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Archive for the ‘Live and Let Diet’ Category

Photo by Rex SorgatzOh soda. What is it about you that makes you so hard to give up?

I’ve had a few conversations with friends about the challenges of giving up soda. It’s so familiar, it’s such a part of our lives. What else would you drink with a burger? At the movies? For that afternoon pick-me-up? It’s so very much second-nature to grab a soda, order a soda with work lunch, pay for gas and get a cold one. It’s a habit, one that is tough to quit.

There’s something about that cold, sugar-sweet beverage. Do a search for “quitting soda” and you’ll get 280,000 results! People have different reasons for quitting soda and there are a lot of bad things in soda. Carbonated water, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, flavorings, color…the list goes on.

There’s also the matter of soda being ubiquitous. Every other commercial on TV, signs in stores, vending machines, billboards, it’s availability at every turn, the list goes on. So, does it seem, do the soda marketing dollars.

So how do you quit? I quit soda once before for the year leading up to my son’s birth. It was easier that time because I was doing it for the health of my unborn child. This time I just have my health to do it for. Just my health. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty big important thing.

Photo by Tim NorrisSome people will tell you to wean yourself off soda, but I do better if I just cut the cord and go cold turkey. If I have one soda, then I start to feel bad about cheating and at the same time start working on convincing myself that if one was ok, then two wouldn’t be so bad… I recommend replacing soda with water. I like it very cold. I like it with lemon or lime. I also have some single serve drink mixes in my desk drawer at work for when I’m really craving something with flavor and there’s no fresh fruit around. The Crystal Light ones are pretty good. I do have a few Kool Aid tropical fruit punch singles too, for when it’s time to go hard-core. I’m not suggesting having these everyday, the ingredients in these are not exactly natural. But, at some point your going to crack and want a cold sugary soda. On that day, tear into your drink mix stash and feel good that you didn’t give into the soda temptation.

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A year and a half ago my parents gave me this blender for my birthday. It’s great. Mine came with 2 large travel cups with lids and I used it almost every day to make these yummy iced coffee drinks, which my mom knew I loved, so it was the perfect gift. I loved it.

However, as I have mentioned before, I like my coffee with loads of cream and sugar. Think melted coffee ice cream.

I saw Live and Let Diet when it first aired. In the show, Alton sings the praises of having a smoothie for breakfast and shares his recipe. Based on that show, I decided to retire the coffee drinks and change over to fruit-based smoothies. My recipe is a little different from Alton’s so I thought I’d share it. I don’t measure, so these are approximate and make 1 large smoothie.

1 1/2 cups frozen fruit
1/3 cup of yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons of wheat germ
3/4 cup of pomegranate juice
fill rest of cup with another kind of fruit juice

Blend on low until fruit is chopped up, then blend on high for 30 seconds or so. Drink with a straw, it’s more fun.

I get frozen fruit at Walmart. I can’t find it on line to link to, so it’s possible it’s not available in all areas, but here’s a photo of it. It’s not organic, but it is, as it says on the bag, a great value. It doesn’t include bananas which is important to me, bananas always overpower smoothies in my opinion. It’s a combination of strawberries, peaches, mango and pineapple. I also sometimes throw in some frozen blueberries.

For yogurt I usually use Stonyfield french vanilla yogurt because I believe in the company, the yogurt is good tasting, it’s organic and from Vermont New Hampshire*.

I love wheat germ. That is maybe weird, but it’s awesome on toast with peanut butter and honey and I like adding the nutritional kick of it.

If I lived near a Trader Joe’s, I would buy all my juice there. But, since I don’t, I buy bottles of 100% pomegranate juice usually in the healthy section of the grocery store. At this point I think you can find Pom Wonderful in a lot of places, but it also seems like acai juice is taking over as the new “it” juice.

For the other kind of juice, I mix it up for variety. Orange, grape, cranberry, blends, anything that is 100% juice. I also sometimes get the V8 Fusion juices, they tend to be on the sweet side but include vegetables.

The best thing about smoothies is that you can add in anything you need. My neighbor got me into using vitamin D drops during the winter last year—those were easy to add into the smoothie. I would really like to find kale juice, I’d add that in a heartbeat to up the nutritional value. Make them your own and enjoy.

* My apologies Wilton and Londonderry New Hampshire! Stonyfield belongs to you!

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Today is Presidents Day. Some people had the day off. I did not.

Today is also Monday, which is a good day (as good as any) to start Eating Like Alton. To help you out, I’ve created this chart.

This chart has boxes so you can check off your ‘everyday’ foods, your ‘three-times-a-week’ foods, your ‘once a week’ foods, and reminds you of the ‘never’ list. It also has the helpful reminder to ‘eat breakfast every day, no exceptions’. This chart can help you keep track day-to-day, but also will help you reflect on your week and see where you need improvement (hello, oily fish!). If you’re the cheating kind and need something to help you stay in line, it will also let you know when you’ve already had that one dessert or one drink of your week.

Here’s a PDF of the chart EatLikeAltonWorksheet_4up you can download and print on an 8.5″ x 11″ size sheet of paper. This will give you 4 weeks worth of charts.

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Just saw this recipe on the Cultivating Sustainability blog over on FoodPress.com. This one combines sweet potato and kale. I will be trying these during an upcoming kale week, a week when my family tries kale in 7 different recipes in hopes of learning to love it. Check out Sweet Potato, Kale & Black Bean Fajitas and check leafy greens off the daily list and sweet potato off the three-times-a-week list. Add avocado or guacamole and check that off the list as well.

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On Live and Let Diet, Alton jokes about writing a book. The book is featured in the episode, it’s called Buff Like Me. Sadly, it’s not a real book. There is talk that he will be writing a book at some point, but until then, there is some guesswork involved.

For instance, dessert is on the once-a-week list. Does that mean that nothing sweet should pass your lips except for that one precious dessert? And when you have that dessert, what size should it be, what should it consist of? Is it ok to eat 2 pieces of cheesecake for your one dessert? If you choose a candy bar for your dessert, do you have to eat it all at one sitting? I’m pretty sure I know the answer (everything within reason, aka, only one relatively smallish piece of cheesecake).

Avocado is a three-times-a-week food. Does that mean you should eat a whole avocado 3 times a week, or if you have a few sliced on a sandwich does that count? Carrots should be eaten everyday. How many carrots? Just orange carrots or do the fancy organic red carrots count too? Are baby carrots just as good? And tuna counts as oily fish when it’s fresh, so if I have sushi 3 times a week, am I fulfilling the quota?

Until Alton writes his book, I think ‘do the right thing’ should be our motto. I know that for me, 3 avocados a week might be too many, but if I can eat 2 as guacamole, and another half or so on a sandwich, then I feel like I’m doing good. I keep to the dessert once a week rule as much as possible, however, I did buy some dark chocolate and have a square when I’m feeling like I want dessert, but know I can’t have it. Dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you, and it’s not sicky-sweet, I only have a little at a time and I feel ok about it.

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Wow. I just found Lisa Hechesky’s blog, All About Alton Brown. She is a HUGE Alton fan, complete with photos of him, autographs, etc. She’s done a couple of posts about his Live and Let Diet show. Check her out.

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Today is Valentines day. My husband made us a great, Alton list-approved dinner: roast pork, green beans, baked sweet potatoes. We used our once a week dessert on cheesecake. And it was delicious! Hope you had a happy and healthy Valentines day.

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