Saturday, January 26, 2008

Treat Yourself After the Gym: Banana Strawberry Smoothie

This morning, I attended a very crowded and very lively step aerobics class. Before I left, I did some easy prep for a post-gym treat -- a banana, strawberry smoothie. Here is the recipe:

Frozen Banana Strawberry Smoothie -- 1 serving

1/2 cup sliced bananas - freeze for 1 to 2 hours
1/2 cup sliced strawberries - freeze along with the bananas for 1 to 2 hours
3/4 cup unfiltered apple juice (I bought an organic apple juice which fits the bill)

Blend all ingredients at slow speed. It was great - refreshing, healthy, non-fat.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sushi - A Healthful Dinner Option...

This evening, we decided to go out for Japanese food for dinner. All in all, it was a healthy, but satisfying meal.

We started with edamame as an appetizer -- the salty exterior of the bean pods and the hearty flavor of the soybeans themselves were filling. I had a house salad (okay, the creamy ginger dressing probably wasn't too healthy), and G. had a seaweed salad. I had a sake maki (salmon roll) and a kappa maki (cucumber roll).

Reinventing Yourself Is Hard...

Reinvention. Transformation. These are things we see around us every day -- the seasons never fail to change from one to the next with what seems like great ease. And yet, when we try to reinvent ourselves it feels very difficult.

Becoming a low fat foodie means that I must change the ways that I eat and also the ways that I exercise. For your consideration...

The "Pre-Transformation" Statistics

Total Cholesterol - 205
LDL Cholesterol - 142
HDL Cholesterol - 43
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 135

On the exercise front, I have been trying to attend five step aerobics classes per week. That has become a big time commitment, but so far, I enjoy them and I am looking forward to the way they will improve my performance while hiking in the spring. On the food front, things are more difficult. I have been doing okay for the past couple of weeks, but I wonder how sustainable it all is...


Breakfasts have been easy. I have replaced my raisin bran or oat cereal with Kashi "Heart to Heart" cereal. Out went the 1% milk in favor of skim. Also, I have cut out my daily coffee with half and half, and replaced it with tea/honey. I still have coffee once in a while for a treat, but gone are the two cups per morning. I have also replaced my cranapple/seltzer combo with a Minute Maid orange juice that is fortified with plant sterols. Will the juice help? Who knows, but worth a try.


Lunches also have been pretty easy. I had been eating "Lean Cuisines" for lunch - they taste pretty good and are quite low in saturated fat. I have come to love the Three Cheese Stuffed Rigatoni. It has 3 grams of saturated fat. The cheese in the pasta and in the sauce tastes rich and makes me feel like I have had a fairly substantial meal. To drink -- either water or tea.


Dinners are more difficult. During the week for dinner, my husband and I like to eat food that we have prepared. And he is not a big fan of low fat fare :) I got some books from the library. Two successes this week have been: a salad with baked chicken, baby red potatoes, steamed asparagus and a homemade vinaigrette; and home-made chicken satay with a small amount of peanut sauce, white rice and more steamed asparagus. Recipes to follow in a separate post...

Since I have a sweet tooth, I have been having vanilla frozen yogurt with crushed pineapple for dessert. It's a personal comfort food. Reminds me of when I was small -- on a weekend afternoon, my dad would take me to the playground or to walk in the town conservation land, then we would stop at Friendly Ice Cream and get a sundae. I always got vanilla ice cream with pineapple on top.

I find it interesting -- while I am trying to transform my health, I am also trying to reinvent myself professionally. This is turning out to be hard too. It seems like once we are "molded" in one way, we ourselves and the world find it difficult to see in a different way. I am making slow progress on both the health and the professional front. Here's hoping it will continue!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Birth of a Low Fat Foodie

Low Fat and Foodie -- up until today, these have been words in my vocabulary that don't belong together. It's rather ironic, really, that food -- one of the big loves of my life -- is my health nemesis.

It all started with a few words from my doctor: "Your blood pressure is fine." At this, I feel relief coursing through me -- I had feared going on blood pressure medication. But then, there was more. "Now your cholesterol - that's a different story." Sigh... I had been half suspecting this news. In December, I spent two weeks in Italy, loving every minute of the caffe lattes made with whole milk, pasta with butter sauces, cheese courses, etc. In my subconscious, I wanted to deny the possibility of the negative health effects. A few days before my doctor's appointment, I had a dream that she said my cholesterol was fine. I woke up hopeful, but secretly knew this would not be the verdict.

So now, my path is clear. I must try to create a new persona - the Low Fat Foodie. Is it possible? I don't know. But dear readers, I will keep you posted here.