Mirror mirror on the wall- what mirror will make me look better than all?

Ok- so I already wrote about my body changes -as in I gained weight while in the process of trying to gain muscle.

In case you forgot or happened to skip that iconic post of mine, here is a link.

My body changes: strength +weight gain

I wrote that I found out that for me- there are 3 methods of deciding on my current strength-weight situation:

#1:my workout quality:

My workouts since starting the process have improved noticeably.

I can do things I didn’t do before, and find workouts I struggled with before to be much much easier now.

I am so proud of my body, that I actually overcame my aversion of boasting about any accomplishments of mine, and in the spirit of thinking and writing positively -including about myself, simply wrote it down.

No big deal-I can still edit it later.

#2: the way my clothes fit me:

As I wrote- this is a tricky one since I only wear stretchy leggings and other activewear, that can take on quite a lot of body changes without reporting to the authorities.

#3: The way I look. AKA- the type of mirror I use.

I’m sure you are aware of the major differences in the reflections of the images you see in different mirrors.

I don’t mean only the professional ones in malls, that sometimes do me grace and on other occasions- such as in elevators -make me wish I didn’t stop using makeup, I am also referring to the different mirrors you have at home.

I haven’t researched this- maybe its the lighting, the proximity from the image or the height or angle of the hanging- the bottom line is- I have a favorite mirror at home, that always makes me smile when I see my reflection in it, and on other mirrors- well- it depends on the day.

The thing is, when I was a teenager, I had an eating disorder, and this disorder meant that no matter how skinny I was, (and believe me, I was- I weighed less than 110 pounds -I am 5.58 (170 cm) ) I thought I was chubby. 

I ate only once a day, and at some point lost my period for some months.

Lucky for me, I came to my senses and started eating like a human being, though I can’t say my relationship with food is the most natural easy-going relationship on earth.

All of this (extremely) personal information is given in order to explain why this third method- checking the way I look in the mirror- is a thing for me.

For years I avoided looking in the mirror, in fear of that old troubled mindset returning and that unhealthy way of perceiving myself raising its ugly head again.

My weight has always been an issue for me- I had my ups and downs but stayed around 62 kilos (136 pounds)- give or take. (preferably take) .

I never went on an intentional plan to gain strength before, and although I did read online beforehand that muscle gain can change your body, I somehow was under the notion that this has nothing to do with me.

I know. I can’t follow my way of thinking either sometimes.

Sure enough, my body did undergo changes, and visible ones too, and I need to deal with that.

The thing is, I can’t even blame the added muscle mass, though some of the change is due to that.

But some of the change is simply due to the fact that I’ve been eating more since I enhanced my exercise regime.

That’s simply the way it is:

The more you put in- you gain more. just like your savings.

Let it be noted that I’ve learned (from reading online-not professionally- I am not a registered anything- mentioned this 10’000 times at least)  that enhancing your workout routine cannot be combined with cutting your caloric intake.

I mean- surely it can be done- but it is very unhealthy and unsustainable to behave like that.

From what I’ve read- the opposite is called “bulking”- which means people who do weight training and want to gain muscle quickly and efficiently- many times enhance their caloric intake on purpose, not because “fat will turn to muscle”- because FYI- it does not- those are 2 different processes on our body- but because when wanting to enhance your weight lifting game, you need more energy- and more food- especially carbs=more energy.

I can’t say I have that excuse for my weight gain- I do more cardio- swim and run more than before, and do my usual pilates +yoga twice a week, plus 3 times*40 minutes a week weight training in addition -but I don’t lift heavy weights or anything of the sort.

I do my 40 minutes work out with my 4 pounds ankle weights on, and do my bicep curls using 2*11 pounds weights, all the while having my resistance band pushing me even harder.

The thing is- its winter, running in sub 40 f ( 5 Celcius) can work up quite an appetite, and so can swimming my non-crazy breaststrokes for 3k.

I know this is lame, but the thing is- once I started working out more, I got to think “I deserve” to eat more.

So I do.

This is something in the line of the oh so fashionable “all-in” approach, meaning I basically eat as much as I want.

The thing is I don’t eat junk or unhealthy food.

I only eat homemade vegan protein-packed healthy food- but quite a lot of it.

I already wrote about the puzzling fact that eating a surplus of healthy food will make you gain weight too- when all the while I thought it was magic food that does not count(!).

here is the link:Can you overeat healthy food???

To sum this up-

yes, I have more strength now.

yes- I look different.

More- what shall I call it? bulky?

Don’t know.

I need to get used to it first.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beet it!

This winter vegetable is a true wonder.

Full of nutrients, easy on the calories, naturally sweet, and that color, psychedelic.

The thing is, at least in our house, beets are one of those veggies that we all know that are great for us, but many ( many) times, we (ok.I) just get too lazy to actually do something about it, and after a few days of being ignored, instead of firm bright beets, you get squishy -soft -worn out- had enough of it- veggies.

So?

So don’t neglect them.

Make a hearty yummy healthy soup with them, recipe in a split second, or, if you are in a lazy ass funk , peel them, cut them to pieces, and freeze them for when you get out of your funk.

The trick here is to freeze them first on wax paper , and only after they freeze, you move them to a zipped bag.

The reason being , that like bananas, some fruit and veggies tend to huddle if frozen together, so simply use the double freeze method.

works like a charm.

