to buy something prepackaged. I can take scratch ingredients and have a meal on the table in about 30 minutes. And, these are not sandwich meals a la Rachel Ray (not that there is anything wrong with Rachel Ray or sandwiches for that manner but she does do her share of sandwich meals.)

The second reason is nutrition. Being able to control the ingredients in your meals is really important. Balancing proteins, vitamins, fiber, sodium/salt allow you to ensure good health.

You may ask, "Why, is Michele harping about this right now?" I'll tell you why (like you didn't know I was setting you up for that? HA!). I've been eating a whole ton of prepackage microwavable food lately. Not having my kitchen set up or even having a kitchen made for a prepackaged eat-a-thon. It wasn't pretty and I'm not very proud of myself. What I am is swollen up like a balloon. My rings wouldn't slide nicely on and off like they was used to and the rings around my ankles from my socks were starting to collect their own jam. My toes were getting jealous.

I promptly went out to buy a scale. Got it home, set it up and stepped on up then just about hit the floor. I had gained over 5 pounds in less than 2 weeks. After my crying bout I picked myself and decided to do something about it.

First on the hit parade was to figure out what I was eating, how many calories, how much fiber, protein and salt. I was totally shocked. My calories, protein and fiber were in line with what I should be eating but my sodium was clearly in the stratosphere. Why? Prepackaged food and soup.

I bought a few kitchen utensils, a fry pan, and some basic ingredients. Things like whole wheat pasta, potatoes, tons of fresh and frozen veggies. I also cut out diet coke. Sure it says it is low in sodium but I was on a mission to cut out as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. That 35 milligrams per can had to go. Canned soup, Bye Bye. Want to know why. Take a look at the numbers of this baby.

The adult daily recommended amount of sodium is 2300 milligrams. That Healthy Choice soup is 20% of the adult portion of sodium. And this is the light stuff. You notice that they don't put a percentage on that baby.

By cutting my sodium down by half and reducing my calories by 500 per day I've lost those 5 pound in the week and a half. Since, it was all water weight I won't keep up this pace of weight loss but that's okay. I can wait for that 5 pounds that I've had lingering since Christmas to slide off.

So if you've hit a weight loss plateau you may want to look at your sodium intake. A really good resource is the DASH diet. It is advocated by my buddies at the American Heart Association, the Mayo Clinic (if you haven't check them out for diet and health info get over there soon) and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

See after that first rant I didn't say anything about the grossness that is meat or how bad it is for your intestines or animal cruelty or anything.



  1. The minute you said you were swollen, I thought "Sodium."

    I, too, am a proponent of scratch cooking, and for the same reasons. I hate prepackaged foods - they are expensive and they taste like shit. Well, they DO.

    I am willing to eat vegetarian one or more nights a week, but Beloved will grouse if we do it more than one night (he can deal, though) and The Young One is a carnivore through and through. Hmmm...perhaps some sort of pasta and cheese dish for him. Would that be acceptable?

    OH - and there's ALL SORTS of things wrong with Rachel Ray. Just sayin'.

  2. Guess what!? After having to go on Terry's gluten free diet because of Celiac's Disease I have lost a whole dress size! WOW!

    Now if I can lose more and more, maybe I can look like that Biggest Loser Winner. HA


  3. And talk about scratch cooking....well there is really nothing on the gluetn free diet that you can purchase pre-done. Oh, yes there are some products out there, but talk about expensive...whew!


  4. There are many things wrong with Rachel Ray. The woman is nuts and annoying.

  5. See? Eating right is BAD for you!! You go eating all that good food, and then when you can't BAMM!! See what you've done to yourself by feeding it only the good stuff? You've punished your body and now it won't take the bad stuff like a good body should!

  6. I am just wondering if you are vegetarian or vegan..cause I would die without eggs or cheese.

  7. I am an ovo-lactovegetarian. I love me some eggs and cheese. I do try to watch the cheese though because of the rennet. If you don't know rennet is made of calves stomach. Yeah, it is as nasty as it sounds.

  8. Michele - if The Young One can have eggs, cheese and pasta on the "vegetarian" nights, he will be one happy camper. I'm going to give it a go. I've already prepared Beloved, although he groused a little about it, just like I knew he would. Heh - men.

    I do believe I saw a fish recipe on your blog recently - are you an occasional pescetarian, as well? Or was that for the benefit of your men?

  9. I can do without red meat but I eat a lot of chicken. Mostly loaded with sodium though, not good.

    I went to this place called dinner done ( last night and made a crapload of meals to store. We go once every few months since it's a good way to get eclectic meals that we wouldn't otherwise have the ingredients for. You'd like this place! That's my contribution to cooking.

  10. I need to cut down my sodium too. But it's so good! And I got the chili spices, thank you! I'm going to try it with my spinach. Fresh spinach! (and maybe fresh chicken for a good marinade, but forget you ever saw the word chicken) Cutting out diet coke though? Yikes. I may not be the nicest person.

  11. Honestly I can take or leave red meat, but I'd have a hard time getting enough protein without chicken. Hubby thinks there needs to be meat with EVERY meal, but after this whole 'cleanse' thing I might be able to sell him on the occasional meatless dinner ;)

  12. Hey, I had spagetti today. Oh wait, there was burger in the sauce. Tomorrow I'm making the kids eggs......and sausage. This isn't working well.

  13. Excess water weight, blecchh! A typical sodium bender can cost me about 2 pounds per foot and ankle.

    The rennet explanation reminds me of a crazy guy I used to work with. He wouldn't drink (eat?) milk shakes because he said they were partially made out of cow noses. My coworker and I would taunt him with "snout shakes" (no, not "snot shakes", geez!) from the Baskin Robbins across the street. Grossed him out ever' single time, bwahahahaha!