Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry

A good way to blow your good eating habits and your pocket book is shopping for food when you’re hungry.
It’s just a bad idea folks, too much temptation while your tummy is rumbling saying, “Feed me.”
It’s something I tend to do far too often. I start off with the best intentions of getting healthy items but hunger has its own plan.

“Let’s see I need chicken for dinner tonight … oh wait this pizza will take only 15 minutes and has pepperoni and BACON. I should get the chicken to make ahead for tomorrow’s dinner, and get the pizza for tonight. YES. In the meantime let me snag this bag of chips and start on these now while shopping.”
Crunch, crunch, crunch crunch…YAY CHEETOS!

Of course then I need a soda to wash down the chips.

There were a few times where I grabbed a ready-made sandwich at the deli to go along with the chips and soda. And if the hunger lingers I may start going aisle by aisle, searching for the next quick grab and chew option.

OMG pickles, I need some for the house (I didn’t). Chocolate chip cookies. I haven’t had these in years (and should still stay away from them but too late I opened the box). It’s summer and it’s hot, so yes we have room for ice cream. (I don’t care what diet you’re on there is ALWAYS room for ice cream).

I blame it on the grocery stores. It’s their fault for not providing healthier on-the-go options.
You can grab a bag of chips or cookies or bag of candy and eat while you shop because you can still scan the EMPTY bag or container when you check out and pay for the goods.

Try doing that with fruit!

I’d love to see the look on a store manager’s face when you eat a banana or two and then try to weigh the peel to pay for it. Or grab a bag of grapes and start eating some so by the time you go to pay, it weighs half of what it used to.
Tempting but don’t do it, you might end up meeting security. Not that I tried or that I speak from experience. Okay I did it ONCE.

Yeah the store manager isn’t going to let you weigh just the banana peel or mango pit. So instead you find yourself grubbing through the chips, candy and quick snack aisles in an attempt to hush the roar emanating from your belly, which at this point, is so LOUD it’s scaring little children.

Grocery stores should have a special scale next to their fruits.
This would allow you to weigh your bananas or grapes or mangoes and produce a ticket with the price and weight on a barcode. You can then eat them to your heart’s content and pay for the full price at checkout.

SEE PROBLEM SOLVED…get with the program Wal-Mart, Kroger and Food Lion. This should be implemented ASAP so we the hungry can still eat and shop and NOT destroy our good eating habits. (Well, I guess allowing myself to get that hungry to begin with is a habit I may need to address).

All this talk about food is making me hungry. Time to make my list and head to the store.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tomatoes on the attack

In 1978, the low-budget science-fiction film “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” was a hit among young moviegoers. The film was a spoof on the horror and sci-fi genre movies of that time and featured monstrous tomatoes revolting against humans, killing them off one by one.

Today, however, tomatoes are highly regarded in helping humans in battling a barrage of diseases. Prostate and breast cancer, surprisingly, top the list.
Research indicates that tomatoes contain lycopene, which scientists consider to be a strong antioxidant.

“Several studies have shown that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, soy, fiber, lycopene — which you find in tomatoes — and the omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer,” Dr. Dean Ornish, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, reported when speaking about the benefits of a more plant-based diet while in Savannah in November of 2016. “These diets contain a lot of naturally occurring antioxidants that, combined with physical activity, have been shown to reduce what is called oxidative stress.”

Ornish has spent decades researching the benefits of lifestyle changes, including a plant-based diet rich in foods that contain lycopene and other antioxidants, in reducing or completely eliminating chronic illnesses.

Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the lycopene found in tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables is a carotenoid, a family of pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright red, orange and yellow coloring.

In 2002, Giovannucci published his research findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirming that frequent tomato or lycopene intake was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. His research also found that lycopene intake was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer and that intake of tomato sauce, the primary source of bioavailable lycopene, was associated with an even greater reduction in prostate cancer risk.

More recently, a team of Finnish researchers published a report in the journal Neurology stating that lycopene decreases the risk of stroke in men. The report was published in October 2012 and was based on research following more than 1,000 men over a period of 12 years.

