Veggie Burrito Spice Blend

Spice Blend for Veggie Burritos

2 tsp chili powder – 1 tsp cumin – 1 tsp smoked paprika – 1/2 tsp coriander 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp garlic powder

Chickpea and Broccoli Burrito — https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito

This blend of spices is literally stolen from the chefs at https://www.badmanners.com/. The last time I took a theme on a spice blend the author tracked me down and threatened something close to legal action if I didn’t give her credit and a link to her website. So this time around I’m giving credit AND three links. I’m also not going to write down any instructions for making a roasted vegetable and chickpea filling for burritos. I suggest you go to the original recipe at https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito if you need detailed instructions.

My Tips, Hints, and not too Secret Secrets

A really good tortilla makes all the difference. But today I’m going to wrap this filling in a Greek style whole wheat pita for lunch. I tend to roast vegetables for at least 40 minutes with a good stir midway through to prevent sticking. You can also add more olive oil at this point too. I hope I have a lime in the fridge. The last time I made this filling The Boss used it as a topping for a Taco Salad. She liked it. I hope she was telling the truth because when you cook up a pound of dried chickpeas it is a LOT of chickpeas. One cup dried will produce between 6 and 7 cups of beans. I used about 4 cups for today’s mix. The other 3 cups went into a Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew (no link yet, recipe is still in draft form).

I used some metal pie pans as roasting pans because I didn’t want to use the big pan which is a pain in the ass to clean because of its size. Preheat your pan(s) before roasting. I leave the mixing bowl uncleaned and use it again once the veggies are roasted and done. Let the mixture cool for a bit, toss everything back into this bowl, mix well again to capture the spices that have stuck to the bowl and then adjust your seasonings.

Postscript

No lime. I used lemon instead.

I wasn’t kidding about using pie pans.

I’m a Big Dipper

Previous studies looking at blood sugar after eating have focused on the way that levels rise and fall in the first two hours after a meal, known as a blood sugar peak. However, after analyzing the data, the PREDICT team noticed that some people experienced significant ‘sugar dips’ 2-4 hours after this initial peak, where their blood sugar levels fell rapidly below baseline before coming back up.

Big dippers had a 9% increase in hunger, and waited around half an hour less, on average, before their next meal than little dippers, even though they ate exactly the same meals.

Big dippers also ate 75 more calories in the 3-4 hours after breakfast and around 312 calories more over the whole day than little dippers. This kind of pattern could potentially turn into 20 pounds of weight gain over a year.

King’s College London. “Why some of us are hungry all the time.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210412114802.htm (accessed April 24, 2021).

Now I know there is a scientific biological basis for why I feel hungry more often than others. Over time I’ve figured out solutions for my unique metabolism and biology.

Whole grain bars. A small handful of nuts. A cup of yogurt. If you’re constantly hungry you might be a “big dipper” like me. Carry on.

Random Thoughts – April 2021

Sunday 04.04.21

My self imposed beer ban has ended. And to avoid any feelings of guilt and shame I created a new list. My new list is Things You Can Have in the House but Only on Occasion. Last week the trip to the store started as any other trip to the store. I had a short list and planned to stick to the list. But when I was in the store I found myself mesmerized by the beer choices while standing in front of the colorful cans all calling out to me. I broke down and bought a six pack. My three month self imposed beer ban ended and immediately on the way home the rationalization began.

I promised myself I would closely monitor my weight (an empty promise since I weigh myself daily). I probably lost my taste for beer and I won’t drink any (nope). I committed to drinking just one can a day (that lasted just one day). In the end I could only justify my purchase by making up a new house rule so I could drink the one beverage that caused me to create house rules to begin with. I know I’m being too hard on myself. But that’s what people do when they know they can eat and drink themselves back up to 370 pounds. I never want to weigh that much again so I am always pretty hard on myself.

When I tell people I used to weigh 370 pounds they don’t believe me. With my sense of humor a lot of people really don’t know if I’m kidding. Well, I’m not joking. I used to weigh 370 and I never ever want to wear 44 inch waist jeans again. Beer was one of the culprits way back when and beer could easily become my Number One Nemesis again.

Then during the last week of March all hell broke loose. We left home and our normal routines for four days of bonding with Tiny Humans. That was the good part of the trip. As you may have already guessed the bad part was me being bad. I had three restaurant meals via delivery to the house.

