"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants." -Michael Pollan

Friday, November 30

Friday Night Treat :)

Mac and Cheese
with Mushrooms, Broccoli, Zucchini and Roasted Red Peppers
Topped with Bleu Cheese Crumbles

Egg Nog Ice Cream
My two loves in the same photo

Rode the lightrail home from work! It was fun again and flew by with my novel in hand. Once home, the husband and I went on a 20-minute walk to the grocery store for dinner vegetables and bread for tomorrow's lunch. We live right around the corner from a Harris Teeter, so it's very convenient to make ourselves walk. Of course we brought our reusable BHappy Bags along for the ride! While we were there, I spotted Edy's Slow Churned EGG NOG Ice Cream. Mmmmmm. Now I can't tell you how many times I've stopped in the ice cream aisle and almost bought it. I LOVE egg nog and get one carton of this every year. I knew I had room for it today, so we splurged!


So as many of you know, I'm a volume eater. Which means I just like to eat good food, and lots of it!! You've probably also heard of Barbara Rolls, the infamous author of Volumetrics. Here's a passage from her book that TOTALLY makes sense:

Research shows that over a day or two, a person will eat about the same weight of food. Obviously, there is some variability - on days that someone eats out, for example, she may eat more food. But in general, when scientists have looked at what people report they eat, or when food intake has been measured in the lab, the weight of food a person eats is more similar from day to day than the number of calories consumed. It seems that we have learned how much food it takes to satisfy our hunger, and that is what we choose to eat.....

My takeaway message from these studies is that by choosing foods that have fewer calories in your usual weight of food you will end up eating fewer calories. And you won't feel any hungrier!
-The Volumetrics Eating Plan, p. 8

So Barbara says it best: if you want to be healthy and keep your calories in check, choose foods that are low in energy density, namely, lots of vegetables!

I didn't use to like many vegetables when I was growing up. I ate broccoli, corn, potatoes. That was about it. But in my adult life, I've experimented with SO many kinds of veggies - particularly the cooking style - and found that I just LOVE them!! I love that I can eat a lot of them and that they're not going to derail my diet.

So volumetrics is the concept behind my vegetable mac and cheese, although I really shouldn't say "my" mac and cheese because this is probably the most well-known thing to do to mac and cheese to lower the calorie density!!

I really like the Annie's brand mac and cheese's - I've tried both whole wheat kinds. I have to say I like the Wisconsin Cheddar one better (it has the same nutritional information but it makes 3.5 servings instead of 2.5, so we have to pull one out instead of just splitting the box). But this one was good!

Add to it whatever veggies you like - sautée them first in a pan with whatever seasonings you might want to add. Mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and roasted red pepper from a can:

And voila! A yummy dinner! Topped with just a few crumbles of bleu cheese.

This was actually a HUGE portion (we have big bowls :) ) About half way through it didn't even look like I'd made a dent!

Dinner calories: ~415.

Husband and I settled on the couch to watch March of the Penguins (cute movie - I can't believe how long they go without food!!). And for dessert we had our egg nog ice cream!! I had a full cup (I had the room) and got in my holiday egg nog fix. I have to say, for 110 calories a cup, this is better than the real stuff!!

I try to avoid processed foods and "fake" things, but I thought for ice cream this one had pretty good stats, particularly for a once-in-a-while treat.

INGREDIENTS: milk, skim milk, cream, corn syrup, sugar, egg yolks, whey protein, tapioca maltodextrin, natural flavor, nutmeg, cellulose gum, annatto color, mono and diglycerides, turmeric color, guar gum, carrageenan, dextrose, vitamin A palmitate

I also had hot tea to balance out the coldness!! It's not exactly the season for ice cream :)

Dessert calories: 220.

This afternoon I also snacked on a mini box of raisins, as my banana didn't do very well to fill me up :( I didn't want anything filling since dinner was looming, and these were perfect to tide hunger.

Total Friday calories: 1901

-661 through workout and 2 walks

= net of 1241. Just over my daily goal of 1226, and no biggie since I was under a few days this week. And I did get lots of exercise today!

Tomorrow we're getting up to hit the gym before we head into town to watch our alma mater, Davidson College, play Duke. I'm not sure which team I'm routing for, as I was a huge Duke fan growing up (and still am...). May the best team win!

Afternoon Snack

I always have bananas in the mornings, so I never want to have them for a snack too. This morning I had pear, so I packed a banana! Also had a few Kashi crackers....

Another view of the Charlotte skyline!

Having vegetable mac-n-cheese for dinner!! And getting in a walk to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients first!!

Cute Lunch!

The husband made my lunch today since my class went late last night. I asked him for a half sandwich and spinach salad made with some leftover chicken and he came up with the cutest lunch!

Spinach salad with carrots, apples, almonds, and 1.5 oz diced white meat chicken. Plus a homemade walnut oil-lime-honey dressing.

Cranberry sauce in low-fat plain yogurt with flax (it looks kind of gross!)

