Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hormones aren't just for teenagers anymore

The ravenous girl has been so busy she hasn't had time to write! We were out of town last weekend, we headed to visit Craig's family in Charlotte and went to the Quail Hollow Golf Tournament. It was quite fun. I could never watch golf on TV until I went to a tournament. I actually kind of enjoy it...who knew (my extent of golf is putt-putt :) ) I willingly turned the channel at watched The Players this weekend :) I spent yesterday with my mom, we went to her friend's book signing of Finding Mrs. Warnecke: The Difference Teachers Make When im not busy being ravenous I teach the wee minds of toddlers, so I was quite excited to get her book! Today we spent with my family, it was quite enjoyable! down to the heart of the matter...Insulin! I told you all a bit about my idea behind the blog, so here's the whole story :)

My interest in the whole organic and health movement really surfaced around New Years. It was time to make a resolution and I knew I wouldn't keep. My idea for my resolution came from Season 8 of the Biggest Loser. My co-workers sister is Tracey of the purple team. I watched weekly cheering on Tracey and the rest of the contestants on - I was so inspired by them! They had such dedication and determination to make a difference in their lives! I myself am not overweight, nor am i skinny, but lazy when it come to exercise, i am. I just don't like it...along with several million other Americans! Watching them get healthy told me that I could do that too. I had never watched BL before and certainly didn't care for Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper, i didn't get what they were about. After watching one season I saw that Bob and Jillian really weren't mean, they were just stern and Jillian really does care. The next thing i knew i was in Borders buying her book Master Your Metabolism. So here I was mid-January reading and learning and even though we've never met, Jillian was scaring me half to death! In my 25 years of life I never thought what i was eating was having such a detrimental effect on my endocrine system. All you have to do is change what you eat and start an exercise regimen (your doc's going to have to help you on that one) and BAM you've got your endocrine system working for your body! I know it is easier said than done, but the food swaps we have made really do taste so much better than the crap we've been eating.I want to share my own research and what i have learned in the book with you!

Our bodies are made up of many hormones, and it doesn't matter how old you are for them to effect you!The main hormones i've learned about are insulin, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA & cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, HGH and leptin & ghrelin. Over the next posts (which may take me a while :) ) I'll tell you what they do and how the food we eat effects them. Now I'm not going to sit here and spill the book out, I do highly recommend purchasing it, its a health food bible i reference it all the time! So first hormone first....Insulin

Insulin affects almost every cell in our body. It comes from the pancreas and is important in the way our bodies react to food. Insulin lowers the levels of glucose in our blood stream. All carbs have glucose in them (its essentially forms of energy, that's why we "carb up" before doing high endurance activities) Too much of it causes insulin spikes, whole grains can help this from happening. When we eat our meal is broken down into simple sugars, and those sugars are released into our blood stream. The pancreas releases the insulin to come break down the sugars and turn them into glycogen for use in our muscles. Insulin also helps the glucose turn into fatty acids and be stored for fuel later. You can see how too much insulin can cause us to gain weight from that right? Jillian uses a great example in her book and that I am just going to have to share with you. She says : "Lets say you had a milky way on an empty stomach. your blood sugar surge is so dramatic that insulin overreacts and works twice as hard to clean the sugar from the blood. This overefficent sugar removal doesn't leave enough glucose circulating in your blood stream so your blood sugar concentration drops and you feel hungry again and you crave (and probably eat) more carbs. That's the post sugar 'crash and binge' cycle - the root of sugar addiction. When muscles are still filled up from the last snack where does insulin put new calories - straight into fat. " See wasn't that a great example! When this happens too many times your pancreas will overcompensate and produce more insulin that your cells will eventually ignore...that is Insulin Resistance...a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes! Carbs that are high on the glycemic index, lack of exercise, not eating breakfast, smoking, and stress are just some factors that can lead in insulin resistance. Some conditions commonly associated with messed up insulin levels are: diabetes, heart disease, PCOS, & sleep apnea.

