Food Blog Dot Com

FoodBlogDotCom

Food Blog Dot Com is written
by Lin Ennis, a writer passionate
about good food, healthful
food and food as medicine.

( Food Lovers Only )

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PLUS

The net has been abuzz with ideas and speculation about the new food management system Weight Watchers rolled out in the United States on Sunday, November 28, 2010. Since then, it’s been whining! I’ll write more about this in the coming days, because I’ve neglected my Food Blog too long! For now, I will say, I have gas. It’s my own fault, not Weight Watchers’. I indulged a bit too much over Thanksgiving, with some homemade candy gifts (incoming), cornbread stuffing (my own), and so forth. Plus a couple or three months of being a bit lackadaisical about dietary control. I took the rolling out of the new plan as an opportunity to get back on track, weigh or measure everything that counts, and “behave.” OK, the first day, I had a bit of stuck-in-my-car snacking rebellion. I had snacks with me and maybe it felt like a last fling or something. And they were salty-crunchy…my favorite. Yesterday, I did much better on the food, but drank more beer than my points allowed. I unloaded firewood from the truck and stacked it, so I earned two activity points. Lame, I know, but that’s just it–both an ankle and a shoulder are lame, so I cannot walk, run, do jumping jacks, bicycle, or anything I can think of to get in a good 30 minutes’ activity! Anyway, here’s my food points breakdown on the new system: Allowed Eaten MON 29 64 TUE 29 46 WED 29 31 And when I say “eaten,” I mean ingested in any manner. You can tell I’m getting better at it! I’ll be the first one to admit I didn’t expect it to be this hard. Again, it isn’t just because of the new system. It’s because I’d gotten lazy, and I got in a habit of indulging over the holiday. But, the new points system shows indulgences better than the old program did. That’s why it’s such a good thing. So today I ate veggies, veggies, veggies. I had Ritz crackers with my zero-point soup at lunch. It would have been fewer points to put oil or burger crumbles, or even a potato, into the soup, because it just wasn’t satisfying. I spent 8 points on crackers; a potato might have been 4. At dinner time, I had more soup, and a small sweet potato and a Griller. And LOTS of okra–about three servings. The soup had green beans, celery, sweet peppers and a very few lima beans. I borrowed a hula hoop. I was able to sustain five minutes of trying at one session and three at another. Combined, I did not earn an activity point. Somehow I imagined doing 30-60 minutes of hooping per day. That was before I kept bruising my legs by trying to stop the hoop from dropping. I can keep practicing! And I stayed away from the chocolate. And beer. I borrowed a hula hoop. I was able to sustain five minutes of trying at one session and three at another. Combined, I did not earn an activity point. Somehow I imagined doing 30-60 minutes of hooping per day. That was before I kept bruising my legs by trying to stop the hoop from dropping. I can keep practicing! And I stayed away from the chocolate. And beer. I am associated with Weight Watchers as a paying member and supporter, not as a paid employee or official spokesperson. Does anyone realize how small a 4 ounce serving of white wine is?

