Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

October 29, 2009

Just Squash It

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , — Lady Who Cooks @ 12:57 pm

squashOh the squash!  Glorious squash!  Seems like the grocery stores are overflowing with these tasty and sometime strange looking wonders.  Fall and winter, if they ever really occur in Florida, are great times to experiment with different types squash.  There are two main categories of squash, ‘summer’ and ‘winter’, typically summer squashes are Cousa, yellow, pattypan, zucchini and the most common winter squashes, who have a rather larger variety, are acorn, butternut, and hubbard.  My personal favorite is the acorn squash, easy to cook and tastes how I can act, a little nutty.

Squash is typically rich in beta carotene, fiber, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium.  Winter squashes can be stored for months in a cool basement-hence the name “winter” squash.  Squashes can be roasted, sautéed, and blended to make soup. The seeds are a tasty treat when you roasted them with a little seasoning and olive oil.  Squashes are considered a dense vegetable, complex carbohydrate, and if you follow The Zone you don’t want to overindulge.  I believe ½ cup of acorn squash equals 1 carb block.

A couple ractical recipes for squash:

-The easiest way to cook it:  For most winter squashes you can slice open and roasted with olive oil and a little garlic salt for 45minutes at 400 degrees.

-Butternut soup:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes
1 yellow/white onion
2-3 tbs. olive oil
2 c. homemade chicken stock
1 c. water (or more if you want a thinner soup)
generous shakes of cinnamon
few shakes of nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Cook until translucent. Add in butternut squash & chicken stock + 1c. water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until squash is tender.

Put entire mixture into a blender (be careful of it exploding out of the top due to the heat), and puree until smooth. Transfer back to the stovetop & simmer until reheated through. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg & salt & pepper. Add in water to thin, if desired.

Nutritional information from The Daily Plate:
Calories = 932
Fat = 48g
Carbs = 100g
Protein = 19g
(divide everything by 8 for 1c. measurements)

Receipe courtesy of My Journey from Vegetarian to Paleo..

What is your personal feeling towards squah?  Love it, hate it?  Have any good recipies?

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October 19, 2009

When salads go wrong.

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , — Lady Who Cooks @ 9:18 pm
Tasty!

Tasty!

Ok people, we all think it and I think it’s society that has brainwashed us into thinking that if we eat a salad we are on the cusp of ultimate healthiness.  I know we all think we’re doing something good for ourselves by opting for the all-you-can-eat salad bar but when we take a moment to reflect, what are we slopping onto our plate?  Micah and I witnessed the other day a youngster about 80lbs overweight with a mile high pile of Bacon Bits on his plate (or should I say Faken bits?  Soy bits flavored like bacon…gross)

So it’s pretty easy to see why not all salads are created equally and just because you eat a salad doesn’t mean you just made a healthy choice.  For instance, the base of a salad is of course lettuce, and the most common lettuce choice is iceberg.  Iceberg is like chewing a sock, nutritionally it doesn’t do much good (See here for stats). If you want to do something good for yourself, go for the lettuce with more bang-for-your-buck.  A smart salad choice would be opting for spinach with 181% Daily Value for Vitamin K (see full stats here), which is excellent seeing how Osteoporosis and coronary heart disease are strongly related to diets deficient in Vitamin K.  So don’t skimp on the good stuff.   Your body needs these types of vitamins and minerals to function properly.

So past the lettuce and onto the toppings, any veggie would be a good addition especially if it includes green and red bell pepper, onion, olives, mushrooms, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, and beets.  Remember corn is NOT a veggie!  It’s a grain.  Skip over the Bacon bits and reach for some sunflower seeds, pecans, or almonds to add some good fat. If you’re at a buffet, refrain from the pasta salads, croutons, and crackers.

Always remember the protein.  If you go by The Zone you need to have 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein.  Make sure to pair your veggie wonderland with some tasty tuna, salmon, egg, chicken, or beef, to just name a few.  This is the part of the salad that will keep you full and satisfied for a long period of time.

Lastly, if you top off your bowl of nutrition-O’s with a pile of sugar loaded salad dressing then you’ve just ruined your chance for a truly nutritious meal.  Most salad dressings contain the dreaded high fructose corn syrup (visit here for details).  Yes, this terrible concoction is everywhere!  A good suggestion would be to go for the oil and vinegar, even if we can’t be sure what type of oil they are using it’s a better alternative since the oil isn’t heated to the point of becoming rancid.  If you absolutely hate the OV option then keep your dressing in a separate bowl, dip your fork in the dressing, then eat some salad.  You’ll consume less dressing and still taste the flavor.