Another way to confront this situation is batch freeze all smoothy necessities, in one glassware.

Exhibit A:

This way, when you feel like a smoothy, take the glassware out, join the ingredients you wish in your Vitamix, and blend away.fresh,raw, nutritional.

Just so you know, if you don’t add greens to this smoothy, the color you will get is a very bright scarlety purple.

In case you are a stubburn know it all and insist on adding greens, you wait and see for yourself what your smoothy will resemble.

Told you so.

Another option is to wash, peel, and bake them beets on a baking tray.

Just as they are.

No need to add anything.

These beets, much like sweet potatoes, are naturally sweet, and when baked, their sugary taste comes out even more.in an almost caramelized taste.

By the way, if you are , again, in a lazy funk, just wash the beets and bake them unpeeled.

when the baking is done, the skin will come off easily.no elbow greese peeling needed.

try it.you will not regret it.

But, if you hapoen to be craving a hot bowl of hearty soup, since winter is still here and all that, well then.

I just happen to have the perfect recipe here.

Quick and easy , sweet, sour, salty, garlicky, it has everything.

Chop 2 onions , add a few peeled chopped carrots, potatoes, beets and red cabbage, stir fry a few minutes with a Tbsp of vegetable oil , salt, black pepper, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and…..apple cider vinegar (!!!) about 1 tbsp.oh and squeeze a lemon there too.told you sweet and sour.

let cook for a few minutes untill it gets that “Im tender now dude” look.

Add your (homemade) veggie soup, or if you are totally lazy, just hot water. but then you need to add spices.

Let cook until this becomes a proper soup: meaning all the hard vegetables are fork tender and yummy.

I added cooked soy beans I had in my freezer from another batch cooking session, feel free to check my previous posts for ideas.

Oh and I added bulgur too.feel free ti check my previous post on that midacle of a complete carb.

Enjoy, the cooliflower.

My body changes: strength +weight gain

So in November 2019, I decided it’s high time to move my exercise game to the next level.

Because I am a type-A stressed take no nonsense from myself kind of person, it had to be executed right away, preferably before 31/12/19 because, well, just because.

I have an exhausting need to be different. that’s why.

Plus I get an inner rash (+rush) when delaying anything.

I have a real issue with procrastinating- and I believe dilly-dallying on decisions is not a sign of profound deep thought, but of mere laziness.

I know this isn’t necessarily true, because sometimes major and crucial decisions need contemplating, plus- I have found out that many times, delaying an answer when I was a boss at work, resulted in the problem solving itself. (…….)

But- nonetheless- if I decide something- it needs to be executed right away- because the chances are that delaying will result in canceling the project /idea.

Anyway-

I decided I needed to up my workouts, and get stronger, maybe even get my floppy abs in shape.

Yes, I am that shallow. well sometimes anyway.

Ok, most of the time.

I care about the way I look, and since it is super hot here in the summer, and I run in my sports bra, taking over my floppy abs situation was kind of a priority I would say.

Yes I know I’m supposed to dance like nobody is looking and run like I am alone in this world and not give a damn about what anyone will say and all that.

And to some degree I do that- I mean despite my floppy abs I did run all last summer in my sports bra, but I was definitely aware.

Not anxious-but aware.

Now that I’m retired, I definitely have the time to invest in upping my game, and, perhaps, getting a firmer stomach situation.

And those shaky arms, too.

So I enhanced my swim routine, my running mileage, and my dumbbell workouts.

And started counting my macros: I started checking my macros-fact based information on my diet!

The results after 3 months are definitely visible, I can say.

I gained about 6 pounds, and since I returned my smart scale to Amazon when I decided it was only guessing my muscle and fat percentage, I am relying on 3 parameters to monitor the change:

#My workout quality:

This is my personal opinion- and may I please remind that I am no registered dietitian or anything of the sort- my workout quality has been the most important parameter to see the changes, again-in my experience.

I can now swim longer, run longer, and do my dumbbell exercises without feeling totally exhausted, and I am looking forward to exercising. this is huge for me. it is not a burden, it is actually fun.

#my clothes:

This is a tricky one, since I stopped wearing formal attire as soon as I retired, and I wander around either in my yoga pants or in my workout apparel. and I guess you know that these clothes tend to be very forgiving (……….)

The only clothing item I wear that has less of a stretch on it- is my Levi’s, which I wear to ride my motorcycle to the gym. (the reason being that jeans are considerably more sturdy and durable than workout apparel-just in case anything happens while I ride).

My jeans definitely fit tighter on my hips , thighs and butt now.

The truth is, the first time I noticed this I panicked and started worrying that perimenaupause is showing its ugly side – meaning packing pounds and making it super difficult to shed them off.

I want to make it clear, mainly to myself by the way, that I am aware I am 51.5 , and my maturity will take its toll like it does on everybody .

The thing is, I believe that my vegan lifestyle has helped me dodge many unpleasant side effects of perimenaupause up untill now, and I believe it will help mitigate those symptoms further along the way.

I haven’t experienced any of the disasters discribed online, such as hot flushes , panick attacks, mood swings ( I am generally not the most pleasant person around, no point in blaming hormonal change..), etc.

I firmly believe that not consuming meat or dairy, and instead eating plant based mostly from scratch protein packed food for the past 6.5 years is now making the difference from the hormonal point .

So the sudden change in the way my jeans fit me, was , I can honestly say, startling.