THE CRUNCHIEST

Today I discovered Nabisco’s Wheat Thins Flatbread – Tuscan style. I wasn’t hungry when I got home from the store, but I was exhilarated that I was within Weight Watcher’s weight range at last night’s weigh in, and a couple of pounds lighter this morning. And wanting a crunch! About 5:00 I chose to indulge in a light snack before beginning to cook my veggie-binge stirred-but-not-fried dinner. The Tuscan Herb flat bread was salty enough and uber-crunchy. Light enough to break with a glance. Which was part of the problem. The box had been dropped somewhere along the way, and many crackers were broken. As with pretzels, back when I used to eat them, I had to clean up the product by eating all the broken pieces. Then breaking more. Then more because they broke so easily. (Testing their lightness!) Note to self: Buy these only when above your highest level of self-control if you’re a salty-crunchy eater. I ate nearly the whole box (only 20 crackers). Then it seemed pitiful to put away four – then two. So I finished them. I’m stuffed.. That was 600 calories. My Weight Watcher’s Points Finder doesn’t go that high. Nor to 15 grams of fat. Since the Points Finder stops at about 20 points (for one serving of one food mind you), I chose to estimate my crispy indulgence at 25 points. Coincidentally, that’s the number of points I was given when I joined Weight Watchers at 80 pounds above my maximum healthy weight. Yikers! Should I go ahead and cook dinner? If I don’t, I’ll feel snackish all evening. But can I add any coconut milk to my stir fry? Any side of brown rice? My experience instructs me I should get back on a normal track as soon as possible. Excessive sacrifice to make up for prior indiscretions cannot turn back the clock. Extra days of vegetables-only at least once a day, more exercise — these things can adjust my ongoing challenge with keeping the old habits at bay. I think I’ll opt for a bit of rice and no coconut milk. I bought some beautiful fresh vegetables at the store today. Calling them beautiful, and romanticizing them to myself, does adjust the mindset. Because luscious vegetables are almost always expensive, I heap shredded cabbage — much cheaper — into almost every stirred-not-fried dish. Along with Chinese or sugar snap peas, diced sweet peppers of various colors, home grown super mild and sweet garlic, a bit of onion, and whatever else is on hand. Bon appetite!

FOODIES UNITE

When my friend Kate and I scheduled a meeting over lunch at my house, she said, “Let me bring lunch. I’m a real foodie.” Knowing I am a vegetarian, she brought quinoa-stuffed acorn squash and an elegant salad. As she laid things out, I learned she was a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. (That means she’s achieved and maintained a rational weight according to Weight Watchers International charts). Having never seen Kate overweight, I was shocked she’d ever been “fluffy.” What really struck me though was how lovingly she talked about food. As we munched on salad and seasoned Ry-Krisp, she revealed more about the amount of time she spends cooking (for the week), the quality she reveres, and nourishing her body. I’d never thought a thin person could claim to be a foodie — and why would a fat person? isn’t their problem obvious? I was 80 pounds overweight and probably didn’t like mentioning food out of fear people would think, “Duh; it’s so obvious you dream about food!” I joined Weight Watchers soon after that (the exact how and why are another story). It took a few months, but eventually I realized I was becoming a foodie. I was focused on food, wanted the best-tasting food I could get for my calorie expenditure and wanted the food to make me healthy and fit, not just thin(ner). I started cooking more-elaborate dishes, cooking for one, cooking for one every day, and trying new ingredients: new-to-me vegetables, different varieties of apples and oranges. New seasonings. More seasoning, learning that packing in flavors – like onions and garlic – can make a dish much more satisfying. Something I feared would make me fatter – thinking and talking about food, a lot – has supported me in achieving my Weight Watchers goal and lifetime membership. Sure, I’m still 30 pounds heavier than I need to be to be healthy, but I am in a healthy range (ok, at the very top of a healthy weight range. To stay on track, I focus on food. I intend to eat food I like. Like a lot. For example the pre-made frozen Indian platter I have in the freezer right now. And veggies–always veggies. I love peas, but not just any peas–they must be petite peas (about $3/pound frozen). I intend to take more time to prepare food, to think of different seasonings instead of my former trio of onion powder, garlic powder and crushed dried sweet basil leaves. I’m testing out Thai and Indian and yellow versus red curry. Steamed versus sauteed. Roasted versus steamed or baked. Spinach with onions or plain…or with nutmeg? I love plain food, veggies that taste like the earth from which they came. It’s hard for me to add seasonings and lose that fresh, earthy flavor. But so much color and pizazz await becoming a foodie and experimenting, listening to others, asking questions, ordering something interesting sounding at a restaurant you would usually not visit. If you’re a foodie, too, dab some vanilla behind your ear or leave a little vinaigrette on your fingertips–somehow identify yourself to the rest of us. Here’s one: write comments on this blog, and send the link to others you know who cherish their bodies and their gustatory delights! Weight Watchers and other brands mentioned are trademark names for the companies that trademarked those names. They have not yet reviewed and decided to endorse this Food Blog. Nor do I receive any compensation or punishment for any brands I mention. Kate is a psychic healer totally nuts about health in a fun-loving way. Here’s her PsychicSedona website.