So think about this the next time you’re prepping your bowl of rabbit food.  Keep the meal simple and balanced.   Stay away from questionable ingredients and don’t let the fact that you’re eating a salad fool you into thinking that whatever it contains is good for you.

Here’s a recipe for my favorite salad and please, feel free to share yours.

1 cup spinach

1 cup mixed greens

Handful of chopped walnuts, grapes, cherry tomatoes, red and green bell pepper, and red onion

3 oz of grilled chicken breast

Olive oil dressing:

4 tbsp olive oil (EVOO the really good green kind)

A pinch of mint, thyme, and parsley

A dash of garlic salt

Image courtesy of Ralph and Jenny

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October 14, 2009

Introducing Agave, Primal Ambrosia

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Mara @ 6:02 pm
NOTE: I have revised my stance on agave since writing this post. For a more up to date look at agave and its effects on your body, please see this post and especially my comment at the bottom. In a nut shell, while the insulin response is low, there are other problems with agave that may make it worse than sugar.
Sweet tooths rejoice!
Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

While perusing the Vivaldi-graced aisles of Fresh Market, I happened upon a sparking bottle filled with honey-colored liquid. This organic Agave nectar claimed a low glycemic response, and since I had seen it in recipes on MDA and such (and since it only cost about $7 for a hefty amount), I decided to drop it in my basket. After a bit of internet research and a taste test (a teaspoon added to my plain greek yogurt with walnuts and dried cherries – delicious!), I have concluded that this is God’s gift to zone/primal sweet tooths.

For those adhering to a zone-ish (equal proportions of macro nutrients in each meal) or primal-esqe (eating like a caveman) diet, the necessary restrictions on sugar in all its magnificent forms can be quite a sacrifice. Not only do we have to often forgo the cookies, pies, ice cream, etc., we also have to take other foods in much less sweetened forms than we did previously. Yogurt is a good example. Plain yogurt straight up is not for the faint of heart. But the sweetened kinds have a ton of sugar, or worse, artificial sweeteners, that fly in the face of our dietary wisdom. We can make our own desserts, but dessert isn’t dessert if it’s not at least semi-sweet. So what to do?

Stevia has been the only safe option. It remains the only approved (meaning non-carcinogenic) calorie- and carb-free option, but its bitter aftertaste makes using it in any substantial quantity rather unsavory. I have had success using a bit of stevia mixed with regular sugar or honey, but I still end up with a fairly high-sugar result.

Enter Agave Nectar. Slightly less thick than honey, making it easier to work with, 25% sweeter than sugar, and without any kind of aftertaste, it is like honey without the guilt, so better. Now, it is not stevia; one tablespoon has 16 grams of sugar. But its insulin response is very different. According to the zone master, Dr. Barry Sears, because agave is 90% fructose, it has relatively a low glucose content, which gives it a low rating on the glycemic index.  On a scale that uses white bread as the standard with a rating of 100, agave nectar has a rating of 46, while honey comes in at 104 and white sugar comes in at 92. You also need to use less of it than either honey or sugar to get the same level of sweetness.

Yes please!

I will now be incorporating agave nectar into my recipes, for shizzle. 3/4 cup of agave can replace 1 cup of granulated sugar, though you want to reduce the other liquids in your recipe if texture matters. I’ll probably try to throw in a dab of stevia as well, to reduce the agave a bit further, but agave will now be my main standby.

Sweet ambrosia, agave, how I adore thee!

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September 25, 2009

Paleo Poetry – Entry 1

Filed under: diet — Tags: , , , , — Micah Vandegrift @ 5:23 pm

Title – Cheat Day

Verily, Verily, I say unto thee,
when God invented lovemaking, he must have been thinking of spaghetti.

Hurriedly chomping, enjoying the heavenly noodle,
I’d easily throw in the towel on zone diets for this kit and caboodle.

Wholly, completely, though neither is my master,
If there’s one thing I love to eat more than Paleo, it’s pasta.

Simply, truly, we all can agree,
There is little in this world more amazing, and less paleo, than glorious spaghetti.

-Dedicated to my leftover Chicken Parm and spaghetti that will soon be with me no longer-

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