Sunday, July 12, 2020

Creative Healthy Cooking Has Some Great Benefits


During this pandemic that seems to just go on and on and on...there are some ways to have some benefits that my husband and I have discovered. We always have loved cooking together, as well as discovering new recipes. As we listen to friends sharing that they are gaining weight while being quarantined and staying at home, we were determined that we were not going to spoil our weight loss roll that we were on before this pandemic came along. 

It is so easy to just go to the pantry or fridge to grab whatever you want to eat, even when you are not really hungry. Both of us started taking stock of what we had already in the pantry and fridge. We read up on what is a healthy life style and we have stuck with it. During the pandemic we are more mindful of what we order at the grocery weekly and plan more meals thoughtfully so as not to waste fresh fruits and vegetables. Neither one of us can go by someone else's meal plan. It has to be set by us. We began searching out healthy low-carb recipes and sometimes we can substitute some ingredients in order to keep it a low carb meal. For example, instead of white flour, we use almond flour. 

This was a way to be creative together. The benefits we are seeing is by the pounds going down on the scale and even better? Clothes in our wardrobes are becoming too big on us. Both of us are wearing things that we have not worn in quite some time. It is a wonderful feeling to put on a whole new outfit. I am even discovering that some that I have not worn for quite some time are even getting too large for me. So I have had to purchase a few things on line to make up for what has had to go in a bag. 

The way that we started this was to read up on what is healthy for us to eat. We did not want to be on a "diet." It must be a "lifestyle." Diets will work if we stick to them but once we go back to eating what got us where we were, we will go back to that same weight again. Been there. Done that. Mindset to lifestyle!

People that I talked to that have been able to keep their weight off are aware of what they are eating. It is a balance. Cutting back on carbs is essential. Both of us did not know if we would be able to give up breads, pastas and potatoes. Guess what? We have. How? There are some low carb alternatives out there. Yes, most of them are a bit more expensive, but we don't have them everyday. It is just nice to give ourselves a treat of spaghetti and meatballs now and then. There is no problem with the meatballs or the marinara sauce. It was the pasta. Finding a low carb pasta on line was a dream come true, especially when we tried it and it was delicious. Same thing with bagels and breads. A toasted bagel or slice of toast  to go with our eggs and bacon just makes everything alright.

There is an app that we both use with our FitBit. All we must do is log in what we eat and it magically takes care of the net carbs, protein, fats (good and bad), calories, as well as other minerals and vitamins. At a glance, we can see what we did for the day. Keeping our carbs to around 20-50 a day is really not so hard. The next thing we watch out for is to eat enough protein, fats and vegetables. Each meal should have some of each. High protein also reduces cravings. Things like meats, seafoods and eggs are essential. Low carb veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, celery, spinach, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, asparagus, lettuces, and cucumbers are great additions to add to our meals. It is important to not buy all in one grocery trip. They are perishable so this is where the meal planning comes in to play.

This is a picture of my romaine lettuce that grows very tall, I harvest it by cutting about the top third off and it continues to grow in my Aerogarden. There have been recalls on romaine and I really crave it in my salads. I even wrap my hamburger in it, using it as the bun. So now we have pesticide free romaine and even better is that it is not recalled for e-coli. 

Healthy fats are also essential. We have switched to only using olive, coconut, avocado oils, and real butter. Avocados are also in the healthy fat list. YUM!

I do know that weight is lost a bit faster if you throw in exercise, even if it is not strenuous. I have some weights by my desk that I use and I love my DVD on Tai Chi. I really should get back to my recumbent bike. Steve has his workouts that he does daily also. 

Sometimes it helps to have a 'carb refeed' day once a week. For me, it has to be still in the high range of 50 carbs. I try to stick closer to 30. It has been noted by some scientists that counting calories does not really matter. Well, to a woman of a certain age who has hypothyroid, it does matter. Therefore, I do love my FitBit app that tells me how many I have eaten.

Another treat that I have given to myself is a Combo Meal Replacement and Loaded Tea. These are Herbalife dealers who have opened shops around the area and make their own specialties. We have tried a few of them but no one is as good as Wild Nutrition.

The small cup is the meal replacement shake. This one is called Bahama Breeze. It is 250 calories of protein. The tall cup is the loaded tea. This one is called Jimmy Buffet and it has added immunities and vitamins. The teas only have 24 calories and give you a boost for the day. I am loving that on the days we take our dogs to Doggie Day Care once or twice a week, that just a block over, we can stop and pick up a Combo for take out. Masks must be worn and the owners are so meticulous in following all of the CDC guidelines.

This is the lifestyle that works for us and we can see the benefits. Creative outlet for ourselves and healthier bodies.

Caprese Salad 
(tomato slice with slice of mozzerella drizzled with balsamic glaze)

Chicken Parmesan

Italian Salad with Salami and Mozzerella Pearls

Surf and Turf

Only a handful of some creative ways we have pulled teamwork together to help us get through this pandemic healthy. We definitely are far off from the Before picture and not quite to the After picture. We are work in progress and having fun doing it together. We tend to not think of the last picture as the after picture, more like the way our minds and bodies are set to live a long and healthy life.

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