Posts tagged ‘Health’

Vegetarianism

I’m having a late lunch today, so I will post it tonight!  In the meantime, check out these morning snacks!

I am down to my last Larabar.  Must replenish stash stat!

A girlfriend of mine recently requested a specific blog topic and who am I to deny such a request?  She is curious to know more about my vegetarianism – the whys, whens, and hows – so I thought I’d run through my history a bit and give some tips on how to be a healthy, frugal vegetarian.  Because that is what I strive for…most of the time!

I became a vegetarian 10 years ago.  My vegetarian-iversary is actually August 2000!  It was the summer between high school and university and I was beginning to question things I hadn’t previously.  I was learning about politics and social movements and vegetarianism came out of this learning curve too.

Throughout childhood, I was never a huge meat eater.  I didn’t like meat loaf or sausages and I despised this thing called London Broil.  Ick!  But I’d eat chicken, hamburgers, and pepperoni.  I wasn’t picky in most ways.  I just ate what my family ate.

In my teens, thoughts of vegetarianism occasionally came to me and the diet and lifestyle definitely appealed.  I didn’t give it too much thought until that fateful weekend in August when I realized I hadn’t eaten any meat the entire weekend.  In fact, the last piece of meat I ate was veal!  Yes, the last piece of meat to pass through these lips was baby cow.  Pretty horrific, but a nice reminder of exactly WHY I became veg.

After that surprise weekend of meat-less eating, I just declared it.  I was now, officially, a “vegetarian”.  My parents didn’t think it would last and my mom was convinced I’d buckle on Thanksgiving, but I never did!  I got through Christmas too and was well on my way to a vegetarian lifestyle.

I lost about 5 pounds when I became vegetarian, but I didn’t eat the most well-balanced foods.  Things like tofu and veggie ground round weren’t as readily available, and soy hot dogs were absolutely gross back then!  I probably got most of my protein through cheese.  Once I moved out on my own and began doing more grocery shopping and cooking, I definitely ate more tofu and beans.  I was able to experiment with different recipes and find out what worked for me.

Never once have I been tempted to eat meat.  Once I became pregnant and decided to consume fish oil, I did contemplate trying salmon and other fish, but I still haven’t given in.  I am actually a bit afraid!  Afraid of the flavour and texture and how my stomach will react.  It’s been so long since my body has processed animal flesh, that I’m afraid what it will be like.

Since I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I am still able to get animal protein from eggs and dairy.  I have occasionally thought about giving these up too, but any chance of that has been put on the back burner while I’m pregnant.  Plus there is this thing called “feta” that I am pretty much obsessed with.

Soy products have greatly improved in the 10 years of my vegetarianism.  Soy hot dogs, hamburgers, ground round, “meat” slices, “chicken” nuggets all taste so much better than they used to, and are so easy to find!  My only qualm about these products is that they are highly processed and highly processed.  The only processed soy products I regularly buy, aside from basic tofu, are veggie ground round for tacos and spaghetti sauce, and soy burgers to cook on the barbecue.

I try to get most of my protein from dairy, eggs, beans, and lentils.  For a frugal vegetarian, beans and lentils are your BFFs.  I have only recently begun cooking with lentils and they are truly magical.  First of all, they are cheap!  You can buy them in bulk for mere pennies.  Secondly, they cook quickly.  Dried beans take much longer to soak and simmer.  Thirdly, they have a great texture and take on flavour easily.  My meat-eating husband has loved all lentil dishes I have made because they are as satisfying as eating meat products.  Fourthly, and most importantly, they are so freaking healthy for you!  The protein content is mind-boggling.  If there was a way to put lentils in Green Monsters, you know I would!

I usually buy canned beans instead of dried because the dried are so time-consuming to prepare.  I once tried making hummus with prepared dried beans and the texture just didn’t cut it.  Some of my favourite frugal bean recipes include:

  • Three bean salad
  • Beans and rice
  • Beans in baked pasta
  • Vegetarian chili
  • Hummus

Other great, frugal, vegetarian foods include quinoa (much lauded for its complete protein content), basic firm tofu, rolled oats, chia seeds, flax meal, and nuts.  Nuts can be expensive, but you really only need 5-10 of each to feel satisfied.  My favourites are walnuts and almonds especially for oatmeal and salad topping purposes.

