Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New York Baby!

I have moved on to New York. I will be here for 3 months. I normally don't like cities but this place isn't so bad. I think for me I hate driving in a city. Here there is enough public transit that it is easy to get around. The Metro card gets you on the subway and the bus. So that is nice. Most of all I walk a lot. 

You can follow me on Instagram @whips55

My friend who has lived here for eight years or so asked me if I feel myself getting swept up in the rush of life here. Maybe its because I haven't been here long enough or that being a nanny doesn't have too many timed appointments. If I'm by myself then I might walk across the street when there is a red hand on the crosswalk but I don't like to when I am with the baby. I kinda like waiting for the green man. I can stand there and really look at what is around. Sometimes this is not a good idea. I might notice bakeries and ice-cream shops or restaurants and bars that I want to go to. There are so many places I want to eat. I probably couldn't eat at all these places before I leave even if I never went back to the same place twice. 

These cookies were really really good. 800 calories each!

It is really nice that the family that I live with are Nutritarian. I really like this way of living. I think that when I live on my own I will eat more like this. She doesn't eat sugar, salt, fats as in oil or butter or much dairy. I know this sounds blah and gross but really there are other ways of flavoring foods with spices that it isn't needed. I like that we eat like this at home. Then I don't feel so bad eating a slice of NY pizza or going to a bakery. Although I might not go over in my calories I do feel a little sluggish or gross after eating these delectable treats. Even though while eating them they are so yummy the aftermath isn't as fun. But I like it. It helps me to not keep going back. I think this is how I want to live. Keep all unhealthy food out of the house. If I want to be bad then it needs to be eaten out. 

Even in the center divide of a busy main road there is this
beauty in the crosswalk. I love all the green in the city.

I have been finding it difficult to track all my calories. For one if I eat out I am not too sure what all is in it and I have just been lazy. Since the competition is over I have less motivation to log everything. Then I walk for hours everyday. I don't really want to count all those calories as exercise. I think I want to start biking or roller skating when my roommate gets home. Then I can track those calories. I don't want to let myself go especially since I want to try a lot of the culinary treasures in the city.   

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Too Much Sugar!?! How Can it Be?!?

I had my final weigh in for my biggest loser competition on Saturday. I lost a total of 31 lbs in three months. I am really proud of myself. I didn't lose enough to make it into 2nd place but I did get 3rd. I am excited about that.

In my last post I talked about how I learned so much by using MyFitnessPal I have seen what I was over and under in my nutrients. The first thing that I noticed was that my sugar was over before lunch even arrived! How could that be? I had a Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal with fruit. That was all!

I made a video a while back about breakfast here it is.

According to MyFitnessPal I am allowed 25g of sugar a day. If I exercise then it is upped to 40g. I was getting concerned that I was over so early in the day. After breakfast where I measured my cereal and milk i was really close to 25g. I started to look at the labels and I realized that there was over 10g of sugar in milk, the same in the cereal and the fruits were very high in sugar as well.

I do believe that sugars naturally occurring in whole foods aren't as bad for you as processed sugars I still am trying to cut back on them. So for breakfast I switched to soy milk because it has half as much sugar as regular milk. I don't mind soy milk in cereal or coffee but I do not enjoy drinking a glass of it plain.

Lately I have not been eating breakfast. I have been doing this thing called intermittent fasting. Where you eat during an 8 hour window then fast the other 16 hours. So I have decided to stop with breakfast. I have noticed that it is way easier to eat less sugar when you don't have breakfast.

It seems that there is sugar in everything. So it is very important to read the labels and make sure that there is no added sugars. I always thought that yogurt was a very healthy option. I have decided to not eat it so much anymore. Most store bought yogurt has a lot of added sugars. So when getting yogurt make sure you read the label and find out where the sugar is coming from.

I have been reading up on this stuff and I read that high fructose corn syrup is bad for us. Our bodies don't recognize it and thus doesn't burn it. Then our bodies, after not burning it, turns it into fat and it is stored around our major organs. That is a scary thought.

