Beans and greens

I am reading How Not to Die right now. I am in the second section. What I have read so far has me eating a lot of beans and greens! But the question that I am facing is how to eat them in a way that tastes good.

I bought several 1 lb bags of mixed greens at Whole Foods the other day. I also bought a ton (like, two full bags worth) of dried garbanzo beans. That is one of my favorite beans. I like how it stays firm, even after cooking, but not in an undercooked kind of way. I soaked a couple cups worth of beans and cooked them plain. I probably overcooked them a little, the liquid was like a gel! But they are perfect for me. I threw about half a bag’s worth of greens in a pot and seasoned them then added some beans for an easy dinner.

beans n greens
Garbanzo beans with mixed greens

I also tried to make nacho cheese style roasted chickpeas. I should have rinsed the thick liquid off first! They didn’t quite turn into what I had hoped for, but they were tasty. Yesterday for lunch I ate some with arugula and salsa. Then for dinner I added the rest of the bag of greens, some salsa, and the rest of the not-cho beans to a pot and heated through. M roasted some sweet potatoes and carrots. The combo was delightful! I even had some fresh corn tortillas to eat with dinner. Yummy!

I have been really focusing on getting those extra servings of greens and beans in for all of the amazing phytonutrients, anticancer effects, and weight loss benefits. The past two days alone I have lost 1/2 lb per day! So I would say that greens and beans are a winning combination.

What are your special tricks for weight loss? Do you have any foods that you try to eat everyday for a health benefit? What is your favorite bean or greens recipe? Share in the comments!

PSA: I am sensitive.

I went to my mom’s house over the weekend. We were working on the yard. She hasn’t really done any weeding or other yard work since October. There is a small flower garden and a couple of citrus trees that we were weeding. It was a huge job so she had one of her dog walkers come over to help. It was overall a very productive day.

However, there was a point in the day when my mom said some things that struck a nerve with me. One was when were out in the back and I was on my hands and knees weeding. I have lost a lot of weight but have not replaced all of my clothes. I was wearing some yoga pants that are a little loose and they don’t stay up as well as they used to. I made sure to keep my rear end pointed away from the kid helping us so he didn’t see my whole booty. But my mom did get a peak of my crack as the pants slid down a little too far. She pointed it out which was super embarrassing for me.

A little while later we were inside and talking about trampoline parks. I mentioned someone who has gone and my mom started talking about that person’s ample chest size. I got upset by that, too, because it was in general completely inappropriate to talk like that – especially to a teenaged boy. I called her out immediately. Then she got weird like I was the one who was out of line. We ignored each other for a little while after that.

Eventually we went back to work and moved on. Before I left she came into the room I was working to clear the air – and defend herself. I told her how much it bothered me when she pointed out my butt crack in the yard and how she had done the same thing when I was in middle and high school. At that time she used a nickname in front of my friends and at Girl Scout meetings to point out when my nipples were erect. When some of my friends got it they could see how upset I was. That was mortifying – not just that she was pointing out something I had no control over, but that my friends could see how hurt I was and she couldn’t. So the pants coverage issue brings up that same pain. She kept trying to justify what she had said and I started crying. I told her that I want to hear that I just want her to see how hurt I am. She finally stopped trying to justify and just apologized. I said that no one is perfect and I am asking her to be perfect. I just want us as a society, as a group, to stop judging each other’s bodies and do better to each other than what was done to us. I think that’s a good goal to strive for.

Earlier this week I was at work when I ran into a relative. He pointed out that I have slimmed down quite a bit but that the method of losing isn’t as important as how the loss is maintained. I said that I will never go back to eating “normal” foods since I keep researching how typical American foods affect so many diseases. He kept saying the word diet so I responded by saying that heart disease and breast cancer are a choice for most people. He said that it’s the genes and I told him about Dr. Gregor’s great book that specifically adresses how both of these diseases plus several others are affected by dietary choices. He said there will always be another doctor doing another study. I said that that’s true, but given the choice between a single doctor and a single study versus most doctors agreeing about most studies, which is more reliable information? 90% agreement or 10% agreement? Then he said that he didn’t want to stand there and argue with me.

