Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Obesity and Soft Drinks

Image courtesy of xenia/morguefile.com
The rise in obesity in the United States has prompted politicians to consider legislature regarding the consumption of sugar.  Recently, leaders in Washington DC considered a "sugar tax" that would have had far-reaching effects on various food industries, however, it was voted down.

Recently New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, announced plans to ban the sale of large soft drinks in the city. His attempt to curb citizens of New York's super sized drink mentality has been met with controversy.

No matter what side you are on regarding this issue, it's note-worthy to remind everyone that most diets recommend reduction or even elimination of regular soft drinks, and sometimes diet soda.

Personal dieting experience has taught me over the years to eliminate regular soda. In fact I'm at the point that I prefer a Diet Coke over a regular one. My son-in-law had to face his soda addiction recently too. He is an electrician which is obviously a demanding physical job and a hot one here in Phoenix.  His day, from start to finish, included refilling a giant sized soft drink (44 to 64 ounces) with regular Pepsi Cola.  He recently decided he wanted to lose his love handles and went on a diet. It was interesting to me that the crux of his diet changes involved cutting out his daily soda, and replacing it with diet-soda or water. This one big change helped him lose that extra weight around his middle in less than a month!

Do you think it is government over-reach to tackle this growing epidemic of obesity caused by sugar addiction? Or are you in the camp that agrees with this sugar reduction effort, believing it is unfair for healthy citizens to have to pay tax dollars to deal with the health issues it causes?

Here are two articles on both sides of this issue:

New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks

May 30, 2012
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

New York Times Online

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas.

(Continue reading article here)

New York soda ban won't work, marketing experts say

June 4th, 2012
By Mary MacVean
Los Angeles Times Online

Comedian Jon Stewart drank from an oversized soda cup on his show as he bemoaned the New York City mayor’s plan to ban the sale of super-sized sodas from ballparks and other thirst-inducing places. And, Stewart complained, the proposal did what little else could – got him to agree with conservatives.
(Continue reading article here)

What do you think? I'd love to hear if you've curbed your soda/sugar addiction in your efforts to lose weight on the 17-Day Diet!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

TopChips by Mastrad - Make Veggie Chips without Oil!


I saw an advertisement on TV this week for "TopChips", a product made by Mastrad that I think would work great for those of us watching their fat and calories in their diet. It jogged my memory of watching an episode of Dr. Oz that showed it in action too. 

TopChips includes a slicer on which you slice vegetables, and a cooking tray that cooks them into "chips" in 3 to 6 minutes....all without oil!

I'm considering buying this product and thought I'd share this idea. If you have one, please give us the scoop on your experience with it.  I hope it works!

Here's the link to this product:
TopChips by Mastrad

Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad Light

Yesterday I went to a girls-only poolside party at a friend's home.  I was asked to bring a salad since she knew I was being diligent about my food choices.  I immediately thought of a favorite warm weather salad that I love - Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad! 

As soon as I thought of this side dish, I almost decided it was not a good choice because of the dressing and Ramen noodles. (Did you know that package of ramen noodles contains 2 servings for a total of 380 calories??)However, it sounded so good, and there is way more veggies in this salad than ramen noodles, so  I moved forward.

I have been determined to learn ways to eat the foods I love within my dieting guidelines, so I found several recipes online and developed a "lighter" version of this tasty salad.  The changes I made involved less oil, sugar substitute and leaving out the seasonings from the package (which would have added more fat and calories).  The best part is that it didn't taste any different to me and was a hit with my non-dieting BFFs. This salad would work for the 17 Day Diet once you've gotten past the Accelerate cycle. If you can't wait, make it without the noodles.

 Here's it is:

Ramen Noodle Cabbage Salad Light

Makes 6 large servings (approx 1 1/2 - 2 cups)


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 head medium cabbage, shredded (or cole slaw mix)
  • 1-2 tender celery stalks (pieces) sliced thinly
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 oz. sliced almonds
  • 2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 uncooked package chicken Ramen noodle mix (without the seasonings), crumbled
Dressing:
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 5 teas. baking sugar substitute (such as Splenda)
  • 1 teas. low sodium soy sodium
 Directions:
  •  Mix cabbage, onions, carrots together in large bowl. 
  • Make Dressing -  In separate small bowl mix oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar substitute. Stir and refrigerate.
  • 1/2 hour before serving, add almonds, sesame seeds and crumbled dry Ramen noodles (without the seasoning packet) to salad and mix thoroughly.  Pour dressing mixture over salad and stir again. 
  • Refrigerate 1/2 hour and serve
Note: The Ramen noodles will soften after a few hours, so leftovers won't have the crunch like the salad did when fresh, however, that doesn't stop anyone from finishing them off!  :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicken Tostadas ala Chris Powell's Recipe


I saw Chris Powell on TV talking about this recipe and I decided it would fit nicely  into the 17 Day Diet's  Activate and Achieve phases of the 17 Day Diet.

I wrapped this filling in a flour tortilla, rather than using a corn tortilla. I also omitted the salsa because I liked it more like fajitas.  See below for a link to his exact recipe.

Chicken "Tostada" Filling

Makes 6 servings

8 Ounces Chicken Breast, sliced
1 Green Pepper, sliced
1/2 Medium Onion, sliced
1 - 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbls Olive Oil
5-6 sprays Olive Oil Spray

  • Spray pan with olive oil spray and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  • Saute onions and green peppers until crisp tender.
  • Push vegetables to edges of pan and add thinly sliced chicken breast in center. Cook 3-4 minutes, until done. 
  • Add can of black beans and heat thoroughly. 

Wrap filling in corn or flour or corn tortilla or over Baked Tostitos.
Optional: Add shredded lettuce

If you are a Weight Watcher this filling has 4 WW Plus Points.

Chris Powell's Chicken Tostada Recipe

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crockpot Broccoli Soup


This recipe is delicious and filling, and works for every cycle on the 17 Day Diet.  If you are worried about the cream cheese or milk, consider the similar ingredients in Dr. Mike's recipes at the back of the book (low fat cheeses and sour cream).  Just be sure to use the low fat soup, cream cheese (Neufchatel) and skim milk and eat a reasonable portion, such as 1-2 cups per meal. One cup of this soup is a great low-calorie, low fat option when your stomach is growling! It is a staple at my house.

Crockpot Broccoli Soup
Makes 10 - 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

14 oz. bag of frozen broccoli florets
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups water
3 cubes or teaspoons of chicken bouillon
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup (Healthy Request)
8 Oz. package Neufchatel cream cheese
1 cup skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  • Place broccoli and chopped onions into crock pot
  • Heat water. When hot, add bouillon and mix to create broth
  • Pour hot broth over broccoli and onions in crock pot.
  • Add soup, 1/2 teas salt and a few shakes of black pepper
  • Cook on high for and hour and a half or until onions are cooked.
  • Turn heat to low and add cream cheese. Cook another half hour until cheese has melted, stirring occasionally
  • Add milk and stir into soup mixture.
  • Cook an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through.

Tip: You can use 2 cans of chicken broth in place of the bouillon if preferred.  Adjust salt accordingly as the bouillon is usually saltier than the broth. Also, I found some of the broccoli florets a little too big for a soup spoon, so after the soup had cooked 1/2 hour I spooned out the larger florets and cut into smaller pieces.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update: Weight Watchers

I wanted to update my blog followers about a change.  I decided to shift my diet plan for the balance of my weight loss journey to Weight Watchers online.  Call me a diet-hopper if you want, but I'm finding Weight Watchers easier for me to follow and track at this stage in the game.

I will still be posting here from time to time when I find yummy recipes or news-worthy diet info regarding the 17-Day Diet.  Even though I am shifting gears, I do believe the 17-Day Diet Plan works, especially for quick weight loss.  But if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, and are having a hard time sticking with the entire 17-Day Diet plan, you might want to try Weight Watchers and compare which plan works best for you once you've gotten through the first few cycles of the 17-Day Diet.

I don't think it really matters which weight loss plan you choose. One diet plan may work for you this month and another may be best for the long haul. The important thing is to use what you learn on any diet plan and keep trying to get those extra pounds off and find a way to keep them off!

You can find my Weight Watchers blog here: Watching my Weight with Weight Watchers

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mock Potato Pancakes

Perfect for breakfast or a side dish on the Accelerate Phase of the 17 Day Diet!

Image of potato pancake courtesy of Alcinoe/morguefile.com

 

Mock Potato Pancakes Recipe 

 Makes 4 pancakes (1 serving)





Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 whole egg (or 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, feta cheese or ricotta cheese.
  • Salt & Pepper or Seasoning Salt
  • Olive Oil Spray or 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced (optional)

Prior to making pancakes, prepare spaghetti squash by cutting in half and baking at 350 for approximately an hour (cut side up), or boiling in salted water for 10-15 minutes. When cooked (squash is done when it can be shredded into strands), shred squash by running the tines of a fork lengthwise across the flesh of the squash to form spaghetti-like strands. 

Pancake Cooking Directions:
  • Add mixture of eggs and cheese to one cup shredded spaghetti squash
  • Add seasonings to taste and sliced onion, if desired
  • Spray skillet with 5 sprays of olive oil, and heat to medium high
  • Divide squash mixture into 4 pancakes and brown on both sides.
 Guests? Multiply this recipe by number of guests!


YouTube: "How to Cook Spaghetti Squash"by HowCast