Soda has HFCS. If the soda is diet then it has Aspertame. This artificle sugar is bad for us as well as it is cancer causing. For me, I want to give my body good fuel. I want it to be healthy so I am not going to put these things in my body. Most drinks, besides water, come with a lot of sugar or sweetener. Be very careful of consuming too much drinks. Water is the best. We need to stay hydrated.

Another thing that I have learned is that sugar inhibits the hormone Leptin for doing its job. Leptin is the hormone that tells us that we are full. I have noticed the days that I eat more sugar those are the days that I want to keep on eating. I also crave more sweet food on those day and end up going over my calorie allotment.

These are the things that I have learned about sugar. I hope that this was helpful to you in some way.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What I have learned from MyFitnessPal

I have been having a hard time lately being able to post. My computer is hooked up to the TV and it is always being watched. It will be easier to post when I get to New York. The computer will have its own place in my own place. It will be nice.

My weight loss competition will end in 6 days. I am really excited about this. I am doing pretty good. As of last Saturday I was in 3rd place and I am curious to see where I stand this week. Well, besides losing 27 lbs these past almost 3 months I have seen through my phone app MyFitnessPal where I have been lacking in my nutrition.

I want to start a series on my blog about the different nutrients we need in our diets. I personally dislike taking pills so I want to adjust my diet to accomidate these nutrients. I will start off by talking about the things that I have noticed that I ate too much of and the things I havent been getting enough of.

I will talk about sugar, pottasium, iron, calcuim, protien and maybe more. I keep learning more and more as I progress in my journey to getting healthy and I want to share it with you.

When I first started to use this app I didn't care where my calories came from but that I was staying under my allotment. As I started consistently logging my calories and seeing what had more calories for smaller portions of food I began to make better choices in what I put in my body. I want my body to get the proper nutrients and I am starting to learn that I can eat them and expand my taste buds and have fun doing it all.

Friday, July 6, 2012

No Gym!?! Four Fun Activities to do for Exercise.

I am on vacation and am still trying to lose weight. This is hard because you want to go out with family and friends and eat wonderful yummy things. I want to win my biggest loser competition so I can't be horribly bad. So I have been making it a point to exercise most every day. I normally exercise at the gym in our apartment complex but my sister's complex doesn't have one. While I have been on vacation I have compiled a list of four activities that are good for exercise and will get your heart rate up and burn calories. I just got a heart rate monitor and have been tracking my burned calories that way.

I have also made a YouTube channel and I have started Vlogging. I made a video about this if you want to check it out.

The first activity I enjoyed on this trip was going to the park. I have a hard time running because it hurts my hip just under my butt cheek so I just slitely jog. The problem with this is that is my heart rate wasn't getting up high enough to burn sufficient calories. So while I was out I kept an eye out for stairs or steps. Anytime I saw some I would run up and down them over and over to get my heart rate up. When I started to think I was tired of doing that then I would make myself go up five more times. This was a really good way to get my heart rate up. Just walking my heart rate is too low to burn as many calories as I want. This way I can get it up for a little while till I come across another set of steps.

It was a nice walk. There was a pond with ducks. I guess it's spring because there was a flock of baby ducks. So cute! This park has a Frisbee golf course and it was nice to walk around there in the trees. There was also a bunch of little streams surrounded by berry bushes. It is a shame they aren't ripe yet. I would be having free snacks of blackberries everyday! I also enjoyed listening to nature as I was out. I heard birds and bugs in the trees making their sounds and the water running in the brook. It was a really nice time. I enjoyed this time way more than I enjoyed my time on the elliptical. Even though I can watch TV and the shows I want to watch at the gym I think it was a nicer time being out in nature. Also, it was nice to get some of the rays of the sun on my skin. This is something that you can do with friends as well. I went to the park with a couple friends and their babies and we pushed their strollers around the park. The last time I did this I was pushing the stroller for an hour and eleven minute and burned 563 calories.