But after a few seconds my self preservation mechanism kicked in.

I decided that my new workout regimen is the cause for the new tightness , and therefore it is a good sign of progress, instead of the other possible explanations:

1.I am eating more than before, meaning I might be in a caloric surplus, therefore the weight gain

2.(might co exist with #1) I am not immune to hormonal changes.

3.Emmmm…the jeans shrunk in the laundry???

4.Wow #3 was a stretch.pun intended.

Now the truth is a bit of everything probably.

Since starting the new workout regimen, I am definitely eating more.

Mainly because I am more hungry, but also because, well, I felt I could.

I mean, if I workout more, I can eat more, right?

I think this is a good place to pause, leave you in suspense.plus I owe you the third paraneter I rrly on to neasure my progress.

To be continued.

Enjoy, the cooliflower.

Those calories don’t count (or do they??)

If there is justice in this world, then some calories really shouldn’t count.

If they have to count, well then they should be on a big, huge, discount.

I am talking about  food preparation -tasting calories:

If you are frugal, (I hope you are, this is definitely the place for you if you are, or striving to be. no shaming frugals here, mes amis, au contraire!), anyway. should you be a frugal being, then food preparation is a thing at your home.

I mean- I don’t eat out, or order in, and since I am a class A introvert ,if you add the vegan part too-well that’s a bundle of reasons to cook your own food from scratch.

Preparing your own food all the time has the greatest advantages:

#1: You know exactly what ingredients are in your meal take out the guessing game, or the lame: “excuse me, are you sure this buttery croissant is vegan?” thing.

#2: you know exactly how clean and fresh the ingredients you used were, and how clean your kitchen is.

No guessing here either and I’ve had some horrible experiences at restaurants, but I think I’d rather move on. it’s in everyone’s interest.

#3: You can cater to your precise taste. 

Be your own personal chef. yep I know it sounds good, there’s only that tiny bit about learning to cook like a chef, but don’t bother me with little details.

#4: If you are an introvert- well then, no need to explain the benefits of eating at home, right?

All that time spent on anxiety . not necessary.

#5: frugal, anyone?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$……………………………………………….

#6: cooking is an art, learn to experiment!

frying, baking, steaming, with condiments, with none, with salt &pepper only, with herbs, with or without oil, you get the picture.

But there’s a little thing that is on the cons side.

When you cook, you need to taste while preparing, otherwise, the result might, well, surprise you and not in the positive sense of surprise.

Sure, there probably are people that can get away with preparing the most delicious meals without tasting.

actually- I’m not absolutely sure these people exist.

Anyway- I know some people can taste the food they prepare and feel satiated thus skipping the next meal (“oh I already tasted the food, thanks!)

Not me.

If I like what I prepare while tasting, I anticipate the part where I sit down and properly eat it as a meal.

If I don’t like it while preparing it- then I try to fix it right then and there, and then I can’t wait to sit down and eat it to check if I succeeded in fixing it or not.

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#Here is one of my experiments- pasta with green lentilsauce+nutritinal yeast performing as parmesan.

If you prepare your food on a daily basis, these calories from all the tasting , can become quite a thing .

By the way- many times overlooked –

I started using “myfitnesspal” a while ago, (here is a link to why and how) –I started checking my macros-fact based information on my diet! ,   

And exactly how am I supposed to log those tasting samples?? “1 tbsp of lentil soup? “” 1 scoop of pasta sauce?”

So I don’t log it on, which is kind of like cheating, on yourself, which is kind of, well, lame.

I can’t see why it is fair to count those tasting calories the same way you would regular food calories.

I suggest that these calories should be seen as work-related deductible expenses.

the same way you deduct those expenses from your income, seeing as these are directly related to generating your income- meaning that you pay fewer taxes on your income, the same rule should apply here, and you should not weigh the calories that were spent to generate the food you prepared.

It only makes sense in my opinion.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I failed my 2020 resolutions on 1/1/20.

I have this tendency to criticize.

I guess it is no wonder I worked in the justice department for more than 28 years.

Or maybe it goes the other way- maybe I was a happy free spirited holly go-lightly before I started working as a lawyer, and the job- and the horrible things I witnessed people doing to each other- turned me into this judgmental cynic that sees the worst in every person -until proven otherwise?

I can’t really remember.

Or I’d rather embrace the version that outsources the blame.

Either way-

Now that I am retired, I am left to deal with this persona, every, single, day-with no excuses (“that villain! he robbed his own mother!”, “those people at work! they can’t read an investigation file properly! they believe everything the police tells them without ever proof checking it!” etc).

No outlets either-

I can’t be the same righteous ass I was a year ago, because I am not meeting (thank you very much) any criminals now, so the only people I can criticize are my family, the people  I see at the gym, and, well…me.

In my defense, I will say that in a very egalitarian manner, I was just as critical and judgmental of my self, as of others.

Perhaps I was- and am -my worst critic, and I rarely hear any criticism concerning me that shocks me.

Usually, I think to myself “come on. that’s the best you got? surely you can do better than that, there is so much stuff going wrong with me, just invest a little time and you’ll get there!”.

Alain de button states that insecure people tend to look down on other people and criticize them, as a way of feeling better about themselves.

It makes a lot of sense.

If I am small- then everybody should be small too- otherwise, this will be freaking Alice in wonderland, and I am no Alice, and this is no wonderland.

Now that I think fit- it seems very likely that my tendency to judge and criticize other people, due to my insecurities, found a very good fit in the job I chose- that basically concentrates on finding what other people did wrong and proving it in court.

And yet-

I am retired now. no one to investigate, to find guilty, to think “oh that awful person, who would do such a thing?”, even about things that some times, law-abiding people actually do, only don’t get caught.

I surely cannot go about criticizing my family.

I mean- aside from the fact that they are (mostly) perfect- what good will that do? I need to go on living with them, and they will take no sh#$ from me, that’s for sure.

The people at the gym?

I admit I have my thoughts- I can easily find something wrong in everyone. told you- its a habit. a personality trait by now.

But the thing is, I don’t like it.

Aside from the total waste of time, it brings me no joy, actually-if anything, I truly believe this may instigate the forming of wrinkles.

Yes, I wrote that.

I don’t mean as a superstition (although- now that I think of it- carma is known to be a bitc#), I mean that once your face gets that pout, that condescending, unapproving twitch of the mouth, this can -certainly at my age- stick to your face and stay there for the rest of time.

Have a look around- see if you can spot judgmental people by the permanent look of utter contempt on their faces.

Not to mention the bad energies thing.

So- at the end of 2019, I decided that enough of that, I am going to stop criticizing and judging other people, I will learn to accept that not all people are the same, and this is fine. it is not my problem to fix or consider or anything of the sort.

And if I should find myself in a social situation, since I “thrive” on those occasions, being a  first-class introvert, I should, just relax, and keep my trap shut.

As the penguins of Madagascar so wisely said:

“Smile and wave, boys. smile and wave”.close-up-photography-of-penguin-on-snow-86405.jpg

Sounds simple, right?

Well, no, it doesn’t, and for a good reason, too.

Because it ain’t simple. at. all.

I mean, absolutely the complete opposite of simple.

So much so, that the first thing I said to someone, on the first day of 2020, the first day of my new year resolution to stop being an evil judgmental criticizer, was pure evil criticism.

It was 6 am, I was in the middle of my running, it was freezing outside, and I was suddenly forced to stop running and wait for a car to turn back and forth until the driver could adjust his position to the right direction.

I couldn’ keep running because t was obvious he wasn’t on top of the situation, so to speak, and it took him a while to turn the car to the direction he wanted.

his friend was standing outside the car to direct him, and I simply couldn’t stop myself from snarking: “well I thought this was a woman driving!”

Now don’t get me wrong- I know women are excellent drivers, this is why we get a discount on insurance, the thing is, in my experience, many men don’t understand that women are many times better drivers than they are, and whenever a woman happens to back park, instantly there will be some bystander- always a man- giving her free advice.

So when I was freezing my rear end at 6 am on 1/1/20, the first snide remark that happened to slip out of my mouth was a feminist payback for all those remarks.

stupid, I know. no need to point it out.

The poor driver may very well not be one of those men and was having enough of a hard time back driving the car, and the fact that he created an inconvenience for me, is no excuse for my behavior, let alone after my pompous resolutions the day before.

As soon as I said that,  I regretted saying it, but, sadly, no cntrl+alt+delete on words we say.

My only hope is that since it was cold, the driver’s window may have been closed so he couldn’t hear what I said, and his friend was, hopefully, minding his own business and not paying much attention to me trying on activist feminism too early in the morning.

But even if the recipient of that remark didn’t, in fact, receive it, the fact remains, that I couldn’t control my judgemental criticizing way of thinking even for 1 day.

I’ve thought about this since.

I have along way ahead of me, apparently.

hope you are doing better with your new year resolutions.

The cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The race to being “the perfect retiree”.

If you had this romantic notion, that once retired, you will automatically cease to be an up-tight type-A achiever ( that is, of course, assuming you already are, no need to become one deliberately, mind you!),

Well then.

Reality check:
You don’t.
The mere fact that you are no longer commuting to your cubicle and participating in the race, does not mean you instantly become this mindful wellness yogi, all zen and calmness, spreading love all around.

Well, maybe some do.

Doesn’t seem likely though.

Anyway.

If like me, you spent your years trying to find your way as an introvert in the social jungle of your workplace, while juggling a trillion other things that had to be done, then you simply cannot unwind and become this lovable care Bear the second you say “ciao!!!!! ” to your office desk.

If you are anything like me, then you will quickly understand that all those years of trying to cope with the mechanism of being a “team player”, the drive to be the most efficient and successful worker, the best employee a boss could dream of, just take their toll on you.

If you are anything like me, then you might become an ego-centered , fame crazed, compliment reliant person.

And now that you are finally retired- where are you going to get your pats on the head from??

Family and friends usually have other things to do than clap their hands vigorously at every salad you make, and cleaning the house rarely gets you a promotion.

But you are still the same person, in need of assurance, because this is what you’ve become used to.

You need someone to look at your work and say “wow, good job!! you are so brilliant! “.

And no.

Napping efficiently does not get you any appreciation.

Just in case you were mistaken there.

So now you (well, I) find yourself looking for ways to become that outstanding retiree everyone is talking about.

So I traveled to India2-week Intensive yoga course in India-full and honest review!

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I mean traveling the world is a retirement must , isn’t it?

I got a license for a small motorcycle and bought one. Making dreams come true at 50

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I did a full long first aid course.know how to save a life, right?

I work out. and eat healthy. I started checking my macros-fact based information on my diet!

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I started my vegetable garden: My Organic gardening tips – beginners I got you covered!

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And I’ve done my fair share of cleaning strange things around the house.

Early retirement cleaning projects, naturally….

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And yet my mother is disappointed since I have no intention of “doing something with myself”. such as, if she had her way- sitting on some board as a director or something.

I do my best to explain that boring meetings were one of the reasons I made such an effort to retire early,but she keeps hearing from her friends about their successful children and I was supposed to fill that position in her family plan. why do I have to be so different all the time?

But why hide behind my mother- for a long time, I thought I need to find myself something to do that will make a real impact.

I mean isn’t it a sin to waste time this way? napping in the middle of the day? reading books all the time?

Nap chat

Shouldn’t I be more involved in my community? volunteer more? start projects?

Doesn’t this mean I am not a stellar retiree?

And if I’m not- what will happen to my self-esteem? my ego?

I read blogs like MMM – mister money mustache- and he is so involved and does so many projects that I felt in need of a good nap just from reading it.

And since I am a type-A overachiever, I compared myself instantly to him, and the results were, let’s say, more in the line of what my mother thinks of me.

But then I thought-

This is ok. I am fine. I am an introvert and have a hard time being around other people, not to mention being involved socially.

It makes me miserable, and this is certainly not the way I want to spend my early retirement.

So I decided that to each their own : let everyone do their thing, and I’ll do (or won’t do) my thing.

There. I said it.

Now its time to be truly ok about it too.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

“Oh Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste healthy!”

There you go:

You can’t have it both ways, can you?

If it’s tasty, it ain’t healthy, and vice versa.

This reminds me of a quote attributed to Catherine Deneuve, who said that after a certain age, a woman has to choose between her fanny and her face.(yes, apparently she said “fanny”. I didn’t even know this word existed to describe the rear end of your body, but there you go. I’ve learned something +kept it clean so double check).

God that woman.so beautiful.

I believe she managed to save both.

But can you? beat the system I mean.

Eat healthy food and enjoy it?

I mean really enjoy it. not politely nod and say:”that quinoa quiche is simply marvelous!!” (sorry, I don’t like quinoa. here is a link to my previous post describing why, in case you are intrigued by this mystery-Sorry- don’t like quinoa!)

I think the first thing to acknowledge, is the fact that there is a huge difference between homemade food and take out/restaurant food.

*That is, of course, unless you are a chef, in which case, well. wow. I always wondered if chefs cook that classy at home for their kids, like, every day, every meal. are they tired of fussing around food all day at their restaurant and simply put something together in 5 minutes like the rest of us? 

For others, meaning regular human beings, beating (good) restaurant food is highly unlikely, because of the difference in skills, quality of the materials, freshness of produce and condiments, and the amount of time that is invested in preparing the food in (good, again) places.

Many times , when at home, we cook from scratch using what we have in the fridge- pantry, when we are tired, hungry, impatient and just want to “get it over with”.

*If this is only me, then just ignore it. or feel superior.whatever.

Anyway, when asking if one can beat the system and make healthy +tasty food, it is imperative, I believe, to state exactly what you mean by “tasty”.

People who are used to eating out, will probably not flip over homemade spinach- tofu ricotta, but others, who rarely eat out, and do their cooking at home, will more likely think so.

As A.Einstein said: everything is relative.

The other thing is :

Supposing you cook at home, from scratch.

How vigilant are you on the sugar- oil- gluten situation?

I am asking because in my experience, these 3 are instant crowd-pleasers, and adding them can make food taste much better.

The real challenge starts when you omit these 3 (plus the dairy and meat and poultry that was omitted previously due to the vegan mindset ).

By now you are probably thinking:

No. way. am.I. eating. depressing. bland. food. in. the. name. of health. YOLO!

And you would be right, too.

Absolutely no need to deprive yourself, in my opinion, of tasty food, in the name of anything.

I have a friend who underwent a certain diet due to high cholesterol, and she felt so miserable, that as soon as the mandatory 30 -60 days of dieting passed, she quickly returned to her former eating habits. what is the point in that??

(none at all)

Plus- I love eating, I love enjoying my food, it is a major part of my life, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

No way am I going to sacrifice taste, as much as I value (and cherish and think highly of) my health.

Another thing-

I happen to believe that preparing tasty healthy food is a form of self-appreciation, and I am working on this subject as one of my 2020 goals, so.

Back to the challenge:

I am not a registered anything, told you that about 20,000 times, but I do have my 51.4 years of experience, and that accounts for something, especially when joined with my enthusiasm on the subject.

In my experience, the simplest way to appreciate homemade healthy nutritiously balanced food is simply by going back to basics.

???

Yep. starting over, this time properly. 

I do not mean trying to get yourself reborn, I mean go back to being hungry when you eat.

Not bored, or semi hungry, or feel like a snack, (I can fill in so many options here, I am such an expert on emotional eating you’ll be amazed, but I’m leaving it to your imagination/experience).

In my experience, when hungry, you can fully enjoy a simple homemade vegetable salad (freshly made out of good produce, old tomatoes are great tomato sauce though. and soft carrot make great veggie soup. many options here-check the link to previous posts here- Simplify it: Organizing my online groceries- part 3How to truly Simplify meal prepping

Try eating an apple, just a simple apple- no nut butter/granola/anything next to it- when you are not actually hungry, versus when you are hungry.

