Nov 112014
 

When I decided it was time to get serious again about losing the vacation weight and getting back on track, I struggled. I was hungry all the time. If you missed the post I wrote addressing hunger, check it out: Always Hungry? Here’s Why. I knew I needed to make some changes to my diet — not just getting back to my normal calorie range and reducing the amount of sugar I eat. I needed to eat more protein.

I was poking around online trying to figure out how to change my diet and came across this article: 12 Signs You Need to Eat More Protein. A brief breakdown: You’re Always Hungry, You’re Cutting Calories, You’re Lifting Heavy Things, You’re Engaged in Chronic Cardio, You’ve Got Achy Joints, You’re Experiencing Chronic Stress. Those were the ones that spoke to me. Yep, yep, yep. While I’m not necessarily lifting heavy, I am trying to get back into the weight lifting routine. I am hungry a lot, I AM cutting my calories to lose the weight, and damn I’m always achy…

The answer: I need more protein.

Which I already knew. Eating healthy fats and good proteins are what will fill you up. Sure, you get hungry and grab a bagel or chips or other junk thinking it will curb the hunger but those empty calories and carby things don’t go the distance. At least not for me.

I’ve definitely got the dinner down. We eat a protein with a vegetable and a salad or quinoa. That’s a pretty typical dinner. We rotate between chicken breasts, salmon, shrimp, ground turkey, boneless pork chops, and steak. I don’t really need help sneaking in more protein at dinner, it’s the other meals.

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A typical breakfast for me has been eggs and gluten free toast. It works well for me. But lately I’ve tried to mix things up to see if I can get more mileage out of that breakfast. One example: when I was doing food prep for the week, I browned some spicy pork sausage to use for the week. For breakfast that week I scrambled two eggs and mixed in some of the pork sausage and topped it with avocado. It was a great breakfast! Tasty and filling and I wasn’t starving by the time my usual morning break came around.

One thing I decided to change: add egg whites. Two scrambled eggs are about 140 calories. Adding some egg whites only adds about 15-20 calories to that but it bulks up the scramble. Perfect. Adding veggies to the scramble is also a smart move. The vegetables add bulk in healthy ways. Some of my favorites that are higher in protein are spinach, kale and broccoli. Yum! Doing a Frittata/Quiche type dish for the week is a faster way to do breakfast and pack it with lots of high protein things. (Maybe I need to start doing these muffins for breakfast again.)

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Back when Michael and I were doing the slow carb diet, we ate a TON of beans. You can get the food list here: Slow Carb Food List. Not really paleo-friendly, but I liked aspects of the slow-carb diet. Eating beans filled you up like you wouldn’t believe. Soybeans (edamame) are the highest protein but I am not a huge fan of eating soy so I try to limit that. Navy Beans have 15.8 grams of protein per serving; black beans have 15.2 grams; pinto beans have 14 grams per serving. Beans are really versatile, too. You can add them to eggs, burritos, wraps, salads, pretty much anything.

What about snacks? I think that’s where I need to get more protein. Typically I eat an apple for a morning snack. I am trying to add string cheese to that because the combination seems to be much more filling than either of those on their own. Here are some other ideas I came up with:

Peanut Butter with celery and raisins

Cottage Cheese (This is one of my favorite snacks because it doesn’t usually take much to satisfy me.)

Greek Yogurt (I prefer to use plain and then add nuts and fresh fruit to it)

Nuts (cashews and pistachios are my favorites)

Hard-boiled eggs

Beef Jerky 

Hummus with veggies

Veggie and meat wrap (I saw this on pinterest and it looks really good! Use lean deli meat like turkey)

Kefir (I love this stuff!)

Swiss cheese with fruit 

Almond Milk

Protein Bar (this is tricky because it can be high in sugar and carbs)

A protein shake is another tip I see online a lot. This is an iffy one for me. The problem is that most protein shakes don’t fill me up like food does. I’ve tried many times to supplement meals or snacks with a protein shake and I was hungry pretty quickly afterward. Another downside? Sugar. Protein shakes are often high in sugar. I like the Atkins protein shakes because they are low in calories and low in sugar/carbs. But again–it’s not filling me up like food does.

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The trick is to find food that is high in protein but not high in calories! Nuts are very high in calories. Luckily I only have to eat a few of them to take the edge off my hunger and lately I’ve been pairing pistachios with a string cheese. That combination is pretty tasty, especially when I’m craving salty/crunchy foods.

I need some more ideas. What are your favorite ways to eat more protein?

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Apr 112013
 

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I recently finished reading the book “Life After Death” by Damien Echols. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, he was one of the West Memphis 3 that was wrongly imprisoned for 18 years. Damien was the only one of the three boys that was on Death Row. The book will make you sad and angry at the same time. The injustices are unfair and hard to read. But that’s not what this post is about, this is  more light-hearted and fun.

Last Meal

What would your last meal be?

Looking at some famous “last meals” it seems that people go for comfort food – fried chicken, pizza, ice cream and cheeseburgers. I totally get that. If it’s your last day on earth, why would you eat a salad? (Although, I do love salads…)

It got me thinking. If I knew it was my last day on earth, what would I want to eat? Back in the day when I was obese I would have said a tub of chocolate mint ice cream, homemade chocolate chip cookies and pizza. I’d like to think that my tastes and preferences have evolved over the years, but that still sounds pretty damn good.

I want my last meal to be at Craftsteak. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in the world and happens to be in one of my favorite cities, too. Vegas!

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Craftsteak is Tom Collichio’s restaurant (from Top Chef) and although Michael and I went the first time years ago as kind of stalker-fans, we quickly realized that the food was absolutely amazing.

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I don’t have a very good photo of their amazing steaks from my collection (above is from the internet)  but trust me, one of the best I’ve ever had. And those rolls are addicting. I could eat all of them on my own. They are fluffy and hot and dusted with salt and butter on top. Everything I’ve ordered at Craftsteak has been delicious. I mean, just look at my happy face:

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That is ecstasy, my friends, ecstasy. Amazing food. So yeah…my last meal would be a steak from Craftsteak, a huge bottle of their best red wine (and maybe even one of their super strong martinis), a pan of those rolls, asparagus and…for dessert…I think I’ll go with something from a local restaurant:

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Papa Haydn’s. The best desserts in Portland.  I have never had a bad dessert there. Their Bourbon Ball is devilishly delicious. The cheesecake makes me melt. Man, now I really want to eat all of that stuff!

QUESTION: What would your last meal be?

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