Half a pimento cheese sandwich on Ezekiel bread:

Apple slices with cinnamon:

All together for ~550 calories:

After lunch I went on a 30 minute walk. It was sunny and chilly out there, but so refreshing. -111 calories more.

Thanks for all of your comments! I promise I'll get to them this weekend....I'm really busy and need to work this afternoon!


Oatmeal with Peanut Butter, Almonds, Pear and Flax
made with Skim Milk and Water

I think I'm coming down with something. Woke up with a sore throat and that "I'm getting sick feeling" :( I'll be sure to get 9-10 hours of sleep tonight.

Had toast before workout....

Went to my regular Friday morning hour-long cycle class to burn 475 calories!!! I feel so strong during cycle classes. And it's always a great workout!

Breakfast was pear, almond and PB oatmeal with some ground flax and hot tea....

I've got a GREAT lunch and snack planned today (thanks to my handy husband who packed it for me b/c of my late class). I can't wait to eat them already!

Off to the lightrail!!

Thursday, November 29

Dining Hall CLOSED = Unexpected Bad Situation

No time to type!!!! Here's a photo recap. The dining hall was closed so my mother in law raved this place with homemade soups only for us to get there and find it out it was a smoky bar with pub food. Ewwww.

I had vegetarian black bean chili, which I guessed was 200 calories. 100 for 1/2 cup of beans and 100 for the rest of the cup (all veggies, cooked). I ate the 2 saltines it came with.

Also had a salad of iceburg lettuce, bell peppers, homemade croutons, and raspberry dressing (which I think was low-cal because it was really runny).

Also had two sips of husband's beer!

I think I did a great job making the best of a bad situation. I ordered my salad without cheese or creamy dressing and the healthiest soup I could find. But the bad part was it only added up to about 300 calories, including saltines and beer sips, so I was pretty hungry when I got home.

Had some toast with jam:

Dinner 1 + Dinner 2 (toast) Calories: 405.

I also ate the other half of my Kashi bar during class, but that was already accounted for!

AND, I got in about 15 minutes more walking across the campus.

Afternoon Snack:

Total Thursday calories: 1616 (man, this has been a low week!)

- 571 thru walks and workout

= net of 1045. Geez. I'll eat a little more tomorrow!


Almost Friday!

Great lunch today :)

PB + Banana + Honey

Spinach salad with spaghetti squash and the last of the leftover brussels sprouts. Having these on hand was great - a way to get in a delicious side of veggies without having to prep them during the week. If you have a favorite vegetable dish, make some on the weekend to have for lunch during the week. It really ups the quality of my salads!

Yogurt + cran

All together for 543 calories:

After lunch I went for a 30 minute walk. It was nice to get some fresh air!

I'll do my best to post dinner in the dining hall tonight when I get home, but if class runs until 8:45-9, I might have to hit the sack....but I'll do my best!!

Long Day Ahead!

Tonight I have my nutrition class, which I'm taking at a local university to learn more about the body and the physiology behind nutrition, so I won't be home until 9 p.m. It's gonna be a long day!! But I get to have dinner at the dining hall, which is always exciting and will try my best to post dinner after class.

Got great sleep last night. I told the husband I was NOT allowed to be on my computer past 8pm, so he had to pry my hands from the keyboard to get me off! I was so glad he did though, because 30 minutes of reading (I'm reading the novel Rise and Shine) was just what I needed to unwind. Lights out at 9:00, and I got a great 8 hours of sleep. Much improved from Tuesday!!

I decided on half a Kashi bar before my workout this morning and saved the other half for a snack during class tonight. Mid-workout I started to get really hungry. Although my normal toast + jam isn't that many more calories, it certainly holds over better.

Workout was ET and upper body lifting. It's not good to have RAGE at 5:30 in the morning, but this woman on the ET beside me was hacking up a lung - rhythmically - and I just couldn't take it anymore, so after 7 minutes I picked up my magazine and went to another ET in another room. Uggggg. If you can't get through 2 breaths without eating your snot, GO HOME!!! Gross. 426 calories burned.


Had my favorite: Peanut Butter + Walnut Oatmeal with a small amount of chopped pear and banana in there somewhere. It was quite filling!!

And decaf coffee:

Back to volumetrics, I just love oatmeal because it's so voluminous (but not instant because then you get half the amount but the real kind!) and I'm always full when I finish it. Volume eaters love to feel full :) I just eat the Old Fashioned Oats, but I like the Quick Oats and Steel Cut as well. Quicks are better for oatmeal pancakes and steel cut when you have an hour to cook them, which isn't often!

Breakfast calories: ~500 (not including half of Kashi bar for tonight's snack)

I can't take the lightrail today because of my class tonight, but I'll be back on it tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28

Tropical Delight, As Promised!