Although some restaurants provide high-quality foods, the dietary quality for meals away from home, especially from fast-food chains, is usually lower compared with meals cooked at home. Evidence has shown that meals away from home tend to be higher in energy density, fat, and sodium, but lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protective nutrients such as dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Frequent consumption of meals prepared away from home linked to increased risk of early death — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210325084824.htm

A couple of beers I found in the fridge found their way into my belly. I did not weigh myself while I was gone. I ATE CHOCOLATE CAKE THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW. I might have eaten some chocolate chip cookies too. Maybe even a few pieces of chocolate here and there.

Too much sugar is unhealthy – that we know, but it’s not just down to the many calories. Even moderate amounts of added fructose and sucrose double the body’s own fat production in the liver, researchers have shown. In the long term, this contributes to the development of diabetes or a fatty liver.

Consumption of added sugar doubles fat production — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210316100709.htm

I was completely out of my normal routine and beginning to believe I had lost all control. I feared the worst.

We got back home on a Thursday evening. On Friday morning I approached the bathroom scale with immense trepidation. The Truth was about to unfold and when the number came into view I had actually lost a pound since the Sunday before. I was very bad and still lost some weight. Sigh. Of. Relief.

Yesterday morning I was at the grocery store with my short list of things to buy. When I got to the beer aisle I kept walking. I reminded myself of my new list and promised myself it was OK to put beer on the Things You Can Have in the House but Only on Occasion list. Then I went to the liquor store and bought myself a bottle of Monkey Shoulder blended single malt scotch. It was my reward for surviving a multi-day period of dietary indiscretions.

The 90+ Study finds link between moderate Alcohol Consumption and Longevity

https://www.mind.uci.edu/90-study-finds-link-moderate-alcohol-consumption-longevity/

Purely medicinal of course.

Random Thoughts (of beer) – March 2021

I haven’t had a beer in three months. When I go to the grocery store I typically stand in front of the refrigerated beer case for several minutes surveying the choices. The cans are colorful, designed by those whose understand the science of attraction and they are successful in making me stop and browse. The most surprising thing besides not recognizing most of the choices was the fact I still have no desire for a beer. Real world proof the less you have something the less you want it. This is probably true for most things except chocolate and pizza.

For the first time in a long time I’ve been thinking about removing beer from my Don’t Have It In the House list. The scale tells me I’m holding steady at 169-170. For years I dreamed about reversing the ravages of time believing I could disprove the long held belief that everyone puts on a pound or two every year the older you become. Well this “inevitable” weight gaining process doesn’t have to happen. You have to be disciplined about what you eat and what you have to make sacrifices if you want to avoid taking up two seats instead of one on the bus and/or diabetes, and…

“Weight change is a common symptom when people are having difficulty coping with mental health challenges. A majority of adults (61%) reported experiencing undesired weight changes since the start of the pandemic, with more than 2 in 5 (42%) saying they gained more weight than they intended. Of this group, adults reported gaining an average of 29 pounds (with a median gain of 15 pounds), and 1 in 10 (10%) said they gained more than 50 pounds. For the 18% of Americans who said they lost more weight than they wanted to, the average amount of weight lost was 26 pounds (median of 12 pounds).”

American Psychological Association
Stress in America February 2021 Harris Poll

You have to make hard choices and oftentimes difficult sacrifices. Like keeping beer as Number One on the you know what list and being extremely disciplined when tempted standing in the store where temptation rears her fangs. I am not a saint nor do I plan on placing beer on a Never Eat or Drink list. I’ve merely chosen to drink a lot less of the stuff because I know this beverage puts the weight on for me.

Besides I’ve gotten a lot of expressions of shock from people who haven’t seen me in a while. I guess dropping over 20 pounds will elicit such comments. I’ve had to pull my belt in by two notches. But I really think my face lost weight because faces can and do lose weight. What you think?

May 2020 and March 2021

Should you eat many small meals to boost weight loss?

The short and simple answer is no. This eating pattern worked for me until it didn’t.

For example, researchers told 51 adults with overweight or obesity to eat 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, either as three meals or as mini-meals (with at least 100 calories each) every few hours. After six months, the grazers had lost no more weight than the three-meals-a-day eaters. And when Schoenfeld analyzed the data on weight from 15 trials that lasted two weeks to a year, “there was no difference if people ate, say, one meal or five.”

Should you eat many small meals to boost weight loss? — https://www.nutritionaction.com/daily/diet-and-weight-loss/should-you-eat-many-small-meals-to-boost-weight-loss/

The Challenge to Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Certain COVID-19 measures, including the closure of sport and exercise facilities, as well as remote working practices can lead to sedentary behaviors for both young and old. With less outdoor activity and more indoor time, people reported turning to comfort foods and “pandemic baking.” In fact, grocery stores struggled to keep up with the demand for flour. Dr. John Morton, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Yale New Haven Health Systems, says that during telehealth appointments, he has seen patients who have gained 5-30 pounds [5].

