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For The Love of Food

by | Aug 28, 2009
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

It was a great week at Summer Tomato! My now famous squash pasta recipe was featured over at Lifehacker, which is a tremendous honor. There has been a flood of positive feedback about the recipe and one reader even claims her 6-year old can make it. I also wrote a guest post on finding time to cook over at Dumb Little Man, another one of my favorite tips and tricks blogs. Bookmarks (especially Stumbles) and comments at either of those posts would be very much appreciated!!

Also this week you may have noticed that my FoodFeed stream that was in the far right sidebar stopped working. I’m not sure what the problem is on their end, so rather than have a stagnant list of my meals from last week I replaced it with links to guest posts I’ve done, as well as some mentions of Summer Tomato around the web. If you are still interested in my eating habits I will continue to post my most interesting dishes on Twitter. Let me know if you’re heartbroken about not knowing my every bite and I’ll find another way to get the info here (I have some ideas).

I read many more wonderful articles than I post here each week. If you’d like to see more or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there.

I also invite you to submit your own best food and health articles for next week’s For The Love of Food, just drop me an email using the contact form. I am also accepting guest posts at Summer Tomato for any awesome healthstyle tips you’d like to share.

This post is an open thread. Share your thoughts, writing (links welcome!) and delicious meals of the week in the comments below.

For The Love of Food

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For The Love of Food

by | Jul 24, 2009
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week I found yet another reason to eat fish for health, as well as some great discussions on the pros and cons of food industry regulation. For those of you who still don’t have a pressure cooker, Mark Bittman says you might still be able to prepare delicious bean dishes.

If you would like to see more of my favorite articles each week or just don’t want to wait until Friday, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@summertomato) or the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. For complete reading lists join me on the social bookmarking sites StumbleUpon and Delicious. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you there.

Submissions of your own best food and health articles are also welcome, just drop me an email using the contact form. I am currently accepting guest posts at Summer Tomato for any healthy eating, living and exercise tips.

For The Love of Food

Did you write any fabulous food or health articles this week? Share your links in the comments!!

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7 Day Detox and Weight Loss Plan

by | Jul 6, 2009
Vegetables

Vegetables

I don’t know about you guys, but I had a crazy weekend. In a very uncharacteristic move (I usually work weekends) I found myself at 5 different parties over a 3 day period. Four of these parties involved food.

I did my best to stick with my plan to eat healthy, and mostly I did, but the sheer volume and frequency of eating and drinking was a bit too much and by Sunday night I felt pretty gross.

It is natural to occasionally let your healthstyle slip, and there’s no need to get upset about it, but it is important to get it under control as quickly as possible. This is the essence of weight maintenance–something we all need to master if we want to stay healthy.

I never follow strict schedules or diets, but there are a few rules I keep in mind when I want to get my health and weight back into my comfort zone. These things work best for me, but please let us know what works best for you in the comments section.

10 Weight Loss Rules

  1. Cook at home The most important thing for me when eating healthy is cooking for myself. Eating small portions of healthy food is nearly impossible at restaurants. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner this week will be made from scratch from the beautiful veggies and fruit I got at the farmers market on Saturday.
  2. Small portions I will be cooking and serving myself smaller portions of food this week, approximately 80% of the volume I would normally eat. I will cut down on everything in general, but most of the calorie reduction will come from starchy carbohydrates and protein. Basically, vegetables (and the olive oil I cook them in) are the only foods I will not restrict.
  3. No dessert I didn’t mention cutting out sugar in point #2 because I don’t consider sugar a regular part of my diet. However, normally I allow myself to indulge in dessert for special occasions and other events. This week I will politely turn down any offers of extra calories.
  4. No carbs Flour-based products, also not a staple of my diet, are off the table this week too. No bread at all in any form, no pasta, noodles, white rice, etc. I will still eat whole grains like my morning muesli and the occasional addition of brown rice or quinoa to salads and dinners, but these servings will be smaller than usual.
  5. Less protein Many self-proclaimed fitness gurus will disagree with me on this one, but I find that my optimal protein intake for weight loss is not as high as you might think. I have nothing against protein as a weight loss tool (especially when greater weight loss is necessary), but protein adds a lot of calories to your diet compared to vegetables. So really this rule is more about portion control than protein itself. For the next few days my protein will come from lentils, nuts, whole grains and fish. Servings will be about 3 oz. I will still be careful to get enough protein and fat in each meal so I don’t increase my appetite.
  6. No alcohol Alcohol can be healthy, but it can also impair your judgment about what and when to eat. It also has quite a few extra calories and can create hormone imbalances when consumed regularly. I’m going to skip the wine with dinner, at least until Friday.
  7. Daily workouts I always try to work out every weekday, but excuses come easier on some days than others. No excuses this week: weights and cardio Monday through Friday. I may even try to work in a hike or some other physical activities next weekend.
  8. Stay hydrated People will argue about how much or how little water is really necessary, but none of this changes the fact that water makes me feel better. Water helps me control my appetite, feel more awake and have better workouts. I always carry around my CamelBak, but this week I will try to fill it up a little more often.
  9. Enough sleep For me, the hardest healthy habit to maintain is getting enough sleep. I usually stay up too late and get up early, but this can really take its toll over time. For the next several days I will try to keep myself on something of a regular sleeping schedule.
  10. Be good next weekend I have found one of the more futile activities is eating right and being healthy all week then completely throwing all self-restraint out the window on weekends. To really recover from a bad weekend, I need a full 7 days of self-control and good behavior. In essence this will translate into two good weeks, since the inertia from one healthy week can sustain me until the following weekend. The only real barrier is that first weekend, filled with parties and dinner invitations. It’s fine to go out with friends, but skip the fried mac and cheese and hold it together for just a few more days.