The second activity is jumping rope. I really like this because it gets my heart rate up faster than anything. Except maybe running up the steps. I have done this a few times as well for an hour. Granted the view is nice but its not as fun as being at the park. I do burn more calories doing this. I started off setting the timer for a minute and jumping till it went off then doing the same for a break. Then I started to make my breaks shorter. 30 seconds then down to 15 seconds. Then I upped my jumping period to 3 minutes with a 15 second to 1 minute break. I liked this. It made the time go faster it seemed. One thing that can get a little frustrating is when you step on the rope and the jumping stops. Sometimes it just keeps on happening over and over. I just keep on trying till the 3 minutes are up. Most of the time I can jump non stop for 45 seconds or more.

In addition to exercising at the park or jumping rope the third activity you can do is go to the roller skating rink. The rink closest to my sisters was in the surrounding area and they had a deal for $2 Tuesday. You pay $2 to skate and $2 for the skate rental. I already had skates so it was only $2 for me! This is a good exercise if you ask me. We were there for two hours and if you keep up a good pace then you can burn a good amount of calories. In those two hours I burnt 700 calories. I guess its not as much for an hour but it was good fun for two hours and I burnt 700 calories. So that is more than I would have gotten just running for an hour at the park or even jumping rope. This as well can be a group activity.

The fourth exercise you don't need a gym for is swimming. My mom swims at least an hour everyday. She swims laps in her pool. I used to swim laps when I lived in HI at the rec park and they had a full sized pool. My mom's is way smaller but it still does the trick. I think that I would burn more calories in a bigger pool because I think you have to work harder for longer distances. Where in the smaller pool you get to kick off more often thus you don't work so hard. Yesterday I swam with my mom. She burned more calories than me because she was going faster than I was but in an hour I burned 424 calories. Which isn't so bad. Today her complex pool was closed so we went to her gym. This is the pool they have there and this length was way better for me. As was the black lines. I was able to swim the crawl without stressing that I was going to crash into the side walls from drifting. Also the black lines end before the wall so you know when to stop. Today I burned 406 calories swimming for 54 minutes. If I had gone as long as I had in the past the calorie count would have been bigger.

I hope these are an encouragement to you on your weight loss journey or even if you are just trying to be healthy, exercise is very important. Times are tough so sometimes we can't afford the gym membership but this is all to say we don't need it. We can do fun things and get our heart rate up and burn calories and lose weight without the gym. Good luck everybody. If you have other ways of exercising without a gym then leave a comment below and let me know. I like to do different things and your ideas would be fun to try out!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Grilled Artichokes

You know that smell right when the rain starts after there hasn't been rain in a while? That really good smell of mother earths sigh of contentment? I love that smell. It makes me want to close my eyes and take a pause to breath in the sent of the coming rain.

That smell always reminds me of artichokes. My mom used to make us artichokes while I was growing up. I love them. I prefer them fresh instead of marinated. I also like them whole and I like to scrape the meat off the leaves. Delicious.

After growing up I have made them a few times and I have gone to a couple restaurants where they were served as an appetizer. I always get them at the Cheesecake Factory with my friend Ernest, and at the Cattle Co. in HI with my good friend Gwen. Both restaurants grill their artichokes. Very good.

Since I have been on a healthy BBQ kick I thought maybe I could grill my artichokes that I got at my  favorite grocery store, Sprouts. I got them for $2 each, which I think is a tiny bit high but they were huge! I cut them in half and they were the weight of over one serving. So I went for it!

I have been tracking all my calories on My Fitness Pal for over a month now and I started to notice that I was not getting enough potassium and iron. So I asked my friends on my app and Ali wrote back and gave me a huge list of foods that were not bananas and red meat. Which was what I wanted. I don't really like bananas and even though I absolutely LOVE red meat it is just so high in calories. Artichokes were on her list so I decided to make some. One serving or a little under 1/2 of one of these that I am making has about 950 mg of potassium and 18% of my daily requirement of iron. I was stoked! 

