The Myth of Meal Plans

bucatinipad thai

FreshDirect Meal Kits Above: Bucatini with Tomato and Burratini – left. Pad Thai – right.

The first trainer I had at a gym left to open up his own boutique gym.

I subscribe to his newsletter. In it he bemoaned the fact that new members of his gym expect him to give them a meal plan. He frowns on this.

Quite simply: if you want to lose weight you have to change what you eat. It might not be as simple as calories in versus calories out either.

The type of food you eat matters. Merely eating less of unhealthful food isn’t going to get you fit for the long-term.

Eating mostly whole foods is the ticket. Eating a mostly plant-based diet.

I align withe Forks over Knives movement. I only eat chicken and turkey not any other kind of meat.

The FreshDirect online delivery service in New York City sells meal kits like the ones above. All the ingredients come in a box and you prepare the recipe on your own.

I have more to say about eating well to be well. I’ll talk about this Eat Well to Be Well philosophy in coming blog entries.

Meal Plan #2

gran padano

I’ve become committed to eating more healthful food options and cutting out the junk.

I think that as a person gets older cutting out the junk food is imperative.

Our older bodies aren’t always as spry as we were in our twenties and thirties.

So it makes sense to cut out the junk. We can replace the junk with food that gives us energy and stamina throughout the day.

Here was yesterday’s meal plan:

Breakfast:

Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grains granola with skim milk

8 oz organic orange juice

A.M. Snack:

Plain yogurt (Greenmarket fare)

Lunch:

Caprese Salad

(Heirloom tomato slices layered with fresh mozzarella slices.)

P.M. Snack:

Plain yogurt

Dinner in photo above:
Organic zucchini stuffed with gran padano shredded cheese

Scoop out inside of zucchini. Sprinkle with parmesan or goat cheese.

Heat at 350 in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

(I used gran padano because I didn’t have parmesan cheese.)

Night Snack:

1 organic Anjou pear

Meal Plan #1

salad october 2017

Sunday, October 8 2017

Breakfast:

Cheerio’s with organic skim milk.

Lunch:

Amy’s Organic Minestrone soup.

Afternoon snack:

7 mini sweet peppers from CSA box.

1 container Horizon organic chocolate milk.

Dinner:

CSA salad with green leaf lettuce, hot pepper slices, shredded red cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots. Newman’s Own balsamic salad dressing.

Night snack:

Fage 0 percent fat plain yogurt.

4 squares organic chocolate 74 percent cacao.

I’m not keen to buy cans of soup that have natural flavor as an ingredient.

Natural flavor is a euphemism for chemicals whose actual names don’t have to be listed on the nutrition label.

Yet make no mistake you’re consuming chemicals.

I’ll report back here with a recipe I’m making for some kind of squash that arrived in the CSA too.  It’s a Gold Nugget personal-size Hubbard. Perfect for lunch.

More recipes to come here in the coming weeks along with some belated fitness inspiration or what’s call fitspo.

Every little bit of wellness counts:

Just walking five blocks or have a salad or whatever bits and bursts and sprints of doing that we can helps us get mentally and physically better.

Every little bit counts.

Food Spending Challenge

Years ago Gwyneth Paltrow failed in living up to a food spending challenge.

She was allotted $29 dollars per week to buy food. It’s the amount of money the average SNAP or food stamps recipient gets to buy food.

The point is not that you should have to live on twenty-nine dollars each week. The point is that people who receive food stamps should get a livable benefit that’s bumped up to the cost of living.

You don’t say? Yes, I do. Give people collecting SNAP more money.

It’s unconscionable that Americans have to go hungry and without food.

I’ve said before in here that buying food at a Greenmarket and supplanting these items from a food pantry is nothing to be ashamed of.

I want to return to talking about nutrition and how to develop a healthy eating plan.

I’ve decide to chronicle three days worth of a nutrition plan and eating routine.

$175 dollars with a $5 delivery tip as part of this total cost bought me:

Lobster salad (not cheap because it’s real lobster)

One CSA Box (community-supported agriculture)

  • Contains green leaf lettuce, mini sweet peppers, five hot peppers, mint, thyme, and sage, red potatoes, head red cabbage, one carrot, 2 non-organic Empire apples, container of cherry tomatoes, and container of heirloom tomatoes

2 beefsteak tomatoes

2 containers organic blackberries

2 organic Bartlett pears

6 containers Fage (pronounced Fa-ye) fat-free plain yogurt

1 box Barbara’s crunchy oats cereal

1/2 gallon organic skim milk

58 oz bottle Evolution organic orange juice ( my go-to when oranges aren’t available)

2 bars organic 74 percent cacao dark chocolate

1/2 pound scallops

Earthbound Farms container organic spring mix salad

4 organic bananas (they often arrive green and need to ripen)
2 Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup
2 Amy’s Organic Minestrone Soup
2 Amy’s Organic Vegetable Barley Soup

In the next blog entry I’ll record the kinds of meals you can make that I made with these groceries.

I’d love to hear the kinds of recipes readers use to make meals.

 

Pizzoccheri

pizzocheri

This time around I’ll use more cabbage.

The Pizzoccheri recipe is  from thekitchn.com. The link will take you to the recipe since it’s kind of long so I won’t repeat it here. The recipe might be copyrighted.