I hope that this little diatribe has been helpful.  I am by no means an expert, but after 10 years I have been around the meat-free block a few times.  I know what keeps me full, satisfied, and not craving London Broil 🙂

July 2, 2010 at 11:25 am 10 comments

What Would You Do?

Let’s just say you are a pregnant woman, say, 21 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  I am just pulling that figure out of my arse 😉

You have eaten your normal amount of pretty healthy, well-balanced food for the day.  Fruits, vegetables, nuts etc.

But all you freaking want is carbs.  You want a giant donut or bagel or muffin.  You want it to be made with white flour and white sugar.  The whiter the better (You are a bit of a carb racist today).

However, you pride yourself on eating well and know that your easy-so-far pregnancy is attributable to this.  Aside from gaining 8 pounds in 4 weeks, you feel great in your body and like the way things are going.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Give in to the unhealthy carb craving or hold out for something healthier or just eat what you’ve packed in your lunch? (which is an apple that needs to last you for the next 5 hours).  Keep in mind that dinner tonight involves a bagel (ooh, teaser!).

Ahem.

Anyway, earlier today before the Carb Monster began rearing his ugly head, I had some cantaloupe for a snack.  It was so tasty and refreshing!

However, I was still hungry, so I ate some crackers I had packed for this afternoon.  Whoops!

This seemed to satisfy me until lunchtime when I had my usual salad.

This salad includes:

  • Baby spinach
  • Green pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Feta Cheese
  • Dried apricots
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Tiny bit of Mediterranean dressing, which is now all gone 😦

I love blueberry, walnut and feta together!  The secret is to get them all on the same forkful together.  Difficult, but not impossible 🙂

Now I think I will spend the rest of the afternoon having illicit fantasies involving all-purpose flour.

June 29, 2010 at 11:54 am 8 comments

The View from the Couch

I have spent today either:

  • Eating
  • Painting
  • Glued to the news watching G20 protester coverage
  • Reading about living to be 100

Quite the variety, if I do say so myself.

To fortify my day, I had a snack of cherries and coffee WITH CREAM.

The colour that is created by mixing coffee with cream is one of the best colours in the world

Husband started painting the baby’s room using low-VOC paint meant for a children’s room.  There was hardly any smell at all, so I thought I’d help him out a bit.  I consider this my aerobic workout for the day, even though it consisted mostly of me sitting on the floor wearing ill-fitting grubby clothes and moving my right hand back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth…

For lunch, I had a nice mix and match of leftovers.

  • Slice of Banana Oat bread toasted with almond butter
  • Leftover Greek Pasta Salad
  • Baby carrots with spinach-basil dip

The dip was made by my mother-in-law and she gave me the recipe!  It’s very much like pesto, although seems a bit healthier?  I will definitely be making it.

Spinach and Basil Dip

  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend.  Easy peasy!

It is the Green Monster of dips

For dessert, I had four chocolate wafer cookies (130 calories total!)

And for an afternoon snack, 12 unroasted, unsalted almonds and a fruit salad:

And for dinner, leftover vegetarian chili and more dip!  This time with crackers.

I haven’t yet had dessert, but I am guessing it will be leftover spice cake!

I definitely eat more on the weekends, especially when I am home all day.  I “time” everything out so I always know when to expect the next meal.  I usually eat in 2-3 hour gaps.  Breakfast at 7:00 am, snack at 10:00 am, lunch at 12:00 pm, snack at 2:30 pm, dinner at 5:00 pm, dessert at 7:30 pm.  I do this so that I never experience the sensation of hunger, and to prevent mindless grazing.  I eat a lot but it’s mostly healthy stuff so I think my plan works well for me.  Does your eating change much from the weekdays to the weekend?  Do you have any tips about how to eat healthfully 7 days a week?

June 27, 2010 at 7:00 pm 8 comments

H20

Check out this totally awesome work of photography!

Slightly blurry, dim-lighting, really awful

I need to work on my photography skills!  Until then, enjoy my sub-par iPhone photography 😉

But this, along with a peach, was my afternoon snack.  I was convinced I would need to break my “no buying food” rule this week and go buy an additional snack, but this seemed to hold me over for the rest of the afternoon.  Phew!