Tropical Shrimp + Beans over Brown Rice

with Pineapple, Green Beans, Warm Walnuts, and Toasted Coconut

Another great dinner!! The husband and I thought this one up a few days ago and I couldn't wait to try it out! We ended up not having black beans, so we used white navy beans instead. I had lots of calories left so I added in some toasted walnuts - which went beautifully with the coconut!

  • Frozen shrimp (about 20) thawed and peeled
  • 1 cup navy beans, drained
  • 7 oz canned pineapple (about 1/5 a cup)
  • 1/2 a bag of green beans (about 6 oz)
  • 1 oz toasted coconut
  • 20 grams toasted walnuts
  • Cinnamon and cumin to taste
  • Brown rice on the side
And it was supposed to have avocado but we forgot!!

It was excellent, but I would recommend adding some of the canned pineapple juice, as it was a little bit dry.

Short Grain Brown Rice on the side:

Total dinner calories: ~500

Hot tea for dessert:

My delicious lunch held me all afternoon, but I had my apple out of hand around 3:45. I was busy at work and wanted another snack around 4:30, but I decided that I could wait until dinner. The lightrail was much more crowded on the way home - I couldn't even get a seat for the first 4 stops! But once I was reading my magazine, all was good :)

Here's my apple with the Charlotte skyline as the backdrop:

Total Wednesday calories: 1590

-472 from workout and lunch walk

= net of 1117

Guess I should have had another snack! Off to red in bed and get all cozy next to the husband :)

New Lunch Spot!

FABULOUS lunch!!! I discovered this place called Crisp a few weeks ago and had the most amazing split pea soup there (here's the old post) and so I decided to go back with a friend and the husband. I had another WONDERFUL soup:

Red Beet

I struck up a conversation with the chef behind the counter because I wanted to know how it was made, and I wanted some insight into the nutritional information. He said it was just beets, EVOO, onions, and cream. Oh, onions and cream, my favorites! *Sarcasm* Honesty it wasn't that creamy, but I had to take this into account. He said the batch used 25 lbs of beets and he used 3 quarts of cream. After some quick math and the assumption I consumed about a cup of pureed beet soup, I settled for about 250 calories for this portion. I gave a little of it to the husband too. Not too bad for such a good soup, but it certainly would have been a lot healthier had he used half and half or cut back on the cream (of the 250 calories, I'm estimating about 150 were cream and 100 were the beets!) But it was worth it and was delicious, warm and filling.

With the soup I had a big salad with:
  • Spinach
  • Mixed greens
  • Roasted turkey (I'm guessing I ate 2 oz worth and gave 2 pieces to the husband)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (they totally made the salad!! But for 100 calories? I could have done better with another vegetable
  • Roasted portabella mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Honey dijon dressing (I had about .75 oz and settled at 50 calories' worth)
It also came with a toasted buttered piece of bread, which I gave away too (empty calories).

And the best part? They have a table with free CRISP apples!! I took one for snack :)

Lunch calories: ~500.

After lunch we got in 15 minutes of walking around the neighborhood. Nice!

I was so busy this morning that I never needed a snack. Sweet!

Dinner tonight is titled Tropical Delight :)

Morning in the Future!

As many of you know, I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. We just got our first form of mass transportation - a lightrail - and the first line opened over the weekend. I was scared to ride it, but the station is a mile from my house and goes right to my office building, so I knew I had to give it a try. The results? It took me 7 minutes longer to get to work (about 35 minutes door to door) but the stress level was GREAT!! I read SELF magazine and relaxed the whole trip. No traffic. No brakelights. Ahhhhhhh. I can't ride tomorrow because I have my nutrition class, but I will again on Friday! I think the evening commute will be even better!

Woke up a little sluggish this morning, but I got in by at 8:30 and was asleep by 9:15, so I should have gotten about 8 hours. Had a half serving (1/4 cup) of oatmeal with a bit of PB before the gym.

At the gym, I was so excited because I had a new magazine to read that I couldn't wait to get there! I usually read magazines while I do cardio (even running sometimes!) and it makes me enjoy the time so much more. I get TONS of magazine subscriptions (all the health and fitness and all the home and garden), so they keep me busy :)

30 minutes Stairmaster, level 12
15 minutes stat bike
5 minutes abs + ab roller (my new favorite toy :)

= 415 calories burned!

"Part of This Complete Breakfast!"

I was craving eggs last night, so I had them for breakfast - and a little bit of everything! It reminded me of those commercials that say "Part of this Complete Breakfast." All that was missing was the OJ - and I had a sip of the husband's, which we only had on hand because of Thanksgiving guests.

Omlete made with 1 egg, 1/2 cup carton egg whites, spinach and 1/2 oz blue cheese (more leftovers!)

Grapefruit, which I sliced and prepped last night when I was making dinner.

Toast with jam...

And decaf coffee, which I guess should be a 6 oz glass of milk to be a true "complete" breakfast!

Breakfast calories: ~500.

I want to blog about volumetrics and food weight (I don't think this breakfast is going to hold me very long because it wasn't very "heavy" compared to my oatmeal) but I don't have time!