Monthly Archives: March 2010
It’s a late post for Diet Friday; in fact it’s an extremely late post as I missed last week! Thanks for your inquiries, all is well. I’m working on some big projects at work (yes, I have a real job) which will take some more of my attention for the next month or so. But enough about me, I know that what you’re really curious about is The Diet, so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.
Another pound down! I am pleased to report that the slow but steady downward trend continues with almost no effort on my part. Here is what I’m doing”
- I limit the amount of sugar I eat, and try to focus on “good carbs” without actually counting carbs.
- I focus on foods with high nutritional value
- I allow indulgences of really good artisanal cheese, very dark chocolate and red wine. (in moderation)
- During the week, I eat smaller, more frequent mini-meals
- On the weekends, I adapt to the situation.
- If I’m eating out on the weekend and want to have bread (only the really good kind) I take a starch-blocker made from white bean extract. (Only on weekends, I don’t make a habit of it)
- Exercise is 30 minutes total body program on elliptical trainer at least 4x per week, crunches 3x per week.
Now please don’t think that I’m advising anyone to eat cheese as a health food; I happen to love it and it takes the place of a sugar-laden dessert for me. I also don’t tout the health benefits of taking a starch-blocker. Although the ones made from white bean extract are supposed to be free from any known side effects, certainly check with your health care provider to make sure it’s OK for you. I only use it a few times a week when I want to enjoy a piece of fresh bread and although it works for me without any side effects, I wouldn’t use it on a regular basis. The good carbs that I eat regularly are high in nutrition and I wouldn’t want them to be “blocked”.
For me, limiting sugar intake is key. I don’t avoid it completely. Originally I was keeping my sugar intake under 15 grams per day. I no longer keep track, as choosing low sugar foods has become second nature. I really (truly) have no cravings. My hunger and appetite is under control, and I occasionally lose track of time and forget to eat. (For those of you new to the blog, this has really never happened before!) I’m not going for drastic weight loss, and if I lose only a few ounces every week I am quite pleased with the steady progress.
If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask and I will be happy to anwer.
To all my blogging friends out there, I’m still reading; keep up the good work. I hope to participate more actively when things slow down a bit!
Last week I published an interesting post on research into the relationship between genotype and diet. If I recall correctly, I believe I made the comment that it was the most interesting research on weight that I had seen in a long time. Hot on its heels is this interesting bit of research out of Emory University, which indicates that germs. . . that’s right, GERMS . . . in the digestive tract may have something to do with weight gain. While the articles that have appeared in the media over the past few days report some more in-depth findings, this is not the first time we have heard the theory. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis introduced us to this theory in 2006. Which only goes to prove that it’s 2010 . . . over 30 years have gone by since we put a man on the moon . . . but we still don’t know anything for sure about the inner mysteries of the human body! The encouraging news is that we may finally be trending away from looking at weight management as soley a behavioral issue.
Here are some links to the most recent articles appearing in the last few days about this research at Emory University:
Emory researchers noticed that mice with an altered immune system were fatter than regular mice, and had a collection of disorders — high blood pressure, and cholesterol and insulin problems — called metabolic syndrome, often a precursor of heart disease and diabetes.
Everyone is born with a sterile digestive tract that within days is flooded with bacteria from first foods and the environment. Altered immunity in these mice meant somewhat different bacteria grew in their intestines than in normal rodents — driving bigger appetites, metabolic syndrome and a low-grade inflammation believed key to obesity’s illnesses, Emory associate pathology professor Andrew Gewirtz reported Thursday in the journal Science.
Lest you think the articles you have seen over the past few days are new, here is a link to research done at Washington University in St. Louis and published in Nature journal that suggested a link between germs and fat in 2006!
Obese people have more digestive microbes that are especially efficient at extracting calories from food, the researchers said, and the proportion of these super-digesting organisms ebbs as the people lose weight. Moreover, when the scientists transplanted these bacteria from obese mice into lean mice, the thin animals start getting fat. This provides more support for the provocative theory that the bacteria that populate the intestine play an important role in regulating weight.
Naturally, this was the week that I really wasn’t focused on dieting. I am no longer counting sugar grams or carbs, but my habits have become formed since I began limiting my sugar intake at the beginning of January. I have continued the pattern of having only limited amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates. I focus on foods that deliver a high nutrient value. During the week, I try to eat small, frequent meals. Although I do indulge a bit on the weekends, I think the process of eating smaller meals during the week helps to limit the amount I eat on the weekends.
Here is my current favorite thing:
Endagered Species all natural 88% cocoa chocolate. 1/4 of this bar is more than enough for a rich, indulgent and satisfying chocolate experience. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and is thought to have many health benefits. Best of all, 1/4 of a bar has only 2.5 grams of sugar and about 105 calories. That, in addition to a few ounces of a good red wine, gives you a luxurious dessert for under 200 calories.
