Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fruity Fermentation

(Patiently waiting for fermentation...)

I have done a few posts on probiotics in the past but never have I mentioned how easy it is to grow your own! Basically you just leave your food out on the counter for a week or so and there you have it. No, I’m serious. It’s hard for many people to grasp the concept of fermentation and feel safe eating the food, but it can be done safely, I am living proof. Fermenting foods is great because you not only get the nutritional benefits of the food but you add healthy living bacteria, which improve digestion and help maintain a healthy gut! This stuff is great for IBS, indigestion, and other unresolved digestive issues.

(Fermenation bible)

(Fruit Kimchi?! Oh yes.)

There are many different types of home ferments to be made and last week my housemate Elizabeth and I tried a fruit kimchi. We used the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz (the guru of fermentation) for the recipe, but truth be told, it was so easy you don’t really need a recipe. Here is what we did:

Step #1: Chopped up pineapple, apple, pear, plum, kiwi, grapes, onion, garlic, cilantro, nuts and hot chili peppers.

(The beautiful mixture of fruit, nuts, and spices)

Step #2: Add salt and cram the stuff in a glass jar

Step #3: Put the jar on the counter and wait one week (this is the hardest part)

Step #4: Enjoy! Your taste buds and your belly will thank you!

(Final product...1 week later, delish!)

When the ferment is as tangy or as mild as you like, stick it in the fridge. Do you ferment food at home? What do you make?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blogging Elsewhere (for today!)

Check out this blog post on real food for athletes I wrote for my amazing and talented preceptor, Penny Wilson! She is the registered dietitian at Ironman Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She is also certified specialist in sport dietetics and works with endurance athletes to get their nutrition dialed in and perfected so they can perform their best. I have learned SO much from working with her. Thanks Penny!



Monday, September 19, 2011

Snack Attack!

(Yummy, fast, easy, portable, whole food snack! Yeah Larabar!)

Yesterday I had a 12-mile training run. Sometimes on the day after long runs I am hungry, like all day long. Today is that kind of day. This morning I planned on that and packed a morning snack, apple and peanut butter. I also packed a yummy lunch, leftover couscous salad with veggies and garbanzo beans. I also threw in some grapes and snap peas to munch on in the afternoon. Yum! Around 10:30 I am ready for my apple and peanut butter and I reach for my lunch sack and…I forgot my lunch! So much for all my planning…

I’m a snacker. I always have been. Jon tells me that I need to carry a bag of nuts with me at all times. I get hungry between meals and if I don’t eat something I get really hungry. Then when it comes time to eat, I binge. Everyone does this, and the best way to avoid it is to snack. When we make healthy snack choices, it’s easy to make a wise decision at mealtime about what to eat and how much. When you go into a meal feeling super duper hungry because you haven’t eaten in 6 or 7 hours, you are likely to eat WAY too much. I have been seeing a lot of clients in my sports nutrition rotation that are interested in weight loss. The first thing that they do, before talking to a dietitian, is cut calories by cutting out snacks. Bad idea. First of all, when you are exercising more, you need a steady stream of calories throughout the day to balance your blood sugar and to give you fuel for your workouts. Second of all, everything I just mentioned.

(Watch out. It's easy to eat the whole bag of trail mix. Portion out 1/4-1/2 cup before you start munching!)

Not sure what to snack on? Here is a list of healthy “real food” snacks between 100-200 calories to get you through your day full of energy! Carry one with you in car, bag, or purse for when hunger strikes.

