Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Goal - Diet Update

Click on the Green Smoothie link on the right to read about Green Smoothies for weight loss and continued health and well being.

Happy Halloween Diet Update. My goal was to lose 30 lbs by Halloween (today) on my Green Smoothie diet. After 10 weeks, the total was 27 lbs lost. My birthday is 10 weeks from now. I'd like to think I'll see my abs by then. I'm probably dreamin', but goals are good.

Last night, I picked up supplies to begin germinating lettuce and spinach seeds so I can grow my own leafy greens hydroponically this winter. Come back for updates on that. Subscribe to follow my step-by-step process for growing lettuce indoors this winter (Go ahead, please subscribe >>>>> that button on the right).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Diet Update: I've lost 23.5 lbs (10.6 kg)

This is week 9 of the Green Smoothie diet, and, as of today, I've lost 23.5 lbs (10.6 kg).

I don't feel right calling this a diet, because that usually implies a temporary way of eating. I really do feel like I've made a change in lifestyle. I plan on eating more raw food for the rest of my life, and Green Smoothies at least once a day is an easy and healthy way to go.

One nice thing about dropping more than 20 lbs is that cardio is easier to do. I can now run a for 30 minutes without much trouble. I guess that's bad too. Increasing my running speed and distance in such a short time has resulted in several repetitive stress injuries. Live and learn, I guess.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hydroponics and the Green Smoothie

Green Smoothies have renewed my interest in having a green thumb. I've grown my own vegetables in the past, but I stopped when I was constantly racing the clock to finish my graduate program. It's time to return to growing.

Last time, I grew hydroponic tomatoes outdoors. The system consisted of six large plants, each in their own growing medium, feed by a 30-gallon reservoir of nutrients. Best tomatoes ever.

I wanted to grow hydroponically because I wanted to control as many variables of my growing as possible (and partially because I'm just a little geeky like that). This system worked pretty well. Still, I fought flying and crawling bugs that also wanted to eat my plants. I really disliked that. Also, I've built a shed in my garden area, and there's now a growing family of rabbits that live under the shed. I'm sure my garden would be a feast for them.

So, this year I'm making two major changes. I'm going to grow lettuce, spinach and kale indoors hydroponically, and I'm going to invest in a plastic greenhouse for the outdoor season. You can get a 12' x 7' x 7' greenhouse on Amazon for just over $100.

Why hydroponics? I'm motivated by the knowledge that I'm eating pesticide-free food. I'm motivated by the internal reward of eating food I created, and I'm motivated by having a hobby that also provides tangible results that benefit my whole house.

Also, I can grow indoors cheaper than I can buy lettuce, kale and spinach, and that's what I will start after Halloween.

If you're interesting in growing your own indoors, check out this guy's blog.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Green Smoothie Tips

Please add your own tips. Thanks!

Tip 1: If your green smoothie is too bitter for your taste (because of a strong-flavored vegetable), adding one or two bananas to the mix will often cover the bitter flavor.

Tip 2: There are some fruits you can use in a green smoothie that you may not eat normally. For example, grapes with seeds. In a powerful blender, like the Blendtec, the seeds are pulverized. Grape seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants.

Tip 3: Bulk stores, like Sams Club and Costco, are good places to get bags of frozen fruit for less money.

Tip 4: If you buy frozen strawberries, look for strawberries that are already sliced to reduce time needed in the blender.

Tip 5: If you have more vegetables or fruit than you can use before it spoils, chop them into useable amounts and freeze them. Ideally, use freshly frozen vegetables within a few days of freezing.

Tip 6: When making smoothies, build the smoothie so that the items with the most liquid are at the bottom. Things like water, grapes, and watermelon should go on the bottom, leafy greens in the middle, and frozen fruit on the top. This will provide the shortest blend cycles and reduce frozen pockets that cause the blade to spin without the contents falling down onto the blades.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Low-calorie balsamic dressing

Have you ever calculated the calories that are in the meal you're eating, thinking it was a healthy meal, only to find that it was loaded with calories? There's a meal that I've been eating for a long time--even before I started trying to increase the ratio of raw foods in my diet: A large salad of romaine lettuce.

For this meal, I take a whole bag of romaine lettuce, chop it up and add my homemade dressing of olive oil, vinegar and spices. I like to add like a cup of dressing to a whole bag of lettuce and just feast on it. Well, you can see where this is going.

I knew that a cup of dressing made with olive oil, which is 120 calories per tablespoon, must be high in calories. I had never factored it out, but I knew I needed to change it. So, I tried a store bought balsamic vinegar. However, even that was 90 calories per 2 tablespoons, mean my big salad was still a whopping 720 calories.

So, last night, I set out to make a low-calorie dressing that would still have the flavor but not all the oil. I used my Blendtec blender to make this, and I thought it turned out excellent. Here's how to make it.

Mix all of this in the Blender (makes 1.5 cups):

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar - 40 cal
2 tbsp soy sauce - 20 cal
2 tbsp brown sugar - 50 cal
3 red chili peppers (remove some seeds to reduce heat if desired) - 30 calories.
1 or 2 gloves garlic - 4 or 8 calories
2 - tbsp splenda - 0 calories
2 - tbsp water - 0 calories
3 - tbsp - lite zesty Italian dressing - 45 cal
2 - small tomatoes - 32 calories
1 - lime - squeezed - 15 calories

Total calories for 1.5 cups: 236

This is so flavorful that I only needed about half a cup of this dressing for a whole huge salad, which is 76 calories plus lettuce! Compare that to the salad of 720 calories plus lettuce.