Category Archives: Health

Healthy, Meet Delicious

I really enjoyed this new monthly column by Mark Bittman in the New York Times Dining section: Healthy, Meet Delicious. Bittman’s philosophy of eating vegan before 6pm and having what he likes for dinner seems like an easy way to eat more healthfully and make sure you get your vegetables in. I have been trying something similar, although I allow myself yogurt and occasionally eggs. But I like this method because I don’t feel deprived and because it is an easy lifestyle change to adopt.

I tried Bittman’s recipe for chopped salad last week and I liked it a lot. If you shred a lot of cabbage and carrots at one time, they will keep for a while undressed and can then easily be incorporated into chopped salad, coleslaw, other salads, stir-fries and so on. I have found that the easiest way to prompt myself to eat more vegetables is to have them prepped and ready for when I get hungry, so I don’t default to an easier and less healthy option at lunchtime.

The smoothie recipe also looks good, and is very similar to one I make often, especially during the summer months.

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Trying to Eat Healthy?

Seriously, trying to eat healthy can make you crazy. I have been there. Read: The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater.

Restaurants Overhauling Menus

Restaurants overhaul menus because of calorie count rules – Los Angeles Times — This is why it’s a good thing to require restaurants to display calorie counts on their menus, even if many people don’t take action as a result. It forces the restaurant to re-evaluate its menu, make portion sizes more reasonable and offer more healthy choices so it doesn’t get the reputation for being a feeding trough. Those of us who do want to eat healthy most of the time may actually have options when we go out to eat as a result.

Happy Cows = Healthy Food

This is an optimistic, positive story that demonstrates that doing the right thing is not necessarily at odds with doing good business.

“Bob nervously began to experiment by withholding antibiotics. To his astonishment, the cows didn’t get infections; on the contrary, their health improved. He realized that by inserting antibiotics, he may have been introducing pathogens into the udder. As long as cows are kept clean and are given pasture rather than cooped up in filthy barns, there’s no need to shower them with antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, he says.

Many cows in America now live out their lives in huge dairy barns, eating grain and hay and pumping out milk. But evidence is growing that cows don’t do well when locked up, so now many dairies are reverting to the traditional approach of sending cows out to pasture on grass.”

How Healthy We Think We Eat

Here is an interesting infographic about how healthfully we eat. People who are on some sort of restrictive diet seem to eat healthier than people who eat everything. The key is not the type of diet, but that you are actively thinking about what you eat.

How Healthy We Think We Eat 

 

Giving Up Bread for a While, plus Super-Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

I realize it’s been a long time since I last posted. As I said in my last post, lately I’ve been more improvisational in the kitchen, letting recipes inspire me rather than following them religiously. While I’ve been inspired in the kitchen, I haven’t been similarly inspired to post, mainly because I’m afraid I’ll become repetitive. Frittata is a good dish to eat week after week — to take one example — but perhaps not to read about.

Here’s something new I’m trying: not eating processed foods made with flour. That means no bread, pasta, crackers, pretzels or baked goods. I’ve also cut way back on dairy and refined sugar, although I haven’t given those up entirely. No more cream in my coffee, for example, but I’ll still have my morning yogurt with granola and berries. There are few ills that a bowl of really good yogurt can’t cure, or so I believe.

Why am I doing this? I’m hoping it will have a positive effect on my health, particularly my recurring insomnia and lack of energy. By cutting out bread-type foods, I am opening up space for more whole foods: more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. (I am not going gluten-free, though, nor am I being a fanatic about this; the idea is to reduce my consumption, not drive myself crazy.)

I’ve been at this for a week and so far, I can’t really report much difference. My sleep this week was normal, which means not great. I don’t feel like I’ve lost any weight, although ever since the batteries in my bathroom scale went dead, I’ve been a lot happier on that score. However, I will stick it out at least a month, because I don’t think I can expect any real results in less time than that.

I discovered a new recipe for super-simple peanut butter cookies this week that don’t require any flour or dairy. (They do have sugar, though.) And they are very toddler-friendly; my kid would probably live off these if he could. Here’s the recipe, which is simple enough to memorize.

Combine 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar (I think you could cut the sugar down to even ½ cup, if you wanted), and 1 egg in a bowl. Mix well (I used an electric mixer). Drop by tablespoonfuls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, until golden-brown. You do need to let these cool quite a lot. They get more cookie-like as they cool.

They are surprisingly good. Think of them as tiny energy bombs. Just one will keep you going on a dull afternoon.

Whole Wheat Pasta?

We eat pasta at least once a week. In an effort to eat more whole grains, I am searching for a whole-grain pasta that actually tastes good. My problem with these pastas is that they are too grainy or coarse. The only success I have had is with a pasta made from spelt. Anyone have brand suggestions or cooking tips?

They are trading their good-for-you rigor for warm, nutty flavor.
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