All posts by Paula

Professional Dieter and lifestyle writer

Corona munchies

Air popped popcorn seasoned with butter, salt, pepper and “Bone sucking sauce” seasoning. Photo by Somashekar 2020

It’s 3/21/20 – all hell has about broken lose or so it feels like it. Corona virus has struck most of the globe and has started impacting the US. My town’s public schools closed about 10 days ago. Kids in my town are doing “distance learning”. It’s not a perfect system, but at least it’s something. Office workers have started working from home (assuming that they weren’t laid off), restaurants are not allowed to have in dining (some have laid off staff), small businesses have closed because they are not considered essential (more layoffs). New York city closed public schools and businesses – the last time something of this magnitude happened, it was 9/11. Over this weekend many states enacted “stay at home orders” and “social distancing”. IT’S ALL VERY CRAZY AND STRESSFUL to say the least!!!!

A lot of people will probably regret their atrocious behaviors in the past week and weeks to come. Our humanity is definitely being tested, the best and worst in all of us is coming out. This is very reminiscent of Lord of the Flies written in 1954 by William Golding. If you have forgotten or never read it, pick it up!

We are all under confinement for the next 11 days, and on social media there are neighbors and community members ostracizing other community members for not adhering to the 6′ distance rule or for being outside. The grocery stores are ravaged. You would think the world is coming to end. Meanwhile, there are people falling ill globally from the flu and other diseases, and we have little compassion for those in our community.

Our basic freedom of movement and ability to go where ever we want are being slowly taken away. People don’t see a problem with this. Rumors are spreading like wild fires about National Guard roaming our streets. Meanwhile, my county has luckily only 203 positive cases (as of 3/21/20) or 41 in my town alone. This is pale in comparison to 10,000 cases in NY state or over 3,000 in New York City alone! I find it very irrational to think that the President or even our Governor would say that my town has a more urgent need for assistance over people in New York City.

Needless to say, all of this is not easy for emotional eaters like myself. I have to say after a week, I think I’m starting to get back in control. I’ve been cooking meals, which I’ll be sharing shortly. Tonight’s snack of popcorn hit the spot with a glass of wine! I used a “Hotpop“, it’s a silicon bowl that you use in the microwave and it makes popcorn with NO oil! The popcorn is popped in a few minutes. I tossed with a pat of butter, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of “Bone sucking sauce” seasoning. It was crunchy, a little salty and had a hint of spice – hitting the spot.

I have to find little things to ground me. Going for walks and feeling the sun, hearing birds and being reminded that life is still going on. Hopefully warm weather will come soon and I’ll be gardening again. People around me are very anxious and stressed about the uncertainty of what’s coming next. No one knows, do we ever? But, I can’t help to think that I don’t want to look back and say, “WOW, I was an asshole!”. Hope you try this munchie out and it helps you get connected to the old you before corona virus turned your life upside down.

What are we? Human? Or animals? Or savages? – W. Golding

Exercise is not enough!

I was watching a video from Dr. Amy Lee.  She provides substantiated research.

My commentary on the foods are the following:

Yogurt (interesting because I’ve stopped eating this for the past 2 weeks and have felt terrific!)

Wheat bread! Thank goodness this is on the list – I hate this and always have a hard time digesting this.  The high fructose corn syrup added to make the bread, it also causes weight gain. According to Dr. Lee, this ingredient interrupts with the chemical reactions in your brain that keeps you from feeling full.  She also mentions that it is addicting – this is a very interesting point.

Cereal bars because of the sugars added to them, are a no go for me – corn syrup, fructose, sugar.

Dr. Lee’s approach is to tackle a  lifestyle via digestive system. Less energy = poor digestion = weight gain. Focus is on digestive health. The 4 natural fat loss helpers and foods to avoid, according to Dr. Lee are:

  1. Food preservative – it prevents food from being digested or nutrients from being absorbed by our bodies. The solution to fight preservation, amalyse, bromelian and lipase (digestive enzymes before you eat).  I used to take this when I had asthma flair up, it did make a difference. I haven’t tried her brand.
  2.  Bad gut bacteria – candida or yeast. Candida grows from sugar and then prevents nutrient absorption.  To combat this, take probiotics. I took this when I was pregnant because I couldn’t handle yogurts.  She warns against cheap probiotics. Look for those that  contain 10 unique strains, 10 B colony units per capsule. I haven’t tried her brand and will follow up on review of it.
  3. Overeating.  What can I say, guilty on this.  I’ve tried a few different things – portion control, drinking water, timing when I eat – smaller/more frequent meals throughout the day. The best one so far, eat a large salad first! Romain, celery, cucumber, tomato, pepper, thrown in another one to two veggie – keep dressing to a minimum.  Then eat your portion controlled meal. Romain lettuce and celery are loaded with fiber, so you will feel full!
  4. Slow metabolism – EGCG (green tea extract) stimulates metabolism and combined with exercises, can act as a boost when taken 30 minutes prior to exercise.
  5. She recommends avoiding the following carb, olestra or olean! I have stayed away from this for many years. It prevents absorption of vitamins in the body.