For dinner, we had one of hubby’s buds over so we had our BBQ dinner.  Look at this plate.  What do you notice?

Veggie burger with grilled pineapple and BBQ sauce, baked beans, and corn on the cob

No green!!!  I have become so used to having at least something green on my dinner plate that it was almost upsetting to see this green-less plate.  I don’t really consider corn a vegetable, just like I don’t consider white potatoes a vegetable.  They are their own class of vegetables.  I think of them more like carby starches, like pasta or bread.  Does this make sense?  Am I rambling?

But this was a good dinner.  Lots of protein and very filling.  For dessert, I had a Vanilla Smoothie bar.  90 calories!

Vanilla is an underrated flavour

Ok, let me try to calculate the cost of this:

  • Veggie burger – 90 cents
  • Bun – 40 cents
  • Pineapple – 30 cents
  • BBQ sauce – 10 cents?
  • Corn – 25 cents
  • Beans – 50 cents
  • Smoothie bar – 80 cents

Total for dinner = $3.25

Hey, big spender! 🙂

Along with my goal to not spend any money on extra food, I would also like to make the goal of drinking at least one bottle of water a day.  I am the worst when it comes to drinking water!  I used to be better, but now when it’s especially important, I seem to be lacking in this department.  So those are my goals!  No extra food, and more water.

God, I live an exciting life.

June 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm 12 comments

Frugal Fitness

Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day counts when your child is a 20 week, 1 day old fetus, right?  I bought husband a little gift and will make him whatever he wants for breakfast once he wakes up.  I did think about taking him out for breakfast because he loves that, but I thought I’d save some bucks by making something myself.  More money for the fetus’ college fund, right?

Since he’s still sleeping, I already ate breakfast myself and am now sipping coffee and watching the first episode of the first season of Gilmore Girls.  It is my all-time favourite show and I own all seven seasons on DVD.  I own just a handful of movies, but it was of utmost importance that I own this entire collection.  I have definitely got my money’s worth!  It is the perfect show to watch when you are happy, sad, confused, upset, excited, or basically feeling any human emotion.  It is Comfort Food Television.

Speaking of comfort food, I had another bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. I have all this time on a Sunday morning to make a more elaborate breakfast, but all I wanted was a bagel.  What can I say, I love them.

I had it along with a sliced mango and a cup of coffee.  Easy, simple, and delicious.

And because I have all this time on a Sunday morning, I calculated approximately how much this breakfast cost!  (Yes, I need to get a life).

  • Mango – 77 cents
  • Bagel – 50 cents
  • Cream cheese – 25 cents?
  • Coffee – 20 cents?
  • Cream – 10 cents?

Total cost of breakfast = $1.82

Not too shabby!

Yesterday before the movie, I did a few of the “pregnancy lady exercises” that I learned from last month’s issue of Self Magazine.  I’ve only done them twice and, both times, my legs have killed me afterwards.  You would think pregnant lady exercises would go easy on the ol’ bod, but no!  Apparently, you are expected to be fit and strong during pregnancy, too.  What a rip off!

This morning, my throbbing thigh muscles coupled with my usual frugal thoughts made me think about the concept of “frugal fitness” — that is, how to keep fit while not spending a lot of money.  Because as you probably know, you can spend A LOT of money to maintain fitness.  Running shoes, aerobics classes, lululemon yoga pants, swimming lessons, leg warmers and hair bands…you can end up spending a lot more than you originally planned.

Instead of writing about my own “frugal fitness” tips, I thought I’d just link to this article: 12 Frugal Exercise Ideas

I am, by no means, the fittest girl on the block, but I do try to get free exercise when I can.  This is what I do:

  • Instead of taking the bus to the subway each morning, I walk.  It takes about 25 minutes which is a perfect amount of time.  Yes, I could sleep an extra 15 minutes each morning if I took the bus, but I find that getting this walk in before my brain is fully cognitive for the day is for the best.  There is no convincing myself to skip it!
  • Many years ago, I bought some 5 pound weights and I do a series of bicep and tricep curls, rowing movements, and a bunch of other arm exercises (I have no idea what they are called) about 3 to 4 times a week while watching television.  The “while watching television” part is what makes this one so easy.
  • I work on the 6th floor of an office building.  I always take the stairs down (I can’t take the stairs up because the door is locked from the first floor.  Also, walking down 6 floor is a lot easier than walking up).
  • If there is a staircase beside an escalator, I always take the stairs.  I feel a maniacal sense of superiority over those who are taking the escalator, which is a personality trait I don’t often admit to others 😉
  • I borrow yoga videos from the library.  I rarely end up watching them during the one-week I have them in my possession, but at least I pretend to give it a try!

I hope that some of these tips are helpful!

Now, I’ve got to go make some eggs/pancakes/waffles/french toast for the daddy-to-be…

June 20, 2010 at 8:55 am 2 comments

The China Study

Before I begin my very first Frugal ‘n’ Fit Book Review, I need to catch up on my day’s food!

For a snack, I had the very not-China Study friendly snack of a hard-boiled egg.  Say what you will about animal protein, there is almost nothing as simple and satisfying to me as a hard-boiled egg.  One large egg has about 78 calories and 6 grams of protein.  It also has 71% of your day’s cholesterol, though!

You will notice Dr. Snuggles’ handiwork on my pinky finger there.  The scratches are healing, but I still look like I got in a fight with a metal fence!

For lunch, I had, of course, a salad.  I wish I could mix it up for the blog’s sake, but there is nothing as tasty and satisfying to me as a salad for lunch!  Sorry dudes.  There are many more crappy iPhone pictures of my salads ahead of us.

This one is almost identical to yesterday’s.  Instead of almonds, though, I had walnuts.  Ah, variety!

I am just about to eat 4 squares of dark chocolate.  I am a creature of habit when it comes to lunch, that is for sure.

So, The China Study!

Source of picture

I decided to read The China Study because I had heard so many good things about it.  People who had read this book seemed to come away with a completely revolutionized idea about diet and health.  I am always interested in reading about the diet’s affect on health, especially in terms of its affect on disease and longevity.   I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to live to be 100.  But I want to be 100 and playing shuffle board in Boca Raton, not shriveling away in some nursing home!

This book is divided into four parts.  In the first, Dr. Campbell talks about his own scientific experience conducting experiments based on animal protein.  He also participated in an epidemiological study conducted throughout China.   The study itself focused on over 100 different rural counties.  Rural counties were chosen because people tend to have similar genetic backgrounds and have lived in these villages over the course of many, many generations.  A correlation between diet and disease was created by comparing the results from the counties, and this study confirmed that the consumption of animal protein contributes to an increase in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  He compares the diets of the rural Chinese with that of the typical American.  He also compares the incidences of disease.  He includes many graphs and bibliographic references.  It is some impressive stuff.

The second part delves into the realm of each of these major diseases:  cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.  Here, he discusses how studies have proven that consuming animal protein increases the likelihood of acquiring each of these diseases.  He references specific studies and again includes many references and graphs.  It is hard to ignore the power of a graph!

In the third part, he briefly discusses the actual diet he recommends based on these findings.  In essence, it’s a well-rounded vegan diet focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, tofu, and anything that isn’t made from the body of an animal.

Lastly, in the fourth part, he talks about why these findings have been hidden from the public for so long.  He talks about the business of science and how government, lobby groups, and corporations don’t want you to know that a vegan diet can greatly benefit your health and longevity.  I mean, how else are they supposed to sell Kraft Dinner to schlubs like me?  🙂

The first half of this book was absolutely fascinating.  I was giving the evil eye to my Greek yogurt which is saying a lot!  It really opened me up to the idea of embracing more vegan food and less of my beloved dairy and eggs (and cheese!).  The second half of the book got more into the politics of science and the various conflicts the author has been involved in, trying to get the word out about veganism and health.  I found this part boring and skimmed over a few pages.

After finishing the book and giving it some thought, I am definitely going to embrace more vegan foods and try to eat less dairy and eggs.  I am at a bit of an advantage having been a vegetarian for 10 years, but I think it is well-established how I feel about cheese.  I am not going to come out as a declared vegan.  But I am definitely going to do more research about vegan diets and find more vegan recipes.  I am definitely inspired.