Dr. Andrew Weil is an American physician, teacher and author on holistic health and the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He spoke at the November lecture in Savannah. Weil reported that research shows lycopene may help prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis and breast and prostate cancers. He said it also may be the most powerful carotenoid against singlet oxygen, a highly reactive oxygen molecule and a primary cause of premature skin aging.

Samantha Heller, a registered dietitian and frequent contributor to “The Dr. Oz Show,” said lycopene also is found in pink grapefruit, watermelon and guava. She agrees that it helps with premature skin aging and helps reduce the risk of sunburn.
“It helps protect the skin against the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn and premature aging,” she reported on, adding that folks should still apply sunscreen.

Weil noted that despite being red, strawberries and cherries do not contain lycopene. It is found in watermelons and other fruits and vegetables, he said, just not in the amount found in tomatoes.

Like Giovannucci, Weil said the cooking process makes the lycopene more bio-available and accounts for 85 percent of how Americans take in lycopene in their diets.
Giovannucci recommends at least 10 milligrams of lycopene per day and said that because lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient, it is best taken when combined with some form of healthy fat.

For example, he reported that when cooking a tomato sauce, adding a little oil adds flavor and the fat needed for the lycopene to be absorbed in the body. He added that getting the recommended amount is not that difficult. A one-cup can of pure tomato juice contains 21,960 micrograms — nearly 22 milligrams — of lycopene.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Yep I could eat this 30 days in a row

If you had to eat the same meal for 30 days what would you choose?

OMG; decisions, decisions.

See, I can actually do this. If I had to live on chicken soup, or say chili, or fried chicken for 30 days, no problem. Better yet tell me I can only eat ice cream and I’ll make it work for breakfast, lunch and dinner — EASY.

Oh, 30 days’ worth of Lowcountry boils. YES, please!

Wait! Pizza, yes by gosh. Pizza is definitely something I do for more than 30 days.

Let’s see, what else would I possibly consider? Hmm.

It would be easy to pick something like tacos (way too easy). As much as I like hot dogs I’m not sure I could commit to that for 30 days straight.

I think I would stick to something from my childhood. Something I asked my mom to make nearly every day.

Bistec de palomilla, con arroz y frijoles negros! (Palomilla steak with white rice and black beans).

Mouthwateringly delicious to even think about.

A palomilla steak is just top-round or a sirloin cut. The magic is that it is thinly sliced (or pounded thin, a quarter inch or less). It is marinated in lime, juice, garlic salt and pepper.

I let mine marinate overnight, but setting it aside for 30 minutes will do if you’re in a pinch. When it’s time to cook, you just need a little olive oil to pan fry the steak.

Traditionally a palomilla steak is served with finely minced raw onions and cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice (the flavor of the finely minced raw onion and cilantro adds a little texture and bite to the meal). I also like my steak topped off with caramelized grilled onions.

My mom would make the black beans from scratch which takes two days. I tend to cheat when making my black beans. But you can develop great black beans from canned options if you add the right spices. I’ve used the large can of Bush’s Black beans and have been successful in duplicating the flavor of mom’s real deal.

Add half a can of water in the pot, 2 bay leaves, cumin, salt, pepper, Badia complete seasoning (it’s like the powdered spice form of mojo), a little touch of red wine and a dash of red pepper flake. Bring it to a boil then turn the heat to medium-low or low to simmer. Let those flavors marry for at least 30 minutes.

I have my rice ready in my rice cooker.

The thin steak is tender and juicy. I plate up some rice and pour any remaining cooking oil over it. Then I pour a big scoop of black beans over my rice.


Yes I could eat that every day!

Option B would be serving that Palomilla topped with a mountain of thinly cut fries (and I mean thin, think potato stick fries).


OMG, there used to be a restaurant in Miami that was famous for palomilla steak and fries. Lila’s steakhouse. The pile of fries was stacked so high you had to search for your steak underneath. The fries would soak up the luscious steak gravy. Ahhh, I can taste it now.

Okay I could eat my palomilla meals for 30 days, and plan to…starting TONIGHT!

What would you choose for your 30 day meal?