Summer Series: Garden fresh salads

No one eats heavy meaty saucy carby food in the summer time.

It’s too darn hot and no one wants to feel that uncomfortable.

Russet and red potatoes are not often consumed in our home, but even less often in the summer time. Thick beef stews are also off the menu as well as heavy sauced dishes.

Oh, pasta! I will miss you. (Husband hates pasta so he’s OK. Whatev. Pasta rocks.)

Refreshing watermelon and cantaloupe, fresh berries and crunchy salads with whole cherry tomatoes are the perfect ingredients for summer meals.

And. I. Cannot. Wait.

When I was a little lass, my grandparents’ kitchen was filled with cut cantaloupe and honeydew, whole watermelons, grapes and cherries and chicken salads like you wouldn’t believe. Not only do I get to swim in summer, but I also get to stuff my face with summer!

Bonus!

Mediterranean menus remind me of summer. Fish, citrus, red wine… perfect!

According to EatingWell, making eight simple changes to how I cook, can make my dishes more Mediterranean.

Of course, I’ll have to use the proper cooking techniques and spices…

Eight Ways to Eat like a Mediterranean

  • Less butter and margarine, more olive, canola and walnut oil
  • Less red meat, more fish and chicken (Especially more fish.)
  • Eat veggies. All. Day. Long.
  • Eat whole grain bread, PASTA, rice and other grains
  • Forget snack food. Eat nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy (like Greek yogurt)
  • Dessert is fruit
  • Drink in moderation, but go ahead…

And the final change I need to make is to set aside enough time to savor every bite.

Summer time is time to slow down, relax and enjoy so eat slow and try this Mediterranean Salmon and Noodle Bowl.

Summer Series: Arm workouts

I am less than two weeks away from spending my Saturdays and Sundays enjoying the sunshine by my grandparents’ pool.

Less than two weeks away from taking afternoon walks.

Less than two weeks away from not worrying about school so I have time to enjoy sunshine and take afternoon walks.

And to show of my sexy summer arms!

Sexy summer arms take work! And, if I want to wear my go-to summer outfit –jeans, a ribbed tank and flip-flops –then I need to start building my biceps and toning my triceps.

Get your arms and shoulders ready for baring them to the summer sun –don’t forget the sunscreen –with these weight-bearing arm workouts.

An added benefit to building upper body strength is becoming a better runner. Runners with strong arms and shoulders better maintain speed through their races.

I want to run in the Prairie Fire 5K in October. I might consider running the half if I’m ready… and if have enough confidence to complete the 13.1-mile race.

My legs are stronger than my arms, and I need to work my arms harder, but I’m not completely weak.

Poker at my house plays for push-ups. I lost 15 last weekend and pumped out my push-ups like a big girl.

Fifteen worst foods at the supermarket

Rodale News, where health meets life, reported the 15 most pointless foods in the supermarket.

I am the grocery shopper at our household. Husband does not follow the list when grocery shopping and does not want to use coupons as devotedly as I do, which means I do all the grocery shopping unless I send him to the store for Taco Seasoning or something I forgot.

It’s a good system. I CONTROL ALL THE FOOD.

Since I make weekly grocery trips, I have seen some of the interesting food items lining the store shelves.

The pointless foods on the list were both obvious and shocking.

Mio Water Enhancer

Making your water flavorful and colorful (and, now, energy-full) ruins the pure goodness of water. Instead of adding artificial sweeteners and dyes, put a load of frozen berries or slices of citrus fruits in your water if you want to spice it up.

Smuckers Uncrustables

I will not speak to this. Do not eat this. Get your whole wheat bread, peanut butter and sweet sugary jam. Make a sandwich. Cut the crusts off.

Bagel-fuls

Bagel-fuls take bagel-like bread and stuff it with artificial fruit and Philadelphia cream cheese, which is the only ingredients I would eat on purpose.

Splenda Essentials with Antioxidants

I think the article is saying, “Eat the bloody antioxidants in the food they actually come in.” You will have berries or you will have nothing.

Yoplait Low-Fat Yogurt

Poor, poor Husband. I prefer non-fat organic Greek yogurt, but Husband is a Yoplait yogurt eating fiend.

Lucky Charms

How is this even on the list? Isn’t it a no-brainer?

Special K Cereal Bars

Insert any cereal bar here. Gross me out. Cereal bars don’t even taste good.

VitaMuffins Muffin Tops

I was unaware that this food item existed. It is just the top of a muffin. I like all of a muffin. Getting ripped off, if you ask me.

WhoNu? Nutrition Rich Cookies

Well, I have to say, I almost bought these on a craving-cookies day, and I had a coupon. I couldn’t find them in the store that day, but when I did find them, I found them in the natural food section. WhoNu? cookies have refined flour…

Chocolate Milk with Omega-3’s

It’s enriched sugary milk. Just eat some fish.

Bottled Water

‘Nuf said.

Fruitless Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is full of sugar, artificial sugar and fake colors and flavors. You could just eat fruit. An apple a day…

Neuro Sun

What even is this stuff? Vitamin D…

Single Serve Coffee Pods

The idea of a single serve coffee pod is pointless. I need multiple servings of coffee. Wasteful.

PediaSure Shakes

As a source of over nutrition, the shake is as bad as it is good. I will force feed my children fish and asparagus and Brussels sprouts… and buy them milkshakes, which are totes better that nutrition shakes.

A list of food items that might not even be considered real food. Discontinue the eating of these foods and replace them with real food. (Yoplait yogurt will likely be a staple in my household for the rest of my Husband’s life so I can’t really say much…)

Do you have pointless foods to add to the list?

Eating white rice increases diabetes risk

According to Runner’s World and a study in The British Medical Journal, regular consumption of white rice increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers identified a connection between white rice consumption and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes in Asian and Western populations. Rice has been a staple in Asian cuisine for years, but the increase in type 2 diabetes is recent.

An unfortunate aspect of our modern lifestyle is inactivity.

For example, as a marketing specialist, I sit at a desk working on a computer five days a week. I go to the gym 2-3 times a week and take walks every day to counteract the amount of sitting I do, but I am still largely inactive compared to our ancestors.

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, but you are more likely to develop the disease if you eat an unhealthy diet, are inactive or sedentary and have a family history of the disease, among other factors.

…and if you eat white rise apparently.

Rice is a staple in our household, too. We eat rice with Kung Pao Chicken, Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken with Spinach and Peanuts and Creamy Dijon Chicken. I also make white rice when I have to “invent” dinner, which means we’re running out of food in the house and I start throwing stuff together to make a meal.

I often make steamed vegetables and rice and cover it in Sriracha or something equally spicy and delicious.

Husband might just have to get used to eating brown rice and quinoa in place of white rice in our go-to side dishes. Luckily, white rice is easily replaced in most dishes.

Recipe planning and grocery shopping

I planned our meals for the week using store specials and coupons.

should have used my recipes, but I felt too lazy to comb through them. I tried to use SiansPlan, but the website is still under construction.

SiansPlan allows users to input their own recipes, which is what I tried to do but failed because of a few website malfunctions. Once the recipes are input, users can click on the recipe and get the shopping list.

It is pure genius.

I am excited for the website to be up and running like a well-oiled, time-saving machine!

Sian from SiansPlan even commented on my earlier blog post:

Hi Shae,

Just stumbled upon your blog post. Really glad that you like our idea (Siansplan.com) and hope that you enjoy using it! We are early stages still but working hard to improve every day. We’ve got big ideas, and believe that we can really make a fantastic product. If you have any tips for us, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for the mention!

Sian

I plan on inputting the recipes I use most often first, and then adding recipes as I go.

Hey. I might cook shrimp well one day.

Might.

However, because of laziness, I planned our meals based on coupons and store specials…

…and I did a darn good job of it! Last Saturday, I got in an hour-long grocery trip during which I followed my list, my coupons and made good decisions as to what was and was not a good deal.

Check. This. Out.

First, I listed the items we needed. I always buy apples, bananas and yogurt.

Next, I listed items I needed and items that matched my coupons. I needed Greek yogurt, and I had coupons for Yoplait! I did not, however, buy the expensive coffee. I bought the cheap stuff (but I argued with myself about it).