June 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm 2 comments

Dreary day

Thank God for yesterday’s gorgeous weather, because today looks to be a bust!  I slept with the window open last night and almost freezed my keester off.  There is something enticing about being snuggled under loads of covers — but not in June!  It’s cold and rainy and feels like November.  You know the world of food blogging has infiltrated your brain when the first thing I thought of was Oh She Glow‘s triathlon today.  She lives near me and I hope this weather doesn’t make the race extra-challenging.

Dreariness

I knew that breakfast today had to be a hot cereal of some sort.  This time of year, hot cereal is rare, so I figured I should take advantage.  I decided on oat bran but also wanted to incorporate the fresh cherries I bought yesterday, so I made Cherry Almond Oat Bran!

Taking photos with minimal natural sunlight:  Difficult

This breakfast contains:

  • 1/3 cup of oat bran, cooked
  • 1 cup of pitted cherries
  • 1/2 cup of 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1 large spoonful of almond butter
  • A sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
  • A sprinkle of shredded coconut

Really good and really filling!  I am stuffed.

There’s an article in the July 2010 issue of Glamour magazine called “Health Rules for Every Woman” by Liz Welch.  In it, she goes through the absolute basics of what a woman should on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis in order to achieve her best health.  It makes sense and I think I “scored’ not too badly:

Daily

Eat Breakfast (whether you’re hungry or not):  Check!

Swipe on Some SPF-30 Sunscreen:  I try to do this if I know I’ll be outside a lot, but sometimes I forget 😦

Brush Twice, Floss Once:  I am getting better with flossing, but it can still be a challenge.  I am so tired when I’m getting ready for bed.  I rarely want to swipe a string between my teeth and have my gums bleed (Bleeding gums; yet another effect of pregnancy!)

Chill Out for Five Minutes:  Just five minutes?  My favourite way to chill out is by watching TMZ.  It doesn’t get anymore mindless or frivolous!

Take a Multivitamin with Iron:  Pre-natal vitamin FTW.  Check!

Get Seven to Nine Hours of Sleep:  I am lost with anything less than eight.

Every Week

Eat Fish Twice:  I am a vegetarian and have no desire to eat fish (although salmon has been wooing me from afar lately).  I take a fish oil supplement because it’s the only source of Omega-3 DHA that I’ve been able to find in supplement-form.  I really want it because it’s supposed to help a baby’s brain develop.  I am going to screw up my kid’s life in a myriad of ways, but not giving him/her the best brain possible is not going to be one of them!

Sweat for 2.5 Hours:  I walk for about a half hour a day which means I technically do exercise 2.5 hours a week.  But do I sweat?  Ummmmm.  No.

Have an Orgasm:  Family-friendly blog!  Family-friendly blog!  No comment.

Every Month

Jump on a Scale:  I never weighed myself but now that I have monthly midwife appointments, I am on that scale once a month.  I do think it’s a good practice, but I don’t want to own my own scale just yet (obsessive!!!).

Note When Your Period Starts:  This is great advice.  Did you know that your pregnancy due date is calculated by the first day of your last period?  Being 100% sure about my average cycle length and my last period helped me calculate my own due date before even visiting a health professional which was nice.  I used an app on my iPhone called “fertility friend”.

Every Year

Go to the Dentist – Twice:  I am going to the dentist three times a year because my hygienist says the extra-cleaning is good for my baby (dental health is connected to a healthy pregnancy.  Who would have thunk?).  I think she may be fibbing, but if there is even an ounce of truth to what she says, I want in!

See a Derm for a Head-to-Toe Skin Check:  This is where I have a big FAIL.  I am the type (fair skin, blue eyes, lots of moles) who really should have this done, too.

Get a Pelvic Exam:  My pelvis is kind of busy right now MAKING A BABY, so no pap smears for me.  Bonus!

Have your Blood Pressure Checked:  The nice thing about my monthly midwife appointments is that they check this for me.

Well, it’s now time for me to put the coffee on and start cooking in the kitchen!  Wish me luck.

June 6, 2010 at 7:23 am 6 comments


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Welcome!

What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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