The Middle Way of Healthy Eating

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I’ve been jerking myself (not in a fun way!) back and forth, over what I should do and how I should do it – in regards to healthy eating. I find something out about a particular food item that excites me – so I start eating it – then discover that it’s not healthy or even dangerous. This is the age-old problem of trying to strike a balance with healthy eating. What’s good according to some is evil according to others.

I think back over the years and remember the see-saw arguments over potatoes – as an example. When I was little – potatoes were good, because they had starch and could fill you up. When I was in my teens, potatoes were bad as they made you fat. When I was in my twenties, they were only bad if you topped them with unhealthy things like sour cream, cheese, bacon etc. In my thirties they were good and bad – depending on who you talked to. Now, in my forties – they are bad again – because of the carbs.

The same could be said of nearly every kind of food you can imagine. Sometimes – it’s all about how you use and prepare them. Other times – it’s a definite no-no or a huge thumb’s up – until some scientist or “expert” swings the pendulum in the opposite direction.

One of the things I have been abstaining from is rice. It’s probably the one thing I miss the most, but as my husband is diabetic and needs to watch his sugar, I too have stayed away from it. He advised that it raises his sugar quickly and sustains the high levels for a few days. It has a high glycemic index and is high in carbs. I was told by a coworker recently to “just eat brown rice” – but according to the following article (click on link) – it doesn’t matter if the rice is brown or white.

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/rice-affects-blood-sugar-hunger-1588.html

Apparently Basmati rice (which is my favorite) is the best – even though it’s considered the lesser of the other evils! What shocked me about this article was the revelation that eating rice (and other high carb foods) actually makes you hungrier after you eat it. I find that hard to believe – as I’m usually quite satisfied after I eat rice. For example: when I have a small amount of steamed rice with steamed veggies and a piece of baked or steamed fish or chicken, I am totally satisfied for hours afterwards. So again – it’s about moderation and the middle way. I will stick to my original plan: I will only have rice once a month, to be sure.

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It’s easy to be swayed by popular opinion – especially when it comes to healthy eating. I find that it’s important to remember to weigh up the pros and cons; to go with whatever seems reasonable and when in doubt – err on the side of caution – or at least, go easy until you know what works best for you.

I don’t know why I haven’t made time for meditation. I need it – even though I’m feeling healthier these days. I need it for the stress release! It’s like I don’t value it as a worthwhile activity – even though it’s a kind of non-activity. I tell everyone else to do it and that the benefits are wonderful. I will try and do it at least twice this week!

A new discovery for me this past week is an exercise for my abs – that actually works. Planking!

A Coast Guard recruit from Company Oscar 188 does plank exercises during incentive training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., July 31, 2013. Training Center Cape May is the service's only enlisted basic training facility, which creates more than 80 percent of the Coast Guard's workforce. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska)
A Coast Guard recruit from Company Oscar 188 does plank exercises during incentive training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., July 31, 2013. Training Center Cape May is the service’s only enlisted basic training facility, which creates more than 80 percent of the Coast Guard’s workforce. (Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska)

Even after the first day, I felt the benefits straight away. I was only able to hold each rep for a few seconds when I first started, but I found I was able to increase the time steadily over each day. After the third day I actually felt like my stomach had shrunk a little. I’m going to keep on with this exercise and see how much time I can increase the hold for. Here’s a link to a video for variations on planks:

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20813896,00.html

Look at this challenge! I think it’ll be a while before I can do this:

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I’m still doing the elliptical and enjoying it. I’ve started doing variations on my routine – including going backwards – which works different muscles in my body. I also include short bursts of going turbo – until my knees start hurting!

I’ve been trying to find a farming group nearby who deliver a fruit and veggie box – but no such luck, so far. One of the national groups I looked at charged from $39 (on special) to $69 per box – and that was only for two adults for three nights! I noticed that I only spend from $40 – $60 per week for seven days worth of fruit and veggies for the two of us – at the supermarket, so maybe I should just stick with that. I will try going to the Nashville Farmer’s Market to weigh up the difference (on Saturdays). It’s just that I work in Nashville – travelling on the bus from Springfield each day – and the idea of dragging heavy bags of produce to and fro doesn’t thrill me.

I found this great chart on the Nashville Farmer’s Market website (I’m sure there are similar charts to be found elsewhere).

http://nashvillefarmersmarket.org/seasonality_calendar

I will be using it to check the seasonal produce of my local area. I’m going to try and find produce that is not cool stored – meaning that the fruits and veggies are picked before they ripen and stored for weeks before they are put out for sale. The greatest benefits regarding nutrition etc are to be found in produce that has been freshly picked – when they’re ready and not when they’re half-grown!

They also have some wonderful recipes, found here:

http://nashvillefarmersmarket.org/recipes/all

Babaganoush and Homemade Flatbread
Baba Ganoush and Homemade Flatbread

Baba Ganoush is a middle-eastern dish – basically Eggplant Dip. I made the Egyptian version – but you can also make it with olives, parsley, tomatoes and so on. It was nice – but I think that the next time I make it I will include marinated Greek olives, tomatoes, parsley and cumin – as it was quite bland – but nice with the flatbread. (The flatbread started off as the Paleo Sandwich rolls – recipe posted last week – but I used coconut flour instead of almond flour and it turned out to be a thick mix which needed to be formed into balls and flattened on the tray. It only made five rounds so I’ll double the recipe next time. They were lovely – and I shared it with a work colleague who loved the hint of coconut!)

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients:

2 eggplants
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (I didn’t use the oil)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Place eggplant on baking pan. Poke holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft. Remove from oven and place into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, and peel skin off. Cube the eggplant and let drain for a few minutes.

Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini and garlic in a food processor and purée. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil (if you want). Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Homemade Coconut Flatbread

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

2 eggs

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 tsp Baking powder

Dash of Himalayan sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350

In a bowl combine cocunut flour, tapioca, baking powder, and dash of sea salt

Add in eggs, apple sauce, and coconut oil – mix to combine

Roll into balls and flatten on a baking tray (I put them on baking paper in the tray)

Bake for 15 minutes

Let cool slightly and serve

Store in the refrigerator

Greek Salad
Greek Salad

I didn’t put cucumber’s in as I don’t like them. This is a very basic salad that we both like, with Romaine lettuce, celery, Roma tomatoes, Greek marinated olives and feta cheese. I have lemon juice squeezed on my salad – but Robert prefers Honey Mustard dressing. We had it with a frittata I made with onions, zucchinis and pepperoni on top! I forgot to take a photo of that!

Here are a couple of the recipes for next week:

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Cold-Fighting Couscous and Chicken Soup http://soupaddict.com/2015/01/couscous-chicken-soup/
Baked Parmesan Eggplant http://www.alltopfood.com/baked-parmesan-eggplant/
Baked Parmesan Eggplant  http://www.alltopfood.com/baked-parmesan-eggplant/

Here’s a great Infograph about busting belly fat:

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Here’s lazy Thor – annoyed that I woke him up for a photo!

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Here’s my menu for the week:

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Until then, stay happy and healthy!

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