Snack ideas

  • 1 medium apple and 1 oz cheddar cheese

  • ½ banana and 1 tablespoon peanut butter

  • 6oz, 2% Greek yogurt and 1 cup strawberries

  • 1 brown rice cake and ¼ avocado

  • ¼ cup 2% cottage cheese and 1 cup diced cantaloupe

  • 1 slice of deli turkey, one slice Ezekiel whole grain toast, 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

  • 1 string cheese and 1 Wasa cracker

  • ¼ cup trail mix

  • 1 hard boiled egg and 14 baby carrots

  • 1 corn tortilla, 1 oz pepper jack cheese, and 2 tablespoons salsa

  • ½ whole wheat English muffin, 1 ounce part skim mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons marinara sauce

  • 3 celery stalks and ¼ cup hummus

  • 10 whole wheat pretzel sticks and 2 tablespoons low fat garden vegetable cream cheese

  • 2 whole wheat graham crackers and 1 cup of applesauce

  • Small bowl of miso soup with tofu and seaweed

  • 1 oz smoked salmon, 1oz goat cheese and 2 Ak Mak crackers

  • 1 stalk of “ants on a log” celery with peanut butter and raisins
  • 1/2 cup pistachios with the shells on
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds in 4 tablespoons milk of your choice with a couple drops of stevia
What did I end up eating today? 1/2 a Lara bar that was in my bag (thank god), and a so so sandwich from Au Bon Pain. What is your favorite healthy snack?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Real Food Cheater



Grocery Gal does Chocolate milk?!  
I am currently in my sports nutrition rotation at UH athletics.  I am super duper lucky because there are only 13 full time collegiate sports dietitians and I get to work with one of them!  I was really excited to work with athletes because we didn’t have a sports nutrition class at Bastyr.  It turns out, athletes are a wonderful group to work with.  They are super motivated and pretty much do anything you tell them to.  Complete opposite of working with weight loss or diabetes.  I am learning so much from this rotation for the student athletes AND for myself! Since I am training for the women’s ½ marathon in Austin, all this info is going to come in handy in the next few weeks for me to get me through my long training runs.  I always knew that if you eat poorly it would impact your performance, but I never realized how important WHEN and WHAT you eat are to your ability to gain muscle and endurance! 

Another example of a great post workout snack, fresh mango with cottage cheese.
Here is a little run down of some of the cool stuff I have learned so far… While you are working out you are in “break down” mode, your body is breaking down glycogen (stored carbohydrates) and muscle protein to use for energy.  When you finish, you switch into “building mode”, and for the next 30 minutes your muscles are like sponges, ready to soak up nutrients so they can start the rebuilding process.  This is called the “anabolic window”.  It’s best to get about 10-20 grams of protein and 30-60 grams of carbs in right away after your workout!  This was news to me.

The dietitian at UH supplies fresh fruit and chocolate milk for the athletes after their workouts.  It is the perfect recovery fuel!  Chocolate milk has an ideal balance of protein, quickly digesting carbohydrates, and electrolytes for a post a work drink.  Add a piece of fruit and you have met your carb quota to begin your recovery fueling…genius! Additionally, chocolate milk helps contribute to rehydration post workout. 

Here is what I was doing before on my running days:

5:45 am- stumble out of bed and into my running shoes.  Slam water for the next 15 minutes.

6:00- run for up to 2 hours, drinking water all the while. (I bought a Nathan hydration belt and I love it!)

Upon returning from my run I would drink more water and shower.  I would usually eat oatmeal or something within the next 2 hours.  (Not that hungry after running in 90 degree heat.)

Here is my better more fantastic nutrition plan:

5:45 am- stumble out of bed and into my running shoes.  Sip water and have a small piece of fruit for pre run energy!

6:00- run for up to 2 hours, drinking water all the while.  If I am running longer than 6 miles, I have options, fill 2 bottles on my hydration belt with double diluted Vega sport and have some fruit snacks at about mile 6.  OR go just water and have 3 cliff shot blocks or a shot gel.

Return from run and have a shot of espresso and chocolate milk over ice and a handful of crackers or a piece of fruit immediately!  Now shower and dink around for a while, then breakfast when I am ready, within about 2 hours.
Fueling during the run

Nutrition is just as important as what you are actually doing for your workout.  If you don’t eat right, all the effort that you put into training can be lost because your muscles and liver can’t properly restore.   I realize that “fruit snacks”,  “chocolate milk” and “energy gels” aren’t “real food” but your body needs quick digesting carbs after and during your workout so as long as you are using these foods properly (only after or during working out and not while you are sitting around on your tush watching Biggest Loser, you’ll be just fine!)

Anyone else have a “fueling plan?” I’d LOVE to hear what works for you! 

Read more about Sports Nutrition at: 




Sunday, August 7, 2011

Inspired Smoothie


(Yummy Bing cherries for today's smoothie!)

I have many inspirations for today's smoothie and here they are listed below:

1)
(Probably the best ice cream ever. Plus, you gotta love they named it after Jerry. B and J must love their jam bands, they have another flavor named after Phish. Cherry ice cream, cherries, and fudge pieces...it doesn't get better than this chocolate-cherry combo)

2)
(Who couldn't eat a whole jar of this stuff... hazelnuts and chocolate are certainly a match made in heaven. This was one of those foods that I always wanted my parents to buy when I was growing up. I was one of those deprived children when it came to junk food, as I am sure my future children will be. If your thinking Nutella is good for you because it is marketed as a health food, think again. First ingredient on the list is sugar...)

3)
(Theo got it right when they combined cherries and almonds in their luscious dark chocolate. Now were getting close...)

4)
(Dad and me at my wedding)

Probably the biggest inspiration for this smoothie is my dear old dad (we'll see if he's reading). He is the biggest chocolate-cherry combo fan I know. When I was a kid he used to request a chocolate-cherry cake for his birthday every year. Now on to the smoothie recipe...
(Hazelnuts AKA filberts went in today's concoction)

Sunday (George's) Smoothie

Handful of Bing cherries, pitted
1/2 frozen banana
2 tablespoons raw hazelnuts
2 tablespoons Vega chocolate protein powder
1/2 cup almond milk
4-5 ice cubes

(This smoothie was the most delicious one I have made all week. Here's to you Dad!)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Smoothie for Lunch

This morning I ran 5 miles at 6 am. When I got back to the house I was famished and really needed something more substantial than a smoothie. I decided on an omelet, which was really delicious. I decided it was okay to have a smoothie for lunch and so that is what I did. I bought this amazingly sweet heirloom melon and I knew I wanted to use that, but with what? Since I hadn’t done any green smoothies yet I decided on kale. The drink was very hydrating and refreshing! I also threw some mango in there, just cause.

(It aint easy being green...)


Saturday (Lunch) Smoothie

1 cup of chopped melon

½ mango

2 big leaves of curly kale, de-stemmed

4-5 ice cubes

¼ cup water

Friday, August 5, 2011

Peach Perfection

(Fuzzy goodness)

One of my favorite things about summertime is a ripe and juicy peach. I love it when you bite into one and the juice just runs down to your elbows. There is some debate where the best peaches come from, some say Georgia, others South Carolina, and still others say California. I did find some organic, local Texas peaches and I have to say, not bad, not bad at all. When buying peaches, choose organic. They are #4 on the dirty dozen list, one of the fruits with the highest amount of pesticides.

(Choose plain lowfat Greek yougurt. It is packed with protein and the only ingredients are milk, cream, and cultures! Delicious!)

Today’s smoothie was more like a milkshake. It was that good. And so simple.

Friday (Peaches and Cream) Smoothie

1 whole ripe peach, peeled and pitted

½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt

4 ice cubes

(Looks and tastes like a milkshake. Yummers.)

Blend away and enjoy on a hot summer day!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dessert for Breakfast!


(Ingredients in the blender and ready to go!)

Who says you can’t have apple pie for breakfast? This apple pie smoothie was very hearty and delicious. Simply all you need to get your day going and I wasn’t hungry till lunch!