SKINNY BUNS

Almost everyone who talks with me about the dietary aspects of their health regimen mentions cutting back on or eliminating bread. They offer various reasons such as celiac disease, gluten intolerance, carb addiction, etc. In most cases, their reasons affect body weight, or what I’m calling here today a desire for skinny buns. Years ago, someone taught me the best way to enjoy a hamburger – especially if trying to appear normal, was to remove the bun, and use your four fingers clinched together to scoop out most of the bready part, leaving the crust, and thus the appearance of a bun. Do this to both top and bottom pieces and you have a thin bun, about half the bread, and something to keep the mustard and catsup off your hands as you eat your burger. If you’ve participated in burger eating while reducing or eliminating bread, you’ve probably also done the lettuce wrap. Realizing the best part of a burger – especially a veggie (vege) burger – is the condiments, pickles and mustard wrapped in lettuce around a burger make a pretty good meal, albeit a bit light. Oroweat was first on the scene with a skinny bun for your skinny buns. Their Sandwich Thins come in multigrain, whole wheat and honey wheat. I prefer the flavor of multi-grain anything to whole wheat, and appreciate the additional micronutrients variety adds to my health. Sandwich Thins were so popular when they arrived in Sedona, most stores sold out before the entire Weight Watchers membership could buy them! Oroweat Sandwich Thins Calories 100 Fat 1 gram Fiber 5 grams WW pts* 1 One slice of the bun is a bit thin, usually tearing in half before the burger is consumed. And of course they’re better lightly toasted. I found this ingredient listing on kaboodle.com: Whole wheat flour, unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, cellulose fiber, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cracked wheat rye, polydextrose, salt, ground corn, canola and/or soybean oil, preservatives (calcium propionate, sorbic acid), grain vinegar, guar gum, cultured wheat flour, brown rice, oats, mono-glycerides, soybeans, triticale , barley, flaxseed, millet, citric acid, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sucralose, soy lecithin. A newcomer to the skinny buns category is by Earth Grains, a proud supporter of The Nature Conservancy. You can probably see where I’m going with this. EarthGrains Thin Buns Calories 100 Fat 1.5 gram Fiber 4 grams WW pts* 1 I made my decision rather hastily when I picked up the Earth Grains. First of all, they’re a little bigger, at 4.25-4.38 inches across. (I don’t have a Sandwich Thin in the house to measure; do you? If so, post below.) Secondly, there’s no white flour. Third, the ingredient list is 18 instead of 28 (plus the 6 ingredients added to the white flour after the bran and germ were removed – at least they left out the bleach!). EarthGrains ingredients: Whole wheat flour, water, sugar, wheat gluten, oat fiber, yeast, soybean oil, cultured wheat flour, salt, distilled vinegar, guar gum, enzymes, enzyme-modified soy lecithin, Raisin juice concentrate, Wheat bran, Milk, Soy flour, Sesame seeds. Note: there is milk in the EarthGrains. And not as many different grains. But it appears to my unscientific eye there are fewer chemicals. No artificial preservatives, so refrigerate or freeze them! Plus, if you’re going to believe the EarthGrains website, they support individual farmers rather than mega conglomerates–but I haven’t found my way back to that page to recheck their statements. Anyway, enough time on skinny buns! I love them, though I still limit myself to only one or two a week. You have to know your body and what it can handle as well as what makes it thrive. All trademarks are owned by their respective registrants. *Weight Watchers Points Value was obtained by using my official Weight Watchers Points Finder and the nutritional information given by the manufacturers.