Okay, now what to eat and what to avoid...

Avoid processed grains and refined sugars, and look for high fiber foods!

Eat Cinnamon! Studies have shown cinnamon to lower blood sugar levels, so why not try it on a tasty snack! This recipe I discovered in Jillian's Master Your Metabolism cookbook!

Cheddar & Apple Slices with Cinnamon
1/2 organic apple, cored and sliced
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 oz low fat cheddar ( i prefer cabot creamery cheese....its awesome!)

sprinkle apple with cinnamon and top with a slice of cheese! Calorie count is 107.6!

Here's a little side note you might not have known....cheddar really isn't orange! Its white! When you buy it orange you're getting artificial colors (gasp) thats why i like caobt! and its so tasty!

I know that was a ton of info! let me know if i can answer any questions!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

chicken nachos :)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Sunday as much as i have! After my Larry's Beans this morning Craig and i headed to Durham to spend the day with my family. As per usual, we ate lunch with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousin. We had her infamous "meat with sticks" also known as pork ribs :) They were so tasty! We also had some mac n cheese, green beans and mixed veggies. We headed over to my other grandparent's house to visit with them for a bit and came back to to the good ole City of Oaks :) For dinner tonight we had chicken nachos...yes people i did say nachos and you will be surprised at the calorie count! I used to be addicted to the at home taco kits in the store, but upon meticulously reading the labels, i couldn't find any that weren't hydrogenated and the seasoning packets were full of mono-sodium glutamate (MSG). Needless to say, they did not jump in my grocery cart and ride home with us. (MSG is simply a flavor enhancer. It's bad for you because it stimulates the pancreas and releases insulin into your blood stream even when there are not any carbohydrates in the dish for the insulin to act on. Your blood sugar ends up dropping because of this flood of insulin, and then you end up hungry again an hour or so later. Many people are sensitive to MSG and can experience headaches, mood changes, and nausea, so stay clear of MSG!) So back to dinner....I made essentially chicken nacho salad. Here's how i did it!

1 Carrot peeled and julienned (cut into matchsticks)
2 small cucumbers peeled and julienned
8-10 cherry tomatoes, chopped

bell pepper (color of your choice) *not me i don't eat peppers but craig does*
4 romaine leaves torn apart

shredded cheese

4 teaspoons chilli powder

1.5 teaspoons cumin

salt and pepper

boneless skinless chicken breast sliced

2 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Tostitos Organic Corn Chips

prepare vegetables
in a skillet
heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, add chicken and seasonings, and cook throughout (10 mins)

remove from heat and build your nachos!

*Don't forget the organic rule on the veggies*

Feel free to add any vegetables you prefer, onion, peppers, etc... I'm picky and don't eat onions or peppers, but by all means if you do, go for it! Hope you all enjoy! Your final calorie count is 334 calories per serving, I made enough for 2 servings

I'm getting my hair done tomorrow (YAY) and my Dad's birthday is Tuesday so I'll be out of commission for a few days, perhaps I'll review where we went for his birthday!

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

eat your vegetables!

What a beautiful Saturday here in the Capital City! I woke up this morning, enjoyed my Larry's Beans with Organic Valley half & half (Larry's Beans is a must! read more about the best coffee you've ever had here... and some cereal, then cleaned up a bit. Lunch time rolled around and i just didn't want to eat a sandwich, so i made a pot of vegetable soup! I used what was in my freezer/refrigerator, so when you make it, just use what you have on hand! That's the beauty of cooking, eyeballing your pantry, fridge, etc., and be inventive! I'll post the recipe at the bottom of the blog! Enjoy!