My takeaway from that encounter is that if you mention my body and my appearance, you will hear me talk about why looks are much less important than a healthy diet. For the situation with my mom if anyone talks about my body or anyone else’s body to me I will respond in a way that points out how we need to have more compassion for each other and less judgmental.

In case that didn’t come across clearly: I am not following these dietary guidelines for my looks. I am doing this for health reasons. I understand that my weight is unhealthy so I am losing weight as a result of regaining my health. I also am not at all interested in judging other people for their bodies. We can do better for each other and for ourselves than being that way.

Yes, I’m sensitive. I get upset easily. And I am okay with that.

I’m thinking of breaking up with WW

I have been going to Weight Watchers on and off for probably about a decade. I love the connection with other members and the special team members who truly care about the health and well being of the members. I am so grateful for those wonderful people who I am able to talk to about all of the emotional and mental struggles that go along with the radical changes that weight loss requires.

All that said, though, I am thoroughly displeased with the new program. Weight Watchers used to have a whole section on their website dedicated to the science behind their program. I just checked the website, though, and cannot find anything like that all with the new program.

This program was just released in the last few weeks. Along with that the whole website and mobile app were redesigned. The new focus is on protein as a holy grail type of nutrient. Foods with high protein content have had their points values reduced while foods with saturated fats and added sugars have increased – according to my leaders. I tested the new system recently and the foods that have helped me lose over 50 lbs. so far (now over 55!) barely fit into my daily points target! I could not imagine trying to lose weight with the new program while also eating healthfully!

In defense of WW, they do still have their Simply Filling plan. That plan allows unlimited food from a specific list (most fruits and veggies, all whole grains, fat free dairy, lean meats, eggs, and two teaspoons of oil per day along with a few selected processed grain products like whole wheat pasta and light bread) until satiety is reached. I love the idea of intuitive eating and always encourage other members to give this plan a try. I tell everyone in the meetings that I follow a modified version of this program – no meat, dairy, eggs, or oils. Since I am consistently losing weight I know some people are interested in how and I love to push whole plant foods! Veggies, potatoes, grains, fruits, it all helps!

With the new points structure, though, I am truly worried about the health of all the members. One lady was counting out the points of her breakfast. She used Trader Joe’s 98% fat free ham and three slices were 0 points. She was so happy because she likes ham and it is helping her lose weight and all that nonsense. Of course, losing a few pounds over the course of a week does not mean much in the grand scheme of things. It could be fat, it could be water, it could be muscle, it could be fecal matter. It only matters when weight is steadily and consistently lower.

Then, of course, there is the issue of eating ham at all. The World Health Organization classified processed meats in the same category of carcinogens as cigarettes. This means that every single slice of ham, bacon, or turkey is causing DNA damage that can lead to cancer if the body is not successfully able to reverse the damage before it grows new, mutated cells. Our bodies fight as hard as they can, but when we eat these foods everyday, several times a day, we are tipping the balance to favor the cancer cells.

Having foods like this cost so little in terms of points values creates a false sense of value. They are tasty. They are low in points. We should eat more foods like these. WW has created a system in which it is essentially “free” to eat foods known to be carcinogenic. I tested my oatmeal once and the one bowl of just oats was 13 points! This is crazy.

I think I’m going to give it a few more weeks before I make my decision. I love my friends and the support I get when I am facing a truly challenging situation. I love the staff members who make the meetings. Each of them offers a beautiful piece of the mosaic that is my support team. But the focus on protein – specifically animal protein – is truly sickening in every sense of the word.

Have you ever gone to Weight Watchers? What do you think of protein intake? Do you have a special support network who help you with your struggles? Let’s talk in the comments!

 

Are you a vegetarian or an omnivore? And what is the difference between those endings?