Before cooking them you got to trim them. I use my cutco scissors. My mom used her cutco scissors when I was growing up too. Anyways, I use them to trim the ends of the artichoke leaves. They have little stickers at the end of each leaf. So you want to cut them off. There have been times when I would prick my arm while at the store or while unpacking them at home and it is not pleasant. I can't imagine pricking my tounge with one. Ouch!

Then cut off the end of the stem. I normally enjoy eating the stem but some don't like it. After cutting off most of the pricks, the tip of the artichoke is harder to trim with the scissors so I cut it off with a knife.

While trimming the artichokes have a big stock pot on the stove full of water on to boil. After the trimming is finished then put the artichokes in the boiling water. With these artichokes I didn't have enough water in the pot so it was a little hard on the stems so make sure that they are covered in water while boiling.

Because I am planning on grilling these I didn't cook it all the way. About 15 minutes in the water. I took them out and cut them in half.

Then cleaned out the middle called the choke. The choke is not eddible. Do not try. It will be a horrible experience in your mouth. If I was just going to eat this after boiling or steaming then I would eat the leaves then scrape out the choke. Since I am BBQing them I took them out before heading out to the grill.

I decided to make the same dressing that I use for my roasted cauliflower reciped. I use olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Then add the artichoked to get coated in the dressing.

Head out to the BBQ and put it on the grill. First put it with the cut side up and grill for about 8 minutes. Then flip and cook for another 4 minutes.

Take off the grill and enjoy.

The way you eat them is by taking a leaf off the globe and scraping the meat off the inside.

Most of the leaf will be left to be discarded. Normally my mom would have a big bowl in the middle of the table and the whole family would throw the scraped leaves in there.

Oh man, do I love these! They are fun to eat and because you have to take each leave off it makes you slow dow a little in eating them. I tend to eat too fast and overeat so anything to help me slow down. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Perfect Iced Coffee; Cold Brewed!

I have never been a fan of coffee but after searching online for the best iced coffee recipe for Aleks and learning about cold brewed coffee, I kinda like it now.

He had asked me to find the best iced coffee so I googled the best iced coffee recipe and I read a handful of blogs and they all agreed that cold brewed coffee, was better than brewing a pot and pouring it over ice.

After making this coffee I decided to try it and it was delicious. That first day I tried it I ended up drinking three cups and I don't normally drink coffee. So I got a bit jittery. When I say a bit I really mean WAY jittery. So let this be my warning to you this recipe is to make a concentrated coffee.

After we finished off the ground coffee from Costco I went to my new favorite grocery store Sprouts Farmers Market! They have a bulk section with a coffee bean section with many different coffee flavors. What I like about this is that I can buy what I need and use it and my beans are always fresh. But this will work with already ground coffee of any type caffeinated or not.

From what I have read it's best to have coarse ground coffee. So at Sprouts I choose my whole coffee beans then I put it in the coffee grinder right there in the store. They have many options from coarse to espresso. I buy one bags worth and it makes 4 cups of grounds and with that I can make two batches.

Here is what you do. Take two cups of the ground coffee and put it in a two quart pitcher and fill up the pitcher with water. That's eight cups. Then stir it and make sure all the grounds are fully wet. Sometimes they like to float or get themselves in little air bubbles. So make sure they are all mixed up and let soak for 8 hours or over night. When I pass by I like to stir it because the grounds like to either sink to the bottom or rise to the top. I also think that stirring it might help the flavor a bit. But I could be wrong on that one.

In the morning take a mesh strainer and filter out the grounds. I go back and forth a few times times to strain it out. You can drink it like this but it ends up leaving little granules on the ice so after I strain out the grounds a couple times I use a coffee filter to get the last little bit filtered out.

At this point you can make yourself a cup or you can put it in the fridge to chill before serving.