What are your favorite tips for getting your health back on track after a wild weekend?

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Thanksgiving and the Beginning of Fat Season

by | Nov 19, 2008
Photo by VirtualErn

Photo by VirtualErn

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all we have. And as Americans, we love to use this as an excuse to gorge ourselves stupid.

I mean, what self-respecting holiday doesn’t involve a feast?

We are thankful for that turkey! And for the ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, stuffing, biscuits, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, and anything else that happens to be within eye sight.

Okay, maybe some of us are not thankful for the obligatory vegetable casserole, but we know Grandma will be mad if we don’t take at least a little scoop, so we find a small corner of the plate and plop some on. We are grateful for Grandma too, after all.

Yet deep down we all know this is not an isolated meal, but rather the beginning of a feast that lasts from the third Thursday in November until January 1. Holiday parties and family gatherings will start popping up week after week, and all the while the short days and cool weather thwart our best intentions to go for a jog.

Once Thanksgiving comes it will be six long weeks before we again remember to dust off our gym memberships and emerge from our cookie-induced daze as the reality of our new pants size starts to sink in. Yikes.

Health-wise, the holidays are difficult for us all. But don’t worry, I am not going to ask you to forego Thanksgiving dinner. Instead I have a few pieces of advice to keep this Season of Fat in perspective.

Thanksgiving Healthy Eating Tips

  1. Try not to graze. Thanksgiving dinner itself is really not so bad. As much as I sometimes wish it were, this holiday is not Carnitas Day. Usually the most significant sources of calories during the holiday season is the casual eating we do outside of mealtime. When you aren’t in a sit down meal mentality, it’s easy to lose track of how much you are really eating. Avoid the midday chip bowls, artichoke dips and cookie platters, and you are on your way to minimizing the health risks of Thanksgiving.
  2. Beware of the most dangerous foods: breads, sweets, dips, creams, chips, potatoes and cheese. These are the foods that pack in the calories with little nutritional value and minimal satisfaction. It is frighteningly easy to suck down 500 extra calories of chips and onion dip. In fact, you have probably done it. You do not even want to know how many calories are in pumpkin cheese cake (hint: possibly more than in your entire dinner). It is okay to eat these foods, just do not eat them blindly.
  3. Watch your portions. When it comes to snacks, it is easier to be aware of your portions if you take the amount you want to eat and put it on a separate plate. Better yet, just eat structured meals. Trust me, it is way easier to eat less when you are seated and focused on your meal. If not-so-healthy foods are part of your actual meal, help yourself to a normal-sized portion, enjoy it and do not go back for seconds. Eat these foods slowly, savor every bite, and you will not feel deprived.
  4. Eat a balanced meal. Make an effort to have at least half your plate filled with vegetables. No, mashed potatoes do not count (sorry). Even if the vegetables have some sort of cheesy sauce on them, at least they have fiber and nutrients and are low energy density. It is harder to stuff yourself with pie when your belly is full of veggies. The rest of your plate can be turkey, stuffing, potatoes and all the other stuff traditions are made of. Piling your turkey on top of your stuffing is cheating, by the way.
  5. Stay hydrated. Overeating (which you should avoid, but may not succeed at avoiding) can cause dehydration, and thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Drink water throughout your festivities.
  6. Enjoy yourself. The best part about the holiday season is being able to spend it with the people you care about. Your friends and family should be the focus of your holiday, not the food on your plate. Spend the day and meal talking with loved ones and savoring your food rather than silently wolfing it down. If you eat slowly, you are much more likely to eat proper portions and enjoy the food you do eat.

Happy holidays and be healthy!

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