You can print the recipe up from thekitchn.com.

It calls for pasta, potatoes, and cabbage.

I used bionaturae organic 100% whole wheat chiocciole.

You shred the cabbage in strips.

I bought a mandoline–is that what it’s called–a kind of slicer in a housewares store years ago. This might help shredding the cabbage into strips.

There you have it: a tasty meal you can make year-round on weeknights.

Swiss Chard Dinner

2017 swiss chard csa box

This was a weeknight dinner.

The Swiss chard arrived in a CSA box. I bought the chicken like that from an online grocer. The pepper jack cheese was accidentally packed in with the groceries.

The cheese slice is only 80 calories and has calcium and if I remember 9 gm of protein.

The chicken was precooked and arrived in a plastic container.

I sauteed the Swiss chard in olive oil until it was soft not totally wilted.

Perfetto: a summer dinner that takes only about 10 minutes to cook.

I will return early next week with a recipe for pizzocheri. It’s an Italian pasta dish you make with cabbage. I have a photo for that meal too.

CSA Boxes

A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture.

In New York City you can get a CSA box delivered to your house or apartment via Fresh Direct instead of having to travel to an inconvenient location to pick up a CSA box and then schlep it home.

The photo below features a salad created with CSA box produce: red romaine lettuce, red oak leaf lettuce, greenhouse tomatoes, and french breakfast radishes.

You can buy the indispensable book Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop.

I go running to this cookbook all the time in Greenmarket season.

Also in the box was kohlrabi and I’m going to make a recipe with this vegetable too.

The box contained yellow chard and baby red bok choy too.

greens

This is the spring table decor. A joyful table can put you in the mood to linger over your food.

I didn’t post the zucchini recipe. I realized I had posted a blog entry with this recipe years ago. It might be in the recipes category link on the right.

I will return in the coming week to topics I refer to in my upcoming non-fiction books.

Cooking Meals

Here it is the miracle product:

red copper

This is the Red Copper frying pan you can get in Rite Aid for $20 or so.

It’s easy to clean–you can’t use S.O.S. or Brillo–not a wool pad. Use dish detergent that you scrub with a scrubber sponge and then rinse off.

I had no idea the ubiquitous status of this humble frying pan.

Until I saw the woman who was the spokesperson for Red Copper hawking one of the baking pans for $59 on TV.

Everything cooks quickly in the pan featured in my photo. Eggs especially so you have to watch over them while they’re cooking.

If I remember right this Red Copper pan doesn’t use chemicals to make it non-stick. You can find non-stick frying pans that don’t have chemicals.

I would like to return here on the weekend with a seasonal recipe that I delight in cooking from June through September.

It features zucchini–my favorite vegetable.

I think Greenmarket season is a magical time of year for buying a bounty of fresh, local, and organic produce that you can cook with.

It’s true: the food you eat can boost your mood.

 

 

 

Budgeting for Food

People who hang out shingles as personal finance experts will tell you to allot only certain strict percentages to categories of spending like utilities and food and entertainment.

I say: that’s bull crap. You can absolutely spend more in one category as long as you cut down and reduce or halt spending in the categories that don’t matter to you.

Case in point: though I’m a single person I spend a ton of money on food each month. My contention is: it’s better to exercise and eat right even if that costs a lot–than to wind up in ill health and have to pay a hospital bill.

Now that the Greenmarket season is here I’m going to reiterate like I do every year: in New York City you can use food stamps to buy produce at Greenmarkets.

This is a great thing. Other people might judge a person who uses food stamps to buy expensive food. That’s not right. Poor people deserve to eat healthful food. Poor people deserve to be healthy too.

Wherever you live you might have an online grocer like PeaPod that delivers food. In New York City FreshDirect delivers food and household items.

This beats walking or driving to a food market, wheeling a shopping cart around, and standing in a long line. Plus you’ll use up a lot of gasoline making weekly trips to a food market.

I’m all for curbing or ending our reliance on foreign or other oil supplies.

In the next blog entry I’ll write about a miracle product that you can use to cook food with.

Nutrition Action

SDC10499.JPG

I want to talk about food and nutrition again. We’re coming up on Greenmarket season in New York City. Here you can use food stamps at a Greenmarket and there’s even an incentive for doing so. I think you should if you get food stamps buy fresh produce at a Greenmarket this time of year. Or year-round if a market is available in the winter.

The pasta is fresh angel hair pasta. The mussels are Newfoundland rope organic mussels. I order from an internet grocery that delivers. I had splurged for Mario Batali tomato sauce yet won’t do that again–it cost a ton of money for one jar.

I sloshed the mussels in red wine. You can fill a large saucepan with just enough water and place the mussels in the water. The water shouldn’t be so high that it goes into the shells. Steam the mussels for 25 minutes or so. Pour the wine over the mussels halfway through.

One time I was eating mussels in a restaurant. As you might know I’m Italian. So I’m eating the mussels and the woman at the table next to me tells the young girl with her: “Italians love their mussels.”

I was astonished. There I was Italian and I’m eating mussels.

The table decor is the spring tablecloth and vase and candlesticks. I firmly believe in changing your table decor at the start of every season. It can give a lift to your spirits.

I eat mussels. I have muscle. I doubt the two are connected. Yet enjoying good food  can improve your mental health too.