You will be amazed what a difference this simple tweak makes.

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I am thinking maybe this could be the real hunger test :

If you think you are hungry- maybe ask yourself- I do it many times- “do you crave an apple?”

If the answer is “yes”, then this is probably a good sign you are actually hungry. in which case- you can still enjoy your desired apple, or eat a meal, but your desire was not directed towards a donut of a fried something, which, in my experience, is usually a good sign of simple sugar-carbs craving, and not actual hunger.

In my experience, once you dial your body back to operating uppon real hunger signs, you will be so much more appreciative of simple -fresh-healthy-nutritious food, even though it’s not a 3-star Michelin restaurant food, just baked beans you prepared yourself in a simple slow-cooker. or mujadara.

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enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

let’s put things on the table: reassigning leftover food- the simple +healthy way!c

So- I am taking a wild guess here and thinking you are already aware of the massive waste of food going on everywhere (in wealthy countries), and anyone going on and on about it being horrible and we need to do something about it yada yada is getting nothing from me except the evil side eye stare.

Yes, I do still have some of my (best) evil features from back when I was working as a badass little manager of nothing lawyer.

Yes, the evil stare is one of the finest of them evil traits.

Cynicism is another, I hope I will be able to shake it off me somewhen.

(Grammarly says my text sounds friendly and optimistic. what???)

And yet, here I am, telling you my top-notch simple and healthy tips on using leftovers, thus wasting less food.

Inconsistent? na.

I simply have no patience for talking on and on about what we need to do (yada), yet I seem to have a lot of interest in practical no nonsenses frugal simple healthy nutritious tips and tricks on how to use leftovers, eat better (much much better!!) and, of course-save money and the universe while we’re at it.

Since this is a great season for these tips and tricks, it being holidays and food feasts and shopping (feasts?), I present to you 3 of my best tips.

#1: Batch&freeze:

I’ve said it before, yet I’ll say it again because it never ceases to amaze me.

Why do all the youtube batch cookers cook large batches of food and place it in the fridge in 5 containers -as in for the rest of the workweek?

I personally do not like to eat the very same thing for 5 days in a row- I mean except for breakfast-I seem to be eating the same breakfast for weeks now and having lots of fun. but not for lunch tho.

I need me some variations because I really do love to eat.

people who don’t mind what they are eating are a wonder to me.

And I love it when they say “I eat to live, I don’t live to eat”.(apparently this saying is attributed to benjamin franklin). (at least that’s what google says).

ok-what?

Sure I don’t “live to eat”, but it definitely is one of my fundamental sources of joy and gratification. I am totally grateful for every meal I cook and eat, I respect my food, I respect my body, I respect myself and my health and wellbeing, and, you know what- my looks too.

I respect the way I look and I attribute it to my healthy nutritious no-nonsense homemade from scratch eating habits.

Go me.

So instead of dividing what I cook for the rest of the following week, I simply batch freeze in reasonable containers, so in 3 weeks, when I feel like cooked soybeans in tomato sauce, I take it out of the freezer and serve it with a grain of the moment ( couscous, bulgur, brown rice, pasta (??, yes, pasta) or with toast ( drizzle bit of olive oil and some nutritional yeast and you might even believe you are having cheese toast. or you might not.

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These are my baked beans a la slow cooker. tasty +healthy.

Interested in the super simple how-to? here is the link to my previous blah blah about simplifying batch cooking. Rise up- it’s fall!

#2: Overripe fruit in the house? guess what.

Yes.

Freeze them.

If these are citrus fruits, then batch squeeze them for future use.

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*By the way, I just read somewhere that the citrus peelings are supposed to be great kindling for the fireplace, on account of them having the citrus oil, but I haven’t tried it yet, so make your own decision on this one.

ps.just tried it.couldnt let you down on such an important subject.

Yes it does work .helps light the fire + smells nice.

If these are bananas, mangos, or any other fruit that needs to be peeled before eating, then you go ahead and do that before freezing, because after a few weeks in the freezer, you will not be able to peel it with the best chef’s knife.

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FROZEN BANANAS

So in the past 2 weeks, I had some persimmons almost rotting all at the same time.

makes you think- what is happening here? but- questions aside- I just cut them to reasonable pieces and froze half of them, and pureed the other half and froze in my silicone ice cube tray.(as shown in picture).

What for?

For smoothies, my dear Watsons. for smoothies.

When I make my smoothy dessert, I pt 1.5 frozen banana, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tbsp of protein powder, (vegan), and if I have another frozen fruit- preferably not these costly berries, but simple seasonal fruit that was not eaten on time and was left behind to deal with life’s injustice- then great. if I have no other fruit then I add a tbsp of organic carob powder, which I bought on my regular online supermarket, is 1/2 the price of organic cacao powder, and tastes quite the same- a chocolaty flavor. kind of anyway.the health benefits are quite similar too.

Another thing I made with the pureed persimmons, is this:

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GF+V no refined sugar + packed full of protein persimmon oatmeal cookies.

The original recipe is from a blog called “healthier steps” -here is the link: persimmon cookies healthier steps.

I always tweak and change recipes, so this time I swapped the cane sugar with my homemade date syrup, swapped the flour for oatmeal I grounded, and instead of expensive almond flour, I grounded almonds at home. added some walnuts too for good measure.