Physical Health, Obesity, and the Challenge to Stay Active During the COVID-19 Pandemic — https://www.rgare.com/knowledge-center/media/covid-19/physical-health-obesity-and-the-challenge-to-stay-active-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

Author Disclaimer – The quote and article link above have been sourced from my employer and is not a shameless act of self-promotion. The paragraphs following this disclaimer are indeed a shameless act of self-promotion to generate interest in purchasing my future best seller which is currently a work in progress.

I have lost over 20 pounds during The Great Pandemic Year One.

Boom.

Random Thoughts – February 2021

Monday 2/1

“We can feel the book in our bones, but the writing of it can seem like we’re always at the beginning, always trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing. At least, that’s how I often feel.”

Amy Grier

A year ago I was either 194 or 192. I recorded two different starting weights for 2020 in my journal so when I write about how much weight came off it might not be 100% accurate. Look anywhere online you’ll find stories of Pandemic Weight gain but somehow I went in the opposite direction. The scale dipped below 172 this morning. As you know I try not to get too hyped about these random fluctuations.

My personal quest is to document what I’ve done so that others may possibly benefit. Of course I’m referring to my future best seller. But I must admit writing all of this is not easy. This blog helps as part of the process. Maybe I’ll write a few words here and there that will end up in the book as well researched, tightly edited prose. Then most days I’m not sure if anything like that will happen. Most days I end up like Amy Grier always at the beginning, always trying to figure out exactly what the hell I’m writing about.

I need to remind myself all of this is a process and that things have changed over the years. What worked for me at 20 may not work now as I travel the road towards 70 (except maybe the no beer thing). When I lost the bulk of my excess weight my diet was extremely restrictive both in calories and food/drink choices. During the past Pandemic Year of Isolation my diet was less restrictive in terms of food/drink choices but still somewhat calorie restrictive. I pretty much adopted The Boss’ dietary pattern and started losing weight again.

This past year has made me question my long held belief in veggie/non-meat meal percentages of 90/10. My personal pursuit of health didn’t result in any weight loss. I no longer keep a food diary so I can’t determine the exact percentages of meat free meals versus meat/dairy/eggs I’d eat in a week. Yet I’m still convinced the more plant based meals you consume the more you improve your chances for being and staying healthy.

Today’s meals were or will be:

Oatmeal with raisins, maple syrup, and soy milk.

Bowl of homemade chicken soup with vegetables and white beans. Cornbread (both homemade).

Chicken vegetable fried rice.

Maybe I should redefine and rename my 90/10 strategy to a minimal meat strategy. The MMS Diet. How to Lose 200 Pounds and Keep Them Off Forever! Yo Oprah, I’m waiting for your call.

Be The Person You Want to Be – now what’s your plan?

“The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet,” Mackey says. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer health span. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem.”

Americans are not taking as good care of their own bodies as they ought to be, Mackey says: “71% of Americans are overweight and 42.5% are obese. Clearly, we’re making bad choices in the way we eat,” he says. “It’s not a sustainable path. And so, I’m calling it out.”

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey: The ‘best solution’ is to not need health care and for Americans to change how they eat and live — https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/04/whole-foods-ceo-john-mackey-best-solution-is-not-to-need-health-care.html

Monday 1/18

Today is the fourth and final day of my long weekend. The Boss and I are already planning more time off together this year. You reach a point in your life where the Work Mojo is no longer the same as it was in previous years. But that’s OK. I’m fortunate in having work which I’ve managed to weave into my life seamlessly. Some days I’m in my office working, other days my computer based activities bring in zero revenue. I’m still talking myself out of buying another guitar but that’s another story.

Today began as all days begin with coffee and catching up on news. I started this post half-awake then left to do other things which is normal for this writer with ADD tendencies (now you know why my future best seller is not finished yet). More coffee, a little jazz, shower. Back in the office I took another look at Mackey’s quote and had a different reaction from my initial reaction when I started writing this post. Why is this guy an expert?

We have too many self-proclaimed experts telling people what they should or ought to do. Read the Mackey quote again and you’ll see what I mean. Simply stated the problem is way more complex than most people realize and the solution is a lot harder for most and even harder for others. But to be the person you want to be you have to make tough decisions and understand this race is a marathon with many hard choices along the way.

The Boss and I got out of our pre-Pandemic habit of eating lunch out on the weekends. Instead we’ve done the drive through or curbside pickup routines for our non-home prepared meals. Yesterday we had Okie-Mex for the first time in a while (kind of like Tex-Mex but not nearly as good). I chose a combination plate large enough to be served on a turkey platter in the restaurant if you know what I mean and I think you do. We shared the platter and still had leftovers. There was a time when I would/could finish such a meal all by myself. Now here’s my point: when you hear or read about changing your lifestyle and diet what are you willing to do to become who you want to be? Do you have the willpower and discipline to eat just half of a typical restaurant serving or are you eating it all?

Habits become habits for a reason and can be challenging to change. But changing your habits (lifestyle and food choices) are the only way to lose weight and to maintain the loss. I actually found a randomized controlled trial (n=130) that supports my opinion on habits.

Habit-based weight-loss interventions—forming new habits (TTT) and breaking old habits (DSD), resulted in clinically important weight-loss maintenance at 12-month follow-up.

Cleo, G., Glasziou, P., Beller, E. et al. Habit-based interventions for weight loss maintenance in adults with overweight and obesity: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Obes 43, 374–383 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-018-0067-4

This habit changing thing hit home as I was searching my cookbook collection for lunch ideas. I settled upon a quick chickpea salad sandwich filling and if it tastes good I’ll post the recipe. As a young man gorging myself on the worst possible foods on the path to 370 I didn’t even know what a chickpea was.

Change your habits, change your life. Start with one habit you want to change. Substitute a good habit for the bad one. Give it time to stick. Repeat.

I haven’t had a beer since mid-December. Trust me. This is real painful.

25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess

The Digital Devil told me I had dipped below 173 and I’m resisting the urge to overthink this. I can’t explain this bizarre behavior. It’s just part of my makeup, a tiny piece of me that tends to repeat over and over and over again. If the number goes up I’ll try to figure out why. If the number goes down my mind does the same thing. Why? Why is my weight going down? Is this merely a random fluctuation or can I pinpoint a reason for my successful weight loss/maintenance? As I wandered the internet I found a website post that had the answer I had been searching for.

Soup. I’ve eating more soup.

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. Her most recent post is 25 Vegan Soup Recipes and can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. To be clear I haven’t tried any of these recipes yet but I needed a reminder to do so. Thus this post and link.

It’s like a giant Sticky Note that says “Hey, try these recipes. Also don’t forget you already bought her cookbook and it’s sitting on your eCookbook shelf.”

I actually forgot I bought Laura’s cookbook.

Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance — Random Thoughts 01.02.21

Consistent self-weighing may help individuals maintain their successful weight loss by allowing them to catch weight gains before they escalate and make behavior changes to prevent additional weight gain. While change in self-weighing frequency is a marker for changes in other parameters of weight control, decreasing self-weighing frequency is also independently associated with greater weight gain.

Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance — https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18198319/

And another year of the lifelong struggle begins. I’d be lying if I said all of this effort is easy. It would also be a lie if I said substantial weight loss is easy. The hard truth is everyone is different and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. We are all somewhere along the continuum as we trudge ahead in year two of the Great Pandemic. In writing the memoir genre stands alone. The author picks and chooses what she wants to share. But memories dim with age and the memories themselves change over time. Many just disappear never to be brought to the surface again. Other memories get fleshed out by the memoirist and a really good piece of memoir writing is always part fiction. For the writer this technique is especially useful. We write with the intent to tell our stories even if some of the facts are muddled or made up.

I step onto The Digital Devil nearly every day. You might think I’m OCD (and in fact I’ve wondered that myself). But I’m not OCD because I know that 75% of people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off weigh themselves at least once a week and 36% weigh themselves daily according to published research. This March marks 14 years of feeding information to The National Weight Control Registry http://www.nwcr.ws/. Here’s proof I didn’t make this up:

Yes Eagle Eyes, same institution where Dr. Lee did his residency.

2020 was the year I got serious again about my weight. I’m where I want to be so 2021 is maintenance mode. Some the behavioral changes I made last year were easy. Other changes came about from the virus and turned out to be positives from a weight loss perspective. This year has just started and I’m not confident how long beer will remain on the Don’t Have It In the House List. All I know is no beer makes it a hell of a lot easier to keep my weight where I want it to be. At the same time a good beer is pure heaven on earth.

Due to the holidays there are two packages of tiny chocolate peanut butter cups in the Pandemic Pantry. I over bought chocolate and The Boss didn’t bake as many cookies as she could have. These tasty nasties belong on the Don’t Have It In the House List. But so far both bags are unopened. I’m not confident about the shelf life of these things. Could be short. Time to stop thinking about chocolate and get back to writing my future best seller.

YIKES! How did these things get in the house?