Now lets get into why i wanted to start this blog in the first place: frozen vs. fresh, organic vs. conventional and what are the best choices for a healthy lifestyle! For those of you who are new to these terms, The Mayo Clinic has written an article that does a great job of explaining the difference. Follow this link to learn more :) Now that you know the difference between organic and conventional, lets learn about what to buy organic and what is okay to buy conventional. Fresh and organic can get quite pricey, so sometimes you have to pick your battles. There are many fruits and veggies that you should ALWAYS buy organic. There is an organization in D.C. called The Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG advocates polices for a healthier US! Between 2000 and 2004 they tested over 40,000 pesticides used in our produce. The study took into account how the food was prepared, washed peeled and so on. The following had the highest amount of pesticide residue. These, even after washing and peeling should always be purchased organic! Peaches, Apples, Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Lettuce, Imported Grapes, Pears, Spinach and Potatoes! The EWG also provided us with a list of foods that you can always buy conventional; Broccoli, Cabbage, Eggplant, Bananas, Kiwi, Asparagus, Peas, Mango, Pineapple, Corn, Avocado and Onion. I personally LOVE eating really can taste the difference between conventional and organic...the food actually tastes like nature intended it to, imagine that :)

Now the skinny on frozen and fresh...If the produce is in season, by all means folks, buy it fresh! In the "off season" opt for frozen. Frozen produce is harvested at it's peak , meaning all the nutrients are at their peak too! When the produce is flash frozen, vitamins and nutrients are locked in. Remember though, during the blanching process vitamins C and B have a tendency to cook away. We buy a lot of frozen fruits and veggies(its a cheap way to get healthy food) You can buy bags of it at Wal-Mart for 1 or 2 dollars. Frozen fruit is a must for us, its great on cereal, oatmeal, and my personal favorite, smoothies! I'll be sharing some of my favorite smoothie recipes later on.

I hope the "crash course" was helpful to you all, let me know if i can answer anything further! Happy Soup Making!!!

1 cup frozen black eyed peas (i LOVE them)
1 14oz can low sodium tomato sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable if you have it on hand)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetable
1 cup frozen butter beans
4 good sized organic red new potatoes peeled and cubed
2 organic carrots peeled and sliced
1 large organic zucchini sliced and quartered
1 clove organic garlic
2 stalks organic celery
salt and pepper
5 shakes of dried oregano
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1-2 cups no yolk whole wheat egg noodles
4-5 cups h2o

fill pot with water & stock, salt and bring to boil
add potatoes, carrots celery and legumes (the beans)
add tomato sauce and seasons
when boiling reduce to simmer and cook til veggies are "al dente" (soft but not quite done) (took me about 25 mins)
add zucchini and pasta and cook til done!

Your calorie count for 6 servings is 237 calories per serving
4 servings is 355/person.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm ravenous and i just can't seem to get full!

This is i am "blogging" i've not really cared much for that word, and here i sit blogging. I've always had a passion for food, reveling in the kitchen, but over the past few months, i've opened up to the food revolution that is happening in America and i found myself inclined to share my knowledge in the kitchen along with the things we put in our bodies with you! I'll give you stats, recipes and some wellness tips too on how to live a healthier lifestyle. Think of it as Jamie Oliver meets Jillian Michaels, but for EVERYONE, not just the folks on television. The two of them have truly inspired me to make a change in my life, and it is my hope that you all will make the change too!

Ya know what, you can eat well and stay full. There is a misconception that eating healthy means staying hungry. Not me! A favorite quote of mine seems to be "omg i'm ravenous." When that happens i'll bust out a healthy snack or jump in the kitchen and i'm satiated in no time and i've eaten a low calorie fulfilling meal! I'll teach you the tricks of the trade as we make our way on this journey!

I'm on the organic, local, sustainable kick hard core and i have no plans to come off of it either. In my house we've booted High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) *i do however keep coke in my diet, it keeps the migraines away and i like the way it tastes* ANYTHING fully or partially hydrogenated (which = trans fat which = clogged arteries) and enriched wheat flour and have gone organic on most everything. Really people buy organic milk in a carton and it will take you back to being a kid...its so yummy! Please Please Please comment with any questions you have for me or any ideas for recipes and i would be happy to answer them or write up a new recipe! Thanks for stopping by and happy eating :)