With the oatmeal and the almonds, the protein intake is high, add to that the magnesium and potassium from the bananas ( 633 mg of potassium and 27 mg of magnesium), and the vitamin c from the persimmon (+1.5 grams of protein for 1 persimmon!), and no processed sugar just the dates, well then, I believe we havd a winner here.

#3: leftover vegetables?even cooked ones? doesn’t frighten me!

potatoes, carrots, leafy greens, cooked beans, lentils, cooked grains, you get the picture:

mash them in a food processor, add flax seeds, tahini, seasoning, and some substance- such as thise beans or lentils, and make patties.

oven bake or oan fry if you can handle oil, put in your plate or in your hot sandwich or next to salad or grain of choice.

Enjoy, the cooliflower.

Sorry- dont like quinoa!

Seriously??

Yes.
But it’s a superfood!

yes, I am aware.
But you are vegan! vegans are supposed to eat quinoa even when they are asleep!

Well, maybe some do- I don’t.
What a hypocrite! I remember you wrote a post about making quinoa and couldn’t stop praising it!

That’s true. and here is the link to the said post:

10 Lunch Ideas: vegan -healthy-protein packed- simple- tasty.

I am not denying the multiple pros of quinoa.

It is a great source of protein, a whole grain, and as I wrote above- it is a superfood.

I simply don’t find it to be tasty on its own, only when thrown into a vegetable salad, or accompanied by beans or lentils, to hide its taste.
But 8 grams of protein in 1 cooked cup!

Absolutely true- but those grams of protein happen to go along with 222 calories, 4 grams of fat, and only 5.2 grams of fiber, and a quite impressive price tag.
So?

So if you are a fan of quinoa- yey for you- it is great food, enjoy! but- for those of you who think “meh” when they consider quinoa while preparing their food, I did the research for a good alternative.
*The only major issue I think is super important to notice here is that quinoa is gluten-free, ( although I’ve read it is considered high risk because it is frequently grown with wheat grains) and the #1 alternative I’ve found- isn’t.
Go on, I’m listening.

Thank you ever so much.
First- the criteria the alternative had to meet were:
#1:Tasty.

I mean this is what had started the whole thing to begin eith so might as well get it right this time.
#2:a whole grain.

Naturally, you wouldn’t substitute a superfood for white rice , with all due respect for the rice.
#3: easy preparation.

No one has the time or energy to start a 3 layer process to arrange a side dish. unless of course, you happen to be a TV chef, in which case- seriously? what are you doing reading my blog? go post something complicated on Instagram and write “at the last minute decided to whip this cute dessert too! love it! ” so we can all feel incompetent and mediocre.
#4: healthy!

Again, naturally.
#5: protein-packed.

yes, I am still protein crazed.
#6: has other nutritional values too.

If we’re shopping for an alternative- why not aim high? we can always compromise later.
#7: frugal.

Why not? frugality will get you closer to early retirement, and that is the end goal.

The options were: brown rice and bulgur.

Buckwheat didn’t make it to the finals because I have a personal problem with its taste (sorry, horrible!) and oat grains and spelt are super expensive here, plus I eat oatmeal porridge every morning so kind of enough of that. those grains are great too- don’t get me wrong- just a bit expensive where I live. if you like them- go for them.

  • oh just reminding for the 10,000 time that I am not a registered dietitian or health specialist -simply an early retired lawyer, health enthusiast. there, said it , again.

So who was the winner? right- the winner was the bulgur!

here’s why:

Although brown rice is great- tasty, easy to make (I make it like pasta- cook in boiling water for 40 minutes ), nutritional (put a link here )- in 1 cup of cooked brown rice there are 5 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbs, 1.8 grams of fat, 216 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber, plus its relatively frugal: and yet- bulgur topped it on all categories.

here s a link to he competitors nutritional values, got to be fair.
brown rice nutritional value

Back to our winner- the Bulgur!
#1: tasty: oh yes, this is one yummy grain. has a distinct nutty taste in my opinion.

goes with everything- savory, sweet (fruit and nuts for example), as the main dish, as a side dish, in soups, whatever.
#2: whole grain: check.
#3: easy preparation? you are kidding me. you mean no preparation: bulgur doesn’t even need to be properly cooked. no need to take out a pan. no need to light the stove. perfect for students with no proper stove and lunch making in the office.

Take a big glass container (pyrex or something of the genre-not sponsored so there), put the bulgur, pour boiling water on it to top it and some more, salt and a little bit of olive oil, just for good measure, not necessary though), close the lid and wait 10 minutes. check if its edible, if too crunchy and it absorbed all the water- add more boiling water- maybe a cup.

Don’t get upset if the bulgur seems ready and it hadn’t soaked up all the water. just drain it in a colander, the bulgur is easy going. it won’t mind.

That’s it.

really.

oh wait- it freezes really well, so go ahead and make in bulk for the upcoming weeks.
#4: healthy– sure- whole grain, considered by some to be a superfood too.