Now for me one cup is enough because I hardly ever have caffeine. If you are counting calories like I am then you gotta measure. If you are not then you can do it by eye like Aleks. So I take a 12 oz glass and fill it up with ice. Then measure out a half a cup of the coffee and pour it in then measure out 1/2 cup of 1% milk and add that to your coffee. I use agave nectar which does have calories. About 30 to be exact but I would rather have the calories than use sugar less or artificial sweeteners because our bodies don't recognize it to burn it and then it turns to fat. Anyways, I use 1/2 a Tbl of the Agave nectar. Stir all up and and enjoy. This cup is a total of 85 calories. I think this is an awesome amount of calories.

If you want to you can throw this cup of iced coffee in the blender and make your own frap.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

BBQing Guilt Free!

It is officially the BBQ season! I don't know many people, if any, who don't like a good BBQ with family and friends. The only problem I see with BBQs is that it can get pretty high in calories. I started a biggest loser competition about a month ago. The first week I lost 10 lbs and that put me in the lead. Then since then I have held on the the second place spot on the leader boards. So I have been trying to eat healthy and exercise everyday.

Normal BBQs have hamburger, steak, sausage, tons of snacks like chips and even salads that are all high in calories like potato salads and the like. So I have been thinking of what I could do to still enjoy the time around the grill with friends and family but still eat healthy and not go over my calorie allotment.

This is what I have come up with. Corn on the cob! Most BBQs have corn on the cob already but normally we slather on the butter. But I like to eat my corn on the cob pure. Nothing added. Now, I do think they are kinda high in calories all on their own, about 120 in one cob but I think this is a good snack or addition to the menu.

Here are a couple other veggie options for the grill. Kabocha. KABOCHA!!! I love kabocha. It is a Japanese pumpkin and the outer skin is green. I like to slice it up in little steaks and put them in a gallon Ziploc bag and put a tsp of oil and some salt and pepper and mix it all up. When you get to the grill you can just throw these on on the outside and let them cook. They get a little chard sometimes but its ok as long as it is cooked all the way through. Very tasty and not too bad in calories, around 50. You can have a few if you want. When I grill my kabocha I eat the skin as well as the meat. When I put my kabocha in Thai curry, I cut off the skin.

The other veggie idea I have for the grill is zucchini. Now you can cut them in slices length wise and put it on the grill like that but there have been times in the process of flipping or putting on or taking off the grill that they fall through the cracks. So what I like to do is cut in half length wise, then in half the other way and make little slivers and put them in a sheet of foil with a tsp of oil and salt and pepper. I also put quartered mushrooms but you can put whatever you want. Onions, yellow squash, tomatoes, eggplant you name it! Then just close up the foil and put it on the grill with the corn and kabocha.

Now meat. This is something that I, an omnivore, have a really hard time with. I love beef and pork but since I have been counting my calories I have noticed they are so much higher in calories than say chicken or fish. But never fear, they can still taste good at the grill. What I used was tilapia. One serving of 3-4oz is just over 100 calories. You can have twice as much fish for the same amount as one serving of beef or pork. So what I did was before heading out to the grill I rinsed the fish and dried it in a paper towel. Then packed it that way.

I also made a little rub to put on before I put it on the BBQ. I put salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Then I put that in a separate Ziploc bag and headed on out. At the grill I cut a lime and squeezed in over the dried fish then dipped that in the rub. Then on to the grill.

It doesn't take too long to cook so I would wait till everything is about ready to eat. I am making the fish into tacos or you can just eat it as it is. So when I put the meat on the grill I also put on my tortillas to heat up.

When the meat is done build your tacos, all I put on mine were a squeeze of lime, some sliced up cabbage and some avocado. So very yummy and low in calories. If you eat a corn on the cob, two kabocha slices, zucchini and two tacos the total calorie intake it a whopping 438 calories! That is awesome if you ask me. I have watched Hell's Kitchen and when they have a challenge to make a healthy low calorie dinner the goal is 750 calories! My meal is a little over half of that! That leaves room for watermelon or even seconds! Who doesn't like seconds?