Thursday (Apple Pie) Smoothie

½ cup of rolled oats

1 cup milk of your choice (I used almond)

5 pitted dates

1 whole apple, peeled and core removed

2 tablespoons walnuts

1 tablespoon maple syrup

4 ice cubes

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cinnamon

Combine oats and milk in a small dish and soak overnight. In the morning put the oat mixture in the blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend. Enjoy!

(Foamy and delicious smoothie!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seattle Smoothie

(Oh yes I did!)

Another training run this morning at 5:45am. We are having record heat here in Houston so the earlier the better for exercising outside. I have to admit I was feeling a little homesick this morning, I was in a total rush, and feeling pretty wiped out from the whole early rising thing. The combination of these factors lead me to my smoothie recipe this morning, which I lovingly call the Seattle smoothie.

(Straight from the Evergreen State...so much for eating local today)

Wednesday (Seattle) Smoothie

1 cup fresh organic blueberries

½ cup almond milk

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

4-5 drops vanilla Stevia extract

8 ice cubes

2 shots of espresso

(This is what Stevia looks like. Find it in the grocery store next to the sugar in the baking isle)

The blueberries in this smoothie are Washington grown and I’m sure you get the whole espresso-Seattle thing. I used Stevia because it doesn’t raise your blood glucose like sugar and is calorie free! It is pretty much the only calorie free sweetener that I use because it is minimally refined and is not made in a chemistry lab like Splenda or NutraSweet (Aspartame). This smoothie was yummy, especially if you like coffee. It definitely gave me a little pick-me-up and it was super quick and easy to make. I did have a little sprouted grain toast and peanut butter on the side since there was not a lot of protein in the smoothie. Give this one a try instead of your usual morning coffee and I guarantee you will hit the ground running!

(Pretty color huh?)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taste of the Tropics

Ingredients for today...

In honor of it being over 100 degrees every day this week according to the weatherman, I decided on a tropical smoothie for today. The cool thing (pun intended) about my neighborhood here in Houston are the fresh fruit stands. We have a guy on every corner selling “cocos frios”, (chilled coconuts that come with a straw inserted so you can drink the water inside), mangos, papayas, pineapple, you name it. I love tropical fruit! It is naturally high in digestive enzymes that help with your digestion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Also, being so close to Mexico where a lot of it is grown, we have great access to it here in Houston. Juicy pineapple = eating local =Awesome!

Elizabeth enjoying a coco frio after yoga

I was at Harris County Public Health doing dietary education for patients, in EVERY single case today the dietitian advised his patient to eat more fruit! An easy way to get in your 2-3 servings a day is in a smoothie! Here is the recipe for today…

Tuesday Smoothie

1 whole mango peeled

1 whole kiwi peeled

2 tablespoons raw cashew nuts

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

1 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled

Splash of water

5-6 ice cubes

Blend the cashew nuts first until they are finely chopped, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend! Serve with a little umbrella in it. I didn’t have one...next time.

Finished smoothie...now, which way to the beach?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beat the Heat

(Smoothie ingredients)

I just started my first dietetic internship rotation today. I’m in a HIV clinic in Houston, Texas. More information on that to come. In the mean time I figured that this is the perfect time for a challenge. I decided on another ½ marathon in Austin on October 9th! I am really excited about this one and just started my training regimen this morning with a run at 6am. If you have even been to Houston in the summer you know that this is the ONLY acceptable time to go running. By 4:00 today the thermostat in my car read 111 degrees.

(I took a picture to prove it!)

After finishing my run this morning I was ready for a little breakfast. Problem is, not much sounds good when the temperature is in the 100’s. Of course, being the nutrition freak I am, I could never skip breakfast. That is sacrilege! Especially after a run! I needed protein to rebuild muscles and carbohydrates to replenish my glycogen stores. What satified? A smoothie of course! Honestly, my new roomie Elizabeth and I have been drinking smoothies non-stop since our arrival in Texas and they certainly hit the spot on a hot day. So, challenge of the week: a different smoothie every day! Yeah! And I’m even going to share the recipes with y’all (note Texas slang).