As you probably know by now, I am following the McDougall Program. If you haven’t heard of this, please go check it out. I’ll wait.

One thing I noticed when looking at this is that people call themselves omnivores often and occasionally carnivores. Yet people following a plant-based diet are referred to as vegetarian and extremists are vegans. And Dr. McDougall calls himself a starchivore.

It got me thinking, what is the difference between -ivore and -itarian?

Turns out there’s a big difference. Anything that eats the foods it has evolved to eat and is nutritionally dependent on has the suffix -ivore while -itarian denotes a conscious choice. Cats like lions and tigers are carnivores. They are dependent on specific nutrients they can only get through a diet of meats, organs, bones, and connective tissues.

Dogs are a little more versatile. Foxes eat apples, berries, and other fruits along with eggs, insects, and small animals. They are true omnivores. They get nutrition they need from both animal and plant foods.

Humans are primates. We are specifically part of the Great Ape category. Which begs the question of what Great Apes eat. While there are some animal foods, gorillas eat mostly plant foods. If they can grow as big and strong as they do eating fruits, shoots, and barks with some ants and their larvae in for good measure, why do we insist that we need to eat as much meat as we do? And should we even really eat meat?

As I have previously discussed, meat is not healthy for humans to eat. Neither are eggs or dairy for that matter. So are we truly omnivores as many like to call themselves? And are those who choose to eat only plant foods vegetarians (or worse, vegans)? Or are we actually herbivores – or even starchivores – and those who choose to eat meat are omnitarians?

I’ll be honest, though. I like the ring of starchitarian. I think it just sounds nice. And maybe that’s what I am since I focus my diet on cooked whole starch foods like grains, potatoes, and hard skinned squashes. Maybe the true herbivores are the raw vegans who eat fruits and veggies predominantly.

How do you define your eating patterns? Has this changed how you describe yourself? Let’s talk!

New year, new me?

I am still way behind mentally. I feel like it’s September, maybe October. I cannot believe that we are already a few DAYS into 2016.

I am not one for resolutions, though. I have never made a new year’s resolution in my life. I just don’t see the point in trying to do something to drastically improve my life after binge drinking into a coma. I also don’t drink very much. Maybe I just don’t have the hang of this whole New Year’s Eve thing…

I did, however, set a goal for myself. I made it down below 300 lbs. before the end of 2015. I actually did it a little before the end! Go me!

My goal for 2016 is to get below 200 lbs.

I know I will get there. It takes a lot of patience and dedication, though.

Over new year’s I made cupcakes using a box of cake mix and a can of lime flavored seltzer water then adding a marshmallow to the top for s’mores flavored cupcakes. They turned out tasty. I haven’t had chocolate in several months so maybe that’s why I liked them so much. I kept eating them.

We also bought a 4 lb. tub of Red Vines. Between the cupcakes which had a little canola oil in the mix and the licorice that was fat free so totally okay to indulge in I way overdid it this weekend.

I hit my lowest weight since I started the HCLF diet ever on the morning of the 1st. I was 295.8. I was so excited. But then, treats happened. Today I was up to 299.8!

I have been very diligent about paying attention to what I’m eating and am making deliberate choices to support myself since then. I am also being conscious of my movements. Today is the first day my Vivosmart has given me a goal of over 10,000 steps and I am already almost there. Another trip through the store and a walk with the dog should do it!

While I refuse to engage in the silly tradition of setting unrealistic standards for myself that I only intend to break within a few months, I do believe in goals as a direction. I need that kind of planning or compass in my life. I know that my behaviors today set up the successes or failures of the end of the year.

That is why it is so important for me to choose healthy patterns and thought processes.

It is not easy. Goodness knows how much I want to just stuff candy in my mouth! Or ice cream. I am just in a funky mood that sets me off craving fatty, carb-laden treats. But I know that I need to choose my health over old habits.

I guess this is a new me after all. 🙂