Trouble in Paradise (it’s Weight Gain Season)

“Competition puts hurdles in front of you that you have to clear.” 

OKC Thunder coach Mark Daigneault

Life puts hurdles in front of you that you have to clear. Like Thanksgiving. TGTIO (Thank God Thanksgiving is Over). We were out of town for only three days. I gained three pounds. I’m not good at math but I think this equates to one pound per day. YIKES. There’s 35 days until the first day of the New Year. At this pace I’ll weigh 208 pounds…

But I am not alone. This chart is attributed to the New England Journal of Medicine but I could never find the original source article.

As the years pass I get better at understanding why I put the pounds on. This was our dessert board on Turkey Day.

I can’t get Tex-Mex in Oklahoma. So when in Texas I need Tex-Mex. At one of my favorite Tex-Mex stops I discovered a new favorite, the #10.

The numbers above are calories, fat calories, and fat in grams. 2950 mg of sodium too (the original chart has more nutrition information).

We ate Tex-Mex Wednesday and Friday, the perfect bookends to Thanksgiving.

I had #10 twice.

Take Home Lesson

Salt, sugar, fat and excess calories. Taking and/or keeping the weight off is simple when you reduce intake of these four items.

Restaurant meals will kill you. Literally.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with every now and then so long as it’s every now and then.

My skinny jeans fit fine. I’ll get back to my usual routine and diet and the three pounds should come off and I’m good until the next hurdle. Until then I’ll wear my black t-shirts because dark colors make you look thinner.

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More on the Obesogenic Environment

In an editorial in Obesity, Corkey discusses the many different theories explaining why obesity continues to increase despite best efforts at controlling weight gain in this environment, including increased availability and marketing of high-calorie and high-glycemic-index foods and drinks, larger food portions, leisure time physical activities being replaced with sedentary activities such as watching television and use of electronic devices, inadequate sleep, and the use of medications that increase weight.

According to Corkey, all of these purported explanations assume an environmental cause that is detrimental to the organism involved, (humans).

Boston University School of Medicine. “Finding the solution to obesity: Culinary medicine, emerging evidence-based field, ID’d as early intervention.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221102115527.htm (accessed November 3, 2022)

Diseases related to obesity correlate with both the extent and duration of obesity. This suggests that diseases related to obesity will also increase more rapidly owing to the younger onset and more severe forms of the disease.

Barbara E. Corkey, Caroline M. Apovian. “En attendant Godot”: Waiting for the answer to obesity and longevity. Obesity, 2022; 30 (11): 2105 DOI: 10.1002/oby.23462

I have a growing sense of urgency to finish writing my future best seller.

I just have to figure out how to describe what I know in language simple enough for everyone to understand.

Random Thoughts – September 2022

“Some of the best evidence for the role of exercise in maintaining weight loss comes from the National Weight Control Registry, an online group of over ten thousand men and women who have lost at least thirty pounds and kept it off for at least a year. These folks defy the cynical view that meaningful, sustainable weight loss is impossible. The average Registry member has lost over sixty pounds and kept it off for more than four years. They are truly exceptional…Nearly all of them (98 percent) report changing their diet to lose weight, which makes sense given how diet can affect the reward and satiety systems in our brain and impact how much we eat.”

Herman Pontzer PhD Burn (pp. 255-256). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition

I posted about this book back in May on my other world famous blog. http://lifeunderwriter.net/2022/05/11/read-this-book/

From your “exceptional” self-proclaimed expert on weight loss you’re welcome.

8784 signing off.

You Are What Your Ancestors Ate

Humans also vary in their ability to extract sugars from starchy foods as they chew them, depending on how many copies of a certain gene they inherit. Populations that traditionally ate more starchy foods, such as the Hadza, have more copies of the gene than the Yakut meat-eaters of Siberia, and their saliva helps break down starches before the food reaches their stomachs.

These examples suggest a twist on “You are what you eat.” More accurately, you are what your ancestors ate. There is tremendous variation in what foods humans can thrive on, depending on genetic inheritance. Traditional diets today include the vegetarian regimen of India’s Jains, the meat-intensive fare of Inuit, and the fish-heavy diet of Malaysia’s Bajau people. The Nochmani of the Nicobar Islands off the coast of India get by on protein from insects. “What makes us human is our ability to find a meal in virtually any environment,” says the Tsimane study co-leader Leonard…

In other words, there is no one ideal human diet. Aiello and Leonard say the real hallmark of being human isn’t our taste for meat but our ability to adapt to many habitats—and to be able to combine many different foods to create many healthy diets. Unfortunately the modern Western diet does not appear to be one of them.

The Evolution of Diet — https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/evolution-of-diet/

Food for thought (pun intended).

This article is worth reading even if you remember just one concept.

There is no one ideal human diet.

It’s Struggle Meal Time

Photo by Dayvison de Oliveira Silva on Pexels.com

Rice and beans may be a struggle meal, but there’s a reason so many gravitate to this humble dish. It’s filling, it’s nutritious, and it’s cheap. Given the right preparation and a few seasonings, rice and beans can also be delicious and satisfying. Beans are basic, but also infinitely versatile.

Which Beans Have the Most Protein?https://vegnews.com/2022/8/bean-protein-guide

I’ve known for quite some time that beans are a poor person’s meal. But in all of my years on the planet this is the first time I’ve heard of beans referred to as a struggle meal. Well struggling or not everyone should be eating more beans for the health benefits.

Stanford Center on Longevity – Diet Research Update

There are a growing number of diet choices that promote healthier eating. Common among several of the most-well known diets (e.g., paleo, Mediterranean, vegan), is an emphasis on the consumption of plant-based foods (sometimes alongside animal protein, sometimes without), and the avoidance of added sugar, refined grains, and ultra-processed foods. There is increasing evidence that consuming more plant-based foods is beneficial to our overall health, especially our immune system health. There are also data indicating that consuming more plant protein than animal protein is healthy for both ourselves and the environment.

Diet — https://longevity.stanford.edu/research-update-on-diet/

Reality check below –

We have a lot of work to do.

Do your part by reading the entire research update and sharing the love.

Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

There was a head of green cabbage in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I made a simple saute of cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic then put the entire veggie mix back into the fridge for another day. I spend quite a bit of time being creative with food items in the pantry/freezer/fridge in preparation for massive food shortages in the near future. My WFH coworker likes soup for lunch and I’ve frozen single servings of different soups so we could have different soups together for lunch.

This soup starts with leftover sauteed cabbage. You can always make this soup by starting with a veggie saute if you don’t have leftover cabbage. I always have vegetable broth in the pantry and there were cooked chickpeas in the freezer.

My inspiration came from https://www.thefullhelping.com/spicy-cabbage-chickpea-soup/#recipe but the two recipes are not really the same. The quantities here make about two servings. I didn’t want to make a lot in case I didn’t like it (I liked it).

Accidentally Vegan Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

  • 2 cups leftover green cabbage and vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained and rinsed)
  1. Everyone into a small pot
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes
  4. Makes about two servings

Tips

Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities of spice to taste also. I tossed in some extra garlic powder because I like garlic. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’re into spicy. Subbing pasta or rice for the chickpeas would work nicely (if you can’t or won’t eat beans). This soup freezes well.

Vegetarian Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2022

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

I make black eyed peas once a year for good luck and good leftovers.  This year will be different. One of my goals for the year is to make black eyed peas more than once a year.

“What’s all the chopping I hear?”

“I’m making a vegetarian version of my world famous Badass Black Eyed Peas.”

“Hmm…”

This recipe makes four servings as I suspect I’ll be the only one eating it.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, scraped and diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T Mexican oregano
1 tsp apiece cumin, paprika
1-2 cups vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 cup black eyed peas (dried)
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then rinse the beans. Drain again.
  3. In a medium size pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Saute the onion, and green pepper until softened about five minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  5. Add your spices, carrots and saute another minute until aromatic.
  6. Pour the can of stewed tomatoes into the pot. Break up the tomatoes with your stirring spoon.
  7. Add the beans and enough broth to barely cover the beans.
  8. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Partially cover the pot with a lid and let ‘er go for a couple of hours.
  9. Check the pot and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.

Salt, pepper, and favorite hot sauce. Season to taste.

End Notes

Note the process starts the evening before if you’re using dried beans. You can always substitute two cans of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed. If you use canned beans, decrease the cooking time on the stove top to around 30 minutes.

I reduced the quantity of dried beans because I think I’ll be the only one eating these beans. There was sufficient salt in both the canned tomatoes and broth so I felt no need to add any more.

Texas Corn Bread or serve over rice.

This dish was inspired by Suzy at https://www.themediterraneandish.com/black-eyed-peas-recipe-greek/.

If you have celery hanging out in the fridge add some at the same step as the spices and carrots.

Beans for Breakfast – 01/15/22

Someone wanted to make a German Chocolate Cake for her birthday. Third store, strike three. Not a single baking bar for this cake to be found. To avoid having the trip become an absolute failure I stocked up on some dried beans. Picked up more beans for my Badass Black Eyed Peas – 2021 and more chickpeas because I like chickpeas. Two pounds of dried beans cost less than three bucks. I love beans not just for their taste, variety and health benefits but also as an excellent way to stretch the food budget.

More Beans Less Beef

We don’t eat meat everyday. Whether you’re looking to improve your health, save money, save the planet, or save a few cows less meat is better. Not that dedicated non-meat eaters need another reason for their lifestyles here you go:

Source: Economists to Cattle Ranchers: Stop Being So Emotional About the Monopolies Devouring Your Family Businesses

Four packing companies control 80% of the cattle industry. Another fine example of profits before people (and animals).

Read more here: https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/economists-to-cattle-ranchers-stop?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjozODkzNjMwNiwicG9zdF9pZCI6NDIyMzI2OTMsIl8iOiJOYUxWSCIsImlhdCI6MTY0MjI1NzA0OSwiZXhwIjoxNjQyMjYwNjQ5LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTE1MjQiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.2IlNOUb3jKvQJb27eyofdRCYUa0igNDi1To8xbkyDPs

If you are a bean novice start here: https://usdrybeans.com/

I think I’ll makes some Sweet Potato and White Bean Hummus this week. It’s only around four years since I last made some.

Disclosure: I am not compensated for my fanatical obsession with beans but would gladly accept a sponsorship deal if offered one.

Chapter One – The Future Best Seller

This weekend the writing Mojo returned. I’ve begun exploring bits and pieces of writing from the past and abandoned my pursuit of perfection. A few hours of work, rewrites, and editing produced two short “potato chip” chapters of The Future Best Seller. You’ll find new chapter links in the top menu.

It helps having the day off from my Day Job.

Two chapters done and 38 more to go!