Monday Smoothie

1 ripe banana

½ cup organic blueberries

1 tablespoon organic peanut butter

2 tablespoons Vega Chocolate Shake & Go Smoothie

5-6 ice cubes

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

(Go Texans!)

This smoothie has it all, the Vega products are really awesome too. This particular one provides 11 grams of protein and contains all natural minimally refined ingredients. You really need to be careful when selected protein powders as they have a lot of garbage in them and super refined/processed. Products you can trust are Vega and Nutiva.

I threw in some peanut butter to add some healthy fats and the peanut butter-chocolate combo was super yummy too! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

156 Pounds

(Cupcake counter at Cupcake Royale)

It was the last day of my sugar free week and it was filled with temptations. I have to admit I almost fell off the wagon. After a seven-mile run this morning with a friend we went and got coffee. Where did we go of all the million coffee shops in Seattle? Cupcake Royale. Now they do carry Stumptown Roasters coffee, which is delicious but with rows and rows of sugary sweetness it was definitely mouthwatering in there. Instead, I treated myself to something better, fresh strawberries from the farmer’s market. They were so sweet and flavorful.

(Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! OMG!)

(My yummy berries from the farmer's market...better than a cupcake anyday!)

Later my parents showed up in town for my graduation tomorrow. We went out of an early dinner at Cedars on Brooklyn. Their Indian food is off the hook and I filled up on fish curry and spinach naan. Of course, everyone (excluding myself) wanted dessert so we swung on over to Molly Moon’s, where we waited in line (of course) for their amazing ice cream. I was tortured by the smell of homemade waffle cones while we waited. I was able to walk away no cone in hand.

(Jon and the folks at Molly Moon's, by far the biggest temptation of the week! Her salted carmel icecream is to die for!!)

Now that my sugar free week is over I do have a few final thoughts. Can someone really be addicted to sugar? To me, it seems like it. As humans, we are innately programmed to prefer the tastes of all things sweet. Even breast milk is sweet. Instinctually, sweet things provide the essential calories and energy that we needed to survive, plus plants that are sweet and not bitter are generally safe to eat (not poisonous). In today’s world we have found ways to make things sweeter and sweeter and have put sweeteners in everything to appeal to human’s taste buds and keep them buying and eating more. In fact, the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar a year! Humans don’t need those extra calories anymore to survive and they are posing a problem for many people today with skyrocketing rates of obesity and type II diabetes.

Once I kicked sugar to the curb, it took me about 3 days to get past the “withdrawals” of not having it. The crankiness and mood swings that I experienced in those first 3 days are all the evidence I need that sugar is addictive.

I feel great knowing that I was able to avoid sugar for the week, but it wasn’t easy. I also feel better in general, more clear headed, happier, more energy. I’m not saying that I’m done with sugar forever but I liked taking a break and now that I have I will be more aware of how I feel when I do eat sugar. I also may try and keep my sugar consumption to a couple servings per week, instead of a couple per day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bad Dog!

Let me tell you about days 4 and 5. You may have been thinking that I failed, but you would be wrong! 4 and 5 were easy. They weren’t easy because there wasn’t sugar laden goodies everywhere I looked, they were easy because the cravings are gone.

Day 4 I had my culinary skills final. I discovered this great Muesli for breakfast. It’s just: oats, wheat, dates, apples, bananas, millet, raisins, hazelnuts, and almonds. I had it with Greek yogurt and fruit and was all set till lunch. After my final I was finished with grad school. Master of Science in Nutrition. Pretty awesome! It was definitely time to celebrate and a bunch of us did by going out on one of our professor’s boat to for a dinner cruise. The thing about all the women in my program is that they are excellent cooks so we had an amazing feast! I brought my Banana rum cake that you have been hearing so much about and they (not I) enjoyed it! The funny thing was, I didn’t even want any of it. There was a fresh fruit salad that I enjoyed instead.

