Tag Archives: diet

The Humble Apple

The Humble Apple

It’s an old saying with a simple meaning and a ton of truth.

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Frankly, I’ve never been much of an apple guy. I was more of a pig knuckles and beer kind of guy. You don’t hear people say, “A pig knuckle a day…”

Hey, it didn’t work out too good for the pig either.

It’s quite possible that I have eaten more apples in the last four months than I have my entire life. For some reason they don’t seem as bad as they did when I was ten.

About the only apple you could get in me  had to be hot, wrapped in two layers of crispy crust, full of cinnamon and sugar cooked to a sticky paste and best case, topped with a big pile of vanilla ice cream.

Jeeze, that don’t sound half bad right now.

Here are some health benefits derived from the humble apple.

[box] Delicious and crunchy apple is one of the popular fruit that contain an impressive list of essential nutrients, which are required for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being.[/box]

[box]Apples are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories. The fruits contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, but are rich in dietary fiber, which helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL cholesterol in the gut. The dietary fibers alsos help protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon. [/box]

[box]Apple fruit contains good quantities of vitamin-C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.[/box]

[box]Apples are rich in antioxidant phyto-nutrients flavonoids and polyphenols. The total measured anti-oxidant strength (ORAC value) of 100 g apple fruit is 5900 TE. The important flavonoids in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2. Apples are also good in tartaric acid that gives tart flavor to them. These compounds help body protect from deleterious effects of free radicals.[/box]

[box]In addition, apple fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body.[/box]

[box]Apple also contains small amount of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus counters the bad influences of sodium.[/box]

The more apples I’ve had over the past few months the more I appreciate Johnny Appleseed. A true pioneer of the American fruit. A hero to dieters everywhere. Go Johnny!

The New Food Pyramid

The new food pyramidIn 2011 the Department of Agriculture and the FDA launched a snazzy new icon to represent the new food pyramid.

I’ve been to Giza. I’ve seen the pyramids. This looks more like a fruit and veggie pizza with a milk chaser. Oh it’s pretty and all but calling this a pyramid is like calling the Grand Canyon a soccer field. It’s not even close.

I liked the old pyramid. It was simple and easy to remember. It didn’t require a masters degree in nutrition. It was like a good friend, generous and always there.

The Old Food PyramidI spent my time near the ground where I had firm footing and lots of grainy choices.  I was assured by having anywhere from 6-11 servings of pasta and cereal I was getting a balanced diet.

I love pasta.

I counted French Fries as a veggie. Hey, if it comes out of the ground it’s got to be a veggie, right? If a potato is a fruit, I’m a stringbean.

What I missed about the whole French Fry/Veggie business is the cooking process. I stayed so close to the ground I couldn’t see that little point on top. The one that says, “Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.”

When you’re faced with a slice of four layer chocolate cake it’s nearly impossible to recall such an important fact. I love chocolate.

I like lettuce and tomato but they won’t do what a good piece of Red Velvet cake will do.

So over the years my belt kept trying to tell me I was working the pyramid wrong. My bread basket was turning into a food pantry. And then in 2002 I quit smoking and within months I was up fifty pounds. I had a beer belly built with pasta and pie.

To quote a fitness guru of years past I finally decided to “Stop the Madness!”

I’ve been doing a steady daily diet of fruits, veggies and protein. Since the beginning of October I’m down nearly forty pounds.

I miss pasta and chocolate cake. I don’t miss the pounds. I wish the new food pyramid did not look like a pizza. I wish grapefruit tasted like Red Velvet cake. I miss Red Velvet cake. Goodbye old friend.

Counting Calories and Other Nonsense

Most of the reading I am doing these days is pulling the numbers off nutrition labels. It’s enough to drive a food fan yumpy.

I’m back on a low-calorie diet, at least for January. The few pounds I put back on during the Thanksgiving and Christmas food celebration will be the first to go.

Dieting is no fun for those of us that just love to eat. I mean I kinda like cabbage but cabbage won’t do what a Hershey bar will do. I even enjoy a salad but the salad I like comes piled with blue cheese dressing and croutons. Sorry—croutons aren’t on the diet.

DietingI made the mistake once of Googling “Diet Plans” and found myself a bit overwhelmed with the sheer volume of replies. At the same time I was a bit encouraged. With over 17,000,000 hits for diet plans surely there was something in there that would work for me. Between Atkins and the Cabbage diet, Weight Watchers and South Beach, and the Grapefruit Plan are a million ways to shave off the pounds. The trick is finding something I will see through to the end.

With the nearly twenty million diet plans there is one commonality—me. I’m the one that has to find the motivation, the willingness, and the inner energy to put see it through one silly calorie at a time.

I only have to look at the scales to know what I am doing is working with nearly 35 pounds gone since October. My belt let me know I am losing weight long before I could see it.

The only question that remains at this moment is…

Grapefruit, cabbage, or another freaking apple. Decisions, decision.

Scallops

I’m a lot of things — writer, biker, geek, handyman, and all around good guy. (This is where the light glimmers off my shiney whites.)

But one thing I am not is a cook. Oh, I can open a can of beans with the best of them. I toast a mean bagel and I can even work my way around a grill turning a porterhouse into a meal instead of shoe leather.

But to work my way around a kitchen, slicing and dicing, food prep, sauteing and such. That’s not me. I’m doing good to boil water.

Yesterday I thought I might try my hand at cooking scallops. Growing up along the South Carolina coast I was raised on seafood and hush puppies. (If you are quite unsure what a Hush Puppy is, go here.)

You see, I’m on this diet and I have to have simple meals that includes seafood high in protein and low in calorie. Trust me when I say I love Scallops and was pretty much certain I would screw them up. By the end of it I would have something akin to golf balls except without the bouncy dimpled texture.

But I was willing to risk it.

With the diet I couldn’t cook it in oil or butter so I was handicapped out of the gate. I sprayed the pan with a good coating of cooking spray, turned the flame on slightly above low. (My biggest fear was burning the outside and under-cooking the inside.)

I had nine medium to large scallops, thawed and ready to cook. Once the pan had warmed I placed them all in the center in a tic-tac-toe pattern.  A little garlic salt and some black pepper and away we go. After about 4 minutes or so, I turned the scallops over and gave them a nice cook on the other side for another 4-5 minutes.

I can sum this up with three words… Oh Em Gee!

These were so good. Cooked to perfection.

So with the salad (picante sauce for dressing), scallops, and a peach, my lunch amounted to around 150 calories.

I’ve actually been surprised how much you can eat with a low calorie diet.

I don’t miss potatoes… I swear I don’t. No really… I don’t.