(perhaps the term is a bit overused).
#5: protein-packed: well 1 cup cooked bulgur holds 5.6 grams of protein. but only 150 calories, so if you look at it from the caloric point of view, for 220 calories of bulgur, and 220 calories of quinoa, you get the same amount of protein. (!).
#6: has other nutritional values: well 1 cup of cooked bulgur holds no less than 8.2 grams of fiber (!) but only 0.4 grams of fat(!)and as I said 150 calories. I remind you that the quinoa holds 4 grams of fat -10 times more(!) and only 5.2 grams of fiber.
#7: frugal: where I live I buy 1 kilo of bulgur for 1.5 $. that is frugal. very very frugal. quinoa costs me 10 $ a kilo. you get the difference.
All of this is just to say- hey- you don’t like a certain healthy food? it’s too expensive for you? look for an alternative! don’t compromise on the nutritional value, or on the easy preparation demand. if it is too difficult to make- it will sit in your cupboard, and that is neither healthy nor frugal.
Happy new year!

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I started checking my macros-fact based information on my diet!

So….for the last 51 years, I’ve been guessing my macros and calories, based on, well, nothing actually (??). maybe a hunch.

I kept thinking: “oh, who needs to count calories or track macros anyway, I ‘m no elite athlete, ( frankly, not even close), I stopped participating in races ( introvert, told you, why are all these people there? why don’t they go home and let me run quietly?)so I thought there was no need to get worked up about the exact components of my diet.

I decided that since I was eating a healthy, balanced, nutrient-packed diet, that, to my best judgment, (again- based on guessing, basically) supplied me with all the vitamins I needed, and all the protein I needed for my activity level.

Everything was working really well too, until a month ago I decided that it is time to up my exercise level, and, at last, incorporate some weight lifting and strength exercises, side by side with my running, swimming, and yoga.

I did quite a bit of reading and researching (online and in books), and found out that there is inconsistent information concerning many of the topics, and, as usual, one needs to use his/her brains to decide what works for them.

For example-

How much protein do you need to consume each day, if, for instance, you are a 51-year-old woman, quite active and wishing to gain more muscle?

The book I read “Vegan for life”, said that based on my weight, (137 pounds-that’s 62.2 kilos) I should eat 54 grams of protein a day.

And yet, when I started researching online, many sites concluded that if your goal is to gain muscle, and you lead an active lifestyle, you should aim for at least double the daily amount (!!!)

So, I downloaded an app called “myfitnesspal”, ( This is a free app, I get nothing from them, they don’t even know who I am, besides the valuable information they gather on my eating habits, they are surely very excited).

This app seems like a lot of fuss- seeing that you need to log in everything you eat (+ how much you exercise and how much water you drank), and at first I was intimidated by it, but, apparently, as much as we would like to think that we are exciting revolutionary people, we are, at the end of the day, creatures of pure and plain habit.

Meaning-

I now understand I basically eat the same breakfast every day ( banana smoothy, with protein powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, carob powder and berries, and then an oatmeal porridge with hemp and date syrup (homemade).

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(Yes, I am aware this is quite a lot of food, but I usually fast between 15:00 the previous day and 09:00 am, and get my workout completed before I eat, so I am really hungry by the time I eat. not that there is any need to make excuses here, just saying).

The app can gather all those foods to be kept under the category “meals”- and under any name you decide to call it ( yummy breakfast, naturally), so it takes basically a split second to log my breakfast on.

This is the information I recieved when logged in my 2 tbsp of flax seeds.(6grams of protein!).

As for lunch- apparently I move around a few basic staples here too- and once you wrote down “lentil soup, homemade” once- it will take a second to find it the net time you eat it.

By the way- the app has many varieties of foods logged in- lentil soup bought from different brands, have, apparently, different macro value, and since I make everything from scratch, I basically break the meal to its ingredients ( for example- my homemade Thai spelt noodle mushroom vegetable soup will be logged in as “homemade vegetable soup””shiitake mushrooms”,”spelt noodles”, “coconut cream”, etc.

I know, I know- but I am retired, I have the time to bother. if you don’t- just look at the brand that makes the food that is closest to your cooking style.

When I checked my macro and nutrient count, I found out that I ate 70-80 grams of protein a day max, my protein never gets to the desired percentage it should in my meals according to the app (30% ), I apparently eat a lot of carbs -although I eat 1 piece of bread a day, and rarely eat pasta, and, again, to my utter surprise, I consume lot of fiber ( around 70 grams daily), and a lot of iron and vitamins a +c.

More to my surprise- I apparently consume quite a lot of sugar- that is when I do not use sugar at all (!!) only 2 tbsp of date syrup a day.

I haven’t gone premium, so I am gathering my information on the information the app gives on every food I log in, and it is my understanding that the fruit I eat are a good source of many things- sugar included,

Rest assured -I will not stop eating my beloved fruit, but I am more aware now than before to the macro breakdown of my meals.

I am not concerned about those 100 grams of protein either-

I believe in taking the middle way -between those 54 grams recommended by Joel Fuhrman in his book, and the online sites, and getting 70 grams of protein a day seems really good in my humble opinion.

Making the switch to fact-based evidence is quite interesting,

In some ways- it resembles gathering accurate information about your monetary situation, as opposed to the lovely guessing game.

You can be an optimistic hopeful person and believe in your will power and the money fairy to keep you on track with your finances, and be under the impression that you need not check your accounts to see what is hiding there, but then, at the end of the day- facts remain facts, as opposed to fairies and optimistic points of view.

Get yourself an app and learn your eating and exercise patterns. it is your health after all.

enjoy- the cooliflower.