Day 5 I had the same breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch and then helped my friend set up our MSN graduation party. We had veggies, fruit, salads, pizza, and all sorts of cupcakes and cookies. I stood right in front of the cupcakes for a good half and hour talking to a friend and didn’t eat any. I didn’t even lick my fingers when I was helping to arrange them on the platter.

When Jon and I got home after the party the Pyrex baking dish that the remainder of the banana rum cake had been in was on the floor and the dog didn’t get up to greet us when we came in, he looked guilty. Jon and I had a good laugh and I told Frank it was okay, he had just let his sugar cravings get the best of him. I know how he feels; I had been there before.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 3 Challenges

(Cookies that my awesome students made! I'm not sure how they tasted, but they sure look good!)

Today was a day full of challenges. I am a teaching assistant for a whole foods cooking class on Wednesdays and today was chocolate chip cookie day. Also the students had their finals and one group prepared coconut ice cream, and another, blueberry pie! I really wanted some of that ice cream.

Later, I came home and had to make my banana rum cake for culinary skills tomorrow. It is sitting whole on the counter.

I did make quinoa and black bean patties, so I had a delicious dinner. Even though my dinner rocked and was super protein packed and delicious, I have to say; day 3 has been the hardest day so far. I’m cranky and a little sad. I’m not sure if it is just that kind of day or if these are the signs of withdrawal.

(Black bean and quinoa patty for dinner, here is a lovely picture of with some salsa, guacamole, Greek yogurt, and a little salad.)

I had 2 dates for dessert and gave myself a pat on the back for hanging in there.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cupcake anyone?

(The start of a delicious dinner!)

Day 2 down, 5 to go. I did really well today considering how I started off. I did a huge no-no this morning. I skipped breakfast. This is big problem because if you don’t give yourself a healthy breakfast, your blood sugar will plummet and you will be looking for something that will bring it up FAST. The thing that does this best is sugar.

A couple struggles today… I went for a lovely long run with my friend, her daughter, and the pup. Afterwards, we went grocery shopping and I was starving. I knew protein was what I needed but the dessert case was calling out to me. I resisted and grabbed some tuna salad, a whole grain roll, some salad greens and cherry tomatoes. After lunch we ordered food for our graduation party including a few dozen cupcakes. I am still thinking about those cupcakes.

Next challenge, I am finishing a final for my culinary skills class. We need to write recipes for an entrée, 2 sides and a dessert. I wrote a recipe for Banana Rum Cake with Coconut Whip. All the while my mouth was watering. I went for a brown rice cake with peanut butter and a few slices of pineapple. It worked to kick the sweet tooth!

(Dinner!)

I finished the day strong with brown rice penne, fresh home made pesto sauce, roasted cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and fresh mozzarella. Delicious. I have to admit, I wanted a little something after dinner. There is frozen yogurt in the freezer… fear not, I couldn’t let my readers down.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day One

(Sugar free breakfast!)

So I made it. As of 10:03pm as I type these words. No sugar. I have to say, day one wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. There were definitely moments when my sweet tooth kicked into high gear, but I didn’t give in. I persevered. Here is how I did it:

Breakfast: I wanted to start the day off with something on the sweeter side. I was thinking leftover banana pancakes from Sunday, but I stopped myself because I know that this is where the downfall begins! First thing in the morning it is so important to avoid spiking your blood sugar with something sweet. Pancakes, French toast, anything syrup covered, or cereal with added sugar can take your blood sugar for a wild ride. Today I had scrambled eggs, quinoa, and fresh salsa. It was so delicious, high in protein and low in sugar. Perfect! It held me over for about four hours until lunch. No sugar cravings.

Lunch: I had a delicious bowl of split pea soup, kale and beet salad and cottage cheese. I wanted to go heavy on the protein again to avoid the blood sugar spike and crash that would set me up for more sugar cravings later on.