I also listed store specials I wanted. While I didn’t buy everything listed here, I did buy mangoes, feta, almonds and some other items!  I couldn’t find the avocados…

Bonus points? While I was browsing recipes this weekend, I found three recipes that I can make using the ingredients I purchased on Saturday! Go me!

I said I’d report to you my Fooducate scores. However, when you’re already reading labels word-for-word and clogging up store aisles, you can’t really start scanning your items with your smartphone app, Fooducate. Instead, I’m going to scan the items before I eat them and share my findings if I find anything interesting.

How long do you spend at the grocery store? Are you one of those people like I am?

An amateur gardener and an inspiration to others

Compost soil and plant food at Carpenter Place in Wichita KansasThat, friends, is a huge pile of dirt.

A huge pile of dirt I got to play in today!

Planting fruits, vegetables and herbs at Carpenter Place in Wichita Kansas

To celebrate Earth Day, I joined a group of volunteers to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs at Carpenter Place, a residential center for girls in crisis in Wichita, Kan.

Planting a garden at Carpenter Place in Wichita Kansas

Diets In Review applied for and received a grant from Kalso Earth Shoes for an Earth Day Project. Our project was to plant a garden for the girls and house parents at Carpenter Place.

Planting a garden at Carpenter Place in Wichita KansasNot only did I get to play with dirt and help Girl Scouts pot and plant herbs (omg. so cute.), I also got to meet John Thompson.

John Thompson, you ask? Who’s that?

John Thompson lost 155 pounds using Biggest Loser productsThis, friends, is John Thompson (king of acidified compost dirt).

Thompson lost 185 pounds by making small changes to his lifestyle and eating habits. Diets In Review featured his inspiring weight loss story in January. He’s somewhat of a celebrity. (I know a celebrity! Kinda…)

Thompson did not jump head first into weight loss. He didn’t go all-or-nothing. He made small changes to his lifestyle. He slowly adapted his eating habits –one healthy swap at a time. And, with healthy weight loss, you have to take it slow.

Thompson is 15 pounds away from his weight loss goal, and after he reaches 200 pounds, he doesn’t to plan to stop.

While Thompson had a lot of weight to lose, I understand that you might only have a little weight to lose. Perhaps you simply want to tone your body or be healthier. Whatever your end goal is, making small, simple changes to your lifestyle is the best way to go about it.

I want to lose 10 pounds and/or tone my body to a point where my pants aren’t too snug when I sit and my shirts don’t inch up when I walk –whichever happens first!

The best way for me to lose weight and tone up is to make small changes to my lifestyle. No more soda, more water. Less sitting, more moving. Moderate amounts of TV time, more amounts of gym time. And, as always, patience.

I also featured the Carpenter Place story on Storify! On Storify, you can read tweets from Diets In Review and other volunteers!

How did you celebrate Earth Day?

Do you have an inspiring weight loss story to share?

Fitbit: A dashboard for life

Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean, one of my favorite blogs, posted an introduction to Fitbit last week (Friday, April 13).

After a bit of research, I have decided that I want a Fitbit (Ultra).

Source: fitbit.com via Yonatan on Pinterest

 

A Fitbit is a small health-tracking device that can be worn on a shirt or on the waistband of your pants. The Fitbit tracks your health and fitness by tracking how many steps (miles, flights of stairs) you’ve taken as well as how many calories you’ve burned. At night, the Fitbit is worn around the wrist in a wristband to track your sleep cycle.

Much like an iPhone, the Fitbit connects with your computer through a dock. Whenever the Fitbit is within 15 feet of the connected dock, it will sync with the computer.

The Fitbit dashboard is where the tool gets really cool. You can log your fitness, your food and your weight on the dashboard, and the Fitbit automatically logs your steps, stairs, calories, etc. when it syncs.

I am amazed with the Fitbit’s ability to track sleep cycles so well that it knows exactly how much sleep a person gets at night and how many times he or she was awakened.

I. Want. This. Thing.

Unfortunately, the Fitbit is not cheap. For $99.95, I can have all of the awesome benefits of knowing how many steps I’ve taken and how many calories I’ve burned. Of course, the Fitbit is much cheaper than a Garmin

Do you use tools like the Fitbit? What do you recommend as a good tracking tool?