And the catch to all this information – it’s a promotion for a BIO X-4 supplement!  I have misgivings about buying supplements online and then not from a reputable retailer.  I was buying my supplements from Willner Chemist in NYC.   Her video goes on to promote her supplement – BIO X-4. How do you tell the difference between a commercial and true information – research, research, research.  I went onto  find reviews of the product and learned that perhaps in combination all of these may not be good for you. I know from taking digestive enzymes – you should take before food, not after. Probiotics are good on an empty stomach.  I haven’t taken caralluma fimbriata.  You can drink green tea rather than take extracted supplements.

In my quest, I’ve found that “dieting”  is temporary.  Dr. Lee isn’t the first person to suggest a lifestyle approach.  One daily step, focus on one new habit you can make towards your healthy lifestyle.

What is the hype around quinoa, amaranth and lentils?

Everywhere I go I see quinoa all around and hear  how good it is. What is it the hype about? First of all, when you search quinoa there is a proliferation of bloggers discussing it and not a lot of what I would call “research” on it.  I wanted to understand how this could be good for you?!

Continue reading What is the hype around quinoa, amaranth and lentils?

Mediterranean white bean and kale soup

This soup is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.  It is a great source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals (thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese).  The base of the soup is a vegetable broth, so this is vegan and gluten free as well. You can make the broth the night before leaving the vegetables and then reheating the next day and removing the vegetables. Soaking the vegetables overnight will deepen the broth flavor.  Start soaking the beans overnight until you need them in the afternoon the next day. Continue reading Mediterranean white bean and kale soup

Make ahead, kale and quinoa Salad

I would categorize kale as a super food.  Kale and members of the Brassica family, are  rich in many minerals and vitamins. It has  anti-viral nutrients, rich with  anti-oxidants such as  polyphenolic flavonoid, vitamins A,B-6, C, K, and minerals.  Scientists have found that these foods  can help support and lower the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, inflammation and oxidative stress. Continue reading Make ahead, kale and quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Black Bean and Chourico (Chorizo) Soup

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This is a simple portuguese soup to make on a cold snowy day or as my mom would do, when she needed a cleanse.  Sounds like she was ahead of her time with what is now known as soup diets!  After researching the benefits of beans and kale, her cleansing feeling makes complete sense.  I have replaced red beans with black beans, as they provide way more nutrients. Black beans provides a punch of  phytonutrients such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which help prevent disease. It has a  high protein – plus – fiber content; 1 cup of black beans give you 15 gram of fiber and protein! Black beans also support healthy digestive track. The soluble fiber has also been found to reduce heart attacks! This is a superfood, if you ask me. Continue reading Mediterranean Black Bean and Chourico (Chorizo) Soup

Why weight loss suppressant isn’t for me…

Part of week 3 involved starting an appetite suppressant, Phentermine. It is prescribed by the doctor. It is considered a stimulant according to Drugs.com.   I hesitated a few days to take it because of the listed side effects. Generally, I am sensitive to medications and in this case, this is one that I will not be taking again. The way I felt outweighed the benefit for me. I am struggling on a daily basis to make the right healthy choices, I can’t feel sick while I’m doing it.

Continue reading Why weight loss suppressant isn’t for me…

And the winner is….

According to US News, the best rated real food diet is DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). 2016 panelists’ found the DASH diet  to be a sound diet without restrictions and has foods that we (North Americans) are accustomed to eating.  What’s interesting is that according to DASH.org, the diet “can be considered an Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet”.  It so happens, that Mediterranean diet is ranked #2.

I was curious about the DASH diet, and on their website, they have 3 different iterations…talk about a marketing genius!  They are Original, Weight Loss and Vegatarian. Geez, this  customized plan covers all the options out there.

Digging deeper, I found a newer diet called the MIND diet, this is a hybrid between DASH and Mediterranean.  What I find interesting is the statistic from a 2015 study, that  out of 900 participants, 54% of them where less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared to 39% of those on DASH. The Mediterranean dieters were 53% less likely. The MIND diet, consist of plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and six servings a day of leafy greens.

This is insane, all these diet options – how do you know which one is right for you?  Working with your doctor can help simplify options, but definitely consider one that you can stick with longterm, make it your Lifestyle Plan.

 

Diet train doesn’t always go both ways

My husband isn’t on the diet train. If I cook something he likes, he’ll eat it.  I won’t make two meals, so sometimes the table will have my meal and then his meal.  My son most times has a combo of mine and his.  I can’t expect him to enjoy cauliflower, humus and lettuce for lunch vs an Italian hero. Although, I have to say it was a delicious lunch and I suggest it.   However, what a contrast and you know what?  IT’S OK!  I have to accept that there will be times when I am eating healthier than everyone else.

Hey, I started working out and I gained WHAT?

I’ve been using the “Lose It” app – this is cool. I’ve lost 4 pounds after 2 weeks,  and I think I’m doing great! At the end of the second week, I started working out.  I signed up for Orange Theory (OT). My first work out was great – I burned 403 calories, I walked and did some weights. It a lot like my  old work out but, a little bit less intense.   Continue reading Hey, I started working out and I gained WHAT?