I had a final today at 5pm. The hardest time of the day for me was after lunch and before my final. The girls I was studying with decided to split a piece of carrot cake. I was offered a bite of a chocolate cupcake at one point. I said no. I made it. I snacked on a Lara Bar, which has dates, nuts and spices. It was sweet enough to get me through the craving and gave me the boost I needed before taking my exam. Success!
(My lovely ladies chowing down on carrot cake! Torture!)

After the exam a bunch of us met up for drinks. I had two beers, a salad and sandwich at the bar. Done. No sugar.

I’d have to say that the hardest part of the day was the 2pm-4pm hour. I am going to have to think of some good strategies to deal with that tomorrow. For today, no sugar and feeling good! How was your day? What hour do your sugar cravings strike?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sugar Monster

Okay this is a little ridiculous. It may be the stress of graduation or my impending move to Texas for my dietetic internship but I need to confess, “Hello my name is Sarah and I am a sugar addict.” Yes it is true. Grocery gal has gone off the deep end. Chocolate in every form. Cakes and cookies. Ice cream and any sort of topping. What is wrong with me? I know all the reasons why refined sugar isn’t good for you; inflammation, weight gain, it’s hard on the liver, and the list goes on. So why can’t I stop?! The fact of the matter is, sugar is highly addictive and when you eat it, it causes your blood sugar to spike, and then fall again rapidly. Once you are down, you want to go back up, so you eat more and the cycle continues. I’ve made excuses. “I ran eight miles today.” “I ate a ton of vegetables for lunch.” “I just finished grad school, I deserve it.” Well that’s enough. If I put it in writing it should really stick. I’m going cold turkey. I’m eliminating sugar for 7 days and I’m going to blog about it. I’ll let you know how it goes and with my readers counting on me I’m sure not to fail. So, who else is with me? Day one starts tomorrow…sugar free.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Pink One

So it’s been awhile. I apologize for my extended vacation, but I was having a bit of writer’s block. I needed a little inspiration and I certainly found it. It’s salmon season! After eating salmon four times in the past five days I figured I ought to let my readers know a little bit about this amazing fish!

I have always loved salmon. My dad tells a story about when I was little from inside the grocery cart shouting and pointing as we stopped at the fresh fish, “I want the pink one, Daddy! Get the pink one!” How could a father resist? Now that I live in Seattle, I eat salmon even more often because it is so fresh and available. Salmon is not only delicious but also extremely nutritious! It is one of the highest foods in omega 3 fatty acids, which have many anti-inflammatory benefits on the body. The American diet is generally too low in omega 3 fats and too high in inflammatory omega 6 fats which may attribute to many health problems that are rooted in inflammation such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and many others. The more omega 3 fats we can eat the better and salmon is great way to get a hearty dose.

There are many different kinds of salmon, so how do you choose which one to eat? The key is to choose wild Alaskan salmon. Wild Alaskan is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Best Choice” list of seafood that is sustainable and good to eat. Atlantic salmon is NOT okay. It is farmed raised and this type of salmon not only poses huge ecological problems, but it is dyed with artificial color to look pink. Additionally, farmed salmon is significantly lower in heart healthy omega-3s and tastes mushy. For those of you that are on the east coast and can’t find Alaskan salmon in your local market, I highly suggest canned Alaskan. It is much more affordable and you can make delicious salmon burgers or salmon salad with it. Smoked salmon is also really yummy; in fact that’s what I’m eating tonight. Turns out, my neighbor’s buddy is a fisherman and smokes his own fish. Other great ways to prepare salmon are on the grill, sear it and finish in the oven, or wrapped in parchment paper and baked. Salmon is truly versatile, delicious, and easy to prepare so that pretty much means you can eat it four times in one week like me! Here is how I prepared it tonight:

Carmelize some red onion in olive oil and a little butter, add chopped garlic and broccoli. Add about 2 tablspoons of sherry wine, about 3 ounces of smoked salmon, fresh parsley and whole grain noodles (these are brown rice elbows)! It was delish!