These bars are available through Amazon.com and come in a 12-pack of 3 ounce bars for $27.14.
Creme Brulee is a classic dessert, and for years I had every intention of making it. In my pantry, I had the butane kitchen torch to use for carmelizing the sugar, as well as a full assortment of dandy ramekins. Then I would think about the eggs, the cream, the sugar . . . and would decide that perhaps creme brulee was not exactly the healthiest dessert choice.
Sunday night I felt compelled to go through with it. I actually was pretty good at creme brulee back in the day. I recalled working in a booth at “Tast of LA” in the early 90’s where a friend was serving up creme brulee. The sugar was carmelized to order with a butane torch, and that was my job. The cappucino creme brulee turned out to be one of the big hits of the festival, and after torching thousands, I became an overnight expert on sugar carmelization via a blowtorch!
For Sunday night’s version, I decided I would keep the eggs and cream, but cut out the sugar. The recipe below calls for Splenda in place of sugar in the custard. I did use a teaspoon of real sugar on the top to carmelize. I’ve never tried carmelizing Splenda, and didn’t want to risk some kind of toxic chemical reaction!
When I served it to my husband (who doesn’t cook at all) I warned him that this would be a slightly different, slightly healthier (?) version of the creme brulee he normally orders at restaurants. He looked at me quizically. Wasn’t creme brulee already healthy? I stared at him blankly and asked him what part of creme brulee he thought was healthy . . . the heavy cream, the egg yolks, or the sugar? He had no idea what was in it. (Did I mention that he doesn’t cook?) He explained that he always ordered creme brulee in restaurants not so much because he loved it, but because he thought it was the lighter, healthier dessert. Kinda like eating yogurt.
So here it is folks. Definitely not light. But if you’re watching your carbs, this creme brulee will hit the spot.
Crème Brulee (low sugar version)
List of Ingredients
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (you can also use sugarless)
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup Splenda
- 8 teaspoons sugar
- In small saucepan, heat cream with vanilla over medium heat. Remove from heat. Place eight 6-ounce ramekins in a roasting pan; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, with rack in the center. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks just until blended. Slowly whisk in 1/2 c. Splenda. Slowly beat in hot cream into the yolks, whisking all the time. Pour custard into the ramekins.
- Place the roasting pan on the center rack of the oven. Pour in enough hot tap water to reach about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set, about 30 minutes (the timing can vary based on the depth of the ramekins). Remove the custards from their water bath and place on wire rack until cooled.
- Refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours.
5. Before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over the top of each individual custard. Carmelize the sugar using a torch. (These can be purchased at kitchen supply stores) If you don’t have a torch, you can also place under the broiler for a few minutes until the tops are shiny. )
HOW TO FIT INTO YOUR SKINNY GENES
Have you ever wondered why your best friend had no problem dropping pounds on Weight Watchers, while you stuggled over every ounce, even though you were eating exactly the same things? Or why some people drop weight on the Atkins diet, while others actually gain? Maybe it’s your genotype.
The link to the article below is the most interesting study I have read on weight loss in a long time. The study assigned dieters to a particular diet (low-carb, low-fat, etc.) based upon their genotype, which was determined through a cheek swab. The dieters who were “eating right for their type” lost significantly more weight on the same diet than those who were not.
You may remember Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s Blood Type Diets, which recommended diets based on your blood type. Although some dismissed the science behind it, the idea that we respond to foods differently based upon our genetics certainly makes sense.
When I worked as a nurse in a medically-supervised weight loss clinic in the late 90’s, it bothered me when clients who were not losing weight on the standard ADA diet (this clinic also prescribed fen-phen) were labled as non-compliant. The assumption made by the doctors was that everyone, male or female, young or old, would respond in the same way to the same plan. A calorie deficit would absolutely result in weight loss, and anyone who said they were following the diet yet not losing weight was simply lying about their intake. I always knew instinctively that this was not necessarily the case.
The weight loss industry has a dismal track record; the majority of people who lose weight will gain it back at some point. While there are many success stories, the Kirstie Alley’s and Oprah’s of the world are more the rule than the exception. It is unfortunate that they continue to beat themselves up, as if gaining the weight back was some kind of moral failing. As long as we continue to look at dieting as a one-size-fits-all plan and failure is looked upon as a character flaw, we will continue to see a rise in obesity. When we begin to look at obesity as being a symptom of an underlying medical condition which may differ from individual to individual, we will begin to see progress. Further research on genotypes, brain chemistry, and the individual chemical responses we have to food will pave the way to a much healthier diet paradigm.
I invite you to read this article on some preliminary reseach on genotyping for diet: