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Sunday, January 30, 2011

What 400 calories looks like..

I'll admit it. I chose clothes shopping over grocery shopping today. So when I got home ravenous from a long day of shopping, I was stuck with two options - frozen food or delivery. It was close.. sushi was calling my name - practically dialing my number - ordering me!!, BUT, I resisted and went with the freezer fare instead. It was delicious. Here's what I had:

PC Blue Menu Crunchy Chicken Breast

I love these. They're great. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Done. They're crunchy and delicious. They're great dipped in Ketchup or PC Blue Menu low calorie Plum Sauce.

One chicken breast has 170 calories and only 3 g grams of fat.

McCain Sweet Potato Fries

   I really love these. Crispy, flavourful. Here's the nutrition:

Not bad! 85 grams for 150 calories with 4 grams of fiber. To give you an idea of what 85 grams looks like, a bag of small McDonald's French Fries is 71 grams. So.. picture dumping a bag of small fries on your plate. It's not a huge portion but good enough to hit the spot.

Baby zucchini

Well I did manage to find one fresh thing in my fridge. Mini zucchini. I simply chopped off the ends, sliced them in half lengthwise and popped them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes to steam. I then added some salt. Done. Phew.. at least I included some green with my makeshift meal.

So, all said and done, here's what a lazy Sunday night dinner looked like for a total of 400 calories:

Alright so this isn't the best picture and it certainly doesn't do justice to how tasty the meal actually was (I should have laid it on a bed of greens and cut open the chicken and hired a food time). But, I have included it anyways because it reminds us what 400 calories really looks like. Not that much. So, here's the takeaway:

The  next time your plate is overflowing with a large piece of meat, chicken or fish covered in sauce (mine was the size of my hand and had no sauce), fried potatoes or rice covering half your plate (my baked fries took up only 1/4 of the plate), and sauteed vegetables covered in butter or oil (mine were steamed and had only a sprinkle of salt), don't kid yourself. Your meal probably has double the calories; 800. The truth hurts baby.

Now, for comparison's sake, had I ordered sushi, here's what I could have had for 400 calories:

Option 1: Spicy Tuna Maki Roll (with a few tempura bits in it) + 1 miso soup = approx 400 calories
Option 2: 3 pieces of tuna (30 calories/piece) and 3 pieces salmon sashimi (50 calories/piece) + 1 single person order edamame (150 calories) = approx 400 calories
Option 3: 1 Spicy Tuna Roll wrapped in cucumber *no rice (150 calories), 1 order salmon sashimi (150 calories), 1 miso soup and 1 wakame salad (100 calories) = 400 calories

Why did I choose 400 as the magic number? It just happened based on my meal. But -- if you have a 300 calorie breakfast, 400 calorie lunch, and 400 calorie dinner, it leaves room for two 200 calorie snacks for you to arrive at 1500 calorie/day, which in my experience, is the typical daily allotment for adults to lose weight comfortably yet see the results they crave.

Bon appetit! (Eat slowly. It helps.) 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tea Time!

After a meal, if you crave something sweet, soothing, comforting, and warm.. that smells delicious and takes time to enjoy and savor.. and has virtually no calories.. TRY DAVID's TEA!!

This is a new discovery for me. I was offered a cup last night after dinner at a friend's. It was divine. Why haven't I heard of this?? After loving the experience of sipping my dessert tea, I began my research. **if you're trying to lose weight, this is a must. It will totally help with tendencies to snack on sweets after meals.

The first shop opened in Montreal in 2008. Since then, an online store has been launched as well as 40 or so stores across Canada.

The teas come in a variety of unique and exotic flavors (Forever Nuts, Read my Lips, Baked Apple, and Chocolate Chili Chai are top sellers). They're loose teas, which would have scared me away in the past, but my friend showed me how easy these were to contend with when you use the right accessories -- "the perfect tea mug," for example. They sell tea accessories, such as the mug, online or at the store and this mug is a must. It has the infuser that fits right inside and a lid that fits perfectly on top. And it's all dishwasher safe. This mug takes the intimidation factor right out of loose tea infusion confusion.

Anyhow, if you're looking for a new treat to get you through the long winter, try David's Tea. Thumbs up bigtime.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Add flavour minus the calories! Lots of suggestions!!

Hi everyone!
Happy belated New Year! Hope 2011 is off to a fantastic start. Mine is - except for this nasty, unrelenting cold/flu virus that I can't seem to shake. I'm calling it the Energizer Bug.. it just keeps going and going and going.. headache, congestion, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and pains, oh my!.. and no of course I'm not mad; I'm not one to point fingers (but just saying... I saw dozens of walk-in clinic patients before the holidays and take the subway daily and nothing.. until a certain someone sneezed on me (you know who you are grrr)..  Anyhow, the point of this immune failure admission is as follows:

I think it's helped me better empathize with patients and readers who have abandoned healthy eating or hit roadblocks claiming that 'diet' food just doesn't taste like anything.

I haven't been able to taste food for a few days now. And it has totally taken the pleasure out of eating! Why would anybody want this? It's not worth it. I get it. Better to be overweight than not taste and enjoy your food. If switching from high fat, high sugar, high salt foods to healthier options really results in this relative apparent lack of taste, akin to how I'm feeling now with this flu, then woah, no wonder people often give up so quickly. Here's the thing..

It's temporary. Just like taste buds and smell come back once the cold passes, the taste of food comes back once your palate adjusts to the new diet. Our taste receptors are desensitized after years of overpowering them with processed foods loaded with salt, fat and sugar. When we remove the high solute load, things can taste a little bland while our taste bud sensitivity is adjusting. Don't give up. Recognize that this is just a temporary adjustment period. Remember how you felt the first time you tried beer or wine or a martini or a cup of coffee -- gross!! Pungent. Buy hey, my guess is you just may have stuck with it. Well let's give the good stuff a chance just like we did the bast stuff.

To help you through this adjustment period, I've suggested some flavor enhancers below that you can use while incorporating these new suggested foods and beverages into your healthy lifestyle. Before long, you won't even need them.

Egg Whites: Yes it's worth it. Yes it saves major calories. A whole egg typically has about 100 calories - 20 from the white, 80 from the yolk. The white is the protein. The yolk is the fat. DITCH the yolk and reap major calorie saving benefits!! Try some of following to help you adjust:

1. Add two tbsp of real bacon bits to your egg white omelet while it's cooking (60 calories)
2. Add two tbsp of parmesan cheese like PC Blue Menu 100% grated parmesan cheese (50 calories)
3. Herbs (chopped parsley, chives, basil, sage, and thyme all work well (0 calories)
4. Add two tbsp crumbled light feta cheese (80 calories)
5. Add two tbsp Ketchup (30 calories)
6. Add 1 yolk (80 calories)

*** careful not to add all of them.. the calories will add up faster than your cell phone minutes..

Water: Yes it's important. Yes it helps you feel full and yes it's been proven to hasten weight loss. DRINK it! If you have trouble getting it down, try the following:

1. Boil it, squeeze a lemon in and sip it
2. Drink it at room temperature (easier to digest and drink high volume than cold water)
3. Drink it carbonated.. Buy cans of soda water (it's amazing how you can start craving this and feeling like it's actually a treat) or flavored Perrier (lemon, lime, or my favorite - Grapefruit)
4. Buy naturally flavored calorie free (and artificial sweetener free - **these can trigger sugar cravings) varieties: Metromint (peppermint, spearmint, orange, chocolate, cherry.. YUM!) is my favorite brand; Hint water is also good

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk: Yes it's delicious. Yes it's an absolute staple for me. It can actually quench thirst and hunger and it's the perfect magic drink to tide you over when you're feeling hungry but not ready for your meal yet. If you're not yet ready to just enjoy a cup as a treat on its own, try the following:

1. Stir in 1 tsp of instant coffee grinds (decaf or regular). Stir for a few minutes as the grinds take some time to dissolve in the cold beverage. You can add ice if you like and blend for an iced coffee treat. Top with Gay Lea Real Whip Cream Light (4 tbsp, i.e. shake the canister and spray a big dollop = 30 calories).

2. Add 1 scoop protein powder and 1/2 cup frozen berries and blend. Delish.

Rabbit Food: Men seem to call vegetables this. I guess they think those hot chicks they're gawking at are rabbits then. CUZ veggies are what those chicks are eating to keep svelte!! (FYI.. why are women called chicks? Cuz they/we're cute? Cuz breasts, thighs, legs are delicious? Food for wasted thought). Anyhow, to make veggies more palatable, try the following:

1. Steam and then put in blender in batches with chicken stock, garlic salt, and pepper. Excellent with broccoli, mushrooms, cauliflower.. (adds negligible calories)
2. Add some delicious, exotic ingredients to add taste and punch to your salad. No one likes just bare lettuce sitting on a plate. Yuck. Experiment. When you add extra ingredients with flavor, you can skip the high fat dressing. Just some salt, pepper, and low calorie dressing mixed with balsamic or flavored vinegar can work magic and save you heaps of calories. Remember.. just because olive oil is healthy, a tbsp will set you back 14 g of fat and 120 calories. If you add 3 tbsp of oily dressing, you may as well have just had a Big Mac on your salad. Watch the dressing. Try these ingredients:

1. Hearts of Palm, canned, so good (negligible calories)
2. Corn niblets (1/4 cup = 70 calories)
3. 1 bag Sensible Foods apple chips (they come in other fruits as well) = 80 calories
4. 1/4 medium avocado (70 calories)
5. 2 tbsp cranraisins (50 calories)
6. Add cucumber slices, shredded carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms to your heart's content (negligible calories)

** watch out for cheese, nuts, and seeds -- they can add MAJOR calories that just ain't worth it for a salad! If you're going to use them, measure portion size and be forewarned.